Recently I have been studying the topic of Survival Reloading, which I find an interesting microcosm of survival skills in general. While most serious Preppers have a store of ammunition, practically all of us constantly question if we “have enough” or “how much is enough”. I keep 10,000 rounds of 5.56, and thousands of rounds for pistol, shotgun and .22. Is it enough? Ammunition, unlike most food stores, really doesn't have a shelf life. Smokeless powders do not degrade as long as kept dry - it should last a lifetime. In the 90’s, there were large batches of WWII surplus ammunition available to the public at great prices and my experience was it worked just fine. So what does Survival Reloading have to do with other survival skills? Bullets are just like food, medical supplies and other consumable commodities in that we all must determine a balance between finished product, raw material and post-TEOTWAWKI production. Using food as an example, finished product would be MREs or canned food, raw material would be a sacks of rice and post-TEOTWAWKI production would be seeds. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com<img src=" /> Unlike food, ammunition requirements in a post-TEOTWAWKI life can be very difficult to predict. If only a few of us homo sapiens are left wondering the earth, then ammunition requirements could be very low. If wide spread famine breaks out, then ammunition might be in high demand both for defense and bartering. Ammunition also differs from food in that there are certain components, such as primers, which would be EXTREMELY difficult to produce in a complete breakdown of society – OR WOULD THEY? While I was researching the topic, I came across a book written in late 1940’s by Ira Wolfert called “<I>American Guerilla In The Philippines</I>” (there was a movie by the same name based on the book). The book basically explores the life of Navy Officer David Richardson who ended up on a Pacific island and joined a Philippine Guerilla group to fight the Japanese. The book addresses the topic of ammunition and “survival” reloading at a level that many Preppers would never consider. First of all, the guerilla group had only a few old bolt action rifles, and somehow ended up with about 3000 empty rifle cartridges (brass). Not a great place to start. So they took old brass curtain rods and cut them to length and then pushing them through a rifle barrel in order to size (Swag) them. Anyone who has ever removed a lodged bullet from a rifle barrel will testify that this must have been brutal work. They then took lead from old automobile batteries, smelted it down and filled the brass. <I>Would most of us know how to smelt lead without our fancy electric furnaces?</I> <I></I> For primers, they punched out the old ones and used a knife to remove the anvil and pounded out the firing pin detent. They used a mixture of Sulfur, Coconut carbon and antimony powder (I had to look that one up) to make a paste. <I>Would you know how to do this?</I> <I></I> They had a Japanese sea mine that they dissembled and used the explosive as a base for their powder. Various mixtures were attempted to reduce the burn rate into something the old rifles could handle. They then poured the powder into the brass and measured it by sight alone. <I>Would you know how to do this?</I> The bullets were then crimped into the brass by hand using pliers. According to the book, 60 soldiers could produce about 160 rounds per day and 80% of them actually fired. Not something I would relish taking into battle, but then again, it sure beats charging a machine gun nest with a machete. I reload a lot of ammunition and have for over 30 years. I have all of the fancy electrical equipment one could imagine and have even wildcatted my own brass. When I read this account, it dawned on me how little I actually KNEW about the chemistry involved in the entire process. It also made me reconsider earlier decisions regarding black powder weapons and other “low technology” firearms.