How to Start Reloading Ammo

How to Start Reloading Ammo

How to start reloading ammo.

How do you start reloading ammo?  To many people, reloading ammo can be scary. The fear of doing something wrong and injuring yourself or your gun is real. Although if you are careful you will never have a problem.  In fact most will end up enjoying reloading, as much as shooting it.  The question is where do you start?

Watch a friend

The best way to start reloading ammo is to watch someone else.  If you have a friend that reloads ask them if you can watch.  If they are willing to, have them teach you.  The nice part about this is you can get a feel for their equipment.

Not everyone reloads the same.  Keep in mind the things that work for your friend may not work for you.  The good thing is you can get a feel for it without spending money on all the equipment.  If you don’t like it you aren’t out a lot of money.

Ask lots of questions.  It’s almost certain that your friend has equipment he doesn’t like.  Most likely he just hasn’t replaced it with better.  If you know this you won’t waste as much money starting out.

Take A Class

For those who don’t have friends that reload.  You can take a class.  The NRA offers Pistol and Rifle reloading classes. All though these classes aren’t offered everywhere they are a good way to learn reloading.

If all else fails make a new friend.  Just look for the guys picking up brass.  Your local gun range will have that one guy that picks up every piece of brass he can find.  Talk to that guy.  Guys that reload enjoy talking about it.  If you’re lucky he’ll show you his set up and how to reload.

Watch YouTube

There are plenty of good videos on YouTube to watch about reloading.  Videos from people like hickok45 do a great job of showing you what it takes to get into reloading.  He doesn’t give you everything you’ll need.  It’s also clear from the video that he mainly loads pistol calibers.

If you plan on reloading for rifles some of the advice is a little off.  With rifle calibers taking a lot of work to prep the brass.  You may consider buying a single stage press first instead of the progressive he suggests.

All YouTube videos are subject to the creators knowledge and opinions.  Make sure you watch a few different ones.   As a side note never use a powder recipe from a YouTube video.  Just because it works for that person doesn’t mean it won’t cause damage to your gun.  Always follow a Reloading manual.

Get multiple reloading manuals

Beginning or experienced reloaders need manuals.  It is never a good idea to load without load data.  With every manual having different powder and bullet combinations is good to have more than one manual.  Mainly because there are times when you can’t get certain powders, or bullets.  A good book to start with is Modern Reloading.  The information on reloading equipment is good, but  Lee Reloading specific due to the fact that it Lee wrote it.  If you think you will use a lot of Hornaday bullets get Hornaday’s Reloading Manual.  Like most people who get into reloading you may not know what bullets or equipment you’ll use.  One of the better all around manuals is from Lyman. Lyman has a good selection of bullets weights, powders and calibers’.

Equipment You’ll Need

You will need equipment to start reloading ammo:

  • Case cleaner
  • Reloading press
  • Reloading Dies
  • Powder Dispenser
  • Powder Scale
  • Calipers (digital is suggested)
  • Reloading Manual
  • Hand primer tool
  • Bullet puller
  • For Rifle calibers
    • Case trimmer
    • Chamfer and deburring tools
    • Case Lube

There are plenty of ways to get all the equipment.  You can buy each piece individually.  When you do this you can pick what brands and what type you want to buy.  You can also buy package deals that comes with everything you need but shell holders and dies.  If you know you’ll only be reloading for one caliber you can buy a progressive press set up for that one caliber.  The only problem with buying a caliber specific press, is eventually you’ll want to load other calibers.  Then you will be buying another whole press set up or paying a lot of money to convert this one.

Don’t expect to buy once.

If you reload for a while you will eventually replace your equipment with better.  This is a common.  Don’t worry about buying the best equipment right off the bat.  You’ll find some things you love.  Other things you find that don’t work for you.  Just don’t expect that you will buy your equipment only once.  You can do all the research in the world.  Choose the best equipment you can buy.  Yet still find you want something different.

Take your time

As you start reloading you will be temped to rush into things.  The want to get to you the range so you can shoot your own ammo will be strong.  Do not rush things.  There are many dangers with reloading ammo.  Being new to reloading ammo you may make mistakes.  Taking your time will help you prevent mistakes that will damage your gun.  Worse yet, get you injured.


To start reloading ammo, you will need to do a bunch of things.  Talk to someone who reloads.  Read a reloading manuals.  Watch YouTube videos.  Start buying your equipment realizing you may find equipment you like better later.  Plus you will take need to take your time.  It takes time to learn reloading.  Even more time to become great at reloading.  There are plenty of things to learn when you start to reload ammo.  It’s all worth it to know you have ammo that is tailored for your gun, and the way you want to shoot.

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