Reloading Component Inventories Getting Tight as Ammunition Sales Soar

reloading components rounds

Courtesy Thundervoice

By Thundervoice

About five months ago, I wrote a piece for TTAG about the cost of reloading. Two or so weeks ago, I was visiting with a fellow reloader who had just ordered a box of 1,000 small pistol primers from MidwayUSA. Earlier this week, I was on the MidwayUSA website and decided to check availability of reloading components that I use a lot. What I found made me glad that I have built up a decent supply.

I’m a cowboy action shooter. Over the course of a typical year, I may shoot around 3,500 pistol caliber rounds and close to 1,000 shotgun rounds in competitions and about the same amount in practice sessions. For competition, I use only Starline brass and Federal small pistol primers. For my practice ammo, I use range brass and Winchester primers.

I don’t consider myself a high-volume shooter, but it is high enough to require a stash of reloading components. Supplies are always a concern. Over the last year, I’ve ordered batches of brass, bullets, primers, and powders just because it was available and reasonably priced.

Being relatively new to reloading (I started reloading as the last supply drought was ending), I kept wondering if my hoarding tendencies were being counterproductive. Well, I don’t wonder any more. Out of curiosity more than need, I checked on the availability of reloading components. What I found is that I should have ordered more when I could.

Brass

Reloading component availability tight supplies

Courtesy Thundervoice

Brass appears to be available depending upon caliber. I buy my brass for competition from Starline. They currently have brass available in .38 Special and 9mm Luger. Brass for .45 ACP, .223 Rem, and 5.56´45 is on backorder. I use range brass for practice ammo, with a good stash available.

Other suppliers may have a more complete stock of brass in popular calibers. Your LGS may have brass, both new and used, on the shelf. For my shotgun loads, I just keep on reusing old hulls. Bottom line: You should be saving your brass and hulls.

Bullets

Reloading component availability tight supplies

Courtesy Thundervoice

Bullets appear to be available, again depending upon caliber and type. I shoot lead bullets for competition and practice. I ordered another 4,000 bullets and 100 lbs. of #7 lead shot a couple of months ago when I heard a rumor about an upcoming shortage of lead. They were available, but shipping times were significantly delayed.

Those bullets are still available so that rumor about lead supplies may have not been accurate. No regrets though, I’d rather have and not need than need and not have.

I checked a few other sites for copper and FMJ bullets and it looks like they are mostly available for popular calibers, but not in all weights and styles. For pistol calibers, it appears that self-defense bullets are hard to find. Bottom line: If you look hard enough, you can probably find bullets for a given caliber, but maybe not the exact bullet you want or need.

Powder

Reloading component availability tight supplies

Courtesy Thundervoice

Powder appears to be generally available, depending upon the specific powder and quantity you want. Keep in mind that powder ordered online has both a shipping fee and a hazardous materials fee. The fee is the same regardless of whether you order a 1 lb. or 8 lb. jug. If you order only 1 lb. online, then the hazmat fee could be a third of the powder cost.

Back when I was stocking up, I usually ordered my powder and primers when there was a promotional deal that waived the hazmat fee. I haven’t seen those promotions over the last few months. You may be able to get powder at your LGS and save the shipping and hazmat fees. Bottom line: At present, powder availability does not seem to be an issue.

Primers

Reloading component availability tight supplies

Courtesy Thundervoice

Whoa! If you don’t have primers on hand, you probably won’t be reloading. At Midway USA and Brownells, available primers are mostly limited to large rifle, shotshell, and large pistol magnum. I cannot find any suppliers that have small pistol primers in stock.

Just like powders, primers also have both a shipping fee and hazmat fee, if you can find them. If you order only 1,000 primers online, then the hazmat fee can be about a third of the price of the primers. Low-volume reloaders are probably better off buying primers from their LGS, even though the individual primer cost is higher. Bottom line: If you don’t have a stash of primers now, you’re not going to be reloading for a while.

At present, we are going through another period of high demand for ammunition, presumably to meet the needs of all the new gun owners. Supplies may also be affected due to pandemic conditions. I believe that there is a relationship between the availability of ammo on the shelves and the availability of primers as manufacturers need the primers they make to meet demands for their factory ammo.

My guess is that we probably will not be able to buy primers until we start seeing ammo back on the shelves. I hope that happens before the year is over, but if gun owners do not turn out and vote against gun control candidates, then your ability to reload in the future may be limited to the supplies that you have at home right now.

The tables below that indicate the availability of reloading components on the MidwayUSA and Brownells websites as of July 2, 2020. The first table indicates general availability numbers for each component type. The second table gives details for a few calibers to give a more specific sense of availability.

Reloading component availability tight supplies

Courtesy Thundervoice

 

Reloading component availability tight supplies

Courtesy Thundervoice

 

There may be other sites that have available components and there may be slightly different components for a caliber that will work for you (different brass manufacturer, bullet weights, powder, etc.). [ED: Check Natchez Shooters Supply, Midsouth Shooters Supply and Graf & Sons] The table also ignores substitutions like using +P brass instead of standard brass. Some products may not be available in all quantities. Availability may have changed by the time this actually appears in the TTAG webspace.

For you reloaders out there, use the comments to indicate the availability of reloading components at stores in your area. As for me, my backup plan is to start keeping my old (used) primers. Maybe someday, I can figure out how to reuse them. If any of the TTAG readers have actually made new primers from old primers, I’d be interested in hearing how they did it.

 

Reloading component availability tight supplies

Courtesy Thundervoice

comments

  1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Some components are available,some not so much. If one is searching for jacketed 9 mm or 223/5.56 projectiles it’s hit or miss,with miss being common.

    All that said the sooner one takes up reloading/handloading the sooner one takes control of their ammunition supply, just do it.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      With 5.56, are there specific shortages or across the board. A 1in9″ pitch can use 50-70g bullets easily. A 1in7″ can use up to 80g bullets.

    2. avatar ChainsawWieldingManiac says:

      Cheap 223 FMJ projos are basically gone everywhere. If I have one regret, it was not bulk buying 55gr Hornady bullets a couple months ago. I probably have enough cartridges on hand to finish the multi-gun season, but it’s not going to be pretty after that.

      I don’t consider the 9mm situation to be so bad, since powder coated bullets are pretty easy to find and work quite well.

      1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

        You can buy all the 223 projectiles you want off of GunBroker. And brass. and Primers.

        Along with damn near every other caliber. I just bought 1200 9mm (all Federal 1X fired) for 43 bucks shipped.

    3. avatar Vinny bunny says:

      There are people demonstrating using matches (either standard with shaved off strikers or strike anywhere as is) to reload primers on YouTube. Watched one guy do it with cap gun caps, comments updated his technique refining. Gonna try it out. Good call keeping the dead primers.

  2. avatar former water walker says:

    I’m just buying more ammo. WHO do I have to check my reloading work anyway? A blown up round stuck in my rifle?!? YMMV

    1. avatar Cea says:

      True, sometimes. And depending on how vigilant you are. I had a friend load a few hundred rd for me before I started loading my own. He had been loading for over 35 years. He is the reason I started loading my own. Of those few hundred, I had two stuck bullets and one case that was so far out of spec, it got stuck in the chamber before fully setting in. Locking up the gun tight as a drum!
      Since then, I have just under 150k handloads under my belt in the last 11 years. I have had one rd where the primer fell out in transit to the range. Didn’t notice it until I got a click and not a bang. Found the primer in the ammo box later on. I can only guess that the primer pocket was worn excessively.
      Other than that, all of my ammo has been good. No stuck bullets, nothing. All but that one fired as designed to. Not necessarily all as accurate as I wanted. But that is part of the fun, building specific rounds that shoot well out of a particular gun. Nothing like winning a match with ammo you made for the gun!!

      1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        I’ve had more problems with a box of Remington .22’s from the store.
        Congrats on your match win!

        1. avatar Ed Schrade says:

          Victoria, Some folks reload on a progressive reloader that will put out a completed round every time the press is cycled. While this is much faster, in my opinion there is a higher probability of a powder dump issue occurring without noticing it. When I reload, I weigh each powder load on a digital scale and produce rounds with a single stage press which is much slower but in 54 yrs. of reloading has not produced a problem. I am not in a hurry when I reload because I simply enjoy it and do not rush anything that is enjoyable. The final product makes you proud and worry free when time is taken. Just my opinion.

        2. avatar Bemused Berserker says:

          I agree with Ed. I’ve been a single stage user for 45+ years, and have only had 1 squib in all that time, and that was in the first year of reloading. It was my error, not the equipments. Back when I shot and competed in amateur meets, a progressive would have been nice, but I don’t go through that number of rounds these days, even though I’m at the range once or twice a week. Having a good friend with a progressive, and seeing the occurrences of missed charges, flipped primers, and poor bullet seats, I wouldn’t want one. I will freely admit that being OCD really helps with me as a reloaders. You pay meticulous attention to every little detail. I’ve still got notebooks full of data for guns and calibers I no longer reload for (some I no longer own, but I still keep the data). I can go to my ammo locker and pull any box of reloads, reference the number to the notebook, and then tell you everything about that loading session down to the Temp and Barometer readings at my bench. All for the goal of the perfect load.
          Reloading is an activity I find relaxing. I can put aside life’s troubles and focus on something that I hope makes me a better marksman. I imagine Ed would agree, that the cost savings isn’t as big these days, as it was in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, but it’s still some cost benefit over factory ammo. Personally, I don’t own any ComBloc weapons, and I distrust the steel cased surplus ammo that’s so cheap. A steel case in a steel chamber is going to wear faster, that’s basic physics and metallurgy.
          Component costs have risen since this pandemic nonsense started, and availability is hit and miss depending on the caliber. Thankfully, I started stocking up several years ago, so it hasn’t been a big issue yet. Hopefully, things will settle down and the shortages will stop.

        3. avatar hawkeye says:

          I’m another who prefers a single stage press. I’m not a high volume shooter though. I buy factory centerfire ammo on occasion if the deal is good, but all my precision stuff was assembled by my hands, a box or two at a time. I even researched reloading rimfire, but found the cost/benefit ratio to be quite different compared to centerfire.

        4. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

          I’m also from the Ed Schrade school of reloading. I weigh every single charge and I hand prime. I enjoy it, find it very relaxing after a week of work so I don’t “figure in the cost of my time” as I hear so many people say. To me that’s no different than someone saying “it’s more expensive to hunt deer than buy an equivalent amount of Rib Eyes.” Of course it is. I deer hunt because I enjoy it. When I sort out my Turkey hunting crap every spring it’s very evident that Turkeys at 89 cent a pound is the winner financially speaking.

          It’s hard to put a cost assessment on sending .257 Weatherby bullets to (nearly) the same hole at 100 yards but I get to do it pretty regularly. Because reloading.

    2. avatar Tex Patriot says:

      Reloading is not that hard if you use common sense and follow directions (aka published load data).

      Steps:
      Decap and size the brass (Easy)
      Install Primer (Easy)
      Add Powder (read your manual and add the correct amount)
      Seat bullet (easy)
      Check ammo in case guage

      1. avatar Someone says:

        Everything is easy, if you know how to do it right. That doesn’t mean it can’t be screwed up just as easily. Each of these “easy” steps have to be done exactly right, to tight specifications. Well, maybe except decapping, which is really hard to mess up. Do any of them wrong enough and your ammo is going to be not only of poor accuracy, but unreliable or even dangerous.
        That said, if you are adult enough to pay attention to what you’re doing, reloading can be very rewarding and fun extension of your shooting addiction.

        1. avatar Tex Patriot says:

          True. My main point was that learning to reload is not like learning rocket science.

          Most adults should be able to learn how to do it,

    3. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

      “WHO do I have to check my reloading work anyway?”

      Check each round yourself, it takes a bit of time, but the following method works :

      Buy a digital scale that weighs grams or grains to two decimal places. (Example, if it is a gram scale, 1 gram should read 1.00 grams.)

      Power on the scale and press the tare (or zero) button. Put exactly one charge of powder on it and record the weight.

      Tare the scale again. Put one round that you know has the correct charge in it. On the scale, press the tare (zero) button. That’s your target weight. Now, weigh each of your loaded rounds. They should read 0 (zero), or very close to it.

      If the number looks like like the weight of a charge of powder, you have a double charge of powder. If the number is negative, you have zero charge in it.

      A round with zero charge is a very dangerous dangerous round, because the primer can have enough energy in it to push the bullet partway down the barrel. The shooter can mistake the weak ‘pop’ to be a dud round and load another round and try to fire it.

      Two bullets stuck partway down the barrel can be an expensive gunsmith job.

      If you fire a reload that sounds in any way differently than a normal round sounds, *STOP RIGHT THERE!*. Unload the gun and look down the barrel with a light. If you see the bullet, take it to a gunsmith. He or She may be able to extract the stuck bullet without damaging the barrel…

      1. avatar Bemused Berserker says:

        One method I use to avoid a missed or light charge, is to weigh each cartridge at the end of a reloadingb session. Use a cartridge that you’re 100% sure everything is in place. Weigh it, write that weight down, and then compare every cartridge you loaded and make sure the weight is the same (within reason, a tenth of two of a grain +/-). I had a squib load the first year I started reloading. After that, I started weighing, and haven’t had another since. With these new digital scales, it’s a lot faster to check and compare than it was 45 years ago with the old Beam Scale for sure.

        1. avatar AZM says:

          It does have the downside of being slower but, using the Lee powder scoops are a manual way to drop powder for your reloading.
          Sorting brass on a tray makes this easier to see progress.

          A light under the dies can aid your visual check.

          There’s the powder cop from Hornady I think, which locks up the press in too much powder is found in the case

    4. avatar ChainsawWieldingManiac says:

      You’re not wrong in general, but the situation at the current moment is a bit different. The problem is that I can’t find quality 223 for under 40cpr, and it’s not looking like that situation will get better any time soon. I can reload bulk 223 for about 26cpr (excluding my time, but including brass and primers), and that’s enough of a savings that it’s probably worth my time. If I can crank out 150 rounds of 223 a month, that will at least get me through the current multi-gun season, which is enough. I can do classes and some training using factory 5.45×39, which is still running at acceptable pricing levels.

  3. avatar M10 says:

    Interesting article – This question is maybe for another conversation, but I’m curious about your choice of one primer brand over another, both in general and in regard to competition vs range.
    As a reloader, I have always considered component primers and bullets to be basically the same (of a given Size/Weight, across major brands). In other words, why the preference of Federal small pistol primers over another brand, say CCI?

    1. avatar Paul B says:

      Federal primers are generally agreed to be the softest, e g easiest to ignite. Competition (light) trigger jobs are often guaranteed to be 100% ignition-reliable only with Federal primers.

      1. avatar Muhmawser says:

        Indeed Federal does require less force to ignite and are standard race gun fodder. But it’s still a valid question, why not run federal in your practice ammo too? I can’t imagine he’s practicing with a different gun or swapping in stock trigger components to ignite the harder Winchester primers for practice. I also question the brass. We’re not talking high power, bullseye, bench rest, etc. The practical accuracy advantage of using new starline over mixed “once fired” seems wasted in any offhand action shooting sport.

        1. avatar Thundervoice says:

          I use Winchester primers for my practice rounds because I bought a lot of Winchester primers when I couldn’t get Federal primers. I’ll use Winchester for practice rounds until they are gone, then use only Federal as long as I can get more of them. For the most part, my guns work with both types of primers, but there are the occasional Winchester primer rounds that won’t fire in practice. That just gives me practice in dealing with malfunctions. If you can reload an 1873 Winchester in less than 5 seconds, you save time. I’m not good enough to reload a SAA in less than 5 seconds.

    2. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

      I will generally take the load data suggested primer EXCEPT for .223/5.56. Then it’s ONLY CCI no.41 primers. I feel that they are safer by far in the AR platform. The other exception is my 257 and 300 Weatherby mags. For those, I only use Winchester WLRM. I’m sure there are perfectly good substitutes but I have confidence in that primer for those calibers and that counts. At least for me.

  4. avatar The lies about guns says:

    No coverage of Wursterbergs

  5. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    I really don’t understand. Who didn’t see this coming years ago. I put up 7.62 NATO when it was $100 per 1000 rnd case. Same with 5.56. Tossed in a thousand rounds of soft point for each. 9mm, .45 ACP, .357 magnum, .44 magnum, 10,000 rds of .22 LR. Shotgun shells too. Always add to the stash when I can. Better than money in the bank.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Gadsden Flag,

      People grow and learn in different environments with different resources and experiences. I did not see this coming 20 years ago. Simply: we do not know what we do not know.

      Case in point: 15 years ago did you anticipate a virus “pandemic” where state Governors would respond by ordering virtually all of their citizens to house arrest for three months? Neither did I.

      The notion of any major disruption/upheaval never crossed my mind until the “Northeast Blackout of 2003” where about 25% of our nation lost electricity — some locations for as long as four days. Then the 2013 clandestine sabotage of Pacific Gas and Electric, which almost sent the West Coast back to the stone age, put disruptions on my personal radar. Finally, the short-lived television series, Doomsday Preppers, really opened my eyes to the multiple events that could really screw up our nation. That was the final impetus which motivated me to implement some very basic measures. And yet very people have ever learned about the 2013 sabotage of Pacific Gas and Electric or the several other factors that could mess up our nation. Hence relatively few people are ready for any major disruptions to our nation.

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Uncommon, yeah I did anticipate a pandemic. Not like this the first one we had. Not even a bad one.Ever heard of the black plaque, small pox, yellow fever, the Spanish flu? I could go on. Never mind pandemics. Ever heard of nuclear attacks, terrorism, civil unrest? If you were asleep at the wheel, sorry for you and yours. I’ve got more than enough firearms and ammunition. About a years worth of food for four. Food and seed is what I’m stocking up on now. Casey and I had this conversation on the farm this afternoon.

      2. avatar strych9 says:

        “Then the 2013 clandestine sabotage of Pacific Gas and Electric…”

        A story that got obnoxiously little coverage but… I kinda get why. What was more worrisome however was the repeat of it, not in AZ where that appears to have been a disgruntled employee, but rather the *copy* of PG&E that occurred in Missouri about eight months after the Cali incident.

        And you’re right, most people never heard of the first incident and nearly no one has heard of the second. Neither, to my knowledge, was ever solved. Further, to my knowledge there have been no repeats of these incidents. Which strikes me as doubly odd in certain regards.

      3. avatar Ron says:

        Not trying to toot my own horn too much but I also saw all of this coming. I’ve always been a believe in the 9 meals away from anarchy saying, and it’s proven correct.

        Though I’d honestly say 9 meals is tool long. After the last month, I’d argue we’re only about 3 hours away from anarchy at any given moment.

        3 hours is about the time it takes for a typical American city to go from normal to madmax over a politicized shooting. You figure, let’s say dude gets shot at 3pm. By 4pm onlookers are growing, liking/sharing posts, posting videos going viral. By 5 pm groups of “protestors” begin to rally near the scene and/or areas of importance. By 6pm all hell breaks loose and the mayor orders the police to retreat. Then, you are on your own.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Ron,

          I am sad to report that I agree with your analysis. Ubiquitous cell phones and their attendant capabilities (texting, posting to social media platforms, etc.) has facilitated everything that you described.

          Obviously, this was not the case even 15 years ago. This makes me think that we need some sort of rapid-response strategy that can assemble within 60 minutes of the call. I suppose we could think of the participants as modern day minute-men.

        2. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

          Ron, in the large inner cities I agree that were 3 hours away from anarchy. However, in those places I think we’re little more than 9 meals away from cannibals.

        3. avatar strych9 says:

          The nine meals hypothesis has been overly generalized on the web and TV.

          It’s a hypothesis specific to a theoretical breakdown in logistics supplying grocery and convenience stores.

          Said hypothesis has nothing to do with politicized shootings, sporting event riots or other generalized civil unrest as the starting point. It’s a hypothesis about the timeline starting at the time logistics breaks down until hunger creates the civil unrest.

    2. avatar Darkman says:

      Same here. I started investing in precious metals (ammo) back in the mid 80’s. Over the last 40 Years. I’ve been able to cache thousands of rounds while enjoying an almost limitless supply for training and enjoyment. Never considered reloading simple because. Why bother. Every time shortages happen people scramble for ammo and components because of poor investment planning. Ammo is like money in the bank. Properly stored it has nearly an unlimited life span. It can be easily divested of in time of need or shortage. All the while offering the comfort of knowing should SHTF. It’s there for yourself and your allies. Keep Your Powder Dry

    3. avatar Hannibal says:

      It might be a combination of the various things combining (defund police, pandemic, election) but also that a lot of people don’t have that much money to spend. Better than money in the bank? Probably. But worth interest on a credit card? Probably not… unless you don’t have any ammo.

      1. avatar Darkman says:

        No credit cards used. Bought 4-5+ thousand each year. When I did unload some. The profit was far above any interest rate being given. Kept my priorities in line. Didn’t waste money of over priced coffee and other unnecessary frivolities. I guess considering what I learned from my depression era father. Plan for the WCS and always be stocked up on everything.

  6. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    Like it or not, lots of people think that the Senate and White House will turn blue come November. The Democrats are moving further to the left every day (if that’s possible) to appease the mobs in the streets and California style ammunition restrictions may become the next normal. So prudent persons are loading up on ammunition and reloading components. Right now reloaders see themselves as being less visible on the .gov radar screens. If things really go bad I’m sure that some alphabet agency will start researching people’s credit card bills to ask why they bought 50 pounds of “explosives” and.10000 “cop killer” bullets. I’m sure that I’m on that list right now.
    I’m reminded that the people in the Philippines used cut down sections of brass curtain rods for bullets, powder scavenged from dud aircraft bombs, and strike anywhere matches for primers. They also.made slam bang shotguns from iron pipe. A cardboard shotgun shell and some pipe got you an Arikasa rifle or a Nambu pistol.

  7. avatar Alan says:

    The following is essentially speculation on my part, which I cannot verify. For whatever readers might think it’s worth, read on.

    Yes, there is a significant upsurge in gun purchases, a lot from first time buyers, at least some of whom, last week, perhaps day before yesterday were anti gun, all for Gun Control. Here I could be all wet, but I don’t see where the above mentioned are purchasers of large amounts of ammunition, let along reloading components So where is the problem? Might it be with manufacturers, who seeing a perhaps passing opportunity to grab dome extra profit, are playing games with supplies? Say it isn’t so Joe, say it isn’t so.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Alan,

      I believe there is an element of truth to everything that you said — and some addition truths.

      1) I agree that many anti-gunners who recently purchased their first firearm/s have no interest in amassing an ammunition stockpile. I also believe that some of those first time buyers indeed DO want a healthy supply of ammunition — for initial practice as well as a hedge for possible future major civil disruption. Either way, there are likely a few million more ammunition customers/consumers who did not exist six months ago.

      2) I believe many people who have a more casual interest in firearms, own a few firearms, and had one or two boxes of ammunition on hand went out five months ago and proactively stocked up. That created yet more pressure on the supply.

      3) I believe ammunition manufacturers are also taking advantage of the new demand and may be manipulating supply slightly. I can also guarantee that they are prioritizing their manufacturing capacity where it makes the most profit for them: factory manufactured complete cartridges. If they cannot meet demand for complete cartridges, then one of the components (sounds like it is primers) will not be available for reloaders. Rather, only the components for which they have “excess” manufacturing capacity will be available for reloaders.

      4) You did not mention this: I believe many serious firearm owners who had a respectable ammunition supply saw factory ammunition dwindling on store shelves and purchased yet more ammunition to ensure that they have an adequate supply on hand in case current and future developments disrupted supply for a very prolonged period. This of course also added more demand to the limited ammunition supply.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        I believe you are generally correct.

        Also, I believe I can fly. And I don’t give a fuck what those naysayers at the ER keep telling me.

        1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

          Hey fuck those doctors and nurses. They don’t know what you can or can’t do. Have faith and keep on keeping on Strych9.

        2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          look into “garden apartments.”

    2. avatar GunnyGene says:

      Everyone dips into the same supply chains. Those raw material & component suppliers were not expecting this either, and have not had time to increase production – if they even can. And then there’s priorities – Govt. (Fed – including military, State, and local)get their contracts filled first. Everyone else is back of the bus.

  8. avatar Alan says:

    Oops,I should have included the following. Might it be elsewhere in the “supply chain”?

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Alan,

      It is entirely possible that various points in our national supply chain have failed. This last Friday, July 3rd, I was talking to a neighbor who operates a farm and also works as carpenter. I asked him how the supply chain was for farming operations. He said that was fine: seed and fertilizer suppliers had produced everything last Fall and Winter before possible COVID-19 virus disruptions (not to mention the fact that seeds and fertilizer would be absolutely “essential” items and one of the last things that governors would ever ban production). Carpentry has a major problem though: they ran out of treated lumber and do not not know when they will get more. I have no idea about any other supplies for carpentry.

      And about two months ago I heard from smaller producers that oddball materials and components from various regions of the country were unavailable. I have no idea how widespread such disruptions were or how long those supply disruptions lasted or if they persist.

      1. avatar arc says:

        Coco coir is hard to come by these days without paying a high price for it. Without coco coir, I can’t do much.

      2. avatar Ed Schrade says:

        I have been waiting for parts from Gun Parts Inc. since March. Since they are behind the Cuomo Iron Curtain, I have gotten then from a free state.

  9. avatar strych9 says:

    Well, now I don’t feel so bad about the ungodly number of small primers I have. LOL.

    I do sorta feel bad for people who haven’t had the finacial situation to stock up in the past though.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Yeah. I just found another 5,000 primers in an unmarked ammo can while looking for something else.
      I’m probably good for a couple of years of normal shooting on my part without having to buy anything.

      1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

        LOL I found my “Jackpot primers” in a tackle box on a shelf in the garage. Have no idea how long they have been in there.

  10. avatar Stateisevil says:

    It will pass, it always does. The state and its allies play the long game though, and one day when relatively few care, it won’t pass.

  11. avatar Ginder12 says:

    1000 armed black militia marched on Stone Mountain and challenged white militia to come out of hiding.

    1. avatar TommGNR says:

      There were 200 protesters, some armed, and the were escorted in and out of the monument by state police. The event was described as peaceful with no incidents.

    2. avatar arc says:

      Black Panthers* not militia.

  12. avatar Major Trouble says:

    Several years ago when bullet availability was limited, I invested in swaging equipment.
    http://www.corbins.com/
    Study the process here and consider the investment toward not being dependant. Making jacketed projectiles is simple and 22LR empty brass and wheel weights are always available. Larger jackets are also available. Give it a look.
    Casting hard alloyed lead bullets seem to be the best option for pistol calibers loaded to less than 1100 fps. Faster velocities just requires a brass gas check clamped to the base of the lead bullet.

    1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

      Hate to rain on your (otherwise excellent) parade but wheel weights haven’t been made out of lead for about 3 years. They’re zinc or steel. For the last couple of years that has really hurt my bullet casting abilities (at least as far as doing it economically) .

      I have a few sets of CH4D swaging dies (the discontinued ones) but would love to swap over to Corbin but just can’t float the note on that one.

  13. avatar TechGuy says:

    Yikes! I don’t shoot that much but, reload .380, .38spl, 9mm, .45ACP, .223, 300BLK & .308. When the buying frenzy started in March, I didn’t order “factory ammo”, I ordered reloading supplies. With little available and buying from many sources, the hazmat fees and shipping added significantly to my cost. …but, in most cases, it’s still cheaper than factory ammo. AND, I HAVE IT! I can also “load light” in most calibers …perfect for practise and reduced recoil for my girlfriend and daughters. I’ve been doing this for 40 years….
    I have, maybe, 20lbs of powder in Bullseye, Unique, AA#2, W231, H335, H110 and 4895. I have around 10,000 primers in small pistol, large pistol (fortunately, I have lots of .45ACP brass in LP), small rifle & large rifle. I’m woefully short in bullets (maybe 5,000 total) but, most are of a caliber I shoot most.. (9mm, .45ACP, .223). I had trouble finding favorite bullets but, found ..sort of… acceptable substitutes.
    I thought I was in good shape but, that was before the riots, defund the police, prolonged social unrest, continued buying frenzy….
    Now, I feel a bit unprepared for the future! I need to buy more!
    Vote Trump!

    1. avatar TechGuy says:

      Would like to get your thoughts! Powder lasts a long time, primers need to be pampered a bit, bullets are forever. I know primers and bullets are in short supply. It takes a lot of time to do a good case prep, etc. How efficient is casting? Doing a neurotic, perfectionist couple of boxes a day takes several hours (you know, weigh every charge, mic everything…). How efficient is casting bullets. How long does it take to lube lead? Is swaging necessary?

      1. avatar Don Nelson says:

        I cast .45 and .44 bullets using wheel weight lead and Lyman #2 alloy. For .44 Magnum, gas checks are used. My molds are all two-cavity and the lead pot has a bottom feed.

        It takes time. Melting then cleaning the lead, then casting some to get the molds up to temperature, eventually getting to the point that most bullets are keepers. Pot temperature needs to be adjusted but given time you find a balance that fills the mold without producing much sprue. Once you get to this point you can knock out maybe 4-8 useable bullets a minute (probably a lot more with more cavities in the mold) until you get bored or run out of lead. By 100 bullets, I’m bored.

        The bullets then have to be sized and lubed (and maybe gas-checked). That’s pretty fast.

        Most of my .45/.44 revolvers have never seen a factory bullet. Casting isn’t my favorite part of hand loading, but it gets me what I want whenever I want it, or whenever I feel like curling up with the lead pot. Lyman publishes a great book about bullet casting that addresses every question one might have. Oh, factory gas checks are bloody expensive – one of these days I’ll think about the dies you can get to make them from aluminum cans.

        1. avatar hawkeye says:

          Factory gas checks are one item that is getting scarce in 44 and 45.

      2. avatar Someone says:

        My lead is usually from old cast iron pipes caulking, roofing flashing and whatever other scrap I can get. I do buy tin and super hard antimony alloy to get something similar to the Lyman #2 alloy. Wheel weights around here are almost all steel or zinc, therefore unusable.

        Using Lee 6 cavity moulds you speeds things up significantly. They are made of aluminum, which might not last as long as steel, but carries heat much better. I preheat them on top of my pot as the lead melts, so it usually takes me only about 5 casts before the bullets start fall out completely filled. In couple of hours I can cast many hundreds, sometimes even couple of thousands of bullets.

        Lubrication is not necessary if you powder coat. Look up the ‘shake and bake’ method, it costs next to nothing and my 240 gr .44 mag bullets fly at over 1450 fps, leaving the barrel clean and shiny. Plus my ammo looks nice and colorful.

        This site has a load of great information on all things concerning home made bullets: http://castboolits.gunloads.com

  14. avatar Bob in IN says:

    This will pass with a Trump 2020 win.

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      Or intensify greatly if the demented man gets in.

      1. avatar TheBSonTTAG says:

        They both are and both showing signs. At least with Trump we can look forward to losing suppressors, binary triggers and possibly every semi auto along with whatever else Trump does not like that day. With Biden the Republicans might decide they like gun rights and actually stand up to him.

        Regardless neither are gonna be good for gun rights.

  15. avatar The Rookie says:

    Rookie Question of the Week:

    -Is it possible to reload a Berdan-primed round with a Boxer primer? I get that most Berdan-primed ammo is steel-cased stuff, so reloading wouldn’t be an option in the first place, but if there is a brass-cased round, is it “doable” ?

    1. avatar WI Patriot says:

      Yes, you need to modify the primer pocket, and there are tools available to do just that…

      Bing(or google) this “berdan to boxer conversion kit”

    2. avatar Tex Patriot says:

      No. Berdan shells have two holes in them (the center area acts as the anvil) while boxer Brass has one hole (the anvil is part of the primer).

      Plus, I would be surprised to find out that the size Berdan primer pockets is different as well.

      1. avatar RCC says:

        Tex
        The primer pockets are the same size.

        There was a hydraulic recapping tool for double flash holes around years ago. You put water in the case, pushed out the primer then dried the cases. I saw a demonstration and decided it was way easier to buy good single hole brass or pick up my factory cases as I used them.

        1. avatar Anymouse says:

          Once you’ve decamped a Berdan case, you’ve done the hard part. Big names, like Magtech, PMC, and Fionnchi/RWS make them (as well as a ton of Chinese and Russian companies you’ve never heard of), but finding specialty vendors who carry it can be difficult. With primers in hand, you can load like Boxer cases.

    3. avatar The Rookie says:

      Many thanks, all!

      1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

        If it’s a common caliber, I wouldn’t bother. If it’s something cool like an exotic European double rifle or something like that, definitely doable. I’ve got a 9.5×57mm Mannlicher–Schönauer and all the ammo I had when I got it in the 70’s was Berdan primed. I’ve still got most if not all of that brass (it’s not something you’d want to shoot everyday) and it’s all boxer primed now. And now, I can buy factory new ammo for it thanks to the folks at Kynoch.

    4. avatar Someone says:

      Yes, it is doable. Is it worth the extra effort is completely different question.

  16. avatar GS650G says:

    Primers have always been the choke point in reloading. Fortunately they are small. light, and easy to store properly. Unfortunately they are not just more expensive now but unavailable.

    I’m a very low volume shooter as I lack the time or place to go regularly. I have to travel for a while to arrive at a range I can use without crowds, ammo restrictions, overactive range masters, and 50 yard limits. A public range an hour away has a decent 100 yard range but it’s swamped every day of the week, no kidding. I’m lucky if I get out once every 3 months. i shot more at deer this winter than targets.

    If i had 40 acres and a decent backstop Id be shooting every day.

    1. avatar EndDangerEd says:

      Go find yourself 40 acres…. a “decent backstop” takes less than two hours and a mid-sized ‘dozer!

  17. avatar Ryan says:

    I can find lead bullets fine for 45, 9mm, and jacketed 224 just fine.

    Brass, I usually only do used or I shoot factory loads and keep that.

    Primers. Good. Freaking. Luck. Every time I see one I buy it.

    Powder is available but not locally anymore. I can’t find the very popular ones like Varget online either. But I can find less popular powders and make them work.

    Note that I’m not picky because I just target shoot.

  18. avatar WI Patriot says:

    No worries, got plenty of everything…
    In the very near future, the hardest thing to come by will be primers…

  19. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

    I’m out of CCI primers. I have thousands of Federal primers I got before I knew Lee recommended not to load Federal on Lee equipment. Good thing I now have a Hornady press and priming tool. I can still do the rest of the job on the Lee Pro 1000.

    1. avatar WI Patriot says:

      When I had trouble finding CCI primers, I started buying Rem primers…I hand prime every piece of brass that crosses my bench, I have a lee Pro1000 that I use for handgun, but discontinued using it’s priming feature…

  20. avatar Ed Schrade says:

    I sent a question to Hornady about the highest humidity that is allowable when reloading and they answered that no one ever asked this and they assumed 40 % to be the max. Anyone have any information on this ?

    1. avatar WI Patriot says:

      As long as you’re not standing outside reloading in the rain, you’re fine, this biggest thing is that in high humidity situations, you CANNOT leave your powder in the measure, you have to empty it back into the original powder container when your loading/reloading session is complete…can’t even let it go overnight, exposed powder attracts moisture…all your powder containers SHOULD have desiccant packs in them, if not, then put at least one in…

      Brass, unless exposed directly to moisture is a non-issue, same with projectiles, whether they be lead, copper jacketed, copper coated, etc, are unaffected by humidity…

      Primers should be kept in a dry cool environment, unless you’re actively using them, same with powder…

  21. avatar Dennis says:

    In regard to the question of reusing spent primers – I came across a video a few years ago on youtube where the author did just that, with the heads from a box of matches, and dust from the striker from the matchbox.

  22. avatar BradB says:

    It baffles me when people say they can’t find primers. My LGS had them on the shelf when I was in there last week. I just stopped at Cabela’s in Owatonna and found plenty of primers on the shelf. I bought four boxes of CCI 500s for 33 bucks a box. With $120 points on my Cabela Club card it only cost me a few bucks to walk out of there with four thousand primers. They are out there, you just need to do your research.

    1. avatar RGP says:

      The problem is most people want to buy online because they are too lazy to actually go to a shop in person.

      1. avatar Montana Actual says:

        This. I have cased every shop in town and most are pretty good about letting you know when a new stock will be in, how much it is, and how much it’s going to cost. Even bullets are going for the same price as straight up regular ammo now. Reloading USED to be cheaper, but during all this, it’s the same if not more considering you have to buy the tools. I just got into it before all this hit and it’s a struggle for me to find good stuff, but when I do it’s ALWAYS local.

    2. avatar Don Nelson says:

      Same here in Rapid City. Scheel’s, Cabela’s or the LGS all usually have everything needed, though CCI primers are sometimes out of stock. Like most long time hand loaders, I have several thousand of each size and generally only buy more when they’re on sale.

    3. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Zero small pistol primers anywhere around Austin, TX, including Cabelas.
      I’m an FFL and called my distributors. They are all out and not even accepting backorders.

    4. avatar Someone says:

      At my nearest Cabela’s (Hoffman Estates, Il.) the reloading section was a sad picture. I bought the last pound of rifle powder and the last two boxes of large pistol primers. There was no other kind left. Only about half a dozen bottles of shotgun propellant stayed on the shelf.
      I grabbed the last box of Hornady 55 gr .224 fmjbt and last two boxes of Nosler 140 gr .264 bullets.
      But it was still better than the ammo section, which was almost completely empty, despite the Cook County idiotic ammo tax.

      1. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

        Bass Pro in Harrisburg this past week, you could find components for hunting calibers. Nothing was left for handgun, 5.56 or 7.62×39. Several hundred each of large rifle, large pistol, and magnum primers in a few brands. No small rifle or small pistol primers at all.

        For equipment they had a small selection of starter kits and most of the presses, tools, etc separately. But it was mostly the more expensive or lower quality poorly reviewed stuff. I grabbed a digital scale with decent reviews for more than I wanted to pay. The Lee scale has really been slowing me down with the progressive press.

        For guns some of the larger and more expensive handguns and the .22s were available. Some hunting rifles and shotguns were available, and a couple of tactical M14s. The counter was packed with older male and female minorities, some with children. The white guys were all in the aisles looking for mags, accessories, and reloading stuff.

        Factory ammo was limited to hunting calibers. Everything else was cleaned out.

        That pretty much matched the gun and ammo situation at other places I have been to recently. Dunham’s doesn’t carry reloading supplies and Shyda’s is closed from 7/4 to 7/12 so I couldn’t check out the situation there.

        1. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

          Harrisburg Pennsylvania.

          I always have a few typos or miss a word somewhere.

  23. avatar Anon says:

    I believe it’s not contrived. Think of toilet paper. As things went south, many previously available items have become difficult to find.

    So reloaders did what others did, they are hoarding.

    PS I told my wife to buy toilet paper several years ago whenever it was on sale. We had over 200 rolls when the panic started. I did this because toilet paper was one of the first things to become hard to get in Venezuela as things went sour there. I use toilet paper like a canary in a mine.
    Been stocking medicines for years now……..

  24. avatar Chris says:

    Live in country that is bent on limiting its citizens to dirty covid masks to fend off atrackers so forgive my questions.

    Does ammo carry a hazmat charge when bought in bulk? Are there any laws around reselling ammo ie do you need an ffl?

    In Canada ammo sales are how they limit your ability to owm and use firearms.

  25. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

    “As for me, my backup plan is to start keeping my old (used) primers. Maybe someday, I can figure out how to reuse them.”

    There is a better method to reload primers besides match heads. A company that makes a reloading kit for .22lr has a re-priming kit with the necessary chemicals.

    They claim it’s also usable to re-manufacture centerfire primers, although the process is very tedious. It involves taking the spent one apart, pressing out the firing pin ‘dimple’, cleaning it, applying the compound, re-inserting the ‘anvil’, and crimping it back up.

    I don’t think I would trust re-manufactured centerfire primers any more than one time. Even then, I would likely only reload with a lower pressure powder load. Primer blow-out in a rifle is something I’d rather not experience.

    Use at your own risk, etc. Here’s the company :

    https://sharpshooter-22lr-reloader.myshopify.com/

    1. avatar Klaus Von Schmitto says:

      I’ve seen that. It’s interesting but then I envision myself with my crappy eyesight and a trembling crippled left hand trying to get the little buggers apart and I think – “Hmmm. Maybe not for me” LOL.

  26. avatar Montana Actual says:

    I shop locally. Murdoch’s always has something, currently. I check online for 5.56 bullets and they were the same damn price as just buying bulk green tip. Hard pass on the online buying for ammo. Even when I started putting my tool list together to get into reloading (recently obviously – but before february) I simply went into Murdoch’s, saw the tool kit with almost everything needed, and was home setting it up the same day.

  27. avatar Marshall says:

    Hi,

    I have written the following manual on how to safely recharge spent primers for reuse:

    http://aardvarkreloading.com/resources/Homemade%20Primer%20Course%20Update.pdf

    There is a more recent update than this one, but I couldn’t quickly find the link for it. Anyway, making your own corrosive primers is fairly easy, noncorrosive ones not so much since it requires doing some wet chemistry. Currently, I am able to make my own non-corrosive primers for practice ammunition that are as good or better than commercial primers. I also have developed noncorrosive primer compounds and methods for recharging rimfire cases (be warned, Sharpshooter’s primer compound is corrosive, as is match compound and toy caps). It is possible to make good reliable 22LR reloads, but it is time consuming and requires some special reloading tools (e.g. you must be able to resize the cases all the way to the rim and at least slightly open the primer strike on the rim).

    While working with percussion sensitive primary explosives is not for everyone, if you do it correctly you can safely make your own ammunition primers. I regularly make them and have yet to have a primer go off unintendedly. I have noticed that it is getting harder and more difficult to obtain the needed chemicals for making primers, so the window of opportunity may be closing.

    Marshall

    Marshall

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Thanks for this Marshall.
      I’m printing this out and saving it so I can do some tinkering on my own.

      I remember a few years back watching a video, (by CCI I think), and it showed a lady working with the wet primer compound. Seems it is/was quite safe when it was moist and malleable.

      1. avatar Marshall says:

        Tom,

        You are correct that moist primer compound is less sensitive and is the loading method used by almost all commercial primer manufacturers. However, even this is not foolproof with major accidents happening about 1/decade somewhere in the world. The safest technique is the “Eley Prime” method which loads an inert mixture of chemicals into the primer cup (or rimfire case) and then activates it with a drop of water. After drying, the end result is the same as wet loading. I have yet to hear of any accidents occurring with this manufacturing method. This method is thoroughly described in my manual.

  28. avatar Marshall says:

    Tom,

    I forgot that this topic was covered on this site before in an article by Dean Weingarten:

    https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/everything-your-ever-wanted-to-know-about-percussion-caps-and-primers/

    It was my work that Dean was discussing in his article. If you learn to make your own primers now, you need not fear a shortage or cutoff in the future, even though you may be able to still buy commercial primers today (I buy commercial primers all the time for my reloading, although I know how to make my own). None-the-less, you are advised to find and purchase the needed chemicals while they are freely available. These chemicals have an almost unlimited shelf life if stored in a cool, dry environment (i.e. the same conditions that are good for storing ammunition). They will be fine for use in 5, 10, 20 years or more if ever needed. If you wait until the Internet no longer works or the Feds decide to restrict the purchase of these chemicals, you may be out of luck. There are expedient ways to make some useful chemicals for primers from common household materials in a SHTF situation, but this is a lot more trouble and expensive that buying the stuff directly from Internet suppliers today.

    Marshall

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