StartReloading.com

A Personal Reference Site To Help Others Start Reloading Revolver, Pistol,  and Rifle Metalic Cartridges (UPDATED Feb 2016)

Reloading ....It's EASY, FUN, SAFE and SAVES BIG $$$$


   HOME     Safety, First and Always     Reloading, A Definition     Why Reload?     Where To Begin

                      Overview of The Reloading Process          Technical References and Forums   

THRIFTY Reloading  -  Medium Volume Affordable  -  High Volume Reloading  -  Precision

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Where To Begin?

First -- Pickup that range brass, put it back in the box and take it home

 

I am the guy at the range that is looking through the brass bucket. Yep, that’s me--walking along eyes to the dirt and picking up brass that others throw away.

For us reloaders, brass is the thing that costs us our reloading pennies. A good quality brass cartridge can be reloaded several times before it shows cracks, splits, or signs of failure. The cost line after that runs with bullet as the next most expensive, then powder, and, finally, primer (the cheapest).

So if you want to save money, go to the range. Look for those orderly, well-organized guys that shoot boxes of new cartridges and put the brass neatly back in the original carton. They end up closing the box flap and THROWING AWAY THE ENTIRE CARTON! Your gain!

I’ll talk about it later, but you will have to resize this used brass to specifications as part of reloading it.


 

Next -- Buy some Factory Ammo and Enjoy Shooting  It!

 

Each gun is chambered to meet SAAMI specifications, just like the ammo. These specifications are very precise (thousandths of an inch). Gun factories, on the other hand, are grinding out metal using their metal drilling equipment of various tolerances (many "specifics" drawn together in one "range").

What you get when you buy a gun is a firearm that meets the tolerances (the "range" or "span") but is likely a bit loose on the exact fitting of the ammo to the rifle. When we fire new ammo (or any ammo) out of a gun, it is called the "fire forming" of the brass. The big bang is strong enough to force the brass case to expand to YOUR GUN'S internal dimensions.

So I like to buy factory ammo rather than roll my own when starting to collect new brass for a specific gun. Once this brass has been fired in your specific gun its dimensions are a CLOSE MATCH to the gun.

So what about all this brass resizing that is part of reloading? Well if you are loading straight walled pistol cases or ammo for automatic feed rifles/pistols, you are resizing the full length case to SAAMI dimensions. This will ensure accurate feeding through the action...

BUT...with CASES USED IN BOLT ACTION RIFLES you actually have the option of sizing only the NECK PORTION of the bottleneck brass cases. If you choose to neck size, you only resize the place where the bullet is seated. The rest of the case dimensions are more or less a perfect fit to your gun's internal chamber dimensions. I have found, personally, that partially sized brass cases (though good for only a specific rifle) are capable of achieving slightly better accuracy and tighter bullet groupings for optimized loads.  


Then Get Started Reloading.....

What Cartridges Can I Reload?

 

You may reload any BRASS cartridge. This includes yellow brass and shiny nickel coated brass cases. You will be unable to reload cartridge cases that are made of aluminum (it is found on some cases made by Blazer and other manufacturers).

To see what these non-reloadable aluminum cases look like, go to the following site.

http://www.blazer-ammo.com/clean_fire.aspx

How Much Time Is Required?

 

The amount of time it takes to reload is totally dependent on the equipmentyou choose to buy and  use. I describe starter equipment that is capable of only a few rounds per hour at minimal cost. More complex equipment is capable of routinely loading 200-400 rounds per hour.

The take a way here is that you can start reloading on a shoestring budget with minimal time and equipment costs and progress as you gain experience to create ever increasing quality and volumes of reloaded rounds.

But I Live In An Apartment….Can I Reload From a Shoebox?

 

I started reloading right out of college in my apartment. In fact, it was at my kitchen table. I had copious amounts of free time and no money. I though buying primers by the 100 and powder by the pound was going to last me till I was very old.

So if you have room at your place for a 8” square block of wood and invest in a Lee Loader and a hard rubber mallet you can start reloading.  

 

 Is Reloading Like BRAIN SURGERY? It Can Be

 

Reloading is a hobby that can start out and stay very simple. It can also progress to be very challenging and precise. It is important to get the fundamentals down and observe tried and true processes as described in reloading manuals.

I am not there yet, but I am shooting very well these days and am thinking of investing in a target rifle where the precision tolerances are closely observed. You will find that there is only so far that you can take the reloading precision in a factory rifle or pistol.

If you want to get all holes touching out to 100 yards and beyond then you need to be very precise in the gun and ammunition you create and use. I even know of someone who jackets his own bullets to assure their uniformity and balance. In this sense, reloading can be a killer hobby that is killer on the checkbook.

Cost to Get Started

I started reloading in a single caliber for under $120.00. I had reclaimed the cost of reloading against the cost of factory ammo by the time I had completed 150 rounds of rifle ammo. I took the approach of "try before you buy" into the full reloading deck of equipment. I will cover how I got into the reloading biz under CHEAP…CHEAP….CHEAP reloading strategy. 

How Much Ammo Can I produce In An Evening?

When I started loading using a single caliber rifle kit called a Lee Loader I put together about 10 to 20 cartridges per night. This was in two to three hours. Sounds meager, but even at this level of production, I was able to shoot a quality of ammo that far exceeded that of factory loads.

What is even better, is that I kept track of costs invested in reloading gear and consumables compared to what it would have cost for me to buy all factory ammo. I was able to pay off all of my reloading investment.