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Thread: some thing cheap to shoot

  1. #61
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I may have a brain but I have to say it is small, old and wrinkled! But thanks anyway!

    No, I didn't vote for Trudeau either time and won't be next time!

    I tend to be a minimalist at heart and try to make do with what I have or have good justification for adding to my "stuff". We have enough trouble getting gun stuff and reloading stuff here that I choose not to complicate my life by picking odd calibers to load for.

    I tend to like old timey BP cartridges and quite a few of them but a) I can't afford the guns and b) brass tends to be hard and expensive to get. Consequently I would choose say .45-70 over most because a) it has some good history and b) it will do everything I need or want and can be light loaded with round ball or collar button over a few grs. of Unique or some other fast powder and be cheap to shot but still effective or loaded up to uncomfortable recoil levels with heavy bullets. .45-70 brass is more or less proprietary but there are so many .45-70's around that I douubt brass availability will ever be an issue.

    For a more general purpose plinker to huning caliber and in line with the OP's intent, and because of free or very cheap brass if I was looking at even more restricted availability then it would make sense to me to go with .223, 7.62x39 or .308 simply because guns and brass will be here for the rest of my life anyway and they all have a very useful range downloaded to .22 like levels for quiet/cheap/plinking use to pretty decent levels for longer range or hunting.

    beshears mentions 9mm or .38 special which are also fine and 9mm and .38 spl will also be around for a very long time but neither 9mm or .38 special is a very long range round even in a rifle. Different uses/purposes. Also in those cases I don't have guns so back to using what I have or choosing what will best suit my needs. Having said that, I'd rather have a 9mm handgun or rifle thay I could find ammunition or reloading supplies for than a .577-.450 I couldn't (zombie apocolypse/SHTF).

    Everyone has somewhat different wants and needs and abilitty to buy something new so their choices will be somewhat different.

    Musings from a small, wrinkled, old brain...

    YMMV

    Longbow
    Last edited by longbow; 01-29-2024 at 12:30 PM. Reason: Spelling

  2. #62
    Boolit Buddy
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    I think that there may be several solutions to the question. If I had a rifle that would chamber 38 special, I have 2 or 3 different lee molds for bullets, lots of brass, several revolvers, but no rifle. I have several AR15s and a 223 bolt action, lots of brass, but no way to cast bullets and no idea if casting 22 sized bullets is even feasible. Ive got a brand new 20 year old unshot 30/30 and a beater that I need to do lots of work to, some brass some loaded ammo but no tools to cast for them. And going to the expense of making a shorted 223 would be cool, but counter to the intent of the project. A TCM may be the answer but all I have of TCM is an idea. I guess I will be plinking with my 22LR for the near future.

  3. #63
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Personally I wouldn't consider buying a mould or two, reloading dies and maybe a push through sizer an unacceptable financial burden as the cost is low. Buying a new rifle is a significant expense as is buidling a rifle and buying non-standard/wildcat dies. For me anyway.

    A mould to cast a lightish bullet at 120/130 grs. for that unshot or beater .30-30 and a sizer would give you a good cheap to shoot gun.

    I have to admit I haven't cast .22 bullets and I am sure they can be finicky but lots of people cast for .22 centerfires and that bolt action .223 would be a good candidate. Again, a mould and sizer gets it done

    For a realtively small amount of money you would have a centerfire "plinker" if .22 RF becaomes unobtanium again. Options are good!

    I aways work my way back around to the .308 or .303's with 8 grs. or so of fast powder and a 130 gr. bullet because I have the guns.

    Longbow

  4. #64
    Boolit Buddy
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    What you suggested is a very good option. The only issue is I don't have all that much 30/30 brass and it is not popular here. could be the answer is to take the 30/30 and the 38 revolvers to the range and shoot them both. I loaded 300 223s last year for my daughters 12 twist 223 bolt action rifle. The Privi 55grain bullets were very cheap so just a straight 223 like you mentioned would be another economical option. But against my better judgment I got down my Cartridges of the world last night and had a look, OH MY there are some cool things in that book. I am so tempted, but you know only in the name of affordable shooting, that didn't sound good even to myself.

  5. #65
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    Guys, I do want to point something out where it concerns brass availability.

    Everyone keeps talking about how .223/5.56 brass will "always be available." This isn't necessarily true. Back 60 years ago guys probably felt the same way about the 30-06, since there was so much surplus ammo on the market and many of the US Military weapons were chambered in this caliber. As well as surplus weapons from the Big 2. But calibers changed, and eventually civilian copies of those new rifles made their way onto the market.

    We're currently going through the exact same change. The US is transitioning over to the new rifle and the new 6.8mm cartridge. Sure, we'll still see 5.56 in service for quite some time. But this will slowly become less and less. As that happens, shift in civilian sales will also take place. As that happens, shifts in ammo production will also take place. Because of this, .223/5.56 does have a date at some point in the not too distant future where it sees quite a bit less production. When that happens you will have less available brass. It'll still be common enough to find I would think, with all of the AR platform rifles out there. But it isn't going to be the cheapest brass.

    Just food for thought...
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  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdgabbard View Post
    Guys, I do want to point something out where it concerns brass availability.

    Everyone keeps talking about how .223/5.56 brass will "always be available." This isn't necessarily true. Back 60 years ago guys probably felt the same way about the 30-06, since there was so much surplus ammo on the market and many of the US Military weapons were chambered in this caliber. As well as surplus weapons from the Big 2. But calibers changed, and eventually civilian copies of those new rifles made their way onto the market.

    We're currently going through the exact same change. The US is transitioning over to the new rifle and the new 6.8mm cartridge. Sure, we'll still see 5.56 in service for quite some time. But this will slowly become less and less. As that happens, shift in civilian sales will also take place. As that happens, shifts in ammo production will also take place. Because of this, .223/5.56 does have a date at some point in the not too distant future where it sees quite a bit less production. When that happens you will have less available brass. It'll still be common enough to find I would think, with all of the AR platform rifles out there. But it isn't going to be the cheapest brass.

    Just food for thought...
    Valid point but today, I could and have picked up a lifetime supply of .223 brass. I have taken (shame on me, maybe) a bunch of it to the scrap yard and traded for lead.

    Tim
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  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtknowles View Post
    Valid point but today, I could and have picked up a lifetime supply of .223 brass. I have taken (shame on me, maybe) a bunch of it to the scrap yard and traded for lead.

    Tim
    Yeah, I mean if you get enough brass you're good to go. Just remember, brass wears out. I usually repurpose my damaged 5.56/.223 brass into 30 Tokarev. So it gets a second life. But still, it does go faster than one would hope.
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  8. #68
    Boolit Grand Master

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    True enough but .30-06 isn't exactly scarce these days and .223 not for a long time yet.

    I should probably qualify what "forever" means to me... my lifetime and I am 70 so... I suspect I am correct in that sense! I'll be gone before .223 brass is hard to get.

    Longbow

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by longbow View Post
    True enough but .30-06 isn't exactly scarce these days and .223 not for a long time yet.

    I should probably qualify what "forever" means to me... my lifetime and I am 70 so... I suspect I am correct in that sense! I'll be gone before .223 brass is hard to get.

    Longbow
    Yeah, you might be right there. It doesn't look like the big switch will happen until around 2026-2027. But even then, I suspect it will be a 10-15 year timeline as far as 6.8mm taking over as the dominant cartridge. And 5.56 won't completely disappear, it just won't be as available as today - read: 100s of thousands of range brass... So long as you collect enough over the next 10 years to last you as long as you plan to be shooting you'll probably be fine.

    For a guy like myself, I might have enough, I might not... Luckily barrels are fairly easy to swap out on the AR platforms.
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  10. #70
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdgabbard View Post
    Guys, I do want to point something out where it concerns brass availability.

    Everyone keeps talking about how .223/5.56 brass will "always be available." This isn't necessarily true. Back 60 years ago guys probably felt the same way about the 30-06, since there was so much surplus ammo on the market and many of the US Military weapons were chambered in this caliber. As well as surplus weapons from the Big 2. But calibers changed, and eventually civilian copies of those new rifles made their way onto the market.

    We're currently going through the exact same change. The US is transitioning over to the new rifle and the new 6.8mm cartridge. Sure, we'll still see 5.56 in service for quite some time. But this will slowly become less and less. As that happens, shift in civilian sales will also take place. As that happens, shifts in ammo production will also take place. Because of this, .223/5.56 does have a date at some point in the not too distant future where it sees quite a bit less production. When that happens you will have less available brass. It'll still be common enough to find I would think, with all of the AR platform rifles out there. But it isn't going to be the cheapest brass.

    Just food for thought...
    I believe the date when .223 is not easily and cheaply available is well past the lifetime of 75% of the people on this forum. As to the .30/06 example, I just checked ammoseek and 600 cases are $186. The latest craze...6.5 CM are $170/500. .30/06 is still cheaper.

    .223 brass is $75/k if someone wants to stock up before the upcoming shortage.
    Don Verna


  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdgabbard View Post
    Yeah, I mean if you get enough brass you're good to go. Just remember, brass wears out. I usually repurpose my damaged 5.56/.223 brass into 30 Tokarev. So it gets a second life. But still, it does go faster than one would hope.
    Everyone will have different brass life experiences. Depends on what you shoot it in, how much you lose, how many other calibers you shoot, if you anneal, etc. I have not reloaded any .223 yet. I still have a case of factory ammo and only have one gun in that caliber to feed and I don't shoot is much. I am shooting other guns. Unless we have some sort of civil war I will not be running out of .223 brass.

    Tim
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  12. #72
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Tim, if there is an "event", there will be buckets of .223 brass.
    Don Verna


  13. #73
    Boolit Buddy
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    The last time ammo got expensive, I shot 9mm, 300blk and 357mag cast in carbines until my primer supply got low, none of those cases use a lot of powder. Then finally got to a point had to put them up. I got a mathews v3 compound bow. Son and I had a good time with my sportsman club 3d range. Now I have enough supplies to last 2 years if I needed too and I told my wife hopefully a republican will be in office next and prices will continue to drop and I will go all in and buy a 10 years supply of powder and primers. hopefully I read the market right. I just never remember these shortages in the 80s and 90s and early 2000s.

  14. #74
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    When shooting gets expensive, I shoot testloads. I shoot less ammo and spend less. For HP rifles, I plan to shoot cast boolits with a medium slow pistol powder like 2400. Than .22lr, I shoot my bow or air rifle.

  15. #75
    Boolit Master Rapier's Avatar
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    Casting and shooting centerfire is still more the option for me. I do have book shipping containers full of 22 LR ammo, but rarely shoot it any longer. Mostly shoot subsonic loads with a can in center fire. I buy primers when I can find them at a decent price, but with using sub loads, I can easily use SP primers rather than SR primers, same, same results. It is a matter of prior planning. Plus I buy surplus bulk powders, equivalents, just another load work up.
    All this is of little consequence if you have your own range, on your own property. Saw the writing on the wall, fourty odd years ago. Not clairvoyant was just told by a land developer that if anyone did not own their own land, in the future, you would no longer have a place to shoot or hunt. Looked around, he was spot on.
    “There is a remedy for all things, save death.“
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  16. #76
    Boolit Master Handloader109's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdgabbard View Post
    What is so interesting about this thread is how nearly everyone here has a different answer to what they see being the most economical to shoot. That said, some of this has to do what what that person has on hand, mitigating their upfront cost. And certainly which firearms they own plays into that decision. For me, it's 38spl, 9mm, or 30Tok with super light boolits and light charges. For someone else, it's the 22TCM. For another guy, it's the 30-30.

    Truly fascinating how our current personal situations play into these.
    Nope, easy as pie. Just need the right mold. NOE made a 37gr mold at one time. I don't see it any more. Was a GC , 6 cavity mold, and I cast probably 2000 of those things. Powder coated they shoot as good as oem out of my 1911s using H110 and W296. PM me if you want a few....

    Sent from my SM-S908U using Tapatalk

  17. #77
    Boolit Master
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    was at a new gun store today and quickly came to realization that in order to shoot a lot of ammo the least expensive way is shooting cheap bulk 22's like armscor case of 5000 for $259 from outdoor unlimited at $0.052 per round as I looked through the aisles of this store powder prices started at $47.99 and were up to $65 a pound and primers were from $100 to $140 per 1000. The reality of these big prices is really sinking in and really feel for folks that had not stocked up on primers, powder, brass and lead before the world went crazy. the least expensive primers ive seen recently were unis ginex case of 5000 both the small pistol and small rifle were $299. plus shipping and hazmat fee
    comes out to about 6.25 cents each if ordering a case of each at the same time.

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Bohannon View Post
    Whatever happened to the guy here that was necking down 25ACP to 22 cal. and called it the “Ladybug” ? I was very interested in his project he was as having good success with load development and he fell off the forum.
    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...The-22-ladybug
    I believe he is on another site.
    I started the same project during the Obummer administration but got sidetracked and NoZombies made more progress and came up with a great idea of making an extractor groove after turning the rim to 22LR dimensions.
    My chamber dimensions are a little different than his but it is basically the same cartridge.
    I rechambered a junk Marlin semi auto and it is a pain to chamber a cartridge until I make it single shot. The cartridge OD is too big to fit in the magazine.
    The cost of primers has made me put it on the side for now.
    Brass takes a while to make, I have 50 cases and according to Tony they last forever!

  19. #79
    Boolit Bub
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    Interesting thread. Years ago I read in AR mag about reduced loads for the 30-06. There is some case prep I won't get into here, but you can replicate 32-40, the old M1919 Guard round, or 30WCF loads using pistol powder and cast boolits. My favorite is 4.8Gr Red Dot, a 165gr hard cast bullet. Gives me over the Screens 1250fps, and even better, if the scope is @3X, use the bottom duplex point as poa, and murder critters. A 32-40 twin. I carry a few in Colorado for grouse and 165 BTSP for elk, with no change in scope.

  20. #80
    Boolit Master
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    I'll be 72 in a few weeks so I agree with Longbow about a lifetime supply. What 30 years ago was not enough now would be too much.

    I have a Marlin 357 and a 25-20 Savage. I shoot those two as cheap as anything else. I can also shoot round balls in my 91/30 with 6 grains of Trail Boss with surprising accuracy. There are several 30 cal milsurps here, with that an a assortment of molds and j-words you can cover a lot of ground.

    As much as I like tinkering around at this point adding another caliber, especially an obscure one doesn't make much sense to me. I have already let about five calibers go.

    It's interesting to read everyone's take on this. No one wrong just different.

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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