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Looking Down the Barrel: A Tale of When Shooters Become Reloaders

The shooting sports are popular in our family. My husband was raised in a hunting, fishing and target shooting family. He learned to clean and take care of firearms as a young boy. He learned firearm safety and gun laws at the same time he learned the rules of football and baseball.  When our children were growing up, the family tradition of participation in shooting sports continued. Once he retired, with ammunition very expensive on our smaller income, my husband began reloading his brass. Gradually what began as a means to continue to afford his shooting hobby has become a wonderful new hobby of its own for him.

Looking Down the Barrel: A Tale of When Shooters Become Reloaders

Reloading is really a form of recycling. It allows shooters to reuse the brass casings from their ammunition instead of throwing them away or leaving them on the ground. That would be an enormous waste. The commercially loaded ammunition we buy is made of the primer and powder in the brass case and the bullet tip. You are paying a certain amount of money for each component. When you fire your gun, the primer and powder burn off and send the bullet projectile shooting out the barrel of the gun. The brass casing is all that is left behind.  “Handloading” this case, or reloading it, allows it to be used over and over again. By not having to purchase more brass, you save money.

My husband began reloading with a friend who is very experienced and has a great setup of equipment.  The friend, a retired police officer, taught him that hand loading at its most basic has a few simple stages. You put a new wad (or shotcup) into the fired case, put in a new primer, measure out and include the correct amount of powder for the caliber shot you are loading, and top it off with a new bullet.  New downrange wads and other reloading supplies are available through online vendors and local gun shops and outdoor sports supply stores.  Before you can reload, however, you must have a reloading press.

Single, turret or progressive presses are available for reloading rounds. My husband learned on a single press, as most beginners do, but now has a Dillon progressive press and the case and bullet feeder attachments for it so he can load multiple cases at one time. The initial monetary investment has been offset by his time saving. He says once he got it all set up, it has been easy to use and is fast and accurate.  Die-hard handloaders maintain that by slowing down and reloading yourself, you produce more precise ammunition than commercial produced ammo. Read all you can and check information on dies, shellplates and shellholders, downrange wads, primers and primer trays, powder and powder scales, case trimmers, bullet pullers, deburring tools and all the other tools you will need to begin your own reloading station.

As my husband became more involved in his reloading hobby, I was concerned about safety. He is working with powder and primers, which are potentially dangerous. He reassured me that he exercises common sense and always follows directions exactly as they are given.  He checks his powder load visually as well as by weighing it carefully. He explains there is nothing worse than a double load, which can blow up in the gun. This will damage or destroy the gun and can cause serious bodily harm.  This is not a hobby for people who are careless with directions or have short attention spans. When handling primers, sot, downrange wads (shotcups) and powder, patience and educated attention to task is required. Reloading can be a really great hobby for those already participating in shooting sports.

The article was provided by Danielle, the wife of an avid shooter and frequenter of recobstargetshop.com, where she goes for all her husband’s birthday and Christmas presents.

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