Thursday, July 25, 2013

Roll your own.

“If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.”
  Napoleon Bonaparte

I make every effort to do as much as I can for myself.  If you need someone else to come do something , fix something, build something or repair something you have a big chink in your armor.  Sometimes you can't help it, but those times should be as few and far between as possible.

One of the things I do for myself is reload my own ammunition.  I started reloading because there was an old fellow who worked at a feed store, and he told me he'd teach me how.  I bought a cheap Lee reloading kit, he gave me an old set of 9mm dies, and I set up a place in my shop.  From there, I've never looked back as the saying goes.

Now I reload for:

  • 30-06
  • .30 carbine
  • 7.54 MAS
  • 7.5 Swiss
  • 7.7 Japanese
  • 8MM Mauser
  • 7.62X39
  • 7.62X54
  • 7.62X51
  • .44 Special
  • .44 Magnum
  • 6.5 X 55 Swedish Mauser
  • 8X56R Hungarian
  • .38 Special
  • .40 S&W
  • .357 Magnum
  • 9 MM Luger
  • .45 Auto
  • .45 Colt
  • .380 ACP
  • .223 Remington
Probably there are some I left out.  If you look at the list, you'll see a lot of chamberings that are either hard to find or not available at all.  I can keep my old military bolt guns  firing for a long time.  Brass is expensive ,and it's difficult for me to just fire a cartridge once and throw away the brass. I don't know if it's my Scotch Irish blood or if I was just born cheap, but I hate wasting anything. I have to do that with a lot of surplus ammo, which is Berdan primed, but there's no help for it.  I tried reloading Berdan once, but the decapping tool kept ripping off the cartridge rims and fortunately I quit before I spent too much money on that idea.

Right now, ammo is really hard to find as anybody who owns a firearm knows. People don't trust the government (wisely) and they are stocking up.  I have been stocking up for 30 years, but I still buy fresh commercial ammo at Walmart or the general store if I can find any.  I guess I don't need it, but old habits die hard.

I have "beau coup" powder, primers, and bullets.  You can store enough for thousands of rounds in a good sized wall locker or shelf unit. That's another thing I like, knowing I can keep myself in ammo for the indefinite future with what I have on hand.

It's not all just for me.  I have a large extended family in addition to my own kids, and I like to have enough on hand that if my nephews or nieces families need some additional ammunition  I can supply it. That picture above shows some of my nephews, appropriately disguised for the internet. I'm bad about operational security but I don't put peoples pictures on the net unless they are OK with it.

This picture is of two of my nieces.  They are both hunters, as you can see.  If they or  their families ever need any ammo, old Uncle Harry can come across.  This picture was on our family blog so I guess it is ok to post.

I know some folks who have a better ammo supply than I do, but they belong to a group which plans to displace from one of our cities to a retreat if things turn nasty.  With their pooled resources they can quickly acquire supplies and equipment that have taken me many, many years to add to my inventory. There's strength in numbers, and that's the truth. I'm not much of a group person but I recognize the advantages that a group has over the individual when times get tough.

As Mad Max said when he was trying to get into Barter Town, " I have skills."  If I need to fort up long term with a bigger group, maybe they'll need an itinerant ammo producer.


  1. Did you ever try forcing the berdan primer out with water pressure?

  2. I remember hearing something about using water and a dowel to do that, but I never tried it. I bought a Berdan decapper from Midway, just to see if I could reload some of my Yugoslavian 8MM Mauser. It was great brass but none of my tools would work on it because they were all for Boxer. The primer chamber is a different size for Berdan, so even if I could get the old primer out I'd need a source of Berdan primers. Then there's always the concern about what happens if you go to seat the bullet with a loaded case and the press doesn't like Berdan and sets one off in your face. What I really need is to find someone who has actually reloaded Berdan primed cases so I could pick their brain.