REFLECTIONS ON THE NEW YEAR

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Cases of ammo in storage
Those who stocked up when ammo prices were lower are grateful that they did.

If I stay up past midnight on New Year’s Eve, it won’t be so much to see the new year in as to make sure the last year is really over…

Not that it will do a damn bit of good. I expect January 1, 2021 to find us in the exact same leaky boat as December 31, 2020.

Gun owners can expect things to get worse on January 20 or very shortly thereafter, as a Democrat Administration pays back the massive Bloomberg donations with Draconian anti-gun bills.  However, the Second Amendment Foundation and other groups stand ready to fight those in court, so there’s hope.

A big concern among serious shooters (and the millions of first-time gun owners who joined our ranks in 2020) is availability – and cost—of ammunition.  Optimists expect a return to more-or-less normal supply chain and pricing in latter 2021, and pessimists think it will take longer.

A bit of perspective on that, if I may.  Let’s go back, oh, 35 years.  In 1986, according to the website thepeoplehistory.com, the median price of an existing home was $80,300.  Average income in this country was $22,400 a year. You could buy a new Ford Mustang for $7,452, and fuel it with gasoline that cost $0.89 per gallon.  Compare those figures to today’s.

Now, let’s look at the ammunition that seems to be in shortest supply at this time, the 9mm Luger cartridge.  We are seeing some scalpers charge $60 for a box of fifty full metal jacket 9mm practice cartridges. However, Federal Cartridge will retail them on line (two box limit, though) for $22.99 at this writing. 

I looked up 9mm full metal jacket in the 1986 Gun Digest. The retail price for a fifty-round box was…$22.50.

Back then, though, you could buy as much as you wanted.

It’s gonna be a challenging year for law-abiding firearms owners, for sure…there is gloom in the 2021 future, but I don’t think the doom is there yet.

52 COMMENTS

  1. @ Mas – “I looked up 9mm full metal jacket in the 1986 Gun Digest. The retail price for a fifty-round box was…$22.50.”

    Not quite a fair comparison. For most of the 20th Century, the 9mm was seen as a “foreign” cartridge and was not all that popular in America. The police still, mostly, used .38 Special revolvers. In 1986, the US Army had “just” adopted the Beretta M9 to replace the 1911. This would soon trigger a major shift whereby American law-enforcement would drop revolvers and move to semi-auto pistols. As a result, the 9mm would go from being a “foreign” (and rarely used) pistol cartridge to being the most popular. At that time (1986), however, the 9mm was still fairly “low demand” and, as a result, carried a higher price. We all know the law of supply and demand and that large demand for an item will create economies of scale and lower prices (assuming supply can keep up with demand which, right now, it cannot).

    So, you are referencing a 1986 price that does not reflect the “paradigm shift” from revolvers to semi-auto’s. (I always loved that word “paradigm”. I so seldom get an opportunity to use it in a sentence.) 🙂

    A better comparison would be to compare prices, pre-covid, to current prices.

    I went to one of the few retailers that still had 9mm ammo in stock (ammotogo.com). Their current price for 9mm FMJ range ammo is approximately 75 cents per round. Their price for JHP defensive ammo is about $1.50 per round!

    I checked my records for some 9mm ammo purchases made prior to Covid-19. I was buying range ammo at around 23 to 25 cents per round. I purchased defensive 9mm ammo, on a couple of occasions, at about 67 cents per round. One such purchase was 200 rounds in January 2020 just prior to Covid-19 hitting America.

    So, we are looking at 9mm range ammo tripling in price and defensive ammo more than doubling in price within just the last year or so. That is not counting the scalpers who are REALLY ripping people off!

    So, I don’t quite swallow the “ammo is still a bargain” point that you made. Especially since it is often almost impossible to find at any price.

    I am truly glad that I stocked up on ammo and reloading supplies prior to all of this hitting! I expect that, sooner or latter, supply will catch back up to demand. Who knows when that will be? That is the question!

    • “That is not counting the scalpers who are REALLY ripping people off!”

      Only if said purchasers are required to purchase the ammo at those prices. Otherwise, it’s market forces.

      • It depends upon your perspective, I suppose. Just keep in mind that there are millions of new gun owners who did not have a chance to “stock up” when prices were lower. For these people, forced to hunt for ammo for their new firearm just to make it work, is it just “market forces” or is it “price gouging”?

        Definition: Price Gouging: Price gouging is a term that refers to the practice of raising the price of goods, services, or commodities, to an unreasonable or unfair level. Such an increase in price is often a result of a sudden increase of demand and shortage of goods, such as in the event of a natural disaster or other crisis, and it is illegal in most jurisdictions.

        In my opinion, we are at the point where “price gouging” is occurring in at least some ammo sales. ymmv.

  2. Federal ammo is not available on their website- all unavailable or in store only, where that would be is a mystery and definitely not at Federal’s posted price. I don’t see it ever getting better if Biden is sworn in. If the Senate is lost to the left, things will never get better; there will never be a fair election, we will be in a fight for our very freedom.

  3. I’m uncomfortable with the possibility that our courts could knuckle under to threats from the left.
    If that happens our “rights” are just words

    • I heard it already happened. When the SjC was talking about taking up Trump’s election case, Roberts screamed that the cities would burn if they did. The court passed. The Antifa thugs won.

      • Mark Liotta,

        And we all know we would not need to fear burning cities if the police were allowed to do their jobs. We are at a point where law keepers fear law breakers. Rudolph Giuliani showed us the situation could be the other way around when he was the mayor of NYC. Too many voters fail to educate themselves, and are fooled by Leftist lies. The fact is, Donald is TOO GOOD for America. Stupid voters deserve what they get, and yes, I know this election was stolen. That doesn’t change the fact that idiots repeatedly voted for Ted Kennedy, Charles Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters and Diane Feinstein.

  4. IMHO the first of the Bloomberg paybacks will be banning mail order ammunition sales. That can be done without passing a law, just as a Presidential proclamation. It wouldn’t hurt the ‘bad guys’ at all, just the legal gun owners – which is apparently exactly what the anti-gun folks want.

  5. When I took LFI-I around 1999 I was paying $115 a thousand for 9MM Winchester white box at Walmart and they had plenty. Scalpers are now charging $600-$800 per thousand online for practice ammo. I’m all about free markets but dayum!

    • “Scalpers are now charging $600-$800 per thousand online for practice ammo.”

      Please see my reply to TN_MAN.

  6. I will try to forecast growth industries for the future, even though I have zero expertise in this.

    1. Technology. A no-brainer, since technology has been a growth industry since the invention of the steam engine around 1700.

    2. Geriatrics. The aging Baby-Boomers.

    3. Ammunition/Firearms/Security

    4. I just hope agriculture will not be a growth industry, because that would mean we are in really big trouble.

    • My belief is that plastic surgery will be the next big thing. When we can finally take off the damn masks that have been stretching our ears down to our shoulders, the surgeons will stay busy pinning them back to the sides of our heads.

      • Roger in NC,

        Good choice. Also, I will predict that humans having surgically applied tails will become a fad. Then the Left will push polygamy, then gay polygamy, then inter-species polygamy, and then they will push to allow us to marry our computers.

      • Roger Willco, marrying a computer isn’t all bad. If it starts to nag you, simply turn it off. Try that with a wife and you’ll end up in a hospital, if you’re lucky.

  7. It is the intention of the leftists to make ammunition as expensive as possible. I am forecasting a federal tax on ammunition just like cigarettes. What the left considers a new “sin” tax. YMMV.

  8. Dry practice is an alternative until the panic is over. There is at least one technology option that uses a laser in cartridge form to register ‘hits’ with a cell phone. Even without one, a person can learn a lot using dry weapons training. The only time I go to the range these days is to verify that I’m doing it right and assuring recoil/noise isn’t affecting my accuracy.

    Tactical training is more difficult to simulate without live ammunition. It just isn’t the same without the bang.

  9. In spite of the gloom on the doorstep (and sadly, crossing the threshold for some) that was 2020, along with what appear to be some dark and troublesome looking clouds on the 2021 horizon, my hunch and hope is that we will all be up to the critical challenges which lie ahead.

    Heeded some of that sage advice about “keeping things in proper perspective”–didn’t work for me–yet, on balance, I hope most of us can report that the scale still tips in favor of the positives.

    Consequently, here’s wishing all a more than fair share of health and contentment during our pursuit of happiness in the upcoming year.

  10. Off topic, but, are there any credit cards anymore that support 2nd Amendment rights? Also, I made a financial contribution to ACT for America (a pro-Constitution activist non-profit) yesterday and was disturbed that Discover was not an available choice for payment. I know some CC companies are disallowing any use of their cards for good causes. I’ve used Discover exclusively for a very long time but will drop it like a hot potato if warranted. Any input is appreciated. Happy New Year!!

    • You might ask smaller, local banks if they issue their own credit cards and, if they do, if they will honor charges at gun-related businesses. Master Card is smaller than VISA and might be hungrier for business. Capital One has been recommended to me as the best credit card but I have no idea how they treat firearms businesses.

      You might ask local gun shops if they have had trouble with credit card companies and, if they have, which ones treat them fairly. Then, do business with those card companies.

      If your current bank mistreats gun-related businesses, open an account at a better one and transfer your funds there. Write a letter to the CEO of your former bank explaining why they lost your business.

    • The problem with Discover is that they charge higher swipe fees than MC or Visa. That’s probably why your vendor won’t take it.

  11. People who stand in line at Academy Sports tell me they pay $15 per 50 round box of Norma or Federal brass cased ammo when available (the last word is key). Steel cased 9mm FMJ ammo could be gotten for $13/box when available. 5.56X45mm 55 grain FMJ could be had for as low as $.40 per round in 500 round bulk box. There a 3 box per day, mix or match, limit at Academy Sports. If one is willing to stand in line before the store opens, you may be lucky and get some ammo of your choice, depending on what the delivery truck brings.

    Best of luck to the unprepared gun owners out there. Don’t worry too much though, as ammunition will no longer be needed when Aunt Kamala confiscates our guns by force.

  12. All this talk about the ammo shortage has caused me to think over my own ammo and reloading supplies. Despite having what the Anti-American Media would say was an “arsenal” at my disposal, I feel that I could pad it in a few areas. So, just this morning, I took the following steps:

    1) I placed an order for 1500 more bullets from an online cast-bullet company. These cast lead bullets are great for reloading range ammo. I scored these bullets at about 10 cents each. With USPS “Flat Rate” shipping, even the shipping cost was not bad.
    2) I found an online retailer who still has some 45 ACP FMJ range ammo, in stock, for a fairly reasonable 59 cents per round. I ordered 500 rounds.
    3) Now I am planning to hit a couple of local gun shops to see if I can score some more primers. Can’t ever have too many primers! Honestly, though, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for my chances. All of the big online retailers seem to be “sold out” of primers.

    We will see if I “get lucky” on finding some primers for sale! 🙂

    • A friend of mine recently found a sealed case of 5000 Winchester small pistol primers at Academy Sports laying on an otherwise empty shelf. Needless to say, he grabbed it immediately and scanned the price to discover the primers were $.05 each and bought all of them. It seemed high to me as I bought my primers at $.02 apiece during better times, but under current conditions, he was very lucky. Fortunately, there’s 3 box limit on ammunition only at Academy Sports. One can buy as many primers as possible, if you can lay hands on them and no one mugs you on the way to the checkout line.

    • Recently a friend of mine got lucky when I found two 200 round boxes of Winchester .45 ACP ball ammo at Academy Sports for $75 each ($.375 per cartridge). I paid for them with my Academy credit card and received 5% off the cost, and was reimbursed by my very happy buddy. He was also lucky because I have several 1000 round cases of .45 ACP ball purchased for $.10/rd so I don’t need any, otherwise I would have kept that ammo for myself.

      • Where in the World did you ever find .45 ACP ball ammo at 10 cents a round?

        I checked my records and the best price that I can find for 230 grain .45 ACP hardball is 35 cents a round and that purchase was a decade ago.

        One would think that the 230 grain bullet, alone, would cost more than 10 cents. Never mind the cost of the case, primer, powder and the labor to put it all together, box it up and then market it.

        Not that I am doubting you. Heck! If I ever found such a deal on .45 ball ammo, then I would have bought several 1000 round cases too!

        Now I regret not buying more of the stuff, a decade ago, at the 35 cent per round price! 🙂

      • TN_MAN:

        My .45 ACP ball ammo was purchased over 20 years ago when I had several friends who were FFL holders. I have not shot this ammo as I normally use my reloads for practice and reserve the factory ball ammunition for emergency use. I keep it inside my climate controlled house so it should last several decades. I have Wolf steel cased .223 FMJ ammo purchased for $99/1000 rd case and free S&H from Sportsman Guide, also from about 20 years ago. The last Wolf .223 ammo I bought was $.25 each with free S&H and brass cased .223 costed me $.30 apiece in 1000 round cases purchased in late 2019.

    • Well, I went to my local reloading supply store on my “primer hunt”. However, their shelves were as bare of smokeless primers as “Old Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard” was of bones for her dog. 🙂

      They had some #209 shotshell primers and a few tins of #11 percussion caps but the items I most wanted (large and small pistol and rifle primers) were totally missing.

      I’ll try another store, this one a large retailer, on Monday. I am keeping my expectations safely low.

      • The local gun store I visit most has dozens of boxes of shotgun primers, but not a single rifle or pistol primer of any size. Until recently my local Academy Sports had various Hornady bullets available and I bought 6-7 boxes of .357 and .429 diameter XTP bullets and some ELD rifle projectiles at prices comparable to online retailers like Midway USA which is out of stock for almost everything. I did see two 1lb containers of shotgun powder at Academy Sports last week, but they’re gone now and all that’s currently available are a couple boxes of Hornady .429 diameter FTX bullets at $35 each.

    • @Tom606 – “I have Wolf steel cased .223 FMJ ammo purchased for $99/1000 rd case and free S&H from Sportsman Guide, also from about 20 years ago. The last Wolf .223 ammo I bought was $.25 each with free S&H and brass cased .223 costed me $.30 apiece in 1000 round cases purchased in late 2019.”

      I checked online retailer Ammotogo.com for their current prices on .223 ammo. No Wolf ammo in stock but they did have steel case Tulammo which is very similar. It’s current price is $600 per 1000 round case (1 case = 50 boxes X 20 rounds per box).

      That is 60 cents per round and that does not include the cost of shipping which would be extra. I doubt that we will ever again see steel case .223 at 25 cents per round and I am POSITIVE we won’t ever again see the 10 cent per round prices that you found a couple of decades ago.

      For what it is worth, the inflation calculator, at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, says that consumer prices have increase 54% over the last 20 years (from 2000 to 2020). Therefore, if ammo had kept up (or down) with inflation, then your 10 cent per round price from 2000 should be about 15 to 16 cents per round in 2020. As we see (thanks to Covid-19 plus the antigun Leftists), the current price is 60 cents per round.

      So, if you crunch the math, the consumer price inflation rate has averaged about 2.2 % per year over the last 20 years. The ammo inflation rate, based upon the current prices quoted above, works out to be about 9.4 % per year!

      Folks, investing in ammo is better than investing in the Stock Market! Historically, the Stock Market only returns about 8.0 % per year over the long term!

      Of course, our current ammo crisis has distorted these figures. Nevertheless, even your 30 cent-per-round pre-Covid cost, from 2019, still represents about a 6 % average annual ammo inflation rate. Still a lot higher than the 2.2 % general inflation rate.

      The Leftists (along with their ChiCom brothers and sisters) are working their magic. Never doubt it, folks. These figures reflect a portion of their efforts to undermine the 2nd Amendment in America.

      • I was at Academy Sports on 01-03-21 morning and got three 200 round bulk boxes of Winchester brand brass cased .223 ammo for a friend of mine. The price was $90 each which worked out to $.45/cartridge. I have purchased three of the 500 round bulk boxes of .223 for $200 each, $.40 per round a few weeks ago for another friend, so decent priced ammo can still be gotten, if you’re lucky and catch it on the day of delivery. It sells out fast though. The most desired ammo at Academy Sports is brass cased 9X19mm ball in 50, 100, and 150 round boxes, the last the best buy at $.23+/round, less if you have an Academy credit card and get a 5% discount.

      • The brass cased ammo I have is Federal 55 grain FMJ. The last 2 cases I got was loose ammo in a large cardboard box. I didn’t count them but hope there’s 1000 rounds in each box. Earlier Federal .223 ammo came in 100 round boxes, five to a case. They included free S&H for case lots and since the seller was in a different state from mine, there was no sales tax.

        I have a case of Wolf Gold brass cased .223 ammo with 55 grain FMJ bullets and several cases and sealed ‘sardine’ cans of steel cased stuff. Many folks don’t like steel cased ammo and refuse to use it which leaves more for me and other wiser shooters. I have shot over a dozen cases of steel cased ammo, mostly in .223 and 7.62X39, but several in 9X19 plus a few boxes in .45 ACP and 7.62X51mm and have never had a malfunction. The Russian stuff isn’t as accurate as American ammo, but it’s much cheaper and I only use it for practice. The Wolf Gold and PMC brass cased .223 ammo is pretty accurate though, 2″-2 1/2″ groups at 100 yards from several AR-15 type rifles, a SIG 556, and a Steyr AUG, plus a friend’s Galil AR and newer Ruger Mini-14.

      • @Tom606 – “I have shot over a dozen cases of steel cased ammo, mostly in .223 and 7.62X39, but several in 9X19 plus a few boxes in .45 ACP and 7.62X51mm and have never had a malfunction.”

        My 1911 will shoot steel cased 45 ACP most of the time. I have an occasional malfunction with it but its fairly rare. My AK and SKS will burn through the 7.62X39 steel case ammo just fine. Like you say, never a malfunction. However, my Ruger Mini-30 hates the stuff. You can get off maybe 10 or 12 rounds and then the gun locks up tight with a case stuck in the chamber. This never happens with brass case 7.62X39. So, I reserve the steel case stuff for the Russian-designed guns and use only brass cased ammo in the American made Mini-30.

        with my .223 rifles, it depends. I have some older Wolf steel case ammo which works fine in my AR and Savage bolt gun. However, I tried some of the Tulammo steel case stuff and it wanted to jam both guns. So, my guns are sometimes pick about what they will eat. Brass cased ammo always works but it is “hit or miss” with the steel cased stuff.

        I went to a big firearms retailer today. They had 9mm defensive ammo at $1.20 per round but with a limit of two boxes. They had 9mm range ammo too but i did not check out the price. They had .223 FMJ range ammo available (a pallet load of it!) at 80 cents per round.

        However, when I asked about primers, the guy just shook his head. He said that they get some in from time to time but they sell out almost immediately. You have to be at the right place and time to buy them.

        Still striking out on my “Primer Hunt”! 🙁

      • I would prefer to use brass cased ammunition whenever possible, but not being wealthy, shoot less expensive steel cased ammo instead. Besides, in 7.62X39mm it seems everything reasonably priced is Russian steel cased stuff. A long time ago, I had shot a few boxes of brass cased, berdan primed Lapua 7.62X39mm when cheaper Chinese and Russian ammo wasn’t available yet. I have shot lots of both the older lacquered steel cased ammo in 5.56X45mm and 7.62X39mm, and the current polymer coated steel cased stuff and can’t tell any difference. I only use steel cased ammo for practice and clean my guns after each trip to the range.

        I have owned 3 Ruger Mini-14 rifles in the past (none now) and discovered they don’t like reloaded ammo much. Stuff that works perfectly in AR-15 type rifles and others like the Galil, which I used to have one also, would often not chamber fully in a Mini-14 and a shove on the charging handle is needed to close the bolt on a reloaded round.

        If there is an Academy Sports in your area, Check them out for primers. I have recently seen CCI 300 large pistol primers in 100 boxes ($5 each) and a friend was lucky last month and snagged a 5000 case of Winchester small pistol primers for $.04 apiece so they are out there. You just have to be there at the right time. I live in a lower middle class neighborhood one mile from an AS store, so check them out regularly for gun owning friends of mine who reside much further away in wealthier areas. They owe me many lunches. 🙂

      • @ Tom606 – “I have owned 3 Ruger Mini-14 rifles in the past (none now) and discovered they don’t like reloaded ammo much. Stuff that works perfectly in AR-15 type rifles and others like the Galil, which I used to have one also, would often not chamber fully in a Mini-14 and a shove on the charging handle is needed to close the bolt on a reloaded round.”

        Yes, I speculate that my Ruger Mini-30 has a tight chamber which causes it to hate steel cased ammo. I believe that the steel case (because it is stronger than brass) does not expand enough to completely seal the chamber. So, when a steel cased round is fired, some carbon blows back into the chamber area. After about 10 or 12 rounds, the carbon builds up to the point that, combined with a tight chamber, the case begins to stick tight. I assume that brass cased ammo seals the chamber better thereby preventing carbon build-up and subsequent jamming.

        I speculate (don’t have the instruments to confirm by measurement) that the chamber tolerances on my AK and SKS are looser than on the Mini-30 and, as a result, a little carbon build-up does not bother them. They have enough tolerance to keep on extracting and working.

        Anyway, that is my “working theory” as to why my Mini-30 seizes up after 10 or 12 rounds of steel cased 7.62X39 ammo whereas my Russian guns just keep on running.

        Something similar might also explain the dislike of reloaded ammo by your Mini-14’s. The reloading dies being used might not re-size a fired case back down far enough so that it will easily go into a tight chamber.

        It just goes to show that problems can sometimes be caused by too tight of tolerances as well as shoddy, too-loose tolerances. As in the story of Goldilocks, you want your tolerances “just right”. 🙂

      • TN_MAN:

        Your comments makes a lot of sense. Sense? Wat dat? Most younger liberals would ask.

        I suspect military firearms have larger chambers to take ammunition made by many factories, often in foreign countries, and ammo which may be dirty or have dented cases. Concerning the Ruger Mini-30 I have read that their bores are .308 diameter whereas 7.62X39mm ammo usually have bullets of .311 diameter. I guess the small difference doesn’t affect accuracy or safety much, although steel jacketed 7.62X39mm may raise pressures a bit due to their harder bearing surface which won’t squeeze down as easily in the barrel. I owned a Ruger Mini-30 Ranch Rifle about 20 years ago and put maybe 200 rounds of Norinco ammo through it. The rifle was quite inaccurate, giving me 5″-6″ groups at 100 yards, and that was with a 4X scope on it. I had a PolyTech stamped receiver semi-auto AK-47 back then, and still have it, which would do 1 1/2″ at the same range with iron sights and brown steel cased Chinese ammo in yellow 20 round boxes. I sold the Mini-30 after about 3 months as good quality high capacity magazines were scarce.

        What’s important is to discover these things in practice instead of on the battlefield or America streets, if the situation with Aunt Kamala, Crooked Joe, and their behind the scenes puppetmaster George Soros gets worse after they occupy the White House. Keeping all my fingers crossed watching the results of the Georgia Senate elections now.

      • @ Tom606 – “Concerning the Ruger Mini-30 I have read that their bores are .308 diameter whereas 7.62X39mm ammo usually have bullets of .311 diameter.”

        I have read that the early Mini-30’s were made with a .308 bore because 7.62X39 ammo was rarer, in America, in those days. I guess Ruger’s idea was that people could get reloading dies and some brass cases and reload their own ammo using commonly available .308 bullets. My understanding is that Ruger put in a long throat, between chamber and rifling, so that (if ammo loaded with larger bullets was used) the bullet would squeeze down and the pressure would still be within acceptable limits. Certainly, I have fired my Ruger Mini-30 with conventional ammo without problems.

        Velocities, as measured by my chronograph, were a bit higher than expected (listed for that ammo) so I expect pressures are elevated a bit but are clearly still well within the capacity of the Ruger design.

        However, my understanding is that only the early Ruger Mini-30’s are made this way. After a couple of years, I believe that Ruger switched to using .310 barrels. Anyway, I have read reports to that effect.

        My Mini-30 is an early one made during the first year of production. So, I slugged it and I also slugged my SKS and compared the results. As near as I can measure, My Ruger has a bore that measures 0.3085 inches. The SKS measures out at 0.3095 inches. I have not slugged my AK so I don’t know what it measures.

        My Mini-30 also does not have great accuracy. It might be because of the bore and throat dimensions. However, I have read that it is because of the rather thin barrel and the stiff gas block which upsets the barrels harmonics when fired. Ruger, in later production firearms, make some changes to the gas block and changed the barrel profile to address this issue. I have read that later production rifles are more accurate for this reason.

        There is a company that make a stabilizer brace that fits under the barrel and clamps to the barrel and gas block. It is said to improve barrel harmonics on older Mini-30’s and Mini-14’s with the thin barrel/stiff gas block issue. It gives the gun a M-14 look. 🙂

        Anyway, I put one of these things on my Mini-30 and it did improve grouping. Depending upon the brand of ammo, it roughly cut groups in half. So, with good ammo, my Ruger Mini-30 shoots 2” to 3” groups at 100 yards. Before the brace, it was 4” to 6” groups.

        I have reloading dies and I am going to experiment with .308 bullets. Who knows? Maybe I can get the groups down to 1.5 inches. We will see.

      • TN_MAN:

        I have seen photos of the device you mentioned for the Ruger Mini-14/30 rifles but have no experience with it as I haven’t owned one of these rifles in over ten years.

        Of the three Mini-14s I have owned, one was a 180 series and two were later 181 models. The first two were not very accurate, 3″ -3 1/2″ groups at 100 yards. My last Mini-14 was a used one I bought from a guy for $100 because he said it was very inaccurate. I cut the barrel to 16 1/2″, opened up the gas port slightly, installed a Choate combination flash suppressor/front sight device and one of that company’s plastic stocks, and that Mini-14 gave me 1 1/2″ groups at 100 yards with iron sights. I sold it to a local police officer I worked with and he was very happy with it.

        I have a set of like new RCBS reloading dies with a shell holder gotten for free as they were left at the gun club I go to. The dies and some misc. reloading stuff was in a cardboard box marked “Free”. I have loaded some brass cased 7.62X39mm ammo, but 95+% of my AK and SKS shooting is done with steel cased Wolf brand ammo because it’s cheaper than what I can reload it for.

      • @ Tom606 – “I have loaded some brass cased 7.62X39mm ammo, but 95+% of my AK and SKS shooting is done with steel cased Wolf brand ammo because it’s cheaper than what I can reload it for.”

        Yes, for range use, the steel cased ammo is fine. Assuming that your gun shoots it OK. However, it is fun to experiment with reloading ammo.

        For example. Suppose that I wanted to use my Mini-30 for deer hunting? Frankly, I have better, bolt-action rifles for this purpose but the Mini-30 would make a good, fast firing carbine for hunting deer in thick woods. So I decided to experiment with my Mini-30 so as to replicate 30-30 ballistics.

        I obtained some Hornady 140 gr. Monoflex bullets (#30310). This is an all copper bullet designed to expand at 30-30 velocities. Hornady loads this bullet in 30-30 ammo. They list a velocity of 2465 fps from a 24 inch barrel. If one fired this ammo out of a 30-30 with an 18.5 inch barrel, like my Mini-30, the velocity would be lower. Probably around 2250 to 2300, I would guess (allowing a loss of 30 to 40 fps for each inch of barrel reduction).

        Anyway, I reloaded this bullet into brass 7.62X39 cases using a compressed charge of Re-7 powder. My chronograph says that this gives a velocity (12 feet from the muzzle) of 2190 fps. Pretty close to what you would see from a 30-30 with a similar barrel.

        I expect that this 140 gr. bullet would make a better deer hunting load, out of my Mini-30, then any of the factory 123 gr. soft point loads. The all copper bullet would expand and have ample penetration on deer or hogs.

        At least, that is the theory. I have not actually shot anything with it yet.

        Nevertheless, I think it is a lot of fun just to experiment and see. A reloader can create special loads, like this, that are not offered by any factory ammo makers.

      • TN_MAN:

        Yes, the Ruger Mini-30 would make a fine and handy short range hunting cartridge for medium sized game. I believe Wolf does offer a 150 grain soft point bullet loading for the 7.62X39mm, but have never tried it. I have shot their 123 grain loads with FMJ, HP, and SP bullets and the last is my preferred defense load in my Century Arms semi-auto AK-47 and a Chinese made SKS, both giving me 2″-2 1/2″ groups at 100 yards.

        It is fun to experiment with various loads in 7.62X39mm and other calibers. I currently trying out different bullet and powder combinations for the 6.5 Creedmoor in a Savage 110 Desert Tactical with NightForce SHV 4X-14X FFP scope. Kinda difficult nowadays with the shortage of available powders and the best loads I have made up so far have been with RL-19 and IMR 4350 using 140 grain bullets from Hornady and Nosler. I’ve been using IMR 4350 for decades and was lucky to get a 5 lb container of RL-19, my first experience with this powder, back in April 2020. I was fortunate to find a couple boxes of Hornady .264 diameter 140 grain ELD bullets at Academy Sports a few months ago at slightly below retail price. So far, my most accurate load is a Nosler 140 grain match bullet with IMR 4350, giving me several groups of 3/8″-1/2″ at 100 yards. I’ve read good things about the Hornady ELD bullets, but so far, my best groups are 3/4″ at 100 yards.
        Due to the current shortages of ammo and reloading supplies, I’m usually the only shooter at the range I’m a member of and have noticed very few fired cases laying on the ground, whereas in early 2020 and previously, lots of brass, especially 9X19mm and 5.56X45mm were left on the ground for reloaders like me to pick up.

        But fear not, because on January 20th, we will enter a brave New World Order as the Communist States of America! All Hail Aunt Kamala and her unintentionally funny court jester sidekick, Crooked Joe!

      • @ Tom606 – “…the best loads I have made up so far have been with RL-19″

        RL-19 is my favorite powder for use in my 450/400 Nitro Express. I developed a load using it along with Hornady Brass cases and the Hornady 400 gr. DGX bullet. This load will consistently produce groups in the 1″ to 1.25” range at 100 yds. Plenty good enough for the purposes served by this rifle. Frankly, it would probably group even better but the kick it gives may interfere with my ability to hold any closer. 🙂

        The velocity of my load matches the better factory loads (about 2,125 fps at 15 feet as measured by my chronograph.(I had to back the Chrono to 15 feet because the muzzle blast interfered with my readings at 10 feet.)

        I could probably use this powder in some of my other rifles. I have been thinking about working up a load with it for my .270 Win. rifle. I have some Nosler 140 gr. Accubond bullets that I want to try out.

        BTW, I took your advice and went to our local Academy Sports to search for primers. No luck. The local Academy Sports had been raided worse than the other stores that I visited. I have never seen shelves so bare!

        There was no sign of a primer anywhere. When I checked out the ammo shelves, only two (2) boxes of ammo remained. They were a box of 7-08 rifle ammo and a box of 20 gauge shotgun shells. Everything else was GONE and I DO MEAN GONE!

        They still had plenty of boxes of clay pigeons stacked around. I guess, with the ammo crisis, nobody is burning up ammo shooting at clay pigeons anymore!

      • Terrible. My local Academy Sports has a good supply of 20 and 12 gauge birdshot loads and some .410 too, but no buckshot and slugs. Shipments of shotgun ammunition is regular and that is usually the only ammo still on the shelves. My store recently got in a large number of boxes of 5.56X45MM and 6.5 Grendel ammo. There was about a dozen 20 round boxes of supersonic .300 Blackout ammo too and they went very fast. No reloading supplies in the past month. I drop by the AS three times a week on their ammo delivery days, which has now changed to only two days as of this week.

        I use 75.0 grains of IMR 4064 to load my .450/400 Ruger No 1 which gives me right at 2150 fps with a Hornady 400 DGX bullet. With iron sights, this load produces 2″ groups at 100 yards. I could load this bullet up to 2400 fps with IMR 4064 in the Ruger to match my .416 Remington in a New Haven made Winchester model 70, but don’t see the need to do so. I also use 75.0 grains of IMR 4064 in the .450/400 with the Hornady 300 grain Flat point bullet designed for the .405 Winchester for a lighter practice load as this projectile is less expensive than the 400 grain DGX. This is a good hunting load for smaller game like whitetail deer and hogs. Sasquatch will require the heavier DGX bullet or maybe even a solid.

  13. “Aunt Kamala confiscates our guns by force.”

    No one really knows how people would react to that IMO. National Guard dropping by with loaded weapons? Local LEO? State police?

    • Crooked Joe’s buddy Beto may knock on your door armed with pepper spray (chemical weapon) and his skateboard (impact weapon) to demand you surrender your firearms. If you refuse, he will blow his whistle very loudly, to summon a horde of obedient federal stormtroopers lurking in the shadows to terminate you.

  14. A man complained to Tom Gresham that he could not find any 9mm ammo, he said all he had was 1,47000 / one hundred and forty-seven thousand rounds. There are wealthy greedy ammo suppliers AND wealthy greedy buyers

  15. ….and for all those people who told me last year (pre-COVID), that it was not worth my time/money to reload 9mm range fodder, well, I’m smiling all the way to the range. My 9mm FMJ reloads average out to about ten cents per round !!

  16. A few years ago I bought a few Sardine cans of 9mm. Tulammo. About $8.00 box of 50.
    “Just because”, good for using at the range and no gathering empties, sweep them up and into the trash.
    Since there’s a strong possibility Soros/Harris will become president I no longer use center fire for target practice, .22LR only and not weekly anymore, I thought membership was a good idea, a few years ago, not so much now.
    Saving center fire for SHTF.
    I don’t look forward to packing it around and I don’t have near what some H-word people have.
    How much can you carry away when the authorities come for your stash ?

    • For a SHTF situation, you want expanding bullet ammunition to be most effective against bad guys, but FMJ is better than nothing. Ball ammo would make good bartering material though and a head shot with a FMJ bullet should put someone down. My rimfire conversion unit for the 1911 by Kimber is getting more use this year and saves me a lot of .45 ACP ammo.

  17. @ Tom606 – “I also use 75.0 grains of IMR 4064 in the .450/400 with the Hornady 300 grain Flat point bullet designed for the .405 Winchester for a lighter practice load as this projectile is less expensive than the 400 grain DGX.”

    Interesting. I also wanted to develop a lighter practice load for my 450/400 N.E. but I went in a different direction. What I did was order some 295 gr. cast bullets from an online casting company. See this link:

    https://www.pennbullets.com/41/41-caliber.html

    This bullet is meant to be a heavy bullet for .41 Magnum handguns. However, it is the correct diameter (.410 to .411) to also work as a light bullet in the 450/400 NE.

    I selected H-4895 powder to use for this light load because this powder is known for being adaptable to reduced loads. Indeed, Hodgdon says that it can be used for loads that are only 60% of the full charge.

    My load is 57 gr. of H-4895 under this 295 gr. cast bullet. Since the case is only partly full, I use commercial shotgun shot buffer material to fill up rest of the case. In other words, the H-4895 goes in first and rests next to the primer. Then I put in a small (very thin) square of tissue paper to act as a thin wad over the powder. Then the buffer material goes in and fills up the rest of the space to the middle of the neck. Then I seat the cast bullet so as to slightly compress the powder and buffer material.

    The result is an accurate load that shoots to the same point of aim, at 100 yds., as my DGX load. Chronograph velocities out of the 24 inch barrel of my Ruger #1 are just over 2000 fps. The extreme spread of this load is quite load according to my chronograph.

    Note that this bullet does not have a gas check. So, it will start leading the bore a little bit (toward the muzzle) after a dozen shots or so. To delay this leading at bit, I sometimes paint the bullet with ordinary latex house paint. I paint the base and sides of the bullet to the top of the lube grooves. I don’t paint the nose of the bullet that sticks out of the case. This paint supplements the lube already on these bullets. Don’t know how long the paint lasts as it travels down the bore but it seems to delay leading.

    In any event, the 450/400 NE is not a gun that I use for an extended shooting session even with this light load. 🙂

    While I have not shot anything with this load (other than paper targets), I suspect that is would do a good job on medium game out to approximately 150 yds. It is sort of like a 30-30 on steroids!

  18. TN_MAN:

    I have never used reduced loads in a rifle with cast lead bullets, but have read one can use Dacron of some kind of synthetic filler for pillows and such to fill any excessive air space inside a case and hold the smaller amount of powder near the flash hole for consistent ignition.

    Back in the 1990’s I saw many advertisements in publications like Gun List and Shotgun News (now Firearms News) for double rifles in .450/400 for $7000-$8000. These were not high end guns like Holland & Holland, Rigby, Westley Richards, or Purdey, but names like Webley & Scott, Manton, Evans, and Army & Navy. I was working as a LEO then and making good money doing lots of off duty work, so could afford one, but never bought myself a double. These rifles are now at least double their 1990’s cost. The .450 and larger calibers were a lot more expensive, usually $20K and above back then, but the .450/400 calibers were more affordable. The great leopard and tiger hunter Jim Corbett used a Purdey .450/400 double and Rigby bolt action .275 (7X57) to kill off many maneaters in early 20th century Northern India.

  19. @ Tom606 – “…but have read one can use Dacron of some kind of synthetic filler for pillows and such to fill any excessive air space inside a case and hold the smaller amount of powder near the flash hole for consistent ignition.”

    Yes, various things have been used as fillers including Dacron (as you say), foam wads and even Cream of Wheat. I used shotgun buffer powder because I had it available and it works about as good as anything else.

    Your load, of 75 gr. of IMR 4064 with a 300 gr. Hornady bullet, is really not reduced much for a practice load. I modeled your load in the Quickload Software program. It predicts a pressure of about 38,000 psi with a muzzle velocity of 2,400 fps and a muzzle energy of almost 3,900 Ft.-lbs. It is still a very powerful load. I would guess that the recoil is still fairly heavy. The full power load, with 400 gr. bullet, only generates about 4,100 Ft.-lbs. of muzzle energy.

    As I noted, my load produces a muzzle velocity just over 2000 fps with a muzzle energy of around 2,600 Ft.-lbs. In terms of energy, it is similar to a .308 Win. but with a heavier bullet and lower velocity. Quickload estimates the pressure at only about 20,000 psi. The recoil is considerably reduced compared with a full power load.

    So, in terms of muzzle energy, your practice load is still about 95% of the full power load. My reduced load is only about 64% of the full power load. It is not bad to shoot. As I said before, it would make a good hunting load if the range could be kept to under 150 yds.

    • TN_MAN:

      My practice load for the .450/400 is intentionally quite stiff to closely mimic the 400 grain bullet load but with a less expensive projectile. The Hornady .410 diameter 300 grain bullet is approx. 60% of the cost of their 400 grain DGX projectile. Point of impact at 100 yards is within a couple inches of the heavier bullet so it fits my needs well. I wish Ruger would make their Number 1 rifle in .470 Nitro Express, or even better the .500 3″ N.E. Can never tell when a rogue pachyderm will escape the circus and come rampaging on my lawn.

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