How to Reload Your Own Ammo? [Beginners Guide]

People have many questions when it comes to reloading your own ammo.

Is it the right thing to do? Does it really save money?

The answer to all these questions is, certainly yes!

You can save more than 50% off the ammo by reloading it. You can shoot a lot more range after you reloaded it.

But how much money you’ll save per round depends on how expensive is the caliber. With cheaper caliber, you’ll end up saving only 10-12% of cost whereas expensive one can save up to 50%.

Plus reloading is fun!

Tools Required For Reloading Ammo

Reloading Bullet

Tools have a lot of functions to do in reloading ammo.

That’s why it’s important to know about them before jumping on straight to the reloading procedure. It’s important especially as a beginner.

Once you understand the functions, you will easily get through the process.

For a loaded round of ammunition, you must have the following four components.

  • Brass case
  • Bullets
  • Primer
  • Gunpowder

Apart from the above, you’ll also need:

  • Reloading Manual: contains all sorts of information regarding the process.
  • Reloading Press: there’re three basic types of reloading presses.
    • Single Stage Press: the simplest to set up, therefore, recommended for the first-timers.
    • Turret Press: with a turret press an experienced person can load up to 200 rounds per hour.
    • Progressive Press: can reload a higher volume of ammunition than the turret press. Up to 500 rounds an hour is possible with this.
  • Dies: de-prime and resize the brass, crimp the bullets. Purchasing them as a set will save you money.
    • For Bottleneck cartridge-2-die sets packaging
    • For Straight wall cartridge- 3-die sets packaging
  • Powder Scale: accurately determines how much power needs to be placed per round of ammunition.
  • Powder Measure: measures the correct charge. 3 types of measures are usually used.
    • Dippers
    • Bench Mounted
    • Electronic Dispensers
  • Powder-Trickler: helps to get the perfect charge weight.
  • Powder Funnel: helps to pour the powder from the scale into the case.
  • Priming Tool: as most of the reloading presses have an additional priming part, you don’t need a priming tool separately. If you don’t have a priming tool attached to your press, you must have either two priming tools.
    • Hand priming tool
    • Bench mounted priming tool
  • Primer Pocket Cleaner: as the name implies, it cleans the pocket.
  • Pocket Uniforming Equipment: maintains equal depth and width of pocket for each brass piece.
  • Pocket Reamer: removes crimps.
  • Case Cleaner: cleans the brass case before reloading.
  • Case Trimmer: trims off the stretches caused by firing. A case trimmer can be hand-held, bench-mounted, or power-driven.
  • Case Lube: This is important while resizing the bottleneck cases. It can be in the form of an aerosol spray, or wax or pad or lube dies.
  • Calipers: measures the brass it remains within the specification. It’ll come in handy when measuring the cartridge length while setting the seating die.
  • Shell Holder: holds the reloading cartridge.
  • Labels: performs as a place that details each of the things about reloading. You can either purchase pre-made labels or create your own.
  • Reloading Bench: this helpful equipment is simple, easily made, and portable. You should have one.
  • Loading Tray: it’s an important part of a reloading bench. It helps you to do the work in small batches and in an organized way. Each batch usually contains 50 pieces. They also prevent the brass case from falling over the bench.
  • Bullet Puller: this will come in handy when you’ll make a mistake and have to reclaim different components like bullets. Usually, three types of bullet pullers are popular.
    • Impact Style
    • Press Mounted
    • Plier Type

Step by Step Procedure of Reloading your Ammo

Step 1: Prepare the Brass Case

Brass Cases Prepared

Cleaning: As the brass case gets dirtier when the gun goes PEW, you’ll have to clean it first. You can either polish or tumble the brass case. Or you can simply use liquid cleaners or ultrasonic cleaners.

Resizing: Because of the explosion inside, the brass case expands immediately. And shortly after that, it goes through a shrinkage. Ultimately the case is a little larger than before. So you need to bring it back to the specified dimension before reloading it.

First of all, de-prime the primer attached to the case using a reloading press.

Now run the case through a die where it’ll resize the brass. Lube up the case if necessary. It’ll also remove Dents and problems related to case mount.

Next check the length.

As the brass is squeezed down, you may have to cut off the excess length. There’re both hand based and electric options for doing so. As you’re cutting off the materials, the edges will be sharp that may cause a problem with bullet seating. So you must chamfer or de-burr it before using.

Priming: as you popped off the primer earlier, now it’s time to put in a new one. Use the priming tools to place a primer again.

Step 2: Add Some Gunpowder

Some Gunpowder to bras case

I’ll recommend using smokeless powder.

There may be some specification regarding the bullet weight or caliber. So choose wisely.

See the manual to know the amount of powder with which you have to start. Use the Powder Measures to measure the correct charge and drop it into the case properly.

Step 3: Seat the Bullet

Finally, it’s time to take a bullet and place it into the prepped brass case.

But the problem you may face is that the case is too narrow to fit the bullet. In such a situation, you need to blaze the top of the case.

This is very common to pistol cases. To flare this, you will need a separate die or it can also be a part your powder stage die.

After you have done flaring, just place the bullet on the top of the brass case.  

Now run the bullet through the bullet seating die.

You can also use a crimp to press onto the bullet in the case. This will make it more secure in the case.

Reloading ammo is successfully done!

After that, don’t forget to store your ammo safely. Check out our best ammo storage containers as well as our review of the best gun safes.

Final Verdict

We didn’t mention some of the equipment in the process those we mentioned in the equipment section.

It’s because their use is optional. So it’s up to you. But one thing you shouldn’t overlook is your safety as reloading can be dangerous.