Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Cartridges I handload

Friend Tamara is a dedicated shooter and firearms blogger, with an admirable collection of arms, both common and unusual. In her The Arms Room blog, she has written about many exotic and exemplary firearms. Not all of them are everyone's cuppa tea, but she has a way of making them all interesting.

One thing I particularly admire about Tams is that she has very few pure safe queen guns. Practically every one of them is a shooter, even if it's inconvenient to feed some of them.

In her regular
View From the Porch blog, she recently wrote about her personal stash of ammunition -- what she likes to have on hand to feed her guns, or guns she's likely to come across. She listed some 51 separate cartridges she likes to keep on hand. Fascinating. I suggest you give it a read.

I went down her list and noted where our interests coincide, and where they wildly diverge. Elder Son
and I have done some experimenting with many of the more common cartridges, and a few of the lesser used ones. I wandered into my messy reloading room/workshop and got to thinking about the ammo I hand oad, and am ABLE to load. I may not need some of these, but if called upon, I could put together ammo for all these guns. I note that I only load for some 20 of the cartridges Tam lists. They're the ones above the dashed line. I can load an additional 20 cartridges besides.

In fairness, I must acknowledge that it's easy to "double dip" some of these items. For example, Tams lists .38 ACP, which she could shoot in my Super .38 Colt. Also .223 and 5.56x45mm AND the .308 and 7.62x51mm pairs are interchangeable for casual use. My claim that I can load .454 Casull may be reaching, as it is only a matter of readjusting .45 Colt dies. But, is this any less valid than claiming .38 Special/.357 mag and .44 Special/.44 mag as four separate cartridges?

My List:

.44 Magnum
.44 Special
.41 Magnum
.357 Magnum
.38 Special
.455 Webley Auto
.303 Brit
7.62x51 NATO
300 Whisper
.243 Winchester
- - - - - - - - - - -

.38 S&W
.38 Super
.357 Sig
.40 S&W
10 mm auto
.455 revolver
.45 Colt
.45 S&W
.45 Auto Rim
.454 Casull
.222 Remington
.223 Remington
.257 Roberts
.270 Win
.30 US Carbine
.30-30 Win
.308 Win
.300 WinMag
.35 Whelen
.375 H&H

On the other hand, while I could shoot my standard .257 and .30'06 ammo in rifles chambered for the Ackley Improved versions, I don't count these separately.

And I can't believe I have rifles for 7.5 mm Swiss, 7.62x39 mm, .38-40 WCF, and .338 WinMag, but can't handload these.

I freely admit that I'm a hobbyist. There's no way I "need" to handload near all those cartridges. Even as much as I like to shoot, I could get along very well with only a dozen die sets. But, hey, I already have the gear on hand, and it doesn't eat anything while not in use. Yeah, there's a fair bit of money invested in those items, and the presses and related stuff. The spending was spread out over decades, and I don't recall missing but a few meals in all that time. Have you priced a set of good golf clubs or some scuba gear lately?

Hey, this is kinda fun, once I get to going. Maybe I should blog a little more often . . . .