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.

To a beginner, reloading ammo can seem complicated. Getting started requires a lot of upfront costs, specifically buying a press, and a ton of knowledge about the process. At Powder Valley, we firmly believe that reloading ammo is not only worth it, but connects you more deeply to the art and science of firearms. Of course, reloading may not be for everyone – so to decide if reloading is something you want to explore, here are some common instances where it would make sense to do so. Also, check out our ammo reloading basics guide for more information on the process of reloading.

You Shoot a Lot

The main part of the cost of reloading is mostly your press, which can run into the thousands of dollars. Dies, case holders, and cases themselves are part of the initial investment, too. After this, you’re basically only spending money on powder, bullets, and primers, while also investing the time it takes to manufacture your rounds. With every round you reload, you’re saving money, but you have to make enough rounds to pay down the costs of the initial investment before reloading is really “worth it” in an economic sense. Of course, if you shoot a lot, saving even a few cents a round will quickly add up. If you rarely hit the range, reloading might not save you a substantial amount of money, though the slightly increased cost might be well worth it if you love the process.

You Shoot an Uncommon Caliber

It can be difficult to find uncommon or obscure calibers on the open market. If you’re dedicated to using uncommon calibers, reloading your own ammo may be the only way to ensure you’ll have enough rounds for a trip to the range or a hunting expedition. If you shoot with bigger calibers, you might also find reloading makes sense from an economical and availability standpoint.

You’re Ultra-Concerned with Accuracy

If you’re a match shooter, a few millimeters can mean the difference between winning the competition and going home empty-handed. By reloading your own ammo, you can oversee every aspect of the process and make sure that each round meets the exact same specifications. Of course, there’s always something special about hitting your mark, whether it’s a target or a buck, with ammunition that you made yourself, even if you’re not saving boat-loads of money by reloading your own ammo.

You Want to Avoid Ammo Shortages

There have been a few ammo shortages in the past year, due mostly to the inability of the primer industry to keep up with increased demand. By spending the money to stock up on primers, bullets, and powder now, you can ensure that you can manufacture your own rounds, even if another shortage strikes.

Shop Online and Save

At Powder Valley, we offer a gigantic selection of reloading supplies for practically any caliber, all available at the best possible prices. Whether you’re preparing for a match, mass-producing plinking ammo, or preparing for an uncertain market, you’ll find the reloading supplies you need in our inventory. Brush up on reloading basics, and find the components you need to put together the perfect round at Powder Valley today.

Even if you’re a novice shooter, you’ve surely encountered the term “bullet grain.” If you’re not entirely sure what bullet grain is, you’re not alone. Many recreational shooters don’t pay much attention to grain, because if you’re not a reloader, a hunter, or a competitive shooter, grain doesn’t really matter that much. However, at Powder Valley, we believe knowledge is power, especially when it comes to reloading, so we put together a little primer on bullet grain and how it affects accuracy and stopping power.

In short, bullet grain is the weight of the projectile. A “grain” (also commonly abbreviated as gr) is equal to 1/7000th of a pound. This unit of measurement traces its origins to antiquity and is supposed to represent the weight of a literal grain of wheat or barley. Standardized by the British in 1855, the grain is used to measure projectile weight, as well as the weight of gold foil and some pharmaceuticals, among other things.

Bullet weights on today’s market range from 15 gr, all the way up to 600 gr BMG rounds. Every cartridge has an acceptable range of bullets; for example, 9mm Luger cartridges can feature bullets from 70 gr to 160 gr. This gives the reloader a lot of options to choose from, but what are the practical differences between lighter and heavier bullets?

Accuracy at Distance

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to what grain weights are more accurate at distance; it really all depends on the environmental conditions. Generally speaking, lighter bullets travel faster than heavier ones, which means they reach their target quicker, and there’s less time to drop. However, lighter bullets are also more affected by wind.

For a shooting competition with little or no wind, lighter bullets are probably best. For hunting on a day with unpredictable weather, a heavier bullet might be more consistent over longer distances.

Whatever grain you choose, it’s important to use the right amount of reloading powder. Check with the manufacturer’s date to be sure.

Stopping Power

The grain of the bullet also has a lot to do with the stopping power and terminal impact. You might think that heavier bullets always have more stopping power, but that’s not necessarily true. Since impact power equals mass times speed, a lighter bullet moving at a higher velocity may arrive with more force.

Most of the time, though, a heavier bullet is the projectile of choice for hunters and shooters concerned with self-defense. It’s worth noting that heavier bullets usually create more recoil than lighter bullets, which can make it difficult to fire off multiple accurate shots in quick succession – and which also increases stress on your body.

Shop for Reloading Supplies Online

Finding the right bullet grain for your needs is a matter of experimenting and talking to other reloaders. Powder Valley has an enormous selection of bullets to choose from, as well as reloading primers, powder, cases, and reloading equipment.

Whether you’re ordering a variety of different bullets to try them out, or stocking up on the type that you’ve come to prefer, you’ll find all of our reloading supplies are available at the best possible prices. Don’t let an ammunition shortage affect your target practice. Make sure you always have the components on hand to produce the ammunition you need with supplies from Powder Valley.

If you’ve tried to purchase ammo or reloading supplies lately, you’ve probably noticed a lot of products are out of stock. Of all the components needed to reload ammo, it seems primers are the toughest to find, prompting many reloaders to refer to the current crisis as “The Great Primer Shortage of 2020.” The primer supply shortage doesn’t just affect reloaders, though. It’s also limiting the production of many popular types of ammunition. This can be frustrating for shooters and hunters looking to keep their edge on the range, and can be concerning for preppers, survivalists, and others who are concerned about their safety.

We are in the midst of the greatest primer shortage of all time, and we don’t see things getting better anytime soon.  Read on as the experts from Powder Valley delve deeper into the primer shortage of 2020.

A Massive Increase in Demand

Like any other product in a market economy, primers are subject to the whims of supply and demand. As far as demand is concerned, a perfect storm of factors has caused a run on the ammo market like we’ve never quite seen before. A mix of the Covid-19 pandemic, civil unrest, and the possibility of an anti-2nd amendment President and Senate has caused demand to skyrocket. The pandemic specifically has incentivized shooters to learn how to reload their own ammo.

We have an extremely large number of new reloaders who have entered the market. The NSSF estimates that first time gun owners has increased to 6.2 million people over the past few months. Unfortunately, many of those reloaders entered the market anticipating that it would be easier to make their own ammo since readily available ammunition was so difficult to find.  With shortages of bullets, powder, brass and primers, that has simply not been the case

Since so many people have lost a chunk, or all of their income, it makes sense that reloading, which saves on the cost of ammo at the expense of time, would become more popular than ever. Even if you’re financially stable, reloading and shooting are great socially distant activities you can do while the movie theaters, bowling alleys, and bars are shut down. With little answers on the virus, it’s hard to see when these closures and limitations will end. This is why we believe this could end up being the greatest primer shortage of all time.

Hoarding

When there is a primer shortage the first thing people normally point to is consumer hoarding.  We believe this is having an impact on availability, but probably not to the extreme that many think.  There are definitely some profiteers who buy primers and then sell them on auction sites or other multi list sites.  This is why many online retailers have now chosen to limit the purchase quantities to an extreme low level in an effort to reduce this.

Disruptions in the Supply Chain

Demand, however, is just one part of the story. Disruptions in the supply chain have also made a big impact on the availability of primers. When it comes to ammunition supplies, bullets are easy to manufacture, brass can be re-used, and powder is generally stockpiled by companies (though perhaps not the kind you’re looking for). This leaves primers, which are relatively difficult to make, as the component that causes the bulk of ammo shortages.

In the U.S., only four companies (Winchester, Remington, Federal, and CCI) manufacture primers for civilian use, law enforcement, and the military. Even under perfect circumstances, there’s only so much they can produce at once, and needless to say, circumstances have not been perfect during the pandemic. People getting sick, missing work to take care of their kids, and self-quarantining – from factory workers to delivery drivers, and all throughout the supply chain – caused a lull in manufacturing this spring.

The Remington bankruptcy has had a large impact on the shortage of ammo and primers.  With Remington in a state of financial insolvency for the past two years, suppliers were demanding payment upon delivery for products.  Remington simply did not have the financial capabilities to have an abundance of raw materials on hand and had to shutter some of their production capacity.  Barnes bullets and primers were hit particularly hard in the reloading market.  With the recent purchase of Remington by Vista, there is a good chance that Vista will be diverting CCI and Federal primers that would typically go to reloaders to Remington ammunition production.  Remington primer production capacity has never been great.  The hope would be that Vista will place more emphasis on getting the Remington primer production capacity increased substantially and quickly.  The best news coming out of this is for Barnes fans.  With Sierra’s purchase of Barnes we anticipate the availability of Barnes bullets to increase substantially in a very short period of time.

In 2008 we saw a huge influx of Russian primers.  We are not seeing that this time as the Murom Apparatus Producing plant is only producing at partial capacity due to the COVID-19 restrictions. On top of that, there have been changes in upper management at Murom which have caused further disruptions. But, we are very hopeful that these changes will have a positive effect on production and distribution in the long run.

With import restrictions out of Russia, we do not anticipate seeing the help we had from them in 2008-2012.  We had also seen S&B, Unis Ginex and other foreign brands of primers enter the market during the shortages to relieve some of the pressure, but aren’t seeing that influx of primers this time around.  The lack of foreign primers on the market is a major reason we believe this shortage is going to last for quite some time.  We may see some help from foreign primers, but we don’t anticipate the large volumes we’ve seen previously.

What Should You Do?

As an individual, as of right now, there’s little you can do in the face of the reloading equipment supplies shortage. Keep checking your trusted online distributor Powder Valley for new arrivals of primers from all four manufacturers.

We have created some very stringent limitations on the purchase of primers in an effort to help as many people as possible work through this extremely tough time.  Normally, we would say “stock up.” But that time has passed, and I would encourage everyone to learn from this.  Stock up in times of plentiful supply so that you are not affected as greatly during these times of extreme shortage.

In the meantime I would encourage everyone to pray for our country and our leaders as we navigate this perilous situation.

If you’re a reloader, it’s because you value having extra control over what goes into every round. Of course, you can also end up saving a substantial amount of money. Of all the cartridges out there, 223 Remington/5.56mm NATO cartridges are popular for a number of reasons. They’re versatile, and because they’ve been standard military issue for almost 40 years, 223 cases and bullets are never in short supply. Today at Powder Valley, we’re going to take a look at the vast array of 223 powder on the market.

Finding the Right Reloading 223 Powder for You

There are so many varieties of 223 powder available on the market these days, consumers can be easily overwhelmed. At the end of the day, there is no single best powder; it’s really about finding the powder that fits your needs as a shooter. For starters, think about the bullet you want to use and narrow down the field to the propellant that’s fit for your projectile. Generally, shooters who favor the 223 can be broken down into three categories; varmint hunters, target shooters, and recreational shooters.

Here’s a look at excellent 223 reloading powder for each case:

Varmint and Small Game Hunting

Small game and varmint, like prairie dogs, rabbits, woodchucks, etc., are best hunted with lighter, high-velocity bullets. They won’t be as accurate in high winds, but the distances are usually shorter, and wind plays less of a factor. H322 and Varget powders are two solid choices, both from Hodgdon. They’re ideal for small 40 grain varmint bullets. Alliant Power Pro Varmint is another exceptional powder for varmint rounds. If you prefer a slightly heavier bullet, you really can’t go wrong with Hodgdon H335 powder.

Target Shooting and Long-Range Shooting

When accuracy over a longer distance is key, you’ll need to use a heavier bullet with a high ballistics coefficient. This means you’ll need powder with a slower burn-rate, too. Hodgdon CFE223 is a state-of-the-art powder with a low burn rate and additives that reduce copper fouling. It’s great for heavier bullets and will help keep your firearm in top condition. Another good option is IMR 4895 smokeless powder. These powders are also a solid choice for hunters going after medium/big game.

Versatile Powder for Recreational Shooters

Part of learning to be an expert reloader is experimenting with the different options that are available to you. Some other high-quality, versatile, accurate 223 powder includes Hodgdon Benchmark, IMR 8208, Norma 203-B, and Vihtavuori N530. Your local gun shop might not carry all of these premium brands, but luckily, Powder Valley carries both 1lb and 8lb containers from the industry’s top manufacturers at the lowest possible prices. Restock with your go-to powder, or try something new. The results may surprise you.

One of the most popular cartridges over the last several decades, the 308 Winchester has long been a favorite of both hunters and target shooters. Because of its popularity, there’s currently a massive selection of smokeless powder designed with the 308/7.62mm NATO cartridge in mind. The good news is, the vast majority of these powders are effective and reliable. As long as you use quality bullets, cases, and primers, you should have no trouble handloading consistent, accurate rounds with most of the powders out there. Below is our guide to finding the best 308 powder for your needs.

How to Pick the Best Reloading 308 Powder

It goes without saying that the reloading 308 powder you choose is going to have a lot to do with the type of bullet you choose. Generally, lighter bullets need powder with faster burn rates, and the inverse is true when it comes to heavier bullets. We’re looking for powder that is easy to measure, ignites well in a range of different environments, and always provides consistent power.

Most Accurate 308 Powders

One of the most versatile powders in the IMR line, 4064 is a great choice for most standard use cases. It’s excellent for deer hunting and mid–long range target shooting, depending on the bullets you choose. An extruded powder, it’s fairly easy to meter, though perhaps not as easy as ball powders. Since it can be used in almost any rifle cartridge out there, it’s a great powder to have on hand, even if you pick up a new firearm that isn’t a 308.

Other exceptional choices include:

  • Hodgdon H4895 and IMR 4895 (not the same powder, so make sure you follow the specific loading instructions for each)
  • Norma 203-B
  • Vihtavuori N150
  • Varget powder, also from Hodgdon

Hodgdon CFE 223 is another popular choice, and it’s designed to reduce copper fouling, which is great for the health of your barrel.

RamShot Tac and Alliant RL-15 and RL-17 also get high marks from both match shooters and hunters.

Smart Shooters Order Online

For a huge selection, quick shipping, and the lowest possible price, Powder Valley is the place to buy 308 powder from all the top brands. Find powder that is available in 1lb containers, which are perfect for experimenting, and 8lb jugs if you want to stock up.

Reload with quality powder and components, and land that 12-point buck with a perfectly placed kill shot. Help every round reach its target with the best powder on the market.

When you’re considering where to buy reloading supplies, you need to take into account three main variables:

  • Speed of delivery
  • Price
  • Selection

If you need your gear and components today, your best bet will probably be a local gun or sporting goods store. If you’re willing to wait a few days or more for your supplies to be delivered, you can save money and have access to a larger selection by shopping online. Companies like Powder Valley have large selections of the highest quality cases, bullets, powder, and primers from all the leading manufacturers and ship promptly across the United States.

Experienced reloaders usually choose to buy their supplies in bulk and online.

Get Started with the Right Gear

From cleaning brass to seating bullets, you’ll need the right reloading gear and supplies to get started. Brick and mortar stores may not carry a large range of reloading tools and components, so it makes sense to turn to the internet for your die sets, collets, bushings, and more.

The More Choices, The Better

Once you have the right gear to produce your own ammunition, you’ll need to stock up on components. Cleaning used brass is a great way to save on money, but many competitive match shooters prefer to use new brass. Every major online retailer is going to have reloading brass for sale; it’s just a matter of finding the type you want at the right price.

Whether you’re mass-producing plinking ammo or loading up for a competition, you’ll find a wide variety of bullets online. Don’t forget about primers either. Fast, consistent ignition is a key part of the firing process and can make all the difference when it comes to hitting your target. Buying primers online will also save you a lot of money in the long run, too. Shop primers for sale from leading brands, and make sure every trigger pull counts.

Finally, your propellant is extremely important. Most reloaders have already settled on a favorite brand, but if you’re looking for something new, you’ll have plenty of options when you shop for powder online. Browse powder from top brands like Hodgdon, Alliant, IMR, VihtaVuori, and more, and find the perfect powder for your ammo.

Low Prices Make a Difference

There are two main reasons people get into reloading. One, they want maximum control over every detail of their ammunition. Two, they want high-performance ammo at an affordable price. When you buy your gear and components online at Powder Valley, you can be sure you’re getting premium products at the lowest prices. Browse our massive selection today.


*The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Powder Valley, as this article was written in collaboration with an external research partner.

Powder Valley is pleased to announce that the Hornady 6mm ARC (Advanced Rifle Cartridge) is being released for commercial sale. Originally developed for the Department of Defense for the AR-15 platform, 6mm ARC ammunition and reloading components promise the highest level of performance in the field or at the range. Whether you’re a match shooter, a varmint hunter, or concerned with personal protection, you’ll find these cartridges offer the perfect combination of consistency, shootability, and power. Known for accuracy and low recoil, the 6mm ARC is a versatile match not only for the AR-15 but also short or micro action bolt guns.

Here’s a breakdown of the commercially-available ARC 6mm line from Hornady.

6mm ARC Ammunition

Hornady offers three product lines for 6mm ARC ammunition. Though they’re all excellent all-around cartridges, each is designed with a specific use in mind:

  • 6mm ARC 108gr ELD® Match™ Ammunition: Premium match shooting rounds. Extremely Low Drag Match ammo is engineered for accuracy, they feature a patented HeatShield tip, and are manufactured with stringent quality control to ensure consistency with every trigger pull.
  • 6mm ARC 105gr BTHP Match™ Black™ Ammunition: These 105 grain boat tail hollow point rounds are optimized for personal defense. Proudly made in the USA, they offer low recoil and impressive stopping power.
  • 6mm ARC 103 gr ELD-X® Precision Hunter® Ammunition: Available in the fall of 2020, these Extremely Low Drag match-accurate hunting bullets provide devastating terminal performance at conventional and extended (400+ yard) ranges. Heat Shield® tip technology provides advanced aerodynamic efficiency.

6mm ARC Brass

Reloaders know how important high-quality brass is to the overall performance of your ammunition. If you’re looking for AR-15 reloading supplies, Hornady 6mm ARC Unprimed Brass Cases should be high on the list of must-have components. Hornady 6mm ARC brass are produced in small lots to meet strict quality standards. High concentricity and uniform wall thickness mean consistent pressures, velocity, and accuracy.

6mm ARC Bullets

Bullets from the above ammunition selection are also sold as individual components. This lets you customize the performance of the Hornady advanced rifle cartridge by using a different type of powder or primers. It’s also a great way to save money if you like the performance of Hornady ammunition. Here’s a breakdown of the bullet selection.

Die Sets

The gear you use to assemble your ammunition is almost as important as the reloading components you choose. The Hornady Series III Two-Die 6mm ARC Die Set (.243) is designed to make spindle adjustments a breeze, and won’t wear out, even with a lifetime of normal use. Produce your own ammo that meets your exact needs with die sets from Hornady. Powder Valley is your destination for Hornady 6mm ARC cartridge reloading components, and ready to fire ammunition. Shop the full Hornady line at the lowest possible prices today.


*The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Powder Valley, as this article was written in collaboration with an external research partner.