Shooting Sports USA | Reloading On A Budget Part 1: Brass Preparation

This most up-to-date ammunition scarcity—one in all a number of which have occurred over the previous few a long time—has prompted some shooters to ask, “Ought to I change into a reloader?” The reply is, “Why not?” Though the present ammo crunch has additionally severely impacted the supply of elements, that can change because it did throughout earlier shortages. Shooters who’ve change into reloaders will then be capable to put together for the subsequent scarcity. It’s not that arduous to do.

Reloading small-arms ammunition is an easy mechanical course of that takes a fired case, re-conforms it and installs the required elements to make it prepared to fireplace once more. Correctly reloaded ammunition might be as dependable and correct as manufacturing facility rounds, if no more so—and far cheaper.

Lyman Apex 10


Lyman’s new Apex 10 handbook loading machine ($3,000) represents the state-of-the-art in reloading.

It takes a wide range of instruments to reload rounds, however they aren’t as complicated or costly as some would possibly suppose. Cautious on-line procuring can shave 10 to twenty % off the producer’s listed worth. Right here’s methods to begin reloading ammunition with out spending a fortune.

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An necessary, however generally ignored, first step is cleansing the instances. Soiled vary brass will gum up the reloading dies. A variety of strategies to wash brass instances exist, however the least costly is a glass with media. My 20-year-old Lyman Turbo Tumbler, with a mixture of walnut and corn cob media, will clear 500-plus instances in about three hours. The tumbler and sufficient media for 1000’s of instances might be had on-line for about $75, and extra media is just not costly. The disadvantage is that they do produce some mud, so operating the tumbler on the again porch or storage is a good suggestion.

Reloading dies do the precise case forming, bullet seating and crimping. A die set will run $35 to $60 on-line. Handgun dies are usually not essentially restricted to 1 particular spherical. There’s sufficient adjustment to permit .38 Spl./.357 Magazine. dies to load each. The identical holds true for .40 S&W/10 mm, .45 ACP/.45 GAP, and .44 Magazine./.44 Spl. As well as, dies for straight-walled handgun cartridges can be found in three- and four-die units.

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Reloading dies


Three-die units, like this RCBS .38 Spl. one (l.) are widespread for revolver cartridges, however semi-automatic rounds are greatest dealt with by 4 dies equivalent to this Lyman 9 mm set (r.).

Three-die units are generally used for revolvers. The primary die re-sizes and de-primes the case, the second die bells it, and the third die seats and roll-crimps the bullet. Semi-automatic cartridges require a taper crimp, and that die is added within the four-die units. When reloading .38 Spl. match rounds, I choose a taper crimp. A separate tamper crimp die is accessible, however my 9 mm taper crimp die simply adjusts for that. These die units can be found in plain metal or with a tungsten-carbide insert. Plain metal dies require the instances be lubricated previous to sizing and cleaned afterwards. Utilizing the carbide dies eliminates that time-consuming step. Though carbide dies value a couple of dollars extra, they’re definitely worth the extra expense.

Dies for bottleneck rifle cartridges are two-die plain metal units. The primary de-primes and re-sizes. Belling is just not required, so the second seats the bullet. Tungsten carbide is just not an choice for bottleneck cartridges and case lubing earlier than re-sizing is required. There are a number of methods to perform that, however one fast means is to toss a bunch onto a cookie sheet and spray them with Hornady OneShot or RCBS Case Slick spray lube. These sprays don’t threat deactivating primer or powder, however a fast wipe with a rag after sizing is really helpful.

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RCBS Rock Chucker


The RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme single-stage press ($200) is a cost-effective alternative.

A reloading press is required to offer the leverage that make the dies work. There are two fundamental varieties: progressive and single stage.

A absolutely assembled progressive press could have all of the dies put in, together with priming software, powder drop and a few embrace a bullet drop. A case is fed into the primary station and when that operation is accomplished it rotates to the subsequent station, and one other case is inserted into the primary station. As soon as all stations are full, a loaded spherical will drop out with every pull of the deal with. A absolutely assembled progressive press will run wherever from $850 to over $3,000.

The benefit to a progressive press is the flexibility to crank out greater than 500 rounds per hour. The drawback (apart from value) is that there’s minimal alternative to examine every spherical in the course of the course of. It isn’t laborious to overlook a case that splits on resizing, a neck break up on belling, an inverted or missed primer or a missed powder cost. Skilled customers of those presses will fastidiously examine every completed spherical and can even put them by way of a case checker or plunk check them of their barrel. This provides time.

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A single-stage press performs one operation at a time with one die put in. A high quality single-stage press will run within the $100 to $200 vary. The benefit (apart from value) is that every case receives two inspections on every step—when inserted and when eliminated after the operation. There’s little probability of a botched case slipping by way of. This may be particularly necessary for brand new reloaders and can tremendously help them in turning out high quality hundreds.

Cleaning brass


Tossing instances onto a cookie sheet after which spraying them with case lube is a fast option to lube these instances that may’t use a carbide die.

Single-stage presses are clearly a lot slower than a progressive press, and 500 rounds per hour is just not potential. But when reloaders use the batch processing technique, they’ll create the rounds they want inside an inexpensive time frame. For instance, it takes me about an hour to resize and de-prime 500-plus instances on my RCBS Rock Chucker. Belling them takes much less time.

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With the instances correctly ready, priming, powder charging and seating the bullet are the ultimate steps. We’ll focus on these in Part Two.

Case tumbler

Picture: A easy tumbler with media is an affordable, but efficient, option to clear brass earlier than resizing.


Learn extra: Surviving The Ammo Scarcity

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