Well, here it is, the second and (we hope) the conclusion to the Handloading net. While it is probably a good idea to review the posts from the first net, for those who want to jump to the new posts for session # II, it starts on page 2 with post # 19.
Ammunition Handloading (Reloading)
This week we will examine the process of manufacturing your own ammunition. First things first - this is not for everyone, and this is so for some very good reasons, all of which we will discuss during the net. But for those who are handloading and for those who want to start, THE MOST IMPORTANT thing that should always be at the very top of your list, is SAFETY. Safety comes in many forms, and is not just practices that you follow while loading, but also the actions that you take following the loading, all of which will be discussed during the net.
The consequences of careless handloading, at best, can be the destruction of your firearm, and at worst, serious physical injury or death. If this sounds scary, then that's good, because we have your attention. In a safety sense, handloading is just like using a chain saw, or rock climbing, or any number of other activities that require dedicated safety consciousness - a moments inattention can have deadly consequences.
All this is intended to help you decide if handloading is right for you, because the benefits are significant. Since this audience is comprised mainly of Ham Radio operators, you will find that there are some interesting parallels between handloaders and the Amateur community - a passion for building your own equipment.
So, since safety is most important, let's start there. Building safe and accurate ammunition requires several steps, NONE of which can be ignored. This is why you follow the rules of handloading. With a massive explosion going off either in your hands or an inch or so from your face, you might need to think twice, or thrice, about following the rules as you handload!!! This is what the consequences of carelessness look like:
WHERE TO START
For those who are interested in handloading, and especially for all you "seasoned" handloaders, my advice is as follows: never get to the point where you are unwilling to learn. If you are just starting out, the absorption of information will seem almost overwhelming, and, as they say, it will be like taking a drink of water from a fire hose. Fear not, because there is help at hand, and it comes in many forms.
- Read, and re-read all the instructions that come with your equipment
- Just about every manufacturer of handloading equipment will list their phone number on their website. Their technical support people are there to help. Don't ignore this resource.
- Find a handloading elmer
- Books, books and more books.
- All handloading companies maintain a website where a great deal of handloading data can be found
The handloading book, entitled, "Top Grade Ammo" is one of the best books on this topic I have found, and it covers not just what you should do to safely and accurately make your own ammo, but what you should do after it is made. Both are important!!! Glen Zediker writes this book based on his experiences as a competitive shooter and as a widely accepted authority on handloading. This is what Brownells says about him (https://www.brownells.com/reloading/boo ... 02542.aspx):
Whatever your skill level as a reloader, from rank beginner to a seasoned veteran, Top-Grade Ammo has information and guidance that will help you load better ammo - and do it economically - while having fun.
Zediker, a noted AR-15 competition shooter, doesn’t just tell you what to do but why you’re doing it. He covers loading and reloading for semi-automatic rifles, specifically the .223 Remington/5.56 NATO-based modern sporting rifles, BUT bolt actions and other types of rifles are thoroughly covered, too.
Available here: https://www.buyzedikerbooks.com/
Handloading, or Reloading Data Manuals are a compendium of loading data which you WILL need in order to safely load your ammo. These books are critical for two reasons:
- They provide a step by step explanation of the handloading process, as well as the reasons why each step is important. Recommendations on necessary equipment are also part of these explanations. Without at least one current volume of these data manuals, you cannot reload.
- They provide specifics for:
-primer size and manufacturer
-case trim-to lengths
-powder measurements (weights)
-expected bullet velocities
-barrel twist recommendations
-cartridge overall length
-bullet seating depth (for some)
attachment=1]Sierra Reloading Data (Medium).jpg[/attachment]