Ammo has always inspired questions and spirited discussion amongst shooters. I will seek to inspire you to get into reloading and maybe even answer some of your questions!
Ammunition is expensive and depending on your caliber, sometimes very expensive. So it might pay you to hold onto your empty brass and investigate reloading. Some calibres may not suit reloading such as rimfire calibres like .22LR or .17HMR, on the other hand you can reload .22 Hornet as it is centrefire.
The first thing to know with reloading is that there is nothing new under the sun!
Reloading has been a staple of shooters from around the time the first centrefire cartridges were sold. There was an increase in reloading and shooting post war as shooters had cheap ex-military rifles and ammo available. Some shooters pulled it apart and reloaded it with suitable hunting bullets or projectiles.
Then the wildcatters got busy making new and “wonderful” cartridges from existing military ammo. In the USA the base cartridge was the .30-06 with some post war wildcats like .25-06, 7mm-06, .303-06, 8mm-06, .338-06, .35-06. Different bullet calibers and weights on the .30-06 case. Naturally the aim was for better ballistic performance and some like the .25-06 and .35-06 (.35Whelen) made it commercially! The Australian base cartridge was the .303, and maybe because NSW law used to stop people owning a rifle in military caliber, we have Aussie wildcats. Some common Aussie wildcats still around today are .303/22, .303/25 and .303/270.
Fast forward to today and we have manufacturers making new and “wonderful” cartridges all with specific ballistics to encourage you into a new rifle….and who doesn’t like new rifle, right? So we have a bewildering range with belted and short magnums, Whisper or Blackout cartridges as well as bigger cartridges such as .338 Lapua Magnum or .300 Winchester Magnum.
You can choose your shooting calibers and rifles (either ballistics, type of hunting or simple economics), find a rifle that shoots your favourite load (bullet weight and powder) but the one thing that you need is ammo!
Some of the new ammo is very expensive and can reach upwards of $9 per round!
Reloading can save you money and you can load specifically to your shooting requirements. All you need is to be methodical have some basic gear, a reference book and patience.
Luckily you can go down to your local gun store and you should be able to pick up the basics. These are (in no particular order): Reloading press, Reloading dies in your caliber (to de-prime and re-size cases), ADI Powder (or similar), scales to weigh powder, priming tool (to insert primers), reference book (or page print from internet). Remember there are lots more reloading accessories that are nice to have!
Our next article: Let’s get started with a basic reloading set up. Then let’s see what accessories might be nice to have!
Disclaimer: My reloading advice and data is for guidance only, it is not definite material. Please refer to manufacturers reference material or reloading manual to check your loading data. I am not responsible for any mistakes you make during the reloading process, when you are shooting, or damage that might occur to your firearm or injury to yourself from shooting reloads.