Reloading adds to the sport of hunting

Most types of ammunition have gotten somewhat scarce and more expensive in the last 10 years, especially during this last presidential administration. I was talking to one of the local sporting goods merchants a few weeks ago, and he told me that he is finally starting to get in some .22 magnum rimfire ammunition. There is no doubt there was a big nationwide run on this round in the past eight years. I don’t know how many people told me that .22 magnum ammunition was just not available.

During the winter months. when most people who have any “common sense” are staying indoors, may be a good time for them to consider reloading their own ammunition. When it comes to centerfire (pistol, revolver or rifle) ammunition, the most expensive component of the cartridge is the brass casing. The bullet is fired downrange, the powder and primer are burned up when the round is fired, and all too often the brass casing is plain discarded. This is a waste. Brass casings can be reloaded and fired several more times.

One thing to keep in mind is that not all centerfire casings are made of brass. In this day and age, some ammunition cases are made of aluminum or stainless steel. Such ammunition may not cost as much, but the cases cannot be reloaded, which is the reason this is cheaper. Leaving the brass casings on the ground is just simply a waste of money.

The procedure for reloading a fired centerfire casing is very easy to understand. However, the beginning reloader should not start out handloading until they fully understand how a modern centerfire cartridge functions. Naturally, safety should be foremost in the mind of all reloaders, no matter how much experience they have had with this hobby. Reloading manuals are a must for all people who reload ammunition.

I consider the Lyman the best of all of the reloading manuals that are currently available. Hornady, Sierra and Speer also put out good reloading manuals. Even the National Rifle Association puts out a good reloading manual.

I have often stated that reloading centerfire cartridges is just about as simple as putting something together with “tinker toys.” Target shooters who reload their ammunition only for the purpose of economy are really missing out on one of the best aspects of the shooting sport. A serious ammunition handloader produces a more accurate round than the factory through meticulous attention to detail and the opportunity to test fire each of his handloads.

The competitive benchrest marksman, the world’s most precise shooter, is a good example of this. Their performance can be ascribed to the quality of their hand-assembled cartridges.

Sportsmen and women who enjoy target shooting will definitely be handicapped if they choose to only fire factory-loaded ammunition. The dedicated handloader is capable of putting together thousands of various load combinations and for different purposes.

No two firearms, no matter what their make, model, or quality, will shoot exactly the same. To make a long story short, the handloader is actually tailoring a load that a certain firearm likes or will shoot a tighter group at a certain distance. Quite often, this is achieved through trial and error. This is something I have learned from more than 40 years of handloading centerfire cartridges.

Chances are, there are hundreds of thousands of rifles throughout the nation in good condition stored in attics, closets and gun cabinets that are chambered for a cartridge that is no longer being manufactured in the United States. Centerfire cartridges like the .219 Zipper, .30 Remington, .303 Savage and .33 Winchester have been out of production for several years. To be able to shoot a rifle that is chambered for one of these obsolete cartridges is a handloading proposition. Here is another good reason to consider reloading as a hobby.

This past fall, the deer I got was with a handloaded round using a virgin brass casing. Unfortunately, I was not able to recover the empty casing when I ejected it from the rifle.


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