Reload Like a Pro

Lee Reloading Kit

“Due to the high cost of ammunition, no warning shots will be given!” This little phrase puts a humorous spin on a growing concern many shooters are now dealing with. Have you noticed the price of ammunition these days? If you are like most of us, you can not help but notice the cost of a box of ammo continues to rise.

Reloading is nothing new; in fact it has been around for as long as the firearm has been around. If one was to study the highs and lows of the world of reloading you would most likely discover its popularity corresponds with the highs and lows of the economy.

Ask any avid reloader the reason why they reload and the answer will probably fall within one of these three categories.

  • They shoot so often, reloading is the only way they can afford to shoot.
  • They have hard time finding particular calibers, and reloading is the only reliable supply source they have.
  • They fall into the “prepper” category and are just planning for the worse case scenario and hope to have plenty of ammo on hand when it all hits the fan.

Whatever your reason for reloading, Cheaper Than Dirt! offers several products for the home reloader.

  • Speer Reloading Manual 14
    A good reloading manual is always helpful.

    If you are looking for in-depth, how-to information on everything reloading than you need to check out the Speer Reloading Manual Number 14. This book, which is often referred to as the “original bible of reloading,” is still the number one go-to reference manual for reloaders.

    Speer offers detailed information, illustrations, photographs and charts depicting each step of the reloading process. It also offers valuable bullet data, such as energy and velocity tables plus trouble shooting techniques for common reloading problems.

  • Hornady Reloading and Bullet Accuracy DVDIf you are new to the world of reloading, and have little knowledge on where to begin, here is a DVD you may want to check out. The name Hornady is synonymous with ammo so it is no wonder acclaimed shooters Joyce and Steve Hornady have expert knowledge to share with the beginner or professional reloader. This DVD also features an introduction to metallic reloading.
  • Every reloader knows you can never have too many space-saving boxes to store and keep your ammo organized. Thanks to the low price, you can afford to buy various sizes. The MTM Case-Gard R 50 Series holds 50 rounds of small rifle ammunition and is made of sturdy green polypropylene which does not warp, crack, peel or contract.
  • RCBS Reloading Special 5 Press
    Invest in a quality press. It will pay for itself in the long term.

    Veteran reloaders know having quality reliable equipment can make a world of difference when it comes to reloading.  The 5 Single Stage Press from RCBS is designed for a lifetime of reloading. With its 30-degree opening and 3-3/4” hand clearance coupled with the bicycle-type grip and primer arm which allows you to prime cases at the same time it is great choice for the skilled veteran reloader or the beginner novice reloaders alike.

Regardless of your level of reloading experience Cheaper Than Dirt! offers everything you need at the best prices to keep you busy reloading cartridge after cartridge of your favorite caliber for years to come.

Are you a reloader? What are your favorite tips for keeping yourself stocked and ready to enjoy your shooting activities? Share your thoughts in the comment section.


The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (32)

  1. Somebody else started it. I just finished it. All my comments about reloading come from years of practical and long experience. I have a phone book full of references on that subject. I have forgot book/s full of stuff since then.

  2. I just read what was said about M. P. And what’s up with that. If you want to hate go do it somewhere else please. I read these comments to see what information I can get as far as rreloading.i agree with cheaper than dirt keep it about reloading.

  3. Was buying speer plastic cases and bullets for a while long time ago until i started to make my own from trimmed down brass and bullets out of hotmelt glue in a bullet mold with some pam as a release agent. Works great and still does. Add a half grn. of bullseye powder for a little extra oomph!.

  4. Yes, I am Arrogant and proud of it. But I am Not a bastard. I know because my father told me so, and my brother too. He is also arrogant like me and proud of it. I can afford to be from years of working hard and saving my money instead of chasing skirts and beer.

  5. Exactly like all of my previous posts. I was born Mr. Ingenuity. I have a complete ammo factory in my garage. I can Load any and everything.

  6. Reloading is the way to go. Another point not mentioned in the article or comments is the fact that you can reduce load.

    And, by reduce loading, you can then shoot pure lead bullets that you cast yourself. And, you can customize your load for your own stated goals, be they power (velocity), accuracy or a combination of both.

    For example, I cast and reload lead bullets for my 30-06 and really enjoy shooting it with reduced loads. I also reduce load for my 416 Remington Magnum since without doing so, I could not afford to shoot this caliber. I also cast my own bullets for it.

    One of the things that I learned as a reloader is that for my type of shooting with handguns, the “magic number” ballistics wise is 1200 fps.

    For my 41 and 44 and 357 mag the optimum velocity is 1200 fps. I’ve found this to be the best compromise on velocity and effectiveness.

    Also, be aware that in reloading manuals, many of the powder bullet combinations do not shoot to stated velocities out of your handgun. The reason for this is because they may be using a longer barrel and a “proofing barrel” that varies considerably from your anticipated velocities. Therefore, it is imperative that you chronograph your rounds after hand loading them.

    One last point: For the past few years, I have been going to shooting BB guns and Airsoft for my practice.

    I’ve noticed that I can shave thousands of dollars off my handgunning costs by resorting to these two devices for my practice needs. This has all but eliminated my needs for a 22 caliber since the rounds are so difficult to get and expensive.

    With a little ingenuity, you can outflank both mfgs and retailers that are committed by making you a victim.

  7. Martin Pierce good for you .You my friend are on top of shit we can
    All sleep better nowing that you know wtf is going on . what was gained by anyone other than you by you sharing that information .hmm nothing the useless information that you are inpervipus to the economy has helped no one but you, boasting about how you are better than everyone else you arrogant basturd the artical was made to inform other not brag about how much bet you think you are than every one else.

  8. Have you guys ever considered using “SLICK” rounds, ammunition for target practice and general marksmanship training.

  9. You should ask me first. I have been doing it for 40 yrs. I don’t need a Manual or a Book or–Its all in my head; casting, bullet swageing jacketed bullets, making bullet jackets from spent .22 cases for .22-250 Varmit loads for Years. Upside down bullets, inside out bullets and double bullet jackets that have diff. characteristics in the same bullet; like deep penetration, then expansion. It goes on and on. I have 500 lbs. of wheel weights, 200 lbs. of 50-50 bar solder, 5000 .45 copper jackets, 5000 .38-357 copper jackets and 10,000 gas checks for handgun and rifle lead bullet loads.

  10. To cut down on shipping cost on powder and other stuff that has a hazmat fee order with a few other loaders. The fee is per order not unit.

  11. I have been reloading for a number of years, but for the past year powder has become, as we in the south say, scarce as hen’s teeth. Which is another way for the government to dry up ammo supplies.

    1. @ nighthawk.

      COMPETITION. Especially Internet and Mail-Order competition. All the larger companies, like: Cabela, Brownell’s, Natchez, Bass-Pro, etc. Can reach out too a Broad Spectrum of the country population, the your local gunstore’s and sporting goods store’s. They can compete on a local level enough, but not on the National Level Reach, the way the big boy’s can. They just don’t have the Infrastructure to compete with them, It’s one thing when you have ~10-employee’s, working for you, compared with one that might have 1,000 or more employee’s working for you.

    2. Ya know Nighthawk it’s happening in the west not just the south. Even if you can find it (gun powder) you’re lucky to get it by the pound. The only way to get 8 lbs you can only buy it online. Even at that the shipping cost make it even more expensive. The price we pay just to have a little fun.

  12. In the Prepper category this is why you need a 12ga shotgun. If you can find powder and primers then all you need for equipment is a nail to drive out the old primer and a fat stick to seat the new one. Find something to use for wads and some sort of shot.This won’t size the brass but it will fire in the same chamber it came out of. Don’t try anything stupid but check out the crazy people on You Tube about this. 45 years ago i got a basic Lee Loader in the small box $9.95.Loaded thousands of rounds with it. Slow but kept me busy and out of trouble as a kid. Also used one for 30-06 and Lee made up one for me in obsolete .33 Winchester.

    1. @ OLD&GRUMPY.

      I have a possible solution for you concerning your .33Win. (8.6x54mm). Take a 7.62x54mmR and a Copper Band/Ring (from a place like Graingers). Heat the copper band and slip it over the bullet, the fast quench the bullet in water to contract the metal band. This will Hot Weld or Fuse both the bullet and band together. The band should be able to catch the rifling grooves inside the barrel. Allowing the bullet to travel down the length of the barrel. Without Bounding Around into whatever direction, after leaving the barrel. This trick worked in ww1 on a 75mm howitzer shell. I can’t remember if the French did it, or weather the Germans did it. Or, maybe even the English. its your call!!!

  13. There’s a lot of good factory ammunition out there but when I can get five shot group the size of a dime, well you just can’t beat hand loading. And just like D Chiappe said I really enjoy reloading and there’s nothing like knowing what you aim at is gonna be a kill.

  14. I still have the business card from the greedy SOB who was hell bent to sell me the Green Dot. I kept it as a reminder of who not to believe and what not to do. He disappeared into the back of the store and came back with a recommendation of 6.8 grains that I’m sure he pulled out of his anus. He wrote it on the back of the card.

    I found out later from Mike at the Magnum Range at Riverside, CA who also reloads with Green Dot said he only uses about 5 grains. Someone, either from: RCBS, Alliance or one of the other industry sources I was pestering at the time took pity on me and said I could use a maximum of 5.3 grains of Green Dot, but to start with 10% less and work up to it in 1/10 of a grain increments. I started with 10% less; 4.77 grains and I worked up from there to 4.9, 5.0, 5.1 and 5.2. 5.2 seemed a little harsh and I settled back down to 5.0 like Mike had recommended as a happy medium. So far so good. It’s not what anybody officially recommends, not even Green Dot, but it works.

    I recently bought a powder that supposed to be good for everything but when I contacted Springfield they said not to use it in the 9mm EMP because it’s to big and coarse and I’d have problems. It is listed on the powder manufacturer’s web site as appropriate for the 9mm reload. So who are you going to believe?

    Mike Nichols at Turner’s Outdoorsman in Corona, CA, who I have found to be a very dependable source told me he uses Green Dot to reload his 9mm EMP and he uses 4.2 grains max for 115 gr bullets. I trust him and I’ll try it. I’ll start at 10% under which is: 3.78 grains, then 3.9, 4.0, 4.1 and eventually work up to 4.2. If my math is correct it should work and if it does I’ll keep using it. Is there a decent reloading forum you guys can recommend? I’d appreciate your input.

    1. look at, then join it, and you will have access to a bazillion examples for almost anything you want to load!

  15. Wayne: A couple of questions, please, because I enjoy reloading my ammo. I get a lot of satisfaction out of firing the ammo I reloaded but unscrupulous merchants have taken a lot of the savings out of the equation since this BS ammo shortage started.

    I was told by our gunsmith and range coach it would only cost about $300 to $350 to get set up and by the time I got everything I needed it was around $550. Just about everything necessary to do quality reloading has sky rocketed in price, so that’s one issue.

    The other is powder, where do you buy yours? All the local sources here in southern California have dried up like our reservoirs. The powders that are available are not those recommended by any of the manuals I have and you can’t find the recommended powders at any price.

  16. I have been reloading for over 30 years. I enjoy it, I cast some of my own bullets. I can get better accuracy than over factory loads, and yes it is a lot cheaper . depending on the caliper it could be as much as 1/6 the cost of factory. be careful when reloading this can be very dangerous if you do not pay attention to what you are doing. start small and work your way up. you can start with used and simple equipment. I am still using presses my uncle gave me over30 years ago and they are still working great. so get started reloading and enjoy.

  17. There are a couple of more reasons to reload.
    1. I reload because it makes a better ammunition. My guns become more accurate, reliable and easy to shoot.
    2. I reload because enjoy it as much as I do shooting.

    If you are a new reloader, get a single stage press. I see lots of new reloaders go for one of the progressives and have nothing but trouble. The progressives are great once you really understand the process but can add complication a new reloader will find less than enjoyable.
    My 2 cents

  18. At this time I would warn anyone starting out reloading to be prepared for frustration and disappointments. I got into it a couple of years ago on the advice of our range coach and our gunsmith. They were both already correctly predicting a future shortage of ammo.

    It had already started before I finally saw the handwriting on the wall and ordered a RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit from somebody else. That was my first mistake as it took nearly six months to get. Once I had it and read the book I found there were still a number of other things that were good to have and by the time I acquired them the powder had dried up along with the available ammo.

    I’m now set up to reload: 9mm, 38 special, 357 magnum, 45 ACP and 30-06 but there’s no big savings anymore. RCBS had offered a cash rebate or free bullets through Sierra. I took the bullets instead of the cash but without the right powder I’ve never been confident with my reloads.

    None of my friends are using any of the powders recommended by the: RCBS, Sierra, Lyman or any other legitimate sources because they just aren’t available. Through a well intentioned ‘grape vine’ we’ve learned a lot about what will work and what won’t. One clown at a gun store at Westminster, CA sold me a pound of Green Dot and pulled a recipe for 45 ACP that wasn’t in any of the books (I’m sure he pulled it out of his anus to make the sale). He swore it would work and I was probably very lucky it didn’t ruin my pistol as it was almost two grains too heavy. The buyer beware.

    1. If the charts that came with the loading gear don’t list the powder you can get go to the powder makers web sight for what you can find. They give loads for there powders.I have used Hodgdon and Alliant data and been happy. My FIRST stop is the powder makers data not the mind numbing charts in the other books. One caliber-6 books-200 conflicting loads.You will go nuts trying to match exact components . I have been loading for 45 years. just keep the loads safe and have fun.

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