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How to Reload Your Own Ammo- Beginners Guide

How to Reload Your Own Ammo- Beginners Guide

Thinking of reloading your own ammo without taking it to the manufacturer? You can not only save your money by reusing the brass case but also work with more accurateness. Or who knows, you’ll find reloading your own ammo a fun game! But there are things you should consider before deciding to build your own ammo.

It involves tools and techniques to accomplish reloading. So what you need to do is to learn how to use them before you get down to work.

Here’s our step by step guideline on how to reload your own ammo for beginners.

Necessary Equipment

The 4 Basic Components

  1. A brass case;
  2. Primers;
  3. Gunpowder and;
  4. Bullets;

Other Necessary Tools

  • A Reloading Manual
    You’ll find everything you need to know for reloading the ammo and your safety. So it’s wise to have a reliable reloading manual even if you are experienced. You should never work with a loading data that you aren’t sure about. You can also find it in your manufacturer website. But always be sure about the source and verify the information.
  • Reloading Press

    Three types of reloading pressed are commonly used.
    1. Single Stage
    2. Turret and
    3. Progressive

       Among the three presses, the first one is considered the best for the beginners. You can easily set it up and learn the basic process of reloading the ammo. Again, only fewer adjustments are required compared to progressive or turret presses. But the production of ammunition is slow and only suitable for small batches. But as a first-timer, it won’t bother you, right?

      Both the progressive and turret presses can reload larger batches of ammunition. A turret press can load 200 rounds/hour. whereas for a progressive press, the number is up to 500. That’s why progressive presses are more expensive.
  • Reloading Bench
    A reloading bench is very useful and makes your work easier. It can be a homemade bench that will take a little space. Or you can purchase a heavy duty bench with high tolerance. As a beginner, you may not need a heavy duty bench as you’re not going to reload a heavy round of ammo, right?
  • DIES

    The functions of reloading dies are-

    • De-priming the brass

    • Resizing the brass and

    • Seating and crimping the bullet

    You can buy dies individually or as a set.  Sets come for two different types of cartridges-

      1. Bottleneck and

      2. Straight wall.

    To resize bottleneck cartridges, you can use either full- length die or neck size die. Dies for straight wall cartridge comes in 3 die set or 4 die set

    • Priming Tool

    Priming tools are for priming the brass again after reloading the ammo. Priming tools are commonly attached to the presses. But there are two types those don't come with reloading presses.

    1. Hand Priming Tool and

    2. Bench Mounted Tool

    • Powder Measures

    • Dippers: this is the cheapest way to measure the volume of powder. By using a scale with the dipper, you can measure the powder charge.

    • Bench Mounted Measure: There’s a hopper that holds the powder and a rotor measures powder charge.

    • Electronic Dispenser: this handy tool measures powder charge with more precision.

    • Powder Scale

    This tool is essential to determine the amount of gunpowder you need to place per round. Two types of scales are available.

    1. Electronic scale and

    2. Balance scale

    Balance scales are suitable for beginners for their easy usability and calibration.

    • Powder Funnel

    It’s for pouring the powder from scale to the brass case.

    • Shell Holder

    Cartridge shell holder must perfectly fit the dia., taper, and thickness of the case rim. It should also suit the groove outside. It’s wise to buy the same brand for press AND SHELL HOLDER TO match THE tolerance level.

    • Calipers

    Calipers are for measuring the brass length so that it’s within the specified size. You’ll also find it handy when seating the bullet to get the exact length and to measure the cartridge length.

    • Brass Case Trimmer

    After resizing the brass case, it’ll stretch and may be out of specification. That’s when you need to trim it back to the specified size. Generally, three types of case trimmer are found.

    1. Handheld Trimmer

    2. Bench Mounted Trimmer and

    3. Power-driven Trimmer

    • Chamfer And Deburring Tool

    The chamfer puts a taper inside the mouth of the case to ensure straight seating of the bullet. The end of this tool can de-burr the case after the chamfering process is finished.

    • Primer Pocket Cleaner

    The residue after the detonation of the primer obstructs the primer to sit down into the pocket.

    • Primer Pocket Reamer

    Reamers accomplish the same purpose by removing the crimps from the pocket. It’s suitable for reloading the military brass.

    • Brass Case Cleaners

    You should clean the carbon residue from the brass case. There are many ways you can do that. You can either use liquid cleaned like polish as they are inexpensive. Tumbling is more efficient as it’ll last longer and clean better. Ultrasonic cleaners remove the carbon residue by using sound wave of high frequency.

    Optional Items

    • Primer Tray

    It helps you to arrange and keep the primers in a better orientation while you’re working.

    • Case Lube

    In case of bottleneck cases, you will require a case lube when resizing it. They are available in the market in different forms like an aerosol spray, wax, pads or dies. The method of application is different and distinct for each of them.

    • Loading Tray

    This tool will help you to stay organized on the reloading bench when you’re working in small benches.

    • Case Neck Brush

    Lubrication is necessary for reducing the friction so that it can be resized more easily. Case neck brass is useful for depositing the dry lubricate inside the case neck.

    • Bullet Puller

    When it may be that you can make a mistake (which is common as a beginner), you can reclaim the important components by using this. Three different types of pullers are-

      1. impact style,

      2. Press mounted collet and

      3. Pliers- type bullet pullers.

    • Labels

    Labels are for storing your important reloading information. You can buy a premade label from the market or make your own.

Beginners Guide For Reloading Ammo- Step-By-Step Guideline

Step 1: Clean and Lubricate the Brass Cases

If you’re going to reuse the cases, it’s important you clean it carefully before you shape it. Look for any brass chip, crease, or grit. Even if you buy brand new cases, you should inspect it before using. Then lubricate the rifle rounds.

Step 2: Resize and De-Prime the Case

For that, you have to insert the die into the press. Place the die such that the base of the die only touches the case holder where the lever stroke ends.

Now insert the case into the holder and pull the stoke lever. It’ll run the case into the sizing die and size it to its correct dimension.

Step 3: Prepare the Case

After resizing, clean the lube and check its length using calipers. In case it’s longer than the specification, trim the excess length using a trimmer. This is important so that you can properly chamfer it and crimp it uniformly around the bullet.

After trimming you have to de-burr the case neck and mouth. The pointed end of the de-burring tool will chamfer the inside of the case mouth.  The other end will clean outside edge of the case. This will ensure the easy seating of the bullet into the case.

Finally, clear the primer pocket, flare the case mouth and chamfer the case neck.

Now the case is ready for reloading.

Step 4:  Insert the Primer

Before inserting the primer, make sure that it’s free of lube or oils and the primer pocket is clean. Now using a priming tool, seat the primer. What type of tool you’ll use is your choice. You can also use a press. The primer should go up to the bottom of the pocket.

Step 5: Measure and Add the Gunpowder

It’s important that you don’t supply a double charge. So as a first-timer, you should follow a good reloading manual. Thus, you won’t mismatch the type and amount of powder. After you’ve selected the powder type, now measure the amount using a powder measure.

After, measuring the powder charge accurately, pour them into the cases using a funnel. Finally, inspect the case visually so that none of the cases contain double charge.

Step 6: Press the Bullet into the Case

Finally, it’s time to seat the bullet into the case mouth. Install a seating die according to the instructions. Now press the bullet with your hand to set in into the case. The die will make sure that the bullet is sitting concentric, upright and to the correct depth.

Congratulations! You’ve just reloaded your own ammo!

Safety Tips

  • Always wear safety glasses to protect your eyes while working

  • Use quality tools, don’t use old or worn out tools or cheap brands.

  • Work one by one to avoid mixing and shuffling components and quantities.

  • Work with full concentration and isolation. No kids should be around you when you’re working.

Last Words 

Reloading your own ammo involves some primary investments on buying some essential tools. You must learn how to use and maintain them first.

At the same time, reloading ammo is risky if you aren’t aware of certain things. Mismatching components and quantities can call for dangerous situations. You shouldn’t do any experiment that can risk your life.

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