Reloading Safety

Reloading safety by the book

Last time we looked at the importance of reloading to preparedness. This time we’ll take a look at reloading safety.

Many folks find reloading a relaxing and satisfying activity. Given the materials involved, safety demands that reloading be done with respect and attention.

Probably the most important safety rule for avoiding reloading accidents is to have and follow the instructions in a Reloading Manual. Take the measurements seriously. Have a scale to double-check weights. Really. Don’t guess.

Some reloading safety hints are blindingly obvious – like

  • Don’t smoke while reloading (powder and primers are flammable).
  • Don’t drink alcohol while reloading (attention to detail is critical).
  • Don’t eat while reloading (danger of food getting into the work and vice versa)

Here are a few more safety concerns in reloading. Think about how your reloading routine deals with them to be sure you are working as sensibly and safely as you can.

  • Cases
    Reusing cases is part of the point of reloading. You save some money as well as getting better control over your ammo supply.
    However, inspecting the cases before you reload is critical. Not only do they need to be cleaned, they need to be examined carefully for signs of cracking, pitting, or creasing that could cause failure under pressure.
    Some steps in the reload process can clean up minor issues around the case mouth (deburring, reaming and sizing as needed). But problems elsewhere in the case should flag the case for rejection.
  • Lead
    You will be handling lead, whether or not you opt to cast your bullets. Lead is not a good thing to let seep into your body. Wash your hands thoroughly after reloading. The work area should be well ventilated to avoid buildup of breathable lead dust. Your work area should have hard surfaces that can be damp-wiped or damp-mopped to clean up dust.
  • Powder
    Two main thoughts here.
    Accuracy in measuring your powder is critical. Don’t guess. Don’t experiment. Be accurate. Use scales. Pay attention.
    Purity of the powder. Don’t mix different powders. Know exactly what powder you are using and use it only as its instructions specify. Also, only put as much powder out in an open container as you actually need while you are working. The rest should be kept closed up.
  • Primer
    Keep your primer tubes clean. Check for buildup. When you clean primer tubes, clean them under water.
  • Storage
    All the reloading components need to be stored with care.
    Store out of the reach of children, in a cool dry place safe from fire.
    Only store primer tubes empty.
    Don’t mix powders for storage (or ever, actually).
    Store powder away from your loading area so there is less chance of using the “wrong” powder just because it is handy.
    Keep all materials in factory-labeled containers so you know exactly what you are using.
    Store powder away from primer.

Another useful but odd reloading safety tip is to have a very detailed routine for reloading. The safety comes in your brain alerting you to something out of place if you accidentally start to skip a step or to do something in a different order.

Don’t be discouraged about reloading. Like any other preparedness activity, there are some tricks to doing it safely.  If you decide reloading is for you, you’ll want to know about the safety steps.

Check the other posts in this series on reloading:

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About Bret Smith

I am a long-time lover of all things outdoors. Whether hunting, shooting, fishing or just hiking and camping, I take every opportunity to enjoy nature and share it with others.

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