Archive for the ‘Ammunition’ Category

Different Types of Shooting Targets

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Practice, they say, makes perfect and when it comes to shooting and accuracy, practice is the only way to improve accuracy. Regardless of your shooting goal, accuracy is important. That is why shooters use targets to hone both their skill in handling a gun and their accuracy. To that end, there are three popular types of targets that shooters use. Those are steel targets, Tannerite targets, and plinking targets. Here is a look at each of these targets and why you’d use them.

Steel Targets — Steel targets are made out of 1/2 inch or 3/8 inch steel. Many people opt to use armor grade steel. The fast-and-hard rule is any steel will do if it has a Brinell hardness in excess of 500. Of course, this is subjective but applying it adds longevity to your targets. The benefit of using steel targets is that they last longer and require fewer houses for setup since they can be used over and over. They are also easy to clean up and usually just require repainting when it matters. The advantage of using steel targets is that you can hear that “plink” if you hit one. This allows the shooter to have instant confirmation during target practice. The downfall with steel targets is that they pose a ricochet risk and people do get injured from bullets that ricochet. Steel targets are usually easy to move around so you can gain more detailed target practice in a small space. With the right tools, steel targets are easy to make as a DIY project.

Steel Shooting targets

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Tannerite targets are exploding. They are a mixture of aluminum powder and ammonium nitrate. The ratio for mixing at home is 5:95 Aluminum powder:Ammonium nitrate. While this already sounds like a bad idea, the mixture only explodes when struck with a bullet. The bigger risk is that the target may cause a fire. That is usually from mixing the ingredients wrong, or exposing them to flames. Tannerite targets are helpful for long-distance shooting where you might not hear the plink. You will definitely see the explosion. The downside to Tannerite targets is that they are a once-use product and they create a mess. While the current laws allow Tannerite targets for use and sale in all 50 states, it is best to check with your local authorities for changes to those laws.


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Plinking Targets are comprised from almost anything from tin cans to watermelons. These targets offer an affordable means to hone your shooting skills and accuracy. You can easily create larger targets using cardboard cutouts or difficult targets using Q-tips. If you want to add technical challenges, many plinking targets can be swung from a rope to provide a moving target. The benefit of plinking targets is that they are scalable for different skill sets. Depending on the material from which the target is made, these may be single use or last for years. The list of material that you can use is virtually limitless. Another advantage to plinking targets is that they add a sense of fun to the game of target practice. It is easier to convince a new shooter to practice target shooting if the idea is to demolish a watermelon or perhaps to challenge them by taking a grape off a toothpick at 50-yards.

homemade_targets_3  Plinking targets  homemade_targets_2

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Every type of target has its strengths and weaknesses. The idea is to learn when to use each type of homemade target to gain the best benefit. Your goal as a shooter should always be gun safety followed by bettering your shooting skill and accuracy. Each set of target types also provides a wide range of costs. These three choices allow you to pick a cost that fits your budget.

To learn more about how guns are crafted and cared for visit our Colorado School of Trades website for more information on gunsmithing education. In so doing, you will find a ton of helpful information that helps you improve as a shooter and to improve your accuracy.


What Is the Attraction to AR-15’s and Building Them?

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

The Black Rifle. 14,5" AR-15 assault carbine (M4A1) with holographic sight against an old wooden door. Vertical composition.

For many people, the AR-15 is the gun of choice. One of its biggest draws is that it offers an easy to modify platform. For shooters, the gun becomes easy to adapt from one purpose to another. Those options include hunting, target practice, home and self-defense. Another draw, these guns are easy to build even for novice gunsmiths. That little fact causes a lot of interest in these guns. By building it yourself, you can do so for less money. Allowing you to customize it to fit your shooting needs or build more than one. Still, the question remains — How easy are these guns to build from scratch? The answer is a little more complex but in the general sense, they are easy to build.

What Do You Need to Build an AR-15 at Home?

Almost all the parts needed to build an AR-15 are available online. The most scrutinized piece of the AR-15 is the lower receiver. In fact, it is the only part of the unit that federal and state laws actually consider the weapon. This is also the most cumbersome part to get.

  • You will need both a lower and upper receiver and a parts kit for each.
  • You will need a buffer, buffer tube, and a buffer spring for the extension on the lower receiver.
  • You will need a Barrel and gas block system – Most opt for a carbine length gas system.
  • You will need handguards – It is a good idea to match them to the gas block system. They are available in different lengths – carbine, mid-length, or rifle.
  • You will need a firing pin kit or bolt carrier group. These consist of a carrier, bolt, firing pin, cam, extractor, ejector and spring.
  • You will need to finish off the gun with a Buttstock. These come either as a collapsible unit or fixed.
  • You will need magazines.
  • Ensure that you meet federal and state laws in regards to building a pistol or rifle and the appropriate parts to meet the definitions.

The Difficult Part

Literally, the difficult part is the lower receiver. You can get a lower receiver at a gun dealer, gunsmith, from an online seller. You will have to find a gunsmith or gun dealer to act as an intermediate for an online sale. Once that happens they will resell the unit to you when it arrives. The key to building an AR-15 is being specific about its use. The parts for the hunting version differ from those for the unit used in home defense. Save all that wasted money on parts you don’t need by being specific about what you want this gun to do.

Putting It All Together

You have a lot of options when you buy parts. You can buy pre-assembled receivers. These allow you to simply put the pieces together to form the gun. You can buy the pieces one at a time and assemble everything yourself. Start by asking yourself what you want to gain from this experience. There is also no shame in bending the ear of a gunsmith if you need a little help.

You will need the basic understanding of what each part does, its name, and a little ambition. There are about 130 parts including accessories like flashlights and scopes that go into a completed AR-15. You will also need some basic tools, a clean work area, and a place where you can assemble small parts.

Special Tools that You Might Need

  • A clean, flat workspace that you won’t mind if it gets greasy. A metal covered table works well. The bright metal helps you see the parts and it can take a beating.
  • A rifle mount stand makes the assembly process much easier. Some folks just use a vice, but there is that old saying about using the right tool for the right job.
  • Good lighting. The parts are small and intricate.
  • Punches and a hammer
  • Lubrication rated for gun use.
  • Headspace gauges and a torque wrench are a must to meet proper specifications.

Firing it for the First Time

There are a few things that you need to do before you load the gun.

  • Check that the safety works through all settings.
  • Check that the trigger works. Slowly pull the trigger and listen for the internal parts.
  • Load a round and fire it.
  • Recheck the gun for loose parts or damage.
  • Disassemble, clean and inspect after the first several rounds. You want to look for unusual wear.

Expect to take a few weeks to put together your gun. You want to go slow, especially if this is your first weapon assembly. A good tip is to also have a spare parts kit around in case you bend a part or lose one.

Different Types of Competition Shooting

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016


The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) states that 19 million plus Americans safely invest their time in target practice. They use handguns, shotguns and rifles. Some of this is for fun and much of it is for competitive shooting. Practice makes perfect.

Competitive shooting — shotgun

There are three general categories for most competitive shotgun shooting events. All three involve throwing clay targets, but it is how they are thrown that differentiates these shooting events. Those are:

Skeet shooting — Clay targets fired from opposite directions and cross, which helps the shooter to develop or show off profile shooting skills.

Trap shooting — Clay targets are thrown in the same direction as the shooter is facing, but their trajectory varies, giving the shooter a more difficult set of targets. This type of shooting develops skills that involve instant decision making when choosing multiple targets.

Sporting clay shooting — One could easily describe this as mayhem. The clay targets are pitched from different heights, speeds and angles. Most targets move fast, and the goal is to simulate what a hunter would face in the wild with birds and small game.

Pistol and rifle competition shooting

Cowboy action shooting — The primary requirement for these types of shooting events is that the guns used are from the era of the American cowboy. That typically means from the 1800’s. These are perfect events to get a look at antique guns and weaponry.

Pistol shooting events

Bullseye shooting — While this can occur with the use of rifles, it is mostly a long-distance event for pistol shooters. By long distance, we mean upwards of 50 yards. Competitions are usually a mix of slow-firing and rapid-firing contests. To increase the difficulty level, a timer might be used and participants might also be required to fire using a single-hand rather than a double-hand grip.

International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) shooting events — This is an action shooting event that focuses on international rules and guns. This shooting competition focuses on self-defense type shooting situations, and the events mimic real life as much as possible. Its sister competition is the United States Practical Shooting Organization (USPSA), which is the U.S. version.

Rifle-focused shooting

Silhouette shooting — This is a rifle event and primarily uses small gauge rifles such as .22s. These events stage small steel targets at varying distances between 50-100 yards. Targets may be at different heights, angles, and may move. There are competitions that employ high power rifles with targets in the 1000-yard range. To increase the difficulty of these events, shots might be timed.

Bench rest shooting — This is the most precise shooting competition for rifles available. The rifle sits on a front and rear rest and the rest sits on a table, thus the name. Shooters take aim at paper targets. The rifles used are highly modified or customized to provide the most stable shot possible. A lot goes into the trajectory of a bullet as even the wind can shift its path slightly. These competitions can be decided by a fraction of a millimeter. This is the type of event that is deeply rooted in tradition and can be seen at both the winter and summer Olympics.

Shooting events are widely available and they might be hosted by a local gun club or as a world competition at a venue such as the Olympics. What is the next step for people who are interested in shooting competitions? The biggest decision that you face is determining which style of gun — shotgun, pistol or rifle — that you favor. When the breadth of a hair can spell winner or loser, precision counts.

John M. Browning’s Start Up

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

john browning 3

Meet John Browning – Passionate Gun Designer and Innovator

John Moses Browning is perhaps the most brilliant gun designer and gunsmith that has thus far graced gunsmithing. His long list of achievements individually are enough to land him on the top ten list of gun designers, but together they move him to the head of the list. That list includes guns such as the 1911 pistol, M1917 and M1919 machine gun and the M2HB, but those are just the superstars. He held over 150 patents and designed over 80 guns. His guns are in service today in military, police, and for people all around the world. John Browning is no doubt a legend in shooting circles. How did he get started?

Browning — the family history

John Browning’s gunsmithing education was not by accident. His father, Jon Browning was a frontiersman who made his living repairing guns in Tennessee. Then, as the family converted to the Mormon religion, they moved to Utah. It was here that John Browning honed his skills as a gunsmith. There is a story about how a ten-year-old John Browning created his first gun using broken flintlock barrel, wire, scraps of tin and some wood. The gun worked and though impressed, his father challenged John to do better, creating the gun that started it all. What John took from his father’s lesson was the idea that improvements mattered.

Inspiration from a muzzle blast

The automatic gun was not a new thought. By the time John Browning came on the scene, the French and Belgium gunsmiths had already created something that was close — the mitrailleuse. Even in the U.S. Army deployed Gatling guns during the Civil War. The difference with all of these guns was that they were not fully automatic. They had to be cranked. It was something that was very common that sparked John’s interest in creating a fully automatic gun. At a target shooting competition, the force of a muzzle blast caused him to think about how he could use that force to improve guns. The pathway to a fully automatic gun was born.

Success breeds success

The first of the Browning Guns was a single-shot rifle, which he designed and manufactured by hand. He and his brothers took over the family business and expanded their services. It was this single-shot rifle that enabled John Browning to begin seriously inventing guns. The rifle was well made and it attracted the attention of Winchester’s head man T. G. Bennett. Winchester bought the rights for John’s single-shot rifle. In his mind, John M. Browning had another design – one that he discussed with Bennett. Browning designed and patented that rifle, then presented it to Winchester who bought the rights for manufacture in what would become the Winchester Model 1886. It was a large-bore lever action repeating rifle and a gateway to a long relationship between Browning and Winchester. Within two years, Browning designed and Winchester bought the manufacturing rights to 11 different guns.

The automatic gun inventor

It took him a day to design a new gun that would use the gas from discharge to create the world’s first truly automatic gun. He and his brothers took John’s design from concept to reality in just a day. They tested, refined and perfected a machine gun that fired .45 caliber bullets at six times per second. Instead of going to Winchester, John M. Browning went to Colt. Colt was a manufacturer of military guns. After demonstrations for both Colt and later for the U.S. Navy, John Browning‘s Colt Model 1865 Automatic Machine Gun began production where it would earn distinction during the Spanish-American War.

The list of what John M. Browning and his Browning Guns accomplished is long and distinguished. He was not an engineer by degree, but he was a gunsmith with passion for his craft. It was that passion, mixed with the desire to do the best he could that propelled John Browning into the position of one the most brilliant gunsmiths the world has known.

10 Things To Remember When Planning Your Dream Hunt

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Preparing for the hunt in a forester cottage

10 Tips to Successfully Plan Your Dream Hunt

We all have them — lofty ambitions for the hunt of a lifetime. But do they need to remain only in your dreams? Absolutely not! Every year, hunters experience the thrill and adventure of taking down a trophy. A dream hunting expedition comes down to one thing – planning. In this article, we discuss ten things that turn an average hunt into the hunting excursion of a lifetime.

Successful hunting is all about planning. You can’t just hop in the truck, head for the woods and bag a trophy buck. That kind of hunting excursion is mostly about luck. Sure, luck plays a part in most hunting ventures, but how much luck impacts your adventure is somewhat controllable. A few of the thing things that we discuss includes equipment and supplies, using guides, and tips on how to plan a dream hunt. This is not a species-specific hunting article, so whether you want a trophy whitetail, elk, bear, or even big game like elephants or lions, the information in this article will be usable for you. Let’s begin with the first order of business — equipment.

  1. Hunting equipment — It all boils down to quality

Hunting equipment is a set of tools, and tools are supposed to stand up to the abuse. The quality of your equipment is a key component to the success of your hunt. A good example is your gun; it won’t do you much good if it jams. It won’t do you much good if the optics are not spot on and you cannot see your target. It won’t do you much good if it is not powerful enough to allow perfect-ranged shots. Invest in a quality rifle or shotgun.

For many of us, that may mean a customized rifle that is built to fit your body and your shooting style. If you are not ready for a customized gun, then take your existing guns to a gunsmith who has been to school and let them service your rifle or shotgun. If you are the DIY type of hunter, and many of us are, consider taking a gunsmithing class or enroll in a gunsmith course. Most of us were taught to care for guns by our dads, but you’d be surprised about how many little tricks you can pick up from a gunsmith about the care of firearms.

What other hunting supplies might you need for a trophy hunt? Treat all equipment as though it is your gun because many hunts are ruined by a $0.03 part that broke. Don’t let that hunter be you.

  1. Know your target

It is one thing to say you want to target a trophy elk, and it is quite another thing to be able to find one. This is where we downplay luck and up-play skill. Learn about the animal you hunt and get to know it intimately.

  • What do they eat?
  • What kind of habitat do they prefer?
  • What are their defenses?
  • How well do they hear?
  • Is their vision better than yours?
  • Is your rifle or shotgun going to do the job to overcome their defenses?

These are just a few of the questions that successful hunters answer when they chase trophy game, especially when chasing a predator. Know your prey like you know yourself.

  1. Safety is always first

Hunting accidents, self-inflicted gunshot wounds and the rest of that long list of miseries are all preventable if you take safety into consideration. There are freak accidents where a limb falls out of a tree and takes you down — an act of God.  Most hunting accidents do not involve God, but rather poor safety policies. Nobody wants to limp home because they shot themselves in the foot, but it happens. Even former Vice President Dick Cheney shot his hunting partner accidentally. Be safe about how you hunt, and how you care for your equipment.

  1. Expect changes

A good hunter is versatile and adaptable. The environment in which you hunt is not going to adapt to you; you will have to adapt to it. You are going into the wild, and the wild is “wild.” Expect conditions to change, especially the weather. Pack your bag for all of the unexpected events. That includes staying longer than planned, lighting, extreme weather, and physical issues such as fatigue, pain, and even allergies. There is a lot that changes in the bush, including one of the most impressive predator groups –  insects (ticks, mosquitos and chiggers).

  1. Use a hunting guide

Good hunting guides are worth their weight in gold. The benefit is that they know the territory and they know the game. They help you overcome the learning curve that you cannot overcome by time, reading or watching videos. What they know they learned from personal experience on the land you’ll be working. They also understand what types of hunting supplies you’ll need, the conditions you’ll face, and what the physical and mental requirements of your hunt will be. A good guide helps make your hunt successful.

  1. Practice patience

How many of the “ones that got away” got away because hunters were impatient? Patience, they say, is a virtue, and that has never been truer than when hunting. Practice being patient until you master that skill.

  1. Lose the ego

Hunting is not about you. Hunting trophy game is about building a relationship between yourself and your prey. Most anyone can walk up to an elephant and shoot it. We read about that all the time on social media. To find a monster bull elk or moose is quite a bit different. It is like a dance, and you cannot afford to step on your partner’s toes. Hunting is about skill. You can be prideful after you bag your target. To get to the point of squeezing the trigger occurs more often when we leave our ego in the truck. Be humble and patient and increase your chances for success.

  1. Evaluate your presence

Do you smell? Can your prey smell you? Are you wearing scents? Even those manly scents from underarm deodorant and toothpaste can alert prey long before you even see them. This is an exercise in evaluating how well your actions and presence stack up against the defenses of you prey. Sight, sound and smell are just some of the tools that trophy game use to stay alive. We are foreigners in their territory and therefore, we stand out like a sore thumb. Evaluating your presence in their territory allows you to compensate or adjust your actions to overcome their defenses. Big trophy bucks did not grow up to be big trophy bucks because they were dense. These are smart animals with keen senses. If you want to bag one, you have to match their presence in their territory.

  1. Be willing to learn

None of us knows everything, even if we are good at hunting. Think of things in grades — amateur, novice, sufficient, master, guide. Where are you in this lineup? Even the top tier of hunters have things to learn and skills they can improve. A common improvement is how to squeeze the trigger. Eliminating shooting errors is a big part of being successful as a hunter. To hunt the top tier of prey you need to be the best hunter that you can be, and that comes down to skill. Be willing to learn and willing to put in the time to improve.

  1. Learn the art of movement

Tracking game requires movement, and that means sound. Learn how to move slowly and how to make each movement with purpose. There are skills that you can learn that help you step softly or creep along the ground silently. Being able to move properly is a key component of hunting. It is not very likely that you will just walk through the woods and drop a trophy buck from 50 feet.

Hunters need to be flexible, able to bend, squat, and stand for long periods and then be able to move quickly, accurately and purposefully. If you’d like to evaluate how you move, consider taking a Tai Chi class. Tai Chi is a Chinese art, and it teaches balance and movement. Tai Chi will surprise you with what you will discover about yourself.

These ten tips address the entire realm of what a hunter is and offer insight into how to improve yourself so that you fit into the role of a top predator. Whether you shoot bullets or arrows, the best of us got there by practicing and improving. Skill wins over luck, and building skills require work. Master these and you’re well on your way to your Dream Hunt.  Happy hunting.

Gunsmith’s Guide: How to Choose a Shotgun Shell for Your Next Hunt

Monday, November 16th, 2015


Hunters often favor shotguns because the firearm option is extremely versatile. However, this has resulted in an immense and complex ammunition market. When shopping for shotgun ammunition, you’ll come across thousands of different types of shotgun shells that offer diverse results. With the right ammunition, you’re more likely to be an effective hunter.

Shotgun gauge sizes

According to gunsmithing experts, the first step to buying the right shotgun ammunition involves choosing the best gauge. In the firearms industry, manufacturers measure shotguns in gauges as opposed to calibers. The term “gauge” defines the barrel’s diameter while the number refers to the lead weight that will fit inside a gun’s barrel. If you buy a 12-gauge shotgun, then 12 equally sized balls made from one pound of lead will fit inside the weapon. As a result, a 20-gauge shotgun is smaller than a 12-gauge.

In the past, people made their own ammunition from purchased lead pieces. An exception to the gauging measurement in shotguns is the .410, which is a small firearm that manufacturers measure by the bore size. If you were to measure it in traditional gauge size terms, it would be a 68-gauge.

Hunters use shotguns to bring down fowl. Also, most hunters choose shotgun shell gauges in smaller sizes for clay target shooting and to hunt small creatures as well as game animals. Larger gauges are best for shooting clay targets. In addition, experts recommend large ammunition for home defense and for hunting big game species like deer and turkey.

Shotgun shell length

Within their corresponding gauges, shotgun chambers are available in different lengths. Keep in mind that even if it’s the proper gauge, it is dangerous to use a shell that’s too long for your shotgun’s chamber. To maintain your personal safety and the security of bystanders, don’t use shells that measure longer than the gun’s guide recommends. However, to shoot with greater accuracy and power, buy the longest types of shotgun shells that are safe to use in your gun.

Types of shotgun shells

Gun enthusiasts refer to the cluster of tiny pellets that you shoot out of a shotgun as shot. In gunsmithing, ammunition manufacturers make shot from pure lead, but they may coat it with other substances like copper, steel or bismuth.

Birdshot is the smallest type of shotgun shell available with letters depicting larger shot sizes. The largest is buckshot, and you’ll want it on hand to hunt deer, vermin or for self-defense. To hunt game birds like woodcock or grouse, select a small diameter shot size like 7 ½, 8 or 9. If you intend to hunt squirrel, duck, rabbit or pheasant, use a 4, 5 or 6 shot size. Large shot sizes include 1, 2 and 3 along with B, BB and BBB.

Other large shot sizes are T, F and FF. Use these sizes for long distance waterfowl hunting based on your preferences. Larger pellets retain their rate of speed and hold enough power to complete rapid kills when you’re shooting at distant ducks and geese. Along with deer, you can use buckshot to bring down a coyote or a fox.

Shotgun slugs

Slugs are another type of shotgun shell. A shotgun slug is a single projectile that most hunters use to take down big game animals like deer or even bears. Slug shotguns come in two different forms — smoothbore or rifled. These terms refer to a gun’s barrel. A smoothbore barrel is a traditional shotgun feature, and you’ll generally use this kind of barrel to shoot pellets.

To shoot big game with a slug shotgun, you’ll want to invest in a gun with a rifled barrel. A shotgun with this type of barrel has grooves and twists that create a spinning and stabilizing action when you release the slug. These barrel features increase accuracy. Shotguns that shoot slugs are specialized firearms, and they are in a separate category.

Nontoxic or lead-free ammunition

Because of environmental concerns, a number of states and regions ban hunters from using lead ammunition. Fortunately, manufacturers offer nontoxic shotgun shell types, also called lead-free ammo or green ammo. These include steel, bismuth, tin and tungsten-polymer materials. Tungsten-iron and tungsten-matrix are also environmentally friendly.

A few final considerations

Choose shotgun shell types and sizes according to the kind of game you intend to hunt. Use caution regarding the length of your ammunition, and while hunting, be sure to use a quality gun that inspires confidence.

Gunsmith’s Guide: Reloading Ammo vs. Buying Ammo – Cost Saver or Time Waster?

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

Gunsmith's Guide: Reloading Ammo vs. Buying Ammo – Cost Saver or Time Waster?

Gunsmith’s Guide: Reloading Ammo vs. Buying Ammo – Cost Saver or Time Waster?

Top 4 things smart shooters need to consider

Whether you’d like to save money or just want to learn as much as you can about shooting and gunsmithing, reloading your own ammo may be the way to go. Most shooting enthusiasts eventually grapple with the ammo reloading issue. On the one hand, reloading bullets instead of buying commercial ammunition is often more cost-effective. On the other, it is a fairly time-consuming endeavor. Many enjoy the process itself, however, so this is less of an issue. The question is: Where do you fall on the scale? Does reloading your own ammunition make sense for you?

Ammo reloading: Who does it?

People who reload their own ammunition typically fall into one of two groups. The first is made up of people who shoot a lot. Members of gun clubs, for instance, go through lots of ammo, so the savings involved in loading their own is compelling indeed. The second is made up of people who are determined to be the most accurate shooters possible. They believe loading their own is the only way to make the most of their firearms.

If you meet the following criteria, you’ll probably like reloading your own ammo:

  • Detail-oriented — strong attention to detail is a must
  • Mechanically inclined — you enjoy tinkering with things and figuring out how they work
  • Patient — the work is, in some ways, pretty painstaking
  • You have spare time — this one speaks for itself

Top 4 reasons to load your own ammo

Even if you meet the criteria above, you may be unconvinced about the merits of ammo reloading. Consider these advantages:

  1. Save Money. This one is a little up in the air. Reloading some types of ammo can, indeed, save you money. The typical 50-count box of commercially produced 44 Magnum bullets will set you back by around $40. Reloading your own ammo costs around $13, so you stand to save a hefty chunk of change. The savings aren’t as significant for other types of ammo, however. In some cases, it may even cost you more to load your own. If savings aren’t your primary concern, though, this may not matter to you.
  2. Improve Accuracy. Commercial ammunition must adhere to specific safety standards. It must be able to perform properly in the majority of firearms, so it’s not always loaded to the levels of velocity that are required for superior performance. Also, bullets must be seated far back enough in the brass to fit just about any magazine. Many believe accuracy is improved when the bullet is seated a little farther out. More importantly, by reloading your own ammo, you can use components that work for your exact gun and that perform properly for your desired application.
  3. Have Fun. Many people reload their own ammo simply because they enjoy it. If you’re curious about the mechanics behind shooting, you will probably enjoy the process of reloading your own ammunition.
  4. Shoot More. Have you ever felt like doing a little shooting, realized you were out of bullets and decided against it? That’s a pretty big letdown, and you can avoid it by keeping the ammo reloading supplies you need handy. From that point forward, you won’t have to run out to buy commercial bullets anymore, and you will be able to shoot more often.

The costliest part of reloading your own ammo is typically buying the equipment and supplies you need to do so. For shotgun reloading that means a reloading press, but you’ll need a lot more for a pistol or rifle. Used equipment is available, however, and gun clubs often offer great discounts on supplies too. Moreover, you can start with what you need for the caliber you use the most. If you enjoy reloading your own ammo, you can always invest in more dies for other calibers later.

Learn about ammo and the broader world of gunsmithing at the Colorado School of Trades. Our career counselors can help you decide if being a professional gunsmith is the right path for you.