Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dipping into the Reloading Pool

A coworker of mine has been telling me for months about the benefits of reloading my own ammunition. After some consideration, I’ve decided to take a little dip in the reloading pool. I’m not diving in just yet. I’m just going to wade around in the nice warm ankle deep water. I’ve looked around at presses and all the other accessories, and I just can’t afford to drop $800 in one chunk. So for now, I’m going to buy a little here and there before making the big press purchase.

The biggest benefit to reloading, and I think every reloader out there will agree, is the cost savings per round of ammunition. Even in these days of higher ammunition prices from manufacturers, reloading will still be less expensive because you aren’t paying for a manufacturer’s labor and mark up.

Many will argue though, that you aren’t really saving money, because you’ll just load more. And I can see their point. If I spent an average of $50 a month on 100 rounds of store bought .45ACP, and reloading that same 100 rounds only costs me $25 to produce, I’ll spend the remaining $25 to produce 100 more rounds. Therefore not actually saving money, but allowing myself to shoot twice as much as I did in the past.

Another big benefit to reloading is being able to customize a round to your specific needs. I know a lot of reloaders that shoot pistols competitively (IDPA and USPSA), and they load their rounds lighter than factory for less recoil. Rifle shooters usually reload for better accuracy. This can be done by pistol shooters too. The customizable options are virtually endless.

I’m shooting (pun intended) for the cost savings. My lifestyle right now only permits me a finite amount of time to go to the range, so I’m looking to save money on the amount of ammo that I do shoot. Maybe later down the road I’ll have more time to spend on the range and I’ll be able to shoot the same amount of “money”.

Over the last year or so, I've acquired quite a stockpile of spent brass from myself and others. It’s in various calibers, so I’ll eventually have to clean it to sort it. So this stage of the investment will be a case tumbler and cleaning media, and a Lyman 49th Edition Reloading Manual. More on that in the next installment of reloading posts. For now though, I can work on getting all this brass cleaned and read up on how to reload. I’m hoping this will help me make better decisions about components to buy in the future. I’ll try to keep you all posted on the various decisions along the way.

Be safe.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

An Armed Society is a Polite Society

Most of us have heard the expression, “An armed society is a polite society.” It implies that people will not set out to assault or provoke others as their “victim” may be armed and capable of defending themselves.

I know it wasn’t meant this way, but I also like to interpret the saying as, “Gun people are some of the nicest people you’ll come across.” When I re-entered the gun world three years ago, it surprised me how many people I knew were gun enthusiasts as well. It was almost like (and I use the term loosely) a secret society within society. People offered help, plenty of advice, and even equipment to help me get started.

Now I’m considering reloading my ammunition, and in talking to other gun folks, another secret society is coming out of the woodwork. The reloading (or handloading) society seems to be even more polite and helpful than I’ve already experienced in the top tier of the “Gun World.” Guys have offered plenty of advice on equipment selection, best practices, and even offered to use their equipment to show me how.

I get the impression that handloaders hold themselves above the common shooter, due to the higher risks involved in loading their own ammunition. I don’t get the impression that it’s an arrogance, but from talking to folks that load their own, I get the impression that this part of the hobby isn’t for everyone.

So I’m wondering, if reloading is another layer of the shooting hobby, is there another tier below it? Any input? Feel free to leave a comment.

Be safe.