One of the most rewarding aspects of long range shooting is reloading. There is nothing more satisfying than to take game animals with ammunition of your own making.
There are many benefits to “rolling your own” ammo; it is cost effective, cutting your ammo cost in half, saving you money over the cost of factory ammo. Also “hand-loaded” ammo can be fine-tuned and tailored to your specific rifle, gaining greater accuracy with the “right load”.
A person can experiment efficiently with different loads by loading five rounds each of several different powders, and bullet weight combinations before heading to the range. Load development with factory ammo would be much more costly shooting 5 or 6 different boxes (at $20-$45/box) to see which brand was the most accurate out of your rifle. Use local moving companies if you must.
A person can start off small, with a kit costing $125 to $175.00 to see if they are going to like it. All you need is an adequate space, such as the basement, small utility room, or the corner of a room (with no distractions) for your work-bench and tools. Some of the tools you’ll need are:
- One or two reloading handbooks that contain your cartridge loading information. Always start 10% below stated powder charge, and slowly work your way up.
- The kit will have a Press, which is the frame that holds in place the dies and shell-holders, and does the actual loading of the cartridges. The Press should be a solid “O”shaped fixture that will be sturdy and non-flexing.
- Case lubricant/ spray-on lube will keep the brass from binding and getting stuck into the Dies during the reloading process.
- The dies and shell-holders are needed for every caliber and cartridge you plan on loading. Dies will deprime, resize, and seat your bullet onto the case. Shell-holder holds the base of the cartridge on the Press. Shotshell reloaders are great options for shotgun reloading specifically.
- Priming Tool is needed for inserting a new primer into the base of the newly resized cartridge. The primer tool comes as an accessory attachment, or getting an hand held priming tool seems to give the best “feel” to the priming process.
- Powder Dispenser is needed to dispense a measured amount of powder into a pan, to be weighed.
- Scale is a must for accurately measuring powder charges for your cartridges. The balance beam type scales are really good, and accurate to 1/10 of a grain. Also there are a few good electronic scales such as the RCBS Chargemaster 1500 that are popular with many handloaders.
- Dial or Digital Caliper is needed to measure case length, case mouth diameter, over all length of a cartridge, etc.
- Tumbler uses a polishing media to clean brass and make it shiny.
- Bullet puller, (cam type) used to pull apart the components to reuse.
- Case trimmer, used to trim back cases that have been fired, to proper length.
- Deburring tool, used to clean up the burrs off of cases that have been trimmed.
You may begin to enjoy “hand-loading” so much that the “savings” that you saw in the beginning will start to diminish, because you will find yourself loading and shooting three times more than you did when you first started out.
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