There is an ammunition shortage these days, and if you can find ammunition for sale, the prices are extremely high. If you have never reloaded your own ammunition, you are missing out on all the fun as well as being able to afford to shoot your guns these days!
Here in California, if you want to buy factory ammunition at a gun shop, you first must pass a background check. You also have limitations on how much ammunition you can purchase on a monthly basis. . It’s really dumbfounding the hoops one has to go through in order to get firearms and ammunition in places with stricter gun laws like California where we are still Americans with Constitutional rights.
If you want to buy a gun you have to leave a thumb print, 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 is 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 the “Grapes of Wrath” with the back half drooped 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 own reloading, I own two Dillon 1050 loading machines that have been going strong for over 30 years! I have reloaded at least 1,000,000 rounds during that period.
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 to be used in 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. For my rifle loads, I use a single stage loading machine. For .308 Winchester, I use a full-length sizing die and a special beeswax to lube the cases. For my Federal 168 grain bullets, I load 46 grains of H380 powder. These cartridges work nicely in my R25 Remington rifle and Savage .308 model LE10 tactical rifle. I just purchased the Savage rifle in December and am overwhelmed with how nicely the rifle shoots with great accuracy.
For those of you that 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 spend time being productive and preparing for what might come.
Your ammunition costs will be much less, and you can either get that “alone time” you’ve been needing or enjoy teaching the craft with others like your friends or children. It is a great skill set to have and should be passed on to future generations.
We certainly have quite a bit 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 hoping you get to shoot long and straight!