the zen of reloading


I am a novice reloader. Having started at handloading only a few months ago, I was  immediately struck by how meditative an activity the entire process is. Reloading is an endeavor that requires concentration,  precision and repetition. A mistake like double charging one case with powder (out of the 50-100 that you are working on) could be disastrous so your entire attention is required. There is an exacting process that has to be followed and precise tolerances that have to be met. The numerous steps of this process take on almost ritualistic properties as you move through them. It reminds me somewhat of the Japanese tea ceremony.

Most likely, the average  reloader wouldn’t think that they are meditating while they work, but I would  posit that they indeed are if they are doing so with the utmost of concentration. There is an old Zen proverb that goes:

“Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.”

I could just as easily say, “Before enlightenment; trim, chamfer, measure. After enlightenment; trim, chamfer, measure.”

Now if I could just place my finger on this “enlightenment” thing…


4 thoughts on “the zen of reloading”

  1. I completely agree. It’s a deep concentrated ritual that I find amazingly relaxing. I have often thought of going to a fancy self-loading progressive press due to the astonishing amount of time involved in loading even one box of shells…but I’m always stopped by the thought of losing that time with my handiwork. I do every process by hand. I measure every single load by hand, down to the exact grain. Sure, I could move quicker on certain processes. But my mind would not be “one” with the bullet, and so I keep plugging along by hand. Chop wood, carry water.

  2. Pingback: Do it yourself

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