Handloaders usually start out on a budget and look for the basics. Lee’s 50th Anniversary Kit is an excellent place to begin.

Thirty years ago, if you were to ask a dedicated gunnie who made the best quality ammo, he’d probably say, “Me!” Factory ammunition was good, and perfectly adequate for most professional and private uses, but it was commonly held that the knowledgeable handloader could turn out more consistent performance and better accuracy in the garage or basement. But today’s ammo makers are producing commercial loads that are markedly ahead of yesterday’s game, with both the big names and smaller niche companies covering just about any need with very high quality and consistently performing ammunition. Why bother to roll your own, then?

Cost, and tailoring a specific load to a specific gun for a specific purpose are the two main reasons. Once you’ve shot enough of your own stuff to pay for setup costs in buying equipment, handloading can make it possible for you to shoot more than you could with commercial ammunition simply because you recycle brass cases (a significant expense in any cartridge) and remove production overhead such as salaries, equipment maintenance, building upkeep and power bills that commercial ammunition companies build into each and every round they sell you.

You can buy components such as primers and bullets in bulk at greater savings. You can also use lead bullets in many calibers for cheaper practice. If you need one good load for one good gun, you can experiment with various bullets, powders, and powder charges to find something that may work better in that gun than anything you’ll find on the shelves at your local gun shop. Once you’ve found your load, you can order in enough components to stock yourself and duplicate it for as long as you want all while bypassing factory discontinuations and dealers’ shortages.

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Handloaders usually start out on a budget and look for the basics. Lee’s 50th…