Curious about more information into reloading ammo given the current situation in the U.S.

While there is quite a bit out there for basic topics I wanted to pose a question that my expertise has no application to. In making the rounds and projectiles it seems that there is mostly a shortage of primers right now and for those low on funds there may also be a shortage on the ability to afford the cases/projectiles. So assuming that you were able to procure new or used tool sets my questions are as follows.

  1. Best metals and ways to “forge” projectiles in 2020? (I’m sure there’s some legalities here as well so feel free to lean in on that if you have any first hand knowledge)

  2. Shell casings, stick to used or can you “cast” them from melted aluminum/copper etc?

  3. Primers, I’ve seen a few DIY videos on this on YouYube compared to the other two but still curious as to the consistency of a manufactured primer and any tips from any of you out there?

  4. Best test set-ups, I wouldn’t want to do this to anyone or their range due to liability reasons so lets start with some basics. Test bench would be sturdy enough that a small explosion wouldn’t put anyone at risk to being suddenly in the line of fire, trigger pull wouldn’t be directly by a user (think some of Demolition ranch’s videos with the string set-ups, I’m good with knots :wink: ), and the firearm would be vice gripped in place so it couldn’t torque out of alignment with the target. So what firearms would best cycle/be cleared of bad loads? A .357 revolver comes to mind for those sorts of loads but for a common round like a 9x19 I’m unsure if I’d risk my personal carry 92FS as rugged as she is with something as potentially barrel ending as this…

If too similar to other topics my apologies, I just didn’t really find the answers when I went looking with these sorts of questions in mind.

Lyman’s cast bullet handbook is an excellent source of information on casting and reloading lead bullets.


I try to have 10 to 15 % tin in the lead for pouring into molds. A test on the lead is pour one bullet and let it cool, take a hammer and on a hard surface hit the bullet and see how it smashes. You want some stability with some smash. You can purchase already lead bullets with wax seal on them or you will need to do this step yourself. Lead bullets will leave you barrel on your gun dirtier than a copper jacketed bullet.

  • Used brass would be the best to use. Its malleable cases will reform to size easier then steel and aluminum .
    *I use a gauge that checks the form of the round after it is reloaded. This will insure that the round will chamber properly.
  • Use a loading manual to find powder loads to bullet grains and start low grain at first then build to the amount of grains of gun powder that give you the most accurate shots at desired distance at the range.
  • 357 would be a good round to load. You could even do .38 too.
  • If you find a way to make primers you better start making them, They have been hard to get a hold of.
  • Copper can be pressed to the shape of a bullet then lead is poured into the copper casing to make a copper jacket bullet. The copper can also be the base of the bullet and the bullet can be made into a jacketed hollow point.

First thing on your list is get Manuals, multiple Manuals. Lyman, Speer, Hornady, Sierra, Lee precision, Nosler.
read and study the information that these manuals have and write notes. I have a book on each step I take and why then the results I get.

  • All gun powders are not the same.
1 Like
  1. For info on casting bullets check out
    2.Use the empty brass casing you’ve been saving. You have been saving them, haven’t you?
    If not, the best bang for the buck is once fired—brass—especially for semi auto .45 ACP as you’ll
    usually loose them in the grass before you’ll wear them out. For revolvers I’d splurge on Starline Brass.
  2. No. Never, not ever! Priming compound is extraordinarily dangerous stuff. I like Winchester and
    CCI for primers. I’ll wait until more becomes available,
  3. No explosions, please! Small or otherwise. Start with the published starting loads with the powder of
    your choosing for your caliber,
    Do your self a favor and pick up a copy of Lyman’s ABC’s of Reloading and read it cover to cover
    I hope this helps!
    edit: for some odd reason the points in the above post are nothing like what I’ve typed (1, 2, 3, &4)
    The second “2” should be the “3” and the “3” should be the “4”

Well casting boolits is not hard and there is a science to it as well as a health risk to meting lead. If you didn’t know that you need to research it yourself so that you can become fully aware of the risk.

Making brass from nothing, not worth the time or expense for a personal endeavor.

Primers: Not this cowboy! Making them, yes you can. Gathering enough supplies to make it cost effective would probably put you on SOMEBODY’s radar and you would have the makings for enough explosive compound to take a good part of your house out.

As far as test rigs, the military STILL uses 1903A3 bolt actions to pressure test rounds with. For larger rifle rounds they use breach block cannon actions. I personally would use any one of a couple hundred different breach action single shot, shotguns as the back end of the platform with a purpose built bench block and barrels. Then there are the sensors and strain gauges so you can actually tell what is going on.

Making boolits is fine, folks do it all the time. Even making black powder is ummmm OK I guess I know a mountain man / pioneer re-enactor that makes his own with a recipe from 1776. Smokeless powder, you can’t get there from here. Primers: Not a chance. It’s like riding a motorcycle, It’s not IF you wreck, but WHEN you wreck. The down side to primers is that you will prefer that you didn’t survive the blast.

As far as testing on the cheap, the cheapest I would go is a Ransom Rest and a Thompson Center Contender with dedicated barrels and a remote trigger. OBTW, vice grips wont hold a 22 in place.

In the end, somethings just take time, patience and cost money.




OK–Some truths to share among the newer folks starting out in the reloading hobby field.

  1. You won’t save one dime on ammunition costs. Ever. Over time, you will get A LOT MORE SHOOTING for your hobby dollars spent than you will by just buying ammo. It takes some time and usage to amortize the costs of tooling, and that applies to bullet moulds and furnaces as well. Once you are tooled up, though…I load 30-06 for about 22 cents each running a cast 200 grain soft-point bullet at 2000 FPS. 357 Magnums are less than 12 cents each. So, there’s that. Mind you, I’ve been at this (metallic reloading) since 1976, and shotshells since 1971.

  2. Reloading components are subject to shortages. Lot of reasons why this happens, but the fact is that the supply stream for reloading components–esp. primers–is neither wide nor deep. Reloaders are last in line for components, after military, law enforcement, and commercial ammomakers. We get what they don’t use. Any true uptick in demand empties out the supply stream in short order. Gotta love the PR videos by CCI et al that claim how busy and hectic things are for them. Yeah, maybe–but these firms have decades of sales records they use to make production projections, and they seldom depart from what has sustained them for many years. The other half of the problem is what is called “Just-in-time” inventory controls on the parts of manufacturers, jobbers, wholesalers, and retailers. It costs money to store stuff. Stuff takes up space, and must be kept dry, shaded, and not subject to excessive heat or cold. So stuff isn’t warehoused in great depth. A “run” on anything empties the shelves in short order, e.g. primers and toilet paper. I still haven’t figured out that latter item…

While this isn’t much help at the present time, what I have done for a couple decades now is to ride out the shortages as best you can, and when supplies return (which always happens) stock up in some depth once prices stabilize. DON’T SPEND A DIME with the predators that are hawking primers at ridiculous prices right now–wait until the stocks return, and when the dealers can’t move stuff they’ll discount it to make it move. Happens every time, and THEN is when you stock up.

Hope this helps.