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Bullet Points: Five Reasons You Should Start Reloading

While we pride ourselves as being the premier magazine for the firearms lifestyle, we don't write nearly enough about reloading as we should. No, we're not talking about how fast you can jam a fresh magazine into an empty rifle or pistol. Rather we mean the art of reloading your spent brass cases and making them once again wonderful and shootable.


Many of our readers reload their own ammunition, particularly those who compete. In fact if you compete on any level at all, it's almost a given you reload. When the subject comes up however, we're often find ourselves amazed by just how many folks do not.

If you're sitting on the fence or are waiting until you round out your gun collection, you may want to check out some of the reasons we think you should start reloading.

Maybe you are the guy who shoots just 50 rounds a year. If so, then skip ahead, this article is probably not for you. If shooting is a large part of your life, though, read on.

1. You'll Save Money

The biggest hurdle many of us see with getting people to the range is the cost of ammunition.

Ammo Labs Custom Ammunition

Cost savings may not be apparent at first. You need a dedicated work area and a bench. Then there is the cost of the press, dies, scale and other equipment. All of that can put you at close to the cost of a used AR before you buy a single component.

Realize, however, that these are one time purchases. They will last you for years. Even if you plan to only reload for one caliber, we can just about guarantee you this — once you get the hang of it, you will eventually be loading for every centerfire round you shoot.

RUAG Brass

So you've made your initial investmentj. Now it turns to components. If you buy the brass, powder, primers and bullets to make ammunition from scratch, you may yet come out on the losing end financially. In order to save money, you need to save your brass (or your hulls, if you are a shotgunner).

That still leaves powder and primers. The latter, unfortunately, dry up in panic buys as quick as the 22 lrs do. Next is probably the most expensive component: bullets.

Even just buying those three, you will se savings after a year. You can actually make a stab at your cost for projectiles by casting your own, if you're really ambitious. cCasters and melters are relatively cheap.

Take 38 Special, for instance; 1,000 HBWC (Hollow Base Wad Cutters) 38 Special 148-Grain Bullets will set you back $40. To load those you need 1/2 pound of Win 231 powder. That will run you about $13. You'll need 1,000 small pistol primers, which is, on average, about another $30. Thus for $83 you can produce 1000 rounds of match grade 38 Special ammunition.

That comes out to 8 cents a round, or $4 a box.

The next time you browse the ammo aisle, look up how much 38s are going for. Half that cost is in the bullets, so if you cast your own, you will start really seeing savings.

2. You Can Shoot More


The fact is, when you start reloading, you almost always have plenty of ammunition on hand. Sometimes you'll want to shoot stuff off just so you can reclaim the brass for a new load.

Nuthin' wrong with that.

Usually this will conquer the excuse of not being able to afford or (more commonly) find the ammunition you need.

Beyond the basic calibers, if you have an oddball or expensive round that you like to shoot, reloading allows you to always have it on hand — as opposed to waiting for your retailer of choice to get their annual shipment of 35 Remington, 458 SOCOM or 44 Russian.

3. You Will Shoot Better

You may have heard, “Shooting is the only sport where you can literally turn money into skill.”

They are not talking about guns or optics. It's about the ammunition. When your shooting buddies are paying $250 a case and you're making the equivalent for half that amount or less, you'll have the upper time, because you'll have more trigger time.

More importantly, this segues us to the next reason.


4. You'll Learn Your Gun

You can read thousands of well-written articles by the gurus, attend hundreds of training classes, listen to podcsts and perfect your technique through meditation and dry firing. But nothing will ever teach you about how your guns perform like shooting your own ammunition.


Knowing the difference between one powder and another, the different bullet weights, understanding if a tenth of a grain of that will make the difference between touching the 9-ring or center punching the ten ring…that sort of knowledge will only come through developing your own loads and trying them out.


5. You'll Be Recycling

Expended brass and trash

When your liberal friends get on a kick about the environment, you can tell them you are doing your part by cleaning up all the brass and reloading it. Just about the ugliest sight you'll ever see on BLM land are the piles of brass and trash left by other shooters. When you see the money that can be saved in that brass, you might start picking it up. Some people go a step further and mine the berms for lead to melt down and recast.

None of that will help with the trash, unfortunately, but maybe we can collectively shame them into cleaning up after themselves. Better yet, you can organize local shooters into policing those areas once a month for the brass, and also hauling the refuse off to the dump.

Recycling comes in other forms, too; old dive belts, fishing sinkers and wheel weights can be melted down and turned into bullets as well.

So, if you're that guy who shoots fifty rounds a year and does not like to save money, have ammunition on hand, become a better shooter or know how your guns work, reloading is probably not for you.

At least pick up your empties and your garbage.

The rest of us will put that brass to good use.

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