The objective of this sticky it to provide a brief explanation of the reloading process, why people reload and the basic equipment required to safely begin reloading rifle cartridges.
In no way is this meant as a substitute for the careful study of reloading manuals and/or guidance from an experienced reloader.
What is reloading?:
Reloading is the process of reusing centerfire cases to make a new cartridge from safely assembling the various components - brass case, primer, powder and bullet.
To save money.
Many start to reload in order to save money especially for those that shoot enough to justify the initial set-up costs rather than pay for factory ammunition. However it is worth noting that this may not always be the case, often one will end up shooting more or spending more than originally planned on reloading equipment resulting in no savings whatsoever.
To maximise accuracy.
Factory ammunition must be made to chamber in all rifles for a particular calibre and as such will never match an individual rifle chamber in a way that a reloaded cartridge would fully maximise the accuracy potential of a given rifle.
Reloading enables you to cater ammunition for your own individual requirements. Recoil sensitive shooters can produce cartridges that are not as 'hot' as factory ammunition. Calibres not readily produced by manufacturers(wildcat cartridges) can be made by reloading. Hunters can work up cartridges that best suit their individual needs.
Many find that once started the reloading process they enjoy the satisfaction of making their own cartridges and the various steps involved.
What equipment do I need to safely begin reloading a rifle cartridge?:
It is vital you fully understand all the safety requirements involved in the reloading process before you begin to reload ammunition.
The following is a list of basic and essential reloading equipment.
An up-to-date reloading manual. A book which describes the reloading process in detail, all safety guidelines that must be followed and provides safe load data for various calibres. As a complete beginner to reloading the following book is highly recommended reading for a detailed description of the steps involved.
The ABC's of reloading – the definitive guide for novice to expert. Current version is 8th edition.
A sturdy bench on which a press can be mounted and safely operated.
Safety glasses (always wear safety glasses when handling primers, your eyesight is irreplaceable). Always wear safety glasses when reloading!
Shellholder. for appropriate calibre.
Reloading die set for appropriate calibre – full length sizing die, neck sizing die & bullet seating die.
Case lubricant and pad*.
Powder scales accurate to 1/10 of a grain and a check weight set.
Powder trickler.(not essential but convenient).
Calipers (dial or digital) accurate to 1 thousand of an inch - .001"
Chamfer and deburring tool.
Tumbler or ultrasonic cleaner to clean brass of primer/powder residue.
Components: Brass, primer, powder and bullets which correspond to the recommended load data of your reloading manual(s).
Starter packs are available which include many of the above items and will reduce the initial cost rather the buying the various pieces separately.
reloading stores online if you can't find what you need locally
Remember to be safe and have fun!
Further links where more detailed information is available on the reloading process
Load data links from powder/bullet manufacturer:
Other useful information from manufacturer sites
Thanks to Paul (Lykoris) for this post
Last edited by baz; 17-02-2009 at 05:28 PM.
Accuracy is everything!