Lansing, Michigan – -(Ammoland.com)- The past few years have been challenging to acquire ammunition and/or related components for even the most dedicated shooters; the unprecedented demand for ammunition has been matched only by the equally extreme supply shortages.
Although availability has improved, the bitterness of scarcity has led many shooters to ponder the concept of loading their own private stock of ammunition.
For those shooting enthusiasts who are considering whether they should get into handloading their own ammunition, one question looms: why?
If you think saving money is a given, forget it – at least not for any short-term involvement. Even with the most basic loading tools, costs will run into the hundreds of dollars to get started. Then, as skills progress, more specialized tools of the trade will move from the wish list to the loading bench adding to the production costs.
However, if one desires unique ammunition not available from ammunition suppliers, cost may be overlooked depending on the unique nature of the shooter.
For example, one of my favorite deer guns is a single-shot Thompson/Center Contender pistol in .45-70 caliber. Factory ammo (other than Hornady’s Flex Tip ( goo.gl/UXzNt1 ) offering, which has been limited to only one bullet weight in .45-70 caliber) comes in round nose or flat nose aerodynamically challenged configurations.
The heavy recoil associated with this caliber could actually cause pointed-bullet ammunition to fire while still in a tubular magazine – a fearful consequence to be sure. Ammunition manufactures simply cannot take the chance that people would be intelligent enough to use pointed ammo in single-shot guns or to single-load it in repeaters, and therefore, wisely will not offer it.
On the other hand, I can handload hard-tipped Barnes bullets for the hunting handgun to an exacting length, which brings me to my primary reason for loading my own: accuracy.
Factories produce ammo short enough to fit into any manufacturer’s firearms. While this makes for reliable function, it does not necessarily meet the needs of a precision shooter. If I were to choose only one reason I handload, it is because I can produce ammunition custom-fit to my firearms. And, that means it has an inherent advantage over any store-bought stuff.
Without getting into the myriad tools and accessories associated with hand loading, a couple other considerations are in order.
Do you have a dedicated space where the loading can be performed? A specialized bench with good lighting and a lockable door to prevent unauthorized persons access is a good place to start. Since quality control is paramount to not only accuracy, but safety, distractions of any kind should be avoided.
If you are the type of person that is detail oriented, handloading can be a rewarding means to make the most of long, hard winter weather. The sizeable investment is not for everyone, but the personal satisfaction of building custom loads can make the venture of handloading a worthwhile endeavor to the discriminating enthusiast.
In summation, learning the wrong way can be as dangerous as ignorance itself. If you’ve made the decision to proceed, do so through information found in reliable loading manuals or trusted online sites sponsored by those in the business and you’ll be on your way – the right way.
Editors Note: If you are interested in learning more about reloading I would visit Sinclair Inc’s book and video section to get started: ( goo.gl/26yvlq ) and get yourslef a copy of Tom Mchale’s The Insanely Practical Guide to Reloading Ammunition ( tiny.cc/2q85dx ) that teaches the subject in a fun, easy-to-understand, and safe manner.
About Glen Wunderlich Charter Member Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Outdoor writer and columnist for The Argus-Press (www.argus-press.com) and blog site at www.thinkingafield.org Member National Rifle Association (NRA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), member U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM).