With the number of new gun owners on the rise, it’s pertinent to circle back to the importance of safety, not only when handling a firearm, but when loading and reloading ammunition as well.
The unprecedented spike in demand has brought an unfortunate shortage of gun supplies, such as ammunition. Likewise, first-time gun buyers need to responsibly educate themselves and seek reputable data, manufacturers, and sources to guarantee this safety.
Let’s dive into basic reloading tips for beginners and how to ensure optimal performance and responsible gun ownership.
Get the Right Data and Materials
When loading and reloading, you are recycling the brass casings — mainly for the purpose of saving money. This often means shooting the brass on average six or seven times, without having to purchase factory ammunition casings and assembling new cartridges by hand each time you shoot.
To ensure safety while reloading, make sure that you purchase from reputable manufacturers and use the load data from the reloading manuals or the powder manufacturer’s online data. When handling such sensitive materials and recipes, you simply cannot risk your safety (and those around you) with word-of-mouth advice or guessing the load data.
Choosing the right materials for your recipe will dictate your performance moving forward. More experienced shooters and ranges often prefer lead-free options in bullets and primers, which are intended to cut down lead exposure and enhance performance. For optimal pressure and accuracy, ensure you’re getting the right data and invest in the right materials. The importance of this truly cannot be stressed enough.
Ensure Appropriate Protection
Keeping safety in mind, users who are new to reloading must invest in and wear appropriate protection at all times. Safety glasses, for example, should be worn not only when reloading, but any time you’re handling primers, since powder spills are prone to happen and it’s an unnecessary risk to reload without safety glasses.
Even while cleaning, users must ensure safety by making sure that there is not a bullet in the chamber. To do so, eject the magazine, lock the slide to the rear, and do a visual and tactile inspection of the chamber. It is also highly recommended that you use a chamber flag when not preparing to load and fire or actively clean the chamber and barrel.
Following the manufacturer’s recommendations is part of the responsibility new gun owners must own up to, so it’s important to study these instructions for proper and safe reloading.
Ensure a Safe Environment
The pure essence of reloading safety is the proper handling, storage, and disposal of primers and powders. Therefore, you should keep a dry, temperature-controlled environment to store these components, completely out of the reach of people who shouldn’t have access to them or your firearm.
Here are a few basic tips to provide a safe environment and order when handling your ammunition:
- Always go through consistent checks. This means a visual inspection of cartridges, charge, and the right amount of powder before inserting the bullet.
- Keep a record and safely dispose of the ammunition you’ve loaded. Label the ammunition you loaded, so you know the exact recipe and the date you made it. This tracking is critical in case there is a problem later. You will also be able to track which loads perform the best. You should avoid anything that you load that might have too much pressure.
- If you have what qualifies as “bad” ammo, properly dispose of all materials by using a bullet puller to dismantle. Don’t throw loaded ammo into the trash; that’s wildly dangerous and irresponsible.
- Separate and perhaps save some components to reload again — only if it’s salvageable; if not, just dispose of them properly.
Reloading is an increasingly popular hobby among experienced shooters. It’s a recommended practice for beginners, especially those who are looking to save some money and learn the finer points of shooting and load development. Although it may sound simple, beginners must have the right data, gear, materials, and recipe to ensure responsibility, safety, and enhanced performance. Proper reloading, when done right, can be very satisfying and rewarding for all shooters, especially first-time gun buyers.
Do you have any reloading tips for beginners? Let us know in the comment section.
Ryan Donahue is the Director of Brand Management at American Outdoor Brands. Having turned his passion for anything firearms-related and his pursuit for 3 Gun competition glory into a role with American Outdoor Brands, Ryan Donahue is the model for the old saying, “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.” He oversees many brands including Caldwell, Frankford Arsenal, and Smith & Wesson accessories as the Director of Brand Management. Previously, he worked for over a decade in the Motion Picture Industry as a Director of Production. Ryan holds several patents for digital movie technology and is proud to have worked on alternate presentations for major Hollywood films such as: The Matrix Reloaded 2003, Casino Royale 2006, and Iron Man 2008.