The above was a quick overview of the basic and necessary processes required to reload ammunition. All of that just scratches the surface of what’s possible within the realm of handloading ammunition.
If one were to strive to assemble the best, most uniform and consistent ammunition possible, the additional steps would include: cutting the primer pockets and flash holes to uniform depth/diameter, deburring the inside of the flash holes, sizing trimming and camfering the case necks to the same length prior to loading, turning the case necks to a uniform thickness, and sorting the brass by weight and/or internal volume. Likewise bullets can be sorted by any number of external measurements, as well as primers. Powder is already measured either by weight or volume, but there are always more precise ways to measure.
The practices mentioned in the above paragraph each have a multitude of tools available for accomplishing each step, and will make more or less of a difference in different shooting applications. For example, if you’re reloading for a lightweight factory hunting rifle that’s capable of 1.5″ groups at 100 yards, uniforming primer pockets is pretty much a waste of effort. However, a world class Benchrest shooter wouldn’t skip that step of brass prep because he’s competing in an event where 0.010″ difference in average group size can mean the difference between winning and not placing.
It’s important to think about the improvements that are likely to result from certain advanced reloading practices. Are the extra steps worth the work for your application? The chapter on statistics explains how you can analyze your shooting results and tell if a particular practice makes a real difference or not.
Many good books have been written on the subject of advanced reloading. Rather than trying to contain all those details in a single chapter of a reloading manual, here is a list of recommended books where the interested reader can learn more about advanced handloading practices:
- Handloading for Competition – Zediker
- Extreme Rifle Accuracy – Mike Ratigan
- Prone and Long Range Rifle Shooting – Nancy Tompkins