Reloading brass is like every other product in that there are a lot of things to keep in mind if you want to get a good deal. Every shooter should try to be familiar with the topic because there are so many things that can cause a shortage that forces people to either reload their ammo or stop shooting. That risk combines with the many advantages of reloading to make brass a precious commodity for every shooter.
The quality of the brass itself is the most important concern for any shooter that wants to stock up and make their own ammunition. The vast majority of retailers will sell brass that has either been fired only once, or brass that is completely new. Both of them will work, since brass can normally be used many times before it starts to wear out and degrade.
That having been said, it is wise to keep an eye out for manufacturing defects or simple wear and tear. The brass should not be deformed or cracked. Every piece should be examined before reloading, just to be safe, but it is also wise to check it out before buying. If you can’t examine the brass in person, look for reviews and testimonials that prove the retailer has sold quality brass in the past.
Most of the shooters who take up reloading do it so that they can shoot more while spending less money. Most of them buy their brass in bulk to make sure that they have enough, so it is wise to look for bulk pricing to get the best deal possible.
This is especially important for people who do not expect to buy more brass on a regular basis. The brass will eventually wear out, and some of it is likely to get lost instead of being recovered after shooting, but most reloaders can make their supply last for quite some time without any difficulty. The natural choice under those circumstances is to make a single, large purchase for each caliber, and then to restock and make up for losses after that only when good deals present themselves. The first purchase is often the largest, so bulk pricing is more important there than it is for any other.
The firearm industry has a fairly strong sense of social responsibility, and that extends to many of the retailers that focus on brass and other reloading supplies. It is common for them to get used brass from police academies and similar organizations in exchange for new ammo, which helps to cut the operating expenses for those services. Many people prefer these retailers because buying from them supports these community programs.