Reloading cartridges for your firearms can be a financially rewarding and personally satisfying effort.
Reloading is the process by which you assemble your own firearm cartridges from the components of projectile, propellant powder, primer and casing.
Rifle cartridges comprise a bullet, smokeless powder, primer and metallic case. Brass is a common metal for rifle cases.
Shotgun cartridges usually comprise several projectiles, a plastic wad to separate the projectiles from the smokeless powder, a primer and a plastic case.
Many off-the-shelf cartridges are available on the market. They are easy to buy and immediately use.
Reloaded cartridges can be less expensive over time, customizable to better suit the characteristics of a particular firearm and have consistent quality.
A reloaded cartridge for one of my dear hunting rifles, which is chambered for .30-06 Springfield cartridges, costs 15 to 55 percent less than a comparable off-the-shelf cartridge.
Getting into reloading requires investment in equipment and knowledge. You get what you pay for, but a reloading book and starter kit can be bought for around $250.
Reloading really becomes economical only when you are shooting often because of the initial cost.
I shoot often enough to make up for the investment and can shoot more often on the same budget because of the savings per cartridge.
Two firearms may be the same make and model, but subtle variations in their construction and materials will cause them to favour different cartridge loads. One firearm may perform better with a projectile or propellant that is different from the other.
I have disassembled several name brand cartridges and found differences in the amount of propellant used, which negatively affects the power and precision of the projectile.
The powder difference was less in more expensive name brand products, but then the cost per cartridge became very expensive.
Reloading gives control over the physical characteristics of cartridges to better suit each firearm. The quality control of reloaded cartridges can be better than their mass manufactured counterparts.
Each step in reloading a cartridge can be carefully measured and double checked to ensure consistent quality.
Variances can be easily identified and corrected so that shooters can be confident in the predictable nature of their cartridges.
Kim Quintin is a Saskatoon outdoor enthusiast and knife maker. He can be reached for column suggestions at email@example.com or 306-665-9687.