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Thread: What to make of an American Rifleman artilce

  1. #1
    Boolit Master curioushooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Southern Indiana

    What to make of an American Rifleman artilce

    In American Rifleman, Oct 2021, pg 81 on an article titled RCBS: Handloading's Helping Hand by John Haviland "field editor" is the following, which surprises me. It contains quotes from a RCBS representative named Hemeyer.

    "About the only shot-shell re-loaders now are target shooters who want that one exact load for their shotgun and hunters making specialty loads like for pheasant hunting

    Actually, this doesn't surprise me much, as shot-shell reloading is hardly an economic savings. You can often buy a given load for the same as you can assemble it from purchased shot, wads and powder. For years the only thing I hunted with was a 12 gauge one ounce Lee slug in a Federal Gold Medal hull with 50 grains of Blue Dot backing it up. Ouch! This was a huge savings over commercial deer slugs, though. How many states are still forcing the shotgun-only thing, though? I know Ohio gave it up. Is Illinois the only one left? And buckshoot can be cast up. Savings can be had there too. The only shotshells I've ever reloaded have been slugs and buck.

    Hemeyer went on to say that RCBS may discontinue its shot-shell reloading lines.

    This is where it gets interesting:

    "Bullet casting remains prevalent only among handloaders of those cartridges that lack commonly available projectiles. The difficult of finding inexpensive lead alloys--and the sun setting on the growth of cowboy action shooting--have also stalled the practice of bullet casting. The use of progressive presses to crank out volume so handgun cartridges has also waned in recent years because of inexpensive factory-loaded cartridges like 9mm Luger. "

    He then went to talk about the hot new area being precision rifle shooting, and making and selling special high precision dies for that discipline. Excuse me, but wasn't bench-rest and national match always a "precision" sort of thing? And it is certainly true that cheap 9mm and 223 are not much of a savings to reload if your only priory is things going bang.

    Do you guys really believe this to be accurate? Or more like an excuse?

    I no longer have any cartridges that lack commonly available projectiles. Everything I own I can buy, if it can be BOUGHT! Frankly the reason why I like cast bullets is not only because they are cheaper, especially as bore size goes up, compare a 50 cent Hornady XTP to 4 cents of lead in 44 or 45, it's because many classic loads used cast bullets and they work. With handguns, especially big bore revolvers, there is absolutely nothing wanting in a cast boolit...

    And then there's the matter of replica guns, which must use lead projectiles. Those swaged balls Hornady sells are mighty pricey.

    It seems to me that the boolit casting landscape is better than ever too. There are more molds, of better quality, than every. I have no problem sourcing lead and never have. Scrapyards abound in Indiana and Ohio. Though I think too many casters got accommodated to "free" wheel-weights which IMO were never that good of a alloy for boolit casting, only passable. Companies like roto-metals have made buying the proper alloyant metals so easy, too.

    I mean if RCBS wants to ditch bullet casting, so be it, but I think it has more to do with RCBS being part of ammunition manufacturer (CCI/SPEER/FEDERAL all part of Vista Outdoors).

    Another thing is that with cast boolits you can pretty much recycle them. I have a couple hundred pounds of bullet metal that I have been cycling through for years now catching most of them in my sand trap. I remelt them and cast them again.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    East Central Illinois
    One YouTube poster, the "Yankee Marshall " posted some time back that lead was poison and should be taken out of bullets since we have non lead alloys and polymer projectiles now. This guy posts about self defense and such.

    It may be that the mainstream shooting community is all about tactical and polymer and is ready to toss the "fudds" to the wolves.

    I see very few new shooters showing any interest in reloading let alone casting. We are dinosaurs in the twilight of an era.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

    Will Geer as Bear Claw in "Jeramiah Johnson"

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    If my interest lies in BPCR shooting, then I am inclined to think everyone is interested in it. Sadly, this is not the case. Commercial producers of reloading gear will definitely be better predictors of industry trends than the individual shooter or a shooting discipline club (group of shooters). They most certainly know where the purchasing power is for their product. Over the decades, I have seen clubs come and go, shooting disciplines come and go, calibers come and go, powders come and go, manufacturers come and go, bulletin boards come and go, and sadly shooters come and go. Anyone recall PPC shooting which was all the rage in the 80's? If I showed a millennial a rat gun, they would not have a clue what they were looking at.

    I agree with the RCBS comment on the sunsetting of Cowboy Action. It has, in my opinion, become a toy race. Those who can afford it, win the matches. Sadly IDPA has gone that way as well. As have many many other shooting disciplines.

    Barring the latest pandemic mess upsetting the apple cart, it was CHEAPER to purchase my 9mm ammo for competition, than it was to reload it. Same with 223, 45ACP and 38Spl. Now of course, if you can find components, you can produce ammo. Cost is no longer the point. Having it at all is the point and we are seeing all kinds of beginners both in casting and reloading asking some very silly questions. Whatever.

    I do hold with the observations of RCBS, Lyman, Lee and other large manufacturers regarding industry trends. It is factually, their bread and butter - not a hobby. They can also see the larger picture where we, the little guys, can only see our little patch of the industry.

    I sense for sure that the shooting sports as we knew them only a decade ago - are done. Everyone now wants to be a "sniper" or a "tactical warrior", or some other such nonsense. Seems the whole face of the industry is changing. But then again, I may be just getting old.
    Last edited by Tar Heel; 01-20-2022 at 05:55 AM. Reason: SP

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Way up in the Cascades
    I think Mr. Hemeyer is in a unique position to make an assessment of trends in the reloading business. Also, it's true that compared to the entire massive population us reloaders are and always have been a drop in the bucket.

    At the same time, it's interesting to note how not only all the ammo sold out in the recent shortages, but all reloading equipment and supplies as well. So, there is still interest, but how much is debatable.


  5. #5
    In my thoughts, Couple things to keep in mind on things like articles such as what prompted the discussion:

    Magazine writers most often like to write things that sell the magazine. Not so much to inform you, more so to sell the advertising space and entertain the reader (excite, enthrall, do just about anything to make the reader emotional and Stop Thinking).
    Many magazine writers create things that (to me) just make public their ignorance, while being cloaked as "fact". I stopped reading any car magazines 25+ years ago because of this, and as far as firearm related, it is in about the same bucket for me and I can only really find useful writing in some few magazines by Wolf publishing. If you have a different view of Wolf publications, that's OK, but I find that for me they have been (mostly) beneficial reading.

    Corporate business people are (by and large) concerned primarily about Growth. No institutional investor wants anything to do with a stable mature business any longer. They demand growth. Growth comes from new interest in the product family/category. Where does new interest often come from? A great deal of interest comes from the inexperienced (experienced people in a market generally have made up their mind where they are in it) , and the newly interested have had their interest stirred by something outside of the actual market. Look at the environment that inexperienced people get their interest elevated by, re: shooting. Sniper movies, sniper video games, etc. Also the personal protection (CCW) gambit draws a lot of new shooters. The corporate interests will turn their attention to these arenas. It is to them purely about growth, and there has been a Lot of consolidation in the firearm/ammunition business. These aren't small companies. These are formerly small companies piled into larger corporate groups these days.

    To me, though certainly a dedicated caster, I don't think that the new shooter is generally a caster. They don't know that much yet about firearms, and haven't seen new paths to refine their interests. Also, new found excitement can lead to an increased willingness to spend money. For the ones that stay with shooting, and lose the rose colored glasses that brought them in, they may find that casting creates a new avenue, and lowers cost in handgun / rifle shooting. This was what I did. I still shoot jacketed almost exclusively for hunting (except large pistols), but 90ish % of my shooting is done with cast bullets. Range time is shooting. Hunting is being in the field pursuing game animals.

    I think the cast bullet thing is generally related to mature shooters, and may well be fairly stable, and hence doesn't '...see the love...' from entities like RCBS.

    Shotguns, I don't have an opinion. I have a couple (double 20, first gun I ever owned & a double 12 which was my grandfather's), but I just don't use them too much. As a result, the sunk costs of equipment to reload doesn't appeal to me, and I don't engage socially with very many dedicated shotgun users.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy

    Electrod47's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Yes I read the article also and agree with Tarheel and Thumbcocker the shooting hobby we have all enjoyed for the last 50+ years is unrecognizable to me lately. Started reloading in 1977 when I bought my first center fire .22 a mannlicher stocked H&R Hornet at Smitty's Bait and Tackle shop on Hwy 95 in Bullhead City Arizona for the princely sum of 70 Bucks. I asked for a box of shells. 17.50!! What! Got a Lee Loader and some Sierra bullets and some 2400 and never looked back. Reloading was essential then so that I could afford to shoot. I loaded shotshell back then with a Lee cause a box of reloads cost 2.50 and store bought was 3.00. It was the doing it as a form of self reliance.
    In my multiple reloading benches I have multiple presses set up for the 14 calibers I load for these days.
    The one thing about the whole business is its been a therapy for me through the years. I'v saved every gun related magazine and firearm related book I thought was relevant to me. And thats alot! I'v plunked down my hard earned money over the years for quality arms and travel to enjoy hunting all across this nation. I have 2 sons both turned 50 years of age now. They got started young as you could imagine. Both are successes in their technical fields. One followed me into the Steel Mill the other is a director of imaging at a major hospital. Neither one at this point in their lives wants to imitate the old man spending his spare time and money hunting and reloading. And these guys represent the generation that could have benefited the most from what was going to be left behind. I go through my old 1970's Handloader and Rifle mags when I its cold out like today. I was looking at 1981 Guns and Ammo Annual today and noticed there were at least 15 guns from that issue I had acquired over a 5 year period after that thick periodical came out. We used to follow through with what we read. I have always been big on Side by Side shotguns. Lever Actions and Big Bore handguns. I only sporadically take a subscription for gun rags any more, they make me sick most of the time. Mississippi Dr. Dabbs now and then can be interesting though. Stopped giving money to the NRA. Can you believe they are just a bunch of crooks!! How did that happen???
    And to conclude my little rant on today's state of affairs I make a general observation. Years ago people bought guns to go hunting. Today people 20-30 years old buy guns to go bang. By and large these same 20-30 year old's are not going to spend the hundreds of dollars to get into the loading game today, let alone spend the time to learn properly. The younger crowd I have witnessed in any hunting shooting scenario have no sense of self preservation in their gun handling. I foresee all this recent gun buying just adding weight to peoples closets and all the recent shortages of components going to the production of commercial ammo to provide the bang. Oh yeah and now ammo producers, reloading suppliers have discovered how to make the real mullah. Limit whatever and just double the price.
    “You should tell someone what you know. There should be a history, so that men can learn from it.

    He smiled. “Men do not learn from history. Each generation believes itself brighter than the last, each believes it can survive the mistakes of the older ones. Each discovers each old thing and they throw up their hands and say ‘See! Look what I have found! Look upon what I know!’ And each believes it is something new.

    Louis L’Amour

    The Californios

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    East Central Illinois
    We are witnessing the current phase of our society evolving from rural to urban. Rural values if self reliance and providing for you and yours through your own efforts are waning.

    An urbanized society focuses more on specialists rather than jacks of all trades. It is a more efficient but also more soulless society. Doing stuff for yourself is viewed as inefficient, old fashioned, and unnecessary.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

    Will Geer as Bear Claw in "Jeramiah Johnson"

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Northern Michigan
    I have a rule of thumb I use to determine when I make or buy. If I am not saving a minimum of $10/hr, I do not make it. Many years ago I bought 100k cast bullets mostly for 9mm and .38/.357. I paid something like $50/k. I can cast, lube, and size 2000 bullets in about 8 hours. Alloy back then was $1/lb and 2000 bullets weighed about 40 lbs and so alloy cost was $40. I was not going to spend 8 hours to save $60 on plinking ammunition when I worked full time. I had a life.

    Today alloy is about $1.85/lb. 2000 bullets will cost me $75 in alloy. Cost to buy bullets is $165. $90 saved and I have time so it "Pays" for me to cast.

    I was saving about $1/box on cheap Top Guns and $4/box on AA and STS Trap shells buying shot by the ton, wads/primers and powder by the case. I used about 20k shells a year when I competed. I could produce about 20-25 boxes and hour so I reloaded. 800 boxes at a saving of $2/box made sense. $40-50/hr return on my time. I used two automated progressives that cost $4000. Would have been silly doing it on a MEC 600 at 3-4 boxes an hour.

    Some casting is a waste of time. That nails it for the .223. I buy bullets for $80/1000. Doing it for "fun" is not a motivator for me. It is always about cost savings and performance. If I am not saving over $10/hr....forget about it.

    I agree with some of the article but not all of it. Some of us may not like it because it upsets our apple cart, but a reloading company makes money selling things the market needs. And in some cases, we are not the market.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  9. #9
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Dead center of Alabama
    Mr Hemeyer sounds like a bean counter and that is not necessarily a bad thing 'cause RCBS has got to make a $ too, but my LGS's can't keep reloading starter kits in stock and the section where the components are is always crowded. Some of the people I have talked to have driven 100 miles to buy components. My 2 ranges consist of 50% handloaders at one and 75% at the other, by my observation. As far as casting, well I like to do it and one reason is to never be dependent on supply chains or political whims.
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it. NONE of us are as smart as ALL of us!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master trapper9260's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    There is more now starting getting into reloading then what some writers say. For how it been for the past few years and last year more is looking into reloading, more jacket then cast . Because lack of ammo and the price now and have to have . That is why reloading supplies is one reason they are short. Same as shotgun shells , they use to be cheap , now the new normal price is higher then some can afford. There is more gun owners and they need their ammo other wise it is just a paper weight . Then you have alot of want a bees like was stated by Tar Heel about all want to be snipers and all. But none want to go in the service and live the life that some on here did doing it. This is going to be a interesting times and year also .
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    State of Denial
    I'm not sure how much stock I'd put in a guy from RCBS's stance.

    They make a GREAT mold, but only in iron, and only in 1 or 2 cavity.

    They make my preferred casting pot, but others may balk at its price.

    Lube-sizer parts may not be their bread and butter.

    If they want to downsize to specialize in making dies for the 5.56 and 9mm jacketed crowd, that's there prerogative - I suspect other mold companies are eating their lunch right now anyway.

    I have observed that there are many shooters who do not want to cross into reloading, and many reloaders hesitant to cross into casting. That said, however, the current shortage appears to be affecting mold availability as well.

    Attendance at the club my father and I belong to seems to have tapered off recently, presumably due to ammo shortages. Those that want to shoot will take the plunge. Those that don't, won't.

    Is the mightiness of the pen still relevant after we roll the writing paper into cartridges for a Sharps?

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Fargo ND
    RCBS makes great tools, but I don't trust their plan for the future.

    If/when the Dem's get their way you'll have your name and address on every box of ammo you buy.
    They decide they don't want to sell to you, your up the crick with no paddle.

    Now I have not been loading much lately with primers either totally unavailable or double or more their old cost.
    But you can bet that If I'd had a need I'd of been loading like crazy.
    I truly believe we need to get back to basics.

    Get right with the Lord.
    Get back to the land.
    Get back to thinking like our forefathers thought.

    May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you
    and give you His peace. Let all of the earth – all of His creation – worship and praise His name! Make His
    praise glorious!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    So far, all replies have been amazing to read. There is a common thread as well. Notice that most replies come from members here for at least 10 years. The replies from the "newer" members parrot the other replies. I bet most of us contributing are in our metallic years. This has been very good reading. It is extremely rare for me to read a post anymore which maintains its original point throughout. Usually within 20 replies the thread has been hijacked or several participants have gotten into a pissing contest.

    Please keep the commentary coming!

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Las Cruces, NM
    First, as noted above, those of us who reload and cast are in the minority. Really not even a minority. Just a pimple on the butt of a giant. I would guess that less than 1 in 1,000 of gun owners are reloaders (probably a lot less than that).

    Second, the boom in gun ownership and ammo hoarding, IMHO, is a combination of TV/movies about the SHTF scenarios (eg, Walking Dead) and uncertainty about governments worldwide (because they have all proven themselves incompetent and morally corrupt, both conservatives and liberals/socialists). Combine those with the issues with law enforcement recently (defunding police, fear of LEO's and inability of govt's to control riots) and self defense becomes more of interest to the average person.

    Third, the SHTF types buy up guns and ammo. When they can't get ammo they decide to buy reloading and casting gear to satisfy their 'prepper' needs.

    None of these people ever intend to use this stuff on a regular basis. They just want to 'be ready' when things fall apart.

    It does mean there are more millions of people out there with guns who really don't know how to use them. One of these days they will meet their 'quota' of guns and ammo and the gun related mfgs will see their sales drop off below pre-COVID levels.

    If I were a gun mfg I'd not bother with reloaders or casters. Let the minor companies (Lee, Lyman, Magma, etc) deal with them. Remember that RCBS is owned by one of the larger sporting goods conglomerates nowdays.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Chesterfield Mo.
    I would think that Bullseye shooters are in the minority anyway but many of us do it because we can make more accurate bullets than we can buy regardless the cost. In many pistols if not most a cast bullet is the most accurate possible. It just has to be the right mold, alloy, caster and load to do it. A good example is the Les Baer target 45 I bought in the early 90's was after a lot of testing the most accurate with a 200 grain Saeco 069 bullet with 3.6 grains of Clays powder. A friend bought one just like it in around 2010 and I gave him some of my loads to shoot in it and wound up with about 4-5 inches at 50 yards out of the RR. I thought it was just the amount of powder and varied the load with it and failed every time. He tried some loads with 231 and got 2 inches. I tried some of his loads and got 5 inches. This just shows how necessary experimentation is. If shooting factory, we are stuck with whatever the bullet is, powder, and load and my cast bullet showed up to be the most accurate for a bunch of different shooters. My friend Vic shot a 99 slow fire at 50 yards with my bullet and his self accurized pistol with I believe 4 grains of 700x. Most pistols won't do this with a factory load much less do well enough for a person who, as good as he is,
    still makes at least small mistakes to do this.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

    Land Owner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Mims, FL
    If ONLY one million, out of say 200+/- million households harbor reloaders and casters, then there are, for all intents and purposes, one million MORE "small factories" making rounds than just the Corporate types. We will never meet or exceed the Corporate rate of production. We will continue to produce far and long AFTER the Corporate types lay down their arms. MOST of the equipment purchased is good to go for three lifetimes. Only the inability to purchase consumable components will wrest this magnificent hobby from our capable hands.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Mentone, Alabama
    I don't recognize the shooting industry of today (by industry I mean, makers, shooters, sports, buyers, magazines, the whole kit and kaboodle so to speak) I'm not surprised that Mr. Hemeyer thinks that Cowboy Action shooting is twilighting, it's hardly reasonable to think there was ever much of an attraction to the sport for people who have not one clue who Howdy Doody or Roy Rogers is. Guys I work with who are mid twenties to early thirties have never seen The Wild Bunch, For A Fist Full OF Dollars and wouldn't know what western character Richard Boone played on TV nor that Rowdy is where Clint Eastwood got his start. Heaven forbid I bring up High Noon. Cowboy action shooting twilighting? Imagine that. These guys like my Blackhawk and think it's amazing I can smoke 6" plates at 25 yards with it. Meanwhile, they love their latest version of whatever plastic fantastic wondernine they can't hit a pie plate with at 10 yards consistently but I don't think it matters to them, they like hearing it go BANG!

    Echoing another poster, when you compare the cost of RCBS's or Lymans molds to NOE, Arsenal, or even LEE it's just impossible in todays dollars to pay out the best part of 100 bucks for a two cavity mold when the same dollar or less will buy a 4, 5, or 6 banger. RCBS is not selling molds because the market's dying, they are not selling molds because they have not invested in the machinery and technology to continue to compete in the modern market place. There is no good reason they could not produce top quality aluminum molds like NOE, they made a decision in a board room one day to let someone else have the market and now they have the nerve to tell half truths about why they are in the situation they are in with this market. Bad on them. Good on those with the foresight and entrepreneurship to make the investment in sweat, tears and dollars to carve out a profitable place in the market for themselves. RCBS didn't lose anything, they walked away from it. I have several RCBS molds on my shelf and like every one of them. They cast great bullets easy. But when a 6 banger of the same design can be had for a third to the same cost, where do they think the money is going to go?

    As to cheap ammo, I'm not convinced Mr. Hemeyer is on top of things there either. Yeah, 9mm and 223 one could buy cheaper then they could reload two years ago, but this ain't two years ago. I'm around on several different boards and lots of new reloaders are coming on line starting out reloading..... 9mm and 223 and their whole approach is to multiply their ammo availability, they plan on both reloading and buying factory ammo because neither supply route is consistent enough at this time to provide their needs (wants) and lots of guys are beginning casters. Powder coating has revolutionized cast bullet shooting, with even some cast bullet makers offering powder coated or Hi Tech finished product. Go to You Tube and search powder coated bullets, there are hours of video one can watch on casting and powder coating and it ain't us old guys driving this. It's our grandchildren. And it ain't just a bunch of old farts supporting this list of makers and every week someone is posting about new press/first time press purchases here

    The gun rag industry does not support reloading as they once did either. Writers like Ross Seyfried, Bob Milek, Rick Jamison, Elmer Keith, Skeeter Skelton, Ken Waters. Guns and Ammo and Shooting Times used to regularly run how to articles about handloading. Handloader WAS about handloading. I buy Shooting times these days to read Alan Jones and have an online subscription to Handloader mostly to relieve boredom, but John Barsness is almost always a good read, but I haven't read anything from a writer in years that leaves me feeling like "I want to go do that". I'm not sure I can even figure out who they are talking to anymore.
    Jan Libourel in an editorial about the Winchester Short Magnums once wrote, "The gun industry is driven by novelty" and it shows. On the front page of every new edition of a gun rag on the newstand it shows. When was the last time you saw an article about handgun hunting in a magazine? When was the last time you saw an article about bullet construction that was not about selling the latest cutting edge technology? While Handloader still runs the "Propellant Profiles" column when was the last time you saw an article on how to choose a powder for a given cartridge/bullet weight combination? Once upon a time American Rifleman ran good articles, it turned political in the 1990's. At one time I thought Shooting Illustrated was going to pick up that torch. Not so much. Firearms News magazine is about the only thing left worth reading to me these days and there is very little there which would have attracted me to shooting, reloading, or casting 40 years ago.

    MY grandmother was born in the 1890's and literally went from a world dominated by horse and train travel to men on the moon. I've often wondered what that experience must have been like, but the older I get the less I wonder. I have revolvers, 1911's even a plastic fantastic in my gun safe. I have AR's, lever actions, bolt actions and single shots. The revolvers get the most of my attention, the AR's get almost none.

    I found recently. I'm sure someone at Ruger is looking at this seeking to understand their customers. I wonder if RCBS is actually listening to their customers or if they are stuck in an echo chamber. If they are blaming the lack of sales of their casting equipment on the stagnation of the Cowboy Action, I suspect they are stuck in an echo chamber, because there are lots plenty of mold makers who are successful today and new casters coming on and RCBS's response seems to me to be one of let someone else have the market

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Just outside Gun Barrel City, Texas
    Re-loaders have always been a small percentage of shooters & hunters.
    As such, we've never been very well represented in the gun comic books.
    Boolit casters are, and always have been a very small minority them.

    Up until the early 70's, we could shoot off a river bank near home at the edge of the city limits.
    As the river went down in the summer, I'd walk along the bank and pick up spent bullets that surfaced to make sinkers.
    I picked up a few well tarnished, cast rifle boolits, and it took awhile to figure out what I'd found.
    Back then, cast rile boolits were unheard of..... but folks were doing it. Like now, we fly under the radar.

    Percentage wise, cast rifle boolits and recognizable pistol boolits were probably less than 1% of what I picked up.
    I figure the percentage of cast boolits I found in the late 60's wasn't much different that what I'd find in our range berm today.

    At our private range, the range master was a good buddy, and he asked one time what I was shooting that was so quiet.
    He was a Viet Nam Army vet, big time bench rest guy, and you'd think he lived at the range.
    I showed him a 190 SPGC sitting on top a .30-06 case.
    He acted like he'd never seen one before.
    He looked at it, rolled it around, handed it back and said, "Cool".

    I used to reload 12 guage target stuff because I liked doing it.
    The only savings was that I could reload a heavy 3" Magnum shell for more or less the same price as the super cheap target shells.
    At the time, target 2 3/4" inch were pretty cheap. Name brand 3" Mag you could actually hunt with were higher than giraffe lips.
    The cost difference of re-loading a box of one or the other was barely toll road change.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 01-16-2022 at 03:50 AM.
    Political Correctness and the cancel culture is only allowed to exist because of the coward culture.

    In school: We learn lessons, and are given tests.
    In life: We are given tests, and learn lessons.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master mehavey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Coupla' key words & phrases stuck in my memory here:

    - Therapy
    - Self reliance
    - Not cost-effective (that said... try to buy a box of 410 lately... or 410 under $14-$15 ?)... but I digress....
    - Board room... bean counter (without which a financial enterprise dies. But if run by.. it also dies)
    - CCI/SPEER/FEDERAL all part of Vista Outdoors
    - It's our grandchildren...

    ... sigh...


  20. #20
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    A lot of what JohnH posted resonated with me and got me thinking hard about what he said. Gun magazines hold little interest for me anymore due to the less than interesting content, noise about plastic wonder nines, and mediocre writing prose. I have of late, wondered if I have "reached the end of the internet."

    I have, over the course of many decades now, determined that dedicated handloaders and bullet casters are a particular breed of men and women. We are determined to produce perfect loads, bullets, repairs, tooling, and anything else related to our hobby which dominates our spare time.

    I handload for 35 individual calibers. I own 96 bullet molds. I shoot flintlocks. I shoot caplocks. I shoot revolvers. I shoot long guns. I varmint hunt. I handgun hunt. I shoot Contenders. I compete. I cast bullets. I load BPCR. I do not put lipstick on bullets (yet). I copied a BASIC computer program out of the American Rifleman and ran that stupid program on an MS-DOS computer larger than a missile crate for years. I now use chronographs, ballistic programs, and other computing "essentials" to augment my handloads and tweak them to perfection. I make my own bullet lubricant and felt wads. I have immersed myself into my hobby as most of you have.

    The gun writers of today hold no interest for me anymore because I have been there and done that several times now and my experiences have taught me that the information being passed on to newer members of the community is not quite right. Experience will set them straight as it has us. I just don't want to read another article about how the 6.5 BlastEm is the best cartridge ever made. I know factually that what I used in the jungles of SE Asia and other stink-holes around the world works just fine and I also know why it worked (and still works) just fine.

    We have all seen wonder cartridges come and go. I chuckle now when I see yet another 7mm STW or Easterner, or Northerner, or Super Mag, or other ridiculous name being touted. This is not new material - it is simply a rehash of old material with a new name. Hunters will migrate to existing capable cartridges. Long range shooters will eventually migrate to existing extremely capable cartridges.

    The character writers of the golden era are gone or almost all gone. Elmer held our interest because he wrote of real cowboys. Skeeter was a real character too. Massad Ayoob was a real lawman. They all had character and that personality came through in their writing. Today's articles are sterile, politically correct, precisely worded and styled targeted marketing. They have no seasoning - either flavorful or experienced.

    Those of us who have tried it all or mostly all of it, have reached the end of the internet. Not much more is new to us so we are less interested to read another rehash of old material. The American Rifleman used to be a great read and was jam packed with information. Now? I don't want hearing aids, toy trains which are "gold plated", silver coins, or goop to slather on which will make women fall at my feet. Can you believe that advert?

    How many times have you seen a post on here where the OP is a new caster or handloader (or both) asking about why this or that will or won't work and found yourself saying "go buy a loading manual and look it up"? That was how we learned our hobby. Reading about it from multiple sources and then trying what we had read. Folks do not read anymore. They want instant answers to their question. I don't have instant answers nor can their questions be addressed with an instant answer. Frankly I am struggling with the time it takes to point this out to them so I rarely address their question unless failure to do so would cause them harm if they are on a dangerous track.

    So...I ramble. Me thinketh my point is that a lot of us on here have actual experience in almost all of the topics. There is not much that is new to us. Perhaps we have become the wise elders. The sad part may be that our experiences may die with us. I just don't see the youth having the interest we had and was fueled by great writers, great companies making product, great shooting clubs, and of course less fear about gun owners in general. Times are changing I fear.
    Last edited by Tar Heel; 01-20-2022 at 05:59 AM. Reason: spelling of course

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check