So, you love the idea of being able to build your own bullets but you don’t know where to begin? Or perhaps you find yourself slightly intimidated by the idea of loading your own ammo, given that the consequences of doing so poorly can result in an injury. Maybe you think it is far too complicated and best left alone. Think again. Handloading is simple, and can be done safely in the comfort of your own home or garage without much trouble at all. Here are the definitive answers to frequently asked questions about handloading. There’s nothing to fear and everything to gain.
The smokeless powders of today aren’t anything close to the stuff that was being used back in the early pioneer era. Modern gunpowder is technically classified as a “propellant,” which means that when it is properly ignited, it burns. It doesn’t explode. While it’s important to take ALL NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS when loading your own ammo, you don’t have to worry about accidentally blowing up your garage. Handloading isn’t high risk.
Handloaded ammunition typically outperforms factory, store-bought ammo because it allows the shooter to customize a bullet to fit a specific gun. By having control over the amount of powder, the seating depth and overall constitution of the bullet, you end up producing high-quality rounds that can outperform run-of-the-mill, mass-produced ammunition.
This is where handloading makes the most sense, for two reasons. Firstly, the cost of store-bought ammunition for popular hunting rounds nowadays is about $2 a round. A box of 20, 30-06 or .308 bullets is about $26. That breaks down to the primer, the powder and bullet accumulating a collective 70-cent expense. The brass is where the cash is. Approximately $1.30 of a standard, factory round is charged to the customer for the brass and the labor of loading it. When you handload, your re-use your brass. This means you are saving roughly 65% on each round. Which, leads us to the second reason handloading makes more sense, it will make you a better marksman because it allows you to afford more trigger time.
Cost of a Handloading Setup
Not only do you need very little equipment to get going, for what you will save in the long run, it isn’t terribly expensive either. Investing in a reloading setup that can do everything you want it to will run you roughly $300. There are different setups and companies and the costs vary, but a solid and affordable working man’s set up like this LEE (goes for about 299.00). Powder and bullets, you will need to buy separately.
Still wondering how it all works? Check out our video below, in which we demonstrate how a 30-06 cartridge is handloaded from start to finish.