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Reloading for Cannibals, 10 years after TEOTWAWKI?

Jerry D. Young Library

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This may be a candidate for “blinding flash of the obvious” but sometimes it’s the obvious things that get missed.

We all recognize that there will be a scarcity of resources in a post TEOTWAWKI world. One of the things that almost everyone preparing for such a contingency stockpiles is ammunition. Stored ammunition is the short term solution. But the fact remains that sooner or later factory ammunition will become scarce. Whether that is in days, months, years, or decades (depending on your stockpile), reloading becomes the next most viable option. Powder, primers, and projectiles can bring new life to previously fired cases. I recommend that everyone store powder, primer, and projectiles, but sooner or later these too will get scarce.

There are things that we can do now to make our reloading capacity last well beyond that of even others who reload. We all recognize the value of arming ourselves with firearms chambered with common cartridges. In the United States you are far more likely to find 30-30, 308 and 30-06 than you are to find wild cat ammo or even nearly obsolete ammo such as 6.5 Carcano, 6.5 Japanese, 8 mm Lebel. These later three are all military chamberings, but they are no longer commonly found in quantity. When your supply of stored ammunition becomes depleted you are far more likely to find both factory loaded cartridges and reloading supplies for common cartridges. At least you are until everyone with those commonly chambered firearms start scrounging for ammo. But what then? If you have the capacity to mould your own projectiles as recently described on Survivalblog, that is an excellent start, but what else can you do?

Another is to cannibalize components from other ammunition. This will let you use jacketed bullets, as well as otherwise wasted powder and primers. I will not attempt to list safe loads that can be created with cannibalized components. The potential combinations for even a single cartridge like 308 are nearly infinite. But suffice to say that if you are willing to do a little research now you can develop safe loads from a variety of sources. For instance, if you are shooting a rifle chambered in 308 and need to build ammo for it. You can steal powder, primer, and projectiles from 30-06 cartridges. The reverse is also true. Components from 308 Winchester can feed a 30-06 as well because both cartridges utilize projectiles that are .308 inches (7.62mm) in diameter. Similarly if you own a rifle chambered for ammunition with a .311 projectile like 7.62x39 (AKs and SKS), 303 British (Enfields), or 7.62x54R (Mosin Nagants) you can load projectiles pulled from any of the cartridges in that list.

This is where the blinding flash of the obvious comes in. If you own a rifle with a bore size slightly LARGER than the most common projectiles. You can utilize not only all of the proper projectiles, but ALSO all of the slightly SMALLER projectiles safely.

NEVER try to do the reverse. DO NOT load larger projectiles in smaller bores as this will create dangerous pressures.
But you can safely build cartridges that go bang and kill down range without causing danger to the shooter by using slightly smaller projectiles.

For example: 303 British, 7.62x54R and 7.62x39mm cartridges all use a .311 diameter projectiles. They can not only use all the projectiles made in .311 but also all those that are truly .308 The accuracy will suffer because the smaller projectiles do not grip the lands and grooves of the barrel’s rifling as tightly, but ammo which can be cannibalized includes .308 Winchester, 7.62x51 NATO, 30-06, 30-378, etc.

If a multigenerational recovery period follows TEOTWAWKI, I foresee a time when those armed with the slightly larger bores find reloading components much more readily than those with smaller diameter bores. This could be a significant advantage, especially for long range shooting.

As often expressed here – knowledge is the key to quality of life beyond bare survival. With a little research now you can develop loads that give you an edge in the future when you may need it most.

This article was taken from the best forum on the Web that is dealing with preparedness issues.  You can contact Groovy Mike there if you would like