Reloading for Fun: An Introduction
I like to reload for fun. Sure, not counting the initial investment, and not counting the value of your time, you can save money oneach round. There are calculators on the interweb that will help you figure that out, but if you only want to reload to save money, I think that is the wrong reason. Just as I feel anyone who solely wants to learn to ride a motorcycle to save gas, is doing that for the wrong reason.
If you want to do it for fun, read on. I will attempt to show you what it takes to get started and the basic steps for completing a handgun bullet. I only reload for myself, so I am responsible for my own safety and you should think along those same lines. I reload just for target practice, not competition.
There are those out there who want to see how "hot" a load they can make without blowing up their gun. I am not one of those. I am a layman and nowhere near an expert (not even close!). I will be reloading a 38 Special as an example for this article. I have done my homework and know that I will be using Bullseye powder,
Winchester small pistol primers, and Berry's hard cast 158-grain semi wad cutter bullets.
The equipment I will be using is a Lee turret press with the appropriate dies. I have an electronic scale for measuring my powder, and digital caliper for measuring the appropriate lengths during assembly.
READ ME! Important Notes: There are many, many reloading manuals out there and I highly encourage buying one or more, and read them cover to cover. Use the load data specified for your round only. Do not guess. Do not mix powders. Work in a clean uncluttered environment. No eating, drinking or smoking around your reloading area. Remove all distractions when reloading. Have eye protection. Consider wearing nitrile gloves while handling lead and powder.
That being said, this article is only to be used as a reference of a general nature and hopefully encourage the reader to get the proper equipment, components, and a quest for more knowledge in reloading before actually reloading their 1st round.
Before you buy any reloading equipment, do your research! As with anything, there are many different brands and there will be brand snobs and the like. Learn as much as you can and be open minded. There will be always be pros and cons of everything we do. That is what makes our world go round.
The first thing you should do is save your brass. Even if you don't plan on reloading, there is always someone who would love to have your brass. There is a bullet company on the web that will give you $2.50 per pound credit towards the purchase of their bullets.
Now, you have your brass, what do you do next? All reloading manuals will tell you to sort them out by brand and inspect them for obvious damage. Most times the brass will be dirty and you may not see the defects clearly. This is when I use my tumbler. I use corncob based media and an entry level Cabela's tumbler.
After a couple hours of tumbling, you will need to separate the media from the casings:
Pour the media and casings into the separator, shake and tumble the casings to get all the media out. (I use an old dog food dish under the separator to catch the media) Pour the media back into your tumbler for reuse.
Now, inspect the casings. Look for bulges, cracks or any other abnormalities you may observe. Then you are ready to de-prime the casing:
From here, we are moving to our next part in this series, picking up on inserting a new primer in the casing..