Reloading revisited

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Few things give me greater satisfaction than taking a deer with ammunition I crafted at my reloading bench. As satisfying as that is, it’s just part of it. I can cite numerous additional benefits and pleasures of loading or reloading ammunition, but they would be too numerous to list here. Most people who begin to reload say they do so for economy and that factor can’t be overlooked. However, economy is of paramount importance only if they do a lot of shooting.

Truth be told it can take some time to pay for the equipment and supplies necessary to reach the break-even point especially if you don’t do a lot of shooting or, if you are reloading for a readily available standard caliber like the .308, .30-06 or .270. Make no mistake, these rounds can be reloaded for less than the price they fetch at a retail outlet and the savings can be substantial. The real savings begin when reloading for a favorite rifle chambered in a caliber not ordinarily carried by your local sporting goods store.

As an example, I had a custom rifle made by my brother, a machinist, and chambered for the .308 Norma Magnum.  It was a beautiful firearm fitted with a Bishop walnut stock, cherry wood inlays and topped with a 2X7 Leupold scope. It was more than a match for any game on the North American continent. I sold it a few years back when the realization set in that I was never going to hunt moose or grizzly bear. It was a fine, accurate rifle but, it was just too much rifle for me and, I didn’t need that much power to knock down a whitetail. Today, ammunition for that rifle runs about $70.00 or more a box but, I could reload it for about $25.00 per box, surely a significant savings.  Saving money is an important consideration to be sure but, reloading would not be as popular as it is unless there was and even greater return on investment.

At the top of that list, I’d argue that by reloading, shooters can tune their ammunition to squeeze every bit of accuracy out of their favorite rifle. In addition, loads can be fashioned for every purpose a shooter wants or needs. For example, I use my Sako Forester rifle chambered in .243 Winchester caliber for woodchuck hunting in the summer and deer hunting in the fall. This means I can load rounds with bullets ranging from 70 grains for woodchucks to as heavy as 105 grains for deer. In addition, I can choose a hollow point or spire point bullet or even a copper bullet to top off each round. My hunting situation dictates which load I’ll use for whatever I’m hunting.

Over the years I’ve developed loads that can be covered with a dime at 100 yards using a specific powder and bullet combination and, I was able to do that by experimenting with the various load recipes listed in my reloading manuals. The idea is that a shooter can make better ammunition than they can buy and, at less cost. To ensure a constant result and the greatest accuracy, I weigh every charge of powder to the tenth of a grain and this gives me consistent pressure in every round that comes out of my rifle. Factory ammunition is good, but commercially made ammunition can’t approach that degree of fine tuning.

Bullets today are of exceptional quality as are the other components available for the average reloader and putting them together is not a complicated matter. Reloading is a hobby that can be enjoyed by anyone who shoots because it is practical, enjoyable as well as economical. Who can argue with that?

Categories: Firearms, New York – Mike Raykovicz

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