Beginner’s Guide to Reloading Ammunition(That You Can Actually Understand)

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Reloading is one of the best ways to save money if you’re a firearm enthusiast, and it’s a great way to better appreciate your ammunition. But many beginners are put off of reloading because of the perceived complexity of the process.

What if we told you that reloading isn’t all that hard or complex? In fact, this guide will show you exactly how to reload a cartridge from start to finish even if you don’t have any experience with reloading whatsoever. Let’s dive in!

What Is Reloading?

Before you undertake the reloading hobby seriously, what’s first go over what reloading is and isn’t.

Reloading is not building your own ammunition from scratch. Instead, it’s best understood as taking spent cases and refilling them with the other components that form a complete cartridge: a bullet, primer, and powder. Reloading allows you to save money on certain cartridge components and allows you to customize the “load” of your bullet.

This, in turn, lets you personalize your shooting experience in a way that you otherwise would never be able to. Many people reload to save money, but many more do it because they want to maximize the performance and output of their favorite firearm. For instance, once you have enough experience, you can tinker with the powder load of your cartridges and change the effectiveness or range of your rifle or pistol.

Still more reloader hobbyists perform this part in order to compete or hunt with their handcrafted ammunition as a point of pride. Whatever your personal reason for reloading, you need to understand that this hobby takes a lot of time and practice if you want to become really proficient.

While it’s not necessarily dangerous in and of itself, there are some risks that come with handling the volatile components and chemicals inherent in firearm operation. To that end, you should always begin reloading with simple components and machines and slowly build up to more complex operations.

In this guide, we’ll go over a detailed tutorial for a beginner’s reloading process. We’ll also sprinkle recommendations here and there about more advanced techniques or options you can pursue once you have more experience under your belt.

The Many Moving Pieces in Reloading

Reloading takes lots of components and machines to fully pursue from start to finish. In brief, the major components of a reloading bench are:

  • a reloading press
  • reloading materials, including brass cases, primers, powders, and bullets for the projectiles
  • cleaning materials for both your reloading components and the bench/tools themselves
  • storage materials so you can keep everything properly organized and safe between reloading sessions

How Does Reloading Work?

Let’s first summarize what happens when you fire a bullet out of a gun.

When you initially pull the trigger of a gun, a spring mechanism hammers a special firing pin into the backend of a ready bullet cartridge. This ignites a small explosive charge in the powder, which is located at the rear or bottom of the cartridge. The primer ignites the propellant or powder, which is the main explosive that takes up around two-thirds of the total volume of a different cartridge.

At this point, the powder burns and generates lots of gas in a very short amount of time. This creates pressure that fires the bullet out of the end of the cartridge, accelerating it down the gun barrel at very high speeds. Only the bullet leaves the cartridge and exits the gun to act as a projectile; the rest of the cartridge, including any remaining powder, the spent primer, and the brass casing, are all ejected from the weapon and left on the floor.

A very, very simplified explanation of the reloading process can be understood as follows:

  • A bullet is fired from a firearm, and the brass cartridge case is ejected from the firearm and falls to the ground
  • The brass case is retrieved. At this point, the case has expanded to almost mirror the interior of the firearm chamber. This makes it larger than it was originally. If you want to use it again, it’ll need to be resized and brought back to original specifications
  • You resize the brass case using your reloading press and a resizing die
  • After resizing the case and possibly trimming it to the correct length, you remove any spent primer out of the primer pocket
  • You install a new primer of the right size and type, then combine it with the right amount of powder depending on your case and other specifications
  • You’ll use a special seating die to place a new bullet projectile at a specific depth in the cartridge case
  • You’ll then examine the completed cartridge for any imperfections

Again, this is a very simplified version of the reloading process. We’ll break down each of these steps in more detail after we go over some key terms.

Glossary of Reloading Terms

Here’s a simple (but by no means fully comprehensive) glossary of common terms you’ll see in reloading tutorials and other learning materials. Let us know if you want us to explain another term in this guide.

Bullet

This is the piece of metal and main projectile in a firearm round. It’s usually pointed and distinct from the longer brass casing that is disposed of when a bullet is fired.

Bullet Swaging

When a bullet is formed using pressure in a die instead of casting it with molten lead into a mold.

Caliber

The very approximate diameter of gun bore or bullet.

Cannelure

One or more groups which are cut into the circumference of a bullet where the case can grip the bullet projectile.

Cartridge

A ready to fire round of ammo, fully loaded.

Case

The cylindrical container that holds the bullet, along with primer and powder. These are most often made of brass.

Case Cleaner

A tool you use to clean brass cases.

Case Forming

When you form a case of one caliber into another caliber.

Chamfer

When you bevel the inside of the case mouth. This beveling process allows rifle bullets to begin in the case mouth without crushing the rest of the case.

Chronograph

This is an instrument you use to measure a bullet’s velocity.

Components

These are the four main parts that make up a cartridge: Case, powder, primer, and bullet.

Crimp

When you bend the mouth of the case inward to grip a bullet.

Deburr

When you remove the small metal burrs from inside and outside the case mouth.

Decapping and Pin

The removal of spent primer from a fired case. The pin is the slimmer rod in the sizer die that pushes out the spent primer.

Expander

This is the part of a die that expands the case mouth so it can receive a bullet.

Flash Hole

A hole through which a primer ignites a powder charge inside a case.

Handloading

This is another term for reloading.

Hangfire

A slang term for any detectable delay in a cartridge ignition.

Ignition

When you set a powder charge on fire.

Jacket

The cover of a bullet, usually a slightly different material from the bullet core.

Misfire

When a cartridge fails to fire after the firing pin strikes the primer.

Neck

The part of the case that grips a bullet. Bottlenecked cases have this portion as the narrower section in front of the wider shoulder.

Neck Sizer Die

A die that you use to resize the neck portion of a fired case back to the original dimensions.

Primer Pocket Swaging

When you smooth out a crimped primer pocket found in most military cases.

Priming

When you install a new primer into a case.

Ram

A steel rod that runs through the center of a press and holds the shell holder to drive the case into a die.

Reloading Press

A tool that performs most of the major reloading tasks.

Resize

When you restore a fired case back to its original size.

Round

A single, complete cartridge.

Seater Die

A die that seats a bullet into the mouth of a powder charge and primed case.

Seating Depth

This is the depth at which a bullet is seated in a case mouth.

Shell Holder

A part that holds a case in the right alignment as the case is being run into the die.

Sizer Die

A die you use to resize a fired case back to the original dimensions.

Spent Primer

A primer that has already been fired.

Things You’ll Need to Get Started

First things first, you’ll need a few essential tools in order to start reloading. We’ll also go over what you can expect to pay for each component so you can draw up a basic budget.

The most obvious and essential of all of these is a reloading press. In a nutshell, the reloading press is the main machine apparatus through which you’ll perform most of the reloading chores. A reloading press can:

  • press brass cases against decapping pins to push out old primers
  • press casings into resizing dies that force the brass back into the original dimensions
  • press new primers into empty primer pockets
  • press casings against expanding dies that open the mouth enough to insert a new bullet
  • press bullets down into casings
  • crimp casings around bullets to remove the bells from expansions

If you didn’t have a reloading press, you have to do all this by hand or with manual metal tools. Reloading presses allow you to reload multiple cases in rapid succession and make it so your hands don’t bleed during this hobby!

Reloading presses come in several different types ranging from single stage to progressive. Beginners should almost always stick with single-stage presses; as the name suggests, these handle one part of the reloading operation time rather than doing multiple casing adjustments at once. This is slower than a progressive press or a multistage press, but it does allow you to focus on perfecting your craft before you move on to advanced techniques.

With a single-stage reloading press, you’ll load all your cases in batches by doing all of one step across all your cases in a session, then moving on to the next step, and so on and so forth. This type of press is also easiest to learn and the most affordable. You can expect to pay around $100-$150 if you want a good single stage reloading press.

The next piece of equipment you’ll need is a die set. Reloading dies are cylinders made of durable steel that are inserted into the reloading press. Think of them as molds but for your brass casings, and tough enough to mold cold metal rather than molten material. The interiors of reloading dies are cut to match the shapes of certain types of cartridges. Thus, you’ll need different die sets if you want to reload different calibers.

You screw the reloading dies into the reloading press, which then jams cartridge cases into the reloading dies depending on their function. As an easy example, a resizing die is shaped slightly differently from a brass casing that has expanded upon being fired. You use the reloading press to force the casing into the die and shape it back into the original specifications.

A decapping die (which is often combined with a resizing die) has a steel rod in the center that pushes out the primer at the bottom of the spent case.

An expanding die opens up the very end of a cartridge case to let you fit a new bullet inside. It doesn’t undo all the work that your resizing die did.

Seating and crimping dies often come in a combination single die. Such a die will push the bullet down into the case to the right depth for bullet seating while also pressing the case mouth inward to remove the mouth expansion when you used the expansion die. When done correctly, a new bullet should be seated tight within a case, ready to be fired once again.

For reloading, you’ll need a full set of dies for every caliber that you want to reload, along with a shell holder for each of those calibers. Shell holders are just little inserts for your reloading press that hold dies of specific calibers in place while the press works with mechanical magic. You can expect to pay at least $50 for a good die set, and maybe an extra $10 for a holder.

Another piece of equipment you’ll need is a powder scale. When you reload, you necessarily include powder as a chemical propellant for the bullet you are reloading. But certain cartridges take different types and amounts of powder. The process of filling a cartridge with powder is called charging.

When you charge a cartridge with either too little or too much, you can create a danger to yourself and others and, at least, damage any weapon you try to use the malfunctioning cartridge with! A powder scale is an electronic or beam device that lets you precisely measure the quantity of powder that you put into each cartridge. This is much more reliable and consistent than any human measurement, which comes with lots of room for error.

Beam scales (manual/mechanical) don’t run on batteries, so you can always count on them to work when you need to. They take a little more effort to understand and use correctly, however. Electronic scales are also pretty affordable and can be very reliable as long as you have fresh batteries whenever you need to use them. We will never recommend that you try to charge your cartridges without using a dedicated powder scale.

You also shouldn’t use a different type of scale, like a cooking scale, as those are designed and calibrated for different material weights and don’t always measure to a “grain” – the fundamental measurement unit for reloading. A good reloading scale will cost you around $75, though you can find ones for cheaper during certain sales.

You’ll also need a reloading manual. You should never reload your own ammunition without one of these handy; they contain the exact powder specifications and primer combinations for certain calibers of bullets and casings. You need one of these to know which powder you can combine with what kind of primer and how much powder to put into a given cartridge.

Fortunately, you can find reloading manuals from most major reloading component manufacturers like Lee, Sierra, Hornady, Lyman, and more. We’d also recommend picking up a physical book, so you always have your information handy rather than getting reloading recipes online. A reloading manual will cost you around $25 on average.

Lastly (but also first…), you’ll need a brass case cleaner. Whenever you endeavor to use your own ammunition, you’ll more than likely need to spend some time cleaning dirty brass cartridge cases. You can purchase precleaned cartridge cases from certain vendors, but we’ll assume you’ve scavenged the majority of your brass from the firing range.

Brass that’s dirty on the outside is not only vulnerable to tarnishing but it can also significantly affect the performance of the cartridge once it’s inserted into a rifle or pistol. A brass case cleaner uses dry or wet media (cleaning material) to clean the outside and interior of your brass cases and allows them to work smoothly with your reloading dies.

You can alternatively clean your brass by hand through soaking it in hot water with soap and allowing them to dry either in the sun or in an oven. However, large-scale reloading with batches of brass that number into the dozens or hundreds of bullets will require a brass cleaning machine if you want any kind of respectable volume or your time to be well spent. This will cost you either zero dollars if you want to clean your cases by hand or it can cost you between $50 and several hundred dollars if you want an advanced machine.

Optional Additions

It’s also a good idea to get a caliper for your reloading hobby. These come in either digital or analog varieties, but either way, calibers accurately measure cartridge length and thickness along the neck. This lets you determine whether your resizing efforts were successful in a brass cartridge is ready to be used for a full round of ammunition. Calibers cost around $30-$40 depending on their type and quality.

One other optional thing you might need to pick up is a rifle cartridge case trimmer. With rifle cartridges as opposed to pistol cartridges, the cases will stretch a little bit every time you reload them. This means you’ll need to purchase a device that can trim away the excess brass from the mouth of the case and let you use it again. These come in hand-operated or electric varieties and will cost you around $100.

Initial Setup

Now let’s dive more deeply into a full reloading routine from start to finish.

For your initial set up, you’ll want to gather all of the above-mentioned materials along with the right powder and primer for the caliber of cartridges you’ll be loading. You’ll also want a reloading bench; this can come in any shape or size provided that it gives you enough space to use your reloading press capably and prevent things from getting too disorganized.

We’d recommend having a spot in your garage or workshop with at least a couple of feet of space in every direction so you can spread your materials out. This will also lessen the likelihood that you’ll have spilled powder, which has to be disposed of because of potential contamination.

Cleaning Brass

The first part of the reloading process is cleaning any brass that you’ve scavenged from the firing range. If you already have clean brass from a vendor, you can look at it and determine whether you’ll need to spend any extra time cleaning things thoroughly before moving on. It’s still a good idea to practice cleaning your brass even if you don’t think it’s particularly dirty.

If you want to clean your brass by hand, take a glass bowl that can fill all or most of your brass casings and fill it with hot, soapy water. After letting the soap fully permeating throughout the water, use your hands to rustle the casings around inside the mixture. This physically gets rid of a lot of the grime and dirt on the surface of your casings.

Then you need to thoroughly rinse the brass casings in cool water until you get rid of all the soap residue. If done correctly, dirty water will flow out of the bowl and into your sink. At this point, arrange the brass casings on an oven sheet or another flat drying surface and place them in an oven on low heat. This is around 200°F or so. You can alternatively let the brass casings dry in the sun. Either way, don’t try to use the casings until they are totally dry.

If you have a brass tumbling machine, place the casings inside the receptacle or bowl with the dry or wet media depending on the machine you’ve chosen. Tumbling cleans brass perfectly well every time, and dry brass cleaning machines mean you can skip the drying process altogether.

Resizing

Next comes one of the most important parts of the entire reloading process: resizing your brass casings and potentially trimming them if you will use them in a rifle.

Firstly, we would recommend investigating any brass that you buy from a vendor or scavenged from a firing range after thoroughly cleaning the brass. You want to look for any cracks or splits in the casings; if you see any, toss those casings away. Such casings can easily rupture when you fire them later, causing irreparable damage to your firearm and potential harm to yourself.

You’ll also want to look for several other things, like the primer being flat around the edges or the firing pin indentation also flat around the edges. Either of these signs shows that the brass was subjected to too much pressure and should be disposed of.

But if you examined your brass and found it good enough, you can move on to the resizing process.

The best way to do this is to sort your brass by the headstamp, or the markings located on the very bottom of the brass casing. These numbers determine things like the interior base thickness and wall thickness.

Separate brass casings by these numbers, which will be sized by grains, like 97.0 grains for Lake City casings, 97.2 grains for a common Winchester brass casing, or 96.9 grains for common Hornady casings. You want to sort your brass by casing type so you can resize all the casings at once without having to fiddle with settings on your press over and over again.

Remembering, resizing involves forcing a brass casing that has expanded to some degree back into its original shape by pressing it into the resizing die.

To do this, set up your single stage reloading press and place your resizing die in the main slot on top of the press. Your brass casing should be placed on a small shell holder beneath the resizing die; this holder will be attached to the main lever or “ram” of the press.

As you pull the lever down, it lifts the brass casing up into the die, forcing it into the correct shape. The exact orientation of your press might vary from this basic design, but it should follow the above main routine. Any shaved brass off of your casing will be disposed of in a collector or bin beneath the die.

We will mention that resizing rifle casings requires an extra step: lubrication. Pistol resizing dies have carbide inserts on their interiors that prevent the casings from being stuck on the inside of the die as they are jammed in the place. Rifle dies do not. So you’ll need to lubricate every rifle casing before resizing them.

When it comes to lubricant, be aware that using any oily lubricant means you’ll need to clean the rifle casings again because the oil can contaminate the interior of your weapon once you load it in your firearm. Alternatively, you can use a dry casing lubricant that evaporates over time to skip this step.

Either way, be sure to keep your resized casings separate from casings that still need to be resized so you don’t try to resize the same casing multiple times.

Why Use Brass?

Brass is used in case manufacturing because it’s relatively malleable compared to similar metals. While it’s stiff to the touch and you won’t have much luck trying to bend it with your bare fingers, it’s a fact that brass can expand when subjected to high heat and pressure without breaking or cracking, unlike other metals.

This allows brass to be used multiple times (i.e. fired from multiple weapons) before it will show signs of structural instability. It’s also excellent for cases because it has a tendency to flow toward the mouth of the case, meaning you’re able to trim some material back and resize the case to original specifications.

Decapping

Next is decapping, which happens exactly like resizing but with a different die. You can place the resizing die to the side and insert the decapping die instead; this die has a metal rod in the middle that’ll push out the spent primer of a brass casing once used. Use the exact same technique you would with a resizing die with your single stage press and the primers will pop out of your brass casings. Easy!

Trimming

We mentioned earlier that, with many rifle brass casings, their mouths actually expand upward and outward when they are fired and resized, meaning you need to trim away some of the brass material in order for them to meet their original specifications.

You can find the correct trim length for any given rifle brass casing by checking your reloading manual. You can then use your brass trimming tool in order to cut away the correct amount of material.

Some tools come with separate chamfer and deburring functions. Chamfering tools apply minor bevels to the inside of case mouths to help bullets seat firmly and evenly. Deburring tools remove the rough edges on the outside of the case and apply a minor bevel there, as well. We’d recommend using all three if you can manage it for better performance, and some brass trimming tools come with all three functions as a true “multitool”.

After trimming, it might be helpful to use your caliper to check the casing neck thickness or wall thickness. This just checks your trimming work and lets you know if you need to go a little further for excellent results.

Primer Pointers

Now it’s time to take care of primers. In brief, cartridge primers are small metal cuts that are pressed into the similarly small primer pocket at the base of the cartridge case. These contain compounds that explode when they are impacted by the firing pin of the firearm, which starts a chain reaction resulting in a bullet leaving a barrel.

Although all primers roughly look the same, they can vary dramatically based on their performance and what powders they work well with. There are two main types of centerfire primers: Boxer and Berdan. Boxer primers have a small amount of explosive material inside their bases and feature an anvil on the inside. Berdan primers feature anvils that are built into the primer cup areas of cartridge cases. For most users, Boxer primers are much easier to use and are better for reloading. They’re a lot easier to remove, too.

Primer sizes range from small pistol to large rifle in four broad categories. Small rifle and pistol primers are about 0.175 inches in diameter and 0.12 inches tall. Large rifle primers are 0.128 inches tall and 0.212 inches wide, while large pistol primers are little smaller at 0.12 inches tall and a 0.211 inches diameter. Magnum primers are another ballgame entirely, so they should only be used with cartridges designed for them in the first place.

Again, be sure to consult your reloading manual so you know that you are matching up your primers with the correct powder for your caliber of projectile.

Removing Primers

One thing to look for as you check out your brass cases is crimped primer pockets. You’ll normally run into these with popular military cartridges like 5.56 mm or .308. In many cases, military cartridge manufacturers will hammer in the primer pocket a little more to make sure the primer doesn’t move. This means you might have little extra difficulty inserting a new primer into the pocket.

You can insert new primers in your cases using your single stage reloading press. It’s not very technically difficult, as all you’re doing is pressing a new primer into the case pocket. Many single-stage presses also have priming arms that are hinged at their bottom, along with a cup at the top that holds a single primer component. In addition, the ram you used for resizing will often have a slot you can swivel the priming arm into, placing the primer directly underneath the cartridge case. Lowering the ram, therefore, pushes the priming arm into the groove and lowers the case onto the new primer.

You may need to consult the manual of your single stage press to determine exactly how the priming process works with your machine. But in a nutshell, you’ll use the same ram and mechanism to insert a primer using the machine as you did for the dies.

You can alternatively use a dedicated priming tool. Hand primers are like requires that push new primers in the place, and they normally include a tray that lets you place in several primers at once for rapid efficiency.

Safety Tips

Always wear safety glasses whenever you handle primers; these are explosive components no matter how you use them. If they go off by themselves, like if they ever are dropped from your workbench, they might flash and go off, which can scatter small primer debris or gas into your eyes.

We’d also recommend storing your primers apart from one another. As you can imagine, a single primer stuffed in with dozens of others can easily set off a chain reaction if it explodes from being disturbed. Many unlucky reloaders have had entire cabinets go up in flames because they stored all the primers in a single box!

Powder – A Tutorial For Beginners

Getting your powder squared away is the next step in the reloading process. Powder is arguably the most important part of the entire thing, actually, since mixing up your powder or using the wrong amount can seriously change how your cartridge performs.

Modern powder is “smokeless”, which distinguishes it from old-fashioned black powder that saw use in bygone centuries. Modern powder is also sometimes called propellant. Just because it doesn’t smoke doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous, so be sure to keep any potentially ignitable material away from your powder when working with it!

In brief, gunpowder creates pressure when it is ignited via a rapidly expanding cloud of gas that physically forces a bullet out of a case neck and a gun barrel in a blink of an eye.

There are easily over 100 powder types on the market (likely close to 200 when you take in subsidiary brands). But the two broadest categories are single base or double-base.

Single-base powders are made from nitrocellulose, while double-base powders are made of the nitrocellulose material and nitroglycerin. Powders also have metrics called “burn rates”. These measure how fast the powder burns inside a bullet, which can affect bullet velocity and their intended cartridge caliber use.

Generally speaking, pistols with shorter barrels use fast burning powder the majority of the time because there’s less time for the powder to finish its chemical reaction and eject a bullet. Rifle barrels, having much more length for the bullet to travel, use longer burning powders to give their projectiles added velocity and accuracy at range.

Keep in mind that the difference between these burning times is small, but it is noteworthy. Your reloading manual can tell you the powder burn rate charts for all major powders by speed and other metrics.

Powders can also differ by shape, which ranges from ball to extruded to flake. The shape here describes the physical appearance of the powder granules. As a beginner reloader, you should only be worrying about ball powder because it’s easier to measure consistently.

So, now that that’s out of the way, consult your reloading manual for the correct powder for your caliber of cartridge and purchase it. Then consult the same reloading manual to find how much powder you need for every cartridge you want to fill. Use your reloading scale to find the correct amount and presto! You’ve got the right amount of powder for your case. Pour that into the case after priming it and the cartridge is almost completed.

Using a funnel or another case charging tool is recommended in order to prevent spilling powder over your workbench. But many scales also come with a powder holder that has a little shovel or scoop at the end which you can use to accurately pour powder, as well.

Safety Tips

Once again, not flammable materials! You should also take care when storing your powder, as it needs to be sealed in a cool dry container so that the powder isn’t contaminated over time or altered by humidity.

Seating the Bullet and Crimping

The last part of the reloading process is actually putting the bullet into place. Consult your reloading manual for the cartridge you are making, and it’ll specify a bullet weight, type, and cartridge length.

You need to use the exact correct bullets for a given cartridge, as the formula for powder only works if you use the assumed bullet weight. This is easy to understand; short and stubby bullets love different velocities and firing behaviors than long, narrow bullets.

You’ll also likely need to crimp your cases. You’ll need to open the mouth of the brass casing wide enough to place a projectile there. Crimping folds back the mouth of the case into the correct position and seals the bullet correctly after you’ve seated the bullet.

Semiautomatic cartridges usually have tapered crimping, while other cartridges may use roll crimping. Your manual will tell you which is which for your cartridge.

If you’re reloading a bottleneck cartridge, your resizing die already includes a ball at the end of the decapping rod that expands the mouth of your case ahead of time. Thus, bottleneck cartridges are ready for seating after being resized.

Straight walled cases will require you to use an expander die, however. This works just like a resizing die; place the die into the appropriate slot on your press, use the ram for each case, and presto! The mouths of each case should now be slightly open. You can be gentle when operating the ram, here, as you only need to open the mouth barely enough for a bullet to make it into the case without causing the formation.

How to Use a Seating Die

A seating die is needed to place the bullet correctly. Firstly, ensure that the seating die insert is set for the correct type of bullet you’ll be placing. Loosen the insert far enough out so it doesn’t reach a bullet too early, then place a shell holder beneath the press ram.

Put an empty case in the shell holder and raise the piston of the press up to the die so that they barely touch. Through the die in until it touches the cartridge case raised into the die area, then loosen the die about a full turn so that the die doesn’t touch the case at all. This sounds repetitive, but it’s just to make sure that the bullet is seated at the correct depth.

Lower the piston and place a cartridge case that’s ready to go in the shell holder. Put a bullet in the mouth of the case; if expanded correctly, it shouldn’t fall through the case but will instead rest in the mouth. Raise the press all the way and tighten the seating die insert until it touches the bullet.

Lower the press piston again, tighten the die again, and raise the press once more. This will press the bullet into the case at the correct depth. Then repeat this process until you have all the bullets seated correctly.

After opening the mouths of all your cases, it’s time for crimping. Depending on the seating die you have, it may crimp at the same time. But if not, you’ll need a separate crimping die.

As with the other dies, use a crimping die by placing a shell holder in the reloading press and inserting a cartridge with the seated bullet in place. Raise the piston all the way up and screw in your seating die or crimping die until it contacts the mouth of the case. Then tighten the die according to the instructions that should have come with your die purchase. It’s usually about one-quarter of a turn for the correct amount of crimping.

Wrap Up

The last step in any reloading session is to examine the cartridges again. Remember, these are supposed to be live ammunition. Take an extra few minutes and double check them for impurities, cracks, or similar signs of damage.

Summary

Ultimately, reloading is far from a difficult habit once you break down all of the required steps and look at it procedurally. Basic reloading can be done by just about anybody, but practicing and gaining more experience will allow you to perform advanced reloading techniques, like roll crimping, custom loading, and more.

The above guide is only an introductory overview of reloading. If you want to learn more about a particular topic or technique, please let us know! We also have additional reloading guides you can peruse as needed. Thanks for reading and good luck!

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