So you’ve got your best hunting flashlight ready and you are all set to go on your first hunting trip! But haven’t you forgotten one thing? That’s right, you have to know how to reload the ammunition. It’s not the most complicated thing in the world, but you may find it difficult at first until you get used to the whole thing. Here’s a short guide on how to do it.
Why should you reload your own ammo?
Reloading your own ammo has many economical reasons. For example, given how the brass casing is by far the most costly part of the whole thing, if you choose to reload the ammo yourself, you can reuse it dozens of times meaning you won’t have to buy a new brass every time.
This also means you can rely on your own supply of ammunition and not having to go to the gun shop in town every time you need a refill. Reloading also lets you make custom rounds for all the guns you own and, overall, it’s a pretty fun experience! Taking all of these things into consideration, you don’t have a reason not to do it yourself from now!
How do you reload your ammo?
Now that we’ve seen some of the advantages that come with reloading the ammo by yourself, let’s see how you can do that. This short guide features several steps, but depending on the caliber of your gun, you may need to follow only some of them. Check the reloading instructions from the producer so you can be sure.
When you are out on the range you will hear others asking for some more bullets. Don’t be quick to ask for advice from them if they are not aware of the fact that they are basically asking to get just a part of the thing that they actually need. If you are wondering what we mean, let us explain.
Basically, a cartridge is the thing that goes into the gun chamber while the bullet is the thing that comes out of the muzzle. This means that bullets represent only a part of the total cartridge. When you are using rifles or even handguns, you are using cartridges. Cartridges can be found in two kinds: the rimfire ones and the centerfire ones.
The name of the first one comes from the fact that the primer is in the rim. You can’t reload these cartridges. The ammo that you are most likely going to need is the one for the .22 long rifle as it’s by far the most favored one by the majority of gun owners or users.
But between these two types of cartridges, the centerfire one is the most popular one overall. The name comes from the fact that the primer is placed in the center of the ammunition. Now, this is the type of cartridge that you can actually reload.
Regardless of the type of cartridge that you are using, it will be made out of four parts: the case, the primer (the one that causes the explosion and ignites the powder), the powder (this one makes the bullet fly out of the muzzle) and the bullet itself (the thing that hits the target – at least, hopefully). Reloading makes use of all the parts.
You need to start by inspecting the cases and check for things that may be wrong with them such as presenting cracks or dents. If you find these things, don’t use them, as they can create problems with the pressure in the chamber of the firearm you are using. Ask for and only use cases that don’t present such problems.
The next step is to clean the casings really nice of all the residue until they become shiny. You can do this by using a case tumbler as it’s really easy to use this method. When you come back home, just put the casings in the tumbler.
Another popular option is the old rice and ground-up walnut shells combination. Add a bit of polish in this combination and just let the thing tumble for a couple of moments. Since it’s a loud activity and could create some contamination, it’s better if you do this in a more isolated space such as the garage.
The chemical version is also popular as you just have to gather the casings in a mesh bag and then put it in a chemical case cleaner. Let them soak a while. Finishing the operation by rinsing using hot water and letting them air dry. You will have the cleanest casings in your area with this method!
Hand cleaning is also an option you can use and this one has the advantage of the fact that while you are doing the cleaning, you can also inspect the case for the cracks we mentioned.
Following the cleaning, the resizing of the casings is necessary, so try to bring it as close as possible to the original. For this to happen you will need to use a sizing die and a loading press at the same time. If after resizing you notice that the case is too long, you’ll have to trim it by using a trimmer.
After you’ve one this, you have reached the final stage of the prep. Start by deburring the mouth and the flash hole of the case, but also chamfer the neck. These things will make it easier for the bullet to be seated later on.
The priming step
After you are done with the prepping of the case, you can finally seat the primer. Pay attention so that there is no contamination of the primer with various types of liquids or oils. You may use an auto priming system (if you have one available) or the typical priming tools necessary.
This step is done so you can be sure that the primer is indeed put at the right depth, meaning it has to be flush with the case head.
Add the gunpowder
This is probably the most important step that you have to follow when you are reloading the ammo by yourself. In order to make sure that you’ve added enough you will have to check with some manual that any gun user should have near – the Lyman Reloading Manual is one of the most popular ones so you can rely on it.
You have more than just one option when it comes to dropping the powder in the prepped and primed case and you can choose the one that fits your style the best. They all have different benefits that will be more important to some more than to others which is why it’s important to pick the version that is the best one for you.
The seating of the bullets
Now you are so close to finishing you are not going to believe it! The last step is also the most simple one and you are going to finish it in the blink of an eye. For this part, you only need to add a bullet and then press it into the case. You may need a bit of strength to do so, but you’ll get the hang of it.
You probably own a die set. You need to get the seating die from it and make sure that the bullet you just put in is found at the normal and proper depth. You don’t want the bullet to jump around the cartridge now, do you?
If you are in doubt you can (and you should) check the reloading guide so you can find out which are the measurements for the cartridge you are using. And there you have it! Your very own first time reloaded gun cartridge. Wasn’t it lots and lots of fun?
As we mentioned, reloading isn’t a difficult job at all. It may look like it for a while, when you are first trying, and you will still think it’s a bit hard the first couple of times, but once you’ll get the hang of it you won’t have any problems reloading the ammo. From now on, you’ll be able to do it in the blink of an eye.
Take your time, get the gear ready, and make yourself the best at reloading the ammo so you can save time and money from now on and without needing anybody else’s help.