As a teenager I read everything I could about Survivalism, and wanted to be as prepared as possible to carry what I needed on my back. Although I no longer think that the “Backpack Bugout” plan is the primary thing to do when the SHTF. I still like to keep things as portable as possible, or at least have a portable back up to something more heavy duty in my home.
One of the things I was concerned about was my ammo supply, and how I could maintain it if I could not access factory loaded ammo. I read some articles in American Survival Guide (Feb ’85 and Dec ’87, yup, still have ’em) about portable hand loading, and the Lee hand Press kit, and realized it was the perfect base to build a portable reloading kit from.
OK, so we’ve started with the reloading press that comes with a few accessories such as the Ram Prime for priming cartridges, a tube of brass resizing lubricant, and a powder funnel. Next, you need reloading dies for your specific cartridge. In this kit I have Lee Precision dies for 7.62x39s rifle, and .45ACP pistol, because they both work very well with cast lead bullets.
Next I have Lyman bullet moulds for both cartridges. The 7.62x39s has a 160 grain two bullet mould, and the .45ACP has a 225 grain two bullet mould. I like the Lyman moulds because I can use one set of handles for both. Along with the bullet moulds you will need a lead dipper (mine’s a Lyman) to pour lead into the moulds. I also use a small cast iron pan from Cabelas to melt the lead initially, as it can be held over a fire with a multi tool, or attach a thick green branch to its handle with hose clamps.
If you are making/casting bullets, you will need sizing dies for those bullets to make them all of a uniform diameter. I use the Lee sizing dies (7.62x39s and .45ACP) because I can size them using the press instead of a separate sizing press.
Last but not least will be a case deburring tool (mine’s a Lyman) for taking the burrs off of the case mouth after you trim it. You will be shortening the brass as it gets stretched out from being fired. The shortening can be done with a multi tool file, but you definitely need a deburring tool after doing so.
After all is said and done, you have a portable reloading kit that weighs a little under 10 pounds, and with the addition of your empty brass, smokeless powder, primers, and gas checks (all of which can be left in caches) if needed for one or both of your cast bullet types, you can completely reload your cartridges in the field. Whether you want to carry your kit with you, or place it in a cache, this kit will do what you need, when you need it to, and it’s as compact as a complete reloading kit can be. There are some who would use one of these. It dispenses with the need for a press, but without the press, you can’t size your cast bullets.
I will not discuss loading data here. There is a number of factors that go into it, and you need to do your own research on that info. This post is just to give you some insight into my kit, and maybe some ideas to send you in the right direction. Here’s a good video of a guy reloading 7.62x39s with cast bullets.
Note: Yes, this is Survivalist stuff. Don’t bother commenting about “That’s to much crap for us militia infantry/unconventional fighters/guerrillas/militant arm of Cert, et alia guys too carry. You are correct. Your best bet would be to cache something like this.