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There's money in reloading! High ammo prices, technology combine for a reloading resurgence.

"Reloading is dead!"

"It's a waste of time and floor space because no one reloads anymore."

Gun dealers, have you heard these statements--or perhaps made them yourself? If so, you're dismissing profits from a segment of the market that still has great potential.


Knowledge Is Key To Growing Reloading

Reloading ammunition is as much a part of the fabric of shooting and hunting as firearms, and it has evolved into an extremely sophisticated--yet simple--practice.


In the past, shooting-range conversations about reloading equipment and loading recipes were as common as discussions about shotguns and rifles. The majority of competitive-level shooters reloaded their own ammunition. Today presents a different picture.

Jason Hornady, Hornady Manufacturing, says the top two reasons people reload today are to save money and to create custom loads. The top two reasons shooters do not reload? A lack of time and a lack of knowledge.

"Many shooters have not been exposed to reloading and perceive it to be difficult, even dangerous," Hornady said.

This perception is not true, Hornady says. Dealers play a key role in dispelling this misconception by sponsoring regular training clinics. Those who do, along with carrying a broad selection of components, consistently sell far more reloading products.

Dave Kern Mayville Engineering Company (MEC) executive, agrees that loading seminars are one of the keys to growing the reloading market. MEC has a trailer that travels to gun clubs and gun stores throughout Wisconsin and the upper Midwest hosting reloading seminars.

"It is very rewarding to teach a young person or a newcomer how to load their first shotshell. Kids just light up when they see how easy it is and how much fun it can be, and they love to go out and shoot the shells they have personally loaded," Kern said.


Jeff Poet, president of Jay's Sporting Goods in Claire, Mich., says basic economics and education will play a major role in the future of the reloading business.


"The entrance of premium centerfire ammunition into the market slowed reloading down for a time, but as prices continue to rise on factory premium ammunition, the reloading business is coming back strong," Poet said.

Today's bullet and propellant technology make it possible for anyone to duplicate whatever performance level they want, Poet says.

"We conduct regular loading seminars and hire people with a strong reloading background to work in our loading department. It is also vital to carry a broad selection of components," Poet advises.

Stock An Array Of Components

Though centerfire reloading remains strong, the shotshell reloading market has been depressed over the last few years. Research from American Sports Data indicates an enormous potential for retail growth in this segment, estimating the total participation base of the shotgun sports at 16.1 million shooters in 2006.

This is a huge, largely untapped reloading market for every dealer. Ron Kesselring, Kesselring Gun Shop in Burlington, Wash., understands this and has long taken advantage of the reloading market. He has been selling a huge selection of reloading components to shooters throughout the northwest for decades.

"The reloading business has been stable for the last several years because it is a great hobby, and it can be very therapeutic," Kesselring said.

Kesselring would like to see more young shooters getting into reloading and feels that better education is the key.

"Retailers need to point out, in specific terms, the price differential between new and loaded ammo. The key is to carry a broad selection of components, and hire employees who are very familiar with all aspects of loading. Those two factors can make all the difference in selling reloading products," Kesselring said.


Bob Nosler, president of Nosler, Inc., says dealers sometimes miss the boat by not stocking a wide array of components.

"Technology has enhanced the opportunity to create custom loads, and reloaders love to experiment with new bullets and propellants," Nosler said.

Nosler also emphasized the need for knowledgeable salespeople.

"Dealers who understand and have a connection with reloading consistently outperform those with less knowledge and experience. This is a fun hobby, but some one needs to show the consumer how to get started," Nosler said.

Learning From Past Lessons

In the past, ammunition manufacturers were reluctant to sell reloading components, thinking that if consumers began reloading, it would diminish their sales of manufactured ammunition. Fortunately, the consumer was not to be denied, and shooters went to great lengths to obtain components to load their own personal ammunition.

It soon became obvious that people who loaded their own ammunition shot more, and in the process, brought thousands of new shooters into the shooting fraternity. Almost overnight, competitive shooting and general target practice became much more popular, and more manufactured ammunition was sold to keep pace with the growing demand.

Dealers today who forego the opportunity to market reloading products and components to their customers are missing the boat, much as ammunition manufacturers missed it decades ago. Introducing new shooters to reloading is not only good for shooting, in general, it is good for business, overall.

Accurate Arms Co 341
Alliant Powder 342
American Ammunition 343
Barnes Bullets 344
Battenfeld Technologies 345
Berger Bullets 346
Berry's Manufacturing 347
Bismuth Cartridge Co. 348
Black Hills Ammunition 349
Black Hills Shooters Supply 350
Bond Arms 351
Brenneke of America 352
B-Square 353
CCI 354
Cor-Bon 355
Dakota Arms 356
Dillon Precision Products 357
Estate Cartridge 358
Federal Premium 359
Fiocchi Ammunition 360
Forster Products 361
Frankford Arsenal 362
Fusion Ammunition 363
Glaser Safety Slug 364
Hodgdon Powder Co. 365
Hornady Manufacturing 366
IMR Powder Co. 367
Lee Precision Inc. 368
Lightfield 369
Lyman Products Corp. 370
MagSafe 371
Magma Engineering Co. 372
Magtech Ammunition 373
Mayville Engineering Co. 374
Midway USA 375
MTM Case-Gard Co. 376
NobelSport 377
Norma Precision 378
Nosler Bullets 379
Old Western Scrounger 380
Oregon Trail Bullet Co 381
Precision Ammunition 382
Pro Load Ammunition 383
RCBS 384
Redding Reloading Equip 385
Remington Arms Co. 386
Sierra Bullets 387
Sinclair International 388
Speer 389
Starline 390
Swift Bullet Co. 391
Triton Ammunition 392
Ultra max Ammunition 393
Wealthy Inc. 394
Winchester Ammunition 395
Wolf Performance Ammunition 396
Zero Ammunition Co. 397
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Comment:There's money in reloading! High ammo prices, technology combine for a reloading resurgence.
Author:Oeltjen, Ray
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Feb 1, 2009
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