Hunter aiming through his scope

7 Reasons Why You Should Roll Your Own Ammo

Factory ammunition is so good, so consistent and so dependable these days that one wonders why anyone would handload. I can think of a few reasons.

1. Velocity: Some cartridges, such as the 7×57 Mauser, .257 Roberts, .45-70 Govt. are loaded to rather low pressures so as to be safe in older rifles. More modern rounds, such as the .22-250 Rem. and .300 Win. Mag., are loaded to much higher pressures. Handloaders, following recipes in the various handloading manuals, can often add 100 fps, sometimes as much as 200 fps over factory loads in those oldies — and make them goodies.

Handloaders can weigh powder charges to a tenth of one grain for the utmost consistency.
Handloaders can weigh powder charges to a tenth of one grain for the utmost consistency.

2. Accuracy: While factory ammo usually shoots close to MOA, handloads can often be tailored to group twice that close. Sometimes it’s as simple as tweaking bullet seating depth. Sometimes it’s just the right mix of bullet, primer and powder. But if you’re an accuracy nut, handloading is the way to proceed.

3. Light practice loads: Again, factory ammo is stepping up by offering reduced loads, but not in all calibers and perhaps not as slow as you might like. By handloading, you can stuff 100-grain plinkers bullets in a .30-06 and get velocities — and recoil — down to where new shooters can practice without fear of developing a flinch. Light loads are great for small game hunting, too, letting you shoot your big game rifle at rabbits, for instance.

4. Odd bullet sizes: To keep costs down, manufacturers limit bullet sizes in most calibers. In .270 Winchester, for instance, you’ll probably find 130-grain and 150-grain loads, rarely 140-grain. But if you handload you can try Sierra’s 90-grain hollow point or Hornady’s 100-grain spire point for coyotes, chucks or prairie dogs. Put a 110-grain V-Max aboard your .30-06 and hit 3,400 fps. In the other direction, you could put a 160-grain round nose atop your 6.5-55 Swede to tackle black bears in tight cover or even flatten a moose. How about a 175-grain spire point on your 7mm-08 Rem. for close cover elk?

5. Special bullets: Again, hats off to the ammo companies for branching out. There was a time when you could get two types of bullets from each of four main ammo makers. Today they use their old standbys, but also aftermarket bullets from Nosler, Swift, Barnes, Sierra, and more. But when was the last time you saw a box of factory ammo with Cutting Edge Bullets, Berger Bullets or Kodiak Bullets? If you want to try something special, you’ll need to handload.

There's just something satisfying about building your own accurate ammunition.
There’s just something satisfying about building your own accurate ammunition.

6. Reduced cost: You should be able to cut your ammo costs in half by handloading — if you can find the components. That’s the current fly in the ointment. The “overbuying” and hoarding of the last several years are still creating backlogs and shortages of bullets, primers, powder, and even brass. But don’t give up. Keep looking, keep ordering, keep shopping and you should eventually get the gear you need to build your own ammunition for years to come.

7. Satisfaction: Last but not least, Mick Jagger might not be able to get satisfaction, but you will when you build the perfect loads for your perfect rifle. There’s just something extra satisfying about making the cartridge that puts that next 80 pounds of venison in the freezer and rack on the wall!

Yup, factory ammo is deadly good, but there are still plenty of reasons to roll your own.

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2 Responses to “7 Reasons Why You Should Roll Your Own Ammo”

  1. 3 Great Ways to Save Money on Bullets |

    […] have to buy the equipment for reloading your own ammo, but it will save you money in the long-run. Rolling your own ammo comes with additional benefits as well, such as easier access to odd bullet sizes, the ability to […]

  2. Bert Clayton

    Old shotgun shells were paper, looked like the same paper used on flares.
    It’s be good to see an article on how to actually make improvised loads!
    As I’d imagine something has the perfect diameter to roll paper around it to form a shell container and there’s probably a plumbing fitting or something that can serve as the brass, where a hike would have to be made for the primer. Lol, worse case scenario, run a fuse. Might it and just stay trained on the target until it goes off.
    Just like I read an article of some guy emptying a shotshell and filling with all powdewr, then costing with epoxy and running it in nuts and bokts, with a mail for a firing pin, something to guide it. It said it made a good grenade. But not a site fire method.