Why do people think ammo will disappear?

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Junkmaster
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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by Junkmaster » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:09 pm

Doc Torr wrote:
Junkmaster wrote:
VeniVidiVici wrote:
Doc Torr wrote:Buy 50,000 rounds now and don't worry about it?
This is probably more realistic than the homebrewed chemistry labs that have been suggested in this thread. :lol:

That is good advice for short term survival, but the OP and underlining concern is what about in the long term when civilization completely breaks down?

Scenario A - Some type of SHTF occurs that doesn't completely break down civilization.

Scenario B - Some type of SHTF occurs that does completely break down civilization.

The above advice will serve Scenario A survivors well because all they have to do is wait until law and order are reestablished, but in a Scenario B situation no help is coming.

The concern is that you just might survive the PAW and as your 50,000 bullets begin to run out you get overrun by Russian and/or Chinese soldiers that have already rebuilt their civilizations and rearmed their soldiers.

My concern is that very few people will actually be able to restart vital manufacturing processes after a Scenario B.

jm
Describe a scenario in which me and ten of my closest friends are going to run through 50,000 rounds in our lifetimes?
I already said it was a great idea for short term survival. If all you are concerned about is you and yours then you are set until someone else has already restarted their manufacturing sectors decides you are in their way which may be never or at least not in your lifetime, but eventually the civilzation that rebuilds the fastest will have the advantage over those that do nothing.
Doc Torr wrote:I'm also intent on learning bowmanship, and could probably spearhunt if I had to. My average shot is about 50 yds on a spot and stalk, and there's plenty of eating to be done without firing a single round.
It isn't the amount of ammo you stockpile, or your conservation of that ammo, it is the fact that you can not make any new ammo that is the point I'm trying to get across. The general consensus seems to be that if I can just survive the initial PAW then everything will be great, but my point is just surviving isn't enough. Surviving with a plan to rebuild should be everyone's goal.
Doc Torr wrote:If I get over-run by soldiers from a foreign country because their nitrocellulose production is better than mine then I'm learning Russian/Chinese. This is not Red Dawn. I cannot fight off an army. Especially one that has the logistic support to cross the Atlantic or pacific, and get regular supply trains running to support them as they conquer the US. Gimme a platoon of well-supplied Infantry Marines, and I can do soem damage, but I think a risk asse4ssment is in order. Otherwise I'll getmy nitrocellulose-loaded rounds from the bi-weekly drops from the Meatworld Express. (a subsidiary of Spicedragon Deliveries, LLC)
It doesn't have to be foreign soldiers, it could be the next town or state over. The point is you will have a limited supply of ammo while anyone else who bothers to restart vital manufacturing sectors will have an advantage over you. You are also assuming that they will let you join them and not just kill you and take your stuff for them and theirs.
Doc Torr wrote:TL:DR Don't play WWYD with me. You're creating a ridiculous scenario to support an interest. You wanna manufacture nitro-whatever? Cool. Do it legally, far from my house, and report the results on ZS. Come backwith all ten fingers, and I owe you kudos. I'd rather stock the ammo now. Hell, 10k rounds (split between .45, 8mm, 6.8, 5.56, and .22LR) would likely be a lifetime supply for me in any PAW.
Still missing my point, but at the same time making it for me. Clearly I have offended you somehow by my 'ridiculous scenario' on a site that by any stretch of the imagination is based on ridiculous scenarios, so perhaps we should just leave it at you are going to stockpile while I am going to rebuild and that is perfectly fine with me.
Doc Torr wrote:Don't look at the military service and assume I'd try to fight an entire army. If the US fell, and then we got invaded, i might just enlist with them for citizenship. Fighting off an entire army is ludicrous.

That, or I'll pull a Haji Rahman and yell "MISTA, CHOCOLATE?" when their trucks go by.
You are still assuming that they would want you as a citizen and I think Sun Tzu said it best

“The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy's not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable."

jm

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by Doctorr Fabulous » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:19 pm

Well, feel free to plan for the rebirth of modern times. I' not offended, I just thought it was stretching. Like I said, I won't hate, but I don't plan on trying to re-arm and re-build all of society. Before ammo, I'd be more concerned with other things. Electricity, refrigeration, medicine, etc.

Plenty of other legacies I'd want to leave than "the guy who made guns useable." I'm not in any way offended, I just think you're barking at a non-existent problem. Do as thou wilt.
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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by AKFTW » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:21 pm

People make ammo in mud huts in the Khyber pass with nitrocellulose film as powder. Black powder is easy enough to make as well, and I'm sure that one could work up a BP loading for some modern rounds- would it be as powerful and reliable? Certainly not- but you could probably get it to cycle. I have no reason to doubt that where there is a need for something like ammo in the PAW, somebody will step up to the plate and start making more. Is this some PAW where every ammunition factory in the world is targeted by 5 MIRV warheads each? People will use guns as long as there is ammo for them, and people will make ammo in some form as long as they have guns they want to use.
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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by CitizenZ » Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:27 pm

"Without ammo, a rifle is just a club. Unless it has a bayonet. Then it's upgraged to a spear."
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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by BigDaddyTX » Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:57 pm

So I asked the Doc, and he says :
Doc B wrote:So IANAC and only looked into this a little, but it looks pretty straightforward. You just use (real) cotton as the cellulose source and dip it in a mixture of sulfuric acid and nitric acid (both strong acids) and then it's washed and cooled in water and an aqueous (water) solution containing sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, a mild base to neutralize excess acids). Cellulose is a sugar polymer found in plant cell walls, and basically there are nitro groups (NO2) from the nitric acid added onto it. Nitro compounds are commonly explosive, probably the most well known example being trinitrotoluene (TNT). I think the sulfuric acid just works as a catalyst (helps facilitate the reaction, but is not itself used up in the reaction). Nitrocellulose is highly flammable with an very low flash point (probably why people are interested in it) . Flash point basically means the temperature above which a tiny spark would facilitate combustion. With these characteristics, there are probably lots of little factors that could result in spontaneous explosion during synthesis and/or storage.

I would strongly advise people NOT to try it at home due to the danger of fire/explosion and the strong acids. But if someone was going to synthesize it, they should have a prerequisite training in chemistry and use gloves, goggles, lab coat, a fume hood and other necessary precautions.
That of course is just to create it, not to process it, but hopefully it helps out the discussion somehow.
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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by Junkmaster » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:07 pm

AKFTW wrote:People make ammo in mud huts in the Khyber pass with nitrocellulose film as powder.
Right, but they are using a manufactured product that itself uses Nitrocellulose as a base, just as modern ammo does, neither of which will be readilty available for long(10-20 yrs) in a PAW unless the knowledge on how to safely manufacter Nitrocellulose as well as ether-alcohol(easy), nitroglycerin(dangerous), nitroguanidine, sulphuric acid, nitric acid, acetone & sodium bicarbonate are preserved.
AKFTW wrote:Black powder is easy enough to make as well, and I'm sure that one could work up a BP loading for some modern rounds- would it be as powerful and reliable? Certainly not- but you could probably get it to cycle. I have no reason to doubt that where there is a need for something like ammo in the PAW, somebody will step up to the plate and start making more.
You are making my point for me. Everyone just assumes someone is going to step up to the plate and obtain the extremely dangerous materials and then read from some old musty book on how to mix the extremely dangerous materials together and hope they don't blow themselves up. Not very likely. People are for the most part lazy and selfish, so I wouldn't count on many to step up to the plate and even less to do it for the benefit of the community, more likely than not they will be making ammo for price gouging or killing you.
AKFTW wrote: Is this some PAW where every ammunition factory in the world is targeted by 5 MIRV warheads each? People will use guns as long as there is ammo for them, and people will make ammo in some form as long as they have guns they want to use.
Here in lies the other concern as I originally stated, their appears to be only 1 weapons-grade Nitrocellulose manufacturer left in the United States. All the major ammo manufacturer's import their Nitrocellulose from China and Taiwan which have hundreds of factories making the stuff. So if you feel comfortable that China and Taiwan will be friendly towards what is left of the United States and make you some fresh ammo or if you just want to stockpile a bunch and let your kids and grandkids worry about defending the United States with black powder muskets, then go about your prepping as usual.

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by Junkmaster » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:14 pm

BigDaddyTX wrote:So I asked the Doc, and he says :
Doc B wrote:So IANAC and only looked into this a little, but it looks pretty straightforward. You just use (real) cotton as the cellulose source and dip it in a mixture of sulfuric acid and nitric acid (both strong acids) and then it's washed and cooled in water and an aqueous (water) solution containing sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, a mild base to neutralize excess acids). Cellulose is a sugar polymer found in plant cell walls, and basically there are nitro groups (NO2) from the nitric acid added onto it. Nitro compounds are commonly explosive, probably the most well known example being trinitrotoluene (TNT). I think the sulfuric acid just works as a catalyst (helps facilitate the reaction, but is not itself used up in the reaction). Nitrocellulose is highly flammable with an very low flash point (probably why people are interested in it) . Flash point basically means the temperature above which a tiny spark would facilitate combustion. With these characteristics, there are probably lots of little factors that could result in spontaneous explosion during synthesis and/or storage.

I would strongly advise people NOT to try it at home due to the danger of fire/explosion and the strong acids. But if someone was going to synthesize it, they should have a prerequisite training in chemistry and use gloves, goggles, lab coat, a fume hood and other necessary precautions.
That of course is just to create it, not to process it, but hopefully it helps out the discussion somehow.

Yes, perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I am not suggesting anyone attempt to manufacter any of the materials discussed here. In fact, that alone is part of my point. This stuff is dangerous and many people have died perfecting its safe manufacture and many more will die trying to relearn that knowledge when it is lost.

I am just trying to highlight the high probability that modern smokeless(single,double,triple base) ammo will not be readily available in the United States in a severe PAW contrary to what most people seem to think will happen which is some chemistry nerd is going to cranking the stuff out in a burned out factory somewhere.

jm

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by AKFTW » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:21 pm

Junkmaster wrote:You are making my point for me. Everyone just assumes someone is going to step up to the plate and obtain the extremely dangerous materials and then read from some old musty book on how to mix the extremely dangerous materials together and hope they don't blow themselves up. Not very likely. People are for the most part lazy and selfish, so I wouldn't count on many to step up to the plate and even less to do it for the benefit of the community, more likely than not they will be making ammo for price gouging or killing you.
BP is easy to make: Saltpeter/KNO3, charcoal, and sulphur. There are PLENTY of BP shooters in the US that roll their own, and that shit was invented in 9th century ancient China. If any PAW knocks us back technologically past the 9th Century, most of humanity will probably not be around to see it. People have gotten AKs to cycle with BP loads, not to mention using bolt-actions (reference here: http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=764062, you can reload steel cases (Erik here at ZS has experience with it http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 16&t=46874), you can make primers out of match heads http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009 ... g-primers/, and i'm sure from scratch if you had the knowhow. People cast lead bullets all the time.

This whole discussion is academic anyway- the chances of some PAW happening that takes us back to the literal stone age are extremely, extremely unlikely, and the idea that someday there will never be any ammo left in the world just strikes me as ridiculous. And the idea that any of us here would live long enough to see that is doubly so.

Buy it cheap, stack it deep. Reload if you are so inclined. And if you are that worried about ammo never being available, get a good slingshot crossbow or something. But I don't buy the idea of nobody making ammo in the PAW. Not for a second.
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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by Trent » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:46 pm

How difficult would shotgun shells be to reload and manufacture? Not very knowledgeable on the mechanics of it, but it seems like it would be a hell of a lot easier to make rough slugs, bird, and buckshot out of scrap metal than ammo for rifles and handguns. Instead of being the precise length and width to fit old brass, you could just stuff it in a cardboard shell and seal it with candlewax.

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by Junkmaster » Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:25 am

AKFTW wrote:
Junkmaster wrote:You are making my point for me. Everyone just assumes someone is going to step up to the plate and obtain the extremely dangerous materials and then read from some old musty book on how to mix the extremely dangerous materials together and hope they don't blow themselves up. Not very likely. People are for the most part lazy and selfish, so I wouldn't count on many to step up to the plate and even less to do it for the benefit of the community, more likely than not they will be making ammo for price gouging or killing you.
BP is easy to make: Saltpeter/KNO3, charcoal, and sulphur. There are PLENTY of BP shooters in the US that roll their own, and that shit was invented in 9th century ancient China. If any PAW knocks us back technologically past the 9th Century, most of humanity will probably not be around to see it. People have gotten AKs to cycle with BP loads, not to mention using bolt-actions (reference here: http://www.surplusrifleforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=764062, you can reload steel cases (Erik here at ZS has experience with it http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 16&t=46874), you can make primers out of match heads http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009 ... g-primers/, and i'm sure from scratch if you had the knowhow. People cast lead bullets all the time.
Right, I never said BP ammo wouldn't be available. We were talking about modern smokeless powder ammo.

You can dig a grave with a shovel but most people use a back hoe.
AKFTW wrote:This whole discussion is academic anyway- the chances of some PAW happening that takes us back to the literal stone age are extremely, extremely unlikely, and the idea that someday there will never be any ammo left in the world just strikes me as ridiculous. And the idea that any of us here would live long enough to see that is doubly so.

Buy it cheap, stack it deep. Reload if you are so inclined. And if you are that worried about ammo never being available, get a good slingshot crossbow or something. But I don't buy the idea of nobody making ammo in the PAW. Not for a second.
That same logic could be applied to most if not all of the info on the forums and I never said nobody would be making ammo in the PAW, just that is is going to be extremely rare in the United States due to our lack of Nitrocellulose manufacturing and the dangers involved in making it from scratch are going to keep its availability low. Also the more important concern is that the survivors of other countries such as China and Russia will have a technological advantage because their Nitrocellulose production hasn't be exported to other countries so we run the risk that we just might survive the PAW to find ourselves fighting off a better equipped enemy. Just ask the Native Americans how that worked out for them.

China and Russia are just likely examples, it could be the town or state next door. What makes people think that whoever can make fresh ammo is going to give/trade it to them rather that turn it against them and just take all their stuff by force?

My main point is that by not preparing to rebuild Civilization you are just preparing to submit to whoever does.

My secondary point is that people are wishful thinking with respect to modern ammo in the PAW.

jm

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by HKTackDriver » Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:34 am

Doc Torr wrote: Describe a scenario in which me and ten of my closest friends are going to run through 50,000 rounds in our lifetimes?
My brother's first deployment in Afghanistan had them patroling through a ravine. While coming up to a choke point, guess what happened? They were ambushed. He described a scene to me of absolute franatic gunfire and fighting, which depleted his 600 round carry supply to nothing within 4 minutes of fighting. That's 600 rounds in 4 MINUTES.

So when you talk about 50,000 rounds, I simply think of this very real example of what happens if you need to fight to live. You may not be shooting at an aimed target, but you're shooting to keep heads down while you beat feet. A couple such encounters would severely impact your supplies - assuming you lived through them. I'm not saying it's likely, but IF a PAW/EOTWAWKI scenario occured, I find it entirely possible to have the need to fight off looters or "raiders." Knowing human psychology, a disorganized and undisciplined looter/raider force would likely flee at the first sign of resistance, but a truly desperate bunch would have nothing to lose...

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by FrANkNstEin » Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:11 pm

I, once again, want to leave the following link to a site of a Swiss BP entusiast, it´s in english:

http://www.musketeer.ch/blackpowder/homemade_bp.html

If it goes dead, you should be able to find it at http://www.musketeer.ch" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;, but you may have to select "english" if it shows up in german.

You should find a wealth of information regarding manufacturing of Blackpowder there, as well as historical accounts on manufacturing which is very interesting and will tell you something bout the dangers involved.

I hope this is ok by ZS legality standards, please check out your local laws and act accordingly before making BP. For informational purposes only. (It did not get deleted last time i shared it so i guess it´s ok.)

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by Bender711 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:19 pm

Considering there was a time not but a couple of years ago that certain calibers were impossible to get with all of the factories running 24/7. If the factories shut down getting ammo would be really hard. I know where I can get quite a bit of ammo even if they stopped making it, about 6 feet from where I'm sitting but that is another matter. :wink:

One thing that I don't understand is people wanting to get black powder rifles and cross bows etc. for an end of the world scenario. You might fire, what, 100 rounds out of the black powder rifle or cross bow? For the money you invest in all of the capital needed to roll your own ammo (beyond just reloading) you could stock pile a massive (easily a lifetime's worth) amount of ammo.

I run through thousands of rounds a year training right now, this is why I stack it deep. In an end of the world scenario, if I run through through 100 rounds a year, shit has gone wrong(er). This is also why I'm a fan of manual action rifles for an end of the world hypothetical, ammo conservation. Training takes most of the ammo while actual uses, hunting and social, not so much.

Depending on the situation, the .mill will likely burn through all of their calibers pretty quick fighting each other. I'm guessing things like 30-30 will be around longer as they wont get used in fire fights much. The PAW won't be a warzone, it will be much lower intensity than that because after the initial shock people will realize there isn't a convoy coming to resupply them and wasting 600 rounds to keep heads down is no longer an option.

If you are talking longer term where the ammo will run out or degrade to the point of uselessness that is tricky. I really can't imagine any situation short of a full nuclear annihilation that could keep humanity from producing ammo in at least limited factory quantities before the current supply runs out.

Good topic, lots of good thinking going on here.

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by FrANkNstEin » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:24 pm

One thing i want to ad with this topic on hand is to: not only worry about yourselves, worry´bout your kids as well. I think THAT´s where some of tha knowledge will really come in handy. If we are in fact talking about TEOTWAWKI

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by g211 » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:19 am

Cellulose is nitrated by putting it in blend of concentrated nitric acid and concentrated sulfuric acid. Water is added to slow reaction rate (and temperature). The nitric acid reacts with the cellulose to produce nitrocellulose. The sulfuric acid is to absorb the water that's produced as a by-product. Once the reaction is complete, the acid is removed by washing and centrifuging.

Lots of things affect the chemical and mechanical properties of the nitrocellulose: reaction time, particle size, neutralizing sollution PH, temperature . . . Small batches are made, tested, and blended to get the desired performance for the intended final product.

To make it into powder, the nitrocellulose is disolved in ethyl acetate. In a mixer, add nitrocellulose and water to a solution of ethyl acetate (solvent), diphenylamine (to remove residual acid in the nitrocellulose), and calcium carbonate (to neutralize acid in the water). When the nitrocellulose is dissolved, add a colloid like starch or Gum Arabic is added and spin it up until it starts to lump together into little blobs. When the 'blobs' are the right size, drive the ethyl acetate off by heating to harden the nitrocellulose into kernels.

The kernels then have to be dried, sorted by size using a sieve, surface-coated (to modify burn rate), tested for burn rate, and then blended back together in the proper ratio to produce the finished powder.

An clever undergrad could produce smokeless powder . . . but it wouldn't be usable as a small-arms propellant, because he couldn't hit a desired burn rate, he couldn't hit a desired burn rate progression, and he couldn't make two batches the same. The question you'd be faced with would be, "How much powder of unknown characteristics do you put in a .308 Win with a 150 gr. bullet?" The only sane answer is, "NONE".

I don't see it being a high priority for major industrial production in a PAW -- not until the power is back on, and refineries are all running, and the roads are all fixed, and interstate commerce is back in operation, anyway. It's just too much trouble to be practical on a small scale, and there's no reason to make it on a large scale unless you have some way to distribute it on a large scale.

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by AKFTW » Wed Feb 29, 2012 12:49 am

g211 wrote:Cellulose is nitrated by putting it in blend of concentrated nitric acid and concentrated sulfuric acid. Water is added to slow reaction rate (and temperature). The nitric acid reacts with the cellulose to produce nitrocellulose. The sulfuric acid is to absorb the water that's produced as a by-product. Once the reaction is complete, the acid is removed by washing and centrifuging.

Lots of things affect the chemical and mechanical properties of the nitrocellulose: reaction time, particle size, neutralizing sollution PH, temperature . . . Small batches are made, tested, and blended to get the desired performance for the intended final product.

To make it into powder, the nitrocellulose is disolved in ethyl acetate. In a mixer, add nitrocellulose and water to a solution of ethyl acetate (solvent), diphenylamine (to remove residual acid in the nitrocellulose), and calcium carbonate (to neutralize acid in the water). When the nitrocellulose is dissolved, add a colloid like starch or Gum Arabic is added and spin it up until it starts to lump together into little blobs. When the 'blobs' are the right size, drive the ethyl acetate off by heating to harden the nitrocellulose into kernels.

The kernels then have to be dried, sorted by size using a sieve, surface-coated (to modify burn rate), tested for burn rate, and then blended back together in the proper ratio to produce the finished powder.

An clever undergrad could produce smokeless powder . . . but it wouldn't be usable as a small-arms propellant, because he couldn't hit a desired burn rate, he couldn't hit a desired burn rate progression, and he couldn't make two batches the same. The question you'd be faced with would be, "How much powder of unknown characteristics do you put in a .308 Win with a 150 gr. bullet?" The only sane answer is, "NONE".

I don't see it being a high priority for major industrial production in a PAW -- not until the power is back on, and refineries are all running, and the roads are all fixed, and interstate commerce is back in operation, anyway. It's just too much trouble to be practical on a small scale, and there's no reason to make it on a large scale unless you have some way to distribute it on a large scale.
Yeah, in the PAW I can see smokeless being too much trouble, and BP loadings of modern rounds coming into use. Can you imagine using BP .223 in an AR? :lol: You'd have to lube it up a couple times per mag probably..
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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by CitizenZ » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:47 pm

Sounds much easier to just store a few kegs of powder, a case of primers and a bullet mold.= low tech ammo factory.
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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by Junkmaster » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:37 am

Bender711 wrote:Considering there was a time not but a couple of years ago that certain calibers were impossible to get with all of the factories running 24/7. If the factories shut down getting ammo would be really hard. I know where I can get quite a bit of ammo even if they stopped making it, about 6 feet from where I'm sitting but that is another matter. :wink:

If you are talking longer term where the ammo will run out or degrade to the point of uselessness that is tricky. I really can't imagine any situation short of a full nuclear annihilation that could keep humanity from producing ammo in at least limited factory quantities before the current supply runs out.

Good topic, lots of good thinking going on here.
Yes, my original post specified that we are talking about a severe long term PAW where you have complete industrial collapse and the problem is that we have tons of ammo factories but almost all of them import their Nitrocellulose from China and Taiwan. From my research there appears to be only a single weapons-grade Nitrocellulose manufacturer in the United States(I'm assuming they are making it for the Military).

For the sake of argument lets say a foreign government bioengineering a drug-resistant weaponized form of the avian flu accidentally releases it into the population without their knowledge and since it was designed to have a 25 day incubation period before symptoms appear it spreads all over the world and 90% of the population dies quickly. During the ensuing chaos China takes advantage of our limited Nitrocellulose production by sneaking a suit case nuke to a city nearby that single Nitrocellulose factory and detonates it and makes it look like Islamic fundamentalists for good measure.

The aftermath sees widespread looting, rioting, violence, war well you know the drill and another 9.9% of the population dies out.

So China now has 13,000,000 people and hundreds of Nitrocellulose factories and the United States has 3,100,000 and Zero Nitrocellulose factories.

Sure its far fetched and most likely will never happen, but I'm just trying to highlight the importance of nitrocellulose for modern ammo and in turn modern warfare and how dependent we are on imported nitrocellulose.

People are wrong if they think it isn't going to be a problem in a protracted PAW that has total industrial collapse.

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by Junkmaster » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:40 am

g211 wrote:I don't see it being a high priority for major industrial production in a PAW -- not until the power is back on, and refineries are all running, and the roads are all fixed, and interstate commerce is back in operation, anyway. It's just too much trouble to be practical on a small scale, and there's no reason to make it on a large scale unless you have some way to distribute it on a large scale.
Well my original senario was complete industrial collapse so the power isn't coming back on and since there appears to only be a single nitrocellolose factory left in the United States that makes weapon grade nitrocellolose we better hope that one doesn't burn down and better hope the Chinese and Russians don't take advantage during this period and exploit the fact that they have hundreds of nitrolcellulose weapons grade factories.

jm
Last edited by Junkmaster on Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by Junkmaster » Thu Mar 01, 2012 10:45 am

CitizenZ wrote:Sounds much easier to just store a few kegs of powder, a case of primers and a bullet mold.= low tech ammo factory.
Sure and everyone should stockpile ammo, not sure if kegs are a good idea unless you have a blast room, but we are talking about 5-15 years after a total industrial collapse PAW senario so you might make it fine but the next generation are going to be left in a very difficult position where China & Russia having hundreds of weapons grade nitrocelluose factories are going to rearm their armies/miltias whereas ours will most likely be using black powder.

I suppose we can hope that if Russia and/or China becomes aggresive they go after Europe first giving us time to rebuild, but that probably doesn't play well for us in the long run either.

jm

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by Aikibiker » Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:17 pm

Nitrocellulose is not all that hard to make. It is actually well within the reach of most of the chemistry inclined types.

And a factory is just a building with the interior arranged to facilitate ease of production of whatever you are making. In the kind of scenario you are talking about I think food production and especiallydistribution will be a much bigger and more pressing challenge then making nitrocellulose.
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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by Junkmaster » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:30 pm

Aikibiker wrote:Nitrocellulose is not all that hard to make. It is actually well within the reach of most of the chemistry inclined types.

And a factory is just a building with the interior arranged to facilitate ease of production of whatever you are making. In the kind of scenario you are talking about I think food production and especiallydistribution will be a much bigger and more pressing challenge then making nitrocellulose.
Sure, if you have access to pure ether-alcohol, nitroglycerin, nitroguanidine, sulphuric acid, nitric acid, acetone, sodium bicarbonate, and a secure location its relatively easy to safely make small batches of Nitrocellulose, but as g211 pointed out above
g211 wrote:An clever undergrad could produce smokeless powder . . . but it wouldn't be usable as a small-arms propellant, because he couldn't hit a desired burn rate, he couldn't hit a desired burn rate progression, and he couldn't make two batches the same. The question you'd be faced with would be, "How much powder of unknown characteristics do you put in a .308 Win with a 150 gr. bullet?" The only sane answer is, "NONE".
Large scale weapons-grade Nitrocelluose is an entirely different beast. Extremely dangerous with a very unforgiving learning curve.

All I am saying is if people think it is going to be a piece of cake they are wrong, if they think some cemistry nerd is going to be cranking it out they are wrong and if we aren't careful or lucky we could end up suriviving the PAW only to find ourselves fighting a modern armed Chinese/Russian army with a civil war era black powder army.

But hey maybe the PAW will bring us all together and the Chinese will keep supplying us with weapons-grade Nitrocellulose in exchange for some chickens & corn.

jm

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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by Crazy Wolf » Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:03 pm

g211 wrote:Cellulose is nitrated by putting it in blend of concentrated nitric acid and concentrated sulfuric acid. Water is added to slow reaction rate (and temperature). The nitric acid reacts with the cellulose to produce nitrocellulose. The sulfuric acid is to absorb the water that's produced as a by-product. Once the reaction is complete, the acid is removed by washing and centrifuging.

Lots of things affect the chemical and mechanical properties of the nitrocellulose: reaction time, particle size, neutralizing sollution PH, temperature . . . Small batches are made, tested, and blended to get the desired performance for the intended final product.

To make it into powder, the nitrocellulose is disolved in ethyl acetate. In a mixer, add nitrocellulose and water to a solution of ethyl acetate (solvent), diphenylamine (to remove residual acid in the nitrocellulose), and calcium carbonate (to neutralize acid in the water). When the nitrocellulose is dissolved, add a colloid like starch or Gum Arabic is added and spin it up until it starts to lump together into little blobs. When the 'blobs' are the right size, drive the ethyl acetate off by heating to harden the nitrocellulose into kernels.

The kernels then have to be dried, sorted by size using a sieve, surface-coated (to modify burn rate), tested for burn rate, and then blended back together in the proper ratio to produce the finished powder.

An clever undergrad could produce smokeless powder . . . but it wouldn't be usable as a small-arms propellant, because he couldn't hit a desired burn rate, he couldn't hit a desired burn rate progression, and he couldn't make two batches the same. The question you'd be faced with would be, "How much powder of unknown characteristics do you put in a .308 Win with a 150 gr. bullet?" The only sane answer is, "NONE".

I don't see it being a high priority for major industrial production in a PAW -- not until the power is back on, and refineries are all running, and the roads are all fixed, and interstate commerce is back in operation, anyway. It's just too much trouble to be practical on a small scale, and there's no reason to make it on a large scale unless you have some way to distribute it on a large scale.
OK, so not everyone on here is familiar with where you would get these supplies, if all the chemist's shops were closed. Cellulose is plant fiber (cotton, wood, linen, etc), calcium carbonate makes up lime and eggshells (although I've no idea what sort of processing is needed to get it up to snuff) and I'm pretty sure we all know what water is, but the production methods for these other components is not quite common knowledge. This'd mean that anyone interested in actually making their own would need to find a book or online resource that'll tell them how to make these things, and have access to good sources for the base materials.
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Re: Why do people think ammo will disappear?

Post by I_Hate_George_Lucas » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:02 am

Hollow Point wrote:It's something you see a lot of-here, other survival forums, apocalyptic fiction-the idea that once the crap impacts the fan, ammunition will disappear, like the knowledge of the Romans in the Dark Ages, where, at best, a few souls make black powder, recharge primers, and scavenge their casings and swage slugs out of scavenged lead for their modern arms, while others return to the days of flintlock or even match lock muskets, crossbows, swords, and other primitive weapons.

My question is why?

Given some knowledge of chemistry, and what smokeless powder is made out of, one could figure out how to improvise the labware and precursor chemicals to make it, as well as the primer material to innitiate it.

Slugs could be made from say, car battery plates after they become incapable of holding electrial power, or fishing lures, and if possible, one could use electro plating to put a thin copper jacket on them.

I could see people making casings out of plastic, by using it in an injection molding machine, something that Dave or Vince Gingery, who are published by Lindsey Books, the off the wall DIY book publishing company.

Or people could turn plastic or brass rods on a lathe.

Or we just go the next step in casing manufacture and do caseless ammo.
I've got a book that mentions that a certain brand of smokeless gunpowder, dissolved in a certain solvent, can be molded into blocks. Heckler and Koch developed a gun that'd shoot caseless ammo, the G11 and they developed the ammo for it.

The same book also talks about electric primers, which the author says date back to the mid to late 1800s.

So what is it? Are people ignorant of the development of ammo and what goes into it, thinking it'd be something that can't possibly be duplicated in a post-SHTF home cottage industry? We might slide back to revolvers and bolt action rifles, but we are not sliding back to swords and bows and arrows.

Please, folks, don't get this thread trashed by talking about verboten subjects. I was vague on some things for a reason.

Edit: I fixed the title. Spelling Nazis still suck.

My head hurts after reading your post.....

Ammunition isn't as simple as you think it is. Smokeless powder isn't one type of powder. Primers aren't one type of primer, lead for ammunition isn't one type of lead.

I reload pistol and rifle calibers. I cannot use the same powder for .45-70 Government that I would use for 9x19mm. Nor do they use the same primers. Hell, some .45 ACP brass uses small pistol primers while others use large pistol primers. The quality of lead for my cast loads isn't junk lead that I get from old fishing weights or wheel weights. I even do black powder reloading (both cartridge and muzzle loaders) and the different types of powders used for that aren't one all be all. You have FFg, FFFg, FFFFg, etc....

Modern smokeless powder burns as different rates and generate different pressures. If I use the wrong type of powder I can have a KaBoom! and loose some fingers, a hand, an eye, or my life.

As for caseless ammo.... H&K developed the G11... guess what killed it? Lack of funding, the end of the Cold War, and the fact that the ammo would cook off in the weapon and the powder would have issues when wet.

Plastic cartridges.... been done before and failed... the US Army is working on that now with the LSAT program... that is million of millions of dollars into that program and still it's in the wonderful concept car stage only. Plastic Cartridges failed for one reason.... HEAT. When a brass or steel cartridge is used it works as a heat sink and helps keep some of the heat from transferring into the chamber (thus preventing cook off), the heat from the combustion of the powder is ejected with the spent cartridge. There was an company that tried some .223, .38 Special and some other calibers and it all had issues with extraction, heat transference, and chambering.

The machinery needed to produce modern cartridge ammo also ins't something as simple as a lathe in a garage. To produce a cartridge you need the right barstock, the machinery to turn said barstock into casings, a machine to produce primers, the proper powder, the right projectile (which is actually not a simple piece of lead but a lead or steel core with a gilding or bonded jacket), and the machinery to crimp it all together.

If we have a massive "Oh Crap, the Alien Zombie Communist invaders from Mars are here" moment and we get everything knocked out... we might be lucky to make smooth bore match lock or flint lock muskets by hand, produce the course black powder, and get them to work..... also the time frame needed to produce said item by hand is a very long time in man hours and nothing will be interchangeable.
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