Reloading - Is It For Me?

Guest column by "Bob" With the cost of ammo going up and not likely to come down anytime soon, it may be time to seriously consider reloading your own. There is a substantial initial investment but over time the cost of your shooting will go down. It will depend upon how often you shoot, how often you would hope to shoot in the future and how much you want to invest in better equipment later on. For many the cost is not the primary concern but the quality of the ammunition you can reload, the satisfaction of making your kill with ammunition you have reloaded yourself, the knowledge you will gain about firearms and the increase in your shooting skills. So how much does it really cost to get started? The following is a list of equipment that I would consider the minimum and an internet source: RCBS Rockchucker Supreme Single Stage Press Master Kit - which will include the press, powder thrower, weight scale, Speer manual, priming tool, powder funnel, loading block, lube kit and chamfer tool. $290.00 + shipping. Frankfort Arsenal Dial Caliper - for measuring to the thousandth of an inch.  $30.00 + shipping. Lyman Universal Trimmer with pilots - for trimming the case mouth after it has been fired.  $62.00 + shipping. RCBS 2-Die Set 300 Winchester Magnum - if the 300 win mag is your caliber. $28.00 + shipping. RCBS Shellholder - that you insert into the press to hold the case head when sizing the case or seating the bullet. $7.00 + shipping. Then there are the “consumables” of brass, bullets, powder and primers. Picking the above caliber shown for dies of 300 win mag, some choices might be: Winchester brass bag of 50 - unless you have saved your brass from the boxes of ammo you have shot. $27.50 + shipping. Nosler Accubond 180 grain 30 caliber bullets box of 50 - to pick a good all around medium priced bullet. $25.00 + shipping. Reloder 22 powder 1 pound can – I recommend you find a local source for purchasing powder because the hazardous material shipping fee About $25.00 Federal 215 Large Magnum Rifle primers box of 100 - Purchase locally because of the hazardous material shipping fee. About $8.00 All of the above will add up to approximately $500.00 not including shipping fees or sales tax on locally purchased items. However the equipment will only have to purchased once, brass can be reused 7 times or more, a pound of powder will reload several boxes depending upon your caliber, a box of bullets will reload 2 ½ boxes of ammo and a box of primers will reload 5 boxes of ammo. There are many sources for reloading equipment. Your local gun store may have a good selection such as is available at Carter’s Country here in Houston. The following is a list of internet sites: http://www.midwayusa.com/ http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/ http://www.grafs.com/ http://www.sinclairintl.com/reloading.html http://precisionreloading.com/index.html A good first step if it looks like reloading will fit your budget and is something you would be interested in would be to purchase a reloading manual and read the introductory portion in the front. In my Nosler #5 reloading manual there are 30 illustrated pages of instructions in the front. Most of the remaining pages go through each caliber and list the caliber dimensions and show a minimum and maximum load by powder type for each weight of bullet. This test data is compiled in their laboratories and should be strictly adhered to for safety reasons. Another very good source of information is on the reloading forums. It is amazing how detailed the information can become but you must remember that on the internet anyone can post anything so you must be careful and learn what is to be trusted and what is incorrect. Just ignore the squabbles and occasional name calling. The following is a partial list of some reloading and hunting forums: Reloaders Nest - A good forum for beginners with some very helpful posters. Accurate Reloading - An international group of posters most of whom are very knowledgeable and mostly helpful and can get into detail. Optics Talk Forum - The site to go to for optics but some loading and shooting info. A great bunch of guys and based here in Texas. Long Range Hunting - Dedicated to long range shooting and all that entails, from rifles to loading. Not so much for beginners. 24 hour campfire - Probably the best known and largest forum with some input from gun writers. Again, not so much for beginners but a good place to lurk and gain correct information. If someone posts something incorrect they will usually be immediately and sometimes caustically corrected. Some of the egos here are enormous and the squabbles can be proportional. Post there after you know what you are talking about. Someone recently asked me how long it would take to gain “complete knowledge” about reloading. I answered about 3 years if he had and intense desire to gain that knowledge. Let me warn you that it can be very engrossing and expensive but also very rewarding.

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