Guide to Reloading Hunting Ammunition

Reloading Hunting Ammunition

Why reload hunting ammunition? First of all, it’s cheaper and secondly, it gives you more control over the cartridge’s overall performance. And, I would also like to add, that it’s fun. 

For the first-time reloader, building a cartridge from scratch can get a bit tricky. But after reading this article, you will know all the basics of reloading hunting ammo and decide if this approach is the right fit for you.

Here is a step-by-step guide for reloading hunting ammo and maximizing its efficiency:

  1. Polish the brass
  2. Inspect the cases for any deformity
  3. Resize and de-prime 
  4. Trim the cases to a “max case length” 
  5. Prime the cases
  6. Load the powder
  7. Seat the bullets properly

Before we go any further, let’s see what kind of equipment you will need.

Reloading Ammo Equipment

When it comes to reloading ammo equipment you will have two choices:- acquiring each piece of equipment separately or purchasing a reloading kit. Either way, you can get all you need in online stores like Natchez Shooters Supply.

Reloading kits are typically more expensive. So, if you want to save a little bit of money, gather the following items:

  • Powder scale, funnel, and trickier
  • Press
  • Die set with case holder specific to your preferred cartridge (.308 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, etc)
  • Case holder aka case loading block
  • Hand primer
  • Calpers
  • Reloading manual (if you don’t have it on paper, find it online)
  • Case lube, trimer, 
  • Case tumbler (vibrating or rotary)
  • Deburring tool
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You will also need cases, primers, and powder.

Now when you are all set, let’s start with the reloading process.

1. Polish the Brass

Use your case tumbler to clean the brass case until it’s nice and shiny. This step ensures you don’t encounter any cycling issues caused by a dirty case.

2. Inspect the Cases for Any Deformity

Make sure you inspect each case for corrosion, split case mouths, cracks, or any other physical damage. This step is important because second-hand cases (the cases that have been fired at least once) can get damaged in all sorts of ways before they reach your hands. 

Any case deformity will not only impact the cartridge’s performance, but it can also be dangerous to you and the people around you.

3. Resize And De-Prime 

After you have completed the previous steps, run each case through the resizing and de-priming die. This will get them back to their original dimensions and shape while popping out the old primer at the same time. 

Make sure to follow the instructions of your caliber-specific die set, and don’t forget to lube the cases to prevent them from jamming. 

4. Trim the Cases to a “Max Case Length”

When you resize second-hand cases, you leave them longer than their original length. Find out what is the “max case length” in your reloading manual and trim your cases to fit the default dimension.

5. Prime the Cases

Place the primers into the primer pocket of each case with a hand primer. Large rifle primers are 0.210” in diameter and are used in big game cartridges. Smaller rifle primers are 0.175” in diameter and are used in smaller game cartridges. 

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Follow the instruction in your reloading manual when choosing the primer size.

6. Load the Powder

Be extra cautious when you load the cases with powder. You will find the minimum and maximum charge for each type of bullet/powder combination in your manual. Be precise when you measure the amount of powder you will put in the cases.

Be aware that putting too much or too little powder can lead to a catastrophic failure that can endanger your life and the lives of people around you. 

7. Seat the bullets properly

Once you have primed and charged each case with a powder, seat the bullets with a press. You will find a bullet die in your die set to complete this step. Your reloading manual will specify how deep you should seat the bullets in the case.

Your cartridges are now ready for a hunting adventure.

Closing Thoughts

Reloading hunting ammunition is not that difficult if you carefully follow the instructions in your reloading manual. Moreover, the end results can be rewarding. Just picture yourself coming home with admirable prey killed with a cartridge you’ve made from scratch. 

Though I personally find it to be relaxing, it might not be everybody’s “cup of tea”, so hopefully this article helped you realize if reloading ammo is the right fit for you. 

 

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