If you enjoy do-it-yourself projects and are good with your hands, have a lot of patience, and love to save money, then reloading is something you should definitely look into. Let’s take a look at how to get started, the equipment needed, and find out the pros and cons of making your own ammo.
Without a doubt, the number one reason most shooters want to get involved in reloading is money. While there are a number of factors that affect the total, the typical savings from making your bullets over buying them is around 50%, and in some cases, the savings can be over 80%! Making your own ammo also gives you control. You are not dependent on what the ammo companies make so you can customize to suit your needs.
What is Needed to Reload?
If you want to be efficient and make reloading worth the time, you will need to purchase some equipment and material upfront. The most important investment will be in a reloading press. Single stage presses are usually recommended for beginners, as well as for those who demand more control over the process. Progressive presses can significantly speed the reloading process, but a less accurate bullet is a common by-product.
You will also need to purchase reloading dies, which reform casing and seat the bullets. They can be purchased in sets, but be careful – dies are specifically made for a particular caliber and cannot be interchanged.
You may also wish to buy a powder dispenser to save the tediousness and time involved in measuring out by hand. Don’t think you can skimp on the measuring stage. The wrong amount of powder can be dangerous or affect accuracy. Another tool that can aid reloading, if you are reusing casings, is a case trimmer, because casings will stretch after firing and need to be shortened to the proper length.
Don’t forget to add in the cost for primer, gunpowder, bullets, and casings. If you buy in bulk, you will save the most. You can also reuse brass casings repeatedly until they become cracked, at which time you need to dispose of them.
The cost for this equipment can vary. Typical kits can range from $150 to $800, or more. However, you can recover this initial cost fairly quickly if you do very much shooting.
Pros and Cons of Reloading
Besides the huge savings, there are other pros to reloading:
No Worry About Supply and Demand.
The cons are few. It is time consuming, but for many that is a way to connect more with the sport. There are the recurring costs of supplies, but, again, it is far less expensive than purchasing factory ammo. It can be dangerous. However, paying attention to the details and following directions will reduce or eliminate most of the risk.
Done properly, making your own bullets can be a fun and rewarding hobby, with the added benefit of saving tons of money.
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