Can I load ammunition for a friend?
Bill Harriman advises on the legalities
Q: I enjoy loading my own ammunition for my .223 and .243 rifles. I have been asked to do some reloading for a friend. Is this legal and would I need to inform my firearms enquiry officer (FEO)?
The law on reloading
A: There is nothing in law that says you may not reload cartridges for other people. The only proviso is that you must have a firearm certificate that authorises you to possess the cartridge types that your friend wants you to reload. You must also ensure that the quantity you intend to reload does not take you over the quantity that the certificate authorises you to possess. When you give the cartridges to your friend, you must complete Table 2 (calibre, quantity and so on) on his certificate. There is no need to inform anyone from the firearms licensing department that you are doing this. Be aware that the same load may perform differently in different rifles. It is always worth loading small batches to start with until you find a bullet/powder weight combination that gives optimum accuracy. Groups need to be a minimum of five rounds to assess this.
Q: When home loading, how do I weigh out powder in grains?
A: You can buy a small and very accurate Lee powder scale for about £30.
A lot of serious rifle shooters load their own.
Safety is, of course, paramount. Any home loader can have loads checked for pressure by sending a small batch to the Birmingham Proof House.
Don’t your cartridges through the post – it’s illegal. You have to send them by courier.
Tips for reloading
- Remember that every powder has its own density and fills out the casing differently depending on the charge being used and how it is applied
- With a powder meter a longer drop tube allows better alignment of the powder kernels and a denser filling of the cartridge case
- Avoid air gaps between powder kernels by using a powder funnel and swirling the powder around the funnel lip