> TEOTWAWKI Blog: More rambling on reloading...



More rambling on reloading...

TSLRF posted up a quick entry about getting into reloading - I was going to make a quick comment, and it turned into a long one, so figured I'd just post it up here.

I've been reloading for a few months now, on both single stage (Lee Hand Press) and progressive (Hornady LnL - I was going to get Dillon, but scored a great deal on the LnL). I'll be posting up some thoughts, pros and cons once I get some more loading time and experience under my belt. Stay tuned for that.

As Ryan mentions, in terms of pure apocalyptic 'survival' purposes, reloading has limitations and does not guarantee an unlimited supply of ammo. He mentions being limited to components on hand, which is indeed the big 'un.

Of course, that assumes that more components are impossible to come by - that may not be the case. People reload ammunition in the depths of the 3rd world, there are lots of half used containers of powders sitting on shelves around many parts of the country, components are more compact and easier to transport/smuggle than loaded ammo, and so on. Components might not be impossible to come by.

Black powder cartridges and cast bullets can help get around cartridge limitations, too.

Equipment breakage is another limitation, especially with progressives. Spare parts mitigate that, along with machining skill. My reloading mentor machined replacement parts for his Dillon 550 for the fun of it.

On the some of the 'survival' merits.

As Ryan mentions, the economics are appealing. The big 'un is shooting more today. Stockpiling more cheaply today, too. Stretch that ammo dollar as far as it can go. Even with ammo prices normalizing, you can save a lot of money reloading - half the price is pretty easy to do. So shoot twice as much, stack twice as deep.

Less often mentioned - you can reload premium stuff for much cheaper than buying off the shelf. When survival types stockpile ammo, it's usually FMJ stuff, 'cuz jacketed hollow points and other are just too expensive to do so in bulk. If you're a reloader, you can feasibly stockpile higher quality stuff.

For example: I'm working on loading up some Federal 147 grain HST jacketed hollow points. From the factory, these run $25-$30 for a box of 20 - over a buck a round, easy. My reloads will run me the grand total of about $0.20 each.

Similar story for rifle ammo.

Now, I'm not an advocate for carrying reloads in a defensive weapon today. There are a lot of reasons for using factory stuff for that. It is a good idea to practice with your carry ammo regularly. And, for a crap hit the fan stockpile, would you rather have Wal-Mart FMJs or premium JHPs to draw from?

Last for now - stockpiling components can give you more versatility versus loaded factory ammo. Does that pile of powder n' primers become 9s, 45s...223s or 308s, etc. What do you need? What do your buddies need? You have more ability to fill that need when starting from scratch...loaded ammo is what it is.


  1. I shoot far more rounds each time I hit the range, go to the range more often, and stock far more ammo now that I reload. Especially high end rifle ammo. Having a common powder like universal of 231 will allow you to have a wide array of cartridges that you can load from one powder. Casting is another means to expand your ability to load in a post SHTF situation. Primers are the biggest issue, you have to stock them deep. They are getting more expensive every year, so what you buy now will be worth much more later.

  2. AnonymousJuly 06, 2014

    Where did you get the HST bullets from?

  3. I think if you have a complete TEOTWAWKI than reloading will be limited by what Pre-TEOTWAWKI supplies are still around. In 3rd world country they can reload because there still is an outside supply source. So the question should be what would you do when the outside supply source has dried up. Do you learn to make black powder and lead balls or what? Reloading is much like stockpiling can food. While it helps it will run out that is guaranteed and you will need to develop a renewable source to survive long term.

    1. There are many (many) degrees before a complete, worldwide apocalypse and outside supply becomes an impossibility. Even in such an event, there's the possibility of scavenging/recycling components if needs be.

      You could get to the point where modern reloading components are unavailable, and then we'd be relegated to ammo on hand and home brewed black powder stuff. Tho, it would take a long while for 'Merica to shoot up all her ammunition, I'd wager.

  4. The man who can fab primers from scape cooper would be a rich man. That would be in my opinion the only major road block in reloading. The modern powder mixture could be reproduced by most chemist with the formula.

  5. Instructions for recycling primers. So it is possible

    Extract the anvil out of the fired primer. Using the multipurpose tool, gently hold the primer cup and carefully pull out any old primer with a metal pick. Place the primer cup on a hard, flat surface. Examine the case carefully to ensure there are no defects. For safety's sake, defective cups must be discarded. Keep the anvil with the cup.

    Insert the point of the star-tipped driver into the primer cup and tap very gently with the plastic mallet to remove the slight protrusion inside. Insert the flat-tipped screwdriver into the primer cup to clean out any remains of the previously used primer material. To minimize any undesirable results, get the cup as clean as possible.

    Using the box cutter, gently scrape off the white tip portion only of the match onto the folded index card. The white tip is a chlorinated compound that serves as the "ignitor" for the primer. You'll need about 10 to 12 matches for each primer. Avoid scraping off the sulphur portion of the match.

    Roll the plastic mallet across the scrapings, being careful to "crush" rather than rub the material. Place the primer cup on a flat surface and, using the crease in the index card, pour the match scrapings into the cap until it is full. Use the bottom of a matchstick to gently tap down the primer.

    Use the large tweezers to carefully set the primer cup into your machine press, being careful not to spill any of the primer material. Place the anvil into the primer, point down, to seat. Raise the ram of the press up and seal the primer into the shell casing. Keep your face a safe distance away while you're doing this step, as the primer material may pop.

    1. I have also seen toy cap gun caps used to reload primers.

      Primers are later 19th century tech...not too complicated.