You don’t have to be a marksman to know that the more you shoot, the keener your target shooting skills become. However, the cost of ready-made ammunition has shot through the roof over these last several years, which explains the growing popularity of recycling or “reloading” spent cartridges; cleaned and polished with walnut shell or corn cob grit.
“If you want to get more bang for your buck on the firing range, it’s just a matter of picking up after yourself,” says Steven Schneider, sales manager of Kramer Industries, a leading supplier of cleaning and polishing media and vibrating equipment used to recycle cartridge shells.
According to Schneider, “First you remove the dirt and gun powder marks from your cartridge. For that, you need a vibratory bowl machine and the right grit for the cartridge you’re polishing. We carry walnut shell grit made of crushed shell, and corn cob grit, obtained from the hard woody ring of the cob. The correct media and size of the grit depend on the type of firearm and caliber size.”
George Petronis, owner of The Gun Shop in Vincentown, NJ, says it breaks down to cleanup, resize, and reload. “Most casings are made of brass, a malleable metal, soft enough to clean and polish without much effort, then resize for your chamber,” explains Petronis, a gun enthusiast and distributor of ammunition to law enforcement agencies from New Jersey to Virginia.
In addition to the cost saving benefits of cleaning, resizing and reloading cartridges, firearm enthusiasts point out that using a vibratory machine and grit allows for a much more thorough cleaning. They also like the idea of being able to customize their load when they recycle, increasing the amount of gunpowder for additional acceleration, or choosing heavier or lighter grain balls.
“Beyond the ability to clean more thoroughly and make sport shooting more affordable, there’s a lot of self-satisfaction involved in the process of reloading for many of our customers,” says Kramer Industries’ Schneider. “It’s a pleasurable pastime that pays them dividends every time they go out to the range.”