With the cost of everything going through the roof nowadays, many shooters are turning to the art of reloading. Supply chain issues and the rising costs of raw materials for ammo have made a serious dent in the sports loved by many.
What is the answer if we want to keep shooting?
Reloading or handloading is no longer a fad. With technology’s help, reloading is a solid alternative to buying ammo off the shelf. Once the initial expenditure for reloading equipment has been met, shooters build up supplies as an ongoing process to reduce overall costs.
Saving money is the first thing shooters want to accomplish when they take up reloading. Once a person does their research, an overwhelming sense of panic sets in. Tools and equipment needed to reload and save money efficiently can be expensive if purchased all at once.
There are a lot of books and manuals new reloaders can read to get them started. Experience is the most significant factor when starting your reloading journey. The process will most assuredly be fraught with problems and frustrations; however, remember the money you will save!
Helping new and experienced reloaders is what we will attempt with this article. Here are a few tips and tricks to help your reloading journey.
- Start small and build on. Taking a queue from above, buying all the equipment you need at the beginning, is an excellent way to go broke. Reloading for a single shooter does not take the most advanced equipment to begin the process.
- Start with a Lee Loader and build on from there. A Lee Loader is the perfect piece of equipment to learn the process one caliber at a time. Millions of Lee Loaders have been sold over time and will continue. These kits are the perfect answer, and they are very affordable. You can use only the brass that is fired through your gun, and there is a limit on the calibers. Nevertheless, it is an excellent alternative to the high cost of buying off-the-shelf ammo. Everything you need comes with the kit except for a rubber mallet. Shooters can reload handguns and long guns for a fraction of the cost.
- Range Brass is a great way to find brass casings other shooters discard because they have money to throw away. After a thorough cleaning, make sure you inspect the brass carefully for defects and alignment. Range brass will save money, but it usually requires a lot of work.
- Check yard sales for reloading gear and components. On my first garage sale adventure, I was amazed at the amount of equipment available for pennies on the dollar. A lot of households get tired of the equipment taking up storage space, or the shooter has lost interest in reloading. Whatever the case, plan a springtime trip around the neighborhood and make a deal.
- Build your own reloading bench because commercial benches are big, bulky, and expensive. Without a doubt, as your experience grows, you will need to upgrade. A lot of the presses place a lot of pressure on the bench so make the bench heavy and stout. Build a bench weighing at least 200 pounds with at least two inches of plywood for the top.
If you are new to reloading, it is a good idea to get a few books on the equipment you will need. Do not feel that all the equipment is needed upfront; while some of it is necessary, components to make the job easier can come later.
A must-have book is a good reloading manual. This will give you proven data for the particular cartridge you want to reload. Only trust the data from proven, reliable sources.
Set up your reloading bench to make it comfortable to reach the necessary tools. Sitting comfortably and working on your reloading is essential for long-term efficiency. Remember, the press will be attached to the bench, so it needs to be rock solid with no wobble whatsoever.
Select a single station press if this is your first attempt at reloading. Look for a kit that includes all the necessary equipment; this will save the shooter a lot of money over buying individual pieces.
- Lyman Brass Smith Victory Single Stage Press. Lyman is a well-known name in the world of reloading equipment, offering quality at every product stage. The Victory Press is a workhorse in the Lyman lineup. Straight line primer feed and heavy-duty cast iron “O” frame make this reloading press special. The Lyman kit comes with everything a new shooter needs to start reloading.
- Shell Holders and Die Sets
- Case Lubricant
- Case Lubricant Pad
- Priming Unit
Punches, rams, or priming arms are used to achieve maximum accuracy. Most new reloading presses have a basic priming unit to seat new primers. With a basic primer unit, the case is seated as it is withdrawn from the press. If a shooter is interested in better accuracy, install a custom priming unit. The new priming unit allows the reloader to adjust the case for uniform primer depth. Other options include speed and ease of use.
Lee Ram Prime Priming Unit, Universal rifle/pistol. The Ram from Lee offers the shooter a more sensitive feel to their reloading case. Works with both large and small primers.
- Reloading Powder Scale
- Powder Trickler
- Caliper, this is one item you do not want to skimp on price or quality. This tool allows the reloader to measure the depth of a seated primer accurately. Other functions include checking case lengths before and after trimming and maintaining an appropriate case length to discover any anomalies.
Lyman Stainless Steel Dial Caliper. An affordable and handy tool to have for accurate measurements. Deliver unfailing accuracy to .001 tolerances.
The above list of parts and components is only a partial list of the items a reloader will need. As the experience grows, the reloader can find exactly the part they need for any scenario. Reloading is a great way to save money in the long run of buying ammo.