Mike Ault's thoughts on various topics, Oracle related and not. Note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not contributing to the overall theme of the BLOG or are insulting or demeaning to anyone. The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
As many of you know I am a staunch supporter of the USA 2nd amendment right to bear arms. In support of the 2nd amendment I own and usually carry a firearm and have the needed permit to do so legally for the state of Georgia and the states that practice reciprocity with Georgia about concealed carry permits. Part of the responsibility of being a firearm owner and user is maintaining proficiency with your weapon. Having a weapon and not knowing how to properly use it usually results in you, or someone you love, getting hurt or killed. Part of knowing how to use your weapon is to practice with it to acquire and retain control and accuracy.
Practicing with your weapon involves going to a safe place to shoot, either a secluded, isolated place where you have permission to shoot, or, a public or private shooting range, either indoors or outdoors. Near my home I have an indoor shooting range I go to when I need to practice with my hand guns or 9mm carbine as the indoor range is limited to a 50 yard distance. I have a public, outdoor range I use when I practice with my hunting rifle that is about 40 miles or so away. Of course to practice shooting you must expend ammunition. I usually shoot about 100 rounds of 9mm and 200 or so of .22 caliber when I go to the range. Sometimes maybe a few rounds of .38 special as well. All of these rounds cost money.
For full metal jacket 9mm 115 grain Remington practice rounds the cost runs about $13.00 per 50 rounds if you buy them online and have them sent to you, of course this also involves shipping costs so let’s say the 50 rounds costs you about $24.00. If you buy the rounds in a mortar and brick store they will be over $24.00 in most places. So we are talking about 48 cents a round, minimum. So, anything I can do to bring a cost of less than 48 cents a round will be like putting money in my pocket over the long haul. Thus, I thought about reloading my spent ammo.
Back when I was a poor sailor, I had a 8mm Argentine Mauser I picked up in a pawn shop for $75.00. I gloomed onto this reloading thing with that right away and picked up a really inexpensive Lee-Loader, simply a set of sizing and bullet seating dies, a de-capper and a primer seater. You used a hammer as your press and could load anywhere you wanted to. Unfortunately it wasn’t suited to doing hundreds of rounds at a time.
Flash forward 35 years. I decided to reload my handgun ammo and try to save a little dough as well as be more self sufficient, in the coming times that could be quite useful. Thus began an epic journey to obtain a reloading setup to call my own. After checking reviews, prices and forum entries about various reloading setups I decided I wanted a simple to use press that would allow me to reload with minimal change out of dies and such. I decided on a turret style press that would allow you to put all the needed sizer, decapper, bullet seater and post sizing dies on a turret for a single caliber and all you had to do was pull the lever on the press to rotate the turret as needed. The capability to turn off the “indexing” (movement of the turret) and allow for use as a fixed position press was also a plus. I decided on the Lee Deluxe 4 Place Turret reloading kit which included the turret press, the Lee Autodisk powder measure, a beam type powder scale and various other tools such as a primer pocket cleaner, a casing trimmer and a casing chamfer cutting tool. I added to that dies for 9mm, .38 special and 8mm Mauser, a digital caliper, and the Lee autoprimer. Of course since my loading knowledge was 30+ years out of date, I also picked up a couple of loading manuals like “Modern Reloading – 2nd Edition” by Richard Lee. Of course you also need a bench to hold all this stuff so I picked up a do-it-yourself reloading bench kit where all you add is a 4X8X3/4 sheet of plywood, 7-2X4s and some elbow grease to build a nice bench.
Of course you also need primers, powder, brass and bullets. I picked up some once fired brass for the 9mm (about 2000 casings), 500-124 grain jacketed hollow points, 1000 Winchester small pistol primers and 2 pounds of HP-38 pistol powder. All told the reloading equipment, bench and supplies cost me about $600.00. Add to that a bullet chronograph to measure the results of your reloading for consistency and safety and you get about $700.00. Now, doing the math, if all I ever did was reload the 2000 rounds I purchased the casings for, they would work out to 35 cents a round (even with buying 1500 more bullets and 1000 more primers). So, even with buying the reloading equipment all I need do is reload and shoot 5385 rounds (40 times to the range, about 12 months worth) to break even. Of course, soon my wife and daughter will also be going to the range with me, add in their rounds and I should see payback in 6 months or less.
Of course the other benefit to doing your own loading of ammo is that you can work up an exact load that gives you the best performance from your pistol or rifle. You can also figure out a minimal load to give you a cheap range ammo to practice with. Of course I am a firm believer in practicing with what you will be using, a load that barely punches a hole in paper at 50 yards won’t behave the same, have the same trajectory as or deliver the same kick as a 1200 FPS screamer. If you are going to just detune to reduce cost and recoil, .22 long rifle are cheap and guns that simulate your handgun, or kits that allow your handgun to fire .22 LR are readily available for fairly cheap prices.
After a few false starts and a few mess-ups as I got the various parts adjusted properly and I loaded my first 92 rounds last night. Only 5273 to go!