Beginner’s Guide to Reloading Ammunition

Saturday, February 12, 2022

With the increasing ammo shortages around the country, many people have been getting into reloading bullets to save money.

More and more people are beginning to understand the benefits of reloading. Not only is it a cheaper alternative, but it also gives you control over the customization of your ammunition.

Why Should You Reload Ammunition?

Common calibers like the 9mm are still relatively affordable. In most rounds, the casing can makeup for 40% to 45% of the cost of the bullet.

Additionally, reloading allows you to make your rounds more accurate, however, you will need some practice mastering this technique. Some people take up bullet reloading as a hobby.

How Do You Reload Ammo?

The process for reloading different cartridges and climbers can vary to some extent. Here is a general overview of the ammo reloading.

Case Prepping

A typical bullet has four elements, these are the projectile (bullet). Then there is the casing, the powder, and the primer. You will need to source all these elements, apart from some basic equipment to reload bullets.

When a bullet is fired, the casing can expand to fit the chamber. The explosion of the powder that propels the bullet leaves the casing dirty, therefore, before the casing can be reloaded it needs to be prepped

How to prep a bullet for reloading:

  1. Inspect your casings to determine which ones are suitable for reloading. You should only reload casings that are in a good state. If there are any cracks, splits, or dents in the brass, you should throw it away.

  2. Clean the bullet casings using a tumbler, and some sort of cleaning medium such as brass polish. This should be done outside of the home or in an open area to avoid any risk of lead contamination.

  3. After the brass is creamed you need to bring it back to shape, since it deforms when shot and check the primer. Sometimes military brass can have a crimped primer pocket, which should be fixed for a more reliable and precise primer strike.

  4. Pop out the spent primer and use a reamer to resize the primer pocket. There are multiple ways to remove the spent primer. Mostly it is done with a reloading press, which is also used for resizing the casing, and reseating the bullet.

  5. Take the primer out before cleaning the brass. This serves two purposes: it allows you to determine whether the brass can be reloaded in the first place, since some casings with Berdan two-hole primers cannot be reloaded. Secondly, it allows you to clean the brass better.

It’s important to note that there are two types of casings: straight wall casings, and bottleneck casings. Resizing is done using a reloading press or a resizing die, and where straight wall casings, like the ones for most pistol rounds can be reshaped without a need to cut off any excess, however, with bottleneck and rifle casings, the reshaping can squeeze down the brass and leave some excess over the shoulder, which has to be trimmed.

If you do cut the excess material off the casing, you may also need to remove the sharp edges which are left behind, since they can mess up the seating of the bullet. You can use a deburring and chamfering tool to remove sharp edges.

Priming the Cartridges

Now that you have cleaned and prepped cases, you need to put a new primer into the casing. There are multiple ways to do this, however, for a beginner, using a hand priming tool is the best way to go.

Add Powder to the Casing

For the next step, you need to add the smokeless powder into the casing, which acts as the propellant which will send the bullet towards the target when ignited. There are many options that can give your cartridges different levels of energy, and muzzle velocity.

The amount of powder you add needs to be well calculated, according to the specific requirements for the specific caliber you are reloading. Like primers, there are some standalone powder measures, and some are part of an entire reloading press as well.

Seating the Projectile into the Casing

The last step of the reloading process is seating the bullet into the casing to make a complete and shootable round. For this you need a bullet seating die. After simply placing the projectile into the casing, you run it through the die, and now you have a reloaded round.

In some situations, the case can be a little too narrow for the bullet, and you may need to flare the top up a little. This is usually something that only happens with pistol casings.

Reloading is a precise process, which can vary for different rounds and different types of bullets. You need to make sure you have the right equipment and read up on the literature and manuals before you start reloading.

If you are interested in getting into reloading you ammo, check out our stock of Reloading Supplies


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