Reloading ammo, especially for beginners, can be a daunting task. The fear of injuring yourself or damaging your gun is always persistent. But if you practice enough, you will get the hang of it. Then, reloading your ammo can become as fun as shooting it.
By the end of this article, you will know how to reload ammo on your own and start to reap the benefits of it.
Why Should You Reload Your Own Ammo?
There are plenty of people out there who reload their own ammo. And to be honest, having a gun and not being able to reload it makes possessing it pointless in the first place, right?
There are a variety of reasons why people learn to reload on their own. Let’s see a few of the benefits.
This is one of the first reasons why people learn to reload their own ammo. Saving money comes off in a few ways:
Firstly, the brass casing, the most expensive part of the ammo, cannot be used twice if you purchase from local gun stores. But you can recycle used casings and use them again if you load your own ammo.
You can reuse the same brass casing multiple times. This reusing, however, depends on what type of caliber you have chosen to use. One does not need to purchase a brass casing each time they shoot. This potentially saves a lot of money.
For example: for cheap ammo like a 9 mm, you might end up saving about a good amount in the purchase. With a more expensive round such as a .308, you might end up saving as much as 50% of the purchase price. For Gold Match Ammos, you might save around $2 per round.
Some might argue that you do not save money when you reload your own ammo; instead, you shoot more rounds with the same amount of money. Either way, you end up spending less to shoot more rounds.
Customized Ammo and Greater Accuracy
Reloading your own ammo allows you to make customized rounds for all of the ammunition you own. There is also a provision of increasing the accuracy of your guns. Improving the accuracy of your ammo comes about in a few different ways.
Shooting is most effective when the barrel of the gun moves as little as possible. This reduction of movement is done by adjusting the amount of gunpowder to your loads. It changes the velocity of the bullet to an optimum level as it comes rushing out of the barrel.
Extending the round will let you reduce the amount of force that is required for the bullet when it has to exit the casing. You can extend the length of the bullet by placing it further down the brass casing.
When it comes to rifle loads, loading your own ammo will help you find the proper balance between the bullet, powder, charge, and primer. Reaching a proper balance is imperative to make your gun perform at its best.
All in all, loading your own ammo helps to design ammo that will cater to your specific needs. For example, you might be keener on enhancing your technique; thus, you reduce the velocity of the bullet.
If you learn how to reload your own ammo, you can build up your own inventory. Having your own inventory means that you do not have to depend on your local gun stores’ supply of ammo.
Every now and then, there are changes made to laws regarding owning firearms. It could be new rules such as purchasing ammo online only through licensed vendors.
By learning to reload on your own, incidents such as shortages, hoarding, and price fluctuations can be avoided. Make sure you stock up enough inventory if you want to reload on your own.
How to Reload Ammo? [Step by Step Guides]
Now that you have got to know the perks of reloading your own ammo, let us get to steps you need to follow in order to reload:
Parts of Cartridge
A lot of people often get confused between bullets and cartridges. Bullets are a part of the cartridge that gets released from the muzzle once the trigger has been pressed. Cartridges are what go into the chamber of the ammunition.
The ammo that is used in various rifles and handguns is known as the cartridge. A cartridge has many different parts: bullet, casing, powder, and primer.
To reload your own ammo, prepare the case and put all the different parts together in a reloading press.
There are two main types of cartridges: rimfire and centerfire. Centrefire cartridges are the most common type of cartridge available around. The name is such because the primer is at the center of the ammunition.
The rimfire cartridge gets its name from the primer being in the rim. They cannot be reloaded, while centerfire cartridges can be.
When you fire a gun, an explosion occurs within the walls of the brass casing that enlarges it to the size of the chamber. Shortly after, there is some shrinkage. But in reality, the brass casing expands in size and becomes wider than before. It also becomes much dirtier.
So, the first thing to do is to polish the insides of the casing. Use a brass tumbler to wash the interior. Besides the brass tumbler, use any medium such as a corncob and some polish.
This is a very loud procedure, and usually, you need to do it outside the house. There is a chance of lead contamination from this method.
So, clean up the casing and end up with shiny brass.
If you are planning on reloading a used brass, you will have to get to the most basic state so that it functions properly. Using a crinkled primer pocket makes it super consistent and helps to enhance your precision.
In order to resize, you will have to use a reamer or cleaner tool. This has to be done after you pop out the primer. Only after you remove the primer can you resize it.
Resizing the Brass
When it comes to modifying the size of the brass, you have to know that there are two main types of brass: Bottleneck and Straight Wall.
In order to reshape the brass, you have to make the used case go through a resizing die. Sometimes you have to use grease to smoothen the case. Any sort of dent or case mouth problems persistent in the case will be removed with the help of the resizing die.
Depending on the caliber or how many rounds have been fired, you have to enquire about the length and tear apart the excess portion that remains. This will help to trim down the brass to the required size.
But be careful though, if you end up breaking off too much of the length, you might end up messing up the bullet’s seating. So be careful when trimming.
Trimming can be done both manually or by using electrical appliances particularly made to cater to such needs.
At the end of this procedure, the brass will be ready and free from dents or deformities.
In firearms or guns, a primer is a tool or chemical that is used to propel the ignition that will project the cartridge out of the barrel. Primers hold a very small amount of explosive. This explosive helps in the combustion and eventual propelling of the bullet or ammo.
There are many different ways to install a new primer. Some people use handmade tools, while sometimes they integrate them during the first sizing stage.
The main objective is to ensure that your primer properly fits into the primer pocket at the most precise depth.
Addition of Gunpowder
Gunpowder is one of the most influential inventions to date. The gunpowder we find in modern times is made up of a variety of chemical components. It has been used as a propellant in almost all modern firearms.
Gunpowder has enabled people to defend themselves, hunt, and attack others. They remain a significant yet controversial catalyst for change in our society.
Previously, gun powders used to release a lot of smoke as residue. But these days, that has changed, and gunpowder is technically smokeless.
There are various types of gunpowder available out there. Not all of them will fit with your firearm, but some types definitely will. The gunpowder is specific to the caliber or to the weight of the bullet.
Initially, you will have to acquire a reloading manual and determine how much you will need initially. The manual will also contain the appropriate dimensions that are required for the case length.
There are various ways to add gunpowder to your casing that has been primed and prepped. The most commonly used methods are the standalone powder measures or those that belong to a press.
This is one of the last steps in reloading your own ammo. In this step, you add the bullet and adjust it inside the case.
The problem that you might face in this particular step is that the case might be too slim or too thin for your bullet to adjust in. You will have to trim the top in this case. This usually happens with pistol cases.
If you do not face any issues with fitting the bullet into your case, position the bullet on the heading of the case and then just let it run along a bullet seating die. Oftentimes, users prefer to add crimps or a crimp to the system. This protects the bullet much more.
For any beginner, getting into this habit of reloading may appear a daunting task. Although there are many benefits of being able to reload your own ammo, there are significant risks as well if you get it wrong.
Try to Perform These Beforehand
The aforementioned steps are what you have to follow if you want to reload your ammo just by sitting in your own comfort zone. But, you cannot precisely complete these steps right off the bat.
To properly complete the steps, you need a bit of experience. To get an idea of how things are done properly, try doing the following things –
Watching Another Friend
The most basic and effective way to learn how to reload ammo is by watching someone else. If you have a friend who reloads his own ammo, you can always ask him to show you the basics of what you have to get done.
The best thing about learning through human interaction is that you can directly ask your friend questions about probable difficulties. The difficulties that you might face when doing it on your own.
Remember that the ways that work fine for your friend might not sometimes work for you. You might also have different preferences. The best way to understand this is by getting your feel for your equipment.
If you do not like the feeling you get out of it, purchase different equipment that you like or fits your budget.
These days, there are very few things that you will not find on YouTube. There are lots of videos available on reloading ammo created by seasoned experts or professionals.
Watch as many videos as possible because every creator has a different way of doing things. Some might fit your bill, while some might not be to your liking.
Some methods might be damaging to your firearm, while others might be an apt fit. Watching multiple creators also gives you a good knowledge of the variety of ways you can go about doing your thing.
Acquire Reloading Manuals
Going through manuals to reload your ammo is very important. Both beginners and experts use manuals as a guide on how to reload their ammo. It would be rather dangerous to not check the manual before partaking on the job.
Every manual comes with a different combination for powder and bullets. Thus, it is very important to read more than one single manual. This is most useful when you will not be able to acquire a specific type of bullet and powder combination.
It is a must for you to be apprised of the proper balance of bullet weight, powder, and caliber.
Types of Reloading Presses
We have talked about the various parts you need to start reloading on your own. But the machine that brings all of this together and makes it possible to reload your ammo is known as a reloading press.
There are various types of reloading presses available around. Let’s see how some of them function:
Single Stage Press
This reloading press is known as a single-stage press as there is only space to accommodate one die. You need to change it out a minimum twice. You also need to prime the cases using the press or manually by hand.
Single stage presses are usually cheap. They come with a powder station, scale, hand-priming tools, and some tools to prep the case.
A turret press enables the user to use the dies more than once. The dies can be revolved or turned over the casing. This method saves time as you do not have to switch out the dies whenever you go to another stage of the reloading process.
Turret Presses cost more than Single Stage Presses.
The progressive reloading presses come equipped with multiple die stations. These stations usually sit on the head and in some other places where you arrange your casings. In this way, you can hold as many as four different actions every time you pull on the press.
Some progressive presses can crack out as many as one thousand rounds per hour. Progressive presses are much more expensive than the other two types of presses.
Tips for Beginners to Reload Your Own Ammo
Keep these things in mind once you start to reload your own ammo –
For a beginner to get into reloading ammo is a somewhat difficult task. It is quite natural for you to lose your patience. Remember to not rush into things. Rushing may lead to errors, which might lead to dangerous consequences.
It is natural for a novice to make mistakes. Be patient with yourself and the system. Your patience will lead to fewer mistakes. It will also prevent you from making mistakes that might damage your firearm, or worse, hurt yourself.
Make sure to thoroughly check the powder weight and seating depths.
Do Not Expect to Purchase Only Once
Initially, you might end up buying some things that you might not like later on. But that is completely natural.
With experience, you will know which the right tool is and which tool does not fit your preference.
You can do a lot of research but still end up buying something that will not later cater to your likings.
Reloading your ammo is a rather intricate and difficult task to master. The fear of getting hurt or damaging your weapon is quite persistent. But once you get the hang of it, it can become quite the fun activity for you.
Though you have to learn a lot of things to master this intricate process, being patient and diligent will lead you to success. Make sure to get the proper teachings and knowledge before you start this journey. Otherwise, it will be challenging to be a master at your gun.