Reloading 22LR Ammo? Hint: You Can ~ VIDEO

By Tom McHale
This is a review of the Reloading 22LR kits from AMG : http://22lrreloader.com/store/

You may want to stop throwing 22LR brass away.
You may want to stop throwing these away.
Tom McHale headshot low-res square
Tom McHale

USA –-(Ammoland.com)- If one of the following things ever happen, you’ll be really glad you read the following article:

Zombies escape their TV and movie confines and start munching on what few and far between brains there still are in the real world.

Simultaneous fires in the iPhone and xBox factories plunge humanity into global rioting.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton team up to create the weirdest presidential ticket ever, and rumors of an all-Kardashian cabinet send civilization as we know it over the precipice.

Hey, statistically, one of these things is bound to happen. It’s only a matter of time, and when it does, I’m thinking .22LR ammo will be the new basis currency, not to mention the primary means of squirrel shopping.

The basic kit is all you really need to get started.
AMG 22LR Reloader : The basic kit is all you need to get started.

As an avid reloader, I’ve told people about a thousand times that you can’t reload .22 ammunition.

Technically, I know you can, but it’s always been one of those things that just seemed like a whole lot of trouble. Unlike centerfire ammunition like 9mm, .45 ACP and .308, there is no removable primer that you can simply replace. That’s important as it’s the primer that converts the kinetic energy of the firing pin strike into a small explosion that ignites the powder charge. Rather, .22LR cartridge cases have a narrow little gap in the inside of the case rim. Manufacturers magically squeeze a little bit of priming compound into this tiny space so that when a .22 gun strikes the very edge of the case rim, the priming compound explodes and ignites the powder charge. After the shot, the priming compound is all burned up, and there’s a dent in the cartridge case from the firing pin strike.

I felt like I should have been doing this in a back room at Studio 54...
I felt like I should have been doing this in a back room at Studio 54…

AMG 22LR Reloader

I recently got my hands on a little kit from AMG (22Reloader.com) or ( amgsporting.com/22lr-reloader/ ) that gives you the tools, and more importantly, instructions you need to reload .22LR ammunition. The basic kit includes a few simple tools that will help you turn those spent cases back into functional ammo. A pliers-like tool serves dual duty as a bullet mold and crimping tool to make sure your new bullet stays in place once reloaded. A small wire tamper and scraper helps you remove old priming compound residue from the spent case and pack new material in there. An eyedropper and funnel help you liquify the replacement priming compound so it can work its way into the case rim and charge the cases with powder. The company offers extra kits and accessories like priming compound ingredients and a resizing die that fits a standard reloading press. We’ll get more into that in a minute.

So I decided to get all survivalist and take a shot at making my own .22LR ammo from scratch…

You can buy this optional priming compound kit to make things easier.
You can buy this optional priming compound kit to make things easier.

The secret to Reloading 22LR Ammo is in the priming

The company provides a priming kit consisting of four mysterious powders with cryptic names like “L2”, “L”, and two bags both marked “S”. Mix these together in the right proportions with the enclosed measuring scoop and you have your own priming compound. Be careful, though, when you’re mixing it dry, too much pressure can set it off. After all, that’s what is supposed to happen. As soon as the four powders are blended into a light gray mix, you drop 1/3 of a small scoop into each .22LR cartridge case.

If you want to be really resourceful, you can retrieve priming material from caps. I guarantee you'll blow some up in the process.
If you want to be really resourceful, you can retrieve priming material from toy caps. I guarantee you’ll blow some up in the process.

Using the company’s priming compound is the easy and most reliable method, but you can make priming compound out of other everyday stuff too. When the world ends and Zombie’s rule, you won’t be able to mail order the AMG priming powder kit anyway, so you’ll need to find a way to improvise. Fortunately, you can make priming compound at home using some inconventional supplies like caps, strike anywhere match heads and the contents of those little party poppers you throw on the ground.

In addition to testing the company provided priming compound, I decided to try making my own using caps that I picked up at Wal-Mart. You can use those plastic cup type or the rolls of paper caps for toy guns. I elected to try my luck with the paper caps.

Using the included AMG packer / scraper tool, you can gently scrape the “make the cap go bang” material and collect it. With the wimpy new caps on the market, you’ll need the guts from eight or ten to get enough priming compound material for a single .22LR cartridge. Oh, don’t get all efficient and collect a big pile all at once. The odds of you setting off one of the caps with the scraper are 15 thousand percent, and that will burn up the pile of material you’ve worked so hard to collect. Ask me how I know…?

The company offers an optional resizing die that works with any standard single-stage reloading press.
The company AMG offers an optional resizing die that works with any standard single-stage reloading press.

Next you’ll add a little liquid. This will help the compound work its way into the nooks and crannies of the cartridge rim and make it inert, so you can pack it into place without blowing anything up. The plan is that you let everything dry thoroughly before moving on to future steps. If you use something that evaporates quickly, like acetone or vodka, the process will be faster.

Oh, one more thing. Read all the instructions carefully. The first step before priming is to scrape all the old primer residue out of the cartridge cases or else they won’t work. Ask me how I know that one too…?

Casting your boollits – Reload .22LR Ammo

Since we’re in survival mode, we can’t assume there are stores that are open to sell .22 caliber projectiles, so we’re going to make our own. Besides, that’s why the AMG includes a casting mold with the. The mold makes two bullets per cast, with one being a 25-grain solid point and the other being a 38-grain round nose.

The provided mold, a bunch of bullets dug out of the ground, a stainless ashtray and an old spoon were enough to get me going casting my own projectiles.
The provided AMG 22LR mold, a bunch of bullets dug out of the ground, a stainless ashtray and an old spoon were enough to get me going casting my own projectiles.

Sticking with my wilderness plan, I opted not to do anything wimpy like buying lead or using an official casting furnace. I wanted to see if I could do this by scrounging everyday stuff. First, I went to Wal-Mart and invested $4.97 in a stainless steel ashtray for my melting pot. When the world ends, you’ll be able to get one free as the looters before you probably won’t steal these. Then, I dug some fired bullets out of the berm at my local range, mostly jacketed ones, but I did find a few all lead projectiles. You could also scrounge lead from other sources like wheel weights on abandoned cars. I tossed my bullets, jackets and all, into my ashtray melting pot and applied heat from a hand-held blow torch.

Yeah, I cheated with the heat source, but only because my wife frowned on my plan of building a wood fire in the garage.

Within just a couple of minutes, the lead melted out of the busted up copper jackets, and I was able to scoop off the unnecessary grunge using a teaspoon I stole from the kitchen. After a few practice runs, I was able to get pretty decent cast bullets.

My melting lead looked a little nasty until I scraped the excess gunk off the top.
My melting lead looked a little nasty until I scraped the excess gunk off the top.

Loading the cartridges – Reload .22LR Ammo

Cases are primed and dried, bullets are cast, so now it’s time to finish some completed cartridges. The instructions provided by AMG gives you some powder charge guidelines for a few different smokeless gun powder brands, but you can also use fine black powder or substitute like Pyrodex.

In a real crunch, you could use more cap and priming material, but that would be a total end of times desperation move.

Once I got the hang of it, I was able to make pretty nice looking bullets from range junk.
Once I got the hang of it, I was able to make pretty nice looking bullets from range junk.

Using the provided funnel, carefully measure the desired amount of powder charge in each case. The .22LR bullets will drop right in, but need to be crimped using the bullet casting mold tool. There’s a cut forward of the two bullet molds for that purpose. You can roll your projectiles around in a little bit of lubricant if you like, but it’s not necessary. Just know that if you fire unlubed bullets, you’ll need to clean your gun a bit more often as lead will accumulate.

After the cases were primed, I used some Unique smokeless power to charge them.
After the cases were primed, I used some Unique smokeless power to charge them.

So…??

Can you make your own .22LR ammo from scrounged up stuff? Yes, you can!

Voila! Completed .22LR cartridges.
Voila! Completed .22LR cartridges.

Is it worth it? If you don’t have a choice, it’s absolutely worth the trouble. However, the process is slow and tedious, so you’re not going to want to do this to save five or ten cents per round.

As with any DIY project, there are some learnings:

  • Be sure to clean the cartridge cases first, especially the interior rim area.
  • Be equally sure to let your priming compound dry completely before loading powder and crimping a bullet.
  • Check your brass to make sure it will fit in your chamber. The company makes a resizing die that will solve this problem if you want to get fancy and make all your brass pickups functional.
  • As far as the firing pin dent on spent brass, you can try to poke it out with a small screwdriver, or you can just load the cartridge so the firing pin will strike in a different spot. That’s what I did.

All in all, this was a pretty enlightening project. The product does what it says, and the instructions are clear as long as you actually read them. Check it out at http://22lrreloader.com/store/ !


Here is AMG 22LR inventor explaining the process in this short video:


About

Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon. You can also find him on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

  • 57 thoughts on “Reloading 22LR Ammo? Hint: You Can ~ VIDEO

    1. It would seem to me that a special tool could be used to remove the crimp. The end of the tool would be like a circle. However half the circumference or less would be the shape of the internal rim. It would work something like a shoe horn. Very quickly. It could be used to pry out that crimp from the firing pin. Then the resizing gear would ensure it is near spec, (take out any over bend.) Copyright 2015 Thomas Paul Murphy

      1. Actually, a hard 8-penny carpenter’s nail (slightly groomed with the aid of a hand-file) and a soft wood surface (pine 2×4, anyone?) and you can dress the previous pin-strike right out of the brass primer pocket, Simply lay the fired brass on the pine board (on its side), place the small nail head into the case, and with a hard plastic mallet head, strike the side of the nail a couple of times. The head of the nail works like a micro pry-bar, and opens the firing pin strike point right up (except on the most extreme deep-strike points).

        Quickest, easiest way I’ve found short of modifying a finishing nail driver-chisel to have a ‘sheep’s foot’ offset and working each strike point out with the case standing up, anyhow. That pocket, ungroomed, will lead to a BUNCH of misfires if not addressed. You won’t get primer compound in that area, and if it indexes with the firing pin after reloading, you will launch the pin onto that dead primer area, otherwise. This, by the way, statistically happens A LOT MORE than it should to be coincidence. It’s like that strike point, once made, will magnetically be drawn to the firing pin again-and-again, otherwise.

        Dress your cases first! Now, if only someone like LEE or RCBS would address this problem with a nice die construction, it would be GREAT for single stage reloaders (like myself, whose reloaded tens-of-thousands of replaceable centerfire cases before).

    2. Another way to uncramp the firing pin strike would be to use a process tool head somewhat like how a circle spark plug gapper works. The device is inserted into the spent brass and circular (like how a screw driver works) takes out that crimp as the gradient comes to maximum rim gap at that point on the rim. Copyright 2015 Thomas Paul Murphy

    3. So much easier to make mercury fulminate than to screw around with matches and caps for your primer.

      How long would it take to load 10,000? Every day for a year? How easy is it to buy and stash 10,000 and not have to reload any? If you shot 50 a week it would take you 4 years to deplete your stash….

      Cute tool, totally impractical and unnecessary.

      1. You should only need maybe 1-3 bullets per day if your situation is so dire you can’t obtain store-bought bullets but need to have bullets 1 way or another. Basically, the kit would be for true survivalists or perfectionists. If you need 50 .22LR shots to take down a rabbit or something for your meal, or you like wasting ammo or just having fun, you’re probably better off getting ammo from the store or buying a BB gun. Let’s be honest, if the world goes to shit, you’re going to be using .22LR for hunting small game, not self defense, unless you’re a crack shot and can hit a quarter size target, within a second from 15′ away. If you’re an average shot and want compact stopping power for just about anything, maybe consider a 5.7 or 9x19mm. With either round, you can punch through a sternum, pass through the heart, hit the spinal cord and do hydro-static damage to other organs with the right shot. Otherwise, it’ll handle just about any angle shot you need to take for pretty much any type of game or unarmored adversary. Makes clean little 3/8″ di. holes in small game too and no bullet to dig from the meat. .38 Special, modern .25ACP, .32ACP or .380ACP from up to around 3.5″ long handgun barrels will perform about the same as a 22LR or .22WMR from rifles but leave a wider hole and cause more pain/shallow damage and low risk of death, considering what firearms are designed for. Even at point blank, supersonic 40 grain .22LR from a pistol or revolver would barely make it’s way through a human skull, let alone cause significant brain damage. For sure the higher quality ammo would pass through a skull, lodge into the surface of the brain, pass through a rib and puncture a lung or pass through the sternum and lodge in the wall of the heart, possibly enough to cause internal bleeding and EVENTUALLY stop the attack and cause death if you can wait 5-15 minutes, but it doesn’t have power for much else unless that .22 is actually a .223 Remington, 5.56, 5.7mm or other bottle-necked cartridge for .22 bullets. Also, subsonic ammo with lighter than 30 grain bullets won’t work. I got shot in the leg with 1 in an accident before, didn’t notice until a few minutes later when I saw a drop of blood on my pants, walked to the emergency room and got it removed. No recovery time and the bullet just lodged 1/5″ under my skin so all it did was sting a bit and a few drops of blood dripped out so I know how unfit subsonic .22LR, Short or CB would be for self -defense. It’d take 1 or 2 more shots, same hole, to do enough damage to sever a major blood vessel in my leg. Yeah, .22LR is better left to eye shots, nut shots, assassinations by skilled shooters at knifing distances or small or medium game. Why would you need 50 in 1 day, hosing down rabbit with full auto 50 round magazine burn, torturing passers-by to death with the equivalent of a Texas sized beehive colony of bee stings or using more money than needed for target practice? Lol wow… Now that’s impractical and unnecessary…

        1. Kenny… it appears you donot know the power of a 22lr cartridge. Up to 50 yards a 22lr can take down a deer in a pile. Sometimes maybe a kick or two but that’s it. Shoot between the eyes. Also at close range a 22lr will go into a human scull and just bounce around inside the skull. If bugging out it would be the ideal gun to take. Once you learn one shot one kill, sometimes two kills, if you line them up right. Practice makes perfect they say. when I was young 8-14 years old and not allowed to be in any sports in school my parents bought me 500 22lr every week to practice with, after I was 14 I slowed down a bit because my parents said I made enough money to buy my own ammo. I believe there is nothing a 22lr won’t take down, and with practice 200 yard shots can be made accurately. Of course I have had practice with many other calibers but that is my love for calibers, and I don’t like to brag but I tell people give me 3 shots with your gun and I will out shoot you with your own gun.

          1. The self defense 22LR or SHTF Aquila 60gr SSS has the juice to be effective. I use them in my 223 AR pistol with a CMMG conversion kit. You can only hear the bolt slap. Probably why the IDF uses them in Gaza. However, I was looking at the extreme concept of reloading those SSS 22 short casings. As it turns out, I have found it easier to simply remove the conversion kit and replace the original BCG and reload straight up 223 REM subsonic with a 77 grain powder coated cast bullet. A slightly louder bolt slap but harder hitting and much easier to resource in extreme times. But still this article is an interesting example of extreme reloading innovation.

          2. With .22LR, I’ve only had experience with CCI Mini-Mags. Those rounds have a reputation for being some of the most powerful and reliable .22LR in the mainstream market. From a 3.5″ barrel and 12′ away, the bullets won’t go through 2 pieces of old and weathered ply-wood. Also won’t go through more than a few inches of home made bare 10% gel from Knox brand gelatin at 37 degrees F. Maybe a rifle would give better results, but I doubt it’d be much better and I’m not impressed with .22LR at this time. I believe .22LR would pass through 1 side of the skull but I don’t believe that it’d even reach the other side of a full and healthy skull. Sure, if the skull’s empty, weak, or you manage to pull off a close range shot with a rifle, I’d have no doubt that there would probably be significant bounce after a certain angle of impact on the other side of the skull. Also, most people don’t live in areas where hunting or sniping from 50-200 yards takes a higher priority than self-defense from maybe up to 50′. Most people can’t quickly hit that tiny area between the eyes, let alone the brain stem with any round. Your skills are apparently exceptional. They aren’t typical. What do you call a product that is useful to some people but has very limited if any usefulness to most people? I think that’s called novelty or specialty. I’m not quite sure which term fits the .22LR better. It’s just powerful enough to be adequate for an extremely skilled shooter, but even a pebble can be lethal when thrown by a skilled person. The bullet is fine. It’s the tiny 5 grain powder charge that seems to be the flaw for most people. The power you can get from a .22LR is limited. How much powder can you really cram into a .22LR cartridge anyway? The slingshot exists for a reason similar to the .223 Remington cartridge. Most people need a better machine to make up for their lack of skill.

    4. Do you make dies for 22 mag. ?
      Also there has to be a formula for primes?
      What is used inside nipple caps for black powder weapons???
      It has to be something very common. Yes ? I have a die cutter
      That makes Musket Caps from thin sheet of brass or maybe even heavy duty aluminum
      Foil? But there has to be a liquid they used during the time of musket and black powder
      Firearms. The primers had to be made by the shooters, people could not go to a
      Store or town every time they needed primer caps ! Now black powder could be made
      In the wilderness as could lead projectiles. So any one should have been able to make the
      Caps as well???
      This primer material use in the 1800’s and 1900’s and even today could be used
      In 22 and 22 mag. Brass to do this reloading. If you find out how or what they
      Used back then I would hope you would forward this info to me for this lead?
      I Also would want the 22 L.R. Dies and I would want a 22 mag. Dies as well.
      The 22 mag. Dies are at the top of the list because there more expensive to
      Shoot and harder to buy. Now 22 mag. Brass Rounds are longer and are bigger in
      Diameter as well. As a pro- reloaded 22 mag reloads could sell.
      Now as for the hammer strike that dents the primers on 22 brass
      I can show you how to build a tool that could help remove some of the dent but it would depend on the firing pin of the weapons firing them. Some firing pens hit hard and deep leaving damaging
      Strikes or dents.
      Please advise
      Randy Jones
      386-916-7446 ( call or Text 24/7 )
      [email protected]

    5. I believe in the “hoarding” part but I would still get this kit and accessories as a plan “B” because you never know what will happen.

    6. I would think that you could use a common nail 6pny,8pny,10pny, what ever. Just grind the head if necessary so it fits the inside of the rim. If you put the case in the sizing die it would allow you to force the nail head into the rim using a screw driver and the nail head would fit better than almost anything else, I think so anyway. Also you could tap the nail lightly so as to take out any of the dent that remains.

    7. Many years ago back in the early 60’s a friend of mine down in South Louisiana tried his hand at reloading
      .22 ammo. He made the molds to cast bullets, collected empty shell casings and proceeded to experiment
      with reloading. His first attempt was not successful but as a WW II EOD specialist who went thru
      Europe and worked at Redstone arsenal after he retired from the Army. He told us that he and some of
      the guys he worked with had experimented with reloading .22 ammo to see if it was practical and could be done
      by the layman safely. I know he made some ammo that worked quite well in my single shot, bolt action
      Remington rifle. He did it as a hobby and also made primer caps for his percussion rifle. His ammo worked
      quite well and so did his primer caps. He showed us how to use Fulminate of Mercury for the primer and explained
      that it need to be well ventilated and you had to be extremely careful or you would have a serious accident.
      He also experimented with various compounds to make his primer material. I know he used small brass tubing
      to make his primer caps. They were not pretty but they worked. That was a very long time ago and I always
      wondered why we never saw more about it till I tried my hand at reloading.

    8. I hope you cleaned your firearms after using fulminate of mercury. It is the reason the bore in many older weapons is found to be in very poor/pitted condition.

    9. Interesting. I’ve seen this before somewhere.
      $160 for the complete set of stuff.
      Hmmm. That would buy 2000 rounds at $.08 per round average price these days.
      Much easier if you can it!

    10. Just buy yourself a small caliber center fire gun and save your fired brass. When live ammo becomes unobtainable you’ll have a supply of brass that’s a hell of a lot easier to reload and more reliable when you press the ‘bang switch’.

    11. Didn’t know this was so easy to do. I actually would be far more interested in adapting this process to 25 Stevens and 32 Stevens. Those are somewhat more difficult to find than 22 lr.

    12. RH – If you actually read the article, you’ll see that it said exactly that. If you’re looking to say 5 or 10 cents per round, this is not your Huckleberry. Where this type of process gets used is in the bush, trappers, and plenty in other countries where things like number of rounds of ammunition of any kind are severely limited. Plus, it’s fun.

    13. Wake up people. This article is NOT designed to get people to reload their own .22. This is to show that it can be done, and also what is needed if you are interested in doing it in a SHTF senario. As for me, I already have 2500 rounds cached!

      1. Not enough. You need at least one more zero. 😉

        As for me, I think I’ll give it a try … just to have the “know how” tucked in the back of my head. I was saving .22 brass to recycle, but if I can reload it faster than I shoot it, that would be good, too.

    14. 2500 rounds? About 5 Bulk packs (500+ rounds/per)
      Back in the day (15 years ago) Big 5 Sporting Goods use to have regular ‘specials’ – 500+ round bulk packs as low as $8. I always tried to snag a few – just in case. I don’t have an exact count but i must have at least 25.
      But that is nothing:, at age 13 I remember yhe local Western Auto sold 22lr around $1.00/50, 22 Long about 85 cents, Shorts about 70 cents. But I also remember a new Jag XKE (my dream car) was about $6500 at the same time!

      1. I have 10 boxes of Winchester Wildcat .22 LR ammo that were bought in a Dallas K-Mart in the late 1990’s. The price sticker says, “88 cents.” That is even cheaper than when I was a kid, a half century ago.
        While I have enough .22 ammo stashed for most conceivable scenarios it is kind of neat to see that it is possible to load those old empty .22 cases. I just may have to stop tossing them into the “brass bucket’ for recycling.
        Now we need a way to reload primers (with watchmaker’s tools?).

    15. It would seem to me that a special tool could be used to remove the crimp. The end of the tool would be like a circle. However half the circumference or less would be the shape of the internal rim. It would work something like a shoe horn. Very quickly. It could be used to pry out that crimp from the firing pin. Then the resizing gear would ensure it is near spec, (take out any over bend.) Copyright 2015 Thomas Paul Murphy

      Copyright? For transformitive purposes, I will be posting this comment on every .22 blog, forum and video I come across.

      1. If someone were to machine the external profile of a “to spec” .22 case into a piece of steel, then set up a quick way to clamp it closed, you could insert 1-100 cases in the die, fill them with water and use a hydraulic ram (piece of rod + a hammer) to form the rim back to new.

        Alternatively, you could make a device which expanded to fill the rim when tapped and retracted via spring after each tap. OR you could use the synthetic rubber compound die-makers use to expand internal volumes. Glue it on the end of the rod and whack away.

        The crimp is the bugger … here are three starting points for some of you “rednecks” out there.

    16. An empty tuna fish can works fine to melt the lead. You can even cut the bottom off an aluminum soda can to use to melt the lead. Tire weights make good bullets. But, if one can stash the supplies needed to reload 22lr rounds, one could just as easily stash a cache of bricks of 22. Even vacuum seal the bricks in plastic so the cache stays easy to identify as a post Zombie stash. Will 22lr kill a Zombie ?

      1. Been shooting 22lr since I was 8 years old, and never run up against anything it couldn’t take down, zombies ???? I quess we will have to wait and see, until them ????? Let me know how you make out.

    17. My big question is also—HOW DID THEY SHOOT? What was the average group size at 25 yards…how reliable were they? Did they carry well, or come apart in one’s pocket?

      Thanks for the article. Creative, and thought-provoking.

    18. Precaution: Make sure you melt the lead in a well vinulated area and don’t breath in of the fumes or get it on your skin. I would use surgical gloves when handling any kind of lead and also have on a respirator when around the fumes. Fumes from lead is not good for your lungs at all and could cause cancer. Better to be over cautious.
      I do hand load my own .410 shells with a powder dipper and a few tools from my tool box. I don’t crimp the shell, as it is more of a problem and shells will wear out in the crimped area much more quickly. Instead, I light a candle and let the liquid drop onto the shot. You do have to clean you .410 more often from the candle wax that goes through the barrel. This saves a lot of money. Just goggle it under how to reload you own .410 shells. I found one video very helpful and there is little to the process of this reloading. I figure it cost me something like $1.00 to reload a box of 25. Look at the prices in stores.

    19. The ONE video on youtube where the guy went to actually SHOOT these produced terrible results. He couldn’t get them to group at all.

    20. I hate to let u know this..with all your hording of shells n other stuff but I bought a brick of 22lr 5 yrs ago …I went to shoot them yesterday… well apparently if u store them in a cool dry safe for 5 years they still expire….. out of 500 rounds thru my lakefield/stevens semi only 327 went off…the rest had nice long deep pin hits yet no bang.. popped lead out and powder still burned well…Exlanations would be in order I think…Rob

      1. I have a really good friend that worked for one of the smaller commercial powder companies for years. I distinctly remember him telling me in 2009 that they were being heavily ‘overseen’ by ATFE to address powder formulations that provided identification based on date sold (something about that they had favored some kind of ‘inert plastic micro-pellets’ being added to the powder blends), as well as a means to ‘expire’ the powder at the retail level after a given timeframe. This was during the time that ‘micro-printing’ for projectiles was also being considered. While I have never touched base with him again on this issue (seems a very strong pressure was being put on them, even at the time, not to discuss this outside of manufacturing management), it appears by what you have said that this may very well have ‘trickled down’ even into the ‘highly specialized powders’ used solely for rimfire (which they did not make at the time).

        1. Yes the anti gun crowd tried to do all this. It never passed. The micro plastic beads threw off the measuring of the powder for each shell casing making the measure of each charge totally inaccurate. I believe this BS was coming from the blank mind of one Charles in charge Schumer.

    21. This process might make economic sense if it could be applied to the aguila 60gr sniper subsonic round. Be able to reload that 22 short casing, and then powder coat the bullet might make it an interesting capability.

    22. THE reason gun barrels were pitted was early primers were potassium chlorate.(used until 1941)..mercury fulminate compound also caused brass cases to fail, – mercury softened them,(amalgam)- heads would separate,remaining case blocked the chamber- requiring an extracton tool to pull out. SOURCES: a primer on primers by alton g drury. & hatchers notebook

    23. I would point out that the bullet mold is needed, because the .22 Long Rifle is the only cartridge still being made that uses a heel based, lubricated bullet. It’s also not quite .224 diameter, if I recall. Bullets made for .22 centerfire rounds will bulge the case neck and probably produce a round that won’t chamber, among other problems.

      A few people have asked about primer compounds. Until sometime around the turn of the last century, all primers were mercury fulminate. The main issue with this, other than the hygroscopic salts left in the barrel that cause corrosion, is that the mercury vapor will amalgamate with the brass cartridge case, rendering it brittle and unsafe to use again. Other mixtures that have been used usually consist of a relatively shock sensitive oxidizer and a fuel, such as potassium chlorate (very hygroscopic and therefore corrosive) and nitrates such as barium nitrate, along with other additives for various reasons such as sensitivity to initiation or stability. Other primary explosives such as lead azide or lead styphnate have also been used.

      I don’t think I’d try using toy caps unless I were in a survival situation. Toy caps are usually silver fulminate, which is MUCH more sensitive to initiation than mercury fulminate, so much so that your ammo might go off if dropped on a hard surface, or if you drop your loaded gun.

      I’d very much like to know what the chemicals are in the primer kit. It would also be fun to try getting some of the old rimfire guns in larger calibers up and running again.

    24. ONLY .22 magnum uses a cupro_nickel jacket, because the higher velocity devoleped..-2000 fps. 22LR bullets are wax lubed!! Their velocities are below 1200 fps. Generally! & jackets are not required,,,, copper plating works.to prevent leading of the bores.

    25. I think the article on reloading .22 brass was written “tongue in cheek”. Besides, reloading ammo is
      above my pay grade. Also, I would use up all the reloaded .22 ammo shooting beer cans, which it
      my favourite sport. Shooting under the can and having it fly up in the air and try to hit again is a
      blast. Just be careful where you are shooting.

    26. This is real old news and an old post. Regardless, it is insane to consider reloading .22 ammo unless you have way too much time on your hands. In a crisis you will need the powder, lead, cases, loading tools, primer compound, and the time to do this just as you would with center-fire ammo (also foolish to consider reloading in a crisis–due to logistics and supplies). Just buy ammo. and put it away if you are concerned because in a crisis you will not have the time or stuff to do a good enough job–same theory as those who think they will grind their own flour and bake bread. It all reads neat in a novel but in real life does not work–just look at the trouble areas around the world and learn.

    27. If is wasn’t for people hording there wouldn’t be a need to reload 22LR unless you just like to do it.
      All three major manufactures of 22LR are working at full capacity to meet the demands. A new plant might relieve the problem but regulations, insurance cost, and start up cost make this almost impossible.
      The best answer is for everyone to stop hording, buy what you want to shoot and stop stockpiling.
      Hording has created an artificial shortage and tripled the price. Don’t believe me, do your own research.
      It is your right to be a prepper but in this instance you are only hurting yourself and everyone else who likes to shoot 22LR.

      1. @Greg C, Welcome to the site and I could not agree more. When I was a kid, if I had half a box of .22 ammunition, I was good to go. But Barry Soetoro (aka Barak Obama) was not in charge of things back then.

    28. Since 1971, I’ve loaded over 480,000 rounds; all centerfire. And since I cast my own boolits, cost is about as low as it’s going to go. One very helpful thing is I bought the majority of my equipment many years ago and i take good care of it. If i started today, I’d never start.
      If taking the time and [extreme] “trouble” to load rimfire cartridges is your thing then good on ya. We all need a hobby, But the one guy I know who attempted this successfully, spend an inordinate an amount of time loading and very little time shooting. I like “rolling my own”, but the object is to shoot; not load ammunition. Loading for me and my buddies is a means not an end.
      To each his own, but this whole rimfire reloading thing is like peeling M&M: lots of work for little return.

      1. There are too many collectable guns in rimfire that can’t be shot because of the unavailability of factory ammo. I’m not going to plink with a .30 Sharps the way I would with even a .22 Sharps, but I’d like to be able to fire a couple of shots. The absence of suitable brass is the first problem at this time.

    29. This article gives hope that someone will recognize the desire among collectors for shootable larger caliber rimfire rounds. .32 and .41 have been made in Brazil, but .25 Stevens, which used to be made in Canada, is no longer offered. As far as I know, .30, .38, .41, and .44 have never been offered by anyone. If the brass were available, I, and I imagine many other collectors, would reload some of these calibers.

    30. Why would anyone hoard .22 ammo? After reading this article it becomes apparent why. WHO wants to spend hours and hours reloading 50 rounds of .22 ammo when you can “hoard” a few hundred for $40 bucks? Seriously? And to top it off, if he is right, ammo, all ammo will become the new currency when the fall comes down the road. And as for zombies munching brains? Good luck to that. About 1% of the American public HAS any brains to munch. Deduct the author from the 1%.

    31. Since none of us can predict the future, actively collecting and retaining information about how to do hands-on valuable tasks like this in the absence of Walmart, Cabela’s, or Ye Olde Corner Gun Shoppe (which will be looted right after the pharmacies and before the cigs-and-beer places get hit) having this knowledge and more like it could be highly beneficial in that uncertain future. Concerning the hoard vs reload issue re: .22 rifles, my position is that rather than paying a 300% premium to hoard massive amounts of .22 ammo, which might or might not actually shoot five years from now (.22 rimfire is not and never has been designed or constructed to endure storage or abuse most center fire cartridge calibers easily withstand) I say learn to reload it, store a few hundreds or a thousand rounds of it. And, if we can all agree that such a small caliber’s primary job will be to put critters on the table for grub, rather than buy a closet full of .22 ammo you instead spend some of that money on purchasing a few crack barrel spring-piston air guns in multiple calibers, a few thousand pellets, some molds to cast yet more pellets, and a sh!tload of the only replacement parts you’re ever likely to need in a heavily-used but properly maintained spring-piston airgun: O-rings and seals. For what some people have paid for a few thousand rounds at the price-gouge costs which have prevailed for several years now, you could purchase four powerful air guns and the ammo and spare parts to keep them going for fifty years. If you can accept that these air guns will be put to a single and all-important role—putting food on the table–then it makes an awful lot of sense to stockpile a few of those in place of a quarter-ton of .22 LR. Modern spring-air rifles will kill anything a .22 rimfire will out to 30 yards or so provided you have the skill to deliver the pellet into the right place. And since quality air guns which are modern in both design and construction are phenomenally accurate, anyone willing to acquire and maintain the skill should be able to kill most small or medium game in a single shot. That means pretty much anything under 40 pounds with a head shot delivered from thirty yards or less. The only real disadvantage to these rifles is in follow up shots since they’re loaded and fired singly. But if you both choose your game and then fire your shot properly, the only real reason for a follow up is if you are trying to take more than one animal in a group or flock. There are plenty of videos up on YouTube of kills made with precise shots from powerful air guns on game as large as a sub-adult pig. It would be foolish to leave such an enormously useful tool off your list. One other major, even huge advantage is that so many commonly available air guns have “shrouded” barrels. “Shroud” in this context is a euphemism for “supressor” or “silencer” items which require approval and registration in a firearm but are perfectly legal on any airgun. And taking in consideration that you don’t have a detonation of gunpowder to cover up. Even a $150 “shrouded” Gamo or Benjamin spring-air rifle will probably be the quietest hunting weapon you will ever own. It makes taking shots on multiple game animals in a group possible. But there is another factor which is, to me, more important. Hunting with most .22 rifles with even those “CB cap” or Aquila “sniper or whatever they call it reduced-power rounds is still far louder than any “shrouded” airgun .30 caliber or smaller. With most .22LR rifles and any load the moment you take your first shot, anybody within a half mile–or farther for standard-to-high velocity cartridges is going to know about it and have a good idea where you are to boot.

      I’ve been reading about things like what are now referred to as SHTF or “prepper” scenarios but what were called in my youth (perhaps more bluntly) “Doomsday” or “Survivalist” subjects until those two words became keywords for “lunatic” or “paranoid maniac”. Language changes over time and if you haven’t realized it yet the term “prepper” is already well along into “nutcase” territory so a hunt for a replacement term might be due. But some things don’t change, and one of them is the propensity for certain types to see such scenarios as more like a Strange New World with adventure ahead, rather than one where you and most or all others you know likely to be dead in five or ten years even with the best of luck. Well, that’s how it always was with any effort to survive in a frontier area, one without much support aside from that you dug out yourself with a strong back and hard work. Myself, when I was much younger I had the same silly ideas, that a societal collapse would be sort of like being Grizzley Addams, bearded mountain man wearing buckskin clothing and moccasins, despite the hardships enjoying the clean quiet living in raw nature. Yeah, whatever. Things happen, you live and learn, when the pains of old age begin settling in, and one of the scarce benefits of living past your 40s is that you tend to spot BS in others and yourself a bit more quickly. After all I’ve seen, both vicariously through news reports on ugly events around the world from Srebrinica to Sierra Leone, Kurdish Iraq in the 80s and Afghanistan for the past 30 years…. And including almost a decade of police work in a few really ugly places, shooting and being shot at, Katrina and what came after…well, if you want some fictionalized but authentic representation of how things might be after a really big collapse, I say forget all the adventure stories about neo-frontier living and forming a colony to rebuild things, but better this time around, or rah-rah movies like Red Dawn. No, If you want a look at how things might actually be in such a dire circumstance, I say look no farther than Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. And in such an environment being able to shoot a possum or armadillo for the pot without announcing the fact to every other desperate human for a mile around might be valuable indeed. When there are more desperate people around you than there is food, that “shrouded” pellet rifle might very well become the most importand piece of kit in your entire collection.

      1. Mr Skeptical Joe,

        I own no firearms of note, I have several air rifles. Your observations , In my opinion, are dead on! A 22 cal piston air rifle can smack down a racoon, depending on distance. For those that care, air rifler shooters do not say “crack barrel” they are break barrel. (that is for others , I do not believe you used the term). The better newer systems can push a 22 cal @ 1100 fps. Mind you they are smaller, but as stated head shots work well.

        An air piston springer, has 2 recoils. standard in the shoulder, then forwards, and coil springers have a rotational twist as the coil spring expands, and that is simultaneous to the front back jolt. You hold these guns loosie goosie, you sit the thing n your front paw but do not hold it , just support it. That is called the artillery hold.

        A magnum springer (like a crosman NP or NPII), will destroy a scope not made for air rifles. Gamo (who just bought Daisy), has units that have built in shock absorbers. AR approved scopes are glued in place on both sides of all non moving optical pieces.

        Springers are picky on ammo, picky on how you hold them and picky where you put your hands while using them. I could make countless bad jokes here, but I won’t. And trigger systems are crap to great. My Nitro Piston I needs to be retriggered, if I do it will become a much more accurate gun. Crosman triggers stink. The NPII has a better trigger, but no great shakes.

        So now many of you may remember having a gun you can wack squirrels all day with, as a kid. 1) lower velocity guns can indeed be more accurate and if you are closer and as kids we are better shots sure your fond memmories are accurate, but here is 2) Pneumatic guns, or multi-pump rifles, like an old Benjamin Sheridan Blue Streak in 20 Cal, can be pumped up to 8 pumps.

        The shooting characteristics of a multi-pump are: 1) 1 recoil just like a firearm, 2)not so picky on ammo, but some shoot more accurate then others and better ammo = tighter groups, but for hunting might not be a concern, 3) hold is not an issue, 4) scopes are not an issue (you can borrow your $1,000 night scope on your 60 pump up and wack tree rats / barn rats all night long.

        Then there are PCP’s pre-Charged-Pneumatic’s . Think pump up gun with 70 shot capacity they require an air source, (hand pump to 3-4 k PSI), or a trip to a dive shop/local fire deptment, to fill your big tank. Many systems are there for your cash flow to chose from. Many have clips that hold from 8-10 pellets. These can be nice but for a serious hunter depending on your wants/needs, I think a firearm is a better choice. Oh I fergit, my NP and PCP’s and other magnums can weigh in with say an Infantryman’s rifle in WWI say 9 pounds. and big, (long).

        Consider Lewis and Clark carried a Giardoni which shot 46 cal musket balls that held 30 rounds at a time and took 1/2 hour to fill the tank, (you had 2 tanks). Now Mr Napoleon said if you catch a German sapper with one, you are to excute them ion the spot. They shot a full round as fast as it take to tilt up the rifle squeeze the loader and cock the gun, then fire. They were positively lethal in the ranges of the guns of the day.

        Pcp’s of today that are supressed make no sound other then the mechanics of firing them. Some night hunters, “ratters” or verminators make a blanket to stifle the action noise. When you hown a dairy farm or have stables these allow for mighty nice rat control. pigeon popping. Inside a barn shoot at lower velocities and use wad cutters as they will not punch holes in the roof. (some PCP’s let you choose power, multi pumps do as well.

        Sound Control, a Shrounded barrel is NOT a supressor per-say. My NP has a shroud and is very quiet next to many AR’s. My Gamo Silent cat can give me a head ache! A shroud is a tube threaded over the barrel, it cuts noise, but on NPII’s they have real intergrated supressors sytems. The deal is they can not come off, they can not be used on a firearm. Internally they are a baffle system. They have been vetted by the government.

        I hope I did not numb anyones brain here. one last thing

        Another gent mentioned you could buy all you need ammo extra o-rings and the gun will go pretty much forever. I agree, I bought a Blue streak, 20 cal, multi pump, open sights. Awesome. My son was with me, the guy had no ammo, (20 cal is hard to buy local), but it is safe to pump and shoot it dry, (unlike springers that can be damaged). So we dry fired 4 time and watched it push leaves out of the way, (not an accurate test). He tried it a couple of times and remarked, “dad put this in the will for me….today!

        That Blue Streak is about 50 years old, It is quite wonderful to shoot. I think Joe has made some great points

        1. Absolutely. Even the cheap .177 cal. (actually closer to .175 cal.) pellet rifles from Walmart (advertised at 1000FPS but only get around 800FPS with a traditional weight/material pellet) will kill anything a .22 Short pistol can.and with less noise, velocity and material in the projectile. A better quality .22 cal. pellet rifle might be able to compete with a .22LR pistol. A higher power .25 caliber pellet rifle, still break-barrel, might be able to compete with a .22LR rifle. Of course, I’m talking about shot/shot penetration at close range. I say those things as someone who’s had experience with air guns and firearms, as well as some other types of weapons. For example, if you want silence and power, you seriously should consider a compound bow and aluminum arrows. A 60lb bow with at least a 28″ draw length will kill things about as well as a single .32ACP at long range or a 9mm at short range. Plus, bows are usually more silent than a pellet rifle. Long bows can be made from materials found in nature and simple hand tools but power levels may vary. Still, a 30lb longbow can send a projectile deeper into an animal than a .22LR pistol if you draw far enough and time your release well.

    32. Kenny,

      Agreed. Hunting weapons that launch arrows are fairly simple to improvise and are extremely quiet. If you watch a bunch of pig-hunting videos on YouTune like I do you’ll see that actually loosing the arrow doesn’t even get a glance from hyper-wary feral pigs. They don’t scatter until the slap of the arrow arriving and the grunt or squawk of the surprised and soon-to-be-porkchopa pig startles the other animals. And provided the bow is powerful and shot well you can literally kill anything in North America with it. While no bow can match the kinetic energy of a centerfire hunting rifle, arrows don’t really rely on kinetic energy to do the job. Instead they rely solely upon tissue destruction and in this area they take a back seat to no firearm except maybe a shotgun at close range. A modern compound bow or crossbow firing an arrow with a really nasty multi-blade broadhead, within its effective range, does damage on the same level as a .300 magnum. I recall some years back an article I read by some known writer on hunting firearms made his first kill with a compound bow. He didn’t expect much from the bow given that he was used to thinking in terms of velocity and muzzle energy, two specs bows are pretty feeble on. So his jaw dropped when he made his first kill with a bow–a good sized mule deer, which ran less than fifty yards and dropped stone dead. And it dropped a second time when he got his first good look at the damage the broadhead did. He described it as being about what he would expect from his pre-’64 Model 70 .375 Holland and Holland dangerous game rifle.

      Since this discussion is about surviving conditions following some society-breaking natural or man,are disaster, I also have to say this: any experienced turkey hunter with his camo and Bility to shoot his compound bow well would be death on two legs to even a squad of rifle-armed militiamen. Unless they had thermal-imaging optics or he made a stupid mistake or two they’d never even see him as he destroyed them, one by one. Anyone who can camo-up and sit still and invisible long enough to get close to a keen-eyed and wacked-out paranoid wild turkey would be an absolute ghost to hostile humans.

      So yeah, along with those crack-barrel (I’m from south Louisiana and refuse to call them anything else) air rifles, thousands of good pellets, bullet molds to cast yet more, and a good supply of seals and O-rings for the,, you ought to also add a good bow or three as well as parts and bowstrings and whatever else it will take to maintain them. Like air rifles, a good compound bow, used and maintained properly and not abused, should last almost indefinitely even in the most primitive conditions. Lots of arrows should also go into the stash, along with books about making them out of natural materials. Arrowheads wouldn’t present much of a problem considering the amount of metal that would be left lying around for like another thousand years after a societal collapse of some sort (towards the end of the movie The Road, when Viggo Mortensen gets shot in the leg by another scavenger with a compound bow, when he’s digging the point of it out of his flesh you can clearly see the arrowhead is made of metal cut from a street sign…not exactly a Muzzy but it’ll get the job done.)

      One more thing and I’ll shut up. When I was around twelve or thirteen, I got my first “Wrist Rocket” slingshot. It was, to my young mind, almost unbelievably powerful. I then proceeded upon a reign of terror in my neighborhood and just about anything breakable or live and around the size of a bird or rat got at least one or two steel ball bearings launched its way. Them inspiration struck (alas even at that young age I was unfortunately quite clever in coming up with ways to get in trouble) and I found I could shoot arrows from my “field archery set with my Wrist Rocket by simply resting the arrow in the crotch of the Y formed by the times and grasping the nock in the projectile pouch. And it shot the, a damn sight harder than the flimsy fiberglass bow in the set. Things went from fun to dangerous when a friend snuck some of his dad’s razorhead-tipped hunting arrows out of the house. Using that Wrist Rocket I was able to punch those hunting arrows through the sidewall of a huge old tractor tire that was taller than I was that had been propped up against a fence in a field down the road for as long as anyone could remember. Anyone who has any experience with tractors and their tires will understand just how surprising that is. This self-same tractor tire, on another occasion, bounced a slow old .38 S&W bullet from a WWII break open Enfield revolver off it and nearly put a dent in my head. So the arrows with their lethal razorheads were snuck back into my friend’s dad’s closet and we went back to shooting nice safe old steel ball bearings. In the 80s Breakfree (yes the same company that manufactured the CLP gun oil that everyone in Basic Training got sick of smelling on their hands all the time) began selling something they called a Linear Bow. It was a fancy name for a crossbow that used, instead of the bow times a typical crossbow had, several thick rubber tubes like my Wrist Rocket had, only thicker. Soldier of Fortune tested it, apparently intending to give the silly thing a humorous write up after it proved useless in their hands. It turned out to be a bit more robust than they first guessed. The reviewer hung a target on the side of a barn. The field point tipped arrow penetrated both walls of the barn and flew on to parts unknown. The reviewer then laid two 50 lb bags of dry concrete against the barn wall and stapled the target to the outermost bag. The arrow penetrated both bags of concrete, both walls of the barn, and continued on to parts unknown.

      So, yah, arrow-shooting weapons, improvised or factory made, certainly have a place in your post-crisis arsenal. Last I looked, thick rubber “surgical” tubing is mighty cheap and sold by the foot. A dozen yards or so put up in the survival stash could be mighty handy some ways down the road later. That, and a well-exercised imagination. On YouTube there are multiple videos of Lynn Thompson (Owner of Cold Steel Knives) and others killing everything from feral adult US hogs to a 150 lb warthog to a large adult male baboon by shooting them in the heart with a Cold Steel ™ Magnum Blowgun, of all things.

      Anyhow, I’m done. Hope I entertained some of you for a few minutes. And piqued your curiosity and imagination.

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