The process of reloading ammunition might seem complicated at the surface. It demands a significant investment of time and money, including purchasing a press and extensive training to become proficient and efficient at reloading. Reloading your own ammo can be worth it for a couple reasons. Reloading is economically the most efficient way to create your ammo supply when shooting at quite often. However, we believe that reloading ammo is well worth the time and effort even for some less regular shooters because it brings you closer to the art of firearms. To help you decide if reloading is suitable for you, here are some cases where you might find reloading on your own suitable.
What Is Reloading?
The phrase “reloading your own ammo” is often spoken around in the gun industry, and we assume everyone understands what it refers to. However, learning a new subject requires understanding the language used to describe it.
Reloading your ammo can simply be defined as the act of taking used brass casings and repurposing them as live ammunition. In general, the reloading procedure is the same for all kinds of ammunition except for minor variances in gunpowder, primers, and bullet dimensions, or loading shotgun casings.
Who Reloads Ammo?
There are two distinct groups of people who reload their own ammunition. The first group consists of experienced shooters. There is a strong financial incentive for gun club members, or frequent shooters to load their own bullets since they use a lot of ammunition. High volume shooting requires high volumes of ammunition, and therefore, reloading your own ammo can save money. Those in the second group are devoted to becoming the best shooters. Many competition shooters, or shooters that are into maximizing accuracy reload their own ammo. They believe they can maximize their firearms capabilities by doing so, and fine tuning their setup for their exact needs.
Benefits of Reloading Ammo
Here are some of the well know benefits of reloading your ammo.
Anyone who shoots regularly is aware of the high cost of ammunition. You may significantly reduce your total ammo expenditures by reloading your own ammo! For that, you will need a workspace and a bench. It is also necessary to consider the price of the press, dies and scale, and other tools. Competitive shooters will be looking for the best progressive presses, best gun powders, best primers, the best dies, and the best bullets. Even getting top of the line of each will yield cost savings over extended periods of time, as buying these ingredients in bulke reduces costs substantially.
In most cases, you can reload a box of ammo for 33 percent to 50 percent less than you would pay for it in a shop. For many people, that alone makes it worthwhile because it allows them to practice their shooting more and keep within their shooting budget.
If money is your primary concern, you should simply do the math. Know the amount of rounds you go through on a monthly basis, know the exact cost of those rounds, and then source the materials needed to make your own ammunition. You will have fixed costs of items like presses, dies, a bench, and other setup, which you can weigh into the equation as a one time expenditure. Then look at the variable cost of sourcing 1,000 or so rounds of the ammunition you need for your use case. In about an hour of your time, you’ll be able to determine how long it will take to recoup your reloading investment with your on average 30-50% savings per round + initial equipment expenses.
See Example Of Reloading Kit On Amazon – A kit may be a great option to avoid having to purchase all the individual items separately needed for reloading.
Knowing Your Gun Better
Thousands of well-written publications, hundreds of training seminars, podcasts, and hours of meditation and dry shooting can all help you improve your technique. But unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), the best way to learn about the performance of a gun is to fire it. To reload your own ammo makes this process even faster.
The best way to learn about the differences between powders, bullets, and bullet weights by experimenting with your ammo and testing it out. While the time commitment here can be fairly substantial, the investment of time can make the process even more rewarding. The process of continuous improvement and learning is fascinating, and enthralling to many, and reloading ammo, and shooting, is a measurable, science that truly can be improved upon consistently.
You have probably thought about going for a bit of shooting, only to find out that you have run out of ammunition and decide against it. As a result of having your own reloading setup, you will be able to fire more often since you will no longer be dependent on store-bought commercial bullets. Ordering materials in large quantities allows for on demand creation of ammunition and the ability to stockpile by taking up free time to reload more ammo.
To make reloading “worth it,” you need to go through a sufficient number of rounds to recoup your original expenditure. A few pennies saved each round soon adds up for those who shoot often. On the other hand, reloading may not save you much money if you do not go to the range very often.
Factory-loaded ammunition is intended to fulfill performance and safety requirements. Loading your own ammo allows you to experiment with various bullets, powders, primers, and other components to match your firearm for optimal performance.
For the most part, factory ammunition is reliable in all calibers. However, you will often be at the whim of the manufacturers specifications, and have an inability to alter those specifications. Reloading on your own can fine-tune your accuracy and efficiency.
Remember, though, that improvements in precision, do not occur instantly. To figure out what works best, you have to do a lot of experimenting. In addition, do not go beyond the limits of the load data specified in your manuals. This is a dangerous road that experienced shooters and gunsmiths should only attempt, and if they do, only in controlled and safe environments.
Reloading gives you complete control over the quality of your ammunition, both excellent and terrible. Consistency and accuracy with all items of your ammunition becomes your responsibility, and therefore, you have full control over the quality control process. In this lies danger, but also the ability to improve performance.
Because this is such an important process to do correctly, reloading your own ammo should only be done by highly detail oriented individuals, that can follow strict processes, precise measurements, and do so consistently.
It is up to the manufacturer to ensure that the ammo is loaded correctly when you purchase factory ammunition. You will see a “flyer” in your groups in some instances since some rounds have more or less powder. Aside from that, bullets are pre-set to a certain depth, and some firearms can perform better when the factory-installed depth is modified. Even manufacturers have an margin of error with their ammo. Some higher end ammos have extremely small margins of errors, and this consistency and margin of error is generally fine for the average shooter, but may not be enough for the most determined shooters.
The more you fire, the more noticeable the inconsistencies in manufactured ammunition will become. For example, you can get away with one-inch groupings (spread) at 100 yards, but at 1,000 yards, that will be ten inches. On the other hand, reloading typically improves this group (spread) when done properly.
Stock Related Issues
Ammunition shops can often have shortages, or run out of stock of the ammo you need. Many individuals purchase in bulk when a manufacturer releases a popular round. As a result, the provider is unable to meet demand for others. You can likely always buy it online, but you will spend extra on each box because of the delivery costs, and have to wait for shipments.
Drawbacks Of Reloading Your Own Ammo
WIth the above, we want to highlight some drawbacks of reloading your own ammo to help give you as much unbiased information as possible.
Cost Savings Is Only For High Volume Shooters
If you aren’t shooting substantial amounts, the math here may not work in your favor. Factory grade ammunition is often surprisingly cheap, and it takes a lot of firing, to make the investment and time worth it.
Increased Danger & Responsibility
Reloading your own ammunition means that quality control is in your hands, not the factory’s. Factory’s tend to be very good at this, and attention to detail is extremely important when reloading your own ammo.
Time Investment Is Large
Reloading your own ammo takes a lot of time. Especially at the beginning. Developing the process to maximize your speed is great, but it will still take a substantial amount of time to reload your own ammo, and time is worth a different amount to every person. This time needs to be considered in your determination of whether or not making your own ammo is worth it.
The decision is really about weighing the pros and cons for your own situation. The truth is that the average shooter is not going to see a lot of value out or reloading their own ammo. With that being said, a percentage of shooters will see cost savings, performance improvements, and potentially making the sport even more rewarding.
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about