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Old February 18, 2009, 04:17 PM   #7
James K
Senior Member
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,384
Every gunsmith has made specialized tools, but it doesn't make sense to me for something you can buy for under $10 at any gun show or from Brownells or Midway. For some reason, some folks like to brag about how they improvise tools and gauges, usually for some supposed advantage, but usually just because they don't want to spend the money.

Not actually about tools, but I remember a gentleman at the range who was firing a Czech P-38. I picked up some of his brass and when I handed it to him, I noticed that the headstamps said "9mm Luger" and ".38 Special" !?!?!?!?!. Of course, I had to ask what the heck. He told me he had plenty of range pickups in 9mm Luger and .38 Special, but .380 was hard to find.

It seems he worked as a night watchman at a machine shop, and had free run of the place after hours. He made dies so he could use the shop's arbor press to swage cases down to .380 size. He turned off the .38 rims and cut the extraction groove and trimmed cases. When done, he loaded with cast lead bullets.

I suggested that while the process certainly worked, it seemed to me to take a lot of time and trouble for cartridges that could be bought very reasonably in any gun shop. His reply was classic: "Got the time, ain't got the money."

Jim K
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