I read a story four or five years ago on a message board or magazine somewhere, I can’t remember where, about a guy who picked up every piece of spent brass (the fired brass cartridge casing) he would find. The story was several pages long and it was funny as it could be, mainly because minus a detail or two, it sounded like me to a great extent.
He talked about picking up brass that his buddies left at the range, at the side of the road, at the bend in the road, that shooting spot in the middle of nowhere or wherever he saw it lying and no one claimed it. The story also included a funny bit about finding a guy living in a house trailer in the middle of nowhere that had several oil drum barrels of spent .308 or .30-06 and how he tried to trade him out of it and ended up with one drum full. He then later went back to try to trade or buy the rest of it and to his amazement the man, trailer and everything was gone from the property except the mail box.
I can’t recall a lot of the details of the story other than those, but I remember it was titled “Confessions of a Brass Hound” or “Hoarder” or “Hunter” or something like that. It was funny.
I think everyone who shoots, picks up brass. We can’t help it. We either know someone who reloads and would want it or we reload and want it. Even the calibers we don’t shoot we will pick up because we “might get a gun that would shoot it” in the future and we would already be a leg-up on components, saving us big bucks! (Insert smiley face here)
About the time I read the article, I was working down in the southeastern part of the state in some “backroad” places and would be driving down some rock roads and find places where folks had be shooting into a creek bank or off a bridge or whatever, and I would stop and there would be brass everywhere. I would get out and pickup .38, .45, 9mm, .357, .223, .22-550 and even the occasional .270 or .30-06. I got to where I even made a loop over to the roads or bridges where I knew there was a good chance to find more brass since my last visit there if I was in the neighborhood. Some days I would have a plastic grocery sack full of brass.
Needless to say it began to accumulate that summer. I didn’t have a -06 or .270 or .45 so when I got “enough” I would sell it or trade it at the local gun shops for some components or .22 rim fire. Everyone wanted brass. It was worth a pretty penny and worth even more if I ran it through my tumbler before I tried to peddle it. The other calibers I would keep because I either reloaded those or thought “I might get one” in the near future. Again it accumulated and those calibers that I “never did get” I would sell or trade off when the notion hit me.
Fast forward to this past week.
A buddy of mine got a .308 the other day and wanted to know if I had any brass. I think he already knew the answer. I had some “just in case”. He wanted me to price it to him and after much consideration I did. He said he would have to think about it.
Then he said no he would pass.
I couldn’t imagine that I had priced it too high, so on one of the days when I was out an about I stopped by a gun shop and was asking about reloading and brass and the guy behind the counter said he was interested in buying brass so I told him I had some .308. What he said next shocked me.
I guess I must have turned white or something and he followed up quickly that “.308 shooters are not reloading these days” and that “they don’t want reloads or reloading components”.
.308 shooters in this area are not interested in shooting reloads or reloading?
I guess I just find that hard to believe but apparently it is true. At least here “locally” the brass market for big calibers is dead. I can’t imagine that they are not picking up their brass. I can’t imagine that the economy is such that shooters are not considering reloading or stocking up on components. Pistol brass is still a commodity. .223 brass is a commodity. But big caliber brass is dead.
I think if I get the chance I will make a loop one of these days back down to those back roads and bridges and see what people are shooting, if anything, by what brass is laying around. And I will keep picking up brass because someone will want it or I will need it “just in case” despite what .308 shooters are doing here locally.