Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shooting one's self in the foot...

Ever do any reloading? Ammunition reloading I mean.

Great hobby/pastime and can seriously reduce the cost of keeping that "fighting edge" on your marksmanship.
I'm a bit old fashioned when it comes to my normal carry piece, I carry a .45 ACP. It's take down power is unrivaled and for years the ammo was easily available. When the U.S. switched from the honored and much favored American made 1911A1 to a European designed "girl's gun" in 9mm, guys like me didn't take long to shoot up the surplus .45 ACP laying around.

Now, with the panic buying of guns and ammunition in the US, the arms companies are taking advantage of the situation and producing both at a controlled rate, keeping prices high. It seems to me that if they REALLY wanted to take advantage of this trend, they would produce shiploads of guns and ammo, retail it at reasonable prices and go to the bank on volume. That's just me of course, what the hell would I know? It occurs to me that Winchester, Remington and the like are quite literally "Shooting themselves in the foot".

Currently in my area, .45 ACP retails around $30 a box of 50. Even online the prices are pretty rough and near to outrageous once you count in the costs of shipping. (Though ArmsCor is selling .45 at around $17 a box right now, plus shipping)

I like to shoot at least 50 to 100 rounds every time I'm home from the road. At these prices, it's hard to do. SO, I've gone back to reloading.

I reloaded years ago when I was competing in High Power Rifle events, building for accuracy more than volume. Now, I'm building for volume, accuracy and COST.

The round I carry for protection is a very nasty factory made, 165 gn +P hollow point. Against an un-armored target, the effects are going to be deviating, leaving exit wounds that you could step in. Against commonly available armor, (chest and body) it's going to break ribs if it doesn't penetrate. Multiple hits in the same general area WILL bring your target down. Even hitting a strike plate, these things are going to do some serious damage.

Lets stop for a second; When you load for carry and protection purposes, ALWAYS use factory prepared ammo, even better, carry the same ammo that your local police and sheriff carry. Buy it from the same source if possible. If you create some nasty little package in your shop and end up using it to defend yourself or your family, some hot shot lawyer "might" take advantage of the "homemade" status of your chosen round to bring all kinds of distractions into a court room where the only question should be: "were you defending yourself?"

Onwards; by casting my own bullets for practice and fun shooting, I can reduce my in house costs of .45 to about $12 a box. Probably around $10 a box for my .380. (backup piece) and its FUN and a good way to spend a quiet night at home.

Many of you, especially you ladies, are carrying a .380 as a protection piece and that's fine, at self defense ranges, the .380 is a naughty little round that will get the job done quite well. It's also the second most expensive round in the home inventory. (Because of the numbers of the caliber carried).

For those of you carrying the 9mm, don't worry to much about costs, there are boatloads of this ammo out there, every civilized nation and most that aren't in the world makes this stuff.  Learn to reload it and equip yourself to make about a 1000 rounds of it. Otherwise it's cheaper to buy 9mm than it is to make it. We've picked up Russian 9mm for less than $10 a box. I've seen 770 round "sardine cans" going for $100.

Note: be careful with Russian ammo, The modern stuff is OK, but some of the older stuff used a corrosive primer, a thorough cleaning, as quickly as possible, will be needed to keep your barrel from pitting. Another downside to Russian ammo is most of it uses a steel case and a burdan primer. Not reloadable. Well you CAN, but it takes a completely different set of tools that just aren't that common.

The picture above is the results me processing about 50 pound of scrap lead into a more useable form. Approx 50 one pound ingots. Not all of it is suitable for bullets, but what isn't will make fine 00 buckshot and fishing weights.

This is one of my favorite topics for casual conversation, I'm not an expert by any stretch, but know enough to help someone get started. Don't be afraid to ask.