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There’s no day more looked forward to than when you get to test out your newest loads. This day is even more special for those beginners who have never fired their own ammo before. With this new adventure comes the expected rise in anxiety and adrenaline flowing through your veins as you prepare for your big reveal. Chances are, you’ll invite your friends and fellow reloaders for them to see your handy work in action. With all of the excitement, it’s easy to neglect these few basic rules reloaders should follow at the gun range.

Call Ahead

Due to safety and insurance concerns, not all gun ranges allow their shooters to fire reloaded ammunition. If you neglect to call ahead and are caught firing reloads on a range that doesn’t allow it, there could potentially be fines as well as being expelled from the range. Always ask and never assume.

Never Assume the Brass if free for the taking

One rookie mistake that many newcomers commit is assuming that the brass found on the ground at the range equals free reloading supplies for the taking. In fact, many ranges have policies stating that the brass is to be left and collected by range workers. This is due to the fact that many ranges sell the brass to companies like Capital Cartridge to earn extra income to stay afloat.

Follow all Posted Rules

This one should really go without saying. Unfortunately, as we continue to progress our knowledge in the skills of reloading, more often than not we develop a since of being more knowledgeable than the average shooter and, in turn, feel more entitled because of it. However, reloading your own ammo does not exempt you from the need to follow the range’s rules to the “T.” In fact, because you are shooting reloads, a greater care should be given to the rules so that you, and every other shooter, can have a safe and fun experience.

Listen to the Staff

As is the case with most ranges, they reserve the right to implement new rules as they deem necessary. These spur-of-the-moment rules often come from the range supervisor, often called the range office. He is essentially the sole person in charge while on the range. There will also be other range employees who will often come in to contact with. Showing disrespect of any sort is often met with harsh critic and can lead to being banned from the facility.

Always track your data

This isn’t so much a rule to follow for safety but rather one that allows you to better your skills and your load. Always take detailed notes of the date for each load. These notes should include any malfunctions the load batch has, as well as amount of recoil. If possible, set up a chronograph to test the load’s speed. These notes will give you the information you need to tweak your load and make it perform more effectively.

Newcomers often feel they will be scrutinized at the range and that other shooters will notice the irregularities in their rounds. The truth is that, as the old saying goes, it’s the nail that sticks out that gets hammered. Simply out, if you follow the rules and don’t bring any attention to yourself, chances are the other shooters will be too caught up in their own performance to notice you. Get out there and have fun and be safe doing it.