With this year's long weekend preceding July 4th, I found myself traveling down the rabbit hole of suggested videos on YouTube when I found something truly noteworthy. Normally, these videos have so little to do with your initial search, that most folks just close the tab or move on to something else, but when I stumbled upon a very interesting video from YouTuber, GunCraft101, I was compelled to watch it.
GunCraft's host, John, has finally answered the question asked by so many shooters who don't reload - "What do I do with all this damn brass?"
Build a battle rifle.
OK, it's not that simple, but the host clearly is both very talented, and a trained machinist. Where most people would be content to build an AR-15 from a parts kit with a store-bought lower, and the more dedicated bunch completing an 80% lower, John took a different approach.
John states that after his previous ambitious AR-15 lower built from melted aluminum cans, he wants to cast and machine an AR-10 lower from brass casings.
He starts with a bucket of various casings from a half dozen different calibers, and carefully weighs out enough to smelt into molten brass. It takes 1,425 casings weighing in at more than 11 pounds to get enough brass for the project.
Before melting all this down, he first takes some casting sand along with a rough outline made from wood, and makes an oversized mold to pour this brass into. It's oversized, since the brass will shrink as it cools.
He then continuously adds casings to his home-built kiln, smelting them down into a molten brass compound. After scraping the impurities from the top, John pours the mixture into the mold.
What follows are a series of cuts done with a mill and a drill press to transform this 13lb chunk of rough brass into the outline of an AR-10 receiver.
John puts an incredible amount of thought, time and effort into this whole operation, so I'm not going to spoil the outcome, but instead direct you to his video.
It just goes to show, that even if tomorrow all guns were outlawed, a determined hobby machinist can churn out quality rifle components - independently. And to an extent, isn't that what this Independence Day is all about? The American spirit of independence, and self -reliance.
So while the original settlers of our great nation lacked CNC machines, electric lathes and power tools, they were still responsible with building and maintaining their arms and ammunition. Often times while hundreds of miles from the nearest gunsmith.
While John could have clearly just driven to a local FFL and bought an AR-10 lower for a few hundred bucks and saved himself dozens of hours of work. But in doing so, he would have starved himself from a uniquely American experience - building a modern sporting rifle at home, using nothing but the resources available.