Reloading and Other Unique Survival Skills

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Urban Survival Skills received this question from BlackHat16: “I want your opinion on reloading equipment. I want to buy, maybe spread out due to the cost, a reloading setup in case shit hits the fan I can reload ammunition as I believe it will be hard to come by. What versions of reloading equipment would you recommend and any other recommendations on equipment would be appreciated.”

Mr BlackHat16, I would have to ask several questions before I get into reloading presses and ancillary equipment. Have you any experience in reloading? Do you plan on stocking reloading supplies, such as powder, primers and bullets? In a SHTF scenario, I would think that reloading supplies such as primers, powders and bullets would be as or more scarce than ammunition.

I think having reloading equipment and more important, the experience in reloading would be a good survival skill, in fact a mandatory skills, but much lower in priority that say, wilderness survival skills, farming and canning skills and others, simply because of the requirement of having the components – powder, primers and bullets, not to mention empty cases (brass). However, if all other survival material and equipment needs are met, having some reloading equipment would be a good idea.

Lyman hand press, single stage press, rotary (aka Progressive) presses could provide a capability, again given the components, to produce good quality ammunition, given the skill, and/or be a barter item in the coming crunch. If pushed, you could make a usable powder, re-manufacture spent primers and cast bullets, but you need some equipment, material and skill to do so.

I am NOT trying to dash your thoughts of getting reloading equipment just know that it can be overwhelming for a novice re-loader and most preppers may be better served using the required money to invest in ammunition, firearms or other higher priority survival equipment and items. All reloading presses or tools requires dies for that cartridge. Please go to YouTube and research reloading – plenty of people willing to help there.

A hand tool, such as the Lyman 310 hand-tool, is like a pliers type of re-loader and the cheapest route you can go. See the picture. You need the Lyman 310 and a set of dies for whatever caliber/cartridge you want to reload. The benefit in this method is the small, portable package. Go to Lyman Products to see their Lyman 310 and other reloading equipment.

A single stage reloading press like the RCBS Rock Chucker is a quality piece of equipment, not so portable!, but user friendly, just requires the changing out of dies for each step in the reloading process, so it’s slow. See one of the RCBS single stage presses in the picture.

Going to the RCBS website and look at their equipment and kits is a good idea.

Likely the best reloading products come from Dillion Precision. Mike Dillon, the founder, just passed away this past November, but he left a legacy that won’t be beat anytime soon. He revolutionized the reloading industry with his dynamic progressive presses which is about as automatic of a reloading setup as you can get. You can go to their website, but don’t leave without requesting their Blue Press Catalog.

One overall good distributor of reloading equipment would be MidWay. They offer a lot of products and have good prices and service. Go to their site here:

Again reloading skills are good to have you can go to Sword of Survival and these videos to check out survival type reloading skills. Here are a couple links for survival ammo reloading:

Field Reload Kit With Brass Shotgun Ammo

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“Urban Man: Here is another great video from a friend of mine.”
Warning: For educational purposes only. Use these techniques at your own risk.


1. Brass shot shells (size for weapon system being used, 12 gauge, etc.)
2. Shot
3. Pyrodex Rifle and shotgun powder (or preferred brand)
4. 209 shotgun primers
5. Large pistol primers
6. Wadding material
7. Over shot card material
8. Lighter and glue stick
9. Primer crimp tool or “C” clamp setup with deep well socket
10. Primer removal tool
11. Powder tamper tool
12. Powder and shot measuring tool
13. Container for brass shells
14. Container to store kit
15. 15/64 inch drill bit
16. 23/64 inch drill bit
17. Wad and over shot cutter tool
18. Drill
19. Flat piece metal stock
20. Rubber hammer or similar 
21. Flat piece of wood stock

Converting brass shell to accept the 209 primer:

1. First use the 15/64 drill bit and drill out the primer hole.
2. Using a 23/64 drill bit, drill a slight recess in the primer hole deep enough to allow the primer rim to seat flush with the bottom of the shell. See photo above.
3. Seat the 209 primer like you would a regular 12 gauge shell when reloading.

Note: Shotgun firing these types of reloads need to be cleaned more often than factory loaded ammo.