How, Why and What to Reload: A Guide to Reloading Spent Casings

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Whether you are an avid gun collector, or simply like to know how things are made, reloading bullet casings is a true skill and a sustainable practice. This article goes into detail about why reloading your spent bullet casings is an intelligent venture for every marksman. See how the process is done, and discover the common cartridges that are easy to reload.

Why Reloading Casings is a Good Idea

It’s efficient to reload bullet casings. Save some money by reloading. If collecting the casings is going to save money, then take a box with you to load up on brass. 

Think about the environment. Metal used to make bullet casings comes from somewhere, right? Reusing spent bullet casings lowers your negative impact on the ecosystem. Spent casings would otherwise end up in a landfill or buried in the ground when you step on them.

Reloading bullet casings comes with a cautionary incentive. Laws are changing, and gun production and bullet production might stop one day. If that happens, bullets will be incredible rare. If you know how to reload bullet casings, you might end up stepping ahead of the rest of society who is left without a clue. 

Types of Bullets to Reload

Some of the easiest types of bullet casings to reload are the 9mm, the .38, and the .40 casings. 

Start with some of the more common bullet casings you will find as they are easy to collect. The 9mm is an economical choice. Shooting Times suggests that a pound of gunpowder can yield 1,700 of these bullets. Shooting Times says that it is even easier to reload the .38 on your own. They also suggest that .40 casings are easy to find around gun ranges. They mention picking up spent casings of these popular bullets online. 

Some harder to find casings and components are the .223 and .308. As with many other rifle casings and components, the increased gun control laws mean that rifle components are becoming scarce. 

How Reloading Works

Gather a reloading press, spent casings, primers, gunpowder, and bullets that fit the shells. Follow these steps along with your reloading press owner’s manual:

Step 1: Clean the spent casing. Look for defects. Get rid of casings with cracks or dents. Use brushes and cloths to remove dirt and debris. Apply lubricant to keep casings from getting stuck when seating them. 

Step 2: Remove the spent primer from the casing using the reloading press. This procedure changes depending upon the press you use. Insert the spent casing, pull the handle down, and raise it up to get the spent primer out of the casing.

Step 3: Place the primer in the cup on the bullet press. Put the shell in, and lower the spent shell into the new primer. The primer should appear level or a little lower than the base for the casing.

Step 4: Measure out the gunpowder (after examining a credible resource for weight and type of powder to use). Use a funnel for accuracy. 

Step 5: Put the bullet in the casing. You will need to lower the bullet onto the case and crimp it using the levers and seaters designed by the bullet press manufacturer.


Reloading spent cases will not make you a marksmen, that only comes with practice, but it will make it easier to shoot more. It is more economical, environmentally friendly, and interesting to know. It’s one thing to be able to shoot a target, but this knowledge and skill separates the experts from the rest of the crowd. 


Joe Humphries is a contributing writer and media specialist for Diamond K Brass. He regularly writes for gun blogs with an emphasis on guns for survival situations.