Reloading ammo is common practice for regular shooters– it saves you money and also enhances the accuracy of your shots. To reload, you need empty rounds you have already used or loosened brass. With a few materials and tools, you can easily reload ammo and continue hunting big game.
When reloading ammo, you get to experiment with different variables to come up with the most accurate and reliable bullet to suit your needs.
To get started, you need some basic equipment, including:
- A reloading press
- Bullet casings
- Reloading die set
- Powder dispenser or a digital weighing scale
- A bullet comparator
Because rifle cartridges expand after use, you may want to buy a case trimmer and a chamfer tool to smooth out the casings. The benefit of making loads exactly as store-bought loads is that you do not have to change sights when switching between store-bought ammo and your reloads. Again, you will feel proud of hitting a target 600 yards away with a cartridge that you made in your garage.
Which Game Will You Hunt?
The type of game you will be hunting will determine the kind of bullet you will need. Soft bullets are made of a soft led core which allows them to expand upon impact. They are ideal when you are hunting medium-sized game known not to be rugged or hardy such as whitetail.
Hard bullets, on the other hand, are for big game such as elk, moose, or large African antelopes. These bullets feature a hard bonded core that pierces through heavy muscles and bones. Hard bullets, however, are not as accurate as soft bullets – which means you have to be very close to the game to hit vital organs. The fact that the bullets sit only an inch away from the rifling minimizes their accuracy.
Reloading for your Rifle
With your bullets, powder, and brass at hand, you are ready to start reloading for a hunt. The reloading process is simple.
Start by cleaning your rifle thoroughly to remove all residues in the chamber area for easy testing of the new cartridge. After cleanup, fit your cartridges into the chamber to ensure that they fit perfectly before you spend a lot of time making ammo only for it not to fit. For accuracy, fit each piece of brass into the chamber to ensure it fits properly. Again, it is advisable to ensure that the cases are clean.
Determine Length Size and Weigh Your Brass
The optimal bullet size for accuracy should be what your manufacturer recommends. After you push the bullet into its casing, you can use a comparator to measure the length of the bullet.
Before you can hand press ammo, weigh the brass you will use. You can make two piles; one with lightweight brass and another with normal weight brass. Heavier casings tend to be thick hence high pressure. However, if weighing the brass sounds like a complicated step, you can skip this step.
Smooth Jagged Edges
You need to remove any jagged pieces of brass that develops when the primer pocket is stamped into the casing. If these small jagged pieces are left intact, they might prevent the primer from igniting as it should. You can use a primer pocket uniform tool to clean the pockets.
You should also use a chamfer on the top of your round to make a small bevel so the bullet fits with ease without damaging the casing when using the press.
Make Your Loads
Once you are done with the preparations, you can now start weighing powder and funneling it into the casing. Later, you can press the bullet into the housing so that its neck sits appropriately in the casing for accuracy.
The Accuracy of Loads
Accuracy is essential for every hunter. After reloading your ammo, you need to ask yourself whether the ammo will reach your target before losing its accuracy. Even when you have visibility in check with good sights, you will still need excellent quality loads to enhance your shooting accuracy. When you decide to reload your ammo during hunting, there is no one-size-fit-for-all; you will need to make and try different loads to find what works perfectly with your rifle. You need to try your loads at the range and aim to shoot 1 or 1/2 MOA. If you will be hunting dangerous game, accuracy is more important.
Optimum accuracy is only achieved when you find the load that was designed specifically for your rifle. Because ballistics is a complicated science, you will need to try out different loads until you have one that shoots accurately.
When testing loads you have created, start with loads that have low powder weight and gradually add the weight – this is called ladder testing. For reliability of the test, shoot in clusters of two or three bullets to account for variables such as the wind. After the test, check the point of impact of each round and determine which weight shoots the most accurate. You can color code the bullets so you can easily track the point of impact of each bullet.
Reloading your ammo is a great way to feel more connected to your rifle, save money on ammo, and enhance your shooting accuracy.
Guest Post by: Josh M. is a proud resident of Davenport, Iowa, where you can find him doing target practice on a specialized gun course, tinkering around his high-tech gun lab, and taking care of his two dogs along with his lovely wife, Sandy.
Currently runs a blog at http://www.minutemanreview.com