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How To Reload Your Own Bullets

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Ammunition Reloading

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Purchase reloading equipment.

Reloading may appear to involve considerable time, effort and cost but the main purpose in reloading is, enjoyment, cost savings, and finding a precise load for a specific caliber. Reloading your own ammunition provides you with the opportunity to manufacture firepower that is more accurate than factory loads.

Ammunition reloading/self loading involves being precise and accurate in order for everything to perform properly. Broadly speaking it involves finding that perfect combination of the cartridge casing, powder type, weight of charge, bullet weight/type, and itís seating depth. When you perfect a concoction for the perfect shot WRITE IT DOWN along with all your reloading recipes so you have a record of performance to refer to.

The best way to start would be to first get hold of a reliable reloading manual. It should give detailed and comprehensive information on the reloading equipment, reloading supplies required, along with reloading data. One example would be the Lyman 47th Reloading Handbook first printed in 1992 and which is still considered to be the 'reloader's bible' by many experienced hands.

Some people even cast their own bullets. Casting you own bullets offers limitless possibilities of variable ammo performance. It is not true that self cast bullets are inferior to factory cast ones. Some seasoned shooters prefer only self cast lead/alloy bullets for their hunting rifles/pistols, as correctly prepared and loaded bullets measure up to very high standards of performance and accuracy.

The variety of shapes and sizes in which one can self-cast bullets is tremendous. The .38/357 caliber bullet moulds are available in 35 different shapes and weights among just four reputed suppliers i.e. Lyman, RCBS, Redding and Lee Precision. A huge variety is available from .22 to .50 bullets and with many suppliers in the market. In case you are still not satisfied, you can design your own shape and size for a bullet and have a mold custom made.

The list of equipment you need to buy once for reloading your own ammo would include the following:

  • Reloading manual
  • Brass cleaner (either tumbler or vibrator type)
  • Reloading press
  • Reloading dies
  • Casing holders
  • Case trimmer
  • Deburring tool
  • Calipers
  • Powder scale
  • Powder funnel
  • Bullet puller
  • Primer pocket brush
  • Tool for inserting primer
  • Casing holder blocks
  • Plastic boxes to keep the reloaded ammo

The consumable raw material list will include:

  • Gunpowder
  • Primers
  • Brass (cartridge cases)
  • Case lube
  • Bullets

The reloading press is used in combination with various dies to perform different functions during the reloading process. It is used to diametrically reshape the casing, remove the primer, press in the bullet and crimp the shell mouth to firmly hold the bullet. The new primer can also be pressed in using the press and the correct tool. The case trimmer is used to trim the casing to the standard length determined by measuring with a caliper. The charge measure is used to ensure that the precise amount/weight of the powder is introduced into the shell. This is facilitated by using the powder funnel.

Even if reloading sounds easy, you must take care to follow instructions given in the reloading manual.Be careful to never exceed maximum loads and to exercise great caution. If you are to reuse your brass, inspect the casings.

Posted November 30, -1 by Justin Ott

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