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Shooting the bull

Happy days are here again: Dealers’ shelves are once again overflowing with reloading components.

In my last column, I detailed two of the primary reasons I believe that reloading your own pistol, rifle or shotgun ammunition might be right for you.

Let’s review: Like many of you, I believe that our founding fathers got it right; the ability to protect oneself, one’s family and property is foundational to a free society. The realization of this right, in turn, depends on one’s ability to bear arms. And those opposed to this freedom understand that it doesn’t matter how many arms you’re able to bear if you don’t have an adequate supply of ammunition to fire in them.

As I mentioned in my last column, for the past few decades we’ve been living a new political reality. Each election cycle, the same old ineffective gun bans and ammunition/magazine restrictions are repackaged and hawked as necessary common-sense measures for ending violent crime. While these measures never do that, they are effective for creating consumer panic, which always results in market shortages and inflation pricing. Reloading can give you a temporary hedge on politically driven market shortages by allowing you to build up an adequate store of ammunition while the components are readily available and reasonably priced.

And on a more personal level, I love the fact that reloading gives me the ability to customize ammunition for each of my firearms, maximizing the performance and versatility of every firearm in my collection.

Reason No. 3

The reality is that most of us must live within rather constrained budgets. Unless we’re careful how we spend our money on nonessentials, we’re likely to run out of money before we run out of month. So from a purely economic perspective, there are certain categories of shooters who can achieve real savings by reloading their own ammo.

The first are the high-volume shooters — the folks who fire thousands, even tens of thousands, of rounds of ammunition a year honing their skills. Once they’ve standardized their rifle, pistol and shotgun loads, these experienced handloaders achieve real savings by purchasing their reloading components in bulk lots.

I’m able to pocket significant coin by purchasing from Berry’s Bullets (of Saint George, Utah) fabulous lead-core/copper-plated 9mm, 38, 40/10mm, .45 ACP/LC, .300 Blackout and 7.62x39 bullets in 500/1,000-round bulk packs. Midway USA, Widener’s Reloading and Shooting Supply, Hi-Tech Ammunition and Mid-South Shooters Supply are also excellent sources for discounted bulk brass and bullets.

The savings really pile up when bulk lots of factory-second bullets and once-fired range brass become available. Additionally, as a regular range rat, I’m able to scrounge up lots of once-fired brass (mostly 9mm Luger and .223/ 5.56mm) to feed my favorite tactical firearms for free.

Another category of shooter who can really profit from reloading: individuals who love to shoot firearms chambered for out-of-date, obscure or commercially unpopular cartridges. In the rare cases where factory ammunition is available, it is usually prohibitively expensive. Sadly, most of these perfectly serviceable firearms — like Grandpa’s weathered .32 Special Model 94 Winchester, Uncle Bud’s vintage 28-gauge Fausti double and Dad’s 8mm Remington Magnum Model 700 — languish in the gun cabinet collecting dust. Reloading will allow you to put these fine weapons back into service for a fraction of the cost of factory fodder.

Nowadays, all the major ammunition manufacturers fashion lines of premium factory ammo. Carefully crafted from premium brass cases, select primers and powders, these custom-loaded cartridges are the epitome of factory-loaded ammunition. But, sadly, at $1+ per round, they are priced way beyond most of our means.

Not to worry: Reloading gives the average Joe the ability to assemble these same premium components into cartridges tailored for their pistols, rifles and shotguns at a fraction of the cost.

Reason No. 4

For many, reloading is a personally satisfying hobby. Human nature dictates that the more intimately involved we are with a particular hobby or project, the greater our appreciation for and skill at that pastime becomes.

There is no question that as a result of my 40-plus years reloading shotgun, then rifle and pistol ammunition, I have acquired a greater understanding and appreciation of the efficiency and effectiveness of modern firearms. I take no small pleasure in cleanly harvesting game with a cartridge that I carefully handloaded myself.

How about you? Are you ready to realize all the advantages of rolling your own ammo? If you are, there’s no better time to begin than right now.

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Rich Simpson may be reached at rsimpson29@hotmail.com.

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