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Admit it; we all grow comfortable over time, causing us to relax on our safety standards. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. It’s for that reason that, from time to time, we like to take a look at some key safety factors that every reloader, whether expert or newbie, should focus on. Whether you’re new or not, you should take the time to read over this safety list; you can never be too safe.

Storage

The first step in safety is to ensure that each of your reloading supplies is properly stored. You should always keep your reloading supplies in a dry and safe location, keeping them away from children and pets. If need be, this can be in a locked case in a garage or other detached building.

Brass Reloading

There should be no source of ignition near your supplies. This also means keeping your powder and primers in separate secured containers. Some reloaders will spend the extra money to purchase storage containers for each product. This, however, is not necessary, considering that most of the containers the supplies come in are sufficient enough for long term storage.

Another important item is to never mix powders. Always keep you powders clearly marked with the powder info and date of purchase, if it’s not already on the container. Use a piece of masking tape and a permanent marker if necessary.

No such thing as too much knowledge

It’s important that you get your reloading information from a respected source. Many supply manufactures will offer reloading manuals, as well as many weapons manufacturers. Research as much as possible, especially when you begin reloading a new cartridge size. Remember, when working with new sizes, always start low and slowly work up higher numbers. Always check for signs of pressure and case fatigue.

Don’t get distracted

Distraction is the leading cause of load malfunctions. This often stems form not paying close enough attention to the amount of powder being put into a case. If something occurs while you are reloading, stop what you are doing; do not work while distracted.

This also requires that your reloading area be in a place that will minimize your distractions. Reloading on the kitchen table while the little ones run around is not advisable, nor is it safe.

Check Cases before each load

It’s common for reloaders to use the same brass multiple times. However, never assume a certain case will withstand a particular amount of reloads. Each case will react to being reloaded differently, even if it was made by the same company on the same day in the same factory. Always be on the look out for split necks, head separation, stress cracks, or any other sign of case fatigue.

Loading Military Brass

If you find yourself the owner of military surplus brass, you should adapt you reloading process accordingly. Case capacity is often reduced in military ammo, meaning you should load your initial loads at least 10-15% lower than that published in the manuals. You should also pay extreme attention to the case itself to ensure there are no defects after shooting. Military brass will not withstand as many reloads as commercial brass.

The bottom line is to never take safety for granted. The smallest lapse in safety can result in catastrophic damages to your equipment, firearm, and even yourself. While reloading is fun and effective, it can also be dangerous. Respect it and will become a life-long pursuit.