Can you reload 22 ammunition? That is the question I asked in my first article and our first look at the 22 reloader kit. I was slightly skeptical but was somewhat surprised at the kit. The kit itself does allow you to reload 22 caliber rimfire ammunition. I’m going to answer a few questions I had about the kit. Keep in mind this was my first time I have ever reloaded ammunition. This is the first time I’ve cast bullets, and this is certainly the first time I used match heads as gunpowder.
Is the 22 Reloader kit easy to use?
No. Surprisingly I just followed the instructions. I double checked a few things via YouTube, because I are Grunt. As a brand new reloader and bullet caster they made it incredibly easy to create ammunition from almost nothing.
Casting ammunition was super easy and surprised the hell out of me. I got two sources of lead. First off I got some old lead wheel weights from a local shop. Unfortunately, they only had a few. I also had a handful of old 28 gauge birdshot shells with lead shot. I don’t have a 28 gauge shotgun, so these are useless to me. Their lead shot became quite useful, though.
So I bought a camp stove and a can of propane. I set it up and started melting lead. Lessons learned overall.
- Melt only a little at a time, you’ll only use a little at a time making 22 LR rounds
- Wheel weights are not 100% lead and will leave some leftover nastiness
- Melt it slowly, don’t dial the system to 11 at first.
- Pour slowly, but don’t be afraid to waste, lead can be re-melted.
Some basic common sense rules apply when melting lead. Wear gloves, glasses, and a long sleeve shirt and do it in a well-ventilated area. I did it outside personally. (Wife was not having lead melted inside.) You can make two projectiles, a lighter and a heavier projectile.
The first thing you need to do is inspect the brass. Make sure it’s not bulged, cracked, or broken.The 22 Reloader kit comes with a small scraper that allows you to scrape out the old primer material. It’s simple, but make sure you are thorough.
I got the full-on primer kit and followed the instructions to the letter for ten rounds and used denatured alcohol from Wal-Mart as the glue to hold it all together. This primer kit is produced by 22 reloader kit. For five rounds I made primer from the strike anywhere match recipe. (Side note searching how to shave phosphorus off leads to a lot of things about meth.) The denatured alcohol takes 24 hours to dry before you continue.
I used the gunpowder from the 28 gauge shotgun shells for those ten rounds with the standard primers. For the match head primers I used match shavings. The 10 standard rounds I loaded heavier projectiles and from the match head rounds, I loaded the lighter rounds.
Is it effective?
Most of the time it is. I took the total of fifteen rounds out and fired or attempted to fire them all. On the standard rounds with the primer compound and the regular gunpowder I had 6 out of 10 ignite. Of those six only two ignited on the first try. The other four were attempted three times each and then disposed of.
Of the rounds using matches as the basis of their primer and powder I had 3 out of 5 ignite, and none ignited on the first try. I was shocked these worked, and I absolutely love that they did. The fact I can make ammo using some lead, matches and casings makes me feel nice and warm.
Accuracy was pretty basic at 15 yards. Out to 25 yards, things became a little more hectic. I could still hit a target but it was kind of unpredictable. If I had to hunt rabbits or squirrels I could do so. This is probably due to imprecise measurements but isn’t a major issue. To be perfectly fair the lighter rounds proved more accurate.
Will it replace buying bricks of 22 LR?
No, unless you are incredibly patient. It certainly takes some time to manufacture these rounds. Forming two at a time through lead takes time. Waiting 24 hours for it to dry takes time. Mixing the primer compound and shaving matches takes time. Crimping them one by one takes time.
I feel this project can go two different ways. First off it’s fun. For some who’s never reloaded it is a lot of fun to cast ammo, and reload your own. It’s a fun project that teaches you the basics in a nice and safe manner. The 22 Reloader kit is very simple to use, and you don’t run the risk of really hurting yourself unless you’re dumb.
The second way goes into prepping….
Would the 22 Reloader Kit be an effective survival or prepping tool?
I believe so. I used two methods that could be directed at prepping. There was old ammo I couldn’t use, but had. Then I used wheel weights and matches. These are all things that are easy to scavenge. Ammo you can’t fire can be turned into ammo you can fire.
The 22 Reloader Kit is certainly interesting. It’s effective to a point and is affordable enough for you to put away, or to play with. After I got this kit I am now looking at learning to cast different rounds. I’m also looking at buying an old school powder and ball revolver and casting my own lead balls.
The 22 Reloader kit is easy to use, it’s fun and educational. So why not? My final advice is to follow the instructions, and double-check everything. Also, wear your PPE kids, burning lead is no joke. Lastly, remember the primer materials and match powder is corrosive, and dirty. So clean your barrels afterward.