Reloading is a complex craft that’s intimidating to many shooters, but the pay-off is huge: finely tuned ammunition that fits your exact needs. To better understand the advantages of reloading and how to get started, we turned to two master reloaders — Missy Gilliland and Bryan Sikes — who are also RCBS brand ambassadors.
MEET BRYAN AND MISSY
Bryan and Missy compete in the Precision Rifle Series (PRS) circuit, engaging targets from 10 yards to nearly a mile away. Both say they couldn’t do it without reloading, and — more specifically — without RCBS.
Question: What would you say are the key benefits of reloading?
MISSY: It’s being precise. With boxed ammo, there’s a lot that is inconsistent. I want to make sure 42.2 grains of powder is in every single shell that I have, to make sure that every round is going to shoot basically the same.
BRYAN: For me, it’s also being able to tune a particular load to your
rifle — whatever you’re using. You can really maximize your gun’s potential.
Question: If you weren’t a competitor, would there be any value in reloading to you?
MISSY: Definitely. Especially even for something like deer hunting. It just boils down to the consistency and the precision of it. Like I said, you know that this piece of ammunition, it’s going to shoot like all the others.
BRYAN: I would definitely reload even if I didn’t competitively shoot. Simply put, reloading offers peace of mind. You have a high level of confidence that you put together a load and recipe that you’ve optimized perfectly.
You may have a preconcieved idea that reloading is very difficult and not anything you would be able to do. With all the information on YouTube you will find that it is not nearly as compex and complicated as you may have thought. Below is a step by step overview of what is involved in reloading. To see further detail on any of these steps visit the RCBS YouTube channel.
STEP BY STEP
So how do you do it? What does it take to get started? Let’s first look at the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit — a perfect way to get to know each component, before we review each step.
- PREP YOUR BRASS
For both safety and accuracy’s sake, you need good brass. Missy
limits her reloads to 3 or 4 times per case. “I’ve been to matches where guys
have had case separation, and they’ll say ‘I got 9 or 10 loads on my brass.
-INSPECT, CLEAN AND LUBE
Before reloading, inspect each case thoroughly for breaks, dents, bulges,
or any abnormality. If it looks bad, throw it away. Then clean and lube the
cases with the case lube pad and brush.
-SIZE THE CASE
Brass will expand and lengthen after being fired, so you’ll need
consistency. Every caliber needs its own die and shell holder — those you’ll
need to get separately — install those in the press and you can start sizing.
-TRIM WHEN NECESSARY
If your cases are too long, they’ll need to be trimmed down.
- CHAMFER AND DEBURR
After trimming, you’ll need to deburr and chamfer the case mouth.
You don’t want ragged edges damaging your bullet or rifle chamber.
- PRIME EACH CASE
You can use the press, or —
if you want to break away from the reloading bench for a bit — the Hand Priming
- MEASURE AND POUR YOUR POWDER
Consistency and precision
are key when pouring powder. More or less powder is going to affect velocity,
and — in turn— accuracy.
-DISPENSE A PRECISE CHARGE
Using something like the Uniflow Powder Measure will save you a
ton of effort — not having to weigh every single load. Set it once and you’ll
get a pretty precise measure of powder with every crank of the handle.
-WEIGH YOUR POWDER
Even with something like the Uniflow Powder Measure, it’s a good
idea to weigh your powder charge every so often. Remember — consistency is key,
and you want every shot to perform identically.
Once your powder charge is
precise, pour it through the case mouth using a funnel
- SEAT THE BULLETS
With the primer and powder now in the case, all that’s left is the bullet. Use the press and the caliber-specific dies to seat the bullet down into the case.
READY TO RELOAD?
If you’re serious about shooting and want to start optimizing accuracy and velocity, reloading is the way to go. With nearly 75 years of experience, RCBS has the product lineup and customer service to support you along the way. When you're ready to reload, consult the RCBS YouTube channel or website for more detailed, step-by-step reloading instructions