Making Reloads On A Press

Reloading Ammunition
 By Mike Coviello (Tanner)

WHEN YOU RELOAD IN YOUR HOME the dangers are present not only to you but every member of your household. You can minimize these dangers by having a dedicated safe room.

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Safe Rooms for Reloading Ammunition

  
  

Everybody knows that reloading ammunition can be dangerous. When you reload in your home the dangers are present not only to you but every member of your household. You can minimize these dangers by having a dedicated safe room. Here are some ideas and suggestions (not a guarantee of safety) for creating a safe reloading room at home. READ THESE FIRST - Dangers of Reloading Ammunition; Storage & Handling of Smokeless Powder.

 

Reloading Room

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Which Room Do I Use For Reloading?

  1. Pick a room that is farthest away from most household activity and distractions.

  2. Pick a room that is not between you and an emergency exit should you have to evacuate the house due to a fire or emergency.

  3. Pick an air conditioned room with good ventilation and lighting.

  4. Do not have distractions such as a television in or near where you plan to reload.

  5. Keep your room neat, organized and clean.

What Should I Keep In The Reloading Room?

The following items are suggested equipment for your room.

  1. Keep only "clean" materials and equipment in the room (Read about Lead Poisoning).

  2. Keep your tumbler and contaminated tumbler media outside.

  3. Powder and primers must be stored separately.

  4. Akro bins for bullets and small parts.

  5. Lights, lights and more lights. For more info about lights for reloading ammo see below.

  6. Zip lock freezer bags or Tupperware for small parts storage.

  7. Make sure your reloading bench top and other work areas has a very smooth surface (such as Formica) with no cracks or crevices that powder cannot collect in. Also add a raised lip on the outside edges of the bench top to prevent primers and other small parts from rolling off. Caulk the edge so powder cannot get under it.

  8. Install a backstop to your bench. Items that fall off the back of your reloading table are often hard to retrieve and make cleaning difficult.

  9. Use a dust cover for your press when not in use.

  10. Have a box of hand wipes on hand.

  11. Storage bins are essential.

  12. Reloading operations cause vibrations and may effect the operation of powder measuring scales. Isolate the scale by placing it on a separate table.

  13. A rubber mat on the floor improves personal comfort.

  14. Try placing a rubber mat beneath your tumbler or vibratory case cleaner for some noise dampening.

  15. No pets allowed in the reloading room (or under close supervision).

  16. Air conditioned Room.

  17. Magnifying glass or jeweler's loupe with light for close up examination of small parts and components.

  18. Place a small lamp or light source next to your press or powder measure such that it's beam is directed to allow easy visibility into each case as it is filled with powder (to ensure no double charges). For more information about lights for reloading ammo see below.

  19. You need a cabinet or two for storage.

  20. Comfortable loading chair. A good adjustable stool.

  21. If you make shelves, make them strong. Bullets and other supplies are heavy.

  22. Make sure you have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

  23. Make sure you have a lockable door at the entrance to your reloading room.

  24. Store the tumbler outside. Keeps the dust low.

  25. Avoid carpets in your reloading room. If that is not possible, place a plastic mat over the carpet in case of power spills.

  26. Fire proof your room as much a possible. Remove all combustible materials.

  27. Invest in a good set of heavy duty freestanding shelves.

If children have access to any of the components or equipment

  1. Instruct them of the dangers

  2. Lock the components and equipment

  3. Supervise them at all times

Keep Your Reloading Room and Components Secure

The last thing you need is somebody messing with your equipment. Bad things can happen if someone turns a powder measure adjustment knob or knocks something out of whack and you don't know about it.

Lights for Reloading Ammo

Proper lighting in a room is one of the most important considerations for safety. With good lighting you are able to see the powder within each case that you reload. You will be able to tell whether the powder is undercharged which may lead to squibs or overcharged which may result in an exploding gun.

Lights should be stand-alone, adjustable lighting fixtures. You may need more than one light depending upon how well the room is illuminated. The light or lamp should not be connected to the bench to avoid "shaking" the light when operating the press arm. The light should be adjustable so that you may direct its beam for best viewing.

The intensity of lights for will vary with room conditions. Lights that are too bright will allow you to see the powder in the case well enough but may temporarily effect your vision as you change your gaze elsewhere. Too little light provides insufficient illumination. Trial and error for the positioning of your lights will achieve the best lighting conditions. Just don't let the light bulb get too near the smokeless powder!

Note - You may have to make some sort of light shield to eliminate or reduce glare from the light bulbs. You will know if you need this or not after you reload a few dozen rounds.

 

Feedback & Comments

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Good Reloading Area?

March 22, 2012
Is it safe for the reload area to be part of the bedroom? I am wondering how unhealthy it is to reload in the same room where adults and children sleep. As well as storing all powders and lead in the same room. Thanks
Traci

Response - Traci,

The bedroom doesn't sound like the ideal room, but I can't really tell you unhealthy it would be.

A lot would depend on:
- the cleanliness and work habits of the re-loader.
- the size of the room, location of the bench and supplies and the circulation of the air.
- where and how all the components are stored and secured.
- how clean you keep the reloading area.
- whether you reload lead bullets or full metal jacket bullets.
- where you clean your brass or if you buy new brass.
- and other factors

I would never let unsupervised children into my reloading room, or where I keep my guns, components or supplies. A room should be a secure room with proper air circulation and have all of the appropriate safety equipment.

In my case:
- my room is a converted bedroom adjacent to my bedroom. My bench is probably about 20 feet away from where I sleep. I am not concerned about breathing in anything because I keep everything clean and stored in sealed containers.
- I store my primers in my bedroom but the powder, bullets and casings in my reloading room.
- I sort my dirty brass on my kitchen table (but I scrub it well afterwards). BUT - I clean up after every reloading session, keep all components in sealed containers, wash my hands after I mess with my reloading stuff and I keep everything spotless. I don't have children or other household members to worry about.

If you are concerned about someone breathing in or touching something that will lead to some type of poisoning, I would suggest you research and look at each component, liquid and powder that will be kept there. I would think that the greater danger would be associated with the presence of children and other household members.

I know that's not a clean cut answer to your question but that's the best I can do for now.

Good luck.

Tanner

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Fire Extinguishers

November 13, 2011
On your page you correctly state that the reloading room should have a fire extinguisher. However, you don't say what kind. The choice of the correct kind of fire extinguisher for a reloading room is quite critical. Most people don't know that gunpowder supplies it's own oxygen, so the only effective strategy to extinguish it is to cool it down rapidly, which is difficult, or to scatter it, so that the individual granules burn separately, which will die out very quickly. The A-Square reloading manual recommends a CO2 extinguisher for that reason. CO2 will scatter the gunpowder, and will also extinguish any secondary flame that might be caused by the burning powder. I'm not sure this reasoning is entirely bulletproof, but the choice of extinguisher is quite important, is affected by circumstances that don't apply to normal rooms, and is therefore something that you might well want to research and address specifically on this page.
Robert

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Coviello is a former aerospace engineer, now Web Designer/SEO Consultant. Hobbies include shooting zombies & reloading ammunition.
 


 

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RELOADING AMMUNITION

Reloading Equipment
1. Equipment
The Components Of Ammunition
2. Components
Cleaning Brass Cases For Reloading
3. Brass Cases
Making Reloads On A Press
4. Know How