Man Reloading Ammunition into a Revolver

The Basics of Reloading Your Own Ammunition 

Ammunition reloading is a fun and rewarding part of the shooting hobby. Some reloaders are out to save money, others like being able to make their own shooting supplies, and for shooters who want a more tailored experience, reloading lets them create specialty rounds that give them the   ballistic performance they just can’t find in the retail marketplace. If you’re ready to start shooting your own reloads, Pennsylvania’s Largest Gun Show is the perfect place to find your ammo reloading supplies.

Anatomy of a Cartridge

Modern cartridges are designed to be an all-in-one loading solution for firearms that have changed relatively little since their development which moved us past the powder-patch-ball loading process of muzzle-loaded weapons that they usurped as the standard. Every time you load one into your gun, you’re loading four separate components.

  • Casing – The casing is the shiny brass part of the cartridge that holds everything else in place. They can also be made from steel and some other metals, but brass is by far the most common metal used in premium reloadable ammunition.
  • Primer – sitting at the back of the round, primer material is highly explosive and provides the pressure and spark that ignites the more-stable propellant. While used in both rimfire and center-fire ammo, only center-fire ammunition is reloadable. As the hammer or firing pin strikes the primer, it explodes, sending sparks through a small hole into the casing.
  • Propellant -Also called powder, the propellant charge is ignited by the primer, setting off a chemical reaction. This quickly burning fuel converts from a powder form into heat and pressure, pushing against the casing in all directions. The walls of the casing are supported by the chamber in the breech of the barrel, leaving the unsupported projectile as the easiest escape path for these forces.
  • Projectile – The bullet is usually made of a soft lead core fully or partially surrounded by a harder metal, such as copper. The pressure of the expanding gas pushes the bullet out of the end of the casing and into the barrel. The rifling causes the projectile to spin, improving accuracy. 

The Reloading Process

Ammunition reloading requires precise measurements and attention to detail to ensure both gun safety and reliability. Improper loading can lead to weapons failure, misfires, hang fires, and explosions. You need more than just the right ammo reloading supplies, you need to use a methodical approach that takes you through the process step-by-step.

  • Cleaning – The fired cartridges have to be cleaned and polished to remove corrosive residue and other detritus. This is usually done in an ultrasonic cleaner, but traditionally, sand tumblers were used.
  • Prepping – Fired casings need to be reshaped to ensure they’re within spec for safe usage and will fit in your gun’s chamber. This is usually done with a die and spindle.
  • Priming – A new primer is placed in the indentation on the back of the casing.
  • Charging- A precisely measured charge of powder is put in the casing to provide the right pressure for the needed ballistic profile.
  • Bullet Seating – The projectile is seated in the neck of the cartridge, which is crimped slightly to hold it in place. 

Shopping List

  • Reloader’s Bible – You need a guidebook for safe ammunition reloading, and there are plenty of choices out there. Some use “reloaders,” “reloading,” or “hand loaders,” but all will have detailed instructions, specifications for common rounds and their loads, and handy tips to make sure the entire process is safer.
  • Sonic Cleaner – This device uses ultrasonic waves, heat, and a cleaning solution to clean casings and get them ready for reloading into usable ammunition. This is a popular improvement over sand tumblers as it also works well on metal gun parts.
  • Die and Spindle – These reshape the casing to remove any imperfections or deviations caused when the round was fired. An exterior die restores the outside of the casing while the spindle presses out the spent primer, helps push the walls of the casing into the exterior die, and stretches the neck uniformly to accept the bullet before it’s set.
  • Powder Measure – These handy devices make your ammunition reloading projects more efficient. Set the amount of powder needed for a charge and pull the handle for a perfect amount for every cartridge.
  • Digital Scale – A precision digital scale is perfect for measuring out your ammo reloading supplies, verifying uniformity of components, and quality control. Look for one that can measure in grams, ounces, and grains. That way, you’re covered for a variety of situations you may encounter during ammunition reloading or customizing your weapon.
  • Reloading Press – The press seats the bullet in the neck of the casing at the appropriate depth to secure the projectile in the round and ensure the round is the proper length for reliable feeding in the weapon.
  • Cartridge Tray – Trays make it easier to prep and move your rounds during the ammunition reloading process. 

More Than Just A Gun Show

We have plenty of vendors who are ready to sell you new and used firearms. That’s not all we are, however. Vendors from across the country are drawn to our shows thanks to the comfortable, well-lit event centers, paid security, and shoppers just like you who want a family-friendly experience that offers something for everyone’s shopping needs. That includes the top firearms accessories and supplies, including ammunition reloading equipment.

One of our gun shows will be rolling into your local area soon, providing a unique retail opportunity to find exactly what you’re looking for and start your reloading journey with all the information, equipment, and ammunition reloading supplies to produce your own ammo for the range, hunting, or self-defense. Book your tickets online now and secure your entry to your local Eagle Shows Gun Show today.

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