I sat and thought for several hours for something bright, happy and cheerful for this edition of Gun Notes, but it has escaped me. Lots of things to talk about, none of them cheerful. So pour yourself a good stiff drink and get a Kleenex handy.
One of the Republican party leaders who absolutely prefers to remain anonymous says 2008 is going to be a bloodbath for the Republican party. He thinks we will lose not only the white house but more seats in congress. This bothers me, not because we stand to lose a lot, but for the sole reason that there is no reason to do so. We have plenty of republicans out there, if they would just get out and vote. Less than half of the registered republicans actually vote in every election. And this one is probably the most important election in our lifetime. So very much is at stake here. So many of our freedoms are at risk. Hillary Clinton has already made the comment "we are going to take things from you on behalf of the common good". That in itself should tell you something. She is already telling us that when she becomes president things are going to change, and not for the better.
I know several people who say they plan to vote for her (and these are gun owning republicans) or not vote at all because they are mad at Bush because of the war. I know a couple more that say they also will not vote or will vote democrat because they hear the republicans are going to renew the draft. If more and more republicans think this way we are doomed. Unless every registered voter gets out and votes for whoever is the republican nominee then we might as well toss in the towel to the liberal crowd. And once they take complete power, we may never get it back.
Well, eight months ago I mentioned that ammo, powder, primer and brass prices were going to skyrocket, and they have. We have had well over a 35% increase so far in each of these and more coming. The retail price of a box of Remington Core Lokt 30-06 ammo is now $56, wholesale is near $40. Primers (CCI) are $40 per thousand and brass is up 40% over last year. And there are more increases coming. One distributor tells me that there is another increase coming in about 10 days and another before the end of the year. We talked over some of the prices such as the 30-06 listed above. He mentioned it wouldn't surprise him if standard caliber ammo (308, 30-06 etc) ends up being $85 a box by Christmas. Look around. Some dealers still have some ammo at the old prices and if you buy wisely you can still find some at prices much lower than these.
If you are a small game hunter, don't forget rimfire ammo. It is also hitting the ceiling. A box of 22 magnum that sold for $8.95 is now $17.95 and higher. And that is a box of 50 rounds. You can still find some deals on rimfire ammo also but be careful of what you buy. Try to stay away from the 22 rimfire ammo that has a black or lead colored bullet. This is a very soft bullet and will lead up your action badly in just a few rounds. Try to stay with ammo that is listed as "copper plated" or "jacketed" or look at it and see if it is a copper or brass colored bullet, or even a gold colored bullet in the Remington ammo. The real cheap rimfire ammo like the Wildcat or Lightning or Thunderbolt brands are really bad on your gun and will do more harm than it is worth. I would suggest staying totally away from this ammo or any other "cheap" rimfire ammo.
Ammo and components are not the only thing going up. The guns themselves are heading up. Almost every gun company has an increase scheduled during September. S&W just announced theirs. One of my barrel makers has announced a 30% increase in their prices as of the end of the 3rd quarter (by October 1st). I plan to make some special guns available on our in stock list this coming week so I have some ready cash to buy a large supply of barrels before then. I try to keep about 700 barrels in stock at all times and am down to less than 500 right now. So those of you that keep an eye on our in stock list, be sure and do so over the next week or so. I have a couple of "one of a kind" guns that we normally keep in our showcase as a display item that I am going to put on the in stock list very soon.
Those that reload know that they do save quite a bit of money by reloading and those that don't, better. If the prices of standard non magnum ammo hit close to $100 a box in the next 6 months, there are a lot of shooters that won't be doing much shooting, unless they reload. The prices of the components are going up too, but reloading is still the way to go. You can still load a box of ammo for well under half the retail price of ammo, even if you load with premium bullets. If you haven't started reloading yet, now is the time.
If you have been thinking of getting into casting your own bullets, now is also the time for this. Lead prices are also beginning to take big leaps upward. You can still find wheel weights or reclaimed range lead at reasonable prices and it is a fairly cheap thing to get into, especially if you watch the internet for good used molds and sizer dies. It is also not a complicated process and doesn't take up much room in a garage or back room. If you have any questions about getting into reloading your ammo or casting your own bullets post your questions on my forum. On the opening page it is down in the lower left hand corner labeled "Ask Reeder Custom Guns'. You don't have to have a password or submit a urine or sperm sample to get onto my forum. Just jump in there and post the question. There are numerous people on there that are close to being what I would call experts at reloading and casting bullets and they are always happy to help. I would try to stay away from questions about headspacing and about extra heavy bullets as the guy that runs it is a grouch when it comes to those subjects.
Remember ammo prices have been going up slowly for years, and people always say they will wait til they come back down to buy. But it never has and I don't believe it ever will. So if your ammo budget is small, buy a bit every week or two, and set it back.
Handgun manufacturers expect the prices of handguns to go much higher as we get closer to the 2008 elections, due to supply and demand if nothing else. And if the Democrats win big, the prices will go thru the roof as buyers try to get one before they are banned or before buying them is strictly limited. So check your gun safes and dig out the clunkers that you haven't used in years and sell, or trade them for the guns you feel you "need" right now while they are still affordable.
The manufacturers that I talked to about the handgun prices say they expect the self defense handguns (Glocks, Sigs, S&W semi autos etc) to go crazy, mainly as more and more states that have anti gun politicians begin to lean farther left than normal. None of them expect the average revolver to go up much in price, except for some of the more controversial revolvers like the 500 from S&W. Several states are talking about banning this "tank killer" simply because it is a 50 caliber. I don't look for any of them to actually ban you from owning them, just no longer will you be able to buy them, nor will they be allowed to enter that state, much like the gun laws currently in California and a couple of the northeastern states.
This has been a rather hectic week. Last sunday we took our herd of Jack Russell Terriers up on the mountain in front of my house to run them. One of the year old pups got after a rabbit or a mexican and didn't come back . We searched every day up until way after midnite, even staying out all night a night or two. And when we did come back in we were up again at 5 and back out looking. Finally a week after she ran off she came back to the area where our house is. She must have covered 15 or 20 miles as she was seen in several areas, miles apart. But the homing instinct came thru and she ended up about a half mile down the road from our house and Colleen got her back yesterday. At least some good news there.
I have plans to get back to my normal schedule this coming week after the hectic one this past week. This will include, I hope, beginning more testing of our new 610 GNR and 586 GNR cartridges. We got the dies in this past week and the two rifles are finished so I now need to devote some time to doing the load testing. I have some good loads for the 610 but not much for the 586 yet. Both of these new cartridges are chambered in our new Mega Beast rifles and can be built on your Ruger #1 base gun.
Hunting season is finally just around the corner here and most other areas. Our Handgun Hunters Challenge #2 is now less than 2 months away. We have a full camp of 28 hunters slated for this one in the Tennessee foothills. So at least we can end this Gun Notes on some good news. Hunting season is just about here! Get out and enjoy it.