Gun Basics: How to Properly Reload Rifle Ammo

Bullets that have been reloaded

Rifles are one of the most reliable firearms gun enthusiasts love to use. Rifles can shoot targets that are both near and far, fit nicely in their owners' hands and shoulders, and when it comes to the accessories, nothing can compare with the array of options that can enhance this firearm’s power and appearance. There is a certain rush rifle owners get whenever they pull the trigger. Be it from a semi-auto or an automatic, every new round will always feel better than the last. However, even though rifle owners are left with a fleeting moment of joy, being trigger happy is not economical.

Depending on the specs of your firearm, you know that the ammo – being a necessity – can be very expensive.  That is why most gun enthusiasts only shoot when it is necessary, and save the rest in a well-kept safe. On the contrary, there is one method wherein you will be able to create and fashion ammo which will not only fit your specific criteria, but also give you a chance to supply your own cartridge, and it is called reloading.

The Benefits of Reloading

Do not confuse this kind of reloading with the one that refills your gun’s magazine. Reloading, also known as handloading, is the process of loading ammo (be it a cartridge or shotgun shell), by purchasing its individual components, rather than buying a fully made factory product. At first glance, it might seem complicated to understand why reloading one’s ammo is even a viable option, but some firearm enthusiasts prefer going through this process, because of three main reasons:

Saves Money

Factory made ammo is expensive. A box of 50 44 magnum cartridges will cost your around $32.00 and, depending on your shooting frequency, you might need more than fifty pieces a week. If you decide to reload your own ammo, you will be able cut your costs significantly.

Gives You the Opportunity to Customize Your Ammo

If you are not satisfied with the quality that is being produced by factories, reloading will let you decide how you want your overall shooting performance to go. For example, if you want your rifle to fire accurately, you can experiment with the length of the casing, powder, and bullet, to be able to formulate the perfect ammo that fits your taste.

Develop a New Hobby

With the help of reloading, your knowledge with firearms will only broaden. Not only will you be able to learn new things about your rifle, but also get your hands dirty with the nitty-gritty aspects of being a gun enthusiast.

Reloading your Rifle Ammunition

Ammo may come in one of these four types: brass, steel, aluminum, or plastic. So before you begin reloading your ammo, you must consider the material they come in so that you can manipulate the performance.

Things you’ll need:

  • Casings
  • Primers
  • Bullets
  • Lubricant
  • Powder
  • Loading Press
  • Seating Die
  • Gun Oil
  • Digital weighing scale (or any scale that can weigh powders accurately)

Segregate and Clean the Casings

You do not want to work with dirty or damaged casings because they will underperform. To do this, you need to check the cases for defects and if they show any cracks, dents, or bulges, you need to discard them. If it is dirty, clean the case with a soft cloth, and use a neck brush to target the inner areas. You then lightly apply a light coating of case lubricant to prevent them from getting stuck in the sizing die – repeat this process if necessary.

Remove the Spent Primer

When using the loading press, make sure that the handle is positioned upward before you insert each case. Once you have placed all the cases in the loading press, lower the handle to have it resized and push the primer out. Raise the handle back up, remove the cases, and place in a new set. Continue to do this until all spent primers have been removed.

Insert New Primer

Using the loading press, raise the handle as high as it goes before placing the new primer into the cup of the primer arm. Insert a case into the shell holder and then push the primer arm into the ram slot and lower the case onto the primer. Once you are done, you can check your work by inspecting the primer. You know that you have done it correctly when the primer is flush or slightly lower than the case base. Repeat until all cases have new primers.

Reload the Casing with Powder

You must remember that each shell size demands a different variety and weight of powder. So before you proceed to this process, you must know what kind of ammo you have. To reload the casing, you first need to weigh the proper amount of powder. You may then proceed to add it in your casing by using a funnel. As for unused powder, it is always safer to return it to the factory container.

Seat the Bullet

Put one of the casings in the shell holder and then lower the press handle so that it is secured in place. You then hold a bullet over the open casing with one hand while lowering the press with the other. If you feel like the bullet needs to be seated a little deeper, you have to readjust the seater before repeating the process.


After you are done, clean the dies and ram with a light coat of gun oil. You can also lubricate the moving parts on the shell with the same product. Once that is done, you can now store your reloaded ammo in cartridge boxes.

Reloading ammo can be simple, but if you are still having a hard time or an in need of specific materials, don’t hesitate to contact GunCo Arms and we will be more than happy to supply you with the things you need. Our company is well-stocked with top-of-the-line firearm products from rifles to shotguns, and parts and gears, so if you are interested, give us a call at: 940-341-2501 or visit our contact page here. We service areas situated near the areas of Wichita Falls, Texas.