Most rifle and pistol cartridges and shotgun shells can be reloaded
Your primer types for rifle and pistol are mainly “Boxer” type primers. The primer is the small circle on the non-business end of your round that contains an explosive charge…a primer charge…to set off the powder in the cartridge and propel your bullet or pellets along the barrel. Simple, huh? The only cartridges you will have trouble with are “Berdan” primed cartridges. These are mostly former Soviet and Com-bloc nations’ ammunitions (such as 7.62 x 39, or 7.62 x 54R for AK-47’s or M1894 Mosin-Nagants, respectively) with Berdan primings. The primer has two holes that enter into the cartridge, and reloading is a challenge needing special tools and primers.
You will be able to save money on ammunition if you save your brass and/or acquire your brass to be cleaned, polished, and reloaded. RCBS has the famous “Rock Chucker” reloading press good on rifles or pistols. You also need a die and a decapping tool for each caliber. You can order all of this stuff online at www.amazon.com, and outfit yourself a piece at a time. Bullets can be bought, along with good guidebooks by Lyman and also by RCBS that give step-by-step instructions on how to reload each caliber. The reloading manuals come with critical data, such as the amount of grains of powder you will use as per size and type of bullet, as well as chamber pressures and maximum loads.
Down the road, you’ll want to get into casting your own bullets and other “specialty skills” that go with gunsmithing. You can really improve all of your knowledge by taking a course, either at one of the local colleges or online for gunsmithing. Another good tool to have is the Lee Handloader, a small (tiny) handloading press that you can shove right into your backpack. This little press comes in different calibers for what you would need, and it is also orderable online.
Major George C. Nonte put out an obscure but venerable work entitled, “The Homemade Guide to Cartridge Conversions,” for your advanced studies. The more you reload, the more you will learn about firearms and their capabilities. And if the SHTF? You can bet that you will want the ability to reload!
One of the most frightening scenarios was in “The Road,” the novel by Cormac McCarthy. The novel differed from the movie in this regard. The father found boxes of .45 ACP cartridges in an underground bomb shelter/bunker, but could not use them in his pistol. If he had a knowledge of reloading, it would have been a simple task to take his spent shell casings and take the time to reload them using the .45 ACP cartridges he had found.
The acquisition of supplies is secondary to skills, especially in the areas of fabricating different pieces of equipment and tools. Making things is what I’m referring to. Reloading will teach you skills that you will be able to more readily adapt ammunition and supplies and tailor make it for your survival needs. You don’t have enough ammo now: none of us do, myself included. If not now, then how about the Day after Doomsday? If it’s short now, what about then? Every bullet will be worth many times its weight in gold.
Consider a good gunsmithing program with a worthwhile course/section in reloading. If that option isn’t available, then study up and align yourself with others who reload. Offer to help them out if they will teach you their trade. It is a skill you will be able to use for the rest of your life, and may even prolong it! Study hard and gain a skill that will pay for itself. JJ out!