Is this idea crazy?

As anyone who shoots knows, it has become pretty hard to get .22 ammo.
Especially CB shorts and longs. And then when you do find some it is
of limited amount and exorbitant cost. So as I was trying to fall
asleep after waking from a hot flash in the middle of the night it
occurred to me that I could make my own .22 centerfire brass, cast my
own bullets, and use off the shelf primers. Checking yesterday for
primer availability I found several sellers with small pistol primers
in stock at less than $30.00 per 1000. That's less than 3 cents per
primer, about what I used to pay before this ammo buying panic and
subsequent gouging started. This morning I examined the bolt on my
Remington model 514 and determined it would be pretty easy to make a
new bolt for centerfire ammo. And most of the parts from the existing
could be used in the new one. I would need to machine cases from solid
brass, but I have a lathe with a bar feed setup that could make them
really fast. Each case would require two operations so I could run the
second operation while the lathe was doing the first operation. I have
never really reloaded ammo before though I did reload a few rounds 45
years ago when a friend's dad showed me how his reloading setup
worked. He let me load a few rounds but I may as well have never done
it before because it was so long ago. But from reading about it online
it appears that spent brass cases can usually be used 4 or 5 times,
and some times even more depending on how light or heavy the load is.
I have lots of pure lead and making a mold would be pretty easy. But
would a machined case be as durable as a formed case? And since the
smallest primers I can find are .175" O.D. and .22 brass is .224" O.D.
there would only be a .0245 wall thickness between the primer and the
case outside. Then again, since the case is trapped in the chamber
maybe that's not a problem. And I would be using black powder or
black powder substitute, not smokeless powder, since my aim is to make
low power quiet ammo for target practice. I have a small revolver and
two rifles that I could convert to centerfire without too much work.
So, am I nut to consider this?
Thanks,
Eric
Reply to
etpm
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You probably will get a flood of responses, so I'll pipe up once and then retreat.
1) John Browning designed the .25 ACP around the smallest-diameter cartridge (base diameter .278 in.) that he felt would be safe with a small-pistol primer. The cartridge is semi-rimmed; tricky but not impossible to extract with a simple extractor.
2) Performance is similar to a .22 LR; slightly better in very short barrels, slightly less in longer barrels.
3) Machined brass is not as strong as formed brass, so you need thicker walls if you machine it. 'Better to use existing commercial brass.
4) If you get fancy and decide to neck it down to .22, watch out. You'd be getting into some tricky engineering territory, where pressures build up in a hurry, depending on what powder you use.
5) Black powder is a mess in small calibers. My friend built a .28 cal. muzzleloader years ago, when Douglas still made the barrels, and had to swab the bore after every shot, because of bore fouling. The experts here can give you better suggestions but more likely you'd want to use a pinch of Red Dot or something similar and more modern (I use Red Dot in my light loads).
6) With very light loads, the brass can go on and on for a very long time. However, if you go *really* light, you're going to have big variations in velocity, and can even wind up with bullets that lodge in the barrel. Don't go too light.
Back around 1990 I designed a wildcat based on the .32 S&W long, necked down to .20 cal. That's when I learned about pressures and thin pistol brass. I made a cherry for it on my lathe but I never finished the gun, which was to be built on a replica Farquharson falling-block action that I still have. When I learned about how much potential trouble I was buying myself I backed out.
Unless you want a new, very involved hobby, stay away from designing wildcats. .22 rimfire can't be that hard to get. Some cartridge makers stopped making longs years ago because they're unbalanced and generally give poor accuracy. If you want quiet, buy some classy .22 LR match ammo. You can watch the bullet go downrange and you may have to look to see if the gun fired. But it will drive tacks in a good target gun.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Maybe? but there is a easier way. Just reload the 22lr yourself.
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Robert
Reply to
Robert
Personally, I wouldn't mess with a 514. And .22's are finally starting to come down in price here in Texas.
If you can do the work to change the bolt to centerfire, could you consider building a chamber reamer for a wildcat? Maybe base a pipsqueak (Ha! good name) on the .25 auto necked down. That'd be a pain in the ass to load for sure. But at least the brass exists.
Pete Keillor
Reply to
Pete Keillor
You probably will get a flood of responses, so I'll pipe up once and then retreat.
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22 ccm
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This already gives you the load data. The ability to modify your gun to this cartridge is your only problem.
Robert
Reply to
Robert
Thanks for the link Robert. I could modify my rifles for this cartridge but I want to shoot CB shorts or longs. These rounds are much less powerful than the CCM rounds. Eric
Reply to
etpm
Greetings Pete, If I was to do this I want to be able to convert my rifle back to rimfire if they ever come back down in price. I still have not been able to find CB shorts or longs available here in WA. Every time I check any of the local stores they are sold out. And mail order sources aren't doing so well either. I sure hope you are right about prices finally coming down. There was absolutely NO reason for the price of .22 rounds to increase by a factor of 10 practically overnight. Eric
Reply to
etpm
I looked at that device. Maybe if I was a prepper. But scraping the white stuff off of strike anywhere matches to make priming compound is a pretty lame way to re-load .22s. Besides, if this method becomes popular then strike anywhere matches will probably cost 20 bucks a box. Eric
Reply to
etpm
Don't you have gun shows there? I see CB shorts at all the gun shows. I was looking for regular .22 short and accidentally bought 200 extra CB shorts
Reply to
Rex
I see .22LR becoming more plentiful, but the price appears to be the same at ~$.10/round. Some of the manufacturers are playing games with box quantities to make it look like it's cheaper, but it still comes on to 10 cents a round "on sale".
Reply to
Rex
.22 ammo has not gotten any cheaper or more available here on Whidbey Island or on the mainland north of Seattle. I haven't checked any gun shows though. I think there is one every weekend at the fairgrounds in Monroe but to get there requires $16 bucks on ferry tickets and then driving about 40 miles one way. I'll have to ask around and see if anyone I know is going there soon. The online availability is poor. I checked today and practically everybody is out of CB shorts or longs and most are out of the long rifle rounds too. Eric
Reply to
etpm
I think you are nuts to consider this. Have you considered buying a pellet rifle? It would have most of the featues you want. Low cost, low noise, and ammo available.
Prices are coming down on .22 ammo, but I do not see any CB caps.
Dan
Reply to
dcaster
Eric , you didn't look at the link . They have priming compound ... and I considered buying some for the making of percussion caps for my muzzle loader . But I think I'll try the toy caps I bought first . The compound is only 20 bucks for enough for 1,000 (2,000 ?) rimfire cartridges , probably yield about the same for caps .
Reply to
Terry Coombs
...
I'd suggest using an airgun until (if ever) the price becomes reasonable again. Hard to beat for low-power, low-cost-to-shoot, especially if you stick to spring guns or "pump it your dang self" guns rather than CO2. There are some good (and terrible) options out there, and room for "building a better mousetrap" too.
Reply to
Ecnerwal
Case design aside, I believe that the fast draw folks used to use only a normal case with (I think) a large pistol or rifle primer and a wax "bullet". So something of the sort is doable. But whether it is worth the effort is another story.
Reply to
John B.
Could be loaded down to whatever you want. Just don't use a slow powder.
Reply to
Tom Gardner
It sounds like a really good pellet gun would fit your requirements.
Reply to
Tom Gardner
Really . Odd how a slow powder can act when loaded light . "Pressure excursions" can be deadly .
Reply to
Terry Coombs
Dey's proud o' dat, ain't dey?
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Absolutely, but nothing we didn't already know.
I've looked monthly for going on 3 years now and haven't found a brick in stock anywhere locally. And I don't want to shoot up my last brick, so I'm not shooting .22 any more.
They're like dinosaur teeth any more. Very hard to find, and pricy, as you said. Uckin' fattorneys.
Reply to
Larry Jaques

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