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How does shotgun ammo differ from rifle ammo

Shotgun ammo differs from rifle ammo in three primary ways:

  1. Shot pattern – most shotgun ammo spreads out into a wide pattern as it travels, unlike a bullet fired from a rifle.
  2. Range – most rifle ammo has a greater effective range than shotgun ammunition.
  3. Purpose – shotguns are used most often for home defense or short-range hunting. Rifles, on the other hand, are used for long-range target shooting and hunting and are rarely employed for self-defense.

Let’s look at these three differences in greater detail.

Shot Pattern

A shotgun shell is packed with small metal balls similar to BBs. When the weapon is fired, these projectiles exit the weapon at high velocity and spread out into a broad pattern as they fly through the air.

In contrast, a rifle cartridge fires a single bullet that remains intact throughout its trajectory. This means that hitting the target requires greater skill on the part of the shooter.


The wide spread pattern of shotgun ammo gives the shooter a greater chance of hitting the target. However, it also decreases the weapon’s useful range. For example, a shotgun firing 00 buckshot becomes largely ineffective at distances exceeding 50 yards.

Rifle ammo, on the other hand, can have an effective range of 500 yards or more. For instance, a weapon firing Springfield 30 – 06 ammo can kill at distances exceeding 600 yards, or 12 times further than many shotgun shells.


This brings us to the third primary difference between shotgun and rifle ammo: the purpose that each is designed to fulfill. Shotguns are designed for close-quarter situations like home defense or short-range hunting. They’re also used in situations like bird hunting, where the target is small and hard to hit.

In contrast, rifles are used when the distance of the target is greater and the shooter can achieve high accuracy. Examples include:

  • Hunting large game like deer or elk
  • Battlefield combat
  • Sniper situations

What About Slugs?

A slug is a special type of shotgun ammo that resembles an oversized bullet. Slugs offer two advantages over conventional shotgun shells. These are:

  1. Extended range – for example, a 12 gauge slug can have an effective range between 100 and 150 yards, 2 to 3 times greater than 00 buckshot.
  2. Greater penetration – the greater mass of a shotgun slug allows it to penetrate deeper into the target, achieving terminal results more quickly.

Choose Powder Valley for All of Your Reloading Supplies

Here at Powder Valley, we carry an extensive selection of ammo reloading supplies at great prices. We also offer expert assistance to help you get exactly the right products you need.

Order your reloading brass or other ammo supplies today and enjoy fast shipping. Remember, we can help you to shoot more and pay less than before.

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What is the most common ammunition for self defense?

When it comes to self-defense, some types of ammunition are more popular than others. Four of the most common choices are:

  1. 38 Special
  2. 357 Magnum
  3. 9 mm
  4. 12 gauge 00 buckshot (for shotguns)

Are you wondering what type of ammunition is best for your needs? The experts here at Powder Valley are happy to assist you. For now, let’s take a closer look at these four types of ammo.

38 Special: The Classic Choice

The venerable 38 Special has been around for over 100 years. For decades it was the caliber of choice for law enforcement agencies across the country. It remains a popular round today, despite the growing popularity of alternative calibers such as 9 mm.

38 Special ammo offers both reasonable stopping power and low recoil, making it a great option for smaller or less experienced shooters. A revolver loaded with hollow point 38 caliber ammunition will stop a bad guy in his tracks now just as surely as it did more than a century ago.

357 Magnum: the 38 Special’s Big Brother

Introduced in 1934, the 357 Magnum is similar in appearance to the 38 Special. But, when it comes to stopping power, the 357 packs twice the muzzle velocity (1900 FPS versus 940 FPS) and pressure (35,000 PSI versus 17,000 PSI) as its older counterpart.

All of that extra power gives the 357 Magnum a substantially stronger “kick” than the 38 Special. For this reason, we recommend that shooters try both types of ammo before making their final choice. For those who can handle the extra recoil, the 357 Magnum is an excellent self-defense round.

9 mm: The New Kid on the Block

Available in a wide range of configurations, 9 mm handgun ammunition provides formidable stopping power along with excellent accuracy. This caliber has enjoyed explosive popularity since its introduction to the mass market back in the 1980s.

You’ll find plenty of revolvers as well as pistols that are chambered for 9 mm ammunition. With so much versatility, it’s no wonder that this is perhaps the most popular self-defense round on today’s market.

12 gauge 00 Buckshot

12 gauge 00 buckshot is the classic choice for shotgun owners looking for a self-defense round. Devastating at short distances, its limited range makes it less likely to penetrate the walls of the average American home. If you’re looking for a way to deter the bad guys without endangering your loved ones, then 12 gauge 00 shotshell ammunition will do the job admirably.

Powder Valley: The Shooter’s First Choice for Ammunition and Reloading Supplies

Here at Powder Valley, we carry a giant selection of ammunition and reloading supplies, along with excellent customer service.  We are happy to offer our expertise if you have questions about which products are best for your needs.

Shop our one-stop online megastore for all your ammunition needs and enjoy top-quality merchandise at the most competitive prices. Remember, we can help you to shoot more and pay less than before.

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What Are the Four Primer Sizes?

Primer sizes can be broken down as follows:

  1. Small rifle primerswhich are about .175 inches in diameter and .120 inches tall.
  2. Small pistol primers which are about the same size as small rifle primers but designed specifically for handguns.
  3. Large rifle primers – which measure about .128 inches in height and .212 inches in width.
  4. Large pistol primers – which are an average of .120 inches tall and.212 inches wide.

Don’t Let the Names of the Primer Sizes Fool You

It may not always be obvious which type of primer is right for a given firearm. In some cases, large rifle ammo does not always use large rifle primers. For example, there are many styles of 308 Winchester that come factory loaded with small rifle primers instead.

The same is true when it comes to handgun ammunition. For example, Federal .45 ACP ammo often uses small pistol primers to propel one of the largest calibers on earth.

To avoid mistakes that could lead to improper loading or inaccurate shooting, you should always follow the directions in your reloading manual to the letter.

Sizes and Standards Can Vary Across Ammo Manufacturers

Every ammo maker uses its own proprietary processes to manufacture a particular caliber or type of ammunition. As a result, there are small but measurable differences in the actual products that each company turns out.

This accounts for the frustration many reloaders feel when certain types of primers cause their reloading press to jam. If you run into this problem, then try a different brand of primer and see if that resolves the issue.

Sometimes, tiny variations between brands of primer actually benefit the gun owner. For example, the thin cups used in Federal primers make them a good choice for cowboy action shooters. That’s because they compensate for the light hammer falls that accompany rapid-fire shooting styles.

Are Bench Rest/Match-Grade Primers Worth the Extra Cost?

Bench rest primers are designed to give consistent results from one round to the next. This is a major advantage in long-range or competitive shooting, where minor differences in a primer’s discharge can have major effects on where the bullet ends up.

On the other hand, when it comes to everyday shooting the benefits of using bench rest primers are less obvious. That’s because many factors can affect the accuracy and range of your shots, including weather, the condition of your firearm, and your skills as a marksman.

The bottom line is that standard primers are fine for most purposes.

Powder Valley: The One-Stop Source for All Your Reloading Supplies

Here at Powder Valley, we carry everything you need to set up and maintain your personal reloading workshop, including reloading primers. We sell all the best brands, and our customer service is unbeatable.

Browse our site, place your order, and enjoy fast delivery. Remember, we can help you to shoot more and pay less.

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Why It’s Better to Buy Brass in Bulk

One of the chief benefits of reloading is the chance to save serious money on the cost of purchasing ammo, especially if you buy your brass in bulk. Not only will you spend less over the long term, you’ll also protect yourself from possible supply shortages. With these advantages in mind, the experts here at Powder Valley would like to offer the following tips for buying bulk brass.

Buying in Bulk Is a Good Insurance Policy

The firearms industry is under constant attack from those who want to revoke the Second Amendment. At the same time, unexpected crises like the coronavirus can disrupt the global supply chain that reloaders depend on. Plus, as we all know, the costs of reloading supplies will inevitably go up over time.

Since the future is always uncertain, stocking up on essentials like bulk reloading brass now makes a lot of sense. Think of it as an insurance policy that will help to protect you and your loved ones, no matter what awaits us down the road.

How to Store Bulk Brass

Here are some tips for protecting your stored brass:

  • Keep your new brass in the original containers until ready for use – after the first use, you can transfer it to your preferred storage system.
  • Always clean used brass prior to storage – we recommendusing a tumbler along with your preferred cleaning medium; corncobs are a good choice.
  • Use sturdy containers – possible options include ammo cans, plastic buckets with lids, and even empty food containers (carefully washed pretzel jars are especially popular).
  • Never overload your containers – they should be light enough for you to move easily about your workspace.
  • Add oxygen absorbent packets to each container – to remove as much air as possible and prevent the brass from corroding.
  • Keep your brass away from moisture – as inoff the floor and onsturdy shelves and cabinets. You should also try to minimize moisture in the air itself; a commercial-grade dehumidifier is a good choice for this purpose.

Can Buying Used Brass in Bulk Save Money?

Sometimes buying preowned products makes a lot of sense, like when you snag a low mileage car at a great price. Other times, however, settling for used items can actually end up costing you money. Here’s why this is true for used brass:

  • Quality concerns – buying used brass in bulk is always risky. Many reloaders who have gone this route ultimately ended up with a bunch of damaged casings that were essentially useless. Don’t let this happen to you.
  • Wasted time – as in the hours you’ll spend inspecting each casing to determine whether or not it’s suitable for reloading.
  • Safety concerns – even the most careful reloaders can sometimes let a bad casing slip by, especially after sorting through thousands of used cartridges purchased online. If a defective casing finds its way into your stock of reloaded ammo, then the consequences can include a damaged firearm or even worse.

For all these reasons, we recommend purchasing your brass new rather than used. That’s the best way to get the maximum value for your hard-earned money. Of course, you can reuse it as often as you like, as long as it’s still safe for reloading.

Powder Valley: Your One-Stop Source for Reloading Supplies

Here at Powder Valley, we carry a huge selection of top-quality reloading products and supplies. We also offer world-class customer care and support. So browse our website and place your order today. We are here to help you shoot more and pay less.

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Common Mistakes Made by Reloading Beginners

Here at Powder Valley, we’re happy to welcome newcomers to the reloading community. At the same time, we want to stress that reloading ammo requires patience, focus, and, above all,a willingness to learn.

To get you started on the right foot, we’d like to share five of the most common reloading mistakes made by beginners. Avoiding these mistakes will set you well on your way to being a successful reloader.

Mistake Number One: Relying on the Internet for Unofficial Reloading Data

The internet is a great source for all kinds of information, but when it comes to data about reloading, a lot of information on the web comes from anonymous sources and may not be totally accurate. Similarly, asking strangers for their “homebrewed recipes” can quickly become a recipe for disaster.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to avoid this mistake: stick with the data listed in the official reloading manuals. That’s the best way to enjoy consistent results, round after reloaded round.

Mistake Number Two: Trying to Clone Factory Ammo

Some reloaders try to re-create factory loaded ammo in their basements, down to the exact amount of powder used by the manufacturer. While this may seem like a reasonable approach, it can actually work against you.

That’s because ammunition companies use their own proprietary blends of powder in the manufacturing process. Unless you know exactly how their products are formulated, your reloaded rounds will be underpowered or, worse yet, dangerously unstable.

Again, the best way to avoid this mistake is to follow the data in the official manual. It was created specifically for reloaders like yourself.

Mistake Number Three: Incorrectly Seating Primers

This mistake typically takes one of two forms:

  1. Seating the primer too deeply in the cartridge – this can cause the round to misfire or even damage the firearm itself.
  2. Not seating the primer deep enough – this can also lead to misfires or damage to the weapon.

The best way to avoid this problem is to inspect every cartridge after inserting the primer. It should sit just beneath the back of the case, as described in your reloading manual.

Mistake Number Four: Improper Crimping

Crimping a cartridge is one of those steps in the ammo reloading process that obeys the Goldilocks principle: not too much and not too little. Here are some tips for getting this step just right:

  • Inspect the crimped cartridge closely – the crimping should be slightly visible, not overly obvious.
  • Check the length of the cartridge – it should conform to the specifications in your manual.
  • Refer to the directions included with your reloading press – there you will find the exact procedure for achieving a proper crimp. Follow it to the letter.

Mistake Number Five: Using a Damaged Casing

Watch out for dents, cracks, or other signs of damage to your cases. A defective case can cause gas to escape past the projectile or, even worse, prevent it from escaping at all, which can increase the risk of the cartridge exploding.

The best way to avoid this mistake is to err on the side of caution. In other words, dispose of used cartridges unless you’re absolutely sure of their integrity.

When it Comes to Reloading, Great Results Start by Having the Right Equipment

Getting the best possible results from your reloaded ammo starts by having the proper equipment and supplies. That’s where Powder Valley comes in. We have everything you need to start reloading, including the finest reloading primers and related products on the market, backed up by legendary customer service and fast shipping. Shop online today and see why we are your one-stop superstore for world-class reloading supplies at the lowest prices.

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How Long Will Reloading Powder Last

When properly stored, powder used for reloading ammo can last for many decades and even beyond. Some of the best ways to extend the lifespan of reloading powder include:

  • Protect it from moisture.
  • Store it in a dark, cool place.
  • Leave the container unopened until it’s ready for use.

Let’s look at each of these tips in greater detail.

How to Keep Your Powder Dry

Here at Powder Valley, we know that humidity is one of gunpowder’s greatest enemies. Here are some of the steps we recommend to keep your powder safe from moisture and dampness:

  • Use desiccant packs – add a pack of silica gel to your containers of gunpowder after opening them. Make sure the silica packs are intact; otherwise, they can leak into the powder itself and change its chemical composition.
  • Use a dehumidifier – this is especially important if you store your powder in a basement or cellar. You may also want to install a sump pump for added protection.
  • Never drink water or other beverages while reloading ammo – if your powder should become wet, then dispose of it in accord with local environmental regulations.

Protecting Your Powder from Heat and Sunlight

Sunlight and excessive heat are notorious for causing powder to degrade. For this reason, you should restrict your ammo reloading activities to a controlled environment away from windows and other sources of natural light. Avoid storing powder in a garage or other location that’s affected by seasonal temperature swings.

Keeping Powder in the Original Container

Exposing gunpowder to oxygen sets off a chemical process that causes the ingredients to separate. Manufacturers are aware of this problem and take steps to prevent it before it leaves the powder mill. But these safeguards are undone as soon as the package is opened.

For this reason, it’s best to leave powder containers unopened until they’re ready for use. After opening, remember to tighten the lid and store the container on a shelf or gun vault away from flammable liquids like gas or kerosene.

How to Tell When Gunpowder Is Going Bad

Gunpowder has a limited lifespan even when it’s properly stored. Here are three ways to tell that it’s past its prime:

  1. An objectionable odor – as gunpowder deteriorates, it takes on an acidic smell that grows worse over time. It may also give off a brown or reddish fume when you open the container.
  2. A change in color – the powder may take on a rust or amber tone as it deteriorates. Other times it can go to the opposite extreme and turn snow white. The important thing is to interpret any change in color as a bad sign.
  3. Degradation in performance – sometimes the only way to tell that your powder is going bad is when the reloaded rounds themselves start to malfunction. They may lose power or accuracy or begin to misfire. If you notice a consistent pattern of problems, then the powder is probably at fault.

Powder Valley: Your Source for All Your Reloading Supplies

Here at Powder Valley, we stock the finest gunpowder, reloading primers, and other essential reloading supplies at the lowest prices around. Our staff members are firearms experts who are always happy to share their knowledge and experience with our customers. Place your ammo order today and take advantage of our fast shipping!

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Small Pistol Primers vs. Large Pistol Primers

What’s the difference between small and large pistol primers? The answer can be summarized as follows:

  • Small pistol primers are a recent innovation that’s gaining favor among manufacturers. That’s because they’re more economical to produce, more affordable for consumers, and demonstrate greater environmental responsibility.
  • Numerous tests show that the switch to smaller primers has had zero effect on ammunition’s reliability, power, and accuracy.
  • Under no circumstances should you use a primer that wasn’t designed for the specific type of brass you’re reloading. Going outside the manual’s guidelines can damage your firearms, cause serious personal injuries, or even worse.

Let’s look at these topics in more detail.

Why Smaller Is Sometimes Better

Ammunition manufacturers are continually looking for ways to improve the quality of their products. This motivation is what’s behind the move towards smaller primers. The advantages of the change include:

  • Reduced environmental impact – smaller primers use a smaller amount of lead styphnate and other toxic materials in their manufacturer than do larger primers.
  • Improved safety for shooters – handling large amounts of ammunition can cause unhealthy levels of lead to build up in the blood. One way to minimize this problem is to make primers smaller and more efficient.
  • Reduced manufacturing costs – this helps to keep ammunition prices affordable.

Despite these advantages, some shooters are reluctant to use smaller primers due to fears about reduced power or accuracy. But are these concerns well-founded?

Numerous gun owners and shooting experts have compared both types of ammunition and found no discernible difference. On average, a round outfitted with a small primer has the same power, range, and accuracy as one designed for a large primer.

What About Using Non-Standard Primers?

Ammunition is in short supply these days, as anyone in the firearms community knows all too well. Some reloaders have tried to get around this problem by forcing small-primer brass to accept a large primer.

Is this safe? NO. Here’s what can happen if you go down this road:

  • You can damage or destroy your firearms. In general, large primers generate more explosive force than small pistol primers. Some reloaders have tried to compensate for this fact by fiddling with powder amounts. But this is simply asking for trouble.
  • You can experience undependable or erratic results when firing the weapon. What advantage do you gain from saving a few pennies if your firearm will no longer perform properly?
  • You put yourself at risk of injury or even death. This is why the ammunition companies themselves must follow painstaking safety precautions at every step of the manufacturing process. There’s no room for error when it comes to working with primers.

Separating Your Brass

If there is a “disadvantage” to having both small and large primer sizes, it’s the need to separate your brass during the reloading process. But this is a small price to pay in exchange for greater safety, a cleaner environment, and reliable performance from your ammunition. The best advice is to always stick with what the manual says.

Powder Valley is the ammo reloading community’s one-stop superstore for reloading supplies. Get top products at the lowest prices. We can help you to shoot more and pay less. We invite you to browse our extensive inventory, and in the meantime, thank you for your business and your support. We truly appreciate it.

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Industry Update

Things have been extremely tough here lately.  We have seen our inventory levels drop to an area we haven’t seen in the last 15 years. 

As we’ve seen the demand outpace supply we have also seen a significant number of price increases.  We are doing everything we can to keep our prices down and continue on focusing on Shooters supporting Shooters.  We have seen the price increases level off recently but we do anticipate there could be a couple more since some manufacturers have fought hard to keep their prices down and had forward contracts on metals that have or will soon expire.

I’m going to hit on each component below:


We have seen very small amounts of primers.  They come and go very quickly.  With the small quantities we are receiving it’s hard for many people to even notice we had any for sale because they sell so quickly.  We will continue to have extreme limits on primers per individual purchase.  We do have reason for a positive outlook and I anticipate seeing improvement on primer availability within the next couple of months.  There has been additional manufacturing capacity added and Remington is back online.  Foreign primers are coming into the US for OEM only use which will allow for some relief on the US manufacturers. 


This is the scariest part for us.  We are known for powder.  Many people refer to us as the Powder Folks.  It is tough and stressful to be Powder Valley and literally have no powder.  We had been receiving a consistent amount of shipments and those shipments weren’t anywhere close to meeting demand but at least the supply line seemed open.  We were able to keep somewhat of a consistent supply to our large dealer and retail networks.   However, recently our quantities received from the manufacturers have decreased even more and the outlook on the horizon doesn’t look any better.  We anticipate availability to get worse before it gets better.


Generic caliber target bullets are starting to become more plentiful.  Demand still outweighs supply on precision long range competition bullets as well as hunting bullets.  But, it is good to see inventory available on handgun target bullets.  Berger has done extremely well with the manufacturing upgrades they have done over the past several years and supply has been pretty decent.  We are seeing only tiny quantities coming out of Sierra.  Hornady has been supplying a steady stream of bullets. 


 Brass from big manufacturers has been very sparse.  We have seen a pretty steady supply of Starline, however sparse the caliber availability may be.  Lapua has been great with their deliveries as most calibers are readily available.  Prvi has also been pretty decent.


We chose some time ago to stock only Hornady equipment.  We are receiving shipments from Hornady daily and recently the availability of equipment has been much better.

I thought I’d also list the most popular questions we’ve been receiving:

How can you guys stay in business?  You have nothing in stock.  Are you going out of business?

It is definitely a challenging time.  Powder Valley is not going anywhere.  I mean, really, can you imagine a world without Powder Valley?  Yeah, me either.

When will you receive your next shipment?  When do you update the website?

We receive shipments daily from the manufacturers.  However, we rarely know when we are receiving a shipment.  Many of the products we are receiving now were placed on order 9-11 months ago.  We update the website when our receiving department gets everything checked in. 

Every time I try to order anything the bots beat me to them.  I can not buy anything.  Why don’t you do something about the bots?  I can’t just sit at home for 24 hours at a time and monitor your website.

We have taken extensive efforts to combat bot traffic.  It is highly likely somebody else was just a little bit quicker completing their order.  The things we have done have had a tremendous effect on decreasing the bots.  Some people complain about the efforts we have gone to with new product codes, product combinations and encaptcha.    As we continue to combat bot traffic we will keep working on creative ways to combat their evolving sophistication.  I know this is annoying to some people but if we must continue to be creative in our efforts.  Every time products are made available for sale we literally have thousands of people trying to buy as fast as they can.

What is causing the shortage of product?  When do we see things going back to normal? 

I’m going to refer this answer to our blog as we have written an article on this.  Check out our blog on the website for lots of good information.  The short answer is that there are so many contributing factors to the shortage that it’s impossible to list them all here.  But, #1 is unprecedented demand.  The better question is “What will be the new normal?”  Because I don’t think anything will ever get back to how it used to be.  Millions of new firearm owners will create extreme demand for many, many years to come.

Do we have a notification system and do we accept backorders?

We do not have a notification system and do not accept backorders currently.  It would be impossible to manage the backorders and people would receive notifications after the product was already gone.  Therefore we feel it would be counter-productive at this point.  There’s a good chance we will begin allowing notifications on some items within the next few months.

As troubling as current times appear we are optimistic for the future.  We fully anticipate that supplies will improve this year.  With tens of thousands of new gun owners the future of our industry is bright.

I hope these words provide you some comfort and help you understand the current status of the industry.  Please take a look at the website Blog Page for more information and like us on Facebook for updates.  Keep an eye on the website frequently.

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What Do I Need to Start Reloading Ammo?

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information presented below is intended for introductory purposes only. Consult a local gunsmith or firearms expert before attempting any of the reloading skills discussed here. Remember, safety always comes first.

Here at Powder Valley, we’re always happy to welcome newcomers into the fascinating pastime of reloading. The first step is to know what types of reloading supplies you’ll need to get started. These include:

  • A reloading manual: This item is absolutely essential for both your safety and that of others. Deviating from the manufacturer’s specifications can lead to ruined firearms, serious personal injury, or even death. Remember, always go by the book when it comes to reloading.
  • A reloading press: You’ll be using this piece of equipment 90% of the time, so don’t scrimp when making your choice. It’s essential for replacing the primer, pressing the bullet into the casing, crimping the case around the bullet, and numerous other tasks. A single-stage press is a great choice for beginners.
  • Reloading dies: You’ll use these for sizing, decamping, seating, crimping, and expanding your ammunition. You’ll need a separate set of dies for each caliber or gauge you reload.
  • Powder dispenser and scale: These tools allow you to use the correct amount of powder needed for each cartridge.
  • Calipers: Measuring the exact cartridge length is essential for reloading safety. Calipers (both mechanical and digital) allow you to do so with fine precision.
  • Case cleaner: Perhaps the best choice is a brass tumbler, which uses walnut shells or other types of tumbling media to clean your spent brass inside and out. Using household cleaners or similar products leaves residual moisture behind, which can spell disaster when it comes to reloading.
  • Bullet puller: Every reloader messes up now and then. A bullet puller allows you to correct your mistakes and start fresh. It uses simple inertia to remove the bullet and reloading powder from the case.

Special tools for reloading rifle ammunition

Reloading rifle ammo, especially so-called “bottleneck ammo,” requires a few extra items. These include:

  • Lube kit: Important for lubricating rifle cartridges prior to resizing.
  • Chamfer: Allows you to smooth out burrs and other imperfections prior to inserting the bullet.
  • Case trimmer: Trims unneeded brass from the lip of the case to ensure precision reloading.

Looking to save money? Buy a reloading kit

If purchasing your reloading supplies separately doesn’t fit your budget, one way to spend less money and still get the essentials is to buy a starter kit. That way you have everything you need all at once.

Powder Valley is your go-to source for reloading supplies

Second best is never good enough when it comes to firearms. That’s why here at Powder Valley we carry only the finest reloading primers, powder, and equipment found anywhere. Browse our site and place your order today. We look forward to serving you.

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What Is the Difference Between Ammo and Bullets?

When it comes to firearms, nothing is more important than understanding the meaning of important terms. Take the word “bullet,” for example. What does it mean exactly?

Some people use it as a collective term for a fully assembled firearm round. But the correct phrase in this context is “cartridge,” or, to use a less formal term, “ammo.”

The term “bullet” refers specifically to the projectile at the tip of the cartridge, the part that flies out of the firearm’s barrel towards the target.

The part left after the bullet is fired is referred to as the “casing.” This is the cylindrical brass shell that held the gunpowder prior to discharge.

Bringing new life to old casings

Some shooters throw away their spent casings, but many reuse them if at all possible.

That in a nutshell is what reloading is all about. Here’s why every gun owner should learn how to reload:

  • To save money: Ammunition gets more expensive all the time. Why spend a fortune on new cartridges when you can reuse your old casings at a fraction of the cost?
  • To learn exactly how guns work: Reloading your own ammo takes you deep inside the inner workings of your firearm. You’ll know exactly how it functions and gain a new appreciation for the skill that goes into its design.
  • To understand the art of gunsmithing: Few of us have the time and money needed to become a professional gunsmith. But all of us can develop critical gunsmithing skills by reloading our own ammo.
  • To promote firearm safety: Owning a gun is a serious responsibility. Nobody knows this better than the person who reloads his or her own ammo. Understanding the care and precision that goes into the process will inspire you to treat any weapon with greater respect.

Not every used casing is reloadable, of course. That’s why one of the first things you’ll learn as a reloader is how to evaluate spent ammo. It’s important to reject any casing that’s damaged or defective.

Want to know more about bullets and ammo? Here’s where to begin.

As you can see, bullets, ammunition, and reloading is an in-depth topic that takes time and patience to master. But the benefits you will gain make the effort more than worthwhile.

Not sure where to start? Begin by investing in a reloading manual, which is an absolute must for every reloader. Follow its instructions to the letter.

For premium reloading equipment and supplies at the lowest possible prices, rely on Powder Valley.