1 8 9 5 G U N N E R.C O M







March 6, 2020
Hand loading ammo, a dying discipline?

How did you learn to hand load ammo? A better question might be, who trained you? Was it a family member, a neighbor or possibly a course you attended? These are important factors to consider when reflecting on how this discipline is maintained or lost forever not too many years down the road.

Not unlike the dwindling number of hunters year after year, hand loading isn't being passed down from one generation to the next at significant enough numbers to sustain it as a long term entity. I don't have any scientific data supporting this thought process, no empirical data - just a gut feeling from real-life, experienced scenarios.

Starline 45-70 Brass & Custom Hard Cast Bullets

I realize that as soon as I put my thoughts on this subject down on paper examples will be available that conflict with how I see it. Never the less here are my observations. 1. Storefronts that previously sold supplies are closing or no longer selling these products due to public pressure related to gun control. 2. Lack of paying customers for these products in some areas at brick & mortar stores versus buying online and finally, the point behind this article - less demand based on fewer hand loaders.

Now I can speak from personal experience that when I hunt for specific gun powders it can get frustrating on overall availability of what I'm looking for. I know this isn't just me because a day doesn't go by without reading of others frustrations on this topic exactly. So,. . . One might suggest that it's not available due to so many customers buying up the stock. Unfortunately I don't believe that to be the case.

Now there are companies doing their part to educate folk on how to hand load & I congratulate them for doing so even if it's for their own benefit. Good on them because they have the foresight to see a downward trend. The Lyman's, RCBS, Lee, Hornady, MEC, Dillon, Frankford Arsenal, and 1/2 dozen more great manufacturers along with the major distributors are publishing guides beyond the books that are available from major bullet manufacturers. These guides/books help guide a newbie & some experienced loaders down the correct methodology with safe guidelines. Heck, I even published a rudimentary guide.

Lee Press with Hornady Dies Loading a Hornady Bullet

Not to pump my own self too much however I've done my fair share of helping many people along the right path by answering countless DM's on Instagram. And this goes on almost endlessly every day across social media & established hand loading forums, etc. I'm not trying to scare the manufacturers, I'd bet they have tons of metrics on sales, distribution, etc. that either support my hypotheses or the contrary.

Reloading With Rosie @ Edgar Brothers, UK

I don't look at this as just an American issue, heck over in the UK, Edgar Brothers Shooting Sports even launched a program called Reloading With Rosie. They have different video episodes each covering the different steps of loading. It was and is a very successful subscriber program. YouTube also helps although some would argue that it also does harm giving bad advice in some cases.

I remember learning how to load shot shells at a tender age of probably fifteen? My neighbors dad showed me how on his press. Then on my own some years later I started down the path of buying equipment to load my own .357 rounds. There wasn't any internet back then. There were sales people, books and bending anybody's ear that I could to get information from. Books, I wish more folks starting up would buy load books from the bullet manufacturers and read rather than taking load recommendations from somebody they don't know on the internet. I'm always adding to my small collection and I've been loading for decades.

I don't pretend to have an answer on how to slow the roll of this eventuality, all I can offer is that I applaud companies doing their part to educate. That being said, I think it's on our backs as hand loaders that we share our knowledge with anybody that is even remotely interested. Make it a goal to do just that this new year and while you're at it take a newbie to the range too. If you can, take them hunting this next season. Nike trade marked the words JUST DO IT however I'm pretty sure I can get away with saying it in lower case. Just do it!



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Hello! My name is Scott and I’m a husband, dad, and enthusiast for all things outdoors! My wife and I are parents to two adult children, and grandparents to one sweet boy! We moved to NW Georgia in 2015, I'm originally from Illinois & my wife from Florida! Everyday I try to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle while juggling all of my favorite things. I am very excited to share my passion for the outdoors, handloading, range fun, hunting, and fishing lifestyle! Welcome to my life - I can’t wait to bring you along on the adventure!



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