A brief article on Reloading

Often we get asked if it’s worth reloading by our customers and generally we give the answer “if you shoot less than 150 -200 rounds a year not really” but in actual fact the true answer is somewhat more complicated ….

There’s Re-loading, then there’s RE-LOADING.  So here is a really brief outline.  We’ll get into detail in later articles.

Are you going to reload for money saving ? 

If you compare apples with apples you can reload the same ammo you purchase for approx. 1/3 to ½ of the retail price of factory loads. That means you can load something like a Nosler Ballistic in say 223 55gn for around about the .50c per round mark.  When you try to work out how much you’re saving, the best way is to not take into account the brass cost – unless you are buying unprimed new brass as most people new to reloading do. People usually have a stash of brass they have shot previously which can be excellent, and once fired brass will have a lifespan of multiple shots when cared for properly.

Are you reloading to make the most of your rifles accuracy?

 Some rifles no matter how great, how cheap or what brand, may not perform to your highest demands. How do you improve that? You make your own! All factory rifles have a small amount of variance. This means that whilst they fit in SAAMI specs (SAAMI – Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute) they meet the minimum tolerance for that caliber. You can then take advantage of this tolerance by further minimizing it to it your specific firearm. My favourite example is my own personal 308. I couldn’t get it to perform any better than 3” groups with any factory ammunition, some even as large as 4-5”!  So I switched to hand loaded ammo – running 130 Speer HP and now it regularly shoots .5-.75” groups and it’s now my go to spotlight gun. 

Is the ammo you want available commercially? 

You may want to start hunting with lighter projectiles in say for instance, a 6.5x55 but can’t find much under 140gn soft points.  I run 120gn Ballistic Tip Noslers or 130gn Sierra Game King HP in my rifle , making it far more suitable for spotlighting and general smaller game hunting – ideally a 110gn Vmax loaded to modern rifle specs is a bit better suited for lighter game, particularly the type found in this part of WA . On the other hand you may need your .243 to be a little more versatile and want to load Hornaday GMX projectiles to ensure that big boar you have seen glimpses of, doesn’t get away.  You may have a wildcat calibre and cannot find ammo – though in this case you probably know that and have gotten to this point waiting for it to come up…so you’re pretty much forced to reload.

Basically, if you decide to reload, you need to know EXACTLY what you are trying to achieve.  Saving money?  Getting better accuracy?  Can’t find factory ammo?  Or just for the fun of it.  

Either way it is ESSENTIAL that you stay within the safe loading limits your caliber.  Read , watch videos –RCBS , Hornady , Lee , Lyman etc have a comprehensive library of video’s on their websites that are a wealth of information and best of all find someone who knows what they are doing and ask them to show you.  Lyman’s 50th anniversary reloading guide is in stock and a brilliant reference .


By Doug