Back in the 1970’s when I lived in South Carolina, my house was located about a half mile from a sand pit which measured some 200 yards across. Maybe three times a week, I would go out to my garage, load up 50 rounds of 357 magnum, 9mm or 45scp, and then take either my Colt Python, or my Browning Hi-Power, or my Colt 1911, go out to the pit and blast away.

              Over a three-year period I shot 20,000 rounds or more, every one of those rounds handloaded on my own ammunition press. It probably ran me about three bucks for 50 rounds, which was primarily the cost of the powder (I used Hercules 2400 rifle powder) and the primers since I made the bullets myself by melting down wheel weights, molding the lead and re-using the brass.

              Those same 50 rounds manufactured by Remington or Federal or Winchester would have run about fifteen bucks. So not only was my handloaded ammo much cheaper, but it performed better because every round was carefully loaded by hand.

              When I reloaded ammo, I was engaged in an activity which made shooting for me not just a hobby but an art. I never thought of my guns as self-defense ‘tools,’ or weapons of any sort. Handloading ammunition and trying to produce the most accurate round was no different than how guys took clay and shaped a landscape around which they ran their model trains.

              And by the way, back in the day if you went to a model train show, or a ham radio show, or a gun show, you saw the same guys.

              A reader recently tipped me off to an organization, The Cast Bullet Association, whose members are still doing what I did back in South Carolina fifty years ago. The group was founded in 1976, the exact same year that I started handloading, and the picture above is the presentation of a trophy to the Grand National Champion at the 44th annual national tournament held in Kansas City in September 2021.

              You’ll note that last year’s champion and the presenter of the trophy, the organization’s Vice President, are both real youngsters just like me. The group doesn’t conduct any kind of demographic survey, but I suspect that if I were to show up at one of their events I would be seen as just another kid, even though I’m 77 years of age.

              I just finished reading the CBA’s most recent Newsletter which runs some 40 pages, and on the very last page there is a brief statement of the organization’s purpose which contains these words: “Conducting the Associations affairs in a manner which presents a favorable impression of the private ownership of firearms to the general public and to otherwise support the citizen’s right to keep and bear arms.”

              This sentence is the only commentary in the entire Newsletter (the same words can be found in a page on the website) which says anything about gun politics or anything else having to do with gun ‘rights’ at all. People join this organization because they want to share knowledge about a hobby and a passion which like all hobbies and passions has its own language, its own culture, and its own lore.

              Several years ago, our good friends at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center published an article in which they found that a relatively small number of gun owners owned more and more of the guns. They referred to this group as ‘super hoarders,’ and the article got Gun-control Nation all in a tizzy because here were these guys, some of whom owned hundreds of guns. Since gun-control advocates can’t imagine owning even one gun, how come there are people out there who own fifty guns or more?

              I happen to be one of those guys. Right now, I have somewhere around 60 personally-owned guns lying around. I’m kind of light. Ask me why I have all these guns sitting upstairs, downstairs, every which way stairs, I’ll think for a moment and then say, “Because I like guns.”

              Ask someone why he is a member of an organization which promotes casting your own bullets and you’ll get the same response. The guy likes guns, and he likes making the ammunition for some of those guns. He also likes the idea that he can test his ammo-making competence by taking out one of his guns, loading it with his homemade ammo and put three shots in an inch-wide circle at 100 yards.

              Maybe one of these days my good friends in Gun-control Nation will begin to understand that paying the ATF to regulate the behavior of gun nuts like me and gun nuts like the members of the Cast Bullet Association is a waste of money and time.

              Mind you, I’m not holding my breath. I wouldn’t look very healthy if all of a sudden, I turned blue.