My Reloading Experience and the Importance of Education for the Reloader
We have all opened the box on a new appliance, toy, or anything that will require some assembly. Usually, the directions are right on top and sometimes they even have an abbreviated version. What happens next depends on the person and their own skill level or just their pride. I will not tell how many times I have just glanced over the directions or just simply tried to assemble the device based on the picture on the front of the box. Maybe you have done similar, or maybe you always take out the directions and read them very carefully several times before attempting anything. Most of the time everything works out fine, even if you actually have to backtrack and go back to the instructions. However, when it comes to reloading ammunition, reading the directions and manuals is not optional – it is an absolute necessity.
I grew up around guns and mostly just used them for hunting purposes. No one in my family reloaded ammunition, and I did not know anything about reloading. As a matter of fact, my father received a Lee shotgun shell reloader for Christmas when I was a young child and it was never opened. We just went to the store and bought the amount of ammunition that we needed at the time. As time went by, I started to really enjoy shooting as a sport, but I still just went to the store and bought what I needed for the day. Reloading always interested me, but I really didn’t see the need and didn’t want to make the investment in the equipment and time. Well, after several ammunition shortages and scares over the past several years, I decided it was time to start looking into reloading my own ammunition.
The first thing I did was to order the most recent Hornady reloading manual. Like most reloading manuals, the first several chapters are dedicated to education about reloading. I read it several times over several months and was ready to get started, then me and my wife had our third child. There were some complications (everything is fine now and she is doing great), so I put my reloading venture on hold. Fast forward three years down the road, I am ready to really get going with reloading. I break out the Hornady manual, which by this time is a couple editions old, and start reading it again. During this time, I also scoured YouTube, watching videos on reloading and trying to decide which press to buy.
I cannot stress enough how much I learned from YouTube and the role it played in my reloading education. Now everyone that puts videos on YouTube is not an expert (including myself), and some people are just doing things completely wrong. The remedy to this is reading the comments section, watching other videos and just doing your own homework. I learned very quickly that you could not learn everything you needed to know from one reloading manual or even a couple of videos. After watching many videos and doing some research along with reading a lot of reviews, I decided to purchase a Lee Classic Turret Press kit.
The kit came in and the first thing I did was read the directions over and over. I had learned my lesson about reading directions and knew how dangerous reloading can be, so I wanted to do everything by the book. The kit came with lots of nice accessories, and also included a Lee reloading manual. Again I went back to You Tube to watch videos of the press in action and how various reloaders had set it up. I started out very slow and loaded a few rounds of 300 blackout. I was reloading, but my education was far from over and I still had much to learn.
I made a video about my new press and showed how it worked and went over what I observed to be its strengths and weaknesses. I published the video to YouTube and immediately started getting comments and feedback. One frequent comment I received was about the fact that I misspoke in the video and inadvertently said grains instead of tenths of a grain. Wow, I meant to say tenth of a grain but said grains instead and I knew what I meant and even put an annotation on the video. Unfortunately, it still got a lot of negative comments and I realized it was a serious error on my part so I decided to take the video down. On the flip side, however, I received many excellent comments that helped me out tremendously. I mentioned a problem that I was having with the safety prime and a gentleman responded with an excellent comment to help me remedy the problem. Additionally, I had another comment that exposed me to using case gauges to check my ammunition and it helped me tremendously. Overall, I would say the feedback was positive and it just helped further my education and my reloading skills.
The Reloaders Network
In conclusion, education about reloading ammunition cannot be stressed enough to new reloaders. I personally feel that you never quit learning, and I if you think you know it all, you are sadly mistaken. The sharing and gathering of information from peers is a crucial aspect in reloading. Sadly, YouTube may soon start to restrict or even delete reloading videos. My hope is that people who are new to reloading are able to find good information and have a good support group to help them out along the way. That is why I am so excited to be part of The Reloaders Network, on the website and on Slack. It is a tremendous resource and should only serve to further the art of reloading and ensure that it is done with safety. If you are new reloading, or thinking about reloading your own ammunition, you need to do several things. First, get several good reloading manuals and read them over and over. Second, join The Reloaders Network and watch as many videos and read as many posts as you can. Lastly, never stop learning, stay safe and enjoy this wonderful hobby of reloading.
I enjoy all things outdoors and gun related. I am a life long hunter and staunch supporter of self defense and the right to keep and bear arms. I am a Concealed Carry Instructor in the state of Kentucky and enjoy helping people exercise their Second Amendment Rights. I also enjoy collecting historic firearms and recently started reloading ammunition.