Reloading Step 1
Reloading Step 2
This page was last updated on Monday, 02 March, 2015.

Firearms & Ammunition

Mr. Steve Johnson

Mr. Steve Johnson


Save (or Sell) Your Brass! Reloading, Step 1

It's January 2013 as this is being written. Several tragedies have occurred in recent weeks that have prompted certain politicians to renew their assault on the 2ndYour image alt-text here

Amendment to the US Constitution, namely 'A well regulated Militia, being necessary the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.' With those 26 words, the framers of the Constitution enumerated in the bill of rights a phenomenal right, not privilege to bear Arms for the defense of one's self as well as protection from a tyrannical government.

But what does 'A well regulated Militia...' actually mean? What did the framers and ratifiers of this Amendment mean by those four incredibly powerful words? The Militia referred to was the whole of the people. A well regulated Militia means that the whole of the people are to be well armed and prepared at all times. Alexander Hamilton, in his Federalist Papers noted that '...a well-regulated militia is a state of preparedness obtained after rigorous and persistent training.'

In recent weeks especially and to a great extent for over four years now, the price and availability of ammunition for common over the counter pistol calibers such as 9MM, .45ACP, .38 Special, .44 Magnum and .357 Magnum have become prohibitive. The same case holds for center fire rifle ammunition. In recent weeks alone the price of .223 Remington 55 grain FMJ practice ammunition has risen to over $1.00/round!

To fulfill our duties as the Militia referred to in the 2nd, how and where are we to obtain the necessary quantities of materials to maintain a state of preparedness and proficiency? Or perhaps, more to the point, how are we to afford the necessary quantities of materials to maintain proficiency as marksmen and riflemen?

One avenue available to everyone is to load your own! 

A modern center fire cartridge, either pistol or rifle caliber, consists of just four parts. A cartridge case (the brass), a projectile (bullet), propellant (powder) and a primer. Brass cases for reloading have become expensive right along with loaded ammunition so the first thing every shooter should do is collect and save all of your brass. Aside from the aesthetics of keeping your range clean and trash free, brass is reusable and valuable! At the time of this writing new unprimed brass is selling for $.40/round or more (if you can find it) and once fired brass is selling for half that or more! (Military spec brass and general purpose brass are made to different specifications, but all of it is reloadable if the proper steps are taken.)

Even if you don't reload, or plan to, leaving 100 rounds of brass on the ground is about the same thing as leaving a $20 bill laying on the ground. None of us would ever do that! It can be easily sold at online forums or most likely to a shooting buddy or a buddy of theirs. Under no circumstance should a modern well regulated Militiaman leave such a valuable resource to waste! Collect it, store it a cardboard box or clean bucket or put it back in the original cartons, but save it!

Our used brass is a valuable resource in the eternal fight for Liberty!

Next up: The basics of reloading equipment.

Mr. Steve Johnson

Mr. Steve Johnson


Drive the Gun Grabbers Crazy! Load Your Own Ammunition (Reloading, Step 2)

Loading your own ammunition and reloading your collected fired brass can be a very rewarding skill to know while significantly reducing the cost of ammo. Cheaper ammo means more practice, more fun and more independence. In recent weeks, the price of ammo has sky rocketed and supplies have dried up.  Our forefathers melted lead and formed their own musket balls and some milled their own black powder! Loading is an American birthright!
I've been loading and reloading all my center fire ammunition for more years than I care to remember. That includes both pistol and rifle ammo. Reloading pistol ammo is easier and more forgiving than bottle necked rifle cartridges.

For the beginner a good place to start would be with a complete kit such as RCBS's Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit. As of the time of this writing Brownell's has it on sale for $299.00 plus shipping. You will also need a set of dies and a shell holder for whichever caliber you wish to start with. A set of RCBS dies sells for about $50.00 and shell holders are about $8.00. Doing the math, the hardware will cost about $350.00 plus shipping. There are numerous online sources for dies and equipment and a quick Google search will turn up plenty!

I recommend a tumbler to keep your brass clean and polished. A decent one will cost $75.00 or less with the polishing media. If you add a tumbler to your reloading bench your equipment to load one caliber will sum to about $425.00. If you're a good shopper, it will be less and the hardware will last a lifetime.
As with any new endeavor, read the instruction manual! It will tell you and show you everything you need to know. There are many YouTube channels as well with demonstrations. Use these resources, but always read the owners manual first. The reloading manual that comes with the unit will be a wealth of knowledge and will give you powder loadings and case dimensions for your caliber and choice of bullets.

You will need bullets, primers and propellant (powder). All of these can be mail ordered and they can also be bought over the counter in many sporting goods stores. When you find a deal, stock up! Properly stored, powder and primers will last decades! Bullets and brass will last indefinitely.

As an example, lets suppose you saved your 9MM brass from your store bought ammo and want to make some practice rounds. A Hornady 124 grain full metal jacket bullet will cost about $.14, a small pistol primer will cost  about $.034, and $.0125 worth of Alliant Unique to push the round out at a little over 1050 feet per second. Total cost for the reload: $0.19. Factory loads, if you can find them, will certainly cost that much and likely much more.

A quick internet search (January 27, 2013) turned up no availability of factory loads at several large stores. Reloading supplies are spotty, but still generally available and affordable for now. I expect prices to soar when the shooting community discovers the advantages of being able to make their own ammo and over the counter ammunition is scarce and expensive.

Loading your own is easy, cost effective and rewarding. Drive the gun grabbers crazy! Load your own!℠ (Right-side navigation page SSI insertion)