A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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Folks,

I've seen something that has given me some cause for concern. It's not a concern for me, so much as it is a concern for those who enjoy regular marksmanship practice, and that's the availability of ammunition.

I'm seeing that, now that ammo's starting to become more available and certain cartridges are returning to reasonable price levels (especially 9mm and .45 ACP), that people are forgetting the lessons of 2009, 2013, and 2020. That's when we had some pretty severe ammo shortages. That taught me a lesson, a lesson that Sen. Edward Kennedy pointed out in 1975:

"No ammo, no guns."

There's an ancient and hallowed axiom that proves itself time and again: "buy low, sell high." I stocked up on reloading components when the prices for them were low. Therefore, I've got inexpensive practice ammo to use any time I need. This is especially needed for handgun practice, as handguns are harder to shoot accurately than long guns are.

Every time there's a shortage, people lament. I tell them to get into reloading, and they think about it, and some even do it. However, after the ammo shortages are gone, people forget what they had just experienced. It seems that there's no felt need anymore to prepare for the lean times that *WILL* occur again. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.

So, I would encourage people who are seeing affordable and available ammo to get into reloading anyway, if they aren't already. Now's the time. Don't wait for the lean times to spring up on you like they repeatedly have.

I shoot a lot of .38 Special. It's reasonably similar in power levels to 9mm Luger and is the cartridge that I shoot the most of, by far. I'm ready for the lean times.

Are you? I sincerely hope that the answer is, "yes".

The main reason to reload is to ensure ammo availability, not necessarily because it's cheaper, even though that is a nice side benefit. I'd keep doing it even if the price were pretty close to buying ammo, just to ensure ammo availability. And availability is the most important thing.
Last edited by CowboyT on Wed Dec 27, 2023 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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Yeah, think your analysis is spot on.

The election cycle has a high potential to drive ammo scarcity and panic buying again.

Unfortunately I don’t think you’ll reach a wide enough audience here.

I’ve replenished my factory ammo stash of 9mm, 12 ga, .32 ACP and .45 ACP and layed in a goodly amount of SPP and LPP for revolver cartridge reloading.


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Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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Great public service announcement, CowboyT. I've got dies for 44 mag / spc, 45 acp, 38 spc / 257 mag. I've got a fair amount of components for 44 mag and 45 acp. Need to start working on loading the 38/357. Just ordered some bullets.

I need to buy a new powder. So far, I've only used Universal, which has been fine. Anyone with recommendations for a good powder (or two) for 44 and 38/357? Maybe a couple of powders that will let me load both for mild to spicy. A bonus if it can also be used for standard 45 acp loads.

I've got a little time off coming up and am going to sort through my ammo and components inventory.

Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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INVICTVS138 wrote: Fri Nov 03, 2023 9:33 am Yeah, think your analysis is spot on.

The election cycle has a high potential to drive ammo scarcity and panic buying again.

Unfortunately I don’t think you’ll reach a wide enough audience here.

I’ve replenished my factory ammo stash of 9mm, 12 ga, .32 ACP and .45 ACP and layed in a goodly amount of SPP and LPP for revolver cartridge reloading.


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You're right, I won't reach a wide audience here. However, that's not my goal. This is a forum for Liberal Gun Owners, and I'd like to see more Liberals properly stocked and ready to rock in case there's another ammo shortage.

The Boy Scouts have a motto: "Be Prepared."

For those who don't currently reload, a good, all-purpose reloading setup can be had for a few hundred dollars. I often recommend the Lee Classic Turret Press, given its affordability, ease of use, and reasonably good speed when reloading both handgun and rifle. But any good reloading setup is highly recommended.
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Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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cooper wrote: Fri Nov 03, 2023 10:09 am Great public service announcement, CowboyT. I've got dies for 44 mag / spc, 45 acp, 38 spc / 257 mag. I've got a fair amount of components for 44 mag and 45 acp. Need to start working on loading the 38/357. Just ordered some bullets.

I need to buy a new powder. So far, I've only used Universal, which has been fine. Anyone with recommendations for a good powder (or two) for 44 and 38/357? Maybe a couple of powders that will let me load both for mild to spicy. A bonus if it can also be used for standard 45 acp loads.

I've got a little time off coming up and am going to sort through my ammo and components inventory.
Well, since I do all of those above cartridges, I can recommend the following for non-magnum-style loads, since these are powders that I use or have used.

- Bullseye (primary for .38 Spl, backup for .45 ACP and .44 Spl)
- Titegroup (primary for .44 Spl, .45 ACP and .45 Colt, backup for .38 Spl)
- Win 231 (scarce now, so I'm back to Bullseye and Titegroup)

I just got hold of some Unique, which is said to be a very good powder for all-around handgun usage. Haven't tried it yet due to life getting in the way, but I intend to, as it is a long-time favorite, especially for the bigger, lower-pressure cartridges.

For magnum-type loads, I can recommend the following, again from personal experience.

- Alliant (formerly Hercules) 2400
- H110/W296
- Accurate 11FS

Of these, 2400 is my favorite, with that new 11FS also really appealing to me as I work with it more.
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Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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CowboyT wrote: Sun Nov 12, 2023 8:25 pm
cooper wrote: Fri Nov 03, 2023 10:09 am Great public service announcement, CowboyT. I've got dies for 44 mag / spc, 45 acp, 38 spc / 257 mag. I've got a fair amount of components for 44 mag and 45 acp. Need to start working on loading the 38/357. Just ordered some bullets.

I need to buy a new powder. So far, I've only used Universal, which has been fine. Anyone with recommendations for a good powder (or two) for 44 and 38/357? Maybe a couple of powders that will let me load both for mild to spicy. A bonus if it can also be used for standard 45 acp loads.

I've got a little time off coming up and am going to sort through my ammo and components inventory.
Well, since I do all of those above cartridges, I can recommend the following for non-magnum-style loads, since these are powders that I use or have used.

- Bullseye (primary for .38 Spl, backup for .45 ACP and .44 Spl)
- Titegroup (primary for .44 Spl, .45 ACP and .45 Colt, backup for .38 Spl)
- Win 231 (scarce now, so I'm back to Bullseye and Titegroup)

I just got hold of some Unique, which is said to be a very good powder for all-around handgun usage. Haven't tried it yet due to life getting in the way, but I intend to, as it is a long-time favorite, especially for the bigger, lower-pressure cartridges.

For magnum-type loads, I can recommend the following, again from personal experience.

- Alliant (formerly Hercules) 2400
- H110/W296
- Accurate 11FS

Of these, 2400 is my favorite, with that new 11FS also really appealing to me as I work with it more.
Thanks! I think there is some Titegroup available locally, so I was working out some loads on paper. Tomorrow's a day off, so hopefully then.

Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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All good info.

If you find reloading a good deal for the money (One has to buy the components), please do.

I reloaded for years, and had good luck with it in pistol, rifle, and shotgun calibers.

Being later in life (now 70) and a bit of disposable income, I changed my mind and gave away all my reloading gear to a young aficionado of the activity.

Over the last 5 years, I put away enough factory fodder to keep me wearing out barrels forever.

SR
Odor in the court!

Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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In addition to a probable political panic making ammo more expensive and scarce as the election approaches, apparently price increases on powder are proximal.

I was listening to a hunting podcast last night and they referred to a "gunpowder shortage." Sounds like they'd read something like this:

https://www.outdoorhub.com/news/2023/12 ... -shortage/
IMR4227: Zero to 900 in 0.001 seconds

I'm only killing paper and my self-esteem.

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Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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I've noticed that powders have gone up a bit at MidwayUSA. All the more reason to have a stock, folks.

I have noticed that Titegroup in particular seems to be available when a lot of other similar, and well-liked, powders aren't (e. g. the excellent W231). This is one reason why I chose it when I started reloading. It also tends to be among the more affordable ones, as far as handgun powders go.
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Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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CowboyT wrote:I've noticed that powders have gone up a bit at MidwayUSA. All the more reason to have a stock, folks.

I have noticed that Titegroup in particular seems to be available when a lot of other similar, and well-liked, powders aren't (e. g. the excellent W231). This is one reason why I chose it when I started reloading. It also tends to be among the more affordable ones, as far as handgun powders go.
I just bought a 4lb of win 231 (local cabelas) this past week and it was within $5 of pre-pandemic prices. I had a decent amount on hand so I’ll be ready to go for a few years minimum.

I’m thinking about getting set up to cast 9mm lead bullets. Im set up to cast for .38, .357 & .45 colt already. Even though I have quite a bit of factory 9mm; My experience during the pandemic was that intended to shoot reloads more, due to the vastly lower cost and temporary irreplaceable nature of factory ammo. Maybe it’s more reasonable to just lay-in a stock of inexpensive cast bullets and be done with it.


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Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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That's a really good idea. To that end, I can tell you that the Lee 358-105-SWC mould, while originally intended for .38/357, also works very well in the various 9mm's that I've tried (Glock, Beretta 92, S&W M&P, Ruger SR9, etc.). Also, tumble-lubed bullets (e. g. using Liquid Alox/Xlox) work just as well in semi-auto pistols as they do in revolvers.

The 6-cavity Lee moulds are not only easy to use, but also wonderful for making a lot of good bullets in a pretty short amount of time. All of my non-hollow-point moulds are Lee 6-cavity models.
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Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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Just got a Lee Classic Turret Press to up my reloading game. Prior to this, I've been using the Lee Breech Lock Hand Press. It's slow, but forces one to really follow every step of the reloading. It's pretty fun too if you're not worried about quantity. I load up 20 rounds or so, then go shoot (I'm fortunate that my back yard is my range).

I've been using powder dippers and a trickler for my loads. Also sort of slow. So I'm going to pick up a Lee Pro Auto-Disk. Looks like I'll need to get a powder measure riser as well to use it with the Turrett Press.

Any tricks to making the Pro Auto-Disk work with the Turrett Press, or is it pretty straightforward?

Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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Yes, you do need the Auto-Disk Riser for the turret presses. I ran into this with our Classic Turret Press. Fortunately, the Riser is not expensive. Beyond that, it's pretty straight-forward.

The Pro Auto-Disk Powder Measure is good stuff, and I've been using them on several presses for years.
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Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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cooper wrote: Sat Dec 30, 2023 6:42 pm Thanks CowboyT -- I really appreciate you sharing your experience.
Glad to. Have a look at this video series, specifically dedicated to the Classic Turret Press.

https://www.sanfranciscoliberalwithagun ... urret.html
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Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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Just got back from a gun show. Talked with a few reloaders about the benefits of this hobby. He does it professionally and has a company called Medusa Munitions in Maryland. Seems he makes a lot, and possibly all, of the Virginia gun shows, and he also does a brisk business in Maryland due to that state's restrictive gun laws.

He had his Dillon XL750 again. Last time it was set up for .44 Special. This time, he had it set up for 9mm. Had a few types of bullets handy that looked interesting, especially to California shooters whose ranges restrict them from using unplated lead bullets (e. g. cast bullets). One is a polymer coating, and the other was an apparently rather thick coating of Moly (molybednum disulfide). I thought, "hey, that could be useful to Californians or others in this kind of situation!"

We talked about cast lead bullets and hardness. I explained to him my experiments with lead hardness/softness and the fouling of barrels, especially Glock-style polygonal rifling. He was surprised to learn that the softer the lead, the less lead-fouling the barrel will get, and that's true of traditional grooved rifling as well. I told him about my almost exclusive use of Liquid Alox/Xlox and how a medium-thickness coat, enough to amber the bullets, along with softer lead (BHN 10-12), helped immensely with keeping polygonally-rifled barrels clean. He was rather surprised. So, I steered him to both Glen Fryxell's writings, and Lyman's 49th and 51st, on the subject. I think he might consider experimenting.

A lot of people fear getting started in reloading. I learned that over this gun show weekend. They wouldn't admit to it in most cases, of course, but I know fear when I see it, and I tend to read people pretty well. They feared the cost, and the risk of blowing up their gun (and hands).

This takes delicate diplomacy. Despite what some of you may think, I'm one of the most diplomatic people around, DAMMIT!! :-D It's about reassuring them that they can do it and that there was a first time for me, too.

That's why I tell people not to start with progressive presses of any sort. The Dillon fanboys get upset and offended by this, of course, because Dillon makes only progressive presses. You know, Ford/Chevy/Dodge. I always suggest, start simple. Start single-stage. Crawl before you try to be Usain Bolt or Carl Lewis.

That's why I like turret presses so much, by the way. They're easy to use, while also giving a reasonable ammo output per hour.
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Re: A caution to all here on ammo complacency, a.k.a. the need to keep reloading

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I realize this post is going to inspire a whole mess of backlash and paranoia. That's not my intent. I'm just peering into my crystal ball and scrying how this goes sideways.

One thing I think we all need to keep in mind is that the 2nd protects arms, but says nothing about ammunition. There's nothing in the text that precludes a complete government monopoly on ammunition even if everyone in the country EDCs rifles with 100 round drums. Imagine how Mexico-style ammunition regulation would play.

One of these days, the emphasis in gun policy is going to shift away from magazines and features towards stricter regulation of ammunition, and the consolidation of the industry does not make that harder. I expect to see regulation of privately owned ammunition stores as a public safety issue. Protecting the fire rescue people and all.

Don't imagine that reloading is going to provide immunity from the consequences.

When that happens, expect rolling your own to see the same kinds of fearmongering that "ghost guns" do today. Right now, it's a low-profile subculture with no criminal associations, so people who aren't into guns don't realize that reloading is a thing. Right now. Primers, gunpowder and lead all have associated hazards that could be used to justify regulating the practice.

The Second protects arms, not ammunition. A well regulated militia might well be allotted "reasonable and sufficient' ammunition for practice, hunting, even licensed carry - but it might not.

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