How to Reload Your Own Rifle Ammunition at Home

by RobertKeith

With the cost of ammo continually on the rise, and the availability not always certain, learning to reload your own cartridges can be a fun, productive and money-saving hobby.

With the cost of ammo continually on the rise, and the availability not always certain, learning to reload your own cartridges can be a fun, productive and money-saving hobby. Here are the basic steps required to reload your own rifle ammunition at home:

Cleaning Cartridge Casings

Places all your brass in a case tumbler for the time stated in the instructions. Actually time will vary depending on the condition of the casings and the cleaning media used. Carefully inspect the brass after tumbling to be sure it is clean and free of burrs. Wipe cases clean and inspect each case individually for cracks or bulges and set any defective cases aside for recycling. Clean the inside of each case with a case-neck brush.

Reload rifle ammunition
Reload rifle ammunition

Resizing the Brass

Apply a light coating of an aerosol spray lube to the casing. Install the correct sizing die and case holder into the reloading press. Thread the sizing die into the reloading press until the die contacts the case holder with the press handle at the top of its stroke. Lift the press handle and turn down the die 1/4 more turn and then set the locking ring. Insert the brass case into the holder and lower the press handle to push the brass case up into the sizing die. During the resizing operation the spent primer will be pushed out from the used casing. 

Trim the Casings

Check the case length with a micrometer and trim if needed according to the specifications in your reloading manual. This is a crucial step for safety, as casing will always stretch from being firing and then resized. Again inspect the casing, inside and out, and remove any burrs that occurred during resizing. 

Unprimed Brass Casings
Unprimed Brass Casings

Prime the Casings

Insert a new primer into the bottom of the unprimed brass casing with a hand-held priming tool. While there are priming-tool attachments for most reloading presses, the hand-held tool offers better control for precisely seating primers.

Charge the Casings

Consult you reloading manual to determine which powder and what amount to use. ALWAYS start at 10 percent below the maximum listed charge and work up to the optimum load gradually, to be sure your rifle can safely handle the pressure. Always carefully weigh out the powder on a properly calibrated scale. Use a powder funnel to transfer the powder to each casing. Inspect each casing with a flashlight to ensure you haven't accidentally doubled up on a powder charge in any casing. 

Bullet Seating

Thread the bullet-seating die into the press and put a charged casing into the shell holder. Lower the press handle until it reaches the top of its stroke. Turn the die down until it makes full contact with the top of the shell holder. Back out the die 1/4 turn, to raise the shoulder above the casing mouth, and secure the bullet-seating die with the locking ring. Hold a bullet on top of the casing and lower the press handle to seat the bullet. Check the seating depth with the micrometer; if the bullet needs to be seated further into the casing turn the seat down another 1/4 turn and repeat until the seat depth is correct. Once the proper bullet-seating depth is achieved, you're done.

Updated: 03/17/2016, RobertKeith
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