So You Want to Get Into Reloading


So You Want to Get Into Reloading

Have you thought about reloading, but not sure where to start? I reloaded various calibers for a little over a decade and would like to share my experience.

In 1989 my supervisor, his name was Bill, was a firearms and reloading enthusiast.  At the time I was 21 years old and was interested in reloading. Bill and I talked often about various topics on shooting sports. He told me if I wanted to get into reloading he had a bunch of spare parts he would sell me.

Before Bill would sell me anything, he made me promise to get a reloading book. It was only after I bought my first book, Speer reloading manual number 11, that Bill agreed to sell me some parts. He put together a box with a Lyman turret press, RBCS scale, lube pad, and a few other odds and ends. I bought the box and everything in it for $100.

Read the Book

The very fist thing Bill told me to do was “read the book.” At the start of just about every reloading book there are a few chapters dedicated to the fundamentals. This covers safety, equipment, and the overall process.

I was instructed that if I did not have a clear understanding of each stage of the process, to either ask him a question or read the introduction to reloading chapters again.

In all, I think I read the introduction chapters 3 or 4 times before I even mounted the press to the work bench.

Reloading Safety

There was one thing Bill emphasized more than anything, and that was safety.

  • Follow the instructions in the book.
  • Keep detailed logs of everything.
  • Document brand name and type of primers.
  • Overall length.
  • Bullet brand name.
  • Check case length.
  • Look for signs of excessive pressure.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol.
  • Buy new reloading manuals when they are released.

Those are a few of the safety precautions. I even documented the overall length of various bullet brand names.

Reloading is nothing to play around with. This is a serious hobby and it needs your full attention.

Where to Start

If someone wants to get into this expensive and time-consuming hobby, here is my advice.

Mentor – Find a local mentor. Go to their house, look at their setup, and get some hands-on experience. Having a real person that you can call, look over their shoulder, and go over every step of the process beats anything on the Internet.

Single Stage – Experienced reloaders love progressive presses. However, beginners should start with a single stage press.

  • Progressive – The machine produces a loaded round with every pull of the handle.
  • Single stage – A single die is threaded into the press at a time. The person operating the press has to only observe one operation with each pull of the handle. It usually takes at least three stages to reload a single round.

I liked starting at single stage because it gave me time to observe each stage of the process. Each round sent through the press was checked at every phase.


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