Reloading bench

Reloading bench safety

The production of reliable, accurate ammunition to suit your rifles is neither complicated nor dangerous providing that you obey the rules, a mantra that is constantly repeated in shooting!  

Rule number one is never to load your rifle with reloads manufactured by others. 

Rule number two is never to prime cases on the bench where there is an open powder source. Just before I started to write this there was an incident in the USA where a case was being primed using a tool that carried more primers. The primer ignited, which in turn ignited several others. 

Reloading manuals
You need good manuals if you reload

The reloader’s hand was damaged. It could have been much worse if an open can of powder had been present. It’s also a reason to wear safety glasses on the bench. I always primes cases without powder on the bench using a singular tool and one primer at a time.

Rule number three is to only have ONE can of powder on the bench at any one time. Be very careful and ensure that the powder on the bench is the one that you need to load. Cross-check the container of powder with the paperwork to ensure it is the one that you require.

When reloading, be methodical and use the same processes each time you reload. Habit can be a wonderful thing.

Another trap is identifying projectiles by sight. Can you ascertain the difference between a .277 and a 7mm projectile by sight alone? 

Once again, be very specific and only have one box of open projectiles on the bench. 

In fact, it is good reloading practice to only have on the bench those tools and equipment that you need to carry out the process before you, avoiding clutter. 

On safety grounds alone I suggest it is also good practice to deal with each case individually; load the powder, then the projectile, and move on to the next one. 

Rifle target
Safe reloading can produce results such as this if you obey the rules

Using a powder dispenser and having a loading block full of powder-filled cases could be a recipe for disaster. Accidents do happen. If you do use a powder dispenser it is probably wise to limit the number of charged cases at any one time.

Don’t forget to check the overall length of the cartridges that you just reloaded. It’s a bit awkward to arrive at your hunting site only to find that your new reloads will not chamber. Same at the testing site  — guess who got caught? 

Another tip that I learned the hard way: If, like me, you weigh powder charges individually it pays to continually recheck the scale settings as you proceed with the process. Scales can get bumped and upset the poise settings. 

Keep the reloading area clean and uncluttered, only have tools on the bench to do the job at hand. 

If you inadvertently load cartridges without a primer, DO NOT attempt to insert a primer after the event. Unload them in the normal way, prime the cases, and start again.

Reloading is a solo process that requires commitment and concentration. This eliminates having a radio or TV blaring in the background. It demands the absence of small children or your mate boasting about his newest vehicle. 

Finally, when in doubt, re-check what you have already done.




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Ron James