Surplus, in this day and age just why?
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Thread: Surplus, in this day and age just why?

  1. #1
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    Default Surplus, in this day and age just why?

    I read from time to time threads on this or that surplus ammo, be they talking about costs, reliable, accurate, corrosive........ and I always come back and ask myself why. Why do you bother with this stuff? It is not a decade ago any longer....or more, and you are not going to find that Greek 3006 growing on trees, that old yugo 8mm, Korean 30 carbine, or 3006, even the commie 54r is really a thing of the past. So why do people go out and for the price of a GOOD single stage press, 200 brass, bullets of your choice, primers....bla bla bla. and be set ready to roll your own. It will not be corrosive, you will turning them out (depending on the round) dollars per round cheaper over factory. You can make them as wild or mild as you wish, however unless you are hunting with your old "army" gun and need bullet performance why push the old gal that hard IMHO.

    Any fool can reload and not blow themselves up, I am any fool and have been doing it better part of 30 years and I still have both eyeballs and all my fingers, however the wife said I am losing my mind but not quite to the extent of Biden. You can do it in even the smallest apartment...well not Jake Blues apartment, but anything a step up from that. You can reload 90% of our old rifle stuff with one powder, and if you do hand guns there is another powder, and really two different primers. It is not a huge investment up front to reload even for odd ball flavors, for the cost of that 440 case of 54R you can get going.

    The last thing I loaded was 30-40 Krag and 45-70 for a Trapdoor. The savings in both these rounds was measured in the dollars per round. I generally test "factory" ammo in a given rifle to get the chrono numbers (you should get one but it is not required) and I found both "trapdoor safe" factory and the Krag rifle rounds a bit hot for my liking, and we will not even get into things like cast boolits. So my home rolled are a bit softer shooting and I feel still give the experience of shooting these guns....you can set it with reloading to your liking.

    Lastly before I wind this up, some stuff we like.....if we want to shoot it more then once a year you really have to do it. Yes there are places where you can get factory 7.7Jap, 7.5french so on and so on, but it is not inexpensive. I bought these guns to enjoy shooting them, in my book that is why I got into this in the first place, to shoot more. After that it got to well I can eat lunch with friends not having to worry if my barrel is rusting to a sewer pipe as I eat lunch with the guys, getting home to clean them 6 hours later after they sit in my trunk on a hot MO day of 92f and 99% humidity.

    I figure that should be enough to get it rolling......

    The point of this is really to try to get some people that are on the fence on starting on this aspect of the hobby to perhaps think about it again, as we have ranges still closed due to what is all going on, this gives you a chance to work with your hobby, get a better product over something made before Castro took power, and likely a better experience with your guns in the next outing to the range.

    What say you?

  2. #2
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    The perceived learning curve and cost of equipment to get started are the biggest obstacles for most people thinking about getting into reloading. These don't seem so daunting for those of us who have been doing it for a long time, but for others it's a hurdle to overcome, and depending on the volume of shooting they expect to do, the cost-benefit may not make sense to them.

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    If you want to get into reloading, buy a couple reloading manuals and read them.
    Another way is to find someone to teach you how to do it.
    If you can read and comprehend what you are reading, you can reload, it is not hard to learn.
    Just follow the reloading manual recipes, and you will be fine.

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    Why drive a Model A ford when the Mustang GT is around...why hunt with a bow and arrow when 7mm Rem mag is better?

    Some want the original experience, some are lazy, some think “their time” is better spent on other activities.

    I reload thousands of rounds per year yet my basement is filled with surplus ammunition. Precision some range days vs just shooting fun on other days.

    To each his own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ammolab View Post
    Why drive a Model A ford when the Mustang GT is around...why hunt with a bow and arrow when 7mm Rem mag is better?

    Some want the original experience, some are lazy, some think “their time” is better spent on other activities.

    I reload thousands of rounds per year yet my basement is filled with surplus ammunition. Precision some range days vs just shooting fun on other days.

    To each his own.

    ^ +1 ^

    Sometimes I find it more enjoyable at the range to just go out and shoot some "fire and forget" ammunition. The perfect description for most of the surplus ammunition that I have.

    This, plus the significantly lower CPR I experience with my surplus ammunition.

    At the age of 71, I don't find it as easy as I once did to crawl around on my hands and knees looking for the last few cases from the rounds I just fired so I can take them home and reload them .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronbo6 View Post
    ^ +1 ^

    Sometimes I find it more enjoyable at the range to just go out and shoot some "fire and forget" ammunition. The perfect description for most of the surplus ammunition that I have.

    This, plus the significantly lower CPR I experience with my surplus ammunition.

    At the age of 71, I don't find it as easy as I once did to crawl around on my hands and knees looking for the last few cases from the rounds I just fired so I can take them home and reload them .
    That is another thing I just don't get, if I am going to shoot the entire point is to hit what I aim at, not make noise. I too am sitting on pounds of surplus, it likely has cobwebs why just make noise and put holes in the general area that I want to.

    I understand the brass goblin thing, some brass I care about others not so much. Do I recover every 38 case I chuck out of my lever gun ahh nope. Do I look out of the corner of my eye where every 30 remington case goes....you bet.

    I would also look into one of those brass picker up thingies, There is/was a guy in a wheel chair that had one and grabbed all the brass around, he said it even filtered out most of the gravel....looked real cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigwagon View Post
    The perceived learning curve and cost of equipment to get started are the biggest obstacles for most people thinking about getting into reloading. These don't seem so daunting for those of us who have been doing it for a long time, but for others it's a hurdle to overcome, and depending on the volume of shooting they expect to do, the cost-benefit may not make sense to them.
    This is exactly it, plus what Ammolab said. Over the years I've tried to talk many different friends into reloading, a few times even helped them get set up for cheap. I can only think of two that stuck with it. Most people simply don't want to take the time.

    There is also this prevailing perception that it costs $500 to $1000 to get set up to reload. If I had to start all over again on a budget, I could poke around at a gun show and find enough solid old used equipment to get going for under $100, easy. For a newbie who doesn't know the ropes though, it can be daunting. You have loud voices telling you how stupid you are if you buy a single stage, and a fool if you don't go Blue, stuff like that. And then again, most people just don't want to take the time. If it's not your thing, a hobby you enjoy, then it's a hassle that takes time away from something else. That time is valuable to them for other things and they can't fathom why you'd waste all your time reloading when you can just spend a little more and buy it ready to shoot.

    As to accuracy, different people have wildly different expectations. I often like to shoot tiny little groups, for the discipline of making those little holes in the paper as close together as possible. Other times I just want to ring a 12" steel gong at 100 yards, or make a tin can fly at 25 yards. From spending time observing other people at the range, I'd say that a lot of people just want to make noise and are happy with scattergun-size groups.

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    My wife once asked me why i reload when i have more factory than i can shoot in my life time.At my age,it's a hobby that takes my mind off other things ,and another thing is i have 2 calibers hard to find ammo local for.

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    I reload a LOT- but because of the volume of ammo I process through my empty brass making gear ( 1919A4, Thompsons, MP-5s, Maxims etc) Surplus is a good alternative to reloading for "some" calibers. It really depends on your volume. Hunting rifles that I fire maybe 5 times a year do not get reloads - I just buy 200 rds of good accurate ammo and I am set for life. On the other hand, feeding my 1910 Maxi or Vickers in 54R, I have only about 50,000 rds of Russian surplus still sitting in wood crates and sealed tins. This may last me . So it really depends on what and how you are shooting a particular firearm. In 9mm , $5, 40 S&W I pretty much only shoot reloads. For a last example - 8mm lebel ammo is either inconsistent surplus or expensive new. I reload this for my Hotchkiss model 1914 MGs.

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    Funny, I've thought about this multiple times and thought I should make a post about why do we spend so much money on old milsurp ammo. I then realize that I keep buying the stuff I wonder about. Well, not all of it, I can't bring myself to pay those crazy prizes for yellow, green, gray box Norinco x39 ammo. I also buy this ammo because I want to shoot some of the old stuff and don't mind cleaning the gun because of the salts.

    I reloaded when I was younger and loved doing it. I have a lot of reloading stuff and just haven't got to cranking out my own rounds again. I have been gearing up and buying new dies and equipment and I will soon be off and running again. I think most people DON'T reload these days because of one major reason... everything we do is in an instant almost these days. You want to eat can buy food at drive thru or microwave. Want to look something up, no need to grab a book, in about .04 seconds 5 millions articles will be at your fingertips while searching the net. Everything we do is almost instant and it's a very fast paced world. People don't relax and just enjoy much anymore. It would probably take 2 hours for some of the younger people to load 100 rounds because they can't put their phones down long enough to get the job done without worrying about social media etc... Me on the other hand just have a raging case of ADHD and I may knock out 30 rounds then clean a gun then knock 50 rounds then buy a gun...

    I agree with you point cherokee_140 but I think more like Ammolab and want both worlds. Even if both worlds cost me more. If I had stayed active in the gun world the previous 25 yrs. I might be thinking differently now, I don't know.
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    For the average guy with a bolt action or semi auto rifle/pistol its a no brainer. New ammo or reloading is a better way to get good ammo. For those of us who shoot machineguns there is a volume problem. My maxims can go through 5000rds at a shoot pretty easily. The MG42 makes the maxims look like duffers. When the good 8mm surplus came in a lot of us bought a lot of it and I'm happy still that I did. With the MG's there are fewer of us who really care if we hit anything. The gun running is the whole point so accuracy is not an issue.

    On the other hand I shoot a lot of long range stuff and I load for it in all the cals I shoot. I won't buy factory ammo because a lot of the calibers aren't available or I have chambers that were made for specific bullets or overall lengths and so on. I can load ammo that is much more accurate than what I can buy and surplus doesn't even come into the picture.

    I load for some of the subguns too. The Dillon 650 and RL1000 can crank out the pistol ammo pretty quick and I'm finding I even load some of the oddball calibers for the rifle cal machineguns occasionally. 7mm Mauser hasn't been available as quality surplus for a long time. I don't shoot the Madsen much but its nice to be able to when I want to take it out. We seldom shoot more than a 500-600 rds with that one at any given shoot. Even so, thats a lot of load prep and handle cranking.

    So the answer to your question is that to a lot of people surplus makes a lot of sense. To others not so much. Its a choice that is nice to have available. Mainly though its just that not all of us like shotguns or pistols and hunting rifles. Lots of different interests and areas for all of us to choose from.


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    Some of us like to shoot our military surplus guns with the ammo that was made for them, for a slightly more authentic experience. I load for some of my revolvers and bolties, but I generally have little time to spend reloading, especially for my higher volume semis. Over the years I have amassed enough surplus ammo that I trust to ensure fun and reliable shooting for years to come.
    To end it, and I mean no real disrespect, but I generally stop reading or listening when I hear/see the word "boolits". It's just one of those teeth-grinding things...sorry.
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    I would like to eventually reload for some of my bolt guns and revolvers, but currently I mostly shoot surplus or factory ammo. I bought cheap and stacked deep as much as I could. Current surplus prices are crazy and I will not pay them. I still buy surplus when I come across it cheap. Corrosive primers will not cause rust to form in a few hours unless the fireare is left in an extremely humid environment. I've left them uncleaned in a climate controlled environment for 48 hours with no issues. I normally don't wait that long to clean, but sometimes stuff happens.

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    For me personally I shoot both my reloads and surplus ammo and have fun doing it. I do not go for groups, my goal is to hit a man size target at the different ranges I shoot at be it 200 or 800 meters, if I hit the target that is good enough for me, a hit is a hit, a miss is a miss. I call it MOM, minute of man

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    Quote Originally Posted by cherokee_140 View Post
    That is another thing I just don't get, if I am going to shoot the entire point is to hit what I aim at, not make noise. I too am sitting on pounds of surplus, it likely has cobwebs why just make noise and put holes in the general area that I want to.

    I understand the brass goblin thing, some brass I care about others not so much. Do I recover every 38 case I chuck out of my lever gun ahh nope. Do I look out of the corner of my eye where every 30 remington case goes....you bet.

    I would also look into one of those brass picker up thingies, There is/was a guy in a wheel chair that had one and grabbed all the brass around, he said it even filtered out most of the gravel....looked real cool.
    I can recognize that there can be pretty major differences between different types of ammunition, and find that I can enjoy just as much shooting, say, 2"-2 1/2" groups with some surplus ammunition lots (if that, indeed, is its accuracy potential out of that given rifle) as I do enjoy shooting 'near-cloverleaves' with a super-duper handload out of that same rifle.

    It isn't necessarily about 'making noise'. It is doing as well as you can with what you have.

    In either case, it is about getting everything out of the rifle that it has to give, and the 'accomplishment' is just as valid to me.

    Those 'brass picker-upper' thingies ARE pretty nice. I shoot at an outdoor range in an informal match every month with the same group of guys, and a couple of them have those 'wire footballs'. They can save a LOT of wear and tear on the back and knees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonny c. View Post
    Some of us like to shoot our military surplus guns with the ammo that was made for them, for a slightly more authentic experience. I load for some of my revolvers and bolties, but I generally have little time to spend reloading, especially for my higher volume semis. Over the years I have amassed enough surplus ammo that I trust to ensure fun and reliable shooting for years to come.
    To end it, and I mean no real disrespect, but I generally stop reading or listening when I hear/see the word "boolits". It's just one of those teeth-grinding things...sorry.

    Explain to me how it is a "slightly more authentic experience" If we are talking about a 45-70 out of a trapdoor, even if I load to BP speeds it is still not like shooting BP.....that I get, black powder just feels different when you touch it off. But with smokeless if I am chucking an X grain bullet out at Y fps, it is going to feel the same to me, only experience I am missing is cleaning, and by looking at some of the 91/30's over the years it looks like many of the conscripts missed out on that as well.

    If boolits gets you sorry that is just my style, I also use the term gunz also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cherokee_140 View Post
    Explain to me how it is a "slightly more authentic experience" If we are talking about a 45-70 out of a trapdoor.
    Well, for starters, that's a dumb example because nobody here is talking about shooting "surplus" 45-70, which is unobtainable. But there are many shooters who do run BP through their vintage 45-70s, and that is a very authentic experience. As far as all the other reason that people seek out and shoot "modern" surplus ammo, most of the reasoning behind that has already been laid out.

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    At the end of the day, no matter what else has been said, it's all about scale/economics.

    When the stuff was coming in by the multiple container load and was hitting the market at small scale prices that were substantially less than what i could reload it for, i shot it.
    Was it the most accurate ammo available, not generally but it did give a sense of what the average ground pounder had to use.
    Besides most of the surplus firearms I own are garden variety "shooter grade" examples they never were intended to be tack drivers.
    Well and good, later when prices climbed above the cost of reloads, I switched and guess what, they are still not tack drivers.
    Better, perhaps and certainly more consistent, but still "service grade".
    Also, on occasion, some years and makers of surplus ammo is truly superior, for me this turned out to be true in the case of the Danish 30-06 that came in a goodly while ago.
    Very affordable, already in enblocs for my M1 and almost as accurate as my tailored handloads, what's not to like?
    Others will probably chime in with their favorites.

    As has been noted, the case of MG shooters is unique, the volumn they need is staggering compared to your average "Joe Shooter".
    For them the idea of pallet loads of affordable ammo cannot be ignored.
    As an example, one 4 hour shoot in a local quarry required the services of a front end loader to clean up the firing line at the end of the day.
    The quarry owner got a couple of hundred bucks for the roll off full of spent cases and shredded autos.

    Sadly those days are probably gone forever, our own ridiculous laws and the economics of transport have put an end to them.

  20. #19
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    One thing that nobody mentioned is ammo availability when the next crisis, political scare, whatever happens. I was at a big sporting goods store Tuesday and the ammo shelves were bare. This is not all that uncommon any more, never know what will trigger the next panic buying. As a reloader I can avoid the shortages by buying componets in bulk when available and not worry about the next panic, and that also means lower price per round. I have the ability to reload for every gun I own except for .22 any I set my family up with more than they will shoot in our lifetime years ago.

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    I suppose if hitting the target precisely (I always hit with surplus 7.62 NATO or 7.62x54r, and marksmanship training is easy with it) is the key, then why bother with old stuff at all? Why bother with Mosins, Enfields, Mausers, or anything surplussed? Indeed, why bother with surplus guns at all? The truth is, there isn't a surplus arm that is as accurate as a new one, right? And given the prices of surplus arms like Finnish Mosins, new-made commercial rifles will be cheaper and more accurate.

    If accuracy is the primary and sole guide, then bench-rest shooting from a fixed action using well-tailored work-ups for a specific action/barrel would be the way to go. Anything else becomes less accurate. So, get a stocked, scoped, precision rifle but shoot from a bench you'll be less accurate than fixed. Same rifle fired from multiple positions, less accurate again. Want iron sights? Less accurate. Surplus rifles? Less accurate.

    Also, there is the amount spent for the complete reloading set up, plus components (let's forget time-value of money, mine personally is $0) already equated with a certain number of rounds lost (opportunity cost - call it ammo op cost). For some rounds, it isn't cheaper (or much cheaper) - reloading 7.62x39 will not be very cost effective, whilst for others it's a great deal (or even required if the round is a real odd-ball that is super-rare).

    Why don't I reload, then, (I actually have a Herters press and gear inherited from my great uncle)? Two reasons: first, I've still not finished with my Mosin stash that I was buying for $40 a tin or even my 7.62 NATO stash that was $0.33 per round. Yeah, those days are gone, but not for me. I bought cheap and stacked deep. Second, while my accuracy with surplus ammo isn't optimum for my platform (M28/76 & Beretta BM-59 are my most accurate, with other Mosins and similar arms remaining) but my accuracy is still good. For marksmanship practice (wear muffs, so the making noise bit is irrelevant), it suffices. I don't compete.

    Lastly, reloading components in my area became just as scarce and difficult to get as ammo so there wasn't a big advantage to having equipment. I don't want to go Wendel Fertig and make bullets out of curtain rods and primers out of matches.

    I don't reload. I have a friend who does. I perform my own vehicle repairs whilst he takes his to a shop. To each his own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigwagon View Post
    Well, for starters, that's a dumb example because nobody here is talking about shooting "surplus" 45-70, which is unobtainable. But there are many shooters who do run BP through their vintage 45-70s, and that is a very authentic experience. As far as all the other reason that people seek out and shoot "modern" surplus ammo, most of the reasoning behind that has already been laid out.
    I chose that example as a poster child to where even with a loading of smokeless to the same FPS numbers as black powder the "feel" from the gun will be different. I doubt the human body can tell the difference between a 1950's loading of 54r to a modern loading to the same specs as the surplus load. I guess that went a little over your head, sorry for that.

    I contend AGAIN that in shooting for example 54R, it can be 8mm, 3006, pick your poison, that if you load with modern components you could not tell the difference between the loads, now this also assumes you are using an appropriate powder for you given task, as in using 4895 for your garand and not 4227. To put it bluntly you can't tell the difference between modern and surplus if loaded to the same specs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobM1919 View Post
    At the end of the day, no matter what else has been said, it's all about scale/economics.

    When the stuff was coming in by the multiple container load and was hitting the market at small scale prices that were substantially less than what i could reload it for, i shot it.
    Was it the most accurate ammo available, not generally but it did give a sense of what the average ground pounder had to use.
    Besides most of the surplus firearms I own are garden variety "shooter grade" examples they never were intended to be tack drivers.
    Well and good, later when prices climbed above the cost of reloads, I switched and guess what, they are still not tack drivers.
    Better, perhaps and certainly more consistent, but still "service grade".
    Also, on occasion, some years and makers of surplus ammo is truly superior, for me this turned out to be true in the case of the Danish 30-06 that came in a goodly while ago.
    Very affordable, already in enblocs for my M1 and almost as accurate as my tailored handloads, what's not to like?
    Others will probably chime in with their favorites.

    As has been noted, the case of MG shooters is unique, the volumn they need is staggering compared to your average "Joe Shooter".
    For them the idea of pallet loads of affordable ammo cannot be ignored.
    As an example, one 4 hour shoot in a local quarry required the services of a front end loader to clean up the firing line at the end of the day.
    The quarry owner got a couple of hundred bucks for the roll off full of spent cases and shredded autos.

    Sadly those days are probably gone forever, our own ridiculous laws and the economics of transport have put an end to them.
    And this I agree with.....and why I say in this day and age.

    People that shoot machine guns, be they large heavy and eat belts before lunch or small going through sticks of 30 in the blink of an eye. Those folks are in a different group from the bolt or semi auto shooter that will shoot in a month what those guns eat in seconds.

    Going back in time, yes I see the draw to surplus. Today I see the draw to things like winchester white box 38, 9mm and even 45's, You can't reload them for the price once you factor in your time. So I get where people that just want good ammo will be drawn to this.

    However 7mm Mauser has a bit more price shock to it, the last new box of 30-40 was over $2 per bang, I can load it for well under half that. Some things like the real popular 54R and 3006 are out there, but not all 3006 is the same and issues can crop up if shot in the old guns, I don't think I need to go into that, but in a nutshell the "cheap" 3006 you buy at walmart is likely to bust or bend parts in that M1.

    Surplus like you said is pretty much a thing of the past, and I do not understand paying the prices I see quoted for surplus when for that same cash outlay you could get started.

    I am a self taught loader, I started 20-30 years ago, and been going from then to today. I was a bit nervous at first, picked a real strong gun to load for at first, and loaded the rounds to the softest the manual said. The gun went bang but not with enough oomph to make it run, rack and try again, nope not enough oomph.....well at least it was not too much oomph and it did "work", so back to the book and a bit more powder.

    I contend it is not hard, every gun forum has some reloading stuff and a section on it, I do advise to take that with a grain of salt, there are a lot of.....well opinions.....on how much of this or that to do, when in doubt check a manual, or powder makers site, they all have info.....it is really more easy today then when I started, every powder maker has a website with loads for this or that on it, and will usually email you back if you have questions.

    The objective of this thread is to get people to go you know that idiot cherokee can load.....so can I.....I will shoot my guns more, enjoy them more, I might even get to the point where I taylor rounds for each gun....and really kick some bootie at the next military rifle shoot. You can do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayhawk View Post
    One thing that nobody mentioned is ammo availability when the next crisis, political scare, whatever happens. I was at a big sporting goods store Tuesday and the ammo shelves were bare. This is not all that uncommon any more, never know what will trigger the next panic buying. As a reloader I can avoid the shortages by buying componets in bulk when available and not worry about the next panic, and that also means lower price per round. I have the ability to reload for every gun I own except for .22 any I set my family up with more than they will shoot in our lifetime years ago.
    And this is why I load for something like 38. Remember the 22 shortage years ago.....I thought I can reload some 38's pretty darn cheap, grab an old Marlin or Winchester lever and have a ball shooting for not much more then the 22's.....and also picture in my mind the scene from True Grit.....Fill your hands...... Shooting that lever 38 was so much fun that I grabbed a Camp 9.....now I reload for 9mm, for the same reason, it is cheap, I have the bullets, cases.....and if 22 drys up again that will be cheap to shoot, however now I am sitting on over 100lbs of 22.

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    After a certain age..your consistency, and measurements and mentally itís taxing..constraining the specs.
    i gave my whole set up away..last year to a X boss, friend...($700 Value) maybe?
    at my age Iíve accumulate 80ís to today, over abundance of ammunition in every cal, gauge..
    I mean it took 3 days to move all into one secure, cool, stable temp. location..
    never doing that again..!
    buy on sale, by large amounts, to small flea market, estate sales, yard sale buys..NEVER DURING PANICE PRICES,
    "Christís Grace + being constitutionally solvently Give strength resistant To Marxism!

  26. #25
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    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davis View Post
    I suppose if hitting the target precisely (I always hit with surplus 7.62 NATO or 7.62x54r, and marksmanship training is easy with it) is the key, then why bother with old stuff at all? Why bother with Mosins, Enfields, Mausers, or anything surplussed? Indeed, why bother with surplus guns at all? The truth is, there isn't a surplus arm that is as accurate as a new one, right? And given the prices of surplus arms like Finnish Mosins, new-made commercial rifles will be cheaper and more accurate.

    If accuracy is the primary and sole guide, then bench-rest shooting from a fixed action using well-tailored work-ups for a specific action/barrel would be the way to go. Anything else becomes less accurate. So, get a stocked, scoped, precision rifle but shoot from a bench you'll be less accurate than fixed. Same rifle fired from multiple positions, less accurate again. Want iron sights? Less accurate. Surplus rifles? Less accurate.

    Also, there is the amount spent for the complete reloading set up, plus components (let's forget time-value of money, mine personally is $0) already equated with a certain number of rounds lost (opportunity cost - call it ammo op cost). For some rounds, it isn't cheaper (or much cheaper) - reloading 7.62x39 will not be very cost effective, whilst for others it's a great deal (or even required if the round is a real odd-ball that is super-rare).

    Why don't I reload, then, (I actually have a Herters press and gear inherited from my great uncle)? Two reasons: first, I've still not finished with my Mosin stash that I was buying for $40 a tin or even my 7.62 NATO stash that was $0.33 per round. Yeah, those days are gone, but not for me. I bought cheap and stacked deep. Second, while my accuracy with surplus ammo isn't optimum for my platform (M28/76 & Beretta BM-59 are my most accurate, with other Mosins and similar arms remaining) but my accuracy is still good. For marksmanship practice (wear muffs, so the making noise bit is irrelevant), it suffices. I don't compete.

    Lastly, reloading components in my area became just as scarce and difficult to get as ammo so there wasn't a big advantage to having equipment. I don't want to go Wendel Fertig and make bullets out of curtain rods and primers out of matches.

    I don't reload. I have a friend who does. I perform my own vehicle repairs whilst he takes his to a shop. To each his own.
    The point of the old guns....you like old guns, and want them to perform to their best, be they military or sporting.

    It reminds me of people making sporters in the 50's. My G43 had a cut down stock, lucky for me nothing else, but I had to track down a stock and ended up getting one out of poland. My FiL and his brother cut down and sportered a Krag in the 50, they could not afford even the surplus springfield for $25 so they got the Krag. There was a time when doing this was the only way to get a rifle if you needed one, and they needed one to put food on the table for a southern Tenn. family of 14, He proudly told me he poached deer to feed the family......it was a different time. Fast forward to today and yes the most inexpensive bolt rifle will likely out shoot your 1903....and if it does not the difference will not be that great. That is today, and why in the era of cheap 91/30's I started threads asking why you sportered them, the end product cost more then a Savage Axis and shot worse....what was the point.

    But we drifted.....I do that.

    But with making custom loads for old guns, I get real joy out of making them shoot as good as I can, and I do admit, after I hit the limit on what I can do....I loose interest in them. I will have a gun that I will spend hours making shoot as well as it can, then take a rifle to the next CMP match that I have on paper at 200 yards, and start working again....after it gets good, to the back of the safe it goes and the next challenge comes out. It is just me.....and likely why I have 3 over stuffed safes.

    I reload, and my shop with a lift and AC has a 1968 Fiat 850 Spider sitting on the lift up in the air with just (at the time) needing front brake calipers rebuilt. It has been there over a year.....I get the work on car reference and our interests change.....and mine might change.

  27. #26
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    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by DK PHILLIPS View Post
    After a certain age..your consistency, and measurements and mentally it’s taxing..constraining the specs.
    i gave my whole set up away..last year to a X boss, friend...($700 Value) maybe?
    at my age I’ve accumulate 80’s to today, over abundance of ammunition in every cal, gauge..
    I mean it took 3 days to move all into one secure, cool, stable temp. location..
    never doing that again..!
    buy on sale, by large amounts, to small flea market, estate sales, yard sale buys..NEVER DURING PANICE PRICES,
    Some of my stuff came from an old (age) friend, in his late 80's. Old manuals, some dies, small lots of bullets. I see a day when it will all be passed down to someone again, our interests change. I posted about that old Fiat....at one time I had over 12 classic cars, I have three now. Two Fiat 850's and a Triumph GT6. I am done with old cars, I want something with AC, cup holders, heated seats. As we age, we change what we want.....and what we can do....like the other post about the reloading process being just taxing. I have a hard time getting into the 850, and getting out is a real chore....however I can get in and out of a new Miata just fine.....and it even has cup holders.

  28. #27
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    Dec 1969
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonny c. View Post
    Some of us like to shoot our military surplus guns with the ammo that was made for them, for a slightly more authentic experience. I load for some of my revolvers and bolties, but I generally have little time to spend reloading, especially for my higher volume semis. Over the years I have amassed enough surplus ammo that I trust to ensure fun and reliable shooting for years to come.
    To end it, and I mean no real disrespect, but I generally stop reading or listening when I hear/see the word "boolits". It's just one of those teeth-grinding things...sorry.
    + 1000 on "boolits", and don't get me started on "gifted"!

    I used to reload 55 years ago; I don't now because I've got more things I want to do than put cartridges together- and not enough time
    to do it.

    I figure if you can't afford to buy ammo, one just should buy one less "gun" and use the money for ammo.
    03man - Don Voigt
    Author of "The Japanese T99 Arisaka Rifle" 2010 edition
    Co-author of "The Knee Mortars of Japan 1921-1945" 2011 edition
    Near Charlotte, NC

  29. #28
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    Jul 2012
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    So many people fail to take into account the cost of components and time spent reloading when talking about how "cheap" reloading is. For rounds like 30-40 Krag, 7.7 Japanese, 45-70, etc it can definitely be worth your time. But until the recent spike in ammo prices you could literally buy loaded ammo for the common calibers for about .01 to .05 more a round than a reload made with the cheapest components available. 9mm, .223, .308, 54r, and more were just not worth reloading for purely financial purposes. Even for more obscure but still commonly available ammo through Prvi like 6.5 swede, 8mm mauser, and 7.5 Swiss it was barely justifiable to load your own ammo. Factor in the cost of a bullet, primer and powder (using already fired brass) you are already at about $0.45 to $0.50 cents a round when new ammo was available all day online for between $0.60 to $0.70 a round. If you just sell your once fired brass you could have easily broken even without having to spend money on equipment, dies, and reloading supplies especially when you consider the volume most people shoot older calibers. Ignoring the cost of a real setup and just factoring in a set of dies at roughly $35 you would need to load over 140 rounds of a caliber to start breaking even on your new die set based on some math $35/$0.25(cost saving between reloaded ammo at $0.50 and new factory ammo at $0.75 per shot) = 140 rounds. That's without factoring in the value of your time either or taking the effort of selling your once fired brass to reloaders.

    Again, if reloading is your hobby there is nothing wrong with doing it and you can save a lot on rare calibers but the gun community's online secret tip for saving on ammo doesn't make a lot of sense. It's also a great way to make cheaper precision ammo, but financially you'd almost always be better off taking extra hours at work or putting in more effort for a bigger bonus and buying new than reloading.

  30. #29
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    Jan 2008
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    Stop being a Fudd cherokee.

    Everybody likes what they like. I'm in the process of beginning to reload for my MP44 but I have no interest in reloading otherwise. Why am I going to reload for that one? I dunno….I just am. I like shooting old ammo because it's vintage and FUN. I don't care about laser point accuracy so long as I can hit a man sized target at whatever range I'm trying for. Nothing I own is precision and even the stuff that's fairly accurate such as my Chicom SVD gets whatever the hell I find at the moment to put through it. I think it's neat seeing what various old stuff does through my FG42. Life's too short to worry about some crap. I LIKE shooting old vintage ammo. I LIKE shooting new stuff too. Sometimes I buy old stuff simply to see how it's packed or to get the wooden crate. There are a million reasons why someone buys all that old stuff and it's really nobody else's business why. If it makes someone happy, that's reason enough.
    Last edited by BWilhelm; 07-10-2020 at 10:09 AM.
    I guarantee that you're smarter than I am.

  31. #30

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    I reload, a lot. My father got me into collecting surplus and he also reloaded heavily when I was young so I just picked up the habit from the get go. Itís the only way to go because I shoot multiple obsolete calibers that you just canít buy new or surplus ammo for unless you go with some specialty products that rival .50bmg in price per round. I do pick up surplus ammo when I can just because of the fact that I donít necessarily have time to reload every round I expect to shoot for every gun though I do reload small batches for every caliber. I donít mess with berdan primed surplus (except GP11) and I also donít shoot corrosive ammo out of any of my firearms. Just a personal choice, I know itís not that big of deal to clean after corrosive but I just donít feel like even worrying about it. For the most part if I pick up a new caliber Iíll just buy 200 or so rounds of PPU if itís available to shoot for fun and then reload from then on.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  32. #31
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    Dec 1969
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    Oregon
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    744

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    Quote Originally Posted by AR475891 View Post
    Again, if reloading is your hobby there is nothing wrong with doing it and you can save a lot on rare calibers but the gun community's online secret tip for saving on ammo doesn't make a lot of sense. It's also a great way to make cheaper precision ammo, but financially you'd almost always be better off taking extra hours at work or putting in more effort for a bigger bonus and buying new than reloading.
    It's a little presumptive to assume that everyone can pick up some extra hours at work, or work harder for a bigger bonus. I expect that's true for a relatively small percentage of folks here. There are plenty of retired guys who reload on a fixed income, and if I wanted more hours at work I'd better go out and look for a second job. I'll never turn down overtime in favor of reloading, but in my case even overtime money has to go towards household budget. If I want to shoot very much, I really need to cast and reload, whether it's effectively "worth" my time or not. There's just no way I can justify going out and spending a bunch of money on ammo.

  33. #32
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    Dec 1969
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    Bucks county, PA, USA
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    Well no one has brought this angle so let me give it a go. Sometimes if you really want to study a rifle as it was used and not just shoot while eating your banana, there is no substitute for surplus.

    Case 1

    Back many years ago when I was a young lad, and WWII ammunition was still around, I read the following:

    1) US WWII M2 ball was "Smokey" and had flash problems at night

    2) 303 British had similar issues with Flash at night

    3) German SS and SME ammunition did not.

    So I tested surplus ammo which was available at dusk, at night and in day to see if I could verify the above. Some I did , some I did not. Also caused my father some stress as I blammed away outside of his house at night, setting up cameras if front of the guns to take pictures, etc.

    You cannot do that with new reloads.



    Case 2

    Some years later I got interested in UK regulated .303 service rifles, that is rifles set up for SR(b). Guess what, they were set up for MK VII rounds.

    So I tested rifles' with these rounds, many different lots, and found out a lot of interesting things, from reading the 1929 handbook and checking. Lots to know on this archaic topic.

    You cannot do that with reloads, they do not make cordite, you cannot get the correct MK VII bullets and interwar crimping is not something you can replicate. And the rifles were set up to shoot that.


    Case 3

    So then 10 years ago I got interested in the generation 1 commonwealth 7.62 NATO target rifles.

    To really see this operate as they were meant to, you need to shoot surplus ammo. They were set up to get the best accuracy out of C21, F4, L2A2, (with some DM41 thrown in) ball ammo. Learned a lot about the rounds, some in line with regular concepts, not so much. Some of the regular ball shot very well indeed, if there was a match between the barrel and the ammunition.

    To shoot reloads would miss a lot of that history and the appreciation for these old target rifles.

    Case 4

    Swiss 300M shooting.

    So I belong to a overseas swiss rifle club. Guess what we shoot in K31, Tanner, Hammerali rifles? It isn't reloads. It is GP11. To sit down and knock out a mid 90s score on the A 10 target at 300M is a feat and the 8.8 Lb rifles do it well for 6,000 to 8,000 rounds, some close to 10,000.

    The steel cupro-nickel plated bullets, slow powder and very high neck tension all go to making these rifles shoot so well so long. Ang guess what...you do not clean them, yup, just grease the bore between sessions. An entire season with out cleaning with bore cleaners, nitro cleaners, copper removers or other stuff we in the US are used to.

    reloads in such a rifle kind of miss the point. In most cases a rifles is part of a weapon system and the ammunition match is part of that system. You will learn things with careful study and experiment using surplus that you will not studying the Sierra reloading manual.

    Final offering: Try shooting surplus .30 M1 and M72 bullets out of a worn but shiny M1903/ M1 barrel and compare it to reloads using Sierra 168 to 175 grain Matchking 7.62 bullets, same everything but the bullets. I bet you the M72 bullets groups beat the sierra groups. Hmm...wonder why...………. What can one learn from that?
    Last edited by Fritz; 07-11-2020 at 10:59 AM.

  34. #33

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    Still shooting 7.62x25 bought at $.10 a round. Very fast very accurate. Shooting good cmp surplus 30-06 2 bought at .35 around. 7.62x54r bought at .08.
    All accurate. Some corrosive, big deal.
    Show me where Id save money reloading?

  35. #34
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    Dec 2007
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    Started reloading in 1967 after I got out of the navy. Was making $1.90 an hour shoveling coal and fly ash. My '06 was a 1917 Enfield and thanks to many vets from WWII and Korea who mainly shot WWII and Korean vintage '06 ammo and let the young kid (I was 21 at the time) have the brass. Back then you could buy M2 bullets cheap,4895 was THE powder and primers were cheap. Then came the 1891 Argentine Mauser, back then you had a choice of Argy mil surp ammo or Norma. So I shot the surplus until I could afford RCBS dies and a form and trim die. Made up the Argy cases from boxer Israeli 8mm brass and Speer bullets. Then came my first 303 British No4MKII, as most of the WWII 303 was past it's sell by date I reloaded for that caliber. Then came the Swedes. 6.5x55 mil surp was so cheap it was all I ever shot. Federal imported the 6.5x55 in their American Eagle line and was made for them by Norma,boxer primed and cheap. And like a lot of you got in on the Moisins when they were inexpensive. Then an article in the Gun Digest by C.E.Harris about shooting cast bullets in surplus rifles. So bullet molds, pot to melt the wheel weights and add 2% tin,sizer luber and off to the races. Once I had good accuracy started collecting wheel weights from a couple gas stations. Had to buy a turkey fryer to melt all of them into ingots. Started out with Hanson company brass because no one at the time was offering boxer brass in 7.62x54r. Then retired and moved to Louisiana and joined a gun club. Shot steel plate matches with a 1943 Ithaca 1911A1. In the Garand still shot M2 ball. My Sako 75 Hunter loves it and since it's dated LC63 Match does shoot 1" groups @100yds. Now with this covid virus self quarantine most local ranges are now closed. But not to worry as I'll be casting plenty of bullets and much needed yard work. And thanks to some you tube videos I have a way to convert the South African 303 berdan primed brass to boxer to keep busy. Frank

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