“Powder Info SRN 0065Distributor HodgdonProduct Name H322Data Source Federal Bureau of InvestigationSource SRN 660 Product use ReloadDate obtained 6/10/05Lot Number 10404054288Manufacturer ADI / Australia”
Reloading ammunition is one of the things I do well and enjoy. It saves money per shot and I generally get better accuracy than commercial ammunition. There are exceptions on accuracy but I have rifles for which I’ve never bought commercial ammunition and they are tack-drivers. Costs have escalated. I used to save about ⅔ the cost of commercial ammunition. Thanks to “gun control” at local, federal and global levels, it’s now hard to save ⅓. Retailers in particular are squeezed because it just doesn’t pay to ship across borders low-priced components. At it’s worst, ordinary hunting bullets reached 50₵ CDN and reloading powders reached $50 CDN for a pound. Back in the day, I could get good hunting bullets for ~20₵ and powder sometimes for <$10 for a pound. Then there’s brass… Thank goodness there are still shooters who don’t reload and discard their empties… I can pay for my gasoline just visiting the range…;-)
So, reloading takes a bit of skill/knowledge, tools, data and components. Data is freely available on the web, found in various reloading manuals and you can easily buy tools anywhere. It’s the actual components of ammunition that are hard to find/buy: primers, brass cartridges, powder, bullets… all are restricted and heavily taxed. The taxes aren’t just to raise revenue. There are burdensome regulations to control “small arms” and for ordinary safety. Basically, you take a fired case and resize it to fit your rifle’s chamber. This involves inspection, cleaning, lubricating, swaging, cleaning again and trimming. By reloading you get brass customized to fit your chamber well, a major advantage over commercial ammunition that promotes accuracy. Then you insert a new primer and a measured amount of some suitable powder and seat a bullet to a precise length.
One of the issues with reloading is measuring out the powder. Powder that is made in spherical or flattened spherical shapes metres best simply because the grains roll out of the way of a closing measurement cylinder. Powder in flakes or extruded grains tends to jam in the gate. Unfortunately, the ball powders are made with added lacquer to a slurry of propellant to help form the balls in water. This lacquer leaves a dirty bore. Also, the balls vary in size so the burning rate of the powder is adjusted by mixing two or more batches. This makes it possible to carefully measure out two charges but get two different burning rates, hence, less accuracy… I prefer the stick powders even though they stick in the gate of the measure. There is hope though. Some stick powders are being made with short sticks. These can roll out of the way of the closing gate like ball powders.
I’m thinking of trying one of these short cut extruded powders this year, H322, in particular. It’s not the best for hunting loads but it gives good velocity and accuracy with lighter bullets and some use it for reduced velocity target loads with heavier bullets. It’s affordable if bought in larger packages. Being a faster-burning powder, less is used in each charge making it more economical for plinking/varminting/target-shooting.