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Reloading ammo

An area that doesn’t get much attention in the UK is the area of reloading your own ammunition. It is a skill that is not practised much in the UK even though our ammunition costs are much higher than in the US. (Isn’t everything here?)


There are a couple of areas where it is not viable to reload and rimfire is one of those. Rimfire cartridges are not able to be reloaded because the brass is damaged by being fired and thus cannot be reloaded. Plus they are very cheap to buy anyway.


It is not cost effective to reload shotgun shells generally as shotgun cartridges are cheap to buy. They can be reloaded but are usually not worth it. Because of this there is very little equipment around for reloading shotgun shells and unfortunately reloading shotgun shells requires different equipment. It can be done without any significant presses and there are several hand loading kits available. These are usually used to reload with non standard loads rather than reloading to save costs.

To reload shotgun shells you need a good cartridge case, a primer, a load and wads to hold it inside the shell casing. It is simple enough to do;

  • Remove the old primer if it exists
  • Clean the case and discard if damaged
  • Use the reloading kit to place the primer
  • Measure and load in the shotgun powder
  • Put in a wad to hold the powder in
  • Put in the payload
  • Put in a wad to hold the payload in

Kits are available to automate this task down to the measurement of powder and shot.

Rifles and Pistols

There is however a lot of equipment for reloading rifle and pistol ammunition. There can be significant savings there providing you look after your brass cartridges or they are not damaged by the weapon itself. Some guns are better than others at this. They can be reused if the primer hole is able to hold a primer and the case edge itself gives a good grip on the bullet. Eventually one of these will fail and the cartridge will need to be discarded.

  • Remove the old primer if it exists
  • Clean the case and discard if damaged
  • Resize the case to standard size, discard if off spec
  • Use the reloading kit to place the primer
  • Measure and load in the rifle or pistol powder
  • Put in the payload
  • Compress the head of the case to hold the bullet

The case measurement and resizing is done manually. Kits are available to automate the remaining tasks.

Some benefits

Besides from being cheaper there are other reasons to reload. The powder loads can be adjusted, within defined parameters, to give a ‘hot’ load, with extra oomph, or a low powered load for use in urban areas. A load that will not penetrate walls for example.

Snipers and other precision shooters load their own so they can get consistency between shots. When shooting on the edge minor changes can make a difference in where the bullet ends up.

If you have a shotgun or a firearms license you can then legally buy powder and primers for reloading. As usual, there are limits on how much you can hold, but the amounts are not recorded on your license as ammunition is. So you can keep some back for later.

I have reloading gear and a supply of material to make several hundred shells and bullets. I have also made several bullets, the first ones didn’t come out well and were recycled but after a few tries they worked out fine. I’ve also a shotgun reloading it and the materials for that. Again it took a bit of learning. Now is the time while you can buy replacements. There are several books books on reloading such as The ABCs of Reloading.

So don’t just stock up with ammo, stock up with reloading material as well and learn how to do it. You may even have to resort to a black powder pistol. I would recommend though you start with a basic kit, ensure your ammo is sorted out before you move on to stocking up on reloading material.

It is a subject worth looking at though. After all when you start to run out of ammunition knowing how to put it all together can come in handy. There are even books out there on how to make your own black powder weapons, your own powder, primers and shot for when you are ready to try that. It may sound advanced but remember prisoners build their own weapons and ammunition in prisons, tribes in Pakistan make modern weapons and ammunition in archaic workshops and people have been building guns and ammunition for hundreds of years. You can do it too and if you are in any doubt watch this;

12 comments to Reloading ammo

  • mike

    oh to be pakistani…pakistan zindabad!!!

  • Kenneth Eames

    An excellent article and video SD. Thank you for this. It is amazing what can be made with primitive tools. You do not have to have a modern workshop if you are a clever fellow. There are some very clever people about. I’ve met some in my life. Some very gifted people. I am not in this class. Yes, I can do many things but the finesse isn’t there. Kenneth Eames.

  • mike

    Everything comes with practice, thats the good thing about humans and preppers in particular, were adaptable and prepared to learn, I’ve seen some detailed manufacturing techniques from the above areas and whilst the tooling may be basic, its just like how they did it in the wild west, making the old colt revolvers and in the old belgian workshops in leige, all hand built until machines took over.

  • Skean Dhude


    I suspect you are better than you make out.


    Practise makes perfect and we can make many things fromplumbing materials.

  • mike

    Ahhh, you seam to be an avid reader of certain literature, like myself!!
    I find even though I may not be able to afford lots in the way of preps, some beig better than none etc.
    Knowledge is one of the best ways of prepping store the knowledge for the days coming, you cant loose your brain as you can kit.
    The british army used to be the best army in the orld literaly because we had nothing to start with.
    Whilst other forces were waiting for kit etc, we always trained without for that reason.
    fine if you have the kit but its better not to rely on anything but your own hands and whats in your head.
    Our prehistoric ancestors managed to put us where we are today with nothing, nothing but human creativity, determination to survive, etc,

  • Skean Dhude


    I like to read and Mr Luty has a few interesting articles.

    It is one area I keep going on about. Collect as much info as you can and store it. It’ll be useful to someone and we should keep as much as we can from being lost.

  • mike

    i’s nice to be around like minded individuals, long may this site live…

  • Kenneth Eames

    Mr. Luty was a very clever man. Unfortunately, I cannot obtain his material now. His site will no longer work. It is a great shame. It seems they (the powers that be) killed him. I believe that his mother and father died from broken hearts. A terrible tragedy. However, there are many ways of killing a cat, as they say. Kenneth Eames.

  • Skean Dhude

    Mike, 🙂


    Not clever enough. He was just logical and good with his hands. He expected a reasoned response and did not get one. His files are out there, try Torrents.

  • fred

    You can collect other people’s old rounds too or is that not done?

  • Skean Dhude


    We don’t have shooting ranges like in the US and most of us shoot alone. However, you are correct you can pick up others spent brass where possible. Consider that not knowing its history you need to be very careful with reloading those casings and checking case thickness.

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