I have been talking about reloading for several years. I have talked to friends and strangers. I have “talked” with people on the InterWebz. Well, I finally talked myself out and by the time I started actually doing it I haven’t really felt like posting about it. Thanks to reader Joe, I’m finally getting around to doing just that.
First a disclaimer: Reloading can be dangerous, please take all proper precautions and do your own research. I am not an expert in any way shape or form when it comes to reloading. Quite the opposite, I am most definitely a beginner and I am still learning every time I walk over to the bench. I want to share what I have learned so far but I am not an expert.
Speaking of walking over to my bench, here’s a photo of my current setup:
Reloading can be a costly endeavor to get started in and as I mentioned above it is potentially dangerous if you are not careful. So, why do it? I chose to get into this for several reasons most of which I have covered before but it never hurts to share (they are in no particular order):
My grandfather passed down a Webley MkII to me before he passed away. It means a great deal to me and I really wanted to be able to shoot it. Unfortunately, it was converted to .45 ACP at some point in time which was a really bad idea. The maximum chamber pressure of .45 ACP is around 21,000 psi while the old Webley was only designed to handle around 13,000 psi so, eventually, if I used commercial ammunition the cylinder would likely rupture destroying the gun and, possibly, my hand along with it resulting in something like this:
I tried finding someone who would develop a custom load that would allow me to shoot the old Webley Safely but to no avail. If I were going to be able to do so I would need to do it myself.
I enjoy shooting several calibers that are relatively expensive to buy commercially. The components are no more expensive than more popular calibers like 9mm but since there is less of a market the availability is lower and the prices are higher. I would like to be able to shoot these more often and more economically and reloading allows me to do so. For popular, high volume, calibers like 9 mm or 5.56 you will probably not save money by reloading. I have done the math several times and I have never found a way to make that work. With that said, I can assemble ammunition using better bullets or even premium bullets, like Speer Gold Dots, for significantly less that what you would pay for commercial ammunition using the same bullets. That means I can practice with the same or similar rounds to what I carry for self-defense for just a little more than cheapo FMJ.
Being able to assemble my own ammunition also means I am just that little bit more self-sufficient. As long as I have the supplies I need, available or on hand, I will not run out of ammunition. There is probably an entire post just on this one reason and various topics associated with it but for now we’ll just leave it at that.
To be honest, there is another reason too but it’s not one I discuss much. Like riding, shooting, hunting and several other activities I enjoy, reloading is a mental challenge. It is a challenge that forces me to focus, to research and learn. It is exercise for my mind and as we get older that becomes increasingly important. It is a mental challenge without the attendant stresses of work related challenges.
So, that’s the why of reloading for me. Having a clear understanding of why you want to reload and what you will be reloading is important because it will shape many of the decisions of you make as you get started. In the next post in this series we’ll take it from why to how.