How to Load Ammunition

Posted: 18th October 2013 by Michael Levanduski in Home Security, How To, Survival Gear & Weapons, Weapons & Ammunition
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ammoIf you enjoy shooting, but hate having to constantly pay top dollar for your ammunition, or if you want to be prepared for a time when ammunition is no longer available to purchase at the stores, you need to learn how to load your own ammunition.  This is a fairly simple process, and it can save you a significant amount of money.  Once you get the hang of it, you can turn out a lot of ammunition fairly quickly.  This can allow you to enjoy shooting much more often, or even sell this ammunition to other firearms enthusiasts in the area.

Preparing the Casings

The first thing you need to do is gather up empty casings from existing ammunition.  The best way to do this is to always pick up your own casings when you go out shooting, so you can reuse them.  If you go to a shooting range, check to see if it is allowed to pick up casings off the ground.  If it is, you can get thousands of them in a single trip.

Once you’ve collected the casings, separate them into different sizes.  While some calibers can be interchangeable, it is best to know what you’re shooting, so keeping them all separate is ideal.  Once you’ve got them separated, it is time to clean the casings.  Cleaning them will remove any residue, dirt and grime that has gotten in and on the casings.

To clean the casings efficiently, you should get a vibratory case cleaner.  You add in cleaning media (typically corn cob or walnut hull) in with the casings.  You can also add in polish if you’d like the casings to look almost like new.  Turn the vibratory case cleaner on and let it run the recommended amount of time.  This will clean the casings nicely so they can be reused.  Remember, the medium used to clean the casings can be used for more than one batch, so save it!

Preparing the Loading Press

Now that you’ve got all your cases cleaned and separated by caliber, it is time to collect all the supplies together.  You’ll need to have enough casings, primers, bullets and powder to create as much ammunition as you’re planning on creating.  Of course, you’ll also need your ammo press and the dies for whatever size ammunition you’re making.  Once you’ve got everything together, it is time to start loading.

Make sure you are ONLY using the correct type and amount of powder for the caliber and bullet you’re making.  Getting this wrong could be very dangerous.  Use an exact measure for each bullet, and never attempt to fill casings without accurate measurements.

Next, you want to add new primers to the primer hopper of your ammo press.  Make sure all the primers are inserted correctly so they are facing the right way, or the ammo you create won’t fire properly.  Remember, there are several types of primers, so make sure you’re using the right one for the ammo you’re creating.

Pressing the Ammo

There are many different types of ammo press, so the specific instructions will vary based on the model you’re using.  This guide explains the process using a four-station press with a powder measure.   Make sure you read and follow the instructions on your particular ammo press.  The first step is to lubricate the exterior of the casings using ammo lubrication.  Next, place the casing into the first station.  There may be a spring or other item that holds the casing in place.  Once in place, pull the load press’s handle down completely.  This station will help to restore the casing to the proper size, since casings expand slightly when fired.  It will also extract the old, used primer.

Once you’ve gotten the load press handle all the way down, bring it back to the top position, and pull the handle forward to load a new primer.  Move the c tray ahead one position until it clicks, this second station will add the gun powder from the powder drop into the casing.  Check the amount of powder for the first few casings to make sure it is not using too much or too little.  Adjust the settings on the press if necessary.

Once the powder is correct, raise the bar again and move it to the third station, where the casing is belled.  This sets it up for you to place a bullet on top of the casing.  Repeat the process with the bullet on top, and now the casing will be crimped down.

Check the bullet to make sure it is seated properly.  If it is too deep, it can cause unsafe pressure in the chamber when you fire it.  I it is too shallow, it may cause the bullet to be inaccurate or create other problems.

Once you’ve got the bullet in properly, that one is done.  Repeat this process until you run out of materials or you are ready for a break.  With a four station ammo press you can be working on four casings at once, with one casing in each station.  This helps the process to go quite quickly. Remember to check the powder levels every 50-100 casings.

The entire process is fairly simple, and once you get the hang of it, you can make boxes of ammunition every day without any trouble.  Take your time at first, and make sure you understand what you’re doing.  Whenever handling ammunition there is a risk, so never get careless.

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