As the pops of gunfire echo around him, Monte Petersen stoops to collect small brass casings that recently flew from his .45 pistol. They jingle like loose change as he picks them off the gun range floor and tosses them into a bucket.
Petersen is one of thousands, perhaps millions, of target shooters who take their shooting hobby further: Recycling their ammunition casings and assembling new cartridges by hand to shoot again.
They call it “reloading” their ammunition. It’s a passion project, money-saver and hands-on hobby all wrapped into one.
Recycle. Reload. Reuse.
On a weekday morning at Eagle Gun Range in Lewisville, Texas, Petersen tours the range while his buddy Jim Payne readies his cartridges in his booth.
When Petersen fires a gun, the bullet shoots out of the barrel. What’s left behind is a brass casing that held the bullet, the primer and the gunpowder. The whole package, called a cartridge, is often referred to as a “round.”
The brass casings are reusable.
So after the shooting is done, reloaders like Payne and Petersen get to work, scouring the gun range floor for good brass. Between them, they have about 70 years of combined reloading experience.
“Reloading is basically taking your empty brass that’s already been fired and then putting all the components back into it to make it so it’s just like new again,” Petersen said. “So you can shoot it again, but at a much reduced cost.”