1) Before you start reloading, learn & understand all safety precautions that relate to your components & equipment. If you don’t know what something does or how it works, consult with a local shop knowledgeable in reloading or consult the manufacturer.
2) Follow manufacturer’s data carefully…do not start at “Max” data levels & assume it is safe to do so. We recommend you consult multiple sources for load data.
3) Just because a load is safe in someone else’s gun, it may not be safe in YOUR gun.
4) Never substitute components…using different powder lots, bullet weight/type, different brass headstamp, etc can and does make a difference in pressures.
5) Never substitue modern powders for Black Powder or Pyrodex.
6) Learn & understand what “headspace” is and how it affects your handloads.
7) If you feel the need to exceed “Maximum” published load data, you probably need a different caliber or bigger gun. Don’t do it. The deer won’t know the difference in an additional 50 feet-per-second, neither will the target.
8) Make sure all your equipment…scales, dies, etc…are adjusted, calibrated, and accurately set. Check powder charges by weighing on a routine basis.
9) Never reload when distracted, tired, or under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Do not eat, watch TV, allow diversions from the task at hand.
10) Where there is smoke, there is fire….DO NOT smoke when reloading.
11) Never store powder, primers, etc in anything other than the manufacturer’s original container. If you find a crusty old coke bottle full of gunpowder at the gun show for $2, quickly walk the other way. You can accurately assume that whoever is selling it has zero regard for your safety.
12) Check & double check your components carefully when assembling loads.
13) Label your loaded rounds to prevent accidental use in a firearm for which they are not intended. (Example…don’t grab a ziplock baggy you filled with .222’s to fire in your .223!)
14) Record all relevant data…Caliber, powder charge/weight, bullet mfr/weight, primer, etc. Doing so prevents you from losing info on a great load, and may provide solutions if you run into problems.
15) Make sure you close powder containers securely, store them safely, away from heat / sparks / flame sources , in a climate controlled environment.
16) Never shoot handloads assembled by an unknown person, or untrusted source. Tell you buddies you dont reload for others if they ask. Your loads may be perfectly safe in his rifle, but if he unknowingly plugs the barrel with mud & it blows his gun up, who do you think is getting blamed?
17) The internet is a great source for all sorts of data, but approach load data found there with extreme caution when not published by the Manufacturer. Not everything published on the “Interwebs” is accurate, correct, or safe. Check any load data found on the net to verify how it compares to manufacturer's load data before you proceed.
18) Accuracy & consistency are the first goals…speed & power come second.
See Rule # 7.
19) Learn to identify indications of high/unsafe pressures when firing your handloads.
20) Always wear safety glasses when reloading & shooting.
21) Keep your items organized & do not mix components on your bench when working…only 1 type of powder, primer, etc should be out, to minimize accidental dangerous substitutions.
22) Learn & understand the limitations of your firearm. Load data for modern firearms may not be suitable for older/antique arms.
23) Firing a gun is basically harnessing a controlled explosion inches away from your face. Remember that when you get to urge to "experiment" with unpublished data, or get the itch to "try something different".
24) Using reduced power loads with either cast or jacketed bullets can be a great way to enjoy your guns & can provide lots of low-cost, low recoil fun. But make sure you understand the proper use, application, and limitations of reduced load data.
Copyright 2013. Jerrys Reloading. All rights reserved.