Keeping Records

There a couple of reloading tools that I could give up, however, my records are not one of them.

Records are essential tools for safe reloading and include many pieces of information. The more information I keep, the more useful I find the records.

On each load that I assemble, I keep the following information:

Case status
Case length
Overall length
Number of rounds loaded
Expected velocity
Actual velocity
Chronograph date
Target results

Evolving from a spiral notebook to a computer database has enhanced the process considerably.

I started recording lot numbers and specifics about bullets, i.e. length, actual weight, style numbers and more, then decided to turn it into a relational database to limit the number of keystrokes.

When I get ready to go to the range, I print off a report of recent work, (loads that will be going to the range with me) and added space for notes at the range. When I return home, I enter the notes into the database and have a tool for the assessment of load performance.

I stumbled in to a software program that is more elaborate and does some calculations to boot: "The Reload Inventory Clerk 1.5" from Heavy Metal Software Co.

This software keeps running totals on component inventory, which is great when you get ready to go to a gun show or place an order elsewhere for components. It calculates a "per round" cost on loads you put together based on the "current inventory." The demo version does not let you play with the report functions but it looks like a comprehensive list of options.

You can download a demo version of "The Reload Inventory Clerk", from their site at:

They also have a couple of other products that I have not had time to check out, but will soon.

A major part of my records and load evaluation process includes the actual target. Sounds like a no-brainer but yet you see used targets hanging at the range all the time. I like to bring my targets home and make notes on them for future reference.

The database I set up in Microsoft Access, lets me scan the target and make it viewable from the actual load recipe. Having made legible notes on the target that include temperature, wind speed and even light conditions has proven very helpful.

I create a new record for every load, even if it is a combination that I use often. This lends itself to tracking a "loading session" by date. A single record for a favorite combination would quickly become cumbersome with dates and case status changes, i.e. trimmed or neck sized, so a new record seems to make more sense. A database makes this format nice as it can be sorted any number of ways.

In summary, records are a necessary evil. It takes discipline and requires attention to detail, much like reloading itself. The end result is well worth the effort whether you use a notebook or a computer program.

Bill Wade


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Last Modified: January 3, 2012