One of the most basic understandings about reloading is that using the wrong cartridge and primer can result in injury to yourself and possibly people around you. Incorrectly loaded ammo can also be unreliable during an emergency.
A first step in safety is understanding the equipment and reloading supplies that you are working with. We offer an entire video library to help you reload safely and get the most from the experience. With an understanding of the equipment, you’ll be ready to begin the hands-on process by following these basic safety rules.
Safety Glasses and Gear
As you wear safety glasses at the gun range, you also need to wear them when reloading. Probably the most obvious reason is in case of an accidental primer explosion. If you wear prescription or reading glasses, there are safety glasses (with side shields) that fit over your regular glasses. In addition to the risk of a primer explosion, other operations such as pressures applied by presses can eject metal shavings and powder as shrapnel. Safety glasses should be a requirement for everyone in the room while you are reloading. Gloves should be worn as protection from sharp tools, pinch points, and chemicals found in reloading supplies. It’s also a good practice to wear a protective apron.
Clean and Organized Reloading Space
You only want the equipment and reloading supplies on your workbench that you need for the tasks at hand. Make sure that your workspace is clean and spacious before the next session, not only for safety purposes, but for efficiency and time. Furthermore, it is in your best interest to properly label containers to avoid accidentally mixing materials.
- Clean up any spills immediately.
- Allow only one canister of powder and primer type on the bench at a time.
- Powder and primers should be kept in their original containers. Clearly label these if using another container and discard anything you can’t identify.
Pay Attention to Details
Give reloading your complete, undivided attention, and make time to do it right. Clear the area of TV, phone, and visitors. Have your manuals and handbooks for every bullet you are reloading – never guess. Reloading is a precision process that requires you to follow instructions including load data and equipment setup instructions. Of course, no alcohol or drugs.
Keep Primers and Powder Away from Heat Sources
Think about any possible source of ignition. Any heat source can set off primers and powder including electrical sparks from power tools, open flames, and smoking. One of the wisest safety steps you can take is storing powder and primers away from all other equipment and reloading supplies (preferably in a different room and in fire-resistant containers like an ammo can). Don’t store primers in bulk because a few hundred primers going off at the same time can be the same as a hand grenade. Handle loaded primer tubes with care – a dropped tube can explode(primers should not be stored in tubes).Additionally, primers and powder should be stored away from extreme heat, cold, and humidity that can affect how they function.
Again, reloading requires precision from which a safe and accurate powder scale is required. Never use a food scale, postage scale, or any other scale not intended to weigh powder. Clean your scale before each reloading session and calibrated it regularly. It should be “zeroed” before each session. Calibrate and zero it if is bumped, jarred, or whenever the accuracy is questionable.
Avoid Lead Exposure
Lead exposure is known to cause severe medical issues. Your body accumulates lead over time and is not efficient at filtering it back out. Most primers and bullets contain lead. It can also accumulate on your equipment and workspace. Good hygiene is a best practice to protect yourself from lead.
- Wash hands after handling ammunition materials and after shooting.
- Don’t eat or drink while reloading.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Ensure proper ventilation and avoid inhaling reloading room dust.
- Use a face mask when cleaning up and emptying cases.
- Avoid reloading in carpeted areas because carpet collects lead particles and results in potentially dangerous static electricity.
Use Manuals and Keep Records
Manuals and handbooks have already been mentioned for a good reason. They provide specific instructions for caliber recipes. It’s essential to follow instructions to the letter. Leave experimentation to the professionals. Published data is FACT. If you are new to reloading, use only beginning to moderate loads until you gain experience with the cartridge, your firearm, and your loading equipment. You want to use current data because over time components change. Keep records of each lot that you reload and use starting loads before working up to the maximum in increments. Your records should include test results for each incremental step.
Keep the manual open to the cartridge type and size you are reloading for quick and easy reference during the process.
More Safety Procedures
By following the basics, you can expect to be safe and productive when reloading. But there is always more you can do for safety such as securely fastening equipment to your workbench, so a press doesn’t fall on your foot. And…
- Keep reloading supplies and components out of the reach of children.
- Educate yourself before trying a load you don’t have experience with.
- Create and follow a safety checklist for each load that you manufacture.
- Use a powder check system, either visual or manual, to make sure your bullets are not double charged or under-charged.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the event of accidental ignition.
- Clean your reloading press and maintain it regularly.
- Clean up spilled powered immediately and don’t reuse spilled powder.
- Don’t force primers under any circumstance after beginning the reloading process.
- Think before doing anything that you haven’t done before.
- Always make enough time to observe proper safety precautions.
Reloading is as Safe as You Make It
Safety is all about learning what to do, what NOT to do, and having the discipline to do it right.
Titan Reloading is dedicated to helping novice and veteran shooting enthusiasts safely and properly reload their own ammunition every time. If you follow these tips, you’ll have a great experience while avoiding harm or malfunctions to yourself and equipment.
Titan Reloading is a Master Distributor of Reloading Supplies & Equipment online. Choose from Lee Precision, Dillon, Hornady, Redding, Mec, & Lyman. For more information and to shop our online store please visit www.TitanReloading.com or contact Titan Reloading the Master Distributor of Lee Precision reloading equipment & supplies at 262.397.8819.