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Altering factory ammo?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by darkminstrel, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. darkminstrel

    darkminstrel PDX Well-Known Member

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    Scenario; I have cases of surplus ammo. I want to go large pest species hunting. I don't want to buy new soft point ammo as I have a selection of round nose/hunting bullets that I'm about to get in trade.

    What I'm curious about is the viability of pulling the bullets from loaded shells, altering the powder to a consistent load, and then pressing in the hunting rounds. Is the time to cost ratio going to lean more towards just purchasing the same ammo over the counter?
     
  2. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Email sent.
     
  3. dolphins84te

    dolphins84te Redmond, OR Member

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    share with the rest of us! I'm curious.

    Maybe I'm a little slow, but I'm not sure what "large pest species" are.... bears?
     
  4. darkminstrel

    darkminstrel PDX Well-Known Member

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    Coyote, possibly boar. I have a few friends a ways east who actually pick up good money during the spring and summer by popping off boar and marmots for farmers. I'm just looking for a place to exercise my precision and hone my night shooting ability. Anything smaller and my rifles are way over-powered.
     
  5. best defense

    best defense Beaverton, OR Active Member

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    As long as you are careful with the powder weight, It should work just fine.
     
  6. bcp

    bcp SW WA Member

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    It used to be common long ago when there was lots of VERY cheap surplus. The general rule was to pull a bullet, then weigh it. Replace it with a sporting bullet of at least the next lower weight category. For example, if the pulled bullets were 150 grain, replace then with 125-130 or less. You don't know what the powder is, so you can't look up a load to remeasure it. The idea is that with a lighter bullet, it will be a safe load as it is.

    Bruce
     
  7. olyshoots

    olyshoots Vancouver USA Member

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    Be mindful of crimp when doing any of this bullet replacement. And of course OAL.
     
  8. PinkhamR

    PinkhamR Altus, Oklahoma MSgt, USAF (Retired)-FFL Lifetime Supporter

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    Be very careful that you don't end up with a double powder charge.
     
  9. usmc

    usmc oregon Active Member

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    some times 2 holes are better than 1. i'd shoot my surplus ammo.i dont think i would take the time to pull bullets.plus ,bore are tough animals i wouldnt be surprised if it didnt go all the way through.
     
  10. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    I'd set up a trim gauge and lop off the bullet's pointed tip, leaving a small flat meplat and exposing the core. As long as these are lead cored, that would facilitate expansion and do little to the actual BC of the bullet.
    No worries about crimps.
    No worries about comparable bearing surface lengths.
    Faster than: pull, expand/resize neck, reseat new bullet.
    Cheaper too. No new bullets to buy.
     
  11. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I will agree that in the past, when economy was the order of the day, and the average guy might not be able to afford or obtain good hunting bullets, along with no reloading gear available, it was a relatively common practice to modify FMJ bullets by grinding the tip to expose the lead, thereby ostensibly achieving an expanding bullet.

    However: FMJ military bullets are NOT designed to expand, and jacket design throughout the bullet is not engineered for this. Making "dum-dums" out of military bullets may well (and frequently) result in a bullet that still does not expand, or worse, expands erratically, fragmenting the jacket rather than peeling back consistently.

    The OP seems to have access to good reloading equipment (mentions bullet puller, scale, etc.). Dismantling and reassembling military ammo seems like a lot of trouble for unpredictable results. He is better served by assembling good hunting ammo from the ground up, with economy achieved from shopping for suitable and cheap (partial boxes purchased at gun shows, etc.) expanding bullets and powder purchased in bulk to save cost as well.

    Utilizing military brass can have its drawbacks as well: Military brass is usually good, but may be of lesser capacity than commercial brass, requiring the reloader to reduce max charges as compared to what can be achieved with civilian brass. Then there may be primer crimps to remove, older military stuff may have corrosive primers, or worse: berdan style flash holes.

    The OP does not mention his caliber. We might assume he's shooting an old military gun in calibers such as 6.5x55,(Swede Mauser), 7.65x54 (Argentine Mauser), or such. He is still better served, with his access to good equipment to load from the ground up, with economical bullets designed to expand. In the case of .223, he can utilize good military brass, good expanding bullets, and powder purchased with economy in mind, and assemble this cartridge cheaper than he can buy 22 Magnum factory rounds. With FMJ ammo at hand, softpoint bullets at hand, I would shoot the FMJ stuff for practice, then reload using the good miliary brass, fresh powder and primers. Then the operator knows with reasonable certainty how that assembled cartridge will work for his purposes.

    Why dig a ditch with a shovel when a backhoe sits nearby idling?
     
  12. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    Since he stated he wanted it for "pest species," I don't think consistent expansion ala Nosler etc is warranted, like it would be a a big game species.
    I suppose if he is looking for explosive expansion like the V-Max on a ground squirrel it wouldn't measure up.
    But for killing/eliminating pests like chucks and yotes and the occasional pig it should be fine.
    That is/was his stated intent.
     
  13. The Quiet Man

    The Quiet Man rural Washington County, Oregon Active Member

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    I would just shoot the varmints with the surplus ammo and be done with it. They won't know the difference, and life will not be unnecessarily complicated. The only reason I wouldn't use the surplus ammo is if it violated any state game laws.
     
  14. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Provided your surplus ammo is of caliber .30 or higher, that's sufficient for coyote and smaller animals (won't damage the pelts on coyote either!). For wild pig, just go buy a box of ammo from the store, you're maybe going to shoot 1 or 2 rounds on the hunt. Maybe 5 rounds zeroing, why not just use the ammo as is?

    I've had ammo that was crap surplus, and ended up recovering some of the components, you can occasionally get away with re-using the powder and the like, usually I just save it up for new years and do a big open burn at the stroke of midnight.
     
  15. Gunner3456

    Gunner3456 Salem Well-Known Member

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    It is still common for competition shooters to use surplus WWII 30.06 ammo because they like the powder even though it may be 60 or more years old.

    They pull a few bullets and weigh each powder charge to get a good average, and then reload using the same primer and powder with their favorite bullet of the same weight.

    Known as "Ball, caliber 30, M2" ammo, it is still highly prized and used. The military didn't abandon that round until the mid-50's when they built the M-14 and even then it was quite some time before all GI's were outfitted with it.

    When I was a little kid, (50's) there was so much of that ammo around in wooden cases you could hardly give it away, and every man I knew owned a 30.06 of some type. I remember my Dad having dark colored wooden cases of it (big cases) with white lettering on the cases, and the ammo was all in belts - the type of cloth belt you wear, not machine gun type belts.