Skip to comments.The Gun Explosion - Why the firearms boom is good news for the American economy
Posted on 04/20/2012 1:39:42 AM PDT by neverdem
In a February 2012 fund-raising appearance, President Barack Obama expressed his desire to keep Americas assembly lines humming. I want to make sure the next generation of manufacturing isnt taking root just in Asia or Europe, he told a crowd of supporters. I want it taking root in factories in Detroit and Pittsburgh and Cleveland and California. I want to reward companies that are investing here in the United States and creating jobs all throughout this country. Perhaps because the president was speaking in San Francisco, where most of the local factories had long ago been converted into luxury condos for venture capitalists and software designers, he was short on specifics. Or maybe he just couldnt think of any American manufacturing industries that still seemed salvageable.
Two weeks earlier, however, a federal agency had released a report that suggested at least one component of the manufacturing sector was not only still making stuff in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, California, and thousands of other places in America, but making more of it than it had in decades. According to the Annual Firearms Production and Export Report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), American manufacturers produced 5,459,240 handguns, rifles, shotguns, and miscellaneous ordnance in 2010. (To comply with the Trade Secrets Act, the BATFE waits one year to publish these data; numbers for 2010 therefore are not published until January 2012.) It was the second year in a row the industry had attained numbers not seen since the glory days of the late Carter administration.
A little more than a decade ago, the domestic firearms industry was staggering like a villain on the wrong side of Dirty Harrys .44 Magnum. The future has never been more uncertain for Americas oldest manufacturing industry, a Businessweek cover story reported in 1999. Flat...
(Excerpt) Read more at reason.com ...
Just a thought. If Trayvon Martin had owned a CCW permit, he might be alive today. /s
While CNC equipment has helped the small gunmaker as the article says, it’s just that CNC equipment exists. After all, CNC equipment has been around the US machine industry in ever-larger numbers since the 80’s.
What’s happened is that US manufacturing is on the third wave of CNC equipment, and now some of the older equipment is available in the used market for very reasonable prices. You can find a for-real vertical machining center (eg, a Fadal 40x20 mill) for as little as $10K. A brand-new Haas mill would run $70K, which is enough money to completely outfit a gunsmith’s shop with classic manual machinery.
The reason why the older equipment works is that guns don’t demand especially tight tolerances... so an older machine that can hold maybe 0.001” tolerance might be unacceptable in some sectors of manufacturing, but it’ll work for making guns just fine...
At least there’s one sector of the economy Obama really can take credit for...
Yes, the explosion in gun manufacturing is good for the economy, but it especially good for the U.S. Constitution.
The ability for about any small size machine shop to be able manufacture weaponry is a big plus for staying armed.
The weak link isn’t arms though, its ammunition. Making cased ammunition from scratch is much more difficult than making the gun that it goes in.
Yet I work for a company that has over ten million dollars worth of extrusion equipment and they won't let us buy a vertical band saw for our shop.
Martin was 17 which is 4 years too young in most states to own a pistol. He couldn’t have legally carried yet if he wanted to.
we have one - ..from the 40’s sits right next to the cloth clad wire table saw
I have been looking to take advantage of this from an investment stand point. The only publicly traded company I could find was Olin (OLN). Any suggestions as to other companies?
Some other ones that come immediately to mind are Ruger and Smith & Wesson. Perhaps also ATK (Alliant Techsystems), although they have a more diversified product line.
Any truth to the rumor that Wal-Mart is selling the Bushmaster version of the CAR-15 for around $500.00?
I’m asking because right now I’m too lazy to drive over there and see for myself. Wait a second, I can always use some more 12 gauge & .22 bricks, but they don’t open until 9:00. Oh well.
Sturm Ruger Stock is up like 360%
Yep. Ignoring the chemical components, just stamping out the cases requires large and specialized machinery.
“Making cased ammunition from scratch is much more difficult than making the gun that it goes in.”
“Yep. Ignoring the chemical components, just stamping out the cases requires large and specialized machinery.”
A fact I’m sure our Communist masters are WELL aware of.
I just hope knowledgeable parties on OUR side are considering some workable solutions to this critical choke point.
Some people reload.
That is irrelevant to this discussion. You can only reload if you can get the components. We're talking about the difficulty in manufacturing the components themselves. Could your average reloader produce primers, smokeless powder, cases, etc. economically from non-regulated materials?
****A little more than a decade ago, the domestic firearms industry was staggering like a villain on the wrong side of Dirty Harrys .44 Magnum.****
1962 they only wanted to register handguns.
1965 they wanted to register all guns.
1968 PANIC! They got a backdoor handgun registration scheme and a ban on foreign made small guns and banned the import of those evil 5 shot bolt action army surplus rifles.
1972 they wanted to ban small handguns.
1976 they wanted to ban all handguns.
1981 PANIC! they promised to ban handguns and leave rifles and shotguns alone.
1988 they only wanted to ban all handguns and military “assault rifles”.
1993 they banned assault rifles with certain characteristics for 10 years.
2001 Gun control is on a roll! Assault rifles were to be permanently banned, .50 cal rifles were now in their sights! Only a handgun ban was next and they were working on that!
Then 19 Arabs flew four jets into buildings in NY, Washington. Citizens fought back and the 4th crashed in a field.
America woke up and said “WOAH! to gun control..I just might need that handgun and assault rifle at home after all”.
Ruger is an excellent American company.
Its stock symbol is RGR, and it has been on a market boom for some time.
The link below shows RGR’s price growth, when the chart appears, enter SPY for the S&P, DIA for the Dow, or your favorite stock symbol for comparisons.
I have made a few posts about owning RGR in the past. Of course those who have a personal bias against RGR try to shoot Ruger down. The market doesn’t listen to bs or personal bias very long.
In disclosure my wife and I both own RGR in our IRA’s, and we wish that we had bought more.
Hawaiis Gun Dealers Thank President Obama
Yes they are! I went to several local Walmarts not long ago and all had beautiful REMMINGTON brand camo and black finish AR-15 variations.
Now if they would just start selling Uberti and Cimmarron brand lever action 1866 and 1873 rifles I would be in hog heaven.
I spoke too soon! They are not $500.00, they are around $700.00 to $900.00 .
BUT THEY HAVE THEM!
Smith and Wesson or SWHC might be a good investment for those who can stand steep roller coaster rides.
We own it and revise our stop loss/sell orders on a regular basis:
This is surprising. Hawaii is one of the jurisdictions most hostile to gun ownership ranking right up there with MA, NYC, Puerto Rico, etc.
Just a thought. If Trayvon Martin had just gone home and not gotten macho and attacked an unknown whitey at night and tried to bash his brains in on the sidewalk, he might be alive today. no/s
Trayvon Martin - When ‘Keeping It Real’ goes wrong.
It’s not unusual to have enough components to make twenty or thirty thousands rounds laying around.
And there are plenty of people who have that much actual ammo on hand, but again irrelevant. It doesn't matter how much is on hand, sooner or later it will get used up and then we're back to resupply.
If you are hunting, you are then set for life. But if you are equiping 100 men for battle, what are you going to do next week?
So what are you guys doing about it?
Looks like RGR has done very well for you over the past year.
For us prospective buyers, the PE is too high and I’d like to see a juicier yield.
But good for you!
1. Have lots of ammo
2. Have various firearms using a variety of common calibers, inclusive of military
3. Working to defeat Democrats
I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that they don’t want the workman’s comp or insurance hassles involved.
The two machines most likely to produce injuries in a shop are:
1. Drill press.
There’s no way to put guards, interlocks, etc on these machines and have them do any useful work. They’re very useful machines, but they’re unforgiving of idiots.
And we’re hip-deep in idiots these days.... idiots who have their attorney on speed-dial.
It depends on the ammo and how much you’re willing to spend.
For straight-walled cases (eg, a .45-70 or something similar for a black powder cartridge rifle), .45 Colt/.44-40 revolver rounds, etc... you can make your own cases quite easily with a lathe and a boring bar or pre-sized tooling.
There’s a guy over in Cody who has a tidy little business cranking out cases for obsolete chamberings from brass stock. They’re very expensive, but when you have a gun for which ammo is no longer made, they’re the only option, really.
With a CNC lathe, you can crank out hundreds to thousands of pieces per day.
And when you’re done making cases, you can make lead bullets by either casting or swaging. If you want solid copper pills, you’re back to the CNC lathe.
Large, yes. Specialized, no. The same sort of presses that make cartridge cases also make lipstick tubes, little flashlight bodies, etc.
Producing tubular items from malleable metal is a pretty common operation.
Overall, if you had a 50 ton hydraulic press (a power press would be nice) and some machining capability, you could make your own dies and stamps for making cases in much the same way as it is done in large scale processes.
Still, with a lathe, you could make your own brass. The reason why the industry doesn’t use turned cases is obvious: the amount of waste compared to the final product is huge. With punching, drawing, etc, you have much less waste and higher throughput. Well, brass melts at a low enough temperature that with a heat treatment oven, you could melt down your waste and re-cast it into rods for making more cases. Just keep the swarf clean of other metals, that’s all.
With some thinking and ingenuity, one can make a lot of stuff with very rudimentary tools. The trouble is, the US has become a nation of cubical gophers, and forgotten how to make stuff. With what I’ve learned in the last 10 years, they could go ahead and ban guns, seize the lot... and in a month, I’ll have a working rifle again, made from a truck axle and scrap steel, along with ammunition.
It’s not that difficult, really. Yes, it would take a bunch of work. But it is a LONG way from being “impossible” and it is difficult only the first time. After that, a whole lotta light bulbs go on over your head (unless you’re a complete mechanical klutz) and you see how to do not only what you’re trying to do, but a great many other things too.
Something that really opened my eyes was going through the Browning Firearms Museum in Ogden, UT. They have the Browning Bros. shop re-created in a nook off the main gallery floor. You’d be amazed at how little power tooling they had. They had no mill. They had only a lathe, and a small one at that - something about the size of a South Bend 9” swing, with a long-ish bed. From looking into their shelves of stuff, I could see that they had fixtures for doing milling on the lathe - they had no mill anywhere in their shop. They had a large collection of hand files. And with this minimal tooling, they produced one patentable firearm design after another.
If JMB could do it, so could we.
What people need is a lathe and some training how to use it. Once you have a reasonable lathe, suddenly the world of mechanical widgets swings open as tho you said some ancient magic words.
Nope. Simply too cheap to spend the money.
I'd say a stamping press is pretty specialized. You find very few of them in home shops, but I'd like to hear how you plan to make smokeless powder and the lead styphanate for the primers.
Have you ever tried doing this on a lathe? You'd still need some sort of press to get the tapered shape, but ignoring the expense and the need for a press anyway to get anything except straight sided pistol cartridges, think of how long it would take. I just made some stainless steel repair parts about the size of a .44 cartridge on a lathe, parts that didn't need the precision that ammunition needs and didn't have to be tapered (replacing a broken aluminum boat hatch hinge - no longer available), and making half a dozen of them took all day.
Voting, letter writing, lobbying.
What you’re missing is that you can also make your own tooling.
Get some O-1 drill rod, and start from there. Learn how to heat treat and temper steel, and you’ll have to worry about your final dimensions once. After that, you just keep using the forming tools.
I could, in theory, turn a chamber for a rifle on a lathe with a boring bar. But that takes too long, so we use reamers that are sized for the chamber in question.
Custom made tooling is the cat’s ass. That’s why I have a collection of O-1, A-2 and S-7 drill rod next to my machines. Need a screwdriver, punch, chisel, cutter, drill bit, countersink, whatever? I make it, then heat treat, temper, put a little grind on it and wha-la. I’m off to the races.
Seriously, check it out. Saves you GOBS of time...
A high-volume stamping press is specialized.
A hydraulic 50+ ton press isn’t.
Making smokeless powder isn’t difficult. Start by making gun cotton. Sure, you’re going to have to experiment to get the correct burning rate. But making propellant isn’t as difficult as people think. Making propellants with varying rates of burn - that’s more difficult, but making propellants that could propel a rifle bullet are hardly impossible to make.
As for the priming compound: Yea, it’s corrosive, but fulminate of mercury is easy to make as a starting point. It worked just fine 100 years ago, it would work OK today.
Too many people think this stuff is impossible. It *isn’t*. It just requires getting back into a shop and thinking how our grandfathers did this stuff.
Not missing that at all. I've made my own tooling before, but it usually isn't worth the effort when only making a few parts.
. Learn how to heat treat and temper steel, and youll have to worry about your final dimensions once.
I know quite a bit about this. I usually make my custom cutting tools out of T-15. Lasts longer than O-1. I'd worry about deflection and distortion when machining out brass that is this thin, and of course it's not anywhere near cost effective as just buying ready made. Those poor suckers who have firearms with obsolete cartriges are kind of over the barrel if they want ammo aren't they?
This requires nitric and sulphuric acids. Buy a supply of these and expect a visit form the feds. I agree it can be done, but it isn't nearly as easy as you make it out to be. Btw If you have something like one of these handy then I really envy your shop
Sulphuric is so common no one notices. What are they going to do? Have a hissy every time someone buys a starter battery?
You can make your own nitric. Again, ain’t that difficult. I know what you’re going to say: Where do you get the nitrites to start?
Well, I’m guessing you occasionally have to take a leak, right? There ya go.
Have any horses nearby? Look at the horse poop. See those white crystals that grow as “fuzz” on a pile of horse poop? Probably sodium nitrate. Horse and cattle urine/manure is a wonderful source of nitrates. Wash it out, dry it down, purify and you got a working product. This is how, btw, the black powder makers of the old days in Europe got their saltpeter.
You don’t need a press that large for drawing. When I say “50 ton” I mean the force the press can exert. A 100 ton press could be only 8’ tall, have a 5HP motor on a hydraulic pump if it has a small work envelope. That press you’re picturing is capable of thousands (NB plural) of tons. That could cold-form steel. With cartridge brass (”260” brass), you don’t need that much force to get such a small amount to start flowing.
Here’s an example of a drawing press:
These are what are used in stages to draw out the brass to a cartridge on ammo production lines. They’ve been around for 80 to 90+ years. Documents about the manufacturing of the .30-06 ammo for WWI show Bliss presses in them. The advantage of the Bliss is that it just goes “thump, thump, thump...” and pounds in quick succession. You can do the same thing with a common H press in a shop, but you’ll have much slower cycle times. The point it, you can press your own brass. It isn’t rocket science. People think that making modern ammunition is magic, and it just isn’t. Making modern ammunition at the rate of 10’s of thousands to hundreds of thousands of rounds per hour... that’s magic. Making one at a time, correctly... no more tedious than loading rifle rounds, one at a time. I know where there’s a couple of Bliss presses out in the weeds around Sturgis... and I’m wondering if someday, I should go figure out who owns them, what they want for them and whether I could haul them.
All of this would take gobs of time, I agree. But in the resulting non-compliance and effective strike that would come on the heels of any action by the feds leading to these circumstances... we’d all have plenty of time on our hands. The upshot is that the silk pantywaist liberals who think that they could ban guns.... are engaging in mental masturbation of the stickiest kind. They can’t ban poop, and if they can’t ban poop, then I’ve got what I need to at least make black powder.
Yes, they are. I know of at least two guys (one in Cody, WY and another around Rapid City, SD) who make brass for obsolete cartridges. They charge pretty well for their products, which are at the very least visually quite pleasing. They’re doing as I mentioned - machining them out of 260 bar stock. As you can guess, the cost of the end product causes your breath to escape out of you as tho you were just punched in the gut. Still, as you say, it’s the only option for those old timey rifles and pistols.
re: T-15 vs. O-1/A-2/etc: If I’m cutting something like brass, I don’t need really good HSS like a T-15. O-1 is just so cheap compared to good HSS...
And mind you, I like T-15, or Rex-95. Lately, I’ve been playing with inserted HSS tooling from A. Warner Co. in PA. Neat idea - combine the flexibility of HSS with the speed of insert tooling. Really cool idea. I like their threading tool because it is external on one end, internal on the other.
You sound like you use your machinery more than I use mine. I have a 16x40that I got 26 years ago for one offs and general repair parts. Often months will go by without my using it and other times I’ll be using it in all my spare time for a couple of weeks. BTw that is a picture of a 300 ton press. I got a good deal on some t-15 (about ten years ago) and have been using what I bought then whenever I think the time making the tooling would be worth it - which is not very often. BTW it came with a 3 jaw, a 4 jaw and a faceplate. They could have skipped the 3 jaw - I never use it.