24 Aug 2010, 9:20am

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Handloading: How to Gain Handloading Precision

There are a lot of details that go into obtaining precision with handloading. These important details will be covered in this article about handloading for precision.

The only way you can obtain the optimal rifle load is by handloading. When you are good at reloading your own ammunition you can produce loads that are superior to those from the factory. The things that make the biggest difference is selection of case, preparation, bullet run out and length overall.

Factory cases are built with a one size fit approach. They also use tooling that becomes duller over time of use.

There are basics you will need to know before reloading either rifle or handgun ammo.

The equipment needed for reloading includes a reloading press, shell holder, cartridge caliber(s), dies for reloading, priming system, powder scale and dipper. A basic priming system comes with most reloading presses. At some point you may want to consider an improved system at some point.

You will need some kind of measure for the gun powder if you are doing very much reloading. Other materials needed for reloading consist of brass cartridge cases,smokeless powder, primers, and bullets.

Various lubricants can be used for reloading.

We will look at some specific components in the reloading process:

BRASS

You will find there is variation in different lots of brass. A rule of thumb regarding brass and other components of handloading is when you buy a lot for consistency purposes.

Firing the brass the first time in your gun will cause it to form with your chamber dimensions. This is referred to as fire forming. It is highly recommended brass once shot from the gun you are reloading fore only be used. You should not use casing that is starting to separate. The brass should be inspected closely.

Primers

First point to be made regarding primers is to always remember they are a dangerous item and should always be handled as such. It is of utmost importance to wear protective wear including safety glasses when handloading. If you are not willing to do this then obviously handloading ammunition is not for you. Before attempting to handload you should learn all you can about handloading before attempting to do it. You will need to obtain more information than is in this article alone.

Bullets

There is some specific information you will need to know about the bullet such as what is it going to be used for, when it hits the target what will the speed be. There are various shapes of bullets including

  • Round nose bullets
  • Full metal jackets
  • Boat tail bullets
  • Flat based pointed bullets

The shape of the bullet you select to use will depend upon how it shoots from your rifle in addition to the velocity and range you are wanting to achieve.

Powder

Gun powder that is stored properly will keep for almost forever. You should store your powder in a dry cool environment without exposure to heat or light. Powders should never be mixed under any circumstances. Mixing various powders creates an unpredictable burning rate. Powder is another item which should be purchased in large containers.

Using different powders will create inconsistencies. When you run out of powder and have to purchase new powder you should reduce the load and gradually built it up. It is recommended to start with the minimum load recommendation.

Reloading ammunition is not for everyone and especially for those not willing to follow safety rules. If you are willing to review the necessary manuals and follow the step by step process of reloading with safety first you can enjoy satisfaction and cost savings by reloading your ammunition.

There are some basic do’s and don’ts regarding reloading:

Do’s

  • Always wear protective eye wear.
  • Work in environments without distractions
  • Keep your work area organized and free of clutter.
  • Store all supplies and equipment properly
  • Store all ammunition and components used in reloading away from children that are unsupervised.
  • Maintain good records
  • Follow good loading techniques consistently.
  • Be alert to signs noted with ammunition during shooting.
  • Work smart and use good judgment

Don’ts

  • Components should never be mixed or substituted
  • No eating or smoking when reloading.
  • Never reload when under the influence of alcohol or other drugs affecting brain function and motor skills.
  • Never guess at what you are doing. Stop and find the answers before starting to reload or continuing to reload.

When you have completed your session of reloading you should always clean your area for reloading. All equipment should be stored away, all gun powder should be returned to its storage container and primers should be returned to their storage location.

It is important to follow the steps for handloading along with the safety first area. Become familiar with the best of the DO and Don’t lists provided.