Getting into Ammo Reloading
Dr. John Woods 12.28.15
With ammunition prices increasing and supplies decreasing, many shooters are opting to get into ammo reloading. On the surface it might sound like a technical project you might not want to tackle or too expensive to establish. In reality, neither is really the case. Reloading your own ammo can not only become a fun hobby, but a very cost effective one, too.
I reloaded my own handgun ammo for years, concentrating mainly on simple straight cased stuff like the .38 Special, .357 Magnum, and the .44 Magnum. These were rounds I shot the most, but I also reloaded some hunting rifle ammo as well including the .243 and 30-06.
If asked to advise someone wanting to get into ammo reloading for the first time, I would highly recommend they purchase a complete reloading set up kit from one of the major reloading equipment manufacturer/suppliers. The big names here would be Hornady, RCBS, and Lyman. You can easily shop the big catalog companies or go online to find all you want to know about their equipment, tools, and supplies.
At the same time for pure neophytes, buy a good reloading manual. These books will walk you through the reloading processes and procedures and also offer reload guides for virtually every rifle and handgun cartridge there is. There will be information on powders, primers, and how to assemble loads properly and safely.
The basic equipment includes a reloading press. Next comes the cartridge dies by cartridge designation, shell holders, powder scale, powder measure, primer tool, and various hand tools to set up and change out the dies, etc. Other pieces include a lube pad for the brass, funnels, cartridge trays, a hex key set, and other stuff.
Later you will need/want a primer pocket cleaner, brass cleaner, deburring tool, powder trickler, a primer tray, and other pieces to make the process easier and quicker. As you research the process, you will learn how to go basic or more deluxe, just like any hobby.
Naturally you will need to buy brass (or previously fired), primers, powder, and bullets. The proper ones will be determined by the “load” you choose to assemble from the reloading manual suggestions. Follow them to the tee and do not deviate from the load details given in the book. The loading sequence will be fully explained in the manual.