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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

reload v rimfire


RELOAD V RIMFIRE

Last week ( as I write this-probably two weeks ago as you read this.  The uncertainty arises from when in the week I post this ) while trying in vain to dissuade most of you from wasting too much money on unnecessary additions to your survival arsenal, I mentioned that it seemed awful silly to buy overpriced rimfire when you could, for just a smidge more, reload a pistol round.  I figured, ballparking the math, it would be about 13 cents for a reload verses 11 cents for a rimfire.  Well, the question kept worrying my little pea brain so I looked up the exact prices of everything and the two are equal, if you have a source of lead.  I’ll address that in a minute, but putting that aside it does make the prospect of a pistol round arsenal much more appealing, doesn’t it?   You know what I’m talking about, the .357 or .38 revolver and lever gun combo, or for you Tactical Tommy’s the surprisingly cheap 9mm semi pistol and carbine combo.  Now, obviously, I’m not talking about duplicating the Wild West here.  The anemic short range of low powered rounds and the wide open spaces of the desert didn’t mix very well and there was a very good reason the introduction of the Mauser with its 30 caliber set off a new arms race.  You should only consider the combo guns if you are in suitable terrain. 

*

Frankly, I don’t care how convenient it is to only carry one size round rather than two, if the long arm round is sad and pathetic and won’t reach far enough with enough punch, it is far better to add another caliber to your arsenal.  That said, pistol rounds in long arms have a lot going for them.  They take far less powder ( I can count on around 150 reloads per pound of powder for my Enfield, but up to four times that for my 38 ), and their cases, being straight walled rather than necked can be reloaded far more often prior to splitting.  But know what you are getting for your powder charge.  If you have to hit someone twice before they stop being a threat, you’ll just wasted an irreplaceable primer and wasted a reload life for the case, as well as a powder charge.  If you are in thick woods and can step out from behind a tree and shoot your enemy from twenty yards, that should do the trick.  If you are in more open terrain and too far away, will one round suffice?  For some of us, pistol rounds just won’t do, regardless of their appeal ( other than VERY close range work ).  One thing I can be pretty certain of though, is that if given a choice between a rimfire and a center fire pistol round, I’d go with the pistol every single time.  As the arms used to shoot either are not too terribly far apart in price, once again I’d have to question the wisdom of rimfire at all ( unless you already are invested in it ).

*

Let’s allow the numbers to speak for themselves.  99% of us will not be first in line on the right day to buy a cheap brick of rimfire at Wally.  Most of us are stuck buying that round at 11 cents each.  I’ve seen a “generous” offering of a dime each once before the price went up 10%.  Here are the Midway USA prices for reloading pistol rounds.  10k primers are $300.  1k of brass for 38 is $140 ( I‘m assuming ten reloads each ).  Assuming only 500 reloads per pound, and it should be more, you’ll need 20 pounds of powder for about $25 per pound, so $500.  Throw in the HazMat fee of $20, a Lee Loader for $40 and a bullet mold for $40.  I’m assuming roughly the same shipping for either the rimfire or reloads and don’t factor that in.  Under $1100 for ten thousand rounds of .38 or 9mm.  It is the same price either way, rimfire or reload.  Except for the lead issue.

*

Every says “wheel weights” for reloading, but every tire shop, if they offer the used ones, are already supplying them to somebody else.  Perhaps after a collapse you’ll be able to find them on every wheel of every abandoned car, or perhaps enough people know this trick that they will all be stripped for salvage/barter.  The same with digging into the backstops of gun ranges ( where you have the added factor of steel rounds from Commie type guns.  You’ll need to let them rust first to tell them apart or risk queering up your melting pot, unless there is another trick ).  I would highly recommend setting in a supply, and if you have to go to a metal recycler and pay money, than so be it.  Your price goes up a cent a round ( attention, Marvelous Minion who submitted the quest post on 12v car battery lead recycling, can you do that again, or guess when/where it is? ).  Talking to a guy that worked at one, if they are out of pure lead, they can offer the uncleaned stuff.  I’d scarf it up.

*

If you are considering either a 9mm or a .38 arsenal to replace rimfire, keep in mind that the revolver and lever action will save on your brass, but the .38 is noted for not surviving as many reloads.  The brass case is much thinner.  The 9mm can seemingly be reloaded forever but that is if the semi action doesn’t fling your brass into the weeds and the black hole there that will shallow them up and deposit them into the realm where single socks from the dryer go.  There is also the magazine issue to ponder.  Rimfires are designed to throw away more valuable by the day copper metal, center fires are not.  Seriously consider placing the rimfire in the extinct category.

END

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44 comments:

  1. .22 reloader:

    http://22lrreloader.com/

    9mm revolver:

    http://www.taurususa.com/product-details.cfm?id=329&category=Revolver

    9mm or .45 rifle:

    http://www.tnwfirearms.com/product-p/asrx-cplt-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx.htm

    .45/.410 revolver:

    http://www.taurususa.com/product-details.cfm?id=874&category=Revolver&toggle=tr&breadcrumbseries=41

    .45 lever rifle:

    http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firearms/cowboy/1894_45colt.asp

    .45 auto rifles:

    http://www.hinterlandoutfitters.com/45-acp-c-1316_1424_1425_1436.html

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    1. The last time I saw the 22 reloader at Rawles, they didn't offer the priming compound. Now selling, and only a cent a round. Definitely worth looking into.

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    2. Thing about the 22 reloader is you can only use cases that byou have fired because the case expands to match the chamber. Cases from other guns won't fit. Also, because the rim fire dents the rim, the dent remains and it's possible to misfire if the firing pin lands on the old dent.

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    3. If I did reload 22, it would just be for my one bolt action ( saving the brass better ) so no big deal there. And, couldn't you hammer the rim back flat from inside?

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    4. I would think that with the right punch and a steel block that you might be able to knock the rim out close to original James, but I guess you would have try it and see?

      I'm thinking that if the .22 LR goes up in price too much more that a small 22 centerfire like a 22 Hornet, .222, or better yet, the super accurate and long range .22-250 would be a better choice.

      The reloading of the rimfires just doesn't seem like it would be all that easy or practical for some reason?

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    5. I suppose you could hammer it back if you had a small L shaped tool to do so. However, the rule of metalurgy describes that as weakening of the case. Because the impact of the case hardened firing pin is so abrupt a sort of *shearing* takes place so that the edges of the indentation are very thin. Pushing the dent back makes it even weaker. Imagine the front end of that bolt (action) sticking out of your eye socket.

      The ultimate solution would be to find a source of new empty shells.

      I don't remember the numbers right now but it seems like that reloader kit would provide material for 2000 rds, so that is pretty convincing. However, the time invested is considerably more than for centerfire. I have not bought the kit yet for that very reason, plus I'm kinda stingy with my coin.

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    6. Don't you "heal" brass by heating and quenching ( as in the centerfire rifle case neck )? Could you do the same with a rimfire rim?

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    7. 540-reloading rimfire does have the advantage of only one cent primers. Other than that, it hardly seems like a great idea.

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  2. I would not worry too much about steel rounds, use a magnet to sort them out and if any make it through to the melting pot, they will probably just lay at the bottom whole because of the huge difference in melting points. Rimfires are still useful if you have young'uns you are trying to teach shooting skills to.

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    1. I was talking to a co-worker who mixed in metal with brass and ruined his rig. Of course, he could have just been "lucky".

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  3. The local sporting goods store that I buy my guns and ammo from had a whole shelf full of .22 bricks (325 for $25) yesterday. I snagged one. I'm seeing more and more availability in my area. I don't know if we'll ever get back to the under $.05 a round days but it's still pretty cheap stuff. It's nice for finishing off game at close range or just trying to keep a low profile even if the cost isn't as low as it once was. You could go the suppressor route but you would either have to spend big or risk jail time for the same advantage.

    -Novice

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    1. Hell, it is harder to even get info on making your own anymore, the dingus lickers at Paladin Press selling out to Da Man decades ago and "suppressing" information-pun intended.

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  4. “Now, obviously, I’m not talking about duplicating the Wild West here.  The anemic short range of low powered rounds and the wide open spaces of the desert didn’t mix very well”

    True generally speaking James, until the advent of the new Nitro powder in the latter half of the 19th century. There were some exceptions to the rule however, such as the Sharps, Ballard, Hepburn rifles, etc, but that's getting into a whole different topic.

    “Frankly, I don’t care how convenient it is to only carry one size round rather than two, if the long arm round is sad and pathetic and won’t reach far enough with enough punch, it is far better to add another caliber to your arsenal. ”

    It's for that reason James that I'd go with the .44 magnum/special combo. A .44 magnum pistol will reach out to a 100 yards, so figure that you would get at least 200 hundred out of a rifle, and probably a little more. Just use the specials for everyday use.

    “But know what you are getting for your powder charge.  If you have to hit someone twice before they stop being a threat”

    You also have to factor in bullet weight James. The old blackpowder guns made up for their lack of velocity by shooting much heavier projectiles. The added bullet weight added up to more knock down power in Ft lbs of energy. I think getting hit with a .44 special or .45 long Colt cowboy load, with a 250 or 300 grain lead slug would ruin someone's whole day.

    “but the .38 is noted for not surviving as many reloads.”

    You can also use the magnum brass and just download them to special standards with both the .44 and .38. I used to do just that with my .44 magnum brass, because I only used it as a target gun, so I didn't want the full recoil of the standard magnum loads.

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    1. So, .357 brass is better than .38, and you just load as a 38? Sorry, always still learning, esp. with guns.

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    2. Correct James, .357 has thicker brass to handle the higher pressures of the magnum loads. Same thing with the .44 magnum vs the .44 special. The .454 Casull is a .45 long colt that is an 1/8" longer and has thicker brass. So if you can afford one of the expensive.454 Casull guns, they are interchangeable with the .45 long colt.

      And to answer your question yes, you can download the magnums the same way that I did with my .44 magnum.

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    3. Cool, thanks. Something not covered on the site I perused.

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    4. .357Mag has a slightly longer case than .38sp, so that the magnum round will not just drop-in to your weak-framed .38sp light-weight pocket pistol. The .357 case is thicker-sturdier brass, and can be trimmed down to fit a .38sp (but will still be .357Mag headstamped) if you need to. Watch your loads! The powder capacity of the .357Mag is likely different from .38sp brass.
      Why worry? Stock deeper so wear-out (or even reloading) is a non-issue.
      If you "need" a max-load hand-cannon platform, few reasonable pistols beat Ruger Blackhawk. The .357Mag cylinder has very-thick walls for ridiculous pressures that will blow your hand off in other weapons. That's why you don't shoot other people's handloads.

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    5. I have the 357 gun so I can use those or 38's.

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    6. Thanks for adding that 2:51, I failed to include that bit of important information. So yes, the .44 magnum, .357, .454 Casull, etc, all have longer cases so that they cannot be accidentally chambered in their weaker counterparts (.44 special, .38 special, .454 Casull, etc). I was speaking from a backwards compatible standpoint from the magnums to their weaker counterparts, but should have clarified a little better.

      The way they got around this with the .22 magnum was by widening the case diameter slightly, so that it would not chamber into a .22LR. However, a .22LR will go into a .22 magnum, but it will be slightly loose. I've actually heard of people firing .22LR's in their .22 Mags, but I wouldn't recommend it. And I'm referring to rifles here, since some pistols such as the Ruger single six convertible come with both the .22 mag and .22LR cylinders, since the bullet diameter is identical.

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    7. “all have longer cases so that they cannot be accidentally chambered in their weaker counterparts (.44 special, .38 special, .454 Casull, etc).”

      On edit: Meant to say 45 long colt above in brackets, not .454 Casull.

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  5. Your numbers are good, I'll add this, with the right powder selection you can get 1600 rounds of 9mm. If someone don't know, there are 7000 grains in a lb. Powder usually is cheaper in 8 lb jugs by 2 or 3 bucks per lb. It's possible to load 9mm at less than .11 with store bought bullets if you can deal with lead or coated lead.
    Great hair!

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    1. Store bought bullets would of course be preferable. Pay heed!

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    2. Not just factory-made jacketed projectiles; factory-made ammo, in sealed boxes. This is not just ammo, it's almost-money when in most-common sizes (.22LR in sealed-box, 9x19mm, .45Auto, 5.56NATO, 7.62NATO) and traded among friendlies.

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    3. If you are just buying as a barter investment, perhaps steel cased? There are a LOT more than just 54r, 762x39 or 223 out there, around a quarter a round.

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  6. I have 2 357 revolvers. A Dan Wesson and a GP-100. The GP-100 is a forever gun. I've often toyed with buying a 357 lever gun cause 38 ammo is cheaper than 357 and it will shoot both. I'd have to look up the ballistics of a 357 out of an 18 inch barrel but it should have some punch and a lever action is safer from an evil rifle ban. Trust me I have some scary rifles off paper at least before the boating accident.

    I looked at Henry's and the shop wanted $900 for the brass receiver model. Not in this lifetime.

    I've bought the surplus rifles, the revolvers, now I feel like the fair haired one is recommending a lever.

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    1. I DON'T recommend a level. I won't get one, myself. No, I'm merely pointing out the cost insanity of rimfire. Now that brass ( yes, from peak global copper ) is more economical in reloads, rimfire is a dinosaur.

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    2. Buuuut, we luvs us our ten-twenty-two's and Ruger .22 pistols like mkII/III & SR-22. How about if we just stop doing mag-dumps to preserve the 50K rounds in WRM storage?

      The well-maned List Mom is nearly psychic in predicting a post-apocalypse pile of ammo-less AR's. I saw promotion of a new trigger to make an AR into a 2x ammo-waster by firing a round with a pull AND release of the trigger! Waaah!

      I must assume that .17HMR is the same trouble as all rimfires, but worse.

      pdxr13

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    3. leve R, not leve L, sorry about that.

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    4. Careful, you might sound like a non-semi kind of guy!

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  7. It takes 5.0 grains of Bullseye to reload a .45 ACP to a pretty good velocity, close to factory standard specs, but I would have to double check the projectile, for the load. That yields 1400 rounds per pound. About 3.5 or so for .38 Spl. (2000 rounds per pound) and 3.0 for light wad cutter plinking / practice rounds on a .38 Spl. (2333 rounds per pound) Both of these are famous for going sometimes 30 plus times on reloading before the brass gives out, and some .38 brass can easily last 50 or more reloadings. How much is a lifetime supply? It is a few cents for powder such as Bullseye. It also has the distinction of been the winning powder in many, many competitions. It burns dirty however, but you should be cleaning after use anyway.

    Lee has single bullet moulds all the way to 6 at a time. The old time lead wheel weights will give a hardness of around 18, while pure lead is 5 – 6. Keep an eye out for pewter too. It is mostly tin and 20:1 ratio is the mix Elmer Keith used for the .44 Mag pills he would come to do so well with. These ratios will get you up to around 1600 FPS or so, just don’t use a non jacketed projectile on a weapon with a gas tube as the lead will clog it up and not cycle the action from then on until it is cleaned out. A tough task to be sure. But you can also use copper or aluminum discs to put around the projectile, but that is a whole ‘nother subject.

    Just keep stacking the lead up. Even if you don’t have the stuff to do it, others do. Kind of like presses. Many that own them don’t own much in the way of consumables. Get the Primers. You could make your own, but it is the hardest part. Black Powder is much easier than making primers, so stack some up pronto. Put them in an ammo can and they will be good for decades if they don’t get too hot.

    When lead is melted in a pot, the steel floats to the top. It is pretty cool to watch. So don’t worry about the steel, it is easy to deal with. Just bring the pot up to temp slowly and the odd stuff that has a higher melting point will float to the top.

    If you think you will use old batteries to make bullets be CAREFUL. You will be creating phosgene gas. DANGEROUS!!! And the lead will be around 5 – 6 hardness and only good for muskets. It is too soft for modern arms unless you add tin or antimony, or both, you know, like wheel weights.

    Be careful and check everything more than once, especially the powder charges.

    MOFreedom

    Nothing runs a woman off faster than pooping in a bucket!!!

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    1. Thanks for the better and more concrete numbers-I was ballparking and lowballing. And I submit to you that pooping in a bucket is a modern luxury compared to the old stinky, travel in a storm to get to outhouse. This ain't rocket science, bitches!

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  8. Just to muddy the water think on this . the 410/45lc fits pistol rifle and shotguns.

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    1. For those who must have an extra long arm :)

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    2. One thing that I would curious to know is how they get around the sawed off shotgun laws on those little 45LC/.410 revolvers and derringer combos? It can only be one of two things that I can think of? The rifled barrel makes it a non-shotgun, or because it also fires .45LC they can pass it off as a pistol?

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    3. Not necessarily, I've got an old .410/22 over and under. And yes it would fire a .45 LC I suppose in addition to the shot shell and 22 LR.
      NEAT old gun.

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    4. 550: If I'm not mistaken, an AR rifle and "pistol" have a different type of receiver. Perhaps something similar?

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    5. It's not a Short-Barreled Shotgun unless it has a stock, it's a smooth-barreled pistol. If it's a commercial product, it was sold as "a pistol", not a "long-arm" for tax purposes. All of this BATFE stuff is about tax-collection and people-control. You can fire snake loaded .45Colt some and not hurt the grooves in your pistol, but cramming a .410 in there doesn't sound fun.

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    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    7. Really? As simple as that? I was over-thinking it.

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  9. I'm wondering if the .30 carbine would make a great SHTF cartridge as well. Same 9mm Para straight case but a far more common .308 caliber (#0 buckshot ?) bullet. Longer practical range too or load down to 'cat sneeze' rounds.

    I think some of the shotgun cartridge sleeves used to be chambered for this, could make for a veratile gun.

    Just spit balling here - thanks for the post and opinions above.

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    1. I know the GI's used to rave about the carbine ( the M16 can't make the same claim ). But if they were all REMF's, it was just because of the reduced weight, so beware that bias. I have mixed feelings on it as a prep gun. VERY expensive, even the new ones. How much more performance than a pistol round? That's an unknown on my part. Due to the cost ( the mags certainly ain't cheap, either, nor the ammo ) I've never explored it as an option in depth.

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  10. James not all guns or ammo is about the lowest price. (Again you always seem to focus on low prices as your main factor in your buying decision.) And as far as your point of people not having money to prep there are a few ways to fix this. I don't buy it for almost everyone.

    Work more to make more money (everyone can make more money if they really want to.)

    Buy used items as they cost much less. Use the money saved to buy some 22 ammo as it doesn't come used.

    Save up till you can afford the 22 ammo.

    Quit buying expensive electronic toys. (Most people at the bottom of the income scale have expensive phones {with expensive monthly bills}, Netflicks, internet access bills, large TV's (like 50-inch) Playstation or X-Box game systems and game cartridges. If they did without these things they could have LOTS of 22 ammo.

    I work (home repair / Handyman work) in homes of the low income people (people that are truly at the bottom of the income scale) every week and see the things above. It's not that they can't afford 22 ammo, it's that they choose to buy other toys.

    I'm not intensive to people with limited amounts of money (heck I'm one of them) but I know that if you really want something you can get it and money is not a factor that will stop you. Mindset is what stops you, not money...




    A good bolt action 22 rifle is a very useful hunting gun for small game, much better then a 9-MM is. So it's not a very useful comparison as they are made for 2 different uses. I do a bit of squirrel hunting with a bolt action rifle and with my Ruger 22 pistol, it's a 10-inch handgun and they work great for hunting small game. Again the 9-MM not so much a squirrel hunting (or any small game) gun.

    I have a Marlin Camp-9 rifle and while it's fun to shoot, it doesn't compare to the usefulness of a 22 bolt action rifle for a small game gun. It's also not as accurate as a bolt action 22 rifle. Ammo cost is not the important or a limiting issue, what the gun needs to do is.


    Almost all my 22 rounds are from the 1980"s and very early 1990"s. And I got pretty much all of them for free working at the gun shop so I haven't bought 22 ammo in 30-years, I must have 40,000 to 60,000 rounds of it. I don't think I will ever shoot all of it. But even if I had little of it I would budget some money because it is a useful round to have.


    Question for everyone reading this. Because it was pointed out to you that reloading 9.MM is about the same cost as 22 ammo, are you going to sell off your 22 guns now?

    My guess NO, because we all (even if we don't want to say so out loud) know that a 22 rifle is downright useful. And in a survival situation, even more so...


    Chuck Findlay

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    1. Of course you make good points, but let me quote from the article:
      "once again I’d have to question the wisdom of rimfire at all ( unless you already are invested in it )."
      You are already invested in it and it does make sense for you. Someone just following the standard advice that everyone must have a 22, I'm saying just consider if you really need to invest in it. From my previous writing, you know that my primary role for rimfire is a "forever gun", NOT hunting small game. Your mileage of course may vary. For a forever gun, then, I've shown the cheaper option to be superior. Not JUST because it is cheap but because of increased performance. No, it is not suitable for small game. If you have the money, okay, have both systems. As for wasting money on entertainment rather than investing in prep supplies, I can only speak for myself. Two people split the cost of internet and Netflix-$20 each a month. That is my only non-book entertainment. I submit to you that this is reasonable and far from a waste. I don't eat out, for instance. Of course, yes, I see your point. My point is it might not be as simple as you suggest. One can still buckle down economically and yet you still must compromise and do without. The prepper community is far too full of the "every single thing is a must have" mentality. Hence the sarcastic reference to the semi pellet carbine with FLIR. The coupon reference was directed at that idiot concept. Couponing is how to save pennies off brand name overpriced unnecessary crap, not a source for prepping. Anyway, keep up the critical eye, but I must insist on hair appreciation.

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  11. Best of both worlds.
    Ruger makes a Blackhawk revolver that is a "Convertable".
    Has a 9mm cylinder as well as one to use .357 and .38's in it.
    They're not very common though, you're more likely to see one in .45 ACP/.45 Long Colt for sale.

    Though they're just like Colt SAA's and reload, one at a time, through the Side Gate, so you'd better be a good shot or have a Back Up.

    Andrew

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I must moderate-trust me. You don't want to see what happens otherwise. Sometimes it takes awhile to respond as I only check two or three times a day. No N-Bombs, nothing to get me libeled. Otherwise, have at it. If you criticize me, make sure to praise my hair first.