Skip to comments.Military Cartridge Brass Destruction 2010 - Round 2
Posted on 03/25/2010 4:48:38 AM PDT by marktwain
The cure that was arranged by Montana Senators Baucus and Tester to fix the intended military destruction of once-fired cartridge brass last year appears to be suffering from a fatal end-run.
Interested persons will remember that a year ago, helpful intervention by Montana's senators persuaded the Department of Defense to rescind a fresh DoD directive to military installation commanders requiring them to destroy once-fired brass, prior to selling it at auction into the civilian marketplace for ammunition reloading and other purposes.
An end-run is being done around the rescinding order through quiet and sweetheart side deals with installation commanders that is being aggressively promoted by ATK.
Some characters must be introduced to explain this story. ATK/Alliant Techsystems is the defense contractor that currently has the contract to operate the Army's huge Lake City Arsenal, the last government-owned facility in the U.S. for production of small arms military ammunition. While other contracts to operate Lake City have been cost-plus, the contract ATK arranged allows ATK to retain profits of operation. Although government/private partnerships always seem to be strange creatures, the nature of the government/ATK partnership may be stranger than most.
Government Liquidation is another private entity that has an exclusive government franchise to sell surplus military equipment, from all military installations nationwide, to all bidders.
Until recently, most used cartridge brass sales were put up for public bid through Government Liquidations, bids available to scrap metal purchasers, foundries processing brass, and specialized cartridge brass processors that reconditioned millions of surplus cartridge brass for sale to commercial reloaders of civilian ammunition, and to civilians for ammunition loading. The steady supply of reloadable brass from military sources has been a sizeable and essential component of the currently stressed ammunition market in the U.S.
Although the private Government Liquidations retains a fee for the auction services it provides, the bulk of income from Government Liquidations' sales of surplus military property is directed into the U.S. Treasury, to be reallocated and appropriated by Congress, as needed.
In a recent turn, ATK has been aggressively promoting sweetheart side deals with military installation commanders for those commanders to sell used cartridge brass directly to ATK (which ATK then renders unsuitable for reloading), the income from which is deposited, NOT into the U.S. Treasury for reallocation by Congress, but into accounts controlled by installation commanders for installation operation.
ATK even provides portable equipment to demil tons of cartridge cases at the military installations, destroying the brass for reloading purposes. Because the destroyed cartridge case brass is not suitable for reloading, it cannot command a price driven by auction for the highest-value use of reloading. Military installation commanders sell the Alliant-destroyed brass to ATK at a private, non-auction, special price. Commanders are willing to accept the reduced price because the sale proceeds go to the commanders' discretionary accounts and not back to the U.S. Treasury via Government Liquidations.
Quote from ATK program sales literature:
"Payment is made to Fort Irwin not DRMO [now Government Liquidations], so Fort Irwin utilizes the money that is generated from the Recycle project for other recycling efforts."
ATK, then, ships this destroyed cartridge brass to the foundries from which ATK gets new stock for manufacturing new cartridge cases, offsetting in significant part what ATK would otherwise pay the foundries, and thereby increasing ATK's profit from operating the Lake City Arsenal.
Government Liquidations suffers a substantial decrease in business since fired military brass has long been a most lucrative product they've traditionally handled.
Meanwhile, the big losers are the U.S. Treasury (U.S. taxpayers), and civilian ammunition consumers who will see higher prices and more shortages in the ammunition marketplace from this scheme. U.S. gun owners are effectively being taxed by this scheme to provide greater profits for ATK.
There is one additional motive at work here. In part, this juicy scheme is being sold to military installation commanders with the reasoning that "We cannot allow this reloaded ammunition to fall into the hands of militias." The sell-direct-to-ATK idea is being sold to installation commanders as a way to deprive imagined U.S. civilian enemies of firepower.
Quotes from ATK program sales literature:
"Currently handling brass scrap for ATK Lake City -- for sole purpose of recycling material and preventing any reloading of spent cases by the public with military grade brass."
"Keeps Military Grade Brass from being re-loaded by unauthorized users."
"To PREVENT anyone from using your scrap ammunition components for non-military purposes." (Emphasis in the original)
"Assurability for the [military] installation, that no one can use this cartridge against law enforcement or our military personnel, by reloading the case."
It's time to cure this problem finally with congressional action. The Montana congressional delegation is spooling up to address this issue. Senators and Representatives from other states need to join the Montana delegation in fixing this problem finally with congressional direction to DoD to require that all expended military brass of civilian-useable calibers generated domestically goes through the public auction process. This will benefit the U.S. Treasury, America's gun owners, and the adequacy of the ammunition marketplace.
- End -
ATK Solicitation for Ft. Irwin, .pdf
ATK Overview of Brass Solicitation, .pdf
Buy ammo now, it will soon be worth real money whereas dollars will soon be Obozo toilet paper.
You forgot to add blued steel.
I can’t help but wonder in who’s hands all this metal is ending up.
We all know that someone will figure a way to get their hands on it and make a killing.
No more cheap ammo.
Learn to reload, It will cut the cost of shooting substantially, provide you with high quality ammo tailored to your firearms and if you stock up a bit, insulate you from the vagaries of supply and demand.
And it’s fun.
Just made another 500rnds of 5.56mm 55gr FMJ this weekend.
But, as we reloaders like to say;
“You don’t save money, you just shoot MORE.”
on the other, the brass is already formed, the reloading tooling is already in place for the civie market to save those dollars and the continued use of purely 'new' raw materials would certainly keep the pool of brass increasin over time...
big problem with this is the premise of authorized users...
Read the article.
Is the ballon going up? Is this all part of the Obama strategy to control the population?
ATK produces a number of “civilian” ammunition products (Blazer, CCI, Federal, Speer, etc.). Perhaps we should help those subsidiaries to become less profitable.
We want our military brass.
when do we want it.
I know what the article says-—but I’m thinking that everything is not always done as it’s supposed to be done, nor as we are told it is being done.
Obama probably ORDERED base commanders to work with ATK, then ordered base commanders to forward payments directly to the US treasury. This is how they are getting around Congress.
This came from Obama himself, and only Obama himself.
These commanders need to be relieved of command until a full audit of their "discretionary accounts" shows where this money went.
There also must be an audit to find out how much money the tax payers lost by these commanders taking a lower price for the brass. I'd be in favor of making them pay the government the lost money out of their personal incomes.
Oh yeah man, all that reloaded brass has really been a problem. Haven't you noticed?
)Oh, that's something new. I didn't know you had to be authorized to reload ammo.
They want to make sure this brass is never used against a government agent.
They want to make sure that no citizen is able to defend themselves against a government agent.
ATK are a bunch of government-sucking, anti-competitive a$$****s who are selling out gun owners. They should be boycotted.
That means to AVOID BUYING “FEDERAL”-branded cartridges.
Unauthorized users? UNAUTHORIZED USERS?? We owned the damn stuff while we were letting THEM use it!
I load 19 different rounds/calibers.
Something about this story doesn’t compute.
Isn’t there an ammo manufacturer in Georgia that is a heavy user of cartidge cases?
We should chekc with them.
I think that company is called Georgia Arms.
Waaaay too many for me.
I’ve reloaded about twelve different cartridges over the years, but now I’m back to the basics.
I finally ditches 357SIG (poorly designed cartridge) and I no longer reload .30-30 or .270 Win for hunting.
Now, it’s just 9mm, .40SW, .45ACP and 5.56mm.
Although, I might buy another .357 magnum and return to handloading for it.
And my Dillon XL650 makes 500rnds in about 2 hours, including setup and prep ;)
I’ve been loading over 30yrs, still using single stage. I’d find a gun with a good price, in a caliber I didn’t have, then get it just to experiment with the round. The only one I’m not to crazy about is the .32mag. The .32-20 will do everything it will do and then some, but it’s still fun.
“ATK produces a number of civilian ammunition products (Blazer, CCI, Federal, Speer, etc.). Perhaps we should help those subsidiaries to become less profitable.”
They also own RCBS - one of the largest RELOADING supply companies. On hold with them now over this.
Yep, scratch RCBS off the shopping list until/unless this is resolved.
“Yep, scratch RCBS off the shopping list until/unless this is resolved.”
RCBS was just made aware this morning. I was told their GM was very interested in it.
“RCBS was just made aware this morning. I was told their GM was very interested in it.”
Calling Alliant Powder now.
Hasn't been for some time.
I prefer the first solution, it keeps the money "at home" as it were, rather than allowing it to be spent on health care for Welfare Queens.
The article says it goes back to the foundries were ATK buys their metal from. Presumably it in effect gets turned into brand new cases.
What I can't figure out is why the military doesn't have it reloaded and the marked as "Training only". Most of it is generated that way in the first place. That way the military would get the benefit of reloading savings. They need all the budget help they can get these days.
Only if it is 20mm or larger. :)
I guess you'd have to be authorized for the Russian 14.5 mm too, since that is over .50 caliber too.
The Ft. Irwin document is dated July 2008. No date that I could find on the other one. Is it possible that these are from the "must demill" period?
One statement makes me think it might be. In the "ATK Overview of Brass Solicitation" they talk about DOD416021M1 requiring the demilling of ammo. But we know that requirement was changed (by changing the categorizatoin of fired cases to one not requiring demilling. Still, even if it was, I'm none too happy about the "authorized users" and "non-military purposes"
IMHO. Gold, lead, and chickens.
It’s depressing, how much this country has changed. I used to shoot in DCM (Director of Civilian Marksmanship...now the CMP) matches up to the late 80’s. These took place at our local rifle range, and match shooters were ISSUED M2 Ball ammo in bandoleers of en bloc clips. We were permitted to keep the brass, clips and bandoleers Many shot their own loads at the match and kept the M2 they gave us for practice. Patricia Schroeder (D Colorado) was at the vanguard of putting an end to that, saying that the government shouldn’t be providing ammunition to civilians. Funny, back then I sometimes thought that the country couldn’t get any more screwed-up.
>Brass, copper, lead.
The precious metals of the future.<
Evidently so. I was at Gander Mtn. earlier this week picking up some Hornady “Critical Defense” ammo for my wife. Saw a package of 100 empty brass 9 mm. at $39.00!
I am a proponent of parkerized steel myself.
That sure is a purty chicken, but I’m talking the eatin’ and layin’ kind.
I used to love shooting my potato gun, half the fun was 'loading' it correctly to get the greatest distance, and laugh at the novice whose 'load' would travel about twenty feet.
California made it a felony to own one about the same time my stepson broke it. Launching a potato 60-80 yards was fun. California is not fun.
I’ve seen that steel chicken at the corner of Madison Ave and Hazel Ave in Fair Oaks, Ca.
“What would you put as the cost of setting up to reload say, a couple of calibers to start? 3-4 grand?”
Divide by 10... and that’s if you want quality tools and don’t care about speed so much. Even if you want “fast” (sub-commercial like a Dillon) stuff, it’s not that expensive.
You can get setup to reload for about $200 or so. Die sets for a caliber are usually $30 to $40 after that.
One article on high-powered rounds I'll never forget was about elephant gun loads being less expansive which gave the shooter a better chance to eject the empties (they'd just fall out) and cram a couple more in quickly, just in case. I think these were English doubles that were old style (and expensive).