As gun shops around the nation finally start to see ammunition back on their shelves, more gun owners are finding an interest in assembling their own cartridges and shells. Shooting enthusiasts were hard-pressed to find ammo in the early months of 2013, so many turned to an age-old solution: reloading. Hobbyists who reload their own ammunition state many benefits, including increased accuracy, cheaper cost, quality of performance, and above all, they say it’s fun.
“The cost of ammo off the shelf is outrageous right now,” gun owner Derek Emmert told NPR. “So if I can reload my own ammo, it’s gonna cut costs and make shooting a little more cheaper.”
The equipment required for reloading can cost as little as $200. The first item on any aspiring reloader’s list is the press, which can come in the traditional and inexpensive single stage models or progressive presses. Secondly, reloaders will have to purchase dies to go inside the press, which are cartridge-specific. Other essential items include shellholders, powder measuring tools, trimmers, and of course, materials to construct ammunition.
The entire process is not as difficult to learn as many might imagine, although learning to use just the right amount of materials and powder can be tricky. Most newcomers are advised to save their first cartridge, as it will be the most expensive one they make.
As gun owners begin purchasing supplies, companies in the reloading business are experiencing a sales boom. Dillion Precision Products, an Arizona-based company that produces reloading equipment, had to hire additional employees and add a second shift on the factory floor in order to keep up with orders.
“It’s been a challenge because we’re used to operating at a certain level,” said company spokesman Mark Pixler.
Much like ammunition, powders and primers are also becoming scarce. Reloading instructors however, are enjoying their craft’s increased popularity.
“People want to get into [classes] because they can’t find ammunition any other way,” trainer Lynn Garnand told The Blaze. “This year versus last year–my business has easily doubled.”