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Old December 31, 2012, 03:31 PM   #1
SnowTrekker
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Availability of components?

I have been kicking around the idea of reloading for a while now. Part of it is due to the rising cost of ammunition and the realization that I can shoot much more for the same cost. The other part is my continuing frustration at not being able to find the ammo that I want to shoot (i.e. the current state of .223 ammo, where I recently saw some on the shelf locally for $1000 per case).

My question is this: are the components (mainly thinking of bullets, powder & primers) just as hard to find as factory ammo? I have been trying to find primers and bullets for both .223 and 9mm and think reloading may not solve the second part of my equation.
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Old December 31, 2012, 04:09 PM   #2
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My local shop always has large and small rifle primers, but the small pistol primers are hardly ever in stock. Bullets and powder seem to be available in the shop or online. I was even looking at Natchez and they were out of all small pistol primers about a month ago (except for Tul-Ammo). I'm new to reloading, so I have really only been aware of the stocks for around 4-5 months.
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Old December 31, 2012, 04:36 PM   #3
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Stuff is in really short supply right now but it won't last forever. Generally finding components is easier than finding ammo because it is selling to a smaller group of people. However if you want to be picky, IE only shooting one brand or kind of powder/primer then you do have to look around a bit more.

If you want to get into reloading right now I'd say buy your press, dies, scale, etc right now and start watching components and seeing when stuff comes back into stock. The best thing about reloading is you can buy a 8lb jug of powder, 10k primers and suddenly you have enough stock to go through these panics unaffected. I personally try to keep a years supply of components on hand so even if it comes time to buy again I can wait for months before actually needing the stuff to shoot.
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Old December 31, 2012, 04:42 PM   #4
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A few days ago I placed an order with Powder Valley. They were totally out of small pistol primers, but I did order 4,000 Winchester large pistol primers. They did not have Winchester 231 in 8 lbs., but I was able to order two 4 lb. cannisters.

Today, they are still out of small pistol primers. They now have the 8 lb. Winchester 231 powder but are out of the 4 lb. containers. (Go figure)

Powder Valley is around $26.00 for a thousand primers (varies by mfg, I ordered Winchester); whereas local stores charge from $40 - $50.00 per thousand.

It appear small pistol primers are going to be an issue. I am down to only 2 thousand left on my bench.

I normally look for once fired brass, but it seems the price is going up on some of the more popular calibers. Bullets seem to be available from both Precision and Berry's.

Back a few years ago in the last demand surge, primers (wait time was about 4 to 6 months if they would accept an order) were the issue. The other components were available.

I would stock up if you can at a reasonable price.
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Old December 31, 2012, 05:23 PM   #5
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You'll always be way ahead ...if you decide to reload...in terms of having a supply of ammo.

But reloading is about attention to detail !!...not availablity...or cost savings necessarily ....although you will shoot a lot more with the same ammo budget on mettalic especially vs shotshells. But attention to Detail ...following good procedures, etc...is critical.

I always buy components in case lots ....bullets 2,000 - 4,000 to a case / primers 5,000 to a case / powder in 8lb kegs.....and even with the panic buying right now ...you'll figure out when you're down to 3 or 4 months of supplies...and re-order accordingly when you need components.

I recommend reloading as part of the gun hobby ...especially if you intend to invest in good equipment ( I like Dillon equipment - like the 650 press ) but Hornaday and others make good equipment too.
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Old December 31, 2012, 05:29 PM   #6
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If you look around you can find everything you need for 5.56/.223.

I have a "OK" supply of primers and powder but, should get more bullets.

I have been shopping around and I can still find primers, powder, bullets but, brass is a bit harder to find. I have a few thousand pieces of brass so that's not a big deal.

You may not be able to find "THE" powder that you want but, there are other small rifle caliber powders out there that work fine in 5.56.
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Old December 31, 2012, 05:40 PM   #7
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Hey, thanks for the responses so far, it's very helpful. I was beginning to get discouraged before even getting started.

So how do you get a sense of what a reasonable price is for the various components? And how many rounds can you load with an 8 lb keg of powder--let's say for .223?

I am most likely going to go with a Dillon 550B depending on the tax refund (if there even is one!) from Uncle Sam in 2013. And more likely an RCB single stage for match rifle when I am out of my factory loads.
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Old December 31, 2012, 05:48 PM   #8
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An 8lb keg will load around 2,300 rounds depending on the powder charge. I used 24g's to come to that number.

Powder will run around $120-$150 for 8lbs unless you can get some military surplus powder which is around $90 for 8lbs. Primers will be around $25 per 1k again depending on the brand.

You can buy cheaper primers like Tula or Wolf at a much discounted price. $15-$21 per 1k
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Old December 31, 2012, 05:50 PM   #9
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Small pistol primers seem to be in very short supply these days, but hopefully that will improve in a month or so. Everyone seems to be stocking up.

Quote:
You can buy cheaper primers like Tula or Wolf at a much discounted price. $15-$21
I use Tula for my range ammo (Federal for Bullseye ammo), they work fine.
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Old December 31, 2012, 06:03 PM   #10
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Biggest thing is stocking up on primers. In my area, powder is pretty available, and I buy bullets in bulk. I have 1000 175 gr sierra match kings on my shelf for f class season...

Small pistol and small rifle are in higher demand right now imo. Last time there was a primer shortage, it was large pistol, so research component availability before you dive in.
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Old December 31, 2012, 07:39 PM   #11
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Went to the Fort Worth gun show Saturday. Not a lot of small pistol and small rifle primers available. Those that were were $7/10 higher than last time.
I was not in too bad shape, but yesterday I ordered 10K CCI LPP and 8# HP38 from Powder Valley. If I can't shoot my 9mm and 38 Super I will shoot my 45's.
Also ordered 3K 38 Super bullets, and 3K of 45 bullets from MBC.
All the prices at PV was the same as last time I ordered and MBC was actually a little cheaper than last time. That is the main reason I ordered. I am sure most places will be going up.
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Old December 31, 2012, 07:48 PM   #12
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Component shortages come and go. Normally components are more available than factory ammo. One thing you can do as a re-loader is create ammo you prefer. Some people like soft shooting ammo that is accurate. Others prefer ammo more accurate than what you get for a certain price. Re-loaders can do that as well. One other advantage to reloading is you can purchase components as they are available or money is available. Once you have everything you need you are able to make what you need and not worry if the LGS might have what you want on the shelf that week. It might take some time to get a load you like worked up. It also might take a while to collect enough stock to keep you in reloading supplies to last through any of these shortages. Once done you won't have to worry about when these shortage come along.

I have probably enough components on hand to last until the craziness settles down. Since the price of everything seems to always go up, having extra things on hand to reload fixes my cost per round until I need to make additional orders.
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Old December 31, 2012, 09:19 PM   #13
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The last big panic was 2008. First to fall to the panic was AR's and magazines for them. Then ammo was gone. Then the stripped AR lowers moved out quickly. Then all of the most popular handguns sold out.

After all the most mainstream stuff went scarce, handloading stuff was next. Presses and kits and primers. Component bullets. Brass and powder never really took the hit.

All of the manufacturers of -ALL- of these productions from top to bottom added extra employees and the ones who could added production shifts. Some of the manufacturers added equipment and production facilities as they could.

For ammo and bullet makers, only the MOST popular stuff got made. 9mm, .40cal and .45 slugs in handguns and .224" and .308" in rifles. If you were looking for .41 Mag bullets or .323" rifle slugs, whatever HAD been in stock was all that existed in the USA. No more of that stuff was scheduled for production for 12-16 months. Facilities running 24/7 in some cases, all of them making -THE- most popular stuff.

Since that panic, shooting has become more popular and more mainstream. In late 2012, more people own & shoot guns than in '08. And all the manufacturers have been running at high output for a long time, not simply reacting NOW. In my estimation, this one will be worse than in '08.

Your idea to combat this problem with handloading is a fine idea, executed too late.
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Old December 31, 2012, 10:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Your idea to combat this problem with handloading is a fine idea, executed too late.
Well, that's pretty much what I was afraid of.
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Old December 31, 2012, 10:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Your idea to combat this problem with handloading is a fine idea, executed too late.
It's not too late if you can still get everything you need to reload?

As of today I can still buy primers, powder, presses, dies, bullets and brass?

If you buy enough to last you a few months you should weather the panic buying and stock will be back or you can buy all of the components from all the hoarders when the panic clears.
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Old December 31, 2012, 10:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Your idea to combat this problem with handloading is a fine idea, executed too late.
Thats ridiculous, I could start from scratch today with what is available online. If you are interested I'll post a link to what you need for a bare bones reloading setup and a few nice optional things as well.
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Old January 1, 2013, 12:29 AM   #17
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Allow me to rephrase for the friendly gallery.

Your idea was a much better one if you'd executed it a month or more ago. At the moment, it's stickier than it was, or could have/should have been.
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Old January 1, 2013, 08:22 AM   #18
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Yes, I definitely should have started buying a number of things (magazines included) this summer. Sadly, I'm behind the curve here.

I did a little internet searching this morning (and my sincere thanks to those who sent links to suppliers), and did not find any small rifle or small pistol primers in stock. I'll keep looking. Now if I was really smart, I'd open a primer manufacturing factory.

I would certainly appreciate any other advice to benefit from everyone's experience in reloading. I've been getting a lot out of reading the ABC's of Reloading. Reloading does not seem difficult, just demanding absolute attention to detail.
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Old January 1, 2013, 08:54 AM   #19
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We only buy what we plan to use up or"load" quickly, I've seen a few shortages come and go, we're setting on a few pounds of powder and plenty of primers for now, but as a wiseman told me once,,,,panic begets panic.... so I'm not panicking.
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Old January 1, 2013, 05:49 PM   #20
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,,,,panic begets panic....

My thinking exactly. I don't have a huge supply, but enough to last me through what little shooting I get to do. I did find a 1 lb bottle of H322 at GM today and decided to pay their premium. I haven't started loading the .223 yet, but now have a couple of different powders to play with and see what works best for me. I would rather wait it out and conserve a little on my shooting than contribute to the panic.
Side thought---.22 shells gone? Really? Glad I have several bricks in the safe from when I found them on sale.
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Old January 1, 2013, 06:54 PM   #21
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Looks like the consensus is pretty much "If I buy it it is to lay in a reasonable stock, If you buy it is panic buying and hoarding."
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Last edited by dickttx; January 1, 2013 at 07:48 PM.
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Old January 1, 2013, 07:08 PM   #22
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I've seen some places jacking prices up on loaded ammo to take advantage of the self induced shortages. But so far, powder, primers, and bullets have seemed to stay pretty steady in price. You just have to have a little patience to catch some of them in stock.
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Old January 1, 2013, 09:25 PM   #23
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I can't find CCI 500, or Winchester WSP small pistol primers anywhere. Hopefully this will pass, and this stuff will start showing up in a month or so.
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Old January 1, 2013, 09:27 PM   #24
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Quote:
Looks like the consensus is pretty much "If I buy it it is to lay in a reasonable stock, If you buy it is panic buying and hoarding."
I don't care how old you are, you are wise beyond your years.
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Old January 2, 2013, 12:13 AM   #25
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Ahhh, but how shall you define it when I haven't bought even a bit of any component in well more than a month -- yet I have a fine supply on hand?

It's just that I learned back in 2008 that I couldn't have too much of something that I'm absolutely certain that I will use.

I don't like it that folks can't find what they need and it bothers me that anyone feeds the beast with some of the prices they pay, but I'm not worried about my "needs" at this point because my needs are covered for the time being.

I've spent more money on component bullets in the year 2012 than ever, and more than most of the past combined.

I suppose we can label it as anything, but is the term "hoarding" accurate if my sole intention is to consume every bit of it, and I have 0 motivation to sell any of it, even at the stupid prices we've seen in these situations?

Remember what we saw with primers in '08? Guys selling them for $60, $75 per thousand on Ebay, when most knew darn well they (likely) had no legal and proper method to even ship a hazmat?
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