Thursday, March 22, 2012

ammo makes the gun

AMMO MAKES THE GUN
A lot of times the ammo makes the gun.  One wonders if the world would have ever heard about, cared about or started using the 223 without the M16 or the 7.62x39 without the AK.  No one else started using the 303 British.  Once the Springfield and Garand started getting scarce, the 30-06 was relegated in use to a few old codgers.  Not that 30-06 in bolt action is dead, just that it is not widespread.  The Russian Mosin Nagant bolt uses its own unique round that never caught on in another rifle.  Sure, there is the Russian semi-auto sniper rifle using the round, but they are pretty scarce in the civilian world.  My point is this.  Without a steady supply of a one of a kind round of ammunition, there is not much point in owning the MN bolt gun.  Yes, they are cheap.  Sometimes, cheap is what you get and all you can get and you are happy to have it.  But don’t just buy the gun and then assume its inexpensive ammunition will be available forever more.  If you can’t buy its ammunition now, in quantity, it might be a poor arsenal choice.
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Look, I know a lot of you reload.  A lot of you could remain equipped with a plentiful supply of ammunition if the Apocalypse happened right now.  If “1632” happened right now and your chunk of property was hurdled into another dimension, changes are good you could become the new supreme overlord with the number of MN’s and ammunition you have stockpiled.  This article is not for you.  It is for the folks that bought the gun and are planning, sometime, to buy its cheap ammo.   Look around you.  Oil is becoming dear to burn.  Forget about ultimate supply.  Just focus on the fact it is becoming too expensive, and that looks to be the new normal.  Already, our domestic furniture industry has made a remarkable resurgence, all due to the fact that it is no longer economically viable to ship bulky furniture over here from across the Pacific.  Our $10-$15 an hour labor, even at three to four times the cost of Chinese labor, still builds a cheaper unit because of the shipping costs.  Which are determined by the cost of oil ( you wonder why the Baltic Index is dropping?  The age of globalization is dead under $100 barrel of oil ).  I’m not saying that cheap foreign, overseas shipping of steel cased ammunition will dry up tomorrow, although it could.  I am saying that if the ammo keeps coming, and if oil stays above $100, I would not be surprised in the least if Russian bolt ammo went to thirty to fifty cents a round from its current twenty cents ( this is a WAG- ammo is dense, but historically the ammo has already doubled with increased oil cost ). 
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Sure, domestic ammo also might go up in cost.  In that case, all things being relative, your bolt ammo will still be the most affordable.  But are you willing to bet on that?  I bet on the fact that the Lee-Enfield ammo would stay affordable and I lost that bet.  Hell, I don’t mind reloading instead of buying surplus but even that is no longer viable with unloaded cases going for over sixty cents a round ( the bad part being that the Enfield chews up brass- again, speaking relative to others- so the replacement cost of brass is much higher than with other rounds.  Eventually going to another arsenal will be spiritually painful, such as going from a Mac to a Windows computer, but cost wise it is necessary ).  If at all possible, buy your cheap bolt ammunition while you still can.  And be aware that it is likely that once the ammunition goes up in cost, this will no longer be a good bet for the frugal survivalist.  Look at the SKS.  Millions were bought by idiot militiamen, so broke from buying cammo that there was nothing left for firearms.  So they bought $120 brand new Chinese carbines.  Who would have thought that they would be going for nearly $400 a mere fifteen years later?  The ammo only doubled ( from when oil was $20 a barrel ) but because those commie ass licking toad bastard liberals restricting Chinese importation ( making our politicians more communist than the ChiComs ) we are buying up in a limited market.  It’s okay for China to export toxic baby formula, but God forbid some guy buy a piece of crap rifle that will miss its target past 150 yards ( making them almost as inaccurate as a black powder musket ). 
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Perhaps you should look at your rifles as you would a car or a computer.  Sometimes the old models just become obsolete for whatever reason.  Ask yourself this.  Would six antique Japanese rifles still be a bargain today, even if you did buy them for only $30 each thirty years ago?  Of course not, not if the brass cost $1.50 each.  The same might be true one day for the Russian bolts.  Not because the components for reloading aren’t available but because they are too expensive.  Not because they aren’t still making the ammo, but because its shipping cost got too high.  You think underwear is cheap right now?  Cotton crop failures, droughts, increased shipping and the fact that 90% of the globes skivvies come from China mean one day real soon a pair of underwear will go from 75 cents to two or three bucks.  The same principle- changing logistic fundamentals- might come to steel cased Russian bolt ammunition.  Either run out and stock up for your lifetime supply, or plan on replacing the rifles one day.  And, no, this is not an endorsement for common caliber modern military calibers.  They have their advantages but they aren’t the cat’s meow.  They also have disadvantages as we’ve talked about before.  Logistics win wars, and logistics helps in your survival.
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6 comments:

  1. I was browsing through the Lee Loader kits available at Cabela's, and the following popular calibers are available: .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, 7mm Remington Magnum, 7.62 x 54 mm, .30-30 winchester, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Sprg., .45-70 Gov't, 9mm Luger, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .45 ACP, .45 Long Colt.

    For $27.00, not a lot of investment involved in producing your own rounds. Invest in a bullet mold, and that will reduce the expense even more. You now need to primarily stock up on primers and powder. And if you had to, you could produce your own load black powder, and load it in your smokeless rounds, though at a dramatically reduced velocity.

    I plan on aquiring at least a few flintlocks, both long guns and pistols.

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  2. A good intro reading for reloading is "Reloading on a Shoestring":

    http://www.beartoothbullets.com/tech_notes/archive_tech_notes.htm/51

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  3. James;

    I agree with your assessment on the price of energy directly correlates into prices of consumer goods as a matter of simple observation. This being said, when the price fell out of the former Yugoslavian ammunition market around the turn of the century, since like you and many others, I remembered 1973 and 1979 when OPEC stuck it good to the West, and not wanting to get caught with the proverbial trousers around the ankles, I stocked-up and good, so even now there's plenty of FMJ around that I don't worry about the price fluctuations that are currently in place. Additionally it seems that the bigger gun shows normally have a larger ammunition vendor, which by using Kenneth Royce's logic, doesn't want to cart 4 or 5 tons of inventory back to the warehouse after the show, so while you won't see any "common calibers" left in stock, the Mil-Surp bolt action ammunition is still very much there, since how many people you know exclusively use large quantities of .303 British and 7.62 X 54R mm ammunition? Just an observation.

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  4. Don't forget magazines/speed loaders/stripper clips.While speed loaders for revolvers and stripper clips for milsurp rifles are not absolutely necessary-they do make reloading a lot faster w/practice.And I can't even count the number of morons I've run into with a magazine fed firearm and only one magazine for it.

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  5. If I found myself in the situation where I had to choose from only one long-gun caliber, out of the countless options out there, I would choose the .308. Preferably a dependable semi-automatic "M14" style, such as the M1A Springfield Scout, for example. Yes, you'll need to have the discipline to treat it like a "single" shot or like a bolt action (either of which would be fine too). But, knowing that you've got the follow-up shot available as fast as you can acquire the target and pull the trigger is a pretty good situation to be in, if/when it's necessary... It will put meat on the table (or "meat" on the ground) at the common distance in which you'd typically find yourself in the position of having to do deal with (unless you're a 1-mile+ sniper or sheep/goat hunter. If you're this guy, then this entire article doesn't apply to you anyway... you've got your own thing going on, and you're set-up for that in a different way)... Anyway, back on topic: Ammo/Caliber makes the gun... IMHO, having access to several available options, and real-world experience with both military and civilian guns & ammo situations, I would grab the .308 long gun. If I were given a second option/pick for a second gun/caliber to have as back-up, then it would be the .45 ACP (in what-ever dependable brand/model you personally like/want). A .308 long gun paired with a .45 ACP back-up (short gun), with adequate ammo, would get you through practically any hunting/survival situation that would typically present itself in North American homes, fields, woodlands, etc... Of course there are many different options out there for folks to choose from... Many other guns/calibers will work just fine too. But, if I were allowed only two guns (and associated ammo) to deal with practically any situation that I would "actually" expect to find myself in, it would obviously be .308 (and .45 ACP back-up) for me.

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