Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Relaoding : Fun and Saves Money!


Many years ago, I bought a handgun chambered in .454 Casull. After buying several boxes of ammunition and realizing how expensive this gun was going to be after the purchase, I decided to try reloading. As with anything else, there were several good choices I could make in reloading equipment. Being new, I looked at what was offered as a package that would cover almost all of my needs and with little extra to buy. I stayed with popular, established companies and finally decided to go with a Lee Anniversary Kit. The Lee kit contained everything I would need except for the dies themselves and the case prep equipment. I purchase the Lee 454 carbide dies including the separate crimp die (all the manuals I had been reading strongly suggested a “solid” crimp on the 454 loadings). I also purchased a case polishing kit for my used cases. A couple hundred cases from Starline, several boxes of 454 bullets from Hornady, a couple boxes of CCI Small Rifle primers (again as researched) and several pounds of Hodgdon H110 powder…I’m ready to go. Just to note, all my choices on brass, primers, bullets and powder were just that, my choices. There are many different combinations of all these ingredients available, I chose these based on my research for what I wanted to achieve from my reloads. As you can already tell, Research is the #1 step in deciding to reload. Included in my research was the information on what pressures were safe and allowable for my specific firearm, what type of velocities, trajectories and kinetic energy I wanted to achieve and what types and weights of projectiles I wanted for the type of use I would be putting my .454 through… Deer hunting.

Another bit of advice, and it’s the most important….buy a couple reloading manuals…

Even with all of my research, there were many stops and starts my first few times reloading. One advantage of using the Lee kit was that it was a single press/single stage kit. I had to change the dies out at each stage and could only work on one cartridge at a time. This is the best way for a new reloader to start. Jumping in right away with a multistage or turret press can lead to mistakes and this is one process you do not want to make mistakes in. I learned how to “feel” the status of the case as I maneuvered the press and to visually inspect each cartridge as it was “worked”. I also learned a very important rule, work in a quiet and uncluttered area and work on only one caliber at a time to prevent mixing up process and causing rounds to be built with the wrong components or volumes. Measure and re-measure often.

Current .454 prices range from $28 a box to over $80 a box… 20 rounds in a box. My reloading expense is down to about 11 cents a round or $2.20 for a box of 20. That’s a savings of at least $25 a box, which quickly paid for all the equipment.

It’s fun, it saves money and there is a satisfaction gained when you start shooting ammunition that you created.

Give it a try.

1 comment:

Tim Ford said...

Saving money on ammo is that exact same reason I bought my shotgun shell reloaders. Back when I was shooting skeet all the time it was costing me a fortune to shoot before the reloaders. It still wasn't cheap but didn't hurt as bad.