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Hunter’s Handbook is the official student “how-to” information pipeline of the International Hunter Education Association. As the experts in teaching safe, ethical and successful hunting, we are here to provide tips, tools, and great video content as well as offer you a place that you can learn more about your love and favorite past-time—hunting.  Spend some time with us.  New content is added monthly, and we are excited to share our expertise with you.  We wish you a lifetime of safe and memorable experiences in the outdoors.

Lyman: Reloading for Hunting

Loading your own ammunition may seem confusing, but it really isn’t and it can provide a number of benefits for hunters. “Hunters reload for several reasons, including: to improve accuracy; to select and load a premium game bullet or a bullet with a high ballistic coefficient for long-range shooting; to save money; and for personal satisfaction,” said Tom Griffin, technical manager for Lyman Products, a leading manufacturer of, as they say, “innovative tools for serious shooters and reloaders.”

Lyman: Reloading for Hunting

Reloading Ammunition Can Provide Benefits for Hunters

By Joe Arterburn

Loading your own ammunition may seem confusing, but it really isn’t and it can provide a number of benefits for hunters. “Hunters reload for several reasons, including: to improve accuracy; to select and load a premium game bullet or a bullet with a high ballistic coefficient for long-range shooting; to save money; and for personal satisfaction,” said Tom Griffin, technical manager for Lyman Products, a leading manufacturer of, as they say, “innovative tools for serious shooters and reloaders.”

 

Griffin also edits Lyman’s reloading manuals, which he says is the place for those interested in taking up reloading to start. “It is easy to get started,” he said. “The best way is to purchase a good reloading manual and give it a good read. Most manuals will provide all the how-to info a reloader needs to get started, and will discuss the equipment needed.”

 

The next step is to review the data for the cartridge you wish to reload, then select the components you want to use, including bullet weight, appropriate powder and required primer size.

Of course, you’ll need basic equipment and tools, which, according to the Lyman manual, include:

  1. Up-to-date Loading Manual
  2. Reloading press
  3. Shell holder
  4. Reloading die set of appropriate caliber
  5. Case lubricant
  6. Case lubricant pad - Note: items 5 and 6 are not required when using a carbide die with some handgun calibers
  7. Safety glasses (especially for priming)
  8. Priming unit
  9. Primer tray
  10. Powder scale (graduated in grains avoirdupois)
  11. Powder trickler
  12. Powder funnel
  13. Two loading blocks
  14. Dial indicating caliper (graduated in 0.001” increments)
  15. Case trimmer with pilot
  16. Deburring tool

 

But, as the manual points out, “several aspects required in becoming a safe reloader cannot be purchased at the local gun shop. Most important is a good supply of common sense. Not everyone who drives is qualified to be an auto mechanic and not everyone who shoots is qualified to be a reloader. However, it is reasonably easy to develop the necessary skills and attitude to be a safe reloader.”

 

As always, safety first, including assuring you have an appropriate place to reload, somewhere free from distractions, nothing that can divert your attention to the important details. Undivided attention is a must. Your work area should have adequate lighting and a suitable, sturdy bench, preferably in an out-of-the-way place you can devote to reloading. And, always remember, powder and primers require safe, lockable, remote storage. And, importantly, be sure to follow the data listings, the recipes for reloading, exactly. Experimentation can lead to trouble.

 

It can also be helpful to consult experienced reloaders. Ask your hunting friends and acquaintances if they reload and, if they do, ask for their advice. They can provide not only tips on equipment selection and proper procedures but may share their favorite recipes. “Talking to fellow shooters/reloaders can provide a lot of know-how,” Griffin said. “And gun shops that handle reloading can also be a big help, as can customer service reps at reloading companies.”

For more information, visit lymanproducts.com and click on the “Introduction to Reloading” link.