Western Rifle Shooters Association

Do not give in to Evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Next Steps: Where Have All the Bullets Gone?

Another article from Habcan on getting by and getting better:

People, it would not surprise me if your next gummint decided that the War On Terror really needed all the output of such manufactories as Remington, Federal, Sierra, Hornady, Speer, et al, and ‘nationalized’ all bullet production. None would be allowed for retail sales, and hunters/shooters would be cajoled to be ‘patriotic’ and sacrifice a little for the War Effort. Alternatively, suppose all lead and copper were declared ‘strategic materials’ and similarly restricted for civilian use. Well, folks, they wouldn’t have to confiscate all those dangerous firearms in the hands of an otherwise armed citizenry if they dried up the fodder supplies.

As a ‘weapon’, that ‘Long Range Sniper Rifle’ (your deer-hunting stick) becomes a rather unwieldy club - unless it can go ‘BANG!’.

Oh sure, we all have large stocks of components. We all have the reloading equipment and are skilled in its use, every one of us. We can keep our pieces ‘fed’ for decades, AND our friends, AND family, AND neighbors, AND useful strangers, and so on, can’t we? If you actually CAN, well, good for you! For the rest of us less affluent, or those who didn’t start ‘stocking’ decades ago when such things did not cost an arm-and-a-leg, we can still get a few things but save beaucoup on the most expensive, hardest-to-find-in-your-desired-size-and-weight component - the bullet. Recent retail list price here for Sierras in .303x174 grain HPBTM has doubled to CDN$74.29/100 [note: with the way the Yankee peso has been devalued of late, no more need for conversion from the Loonie!]. Delivery is six months plus; the wholesalers can’t GET them from the factory.

Does this tell you anything?

That same seventy-five dollars will buy 2M primers, or 2 pounds of powder. Yeah, I know, right after WW2 we used to ‘prime’ with match-heads, but really………………!! They no longer sell the Chemistry Sets every kid of my generation had to make blackpowder with, LOL, but I suppose it might still be possible somehow.

But we’re talking here about bullets. You want free bullets? All it takes is a small setup and time and effort. Cast your own. Get an appropriate mould, haunt your local tire dealers for wheelweights, and get at it. Most of those dealers will happily let you have all their scrap; then they don’t have to pay ‘environment damage’ fees at the dump. Sorting out the rubber valve-stems and general bumpf is the worst part, followed closely by the smoke and stink of smelting your take into useable ingots, but it’s FREE! At about 40 bullets per ingot, that’s about $30 saved off total reloading costs, EACH. And, if you can’t collect the equivalent of 50 to 75 ingots or more per WEEK you aren’t trying! (This Grey Man makes downriggers for fishermen. ;-) )

You do not need an expensive Lubricator/Sizer tool if you will get the LEE moulds for their ‘TL’ bullet styles, which can be tumble-lubed with their Liquid Alox and shot as-is. (Disclaimer - No, I have no connection whatsoever with the LEE brand.) A bottom-pour electric pot is nice, but frontiersmen cast their own bullets over a campfire with a pan and a spoon for generations and still managed to wipe out the bison herds. It CAN be done, and it CAN be done CHEAPLY.

By dropping the still-hot bullets into a pail of water direct from the mould, I have on occasion been able to chrono velocities as high as 2500fps.+, but it’s best to stop around 2200 fps. So, your ’06 is now ballistically a .30-30? Oh Well! It will still feed you! Decades ago a pal bought an old 1894 Winchester really cheap in the unpopular .32 Winchester Special and I think he is still reliably killing deer with it and his cast loads.

The fact that the Grey Man can load little pipsqueak quiet rounds for small game, etc., even cut the bullets off flush with the case-mouth, and do all sorts of versatile things with ONE rifle and ONE mould should be of interest to you. Just make sure you have lots and lots of PRIMERS!

Until next time....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

great info- only caveat I would add would be if you intend to get into playing with lead lay in a supply of latex gloves and do your smelting outside. lead poisoning is cumulative.
casting is a good skill to have, something to fall back on- the equipment is cheap. the shortcomings of cast bullets can be overcome by greater application of hunting skill.
I've relied on handloads for years in hunting- in fact, I'm sitting here resting up and drinking beer after packing out an elk I shot early this morning with a handload. the box of nosler partitions I've been using to feed my 7mm rem mag will probably last me till I'm ninety at the rate I'm using them.
comment on the utility of some of the old cartridges like the 32 is right on- as Barnes said about the 30.30 in his "Cartridges of the World", " the 30.30 has probably killed more game, and more people, good and bad, than any other cartridge."My wife has an old iron sighted long barreled 30.30 handed down from her dad- if times get lean we'll load it with cast bullet handloads and eat well.
but you can bet we have some primers stored.
bob g.

October 24, 2007 at 1:40 AM  

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