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Why buy ammo? Make ammo!

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posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 03:27 PM
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I posted the below in another thread ( www.abovetopsecret.com... ), but then I realized it was a bit off-topic there. Still, I think the information is valid and needed, so I am moving the post (and hopefully the discussion) here:

I learned what I know about reloading from simply asking questions in a gun shop (some pawn shops have reloading sections as well) and doing it. A few things you will need:


  • A press. You don't need anything fancy, but get something that uses replaceable dies (I think most of them do).

  • Dies for every caliber you plan on reloading. .38 and .357 use the same die, as do .380 and 9mm, but pretty much every new caliber will require a new die.

  • LUBE! That press puts a huge amount of pressure on the shells, and they will freeze in the dies if not properly lubed. Make sure you get plenty of reloading lube, and use it generously (just don't get it inside the shell or it could degrade the powder).

  • A reloading handbook. I actually don't remember which one I use (I'm in my shop right now), but you want something that will list all the available calibers and muzzle velocity / muzzle energy / bullet weight / and type/amount of powder for each load.

  • Reloading scoops. These are like little plastic replicas of kitchen measuring scoops, used to measure out powder.

  • Scales. The ones I use are balance scales from the gun shop. You have to make absolutely sure you have the correct amount of powder to get consistent results. Myself, I use the scoops to load the scales. That way I get dependable loads every time.

  • Primer press. Most reloading presses have a primer press built in, but I have found the few bucks to get a dedicated one was a major good deal. The primer press on my bench works, but it is slow and awkward. The dedicated primer press is easier to work and loads ten times as fast.

  • A bowl to hold powder. This doesn't have to be very big, as a matter of fact I use a small ashtray I dedicated to the task. You'll need to pour some powder out of the cans to be able to use the scoops. The way I have it set up, the ashtray with the powder is on the right, and the one for my cigarettes is on the left. Er, or is it the other way around? I never can quite remember.


  • A reamer if you plan on doing anything with military brass (see procedure below).

  • A good stiff bench to mount it on. I used a piece of 2x10 about three foot long that I had lying around, and braced it with 2x4's to the wall.

  • You will of course need primers (There are only two kinds, big bore and small bore if memory serves... maybe four?... both kinds in pistol and rifle sizes? Anyone?), powder (smokeless, do not use black powder until you are familiar with loading!), and bullets. But I would suggest getting these after you have time to thoroughly read the reloading manual as well as the sites Zindo pointed out. You have a wide, wide range to choose from on both powder and bullets, and you'll be in a lot better position to know what you want this way.


That'll get you started good enough to actually be loading your own rounds. To do it, assuming you have the same type press I do already mounted and ready, you first screw in the sizing die. Take your old brass casings and lube each one thoroughly. Slide them into the slot and lower the arm. The press will re-size the brass for re-use and pop out the spent primer.

Once all your brass is sized, set a new primer into the brass with the primer press. If you are re-using military ammo (I shoot a lot of .223), you'll need a reamer. Just spin the reamer in the top of the casing. You can reload military ammo, but you have to follow this step since the military creases the top of the casing when they load them.

Pour out some powder and measure the amount you are going to use with the scoops. Double-check the weight of the powder with the scales, then pour the powder into the casing (the tray on my scales is made to let you simply lift it off for this, and has a nice little pour spout). Set the casing back in the press with the loading die in place, set a bullet atop the casing, and lower the arm. Presto! A loaded shell, ready to be fired!

Warning!
If the powder gets degraded, it is possible it will not make it out of the barrel of the gun when you fire it. Instead of the normal "BANG!", you will hear a "pop". You must get that bullet out of the barrel before you try to fire another shell if this happens! If you try to fire another shell on top of a stuck bullet, you will blow up your gun!

This actually happened to me once when I tried to re-use some questionable powder. Just do what I did: take a rod and push the bullet out of the barrel carefully (toward the chamber), and throw away the rest of that batch of rounds. And throw the powder out as well, unless you are absolutely sure it wasn't the problem.

TheRedneck




posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 03:46 PM
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Reference "degraded powder". Is this a storage issue? I ask this because I still shoot ammo that I bought in the 70's and, because it was stored properly, it works flawlessly. I also shoot .22 ammo that I use on a rifle team while in middle school in the mid 60's - again, it works like it was new. So, is degraded powder due to incorrect storage, or is something else happening.

I was thinking about reloading my own ammo, and have a large canister of brass, but have just never gotten around to it. Maybe on my trip next week, I will pick a system up and start. Thanks for the reminder.



posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 04:00 PM
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reply to post by sacrifice

Yeah, anything that gets into the powder (including moisture from the air) will degrade it over time. The lube is especially bad at this, and the powder I referenced at the end had been accidentally left open for a couple weeks.

If kept dry and clean, powder has an alm,ost indefinite shelf life.

TheRedneck



posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 04:16 PM
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Originally posted by TheRedneck

Warning!
If the powder gets degraded, it is possible it will not make it out of the barrel of the gun when you fire it. Instead of the normal "BANG!", you will hear a "pop". You must get that bullet out of the barrel before you try to fire another shell if this happens! If you try to fire another shell on top of a stuck bullet, you will blow up your gun!


Just want to make that clear to everyone again, it will happen. My grandfather reloaded shells for years but then was stricken with alzheimers disease and did some things wrong and was lucky to walk away with his life.

He reloaded some 44mag shells useing 240 grain, reamed out jacketed hollow points but got the weight of powder mixed up and added way too much.

I shot one of these and knew something was not right, it almost kicked out of my hands, had recoil similar to a 444 Marlin
(massive to say the least lol)
And I took a look at the shells, (we shot about 5) and the brass was thinned,cracked on some and the primers where flattened and almost blew them out of the back.

Just goes to show, this is like doing brain surgery except the patient will blow up with the wrong move.

Also the environment in which you reload must be free of distractions, neat, tile,rubber mat or concrete floor to prevent static and well lit.
Also if you have the extra, a ESD mat is great to prevent static.



posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 04:40 PM
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We used to blow our most sensitive pcb's in the winter with some frequency. Especially one girl I trained with very long hair. The static pad with wrist static dissipator I would think a must. Make sure you have rubber mat under chair and workstation.
LOL. I'd color code your ashtrays. Red for boom, and black for cigs.


[edit on 10/13/2008 by jpm1602]



posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 05:02 PM
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Not sure what everybodies preferances as to reloading gear are but I have owned or used nearly every make in the last 40 years of rolling my own. I highly recommend Dillon reloaders. I have four of them presently set up for the calibers I use in competitive shooting. I have four because I go through about 2500 rounds a week in differing calibers so it just takes less time rather than reset every caliber in the same press. They are a bit pricey to start but they have a garuntee that is unparalleled. I have worn out certain parts as well as broken them and a simple phone call got the parts as well as any information I needed to install them free of charge. I bought the first press and got the others at estate sales. This is just my own opinion on reloading supplies but I do have a wealth of experience to fall back on. Reloading is the only way I could ever afford my hobby. In the future it may well be the only way to have amunition at all. Never throw away your brass and clean it when you come home along with your weapons. Long term storage of brass without hot soapy water washing after use will corrode the brass, especialy if you shoot black powder!

Zindo



posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 05:20 PM
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I thought that wet gunpowder is absolutly fine, as when it is dried it works perfectly again....

What Propellant do Most bullets use?



posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 05:30 PM
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Thats only 'Black Powder' that will work if wet then dried. It sometimes even gets more explosive and dangerous. Celulose propellant will not work when wet or after drying. Moisture degrades it to a point that it will not let the nitro cellulose burn correctly! It wil give you an irregular burn and not enough power to expend the bullit!you will end up with a blocked barrel and a dangerous situation that Red refered to!

Zindo



posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 05:44 PM
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reply to post by monkeybus

Black powder may be able to be dried, not really sure about it. But smokeless powder (which is what I use) has some sort of chemical reaction with water that ruins it permanently.

The containers I get my powder in are water- and moisture-proof under normal conditions (don't stick them underwater and complain if they leak a bit through in that situation
). My problem was that i left a container open to the air for an extended period. The first two rounds were so slow I swear I could see them moving and hear them hit the target. The third jammed in the barrel. The rest got thrown out.

As to overloading mentioned by others, I have done that with one firearm I own: a Thompson Center Contender 30-30 pistol (16" barrel and 30x scope). The way the gun is made, there is almost no chance of blowing out the firing chamber, so I tried my hand at overloading. Now, there is a box of 30-30 rounds sitting here that says on the box "T/C only!". I'd love to see someone try to fire them in a regular 30-30, as they would blow out the firing chamber. As it is, they come out of my Contender with comparable muzzle velocity and energy to the average 30-06.

The brass gets worn very quickly though, and I inspect every one thorougly before loading them. 3-4 times appears to be tops, compared to some .223 military that I have loaded 20 times or more. I also have to put extra lube on the brass and extra force on the sizing die, as they are expanded pretty well. Believe it or not, I found a load that is still accurate at that pressure. I wrote it down in my reloading manual when I got what I wanted. That's the only place you'll find the powder type, amount, and bullet size specs.


But I can safely say I am the only guy around here who deer-hunts with a high-powered 30-06 pistol.


TheRedneck



posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 06:02 PM
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reply to post by TheRedneck
 


Red, you must have Godzilla wrists!!! I've got a BFR in .45-70 and its not fun to shoot. I own it for the great converstation after I touch off a few rounds at the range,lol. My buddy has an original Witchita Arms single shot that he uses for silhouette in 6mm/243. I shot it once and its a tack driver. Real handfull though! Without reloading these all would be too expensive to enjoy!

Zindo



posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 06:37 PM
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reply to post by ZindoDoone

Well, there is a trick to shooting that cannon. Single arm grip (dual will cut a finger when it comes back), lock the elbow and leave the shoulder loose. I haven't met a man yet that stop the thing when it lets go before it comes past their head, so the trick is to make it go over your head.


Something about large-bore, high-powered rounds just cranks my tractor. Whenever anyone asks if I have a .22, I pull out the Mini-14.
It is a 22 caliber, just a bit bigger than they were thinking...


Yes, I stroll through the pawn shops looking at the size of the hole in the end of the barrel first. If I have to shoot it, I want it to fall down.


edit to add: I like a 45-70, but my dream gun is a 460 Weatherby, a real, honest-to-God elephant gun. Heh, you should see the specs on those rounds!

TheRedneck


[edit on 13-10-2008 by TheRedneck]



posted on Oct, 13 2008 @ 10:06 PM
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You should change your nic to "Mr Hand Cannon" lol

I've thought about picking up a reloading kit for the SHTF scenario. Ammo has started to become a bit scarce depending on caliber, I honestly believe it's an intentional gun control via back door tactic.

I'm more into gun design and construction and have been focusing my efforts on learning to build and modify weapons. My big concern with reloading is the constant stories of blow outs and split barrels. I don't know that I would risk it, especially in a weapon that might be impossible to replace should the gun ban agenda move forward.



posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 09:42 AM
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reply to post by nfotech

I wouldn't worry too much about damaging a gun over reloading. It's really pretty simple. The very first .357's I loaded fired just like factory rounds.

If you pay atention to the reloading data (use the right powder, only adjust amounts slowly to see the effects, don't mix up diff bullets with diff shells, etc.), keep your powder dry, and be careful applying lube, you won't have any problem. Besides, you're not gonna let a redneck outdo you, are ya?


I'm intrigued about your gun design work. I have a machine shop here, but I've so far not been willing to try building a gun with it. If I ever do, knowing my affinity for power, I'll come up with something unshootable. I have this idea I keep shoving back in the corners of my mind, of a forearm-mounted semi-auto shotgun...


TheRedneck



posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 12:23 PM
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I would definitely worry about overloading or the wrong charge in a shell when reloading..any shell. Pay attention to details.

I dont recommend drinking alcohol and reloading. Nor smoking around open primers or especially gunpowder. Reloading is a skill and dicipline. It reaps great rewards and satisfaction if done correctly. All reloading manuals I have seen state to begin at the lower charges and slowly work up to the higher charges. Many manuals have a colour coded section in red to show for a given powder charge/bullet weight what is "redline" I overloaded some 7.7mm Japanese Arisaka cases in my early days. The cases showed severe bulging at the bases. I realized then what was the rationale for putting the brass reinforcing ring at the base of many magnum rifle cases. You dont want to overload a rifle case and have it blow back into your face and eyes past the bolt. Bad Ju Ju people...bad
Ju Ju.

Nonetheless pay attention to details.

Most of the guys here have it correct...lots to learn and it takes some investment. There are lots of olde timers at the gun club where I shoot who will be happy to give you hints and tips. I am grateful to many of these olde timers for sharing their knowlege and savy with me. All you have to do is ask and many will be happy to "learn" you. I began with simple Lee handloaders in the box kits...begining with .30 Carbine and 7.7mm Japaneses Arisaka.

In time I moved on to other calibers along with the purchase of a one stage press. RCBS. The Dillion presses one of the posters mentioned are first class. A bit pricey but you get for what you pay. Theyk are very nice set ups.

Over the years I have acquirred powder scoups. powder scales, case trimmers, primer pocket tools...etc etc. You start small and work your way up. Patience..patience grasshopper!!

I load .45ACP, .38 Special/.357 magnum, .30 Carbine, .35 Remington, .223,.30.06, 7.7mm Jap, 7.62x39mm, and I am just getting into another area where I will be specially sizing .223 brass and necking it up to 7mm in what is called 7mm TCU.

This 7mm TCU is a .223 brass casing necked up to 7mm. I always liked the .223 case but wanted it in a bigger diameter bullet. I own a Thompson Contender in .223 and also .35 Remington. I am hoping the 7mm TCU will be a nice compromise between bullet weight and the horrific recoil of the .35 Remington. This will be a learning experience for me.

I am not into the extreme punnishment of the "hand cannon" but prefer the accuracy at modest and practical recoils. The Thompson Contender in skilled practical hands demonstrates great promise. They can be very accurate for a pistol.

For simple pistol calibers the .38 special is one of the most reloaded cartridges in America. Very easy to reload..either on a press or in one of the simple Lee box handloading kits. So is .45 ACP for that matter. As I do not load 9mm or .380, I could not say for sure but I imagine they reload as easily as the others listed here. Generally .pistol rounds are much easier to reload than rifle rounds..as the cases are generally straight walled. Not so with most rifle rounds.

Start at the bottom carefully and work your way up in skill levels and knowledge.

I often enjoy my quiet time at the reloading bench. A little of my favorite music, a snack, and cup of coffee/ iced tea and I am good for hours.

Keep them in the X ring guys,

Orangetom



[edit on 14-10-2008 by orangetom1999]



posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 12:32 PM
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i suggest a more dedicated forum if you're really considering reloading.

www.thehighroad.org...

note that you should know your needs first and foremost, before you buy anything. read through that forum and you'll run a cross a lot of interesting information, about unsupported chambers, which place undue stress on cartridge walls, caliber selection and inevitable partisan bickering - it's all ther, don't treat anything as the gospel.

maybe you should get an affordable but decent (ie without silly bells, whistles and gizmos) chronograph, so you can actually see what's going on and start with bulky powders so you can't possibly double charge them and avoid narrow and underloaded cartridges at first like the .38spl, which was originally designed for black powder.

reason is you'll have to look harder for mischarges and increase the chance for overcharges or sqibs (undercharge, which lodges to bullet in the barrel.. no big deal yet unless you miss it and fire again).

disclaimer: i don't reload due to location (no guns due to laws, yeah) so keep that in mind. i think the points are still valid, though.


PS:


I highly recommend Dillon reloaders. I have four of them presently set up for the calibers I use in competitive shooting. I have four because I go through about 2500 rounds a week in differing calibers so it just takes less time rather than reset every caliber in the same press.


interesting, isn't it? making dies a hassle to change helps revenue.. who would have thought



posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 12:34 PM
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Thanks a billion Redneck. I was actually trying to research this for a book I'm writing.

It brings back memories... used to cast lead army figures with my dad when I was a kid...



posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 12:43 PM
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Originally posted by TheRedneck

Something about large-bore, high-powered rounds just cranks my tractor. Whenever anyone asks if I have a .22, I pull out the Mini-14.
It is a 22 caliber, just a bit bigger than they were thinking...


[edit on 13-10-2008 by TheRedneck]


How do you like the Mini-14? I was thinking about it but the rounds seem too low power for effective clean hunting. Unsure if the mini-30 is any good either. Also the high-cap mags all seem to get bad reviews.



posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 01:00 PM
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reply to post by orangetom1999

I checked my set-up last night, and I use an RCBS as well. It's not for high-speed loading, but it does what I need to do, and it is rugged and dependable.

I want to know, since T/C Contenders are not in the arsenal of many gun owners, how do you like the .35 Remington? I decided on the 30-30 because I knew some friends had 30-30s that they wanted me to reload some shells for, and this way one die would handle both situations. My accuracy is literally amazing, and I attribute this to the extreme twist that the 3-30 barrel has in the rifling.

I also have a short (10") barrel for .45/.38. I use it to load varmit rounds... usually .38 cartridges filled with rock salt to keep wild dogs/coyotes away. Since it is the only barrel I use rock salt in, and only occasionally at that, I can justify the extra cleaning I have to do. And the .45 powder load makes sure they feel the rock salt!

I get more comments on my Contender than I do on any other firearm I own, and it was one of the cheapest!


TheRedneck



posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 01:09 PM
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reply to post by Mainer

How do you like the Mini-14?

I actually have had pretty good luck with it. The largest game hunted around here is whitetail deer, and a .223 is plenty powerful enough to bring one down clean. It uses a small bullet (I use semi-jackets for penetration and then damage) with a relatively high powder charge. So while the knockdown power isn't what you would expect from, say, a .444, 45-70, or even a 30-06, it will drop a deer in it's tracks. It's also accurate, due to the high speed and light bullet. The gun has no problem with hitting a tin can at 500 yards.

I use the Mini-14 as a back-up hunting weapon, with a 5-round clip. The Contender is my preferred weapon (there's that power fanatic in me again
), but for accuracy (not of the gun, but of the shooter... that thing is heavy!) at a distance, I need some sort of support for it: a tree limb, for instance. When none is available, I just grab the Mini-14.

The ammo is cheap and plentiful as well, and you can reload military rounds with a reamer. I might think twice about relying on it if I were hunting elk or moose, but for deer, it's awesome.

TheRedneck



posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 01:26 PM
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Originally posted by Mainer

Originally posted by TheRedneck

Something about large-bore, high-powered rounds just cranks my tractor. Whenever anyone asks if I have a .22, I pull out the Mini-14.
It is a 22 caliber, just a bit bigger than they were thinking...


[edit on 13-10-2008 by TheRedneck]


How do you like the Mini-14? I was thinking about it but the rounds seem too low power for effective clean hunting. Unsure if the mini-30 is any good either. Also the high-cap mags all seem to get bad reviews.


I have a mini 14 and a mini 30, if I had to choose between them, I would take the 30. Cheaper rounds, and .30 caliber is better then .22 IMO. With that being said if I were buying a gun that I was going to hunt with, or use in case the SHTF I wouldnt get a mini. I have never ever had good luck with high capacity magazines with my minis either. They are fun guns to shoot, they are pretty rugged, they are cheap, but they are not very accurate at all. If you get one of the newer ones they are alot better though. If you live in a good free living state, get an AK or an SKS.

If money isnt an option get an M1A, SOCOM series preferably not the SOCOM II, but the 16. That is a good good gun, it is a .308, it is accurate, it is a good ranch gun or SHTF gun, and it looks really really good. Dont mess with a little gun, get a big gun that is going to knock something down.

There are so many guns and so many different ideas from each person, and different situations.



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