Steve Comus – GUN TALK

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Got a screw loose?

Load ’em up
Handloading ammo is popular, inexpensive

This could be the year to take the plunge and begin loading your own ammo. Or, it could be a great time to talk with company representatives about the latest loading equipment and components.

There is a renewed focus in Gundom on handloading ammunition, which includes a multi-company effort to bring this activity to local retail stores around the country.

Hodgdon Powder announced a new program at the recent Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trades (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, NV.

CHRIS HODGDON OF Hodgdon Powder stands next to a display at the SHOT Show, announcing a program in which representatives from leading companies in the reloading industry will go to local stores and show consumers the benefits of loading their own ammo. In the display are presses and other reloading equipment from the various companies participating in the nationwide program.

According to Chris Hodgdon, this new program is a variation of what his grandfather did following WWII when companies setup circus tents in communities around the country where they showed consumers how to load, using the equipment available on the market at that time. This year representatives from the leading companies in the reloading business will go to retail outlets and put on loading seminars for consumers.

Partnering with Hodgdon are Dillon Precision, Frankford Arsenal, Lee Precision, Hornady, Lyman, RCBS, Mec, Nosler, Redding and Sierra.

Robin Sharpless at Redding explained that a large part of the expanded interest in handloading is a result of the recent focus on long-range shooting. By handloading their own ammunition, shooters can fine-tune to ammo to the individual rifle, squeezing the last measure of accuracy from the long-range rigs, he explained.

Historically, there were three major reasons for shooters to load their own ammo. One was to save money (reloading can save about half the cost of much of the factory loads), another was to create ammo for rifles that shoot hard-to-find cartridges and the final reason was to fine-tune ammo to specific firearms.

In today’s market, the sale of bulk amounts of some cartridges results in lower levels of savings by reloading, but it still costs less to load the high-volume cartridges like 5.56mm NATO/.223 Remington, 9mmP and .45 ACP. But those bulk sales generally are limited to FMJ loads.

Shooters who want to use higher tech bullets can save significantly more by handloading. Shooters who have firearms that shoot obsolete or obscure cartridges can keep their guns shooting by loading their own ammo. And, they save a whole lot of money, compared to the cost of buying factory loads or those cartridges, if they can find them at all.

There is an interesting dynamic that kicks in when a shooter takes the leap and begins reloading. He or she shoots more, and that means more fun.

Interestingly, there comes a point for many shooters when loading becomes a major part of the sport because it expands the level of involvement. There is a level of pride when a shooter scores well with ammunition he or she made with their own hands. This is especially true for hunters when they take trophy grade animals with ammunition they created personally.

Regardless the reason or reasons for getting into reloading, it can be a most satisfying and rewarding activity that can involve the whole family – parents can be involved with children in the process.

Retailers in California are planning to be part of this new focus on handloading. Check locally for schedules of when representatives from the various companies will be coming to town.

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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a WON Guns and Hunting Guns Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at scomus@cox.net.

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