Reloading can be a safe and enjoyable hobby as long as you obey some simple rules. Just as you follow basic gun handling rules to make the hobby safer, you must do the same with reloading.
Here are 5 safety tips for Reloading:
- Never mix or substitute components. Every lot of powder, primers, bullets, brass, and any other component can differ significantly. Different manufacturer’s components differ substantially. For example, never substitute Federal brand primers for Magtech and expect the same results. One primer may be fine with your load, but another brand may cause extreme pressures with the same load. Don’t substitute magnum primers for standard primers for the same reason. Just because two brands of powder have similar characteristics does not mean they are interchangeable or mixable. Every time you finish with a lot of a component, you will have to back off the load slightly and start over, checking for overpressure signs, just as you did when you first worked the load up. You are, in essence, working up a brand new load.
- Always wear eye protection. You hopefully wear ear and eye protection while shooting, and you should do the same while loading. You don’t need the ear protection (hopefully) while loading, but eye protection is an absolute. Besides the obvious protection against an accidentally detonated component, you are protecting against flying particles (i.e. a piece of brass that jammed and shot out from the press). This is a press and presses can generate large forces. You are also working with hazardous components, mostly lead. You will be less inclined to wipe your eyes with your lead-stained hands if you have glasses on.
- Block out all distractions. While working, block any distractions. This means TV, radio, wife/husband, children, dog/cat, pesky neighbors, and so on. It only takes one second of lost attention to produce a dangerous load. While loading, you must give 100% of your attention to what you are doing.
- Keep good records. Don’t rely on memory or a scribbled-on post-it note for your records. Keep a good notebook and track all lot numbers, brands, depths, weights, or any other data you would need to look at to go back and trace a problem or reproduce a load.
- Never guess. If you are in doubt about something, don’t guess. Stop and get help. Call the manufacturer for assistance. Most good component producers have a technical staff that is eager to help. They don’t want anyone to get hurt with their product.
These are just a few of the basic rules we suggest to follow. To see more, go to our website. Following basic rules will help you load safely, and get the most from your hobby. Read loading manuals and keep an eye out for any others cautions. Above all, use common sense and good judgment.