Reloading Hunting Brass
One of the main reasons consumers have decided to reload their ammunition is to provide a more accurate hunting round. This is especially the case for those who choose to hand load their rounds. Not only is this economical for those who spend more time in the field than their home, but it also allows for a more accurate shot, seeing as though the load can be customized for the hunting excursion. If you’re the person looking to use your reloaded ammo on wild game, here are some tips to help you be as successful as possible.
Fireform your brass
Fireform is simply the act of shooting the brass through the EXACT rifle you intend to use on your hunting trip before you reload it. This allows for increased accuracy because it allows the brass to form to the exact shape of the rifle’s chamber. Then, with the majority of the brass already formed, all that is left to do is to use a neck-only sizer die, allowing you to keep the brass formed for the gun.
Optimize Bullet Seating Depth
The idea behind this is to not allow the bullet any room to “wobbly” in the unrifled section of the barrel before the rifling does the magic. Allowing too much time to wobble will cause the bullet to not only lose momentum but cause the bullet to veer off its course. To ensure the best seating depth, it is best use tools such as a bullet comparator or a COL (Cartridge Overall Length) gage. The recommended seating depth is .020”.
Get Maximum Bullet Concentricity
Concentricity refers to the spin put on a rifle by the rifling pattern inside the barrel. For maximum accuracy, you want the bullet spinning through the air as fast as possible. To achieve this, you will need to use a bullet seating die with a free-floating bullet seating plug. The dies from Hornandy and Redding both employ this mechanism. It works by aligning the bullet properly before it is seated into the casing. Another way to optimize concentricity is to use a bullet concentricity gage.
Use Proven Loads
If you are just beginning to reload your own hunting ammunition, it is best to start with loads that have already been proven to be effective. It is best to find data from a trusted source, such as a fellow reloader, that was used on the same rifle you intend to use. Also, reloading manuals tend to have a substantial amount of information in them. Once you find the trusted data for your rifle, try to replicate the information as closely as possible, including the same powder and bullet manufactures.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
While starting with proven load data is the beginning, that doesn’t mean you should stop there. Once you begin to get the hang of your equipment and processes, then you can begin to experiment a little. Remember, small changes are the best. You could start with changing the bullet weight and profile. Then move onto different powder charges and primers. The sky is truly the limit with the amount of possibilities you can create. Also, if you intend to test your rounds at the range first, its recommended to bring several variations to test their accuracy before taking to the field. Having at least five rounds with the same load is ideal, though more rounds of the same load would give better data.
With hunting, accuracy is key. True accuracy is only gained by trial and error, and spending hours shooting loads downrange.