Six Reasons to Learn How to Reload Ammo Now!
(Millions of new shooters have made it hard to find ammo)
by Scott Crawford - May 7, 2021
Back in March, 2020 I wrote about Pandemic driven component shortages. Believe me it hasn't improved greatly from my standpoint just over one year later. With millions of new gun owners/shooters, and add to that more new reloaders it has gotten tough to get started in the reloading game. I've been reloading for over 40 years and have never seen it like it is today. Politics have of course stoked the rise in firearms ownership and the almost extinction of factory ammunition on shelves. That's the primary reason I'm advocating for folks to get into reloading now!
Author's Reloading Bench with Two Great Single Stage Presses
As I type this I'm starting to see some improvement in component availabiltiy such as brass, powder, primers & bullets however it is still slim pickings. COVID-19 has greatly impacted manufacturing facilities all around the world and in each of our neighborhoods. We're starting to climb out of the Pandemic so there is light at the end of the tunnel. That being said, I don't expect a wide spread improvement on component availability until early next year (2022). I believe now is still the time to leap in, grow your knowledge and start buying equipment & components when you can find them.
MEC Outdoors Marksman Press
Today most people have almost immediate access to knowledge if they know where to find it. There are good sources and suspect ones when you start talking about online material. I would always start with reputable sources such as major name brand manufacturers like Hornady, Speer, Remington, Hodgdon Powder, Winchester , Federal, CCI and on and on. Many of these manufacturers have online data available along with printed books for sale.
When I started reloading ammunition back in the 70's we didn't have the internet so I bought reloading manuals and talked with experienced individuals to find the answers I was looking for. Online forums can be helpful in today's world however I don't recommend that as your first source of information. Too many people today give opinions without any factual backup data. Although I recommend this skill set at the same time I want to emphasize that it is a game of mathematics, science and there is the chance to cause harm to oneself if caution is thrown to the wind.
Frankford Arsenal M-Press
2. Ammunition Availability
Over the years we've seen instances like today when no matter how hard you search, you just can't find any factory ammunition for your rifles or pistols. It typically is a direct result of political impacts, normally leading up to and possibly after a national election. Experienced shooters would typically stock up on ammunition or reloading supplies in advance of these situations however it never fails to surprise a large faction of our population. Regardless of the cause, availability or lack thereof is a super reason to start reloading. When you can't find factory ammunition for your handguns, rifles or shotguns it is very nice to be able to grab the gun powder and load some for yourself.
I load for lever action rifles, handguns and shotguns in multiple calibers & gauges. It has taken me sometime to have enough supplies for each of these however today I can safely say I could load for all of my firearms over and over again with the bullets, shot and powder charge that I want to use.
3. Cost Savings
Especially today it can be cost prohibitive to buy factory ammo if you can find it. Manufacturers have pretty well held their price points but when it comes to distributors and many local gun shops or big box stores they've decided to gouge us on pricing with double, triple or more on the price of just one year ago.
Component pricing has also gone through the roof however as it starts showing up more and more the pricing is "starting" to come back in-line with a not too distant past. All things being the same, after you pay off your loading equipment (Presses, Dies, Scales, etc.) it's cheaper to load your own than to buy factory if you don't count your own labor.
Various equipment & components
4. Ammunition Performance
When you buy factory ammunition you have little choice with regard to performance other than a possible choice in the weight of the bullet, maybe a couple choices in bullet muzzle velocity. When you load your own the choices are much more expansive.
For instance, my favorite cartridge to load is the 45-70 Government. Between bullet size/weight, powder choices and what type of firearm you're loading for I honestly have around 70 loads off the top of my head I can prepare. I can "tune" each load to find the perfect combination for a given firearm allowing me to find the most accurate round. If only using factory ammo you may never find a perfected round for your firearm.
What I like the most about hand loading is the "Control" it gives me. If I want to go to the range and shoot all day long I might choose to load lower power loads that reduce the recoil significantly. Another example is that when I hunt big game I store my extra rounds in leather butt cuffs or leather cartridge wallets. Brass tends to tarnish fairly heavily if left for any period of time in leather so I load my hunting rounds in nickel coated brass. Again, one more thing I can control.
Pride, personal satisfaction and knowledge that I was no longer dependent on factory ammunition availability to use my trusted firearm. I did mention fear, as a new hand loader way back then and what I would offer up to any new candidates is don't throw caution to the wind. Be safe in all that you do, stay focused on safety first and that will reduce the fear factor until you finally get to pull the trigger on that first hand load. Good luck & enjoy!
Reloading Dies, Powder, & Dispenser/Scale
IN THIS ARTICLE
MEC Outdoors CCI Ammunition Frankford Arsenal Speer Ammo Hodgdon Federal Ammunition Winchester Hornady Reloading Remington