Ammunition Drought – Time To Think About Reloading

There is an ammunition shortage, and the prices are extremely high if you can find ammunition for sale. If you have never reloaded your ammunition, you are missing out on all the fun and being able to afford to shoot your guns these days!

In California, if you want to buy factory ammunition at a gun shop, you must pass a background check first. You also have limitations on how much ammunition you can purchase every month. 

It’s dumbfounding the hoops one has to go through to get firearms and ammunition in places with stricter gun laws, like California, where we are still Americans with Constitutional rights.

To buy a gun, you must leave a thumbprint, show a birth certificate and/or passport, and pass a background check. 

Times keep getting harder for the recreational shooter, but to vote for the people running our country, all that is required is for you to be somewhat alive and mail in a ballot! Isn’t that wild?

In my competition days, I had sponsors. I would pick up 50,000 rounds of 158gr .38 special lead ball ammunition. My pickup truck looked like a scene from “Grapes of Wrath,” with the back half drooping down like a low-rider. 

Even with sponsors, I learned early on the importance of reloading and have been doing so for over 30 years.

I used to shoot 50,000 rounds of practice ammunition a year just to get ready for the “Bianchi Cup”, and that doesn’t include all the ammo needed for the rest of the matches I would shoot like the Police matches, “The Masters”, and many others around the world. 

For my reloading, I own two Dillon 1050 loading machines that have been going strong for over 30 years! During that period, I have reloaded at least 1,000,000 rounds.

One of my 1050’s used to be set up to mass produce 7BR ammunition to shoot the Masters event. The other 1050 was set up for 9mm, and I had extra die heads for .38 Special and .38 Super.

To load my 9mm bullets, I prefer Zero Bullets. I load 115-grain jacketed hollow points. I like Winchester once-fired brass and use 3.5 grains of Tight Group or 4.5 grains of Winchester 231. For the .38 148 wad cutters, I use 2.7 of Tight Group, 3.0 Winchester 231, or 2.8 of Vihta Vouri N320.

These are primarily for PPC shooting. There were no PPC matches last year due to the “China plague,” but hopefully, we will be back on track this year. I’ve been stocking up regardless.

I use a single-stage loading machine for my rifle loads; a full-length sizing die for .308 Winchester and a special beeswax to lube the cases. I load 46 grains of H380 powder for my Federal 168-grain bullets.

These cartridges work nicely in my R25 Remington and Savage .308 model LE10 tactical rifles. I purchased the Savage rifle in December and am overwhelmed with how nicely it shoots and with its great accuracy.

For those of you who prepared for the drought, you have already purchased your Dillon reloading machines and have stocked up on primers, powder, and projectiles.  Reloading is a great way to be productive and prepare for what might come.

Your ammunition costs will be much less, and you can either get that “alone time” you’ve needed or enjoy teaching the craft with others, such as your friends or children.

It is a great skill set and should be passed on to future generations.

We certainly have a lot of “free time” with all the lockdowns and social distancing. Make the most of this time and add to your stockpile at a lower cost.

Until next time, this is John Pride. I hope you get to shoot long and straight!

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