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Showing posts with label reloading ammunition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reloading ammunition. Show all posts

Monday, May 1, 2017

Reloading and Other Unique Survival Skills

Urban Survival Skills received this question from BlackHat16: "I want your opinion on reloading equipment. I want to buy, maybe spread out due to the cost, a reloading setup in case shit hits the fan I can reload ammunition as I believe it will be hard to come by. What versions of reloading equipment would you recommend and any other recommendations on equipment would be appreciated."

Mr BlackHat16, I would have to ask several questions before I get into reloading presses and ancillary equipment. Have you any experience in reloading? Do you plan on stocking reloading supplies, such as powder, primers and bullets? In a SHTF scenario, I would think that reloading supplies such as primers, powders and bullets would be as or more scarce than ammunition.

I think having reloading equipment and more important, the experience in reloading would be a good survival skill, in fact a mandatory skills, but much lower in priority that say, wilderness survival skills, farming and canning skills and others, simply because of the requirement of having the components - powder, primers and bullets, not to mention empty cases (brass). However, if all other survival material and equipment needs are met, having some reloading equipment would be a good idea.

Lyman hand press, single stage press, rotary (aka Progressive) presses could provide a capability, again given the components, to produce good quality ammunition, given the skill, and/or be a barter item in the coming crunch. If pushed, you could make a usable powder, re-manufacture spent primers and cast bullets, but you need some equipment, material and skill to do so.

I am NOT trying to dash your thoughts of getting reloading equipment just know that it can be overwhelming for a novice re-loader and most preppers may be better served using the required money to invest in ammunition, firearms or other higher priority survival equipment and items. All reloading presses or tools requires dies for that cartridge. Please go to YouTube and research reloading - plenty of people willing to help there.

A hand tool, such as the Lyman 310 hand-tool, is like a pliers type of re-loader and the cheapest route you can go. See the picture. You need the Lyman 310 and a set of dies for whatever caliber/cartridge you want to reload. The benefit in this method is the small, portable package. Go to Lyman Products to see their Lyman 310 and other reloading equipment.

A single stage reloading press like the RCBS Rock Chucker is a quality piece of equipment, not so portable!, but user friendly, just requires the changing out of dies for each step in the reloading process, so it's slow. See one of the RCBS single stage presses in the picture.

Going to the RCBS website and look at their equipment and kits is a good idea.

Likely the best reloading products come from Dillion Precision. Mike Dillon, the founder, just passed away this past November, but he left a legacy that won't be beat anytime soon. He revolutionized the reloading industry with his dynamic progressive presses which is about as automatic of a reloading setup as you can get. You can go to their website, but don't leave without requesting their Blue Press Catalog.

One overall good distributor of reloading equipment would be MidWay. They offer a lot of products and have good prices and service. Go to their site here:

Again reloading skills are good to have you can go to Sword of Survival and these videos to check out survival type reloading skills. Here are a couple links for survival ammo reloading:

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ammunition Reloading a Necessary Survival Skill?

 Justin wrote to us to ask" "I have a nine millimeter handgun, a 38 special revolver and a 30-06 deer rifle with a scope as my SHTF weapons. I realize that this is not really adequate but I can't afford anything else right now. My questions are - How much ammunition for each would you consider a adequate ammo stockpile? I have a hard time finding ammunition and in the crunch I think it will be harder to find so should I learn to reload? Looking around it appears that I can start reloading my own ammunition for the guns I have for about a $100. Sincerely Justin."  

UrbanMan's reply: Justin, I know where you are coming from. I visited Wal-Mart a couple days ago and the only center fire ammunition they had on hand was 4 boxes of 6.8mm SPC and several boxes of .270. Knowing how to reload ammunition is a good skill. It requires tools, material and above all knowledge. I'll address these things first, then talk about where this skill fits in the survivalist's preparation for the collapse arsenal.

The basic reloading process is using a series of dies to re-move the spent primer and re-size the case; bell or expand the case mouth (to accept a bullet); seat a new primer; place a powder charge in the case; then seat and crimp a new bullet.

Reloading tools: These range from Lyman 310 hand tools and dies (around $120) - think of a pair of pliers with a die that will do one of the reloading functions a single case at a time. Another hand tool would be the Lee Loader (around $50) - this is what I first learned on. You will need a plastic mallet for the Lee Loader.

Both of these hand tools are compact and very useable. There are many videos on You Tube showing the basic process. A handy tool to have with any of these hand tools is an auto-primer tool where you can prime around 20 empty cases a minute.  The picture at left is the Lyman 310 hand tool and a set of dies. 

Buffalo Arms has Lyman 310 tools, visit them here.

You can step up to a single stage press that also does one case at a time albeit faster for around $225 counting a set of dies. The Daddy of re-loading is the progressive press with a turret that moves around with each pull of the lever and does all the functions - you just insert an empty case, pull the lever, ensure you have powder, primers and bullets filled up in their respective hoppers.

I don't think anyone makes them better than Dillon Precision. I own two of their smaller presses. You can pay anywhere from $300 to $2,000 for their re-loading presses. The picture at right is the basic Dillon Press.  Agfain all good equipment and Dillon offers much more on their website, including a subscription to their monthly catalog/newsletter.

Visit their website here - Dillon Precision.

There are a host of "make life easier" accessories for reloading. You could spend several hundred dollars on these if you were so inclined - things like powder scales, case trimmers, primer pocket cleaners, tumblers to clean brass, lube pads, etc.

Reloading Material: You need primers, powder and bullets to reload ammunition. This makes you dependent upon some manufacturer, distribution network and vendor. I have not reloaded any ammunition for years now, but my friends that still do tell me that reloading supplies are hard to come by. Storage of re-loading components is a little bit stricter than manufactured ammunition. Reloading components will be much harder to come by after a collapse and then you may not be bartering for material that has been stored correctly. It make be rotten like the jar of mayo in your Grandma's frig.

Sure you can learn how to make your own primer mix, powder mix and cast your own bullets, but I'd rather sit on a pungi stick than do this. And the results, meaning the ammunition - not the pungi stick,.... are probably going to be less than adequate.

Knowledge. The reloading learning curve is straight up. The more you reload the more problems you'll be exposed to and the more you will learn.  I think it is easy to teach someone how to reload on a basic tool and make them safe about. One of the biggest risks is the wrong measurement of powder. This is where scales come in and you would need a reloading book that lists the caliber, bullet weight and powder you are going to be using. Again, YouTube publishes many re-loading videos for your understanding and training. I would begin here to see the process.  

How Much Ammunition to Stockpile? Short answer is as much as you need and as much as you can afford. Sorry I can't give you answer based on numbers, but I will say that for my "obsolete or non-main rifles", such as .30-40 Krag, .30-30's, .30 carbine, and several others, I have between 300 to 1,200 rounds put away.  If you can buy one box, 20 rounds, of .30-06 each paycheck, then you may minimize the pain and soon have a good stockpile.

For your main "battle rifle or carbine" I would start at well over a thousand rounds. However, your .30-06 deer rifle, while a great caliber is not a battle rifle. I would highly consider a magazine fed rifle or carbine,....AR-15/M-16/M-4 family, AK or SKS series - something like this. 

Bottom Line. Yes, I think reloading is worth learning and having some hand tools to do so. But it would be behind other priorities of having adequate SHTF firearms, stocked ammunition, food, water, necessary survival gear and a host of other things.

Thanks for your question Justin - it was a good one. Be safe and prepare well.