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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 have asked why I don’t use factory ammo, especially when it has come such a long way. It’s true; Factory ammunition is better than it has ever been, and there are some rifles the seem to shoot factory ammunition better than any handloads. We have excellent bullet choices, and the tolerances have become very tight.

However, in the same manner that one would carefully choose a rifle/cartridge/scope combination, I like to tailor the 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 I much prefer to handload whenever possible.

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 great value.

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.