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Discussion Starter #1
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?
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter #6
^ +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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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...:laugh:

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.


Frank
 

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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

Patrick
 

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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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Discussion Starter #16
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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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.
 

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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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