Shooting, whether for competition, hunting, or simply as a hobby, is often quite exciting. However, it is also expensive. Commercial ammunition costs money, and it may be hard to engage in regular shooting expeditions without breaking the bank. You may be thinking about purchasing reloading brass in a bid to save money and acquire some valuable skills in the process. Spent brass cartridges are among the options that most reloading enthusiasts seek after as they are cost-effective. As you consider purchasing cartridges, bullets, primers, and powders and reloading ammunition, it is worth observing the following safety tips
1. Inspect Cartridges
Used brass cartridges may have micro cracks which often go unnoticed. When cracked cases are fired, escaping gasses may seep through the action and into the face of the shooter. In some instances, the case can rupture, leave brass in the chamber, blow super-heated gases, or even propel some fragments through the action. It is worth taking the time to inspect the cases so that you don’t end up buying dangerous and useless ones. Turn the cases in your fingers and look out for small cracks and bright rings that indicate defect before making a purchase.
2. Read Equipment Instructions
As you purchase reloading components such as brass cartridges, primers, bullets, and powders, make sure that you are familiar with the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use them correctly. Most ammo manufacturers offer technical support, and you can reach out to them for clarifications. Ensuring that you understand the instructions will save you from making mistakes that may pose a health or safety hazard.
3. Don’t Substitute Components
According to Diamond K Brass, brass, gunpowder, and primers can vary significantly in their composition and configuration depending on the manufacturer. If your load requires a particular type of primer or powder, don’t substitute it with another as you will get varying results. For example, a primer from the Federal Premium Ammunition may not give the same results as Sellier & Bellot. Switching to a different component can cause extreme pressures within the same load which can damage the firearm and cause injury or death.
4. Store Powder
Gunpowder can be dangerous when stored incorrectly or exposed to certain conditions. Store it in a cool, dry place and away from children and pets as they can end up ingesting it. Whenever possible, keep the gunpowder in approved and labeled containers. Also, make sure that it is stored away from combustibles such as an open flame, inflammable gases, and solvents. Do not smoke near gunpowder as this can lead to catastrophic outcomes.
5. Use Safety Glasses
Safety glasses are essential for the protection of the eyes when reloading or shooting. They protect your eyes from coming into contact with components such as gunpowder and primers. If you accidentally use cracked brass cartridges, they can send fragments in the air as you shoot, and if you don’t have glasses, one of the pieces can get into the eyes. This can cause severe irritation or even send you to the emergency room. Invest in quality safety glasses to protect your eyes from such unfortunate incidences.
6. Avoid Distractions
Reloading ammunition is a procedure that requires total concentration and dedication. It only takes a second of distraction to create a dangerous load that may end up causing severe injury. Build your load in a quiet environment that’s free of distractions from the television, kids, pets, and noise in the neighborhood. If possible, do this in the home office, garage, or any other quiet place where you can get a clean work table for work.
7. Keep Food Away
Some reloading components may contain lead, a dangerous element that can cause serious health complications when consumed. Lead can easily come into contact with food or drinks if you consume them during the reloading process. Keep all foods and beverages away from your workstation. If you need a break, wash your hands thoroughly before touching any food and remove all lead-containing components.
8. Check for Overpressure
As aforementioned, over-pressure can damage your weapon or cause injuries if it goes undetected. Even if you have the right mix, it is important to watch out for over-pressure when shooting your loads. Common signs include primer flattening, brass case bulging, or difficulties with extractions. Stop shooting if you notice any of these signs and step down your loads.
Reloading ammo is fun, but it can also pose potential risks when done incorrectly. Follow these tips as you purchase brass and other reloading components for your safety and that of other shooters.