Reloading Brass: Becoming A Control Freak
If there’s one thing that is common among those that reload
brass, it is their need to control every aspect of the shot, from the gun setup
to the ammunition. Regardless of the reason you initially began to reload your
own ammo, one thing is always the same; eventually you become a control freak.
There’s no denying that we reloaders are control freaks.
Many people don't understand reloading and ask why not just use factory ammo? Factory ammunition is better than it has ever been, and there are some
rifles the seem to shoot factory ammunition better than any handloads. Factory ammo has come along with especially with the advances in mass production quality control and manufacturers using higher end projectiles.
However, in the same manner that
one would carefully choose a rifle/cartridge/scope combination, there's something to be said about tailoring your ammunition to the job at hand. Yes, there are times where a factory
load might get the job done in an equally effective manner, and there are times
where I do opt to use factory ammunition, but hand-loading is the only sure way to know exactly what you're getting when you pull the trigger.
Indulging instead of Depriving the Obsession
Reloading Brass has undoubtedly led to a better
understanding of how ammunition works, and the resulting experimentation has
made me a better rifleman. It has also led to an unquenchable thirst for
knowledge in the field of terminal ballistics. I’m a bullet hound, and I will
eagerly root through the entrails of an animal in pursuit of my bullet.
However, sometimes all of this control can pull you down the rabbit hole.
The Bare Minimum
I clearly remember, in the not too distant past, having to make
do with what gear I could afford just to reload brass. I scooped powder into a
balance beam scale with a plastic scoop repurposed from some other application,
or with a homemade design, saving spare change for the best dies I could buy.
Some items are not that expensive at all, and some others cost more but offer a
Going All In
To become one of the Control
Freaks, you’ll have to delve deep into the wealth of knowledge that has been
printed in between the covers of the numerous reloading manuals. There are many
books written on the subject, as well as many websites that are full of
knowledge, such as our own.
As your knowledge base grows,
you’ll be able to decipher which gadgets will actually make a difference in
your life and which are the pet rocks of the reloading industry. And, as my dad
always told me, “There are no shortcuts.” We’re all doing it the same way, if
we’re doing it right.
Learn about headspace.
Experiment with seating depth to see for yourself what effect it has on things.
Consult the powder companies about their new developments. My favorite loads
might not work in your rifle; reloading can be a highly rifle-specific science.
I’ve seen some reloading recipes printed on internet forums that are downright
dangerous, so please take everything you read with a grain of salt and consult
as many different sources as you can.
If you’re an
old hand at reloading ammunition, you’ll be able to relate to these concepts.
And if you’re new to the reloading game, spend some time with the veterans. In
the meantime, remember reloading brass 101; always stay safe and don’t let the
science behind the art intrude on the fun you have while making your own ammo.