A reader sent this picture of his daughter assisting him in reloading cartridges. On a single-stage press, such as the RCBS pictured, there’s plenty to do. A young child can easily and safely deprime cases, such as this young girl is doing. She deprimed 500 of them for her father, and was very pleased with herself. It reminds me of pleasant times when my daughter was about five, who loved to help me reload ammunition.

My own first experiences with reloading were when I was much older, perhaps eight, or nine. My father reloaded hunting ammunition for his Model 99 .300 Savage. He was deadly with that rifle in the woods. I helped, or at least watched and handed over bullets. He used a Lyman 310 tool and an Ideal reloading manual. The 310 works just fine if you use the same rifle and don’t have to full-length resize the cases.

We only loaded a couple of boxes at a time. The rifle wasn’t shot that much, mostly sighting in from a bench on our property a quarter mile away, across the Namekagon River, where there was a good backstop, and while hunting.   More shots were fired during sighting in and in small amounts of practice than were fired while hunting, even if my father routinely shot one or two deer a year. I shot my first deer with that rifle at age 13.

Reloading cartridges – and then shooting a few of them – is an experience a child will remember forever. It imprints the brain with the possibilities of being productive and having some control over the material world. I remember the experience as being empowering. It’s a great building block for responsibility. To be trusted with real involvement in a powerful activity that requires responsibility, shows a child that they are loved, trusted, and respected.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

48 Responses to It’s Never Too Early to Get Them Involved

    • I do too. Especially when it comes to handling toxic materials like strychnine, solvents, or in this case lead residue. Better their nervous system than mine. I just laugh when my kids ask for a mask or gloves.

      • Cite one case showing lead exposure from handloading has caused health issue.

        Or stop nonsense hysteria. That would be fine, too.

        • So if it doesn’t kill you, it doesn’t hurt? With that kind of logic I’m guessing you’ve been handling lead since you were a kid too.

        • I know I have. For a few, ok, a lot of decades.
          And I’ve had my lead levels checked due to being an R/O at an indoor range.

        • Hey, Genius, millions have handled lead since they were children.

          Eating lead and breathing lead VAPOR is dangerous…handling firearm brass with some lead residue is EASILY mitigated by anyone with functioning brain cells.

          Good grief.

          Public education, folks….government run schools, propaganda and politically motivations in science. This is the result…

        • PS: Any luck on producing that citation…you know, actual data more substantive than pearl clutching emotional speculation?

  1. Aw how cute, a little girl handling highly toxic chemicals and heavy metals without so much as nitrile gloves.

    Sorry, but that is just stupid. I’m all for kids participating in shooting sports, but this is simply irresponsible on the part of your reader.

    • She’s depriming cases. Assuming the cases were properly prepped (washed and/or polished) there should be no chance of her being exposed to lead residue. Dangers associated with the lubricant can be avoided by using one that doesn’t have harmful chemicals in it, which should be done anyway.

      • Well I remember when I was a kid we used to rub lead on our faces and put it in our food too. What has society turned into? Science…peh…I know the world is flat and dammit…I know that lead does a body good.

        • Complete logic fail, but I’m not surprised from an uneducated alarmist.

          She is not “eating” lead. She’s handing brass (that looks like it has been precleaned at that) that may have slight residue.

          Pro tip: Lead does not pass through the skin. It’s not going to jump off the brass and magically fly into her lungs, either.

          Get a grip. Here in the real world, people handle things routinely. Only a brainwashed mind can be this hysterical over someone depriming brass.

        • JR, brass looks new in box to me, making objections really moronic. ‘Course, the claim is she’s depriming, so there’s a tiny possibility I might be wrong…

    • No it’s not “stupid.” It’s industry. There’s a lot to teach them, such…uh, I don’t know, how to safely handle stuff many people are too chickenshit to apparently do themselves.

      I love concern trolls. They are so much fun.

    • “Sorry, but that is just stupid.”

      Sorry, but you are just stupid. Those suppositions are simply made-up BS to justify outlawing something related to guns. Talked to a couple of world champion long range shooters who went through around 10,000 rounds a year each (married to each other) as did their 2 daughters, all of it reloaded at their home, and they laughed at that silliness. I’ll never reload 40,000 rounds a year, as they have for decades, but even I can see that is nonsense, yet you accept it without question? Good grief.

  2. Ditto.
    Quite susceptible to lead at such young ages.
    I know, I was messing with it and mercury as well, back at that age.
    God, if only I had known what damage I was doing to myself back then.

    I just might have made something of myself with that brain power that it cost me.

    • Nice Begging the Question fallacy, there.

      You cannot logically assert that any loss of brain function you have was caused by the I’m-guessing miniscule exposure to mercury. I’m going to go further and question how you are measuring lost brain function anyway. Was this measure in a controlled experiment against normal aging loss?

      Did you EAT (drink) the mercury? Did you huff the vapors?

      If not…get out of here with nonsense speculation that is not based on real science.

      • Well good thing they got this there new Googly thingy for duh Interwebs. I dun looked it up and seen a buncha articles and even scientists talkin’ bout absorption of Pb (I think that’s lead) through the skin. But naw I think I’ll just trust some random guy on the Interwebs callin’ people out…talkin’ bout ‘fallacies’ (he’s super educated no doubt…can’t be knowin bout logic things without proper schoolin’). He sure must be sharper than Googly or duh scientists.

        • Weeeellllll, this “Random Guy on the Internet” holds an advanced degree in Chemistry and has had professional employment, and specific training, handling some of the most toxic substances known to mankind. Some of the stuff we used to work with would make you lie in a quivering blob in the corner sucking your thumb since apparently you think the mere mention of the word “lead” can poison your body.

          So, let’s back the uneducated panic truck up just a bit and look at rational (ie, data based) information rather than literally “Some Guy” saying “Google Said So.”

          Let’s go to OSHA page on lead exposure:

          https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10031

          Upon reading that, we find this nice little gem:

          “Lead can be absorbed into your body by inhalation (breathing) and ingestion (eating). Lead (except for certain organic lead compounds not covered by the standard, such as tetraethyl lead) is not absorbed through your skin.

          Did you read that? As reported by our own benevolent government, metallic lead is not absorbed through the skin.

          As I said above, breathing the vapor and eating it are the ways one gets lead into the body. Unless you go around playing with lead based chemicals, most of which are not on the general market nowadays anyway.

          Google does list some citations that say dermal lead exposure is possible, but these have to be read VERY carefully. CDC concurs with the OSHA link above, but lists dermal exposure only for special cases. For example, one 1988 study showed sweaty skin could pass powderized metallic lead, but it was subsequently found ONLY in saliva and sweat and not in blood.

          In any case, exposure is easily mitigated. The Great Lead Bogeyman is not coming to get us all.

          The combination of generic, unfamiliar posting name and histrionic over-reaction to this post has earned you title “Concern Troll.” Wear it proudly.

          PS: Notice how I provided a link and mentioned other SPECIFIC sources of my information? Have you YET found any citation linking depriming fired brass to toxic effects in the body?

          I’m guess “no” since all you HAVE provided is Geezer Science and weasel words.

        • JR:

          “Some of the stuff we used to work with would make you lie in a quivering blob in the corner sucking your thumb…”

          … wouldn’t that be that ingestion vector you were talking about, and yet another way to prove that Darwin Works?

        • JR, I don’t have your credentials, but I recall that even for the “ingestion” category, other than powderized lead, you were in more danger from the density than the lead, as in if you swallowed a solid lead bullet it might damage your internals by passing through membranes before it would cause any damage as lead. Don’t know I’m saying that right, try swallowing a 500gr lead ball would be no more dangerous than swallowing a 500gr 24k gold ball. Exposed surface area such as with powderized is dangerous, solid chunks not so much.

          I took a chunk of lead from a firing range once (military, no copper jackets, bullet lead), around 30 lbs, and melted it down on the wife’s stove to pour into muffin tins for future use casting bullets. Casting never came to pass, muffin-shaped lead chunks sit in the garage, as for the past 30 years. Hasn’t hurt me yet! Yeah, I did then discard the muffin pan.

      • Alternative hypothesis: The individual’s exposure to lead and/or mercury were of negligible effect, but said individual went to a public school, which caused most of the loss of mental capacity. Seriously, you’re lucky indeed to be able to get out of one of those places with your mental abilities intact. Ban Schools.

  3. I think it’s great that kids can get involved if they wish to do so, however I believe in protective gloves and eyewear in that situation.

  4. I thought the trigger discipline fanatics who post here sometimes were over-the-top, but now I see that they are tame compared to those who seem to believe that life must be lived inside a sterile protective bubble.

    *walks away from keyboard grumbling about FLAME DELETED*

  5. Lead is a concern whether you are shooting or dealing with reloads. That is a fact. If you doubt it, get your lead levels checked. It would be instructive. I found that when I first took up shooting some years ago, I had my lead levels checked. Prior to shooting, I had a zero count (which is normal for people who don’t have an occupational exposure to lead). Six months after I started shooting in indoor ranges, my levels had climbed to 10. At 20 (or according to some accounts at 15) your body starts to show preliminary lead poisoning signs. There were several issues that contributed to the problem in my case – the most notable being that the gun club I belonged to had a range built in 1946 and it didn’t look like it had been cleaned all that much since. I swabbed a lead test kit on some of the surfaces and there was significant contamination.

    As an aside, in one of the other shooting clubs I belong to, you are required to run a HEPA filtered vacuum down the lane you were using when you are finished shooting to capture lead residue and they prohibit anyone under 18 from using that range due to the lead exposure concern for kids. Which brings me to my next point.

    Children are far more susceptible to lead poisoning than adults are due in part to their tendency to be less meticulous around exposure to lead sources along with the fact that the physiology of a child is different from an adult. Lead affects brain development in children more than adults because our brains are pretty much done developing.

    All that said, it only means that some precautions are in order when participating in shooting activities. One of the easiest things to do is to pick up a package of those baby wipe type things that are designed specifically to remove heavy metals from the skin. They can be purchased from many sources including Amazon.com. I use them to clean my hands after every range session as well as after reloading or cleaning my gun (assuming I didn’t just use gloves). It’s an easy fix for the problem and my lead levels have declined.

    If you clean your brass using a dry process like a vibratory machine, the lead doesn’t really go away. Sure, it is reduced, but unless you are replacing your cleaning media for every batch, the lead builds up and does remain on the brass. If you use a liquid method, my guess is that you get a cleaner piece of brass, but again, if you don’t change your liquid for every batch, eventually the lead builds up.

    The simple solution is to keep a package of lead wipes nearby and supervise the kids to ensure that they use the wipes when finished. I’m not overly concerned with lead residue in the primers as most presses drop the primers into a hopper and they are not handled that much. The actual depriming process is not going to create any significant sources of airborne lead.

    Kids and adults certainly can participate in all shooting activities safely. All it takes is a little common sense.

    • Indoor shooting ranges are a straw man in this argument, because there you are dealing with vaporized lead.

      Lead exposure from handling fired cases is easily mitigated…it’s called WASHING YOUR HANDS.

  6. It’s often suggested that we invite non-gunners to the range and let them experience shooting first-hand. I’ll add that giving them a reloading demonstration and letting them load a few rounds also helps to remove the scary mystery of firearms and allows them to think about guns from a more logical perspective.

    • +1

      I think every reloader should make sharing the hobby a priority. Even if people don’t start loading their own, nearly everyone I’ve met who shoots has been invited over to make a few boxes for themselves at my place (and have some coffee), and they all really enjoyed doing it. It’s a great way for “gun guys” (and girls!) to hang out on a Saturday in the off-season.

      A thousand smiles the first time you “make” a box of ammo for yourself & ten-thousand smiles when you get to shoot that ammo.

      • True fact. I had to teach myself, with a Lee Loader (do they still sell those things?), otherwise I couldn’t afford to shoot! But the first “bang” is just a real thrill.

  7. That model 99 .300 Savage. My father owned one, and a pump action 30-30 (also a Savage). I shot my first deer with the 30-30 and moved up to the .300 the next season. That rifle is among my favorite, but it sure can tenderize your shoulder in a hurry. You must have been a pretty tough 13 year old!

    I own a .308 now; my son used it to shoot his first deer last year at age 11. An 8 point buck! And my kids help me with some of the reloading duties. I use a Lee handloader, one round at a time. They like to punch out the primers and hand me the bullets just like your story. I guess I didn’t realize how significant the process could be to a kid with his/her dad. It makes me glad we’ve made these things part of our lives.

    *AHEM* And for the lead-O-phobes out there, we routinely suck on the bullets before pressing them into the cases. We call it hillbilly lube. For realsies. Good clean family fun in the flyover states!

    • Yeah, you might want to go ahead and consider the cost of real lube an investment in your children’s brains. Or you do all the lead sucking yourself and take one for the team. Sucking on lead is seriously bad news.

  8. “A reader sent this picture of his daughter”

    I’ll bet that reader never makes THAT mistake again. Sheesh. You’d think it was a photo of gutting a live puppy for fun.

    “OMG! A CHILD HANDLING AMMO OR AMMO PARTS!”

  9. with all the back and forth here there is one thing in that picture that is missing that would do damage almost immediately…can anyone guess whats missing…i’ll give you a clue it has to do with her sight…other than that i have no problem with what she is doing you liberals out there need to quit putting your kids on some imaginary pedestal praising they can do no wrong and get your damn hand dirty or do some push-ups already…

    • Okay, I’ll bite.

      Just how is decapping fired cased a danger to her sight?

      Can you name one documented incident where someone’s sight was injured or impaired while decapping brass? I’m guessing “no.” But then again, I know it’s in vogue to never let actual facts get in the way of pure, emotional panty twisting.

      This is where we’ve come, folks. This is the result of 30+ years of systematic Nanny Oversight Brainwashing.

      • To be respectful here safety glasses are to be worn during “ALL” RELOADING PHASES if you don’t believe me buy a re loader and read the manual (I have) it’s also a good way to to teach the little ones “safety 1st”… have a happy thanksgiving

        • Buy a reloader, huh?

          Been “handloading” for 30+ years. Sorry. Also, been involved in professional small arms research, including working closely with an ammunition manufacturer.

          Decapping brass is next-to-harmless. Thinking people understand rules (and liability conscious businesses playing “cover their own a$$”) and apply them when they need to be applied, and not wring hands over every little thing.

          Telling someone they should wear eye pro for de-capping just because some manual says to is not “thinking.” It’s blind following…no pun intended.

          I’m not telling anyone NOT to wear eye pro. I just think it is a little ridiculous, or downright laughable, the responses this post has gotten. Really…how has the human race survived? It boggles the mind.

        • All reloading phases? Do you wear safety glasses while purchasing components? Driving your car to the gun store?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *