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.
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
There should be no source of ignition near your supplies.
This also means keeping your powder and primers in separate secured containers.
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
on the container. Use a piece of masking tape and a permanent
marker if necessary.
No such thing as too
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
Don’t get distracted
Distraction is the leading cause of load malfunctions. This
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
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
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