How to Make Ammunition for Prepping

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How to Make Ammunition for Prepping

If you’re survival minded like us you need to know how to make ammunition. If you’ve been keeping up with the news you’d know ammo is a hard thing to come by. Not only is ammunition hard to come by, but it will be exponentially harder to acquire post-disaster. With this in mind, maybe it’s time to learn the art of ammunition reloading. First and foremost you should understand the advantages and disadvantages of reloading your ammo. Don’t be a victim to erratic availability and price gouging, stay self-reliant.

A primary advantage to ammo reloading is the amount of money you will save. Realistically, practice makes perfect. You can’t expect to have 10,000 rounds stored with minimal time spent downrange. A lack in firearm training will most likely get your ass ate up in a combat theater. For this reason you need to hone those skills before the shit hits the fan. Because of this fact, you will need ammo… lots of ammo.

The primary disadvantage results in a lack of discipline and knowledge. Lacking these two components will result in bad loads, and possible bodily harm. Primers are an ignition source to the powder in the cartridge. Improper use and handling of primers will cause an unwanted ignition. Lead, primers, and powders should be stored properly and handled with standard PPE (personal protective equipment).

This ammunition reloading guide will outline SOP (standard operating procedures) and practices. This guide will get you started and pointed in the right direction. Aspiring reloaders should do independent research reading such supplemental articles as; Ammunition Handbook – Tactics and Techniques, Centerfire Rifle Ballistics Tables, Bullet Composition and Characteristics.

What you need to Reload Ammunition

Reloading Manual

First thing you’ll need is a reloading manual. (No, this guide does not replace a two-hundred page book on reloading). I suggest reading the Lyman 49th Edition Reloading Handbook. A good reloading handbook includes; equipment operation, supplies, processes and various accessories. This handbook is broken down by pistol, rifle, and various calibers.

Reloading Press Kit

Ammunition Reloading KitA reloading press is the main component in the reloading process, which is the metallic cartridge type. For personal and entry-level ammo reloading you should use a hand-powered press like the RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit. Not only is this reloading press perfect for when SHTF and the grid does down, but it is relatively easy to use. It contains all the tools you’ll need including;

  • Press – Single stage reloading press
  • Powder Measure – Non-digital
  • Case Loading Block – Metallic cartridge tray
  • De-burring Tool – Production burr removal
  • Hand Priming Tool – Primer seating tool
  • Case Lube Kit – Applied before the cases can be pressed into the die
  • Basic Operations Manual – Outlines the basics in ammunition reloading and operational guidelines
  • Hex Key Set and Funnel

Other Reloading Presses

Single stage presses perform function(s) on one case per class cycle. The die is then replaced in the press to perform the following function(s). Progressive presses rotate a case from one function to another, per each cycling action, thus producing a completed round in five steps +/-. Electric presses are considerably more expensive and have a justified role in ammunition distributed in the open market versus personal use.

Die Sets

223 Die Set for Ammunition ReloadingDies are caliber specific. Dies are sold in sets of two, one die resizes case diameter and the second assists in proper seating while adding a tapered crimp around the case mouth. An adjustable stem inside the first die will push out the spent primer while the stem’s upper portion expands to form outward belling of the case mouth. The second die’s adjustable stem determines bullet depth seating. Seating stems come in various shapes; hollow points, wad cutters, round nose and etc. You can purchase caliber specific die sets online;

Digital Powder Scales

Even though there is a scale in the RCBS Reloading Kit, you should upgrade to a digital scale. The RCBS included scale is standard. The included powder measure comes with a hopper on top and a drop tube at the bottom with a rotor in the middle.  Digital scales are much better due to the nature of the powder. Considering how inexpensive digital scales are, their use should be standard. A good product is the DigiWeigh Gunsmithing Scale with four different modes; grain, carat, gram, ounce. In the event of a grid-down disaster you can use the included scale.

Gun Powder and Bullet Tips

Gun powder can be purchased from local gun shops, certain sporting goods stores, or you can purchase online (there will be a hazardous shipping charge). A reliable company for reloading powder is Hodgdon; Hodgdon has an extensive selection of powder and reloading components. Bullet tips can be purchased from most gun shops including Sportsman’s Warehouse. Again, bullet tips are caliber specific and grain specific.

In closing…

Now that you have the supplies you must research using the references we’ve provided. By no means does this guide replace a full reloading manual. Then again, some will tell you ammo reloading is not that complex (some can even do this process with their fingers and a hammer). For a quality product, process the key points highlighted in this guide and purchase quality products.

You will spend around five hundred dollars for all this equipment. Twenty rounds of .223 ammunition typically costs $15-20. That means approximately 25 boxes of reloaded ammunition pays for your equipment.

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About Administrator Ryan

Administrator Ryan has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Emergency Administration and Management from the University of Kentucky, and has been the primary handler for since it's founding. Professional background includes over a decade's experience in survival and preparedness, graphic design, computer programming, website coding, and asset management. Personal background in mountaineering, climbing, rappelling, combat training, and big game hunting.

7 thoughts on “How to Make Ammunition for Prepping

  1. Seems odd he would recommend a “digital” scale as these require some form of electricity. I have used my “old” regular scale since 1989 very reliably and it does not require any batteries or outlets.

  2. For those on the other side of the situation defending from scavengers, I’d suggest having a plan in place to take out any of their scouts before they return with their group. Easy enough to fire a couple rounds from their
    weapon after the fact into your vehicles/retreat, and report to the authorities that they fired on you first for example. Taking a pic of their body and gear should help your case with the authorities later, their clothing and equipment should make it clear to the investigators that they weren’t refugees begging for food (should any legal questions arise later). I don’t like thinking this way, but not going to let anyone take from me what I bought to keep my group safe and fed.

    Keeping a scanner on, but with the antenna removed to only pick up close by transmissions on common freqs, might be a good idea too.

  3. Pingback: How to Make Ammunition for Prepping |

  4. And even the RCBS kit is hard to get now. It took almost two months to be shipped after being placed on backorder. The real challenge seems to be having enough primers on hand for practice and for SHTF stash. Along with bullets and cases too, but the primers appear to be a sticking point.

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