What are the main reasons why shooters don’t reload rifle cartridges themselves? It’s because they think it’s a complicated and lengthy process. That is really not the case these days if you have the proper reloading equipment. With a good reloading manual to help guide you and the best reloading press at your service, you can be making lots of inexpensive reloads in little or no time at all.
So now that I have got you curious as to exactly how reloading rifle cartridges is done. Let me give you an overview of the steps involved in the rifle cartridge reloading process.
The 4 Main Components of a Bullet
If you are not familiar with the four main parts of a rifle cartridge, knowing these will help you understand the rifle cartridge reloading steps better:
- Casing (blank cartridge): The casing is what holds all of the other parts together and helps form the completed cartridge. A vast majority of casings are made out of brass and that’s a good thing because they are the only types of cartridges that are reusable. This is also by far the most expensive of the four parts that make up a bullet.
- Bullet: This is the solid projectile that goes into the very end of the shell casing. It is made of solid metal and gets forced out of the barrel of your rifle at a very high velocity. It is the component of a cartridge that actually hits your target or inflicts damage to the game animals you are shooting at.
- Gunpowder: This is what creates a large volume of compressed gas in a shell casing so the bullet part of it launches out of it. Call it the propellant that makes the bullet move if you will.
- Primer: Have you ever watched an old movie where a cannoneer lights a fuse on at the back of the cannon to start the process of the cannon firing. That is exactly what a primer does for a rifle cartridge. It is the catalyst that starts the completed cartridge firing process.
The Rifle Cartridge Reloading Process Described
Here are the major steps in any rifle cartridge reloading process:
Step 1: Clean the old brass cartridge
The first step in the process involves cleaning the spent brass cartridge casings that you intend to refill. Most people will use some sort of combination that includes the use of a vibratory cleaner followed by a rotary case media separator.
Step 2: Resize the cartridge
Your cartridge case will have its size altered slightly when it expands as it’s fired. It’s essential to get it back to its original size and shape. This is done through the use of a resizing die placed in your reloading press.
Step 3: Trim the resized cartridge
Next, you will have to trim the end of the casing if it has gotten too long when you pushed it back into its original shape. You measure your casing with a caliper to determine this first. Then you use a case trimmer on the casing if it’s too long. Make sure there are no burrs or abnormal looking spots on the casing before you proceed to the next step.
Step 4: Add a new primer end
Before you can do anything else with your newly cleaned cartridge you have to attach a charge primer to the fat end of the cartridge casing. This is done with a priming tool. The best reloading presses will have a priming tool built right into them.
Step 5: Add the gunpowder
After the primer is fixed in place you can then add the gunpowder. You will use a powder measuring device to make the amount you put in your casing chamber as accurate as possible. A tool called a powder trickler is great to use when you need to add a very small amount of powder to get this measurement exactly right.
Step 6: Insert the bullet into the neck of the casing
Last but certainly not least it’s time to insert the bullet into the end of the almost completed rifle casing. Again your reloading press is used in this part of the process. You will insert a die called a seating and crimping die to accomplish this step.
Step 7: Final cartridge inspection
No reloaded cartridge is ever ready to fire before you give it a final inspection. This is very important to your safety and the safety of others. Make sure that everything on the cartridge from the primer to the bullet lines up symmetrically and there are no strange looking curves or lines on the cartridge. Only then will it be ready to fire at the shooting range or on your next hunt.
The Right Equipment Is an Absolute Must for Doing Your Own Reloads
So now that you know that reloading rifle cartridges is not as complicated as you thought it’s time to get the right equipment to do it with. My suggestion is that you start by buying a reputable reloading manual and get even more familiar with the reloading process by reading about it.
Once you have done that you will have to choose the equipment you will purchase for your reloading process. In order to get the best reloading press for your needs it’s important to read several reloading press reviews. This will give you a good idea how well each particular model works. As a matter of fact, it’s a good idea to do this for every piece of reloading equipment you will buy.
Start Saving Money Now by Reloading Your Own Rifle Cartridges
If you have purchased any type of ammunition lately you are aware that the prices are getting more and more expensive all the time. Most people that reload their own rifle cartridges say they save anywhere from 25% – 75% on the cost of their ammunition. That makes it less expensive to practice your shooting and hunt. So now that you know the rifle cartridge reloading process is less complicated than you thought you are ready to start doing it on your own.