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Reloading 101: Process, Gear, and Safety

Course Overview

Introduction to Reloading

[ ] Importance of understanding the basics of reloading for safety and efficiency.

[ ] Overview of the benefits of reloading, including cost savings and customization.

Safety First

[ ] Always wear protective gear, including safety glasses and gloves, to prevent injury.

[ ] Keep a clean and organized workspace free from distractions and unnecessary materials.

[ ] Ensure good ventilation in your reloading area to avoid inhaling hazardous chemicals.

[ ] Familiarize yourself with the mechanical aspects of your reloading equipment and their maintenance requirements.

[ ] Store powder and primers in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and sources of heat or flame.

[ ] Always wash hands with cold water to stop pores from opening and soaking up than nice warm lead powder.

Steps of the Process

[ ] 1. Collection and Initial Inspection

[ ] Carefully collect spent brass at the range, using protective gloves.

[ ] Inspect each casing for damage or deformities such as cracks, dents, or excessive wear. Discard any compromised cases.

[ ] 2. Cleaning the Brass

[ ] Discuss the importance of thoroughly cleaning brass to ensure the longevity of reloading equipment and the quality of the reload.

[ ] Options for cleaning: wet tumbling vs. dry tumbling, and the pros and cons of each.

[ ] 3. Lubricating the Cases

[ ] Importance of lubrication to prevent sticking in the resizing die and to protect the integrity of the case.

[ ] Techniques for evenly applying lubricant without over-lubricating.

[ ] 4. Resizing and Depriming

[ ] Step-by-step guidance on resizing and depriming, highlighting the importance of this step in resetting the brass to factory dimensions for pressure and chambering fit.

[ ] Emphasize the need to check for any resizing issues that could affect chambering and safety.

[ ] 5. Trimming and Preparing the Case

[ ] Importance of trimming cases to the correct length and how it affects the safety and accuracy of the ammunition.

[ ] Proper deburring and chamfering techniques to ensure smooth seating of the bullet and to prevent damage to the bullet or case.

[ ] 6. Priming

[ ] Handling and seating primers safely to prevent accidental ignition.

[ ] Discuss the different types of primers and their specifications.

[ ] 7. Charging with Powder

[ ] Precision in measuring powder charges: using scales and powder measures, and the importance of checking charges against reliable load data to prevent overcharging or undercharging.

[ ] 8. Seating the Bullet

[ ] Correctly adjusting the seating die for proper bullet depth, which affects pressure and accuracy.

[ ] Verifying overall length to ensure it meets specifications for safe chambering and optimal performance.

[ ] 9. Quality Control and Record Keeping

[ ] Inspecting the finished rounds: looking for consistent seating depth, absence of powder leakage, and proper primer seating.

[ ] Importance of keeping detailed records of reloads, including brass, powder, primer, and bullet used, as well as any observations on performance. This information is invaluable for troubleshooting and refining future reloads.

Closing: Return to the Range

[ ] Emphasize the importance of starting with low-pressure loads and gradually working up to the desired performance, always within the recommended safety margins.

[ ] Encourage testing reloads in a controlled environment to assess performance and make adjustments as necessary.

Q&A Session

[ ] Open the floor for questions and encourage discussion of common issues and concerns in reloading.

Embarking on the journey of ammunition reloading is a rewarding endeavor that combines precision, patience, and a passion for shooting. This comprehensive guide is tailored for beginners, breaking down the process into digestible steps, ensuring safety and success from your very first batch of reloads. Whether you’re looking to save money, customize your loads for specific shooting activities, or simply enjoy the process of creating your own ammunition, this article will set you on the right path.

Detailed Walk-Through

Introduction to Reloading

Reloading or Hand-Loading is the process of making new, shootable rounds from spent casings, or “brass.” It’s a skill that shooters of all levels can learn, offering practical and financial benefits.

By understanding the basics of reloading, you ensure safety and efficiency, while gaining a deeper appreciation for the mechanics of shooting.

Importance of Understanding the Basics

The foundation of safe and effective reloading begins with a thorough understanding of its principles. Ignoring the basics can lead to dangerous outcomes, including damaged firearms and potential injury. Therefore, prioritizing education on safe reloading practices is our goal in this article.

Benefits of Reloading

Reloading your ammunition comes with several advantages:

  • Cost Savings: Over time, reloading can significantly reduce the cost per round of shooting.
  • Customization: Tailor your loads to your specific shooting needs, whether for precision shooting, hunting, or general practice.
  • Self-Sufficiency: Gain independence from commercial ammunition shortages and price fluctuations.

Safety First

Safety is the cornerstone of reloading. Always wear protective gear, such as safety glasses and gloves, maintain a clean workspace, and ensure good ventilation. Familiarize yourself with your equipment and store your materials properly to prevent accidents.

Steps of the Process

1. Collection and Initial Inspection

Gathering and inspecting spent brass is the first step. Use protective gloves and inspect each case for any signs of damage, such as cracks or dents. Damaged cases should be discarded to ensure the safety and quality of your reloads.

This includes cracks as well as dents in the casing.

2. Cleaning the Brass

Clean brass is essential for the longevity of your reloading equipment and the quality of your ammunition.

  • Wet Tumbling vs. Dry Tumbling: Wet tumbling uses water and cleaning solution, while dry tumbling uses a media like walnut shells. Each has its pros and cons, but both aim to remove grime and prepare the brass for reloading.

You can usually find a tumbler from your favorite company. Lyman, Hornady, and Frankford Arsenal all make their own models that are slightly different. However, if you have a lot of brass to get through, we love using the rotary tumbler from Frankford. This baby can clean 1000 rounds of 5.56 cases in one fill.

Picking up a media sifter can save you a ton of time from tapping out each case individually.

3. Lubricating the Cases

Proper lubrication is crucial to prevent sticking in the resizing die. Apply a very thin, even layer of lubricant to your cases. Products like Hornady One Shot Spray or Lee Precision Case Sizing Lube are popular choices among reloaders.

4. Resizing and Depriming

This step involves resizing the brass to factory dimensions and removing the spent primer. Using a press, like the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Press, ensures precision in this critical step. Always check for resizing issues that could affect chambering and safety.

5. Trimming and Preparing the Case

After resizing, cases often need to be trimmed to the correct length using tools like the Lyman Case Trim Xpress. Deburring and chamfering are also necessary to ensure smooth seating of the bullet and to prevent damage.

While we prefer to use dedicated deburring tools and reamers for our bench, some companies make nice little multi-tools that do everything from case necks to primer pockets.

6. Priming

Handling primers requires care to prevent accidental ignition. A hand priming tool, such as the Lee Auto Bench Prime, allows for safe and precise primer seating. Understanding the different types of primers and their specifications is essential.

If your cases have weird marks around the primer pockets, they were probably crimped. The best way to get these ready is with a swage kit.

7. Charging with Powder

Measuring powder accurately is critical to safety and performance. Digital scales, like the Frankford Arsenal DS-750, and powder measures ensure precision. Always refer to reputable load data to determine the correct charge for your specific reloads.

8. Seating the Bullet

Adjusting the seating die for the correct bullet depth affects pressure and accuracy. Tools like the Hornady Lock-N-Load OAL Gauge help in determining the optimal seating depth. Verifying the overall length is crucial for safe chambering.

9. Quality Control and Record Keeping

Inspecting finished rounds for consistency and keeping detailed records of your reloads are practices that contribute to safety and improvement over time. Note details such as brass, powder, primer, and bullet used, along with performance observations.

Closing: Return to the Range

Begin with low-pressure loads and gradually adjust to achieve the desired performance within safety margins. Testing your reloads in a controlled environment allows for adjustments and refinements based on real-world performance.

Q&A Session

This section invites beginners to ask questions and share their concerns, promoting a deeper understanding of the reloading process.

Reloading ammunition is a fascinating blend of science and craft. By following this guide, beginners can embark on a journey that not only enhances their shooting experience but also instills a greater sense of achievement and self-sufficiency. Welcome to the rewarding world of reloading

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