Case annealing has immediate benefits, it extends case life, and improves accuracy

Reloading and saving money

I do not have to tell you that in this day and age the cost of reloading components, if and when they are available, has gone through the roof. However, by being alert and researching on the internet, it is still possible to buy some items at reasonable prices. 

The first issue is cartridge-case brass. Usually, to keep costs reasonable, we tend to buy in bulk, in the inevitable plastic bag. 

Cartridge case preparation
Crème bathroom cleaner does a good job of cleaning case necks

In some cases, it may pay to buy in one caliber and convert to another, eg, .30-06 may be cheaper than .270 Winchester, and converting to the smaller caliber is easy. 

I have seen cases of less popular calibers for as high as $US5 per case, but if you know how to convert another case to the one you need you may save significantly. 

Exactly how you do so is an individual effort. Proceed slowly and be prepared to anneal several times during the process. Producing such cases is very satisfying. 

It probably pays to use hard cases as in my opinion they will last longer. 

The other tip worth remembering is that frequent annealing of cartridge brass is cheap and easy to do. It will also prolong case life and accuracy will improve. It’s probably the biggest single improvement that can affect case life. 

Case annealing has immediate benefits, it extends case life, and improves accuracy

Within Australia at present, there is not much you can do about powder supplies. Prices do vary a little and it may pay to have a good look around. Buying larger containers often makes the price per unit a little cheaper. 

Components such as projectiles are often the subject of sales, which I note are still occurring. It pays to keep your eyes open and buy when the opportunity arises, even if you do not want the particular item at that time. 

The same applies to other singular reloading components which one may only buy once in a lifetime. I wanted a new electronic scale and bought one at a very reasonable price when on sale.

If you use an ultrasonic device to clean cases, great savings are possible. Yes, there are commercial liquid cleaners available at a price. I found the following recipe on the internet and have used it for several years. It’s cheap and extremely effective. 

In a used 1-litre fruit juice container, add a level teaspoon of citric acid, a level teaspoon of cream of tartar and an unscientific squirt of any household detergent, and top up with tap water. Simple, cheap, and very effective. Replace when very dirty. 

I rinse the cases after the ultrasonic cleaner and allow them to dry on my non-patented drying rack!

Polishing cases using a tumbler/vibratory cleaner is simple in itself. Just add ½ capful of car polish to get the best shine.

Normal household cleaners are very useful on the reloading bench for a variety of tasks. 

Common bathroom crème cleaner is a great liquid to clean case necks of combustion residue. Just squirt some on a clean cloth, twist the neck of the case in the cleaner a couple of times, and the job is done. Remove the cleaner from the neck in a vibratory tumbler.

If you use crushed walnut shells or similar to clean cases, it will pay you to hunt around on the internet and investigate shops that sell pet bedding supplies. Yes, you will have to buy in bulk but the savings can be considerable. It’s much cheaper than buying the same items packaged differently.

Perfectly good targets can be downloaded off the internet

When it comes to shooting targets for load development, yes, you can buy them at your local gun shop, but several internet sites have a variety of useful targets that you can print for the cost of a sheet of paper and a little ink. Use reclaimed A4 paper and it’s even cheaper.

Think outside the square, look at what you do and how you use the items, then look at what is available in the home and adapt if necessary.




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Ron James