Government to destroy Military brass!

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mattsbox99

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Jan 12, 2009
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Military Cartridge Brass Destruction 2010 - Round 2
by
Gary Marbut, President, Montana Shooting Sports Association



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 -

Gary Marbut, president
Montana Shooting Sports Association
http://www.mtssa.org
author, Gun Laws of Montana
http://www.mtpublish.com
 

Flash

Buckeye
Joined
May 21, 2005
Messages
1,164
I have a sneaking suspicion that the feds will continue to poke and prod the 50,000,000+ gun owners in this country until something snaps. :lol: This would be like the Somalian pirates taking on the USS Enterprise.
 

BearHawk 357

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Feb 18, 2010
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I am not convinced that ATK is NOT looking out for my best interest. This is America...where we have a free marketplace. I don't care if ATK smashes down every piece of brass they OWNED and made tubas out of them. I may be a hunter and a shooter but that doesn't give me the right to control another companies business strategy just because I want to selfishly get my ammo at a cheaper rate. The initial dollar amount that was spent on this ammo is water under the bridge. There is no way to gain all that much benifit by trying to recycle either the brass or the money back into "the system."

I understand that the defense contractor - government business relationship is not like all other common business relationships. However, something is just not sitting right with me here. This subject, to me, deals with priciples not control over another entity due to selfishness....and I say this with all due respect.

If I were in the business of making wooden framework for barns then I wouldn't want people, who were into wood carving, forcing me surrender all of my wood just so they could carve it all up. I would feel this way regardless if my business produced barns for the government or if I made barns for the Amish. I would say....this is MY business....stop trying to "take me over".....that sounds more like something that BO would do, to me.
 

BearHawk 357

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Feb 18, 2010
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Wow, Jimbo....that was an eye opener....seeing all of those companies that you have listed. I would like to see how this one ends up.
 

mattsbox99

Hunter
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Jan 12, 2009
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BH357, you do realize that this brass is supplying a whole bunch of small businesses.

Even though ATK makes a lot of money from defense contracts, it sure makes a lot more money from shooters, hunters, and reloaders.
 

Jimbo357mag

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Feb 22, 2007
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mattsbox99":3dr458xu said:
BH357, you do realize that this brass is supplying a whole bunch of small businesses.

Even though ATK makes a lot of money from defense contracts, it sure makes a lot more money from shooters, hunters, and reloaders.

Despite what they say ATK likes to make money selling ammo, new brass, powder and all the components to reloaders but they don't want to see all that used brass on the market. They would rather see it come back to them as scrap for new ammo. Duh. That is just plain and simple unfair competition. An order from the top needs to come down to the base commanders saying used brass goes to "Government Liquidations", and not to ATK. :shock:

...Jimbo
 

BearHawk 357

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Feb 18, 2010
Messages
249
.

I feel that the reasons that we are in an ammo shortage (with high prices) boils down to two simple factors.

1. We have used up a ton of brass during our 20 year war effort in the middle east.

2. B.O. threatens freedom loving folks. Due to this fact, these folks bought (and are still buying) massive amounts of brass/ammo in a stockpiling effort (out of fear).

I don't ever remember doing a FOD walk or a police call, for spent brass, while overseas. The ammo, that base commanders are sitting on, comes from training (not combat). I look at it like there are two choices, when it comes down to deciding what to do with this brass.

1. Let the base commanders retain the capital from the sales of thier used brass.

2. Let Congress have the money so they can dish it out to one of the millions of unnecessary government programs that we seem to have these days.

Hmm....I say keep the money where the most training is taking place. This helps secure freedom. Why provide commanders with absolutely no incentive to train? This system (of ATK's) provides a bonus to those who REALLY want to protect America....unlike giving it to politcal officers who are more interested in other matters.

FREEDOM is more valuable to me then getting a box of .223 at Wallmart for a dollar less than yesterday's price.

Also, while it may seem like part of a "scam" to tell commanders, that massive amounts of 5.56 brass could wind up in the hands of a militia, this fact is very true. WE are the militia. Think about it. How many guns do the American people own? How much ammo do we own? We are looking at the likelihood of an economic crash, the largest war in our history and high levels of hate against both G.B. and B.O. (and more). The strength that we hold, as armed Americans, is what keeps us from being whipped like enslaved robots. It's the one thing that keeps us truely free. If our government (and our enemies) did not fear our power then your kids would not be able to run free in the back yard. I promise you.

If I were a base commander these days, I would be worried about an uprise (no matter how slim the chance). Also, our enemies could obtain brass through an open auction as well. I think that it is wise to keep things in house. There is always going to be a better control of supplies that way. With reloading being as popular as it is these days, perhaps ammo companies would rather we did no have access to seemingly unlimited amounts of brass. This is how I would be thinking about it if I owned an ammo company. Keep supply slim to keep demand (prices) high.

So, a company buys back the brass and keeps the poduct that they bought. Where is the problem? Is it just because Government Liquidations used to send auction profits back into our system? Wow, what a joke. Do you think that a massive manufature of both government and civilian ammuntion could recycle that brass back into "new" ammo? I would say...yes. Do you think that the proceeds from Government Liquidation's auctions ever made it's way back into the ammo making pool? I would say....very unlikely.

Plus, surplus ammo is a thing of the past. Military ammo is just not marketed under that old umbrella anymore. Most 5.56 ammo, that civilians buy, isn't even made in the U.S (most white box winchester is made in Israel for example). So, to say that this brass should not be demolished seems kind of half-hearted to me. Most civilian AR-15 shooters are shooting up .223 ammo which isn't even the same size case as the military's 5.56 round. I'm not seeing a DIRECT correlation with all of this.

I mean, I guess that I see that it is all ammo related and that it's all money related. I'm just not seeing things from the angle that others do, that's all. I'm looking at this from the perspective of a business owner and from the DoD's perspective....not just a consumer of civilian munitions. We shoul ALL enjoy freedom. It's not just a "little people vs. big business" type of argument. Just remember folks.....that when dealing with government spending/contracts the reality of many issues is rarely how they appear on the surface. We often have to step outside of ourselves to truely see what is best for ALL.
 

Cherokee

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May 21, 2003
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472
That is a sharp business strategy for ATK. My observation in the business world is that lots of businesses try to undermine any advantage the competition has while trying to maximize their own. I don't see that as being any different than trying to have DOD sell as usable scrap. If ATK then buys it that way and thereby takes if off the civilian market, so be it.
 

mattsbox99

Hunter
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Jan 12, 2009
Messages
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BH357, you have numerous errors in your post.

Winchester ammunition is ALL made in East Alton Illinois.

223 = 5.56, I have no idea why so many people do not understand this, the ONLY difference between the two is the chamber throat is a .015" longer for the longer Tracer round, all other dimensions are identical.

Only American citizens and approved bidders may bid on Gov't auctions, period.

Gov't commanders really don't use the money for training either, its a myth to think they will use the money responsibly.

I worked for the gov't for a long time, there is very little that makes sense in what they do, selling the scrap brass is one of them. It supports a lot of small business.
 

BearHawk 357

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Messages
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mattsbox99,

The white boxes of Winchester 5.56 ammo (with the lot number on the end of the box: Q3131A1) is 100% made in Isreal. This is a fact that most AR-15 guys know. Do a google search if you don't believe me. Also, I didn't say that ALL of winchester ammo was made overseas....just the stuff that I stated. Go to AR15.com and look up the ammo thread if you can't find anything with a google search.

So, you think ALL winchester ammo is made in the states....that is funny!

There are more differences between .223 and 5.56 than you have mentioned...who cares?

Do you think that if an American bought a mad stash of military brass that just because that person is an American that they would be an automatic angel? You are cracking me up. Dr. Theodore John Kaczynski (the unabomber) was an American......along with countless other nuts like him as well. Take a look at the thugs in our prison system. Where do those folks come from, Mars? I didn't suggest that it was likely for a nut to obtain mass amount of brass at a government auction but rather suggested that it would be probable (which it would be). Please explain how you could prove to me otherwise.

Anyway, you said that I had numerous errors in my post. Why, because I called the armed American a militia? That's funny too...I thought that the 2nd amendment names us gun owners as such.

Nice try.......
 

Flash

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Messages
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BearHawk 357":2yl0sh9m said:
mattsbox99,

The white boxes of Winchester 5.56 ammo (with the lot number on the end of the box: Q3131A1) is 100% made in Isreal. This is a fact that most AR-15 guys know. Do a google search if you don't believe me. Also, I didn't say that ALL of winchester ammo was made overseas....just the stuff that I stated. Go to AR15.com and look up the ammo thread if you can't find anything with a google search.

So, you think ALL winchester ammo is made in the states....that is funny!

There are more differences between .223 and 5.56 than you have mentioned...who cares?

Do you think that if an American bought a mad stash of military brass that just because that person is an American that they would be an automatic angel? You are cracking me up. Dr. Theodore John Kaczynski (the unabomber) was an American......along with countless other nuts like him as well. Take a look at the thugs in our prison system. Where do those folks come from, Mars? I didn't suggest that it was likely for a nut to obtain mass amount of brass at a government auction but rather suggested that it would be probable (which it would be). Please explain how you could prove to me otherwise.

Anyway, you said that I had numerous errors in my post. Why, because I called the armed American a militia? That's funny too...I thought that the 2nd amendment names us gun owners as such.

Nice try.......

:lol: I like your style. Well said.
 

protoolman

Hunter
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Oct 15, 2001
Messages
2,070
Mattsbox99 is right on the mark. You can nit pick irrelevant details all you want. What he is saying is correct. To me ATK has found a way to increase their already profitable sweetheart deal.
 

BearHawk 357

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Feb 18, 2010
Messages
249
Heaven forbid....an american company should have NO right to do what they want with their own money, their own supplies, and their own manufacturing output. They must have a lot of nerve.

We should redistribute all of their wealth so that we will all be able to sleep well at night. This makes me sick. I'm going to rush right down to the street corner so that I can fork over my 401k, to a pan-handler, just to make up for this injustice.

Maybe if we can get our government to start a few more hundred programs, on the backs of the common tax payers, then they would then be able to find a way to restrict these folks from having any more say-so in their own lives.

I know, have your congressman call Tim Misney.....he'll make them pay!

Oh, and if you think that I meant any of what I have just typed then your sarcasm meter is broken.

I personally think that some of you guys have been "drinking the kool aid" and are now starting to feel woozie and disoriented.

:lol:
 

Three44s

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 7, 2005
Messages
303
I don't see this as a left wing or right wing matter.

That brass was bought and paid for by the American Taxpayer.

Hunters and recreational shooters should be afforded the use of that once fired brass as we are part of the tax paying public.

Cozy side deals don't impress me on whit!


Maybe we the shooters need to hammer Alliant ........

I buy their powder and place in those VERY cases most likely destroyed!

.223 LC

I also buy 2400 and RL22 and burn it in other calibers .......

I MAY WELL JUST CHANGE THAT!


Three 44s
 

BearHawk 357

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Feb 18, 2010
Messages
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I don't see this as a left wing or right wing matter.

Perhaps it is not. I DO see the point that the opposition has laid out before us. However, sometimes I like to play devil's advocate, here and there, for the sake of discussion. No doubt, this is an interesting topic. Thank you (OP) for posting this.

Something else......I wonder why the primer shortage/gouging seems to be almost on par with the brass issues that we have seen over the past few years. I mean, primers aren't reloadable/reusable. We toss them after use. I guess a shortage of brass correlates to a shortage of primers. It just doesn't seem right to me though. I can't fully wrap my brain around this one.

I guess this is what gets me: If you were a company making primers what would be more pofitable? A. producing low numbers of primers so that the price per unit figure goes up (which WILL bring in money). or B. producing mass amounts of primers so that you can offer them to the public at a great price. I would think that, as a manufacturer, I would prefer B and so would my customers. There would be more primers available to shooters, lower prices, and good name recognition for my product. I mean, come on, how hard is it to produce those little primers? I would venture to say that it is easier to produce a pack of primers than it is to produce a pack of breath mints.

Something just seems fishy about the whole primer issue, to me. I think that the some of these "backdoor dealings" possibly run deeper than we would ever imagine. What do you guys think?
 

Yosemite Sam

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Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
I think it started with the "metals market" issues of a few years ago. It was right about the same time as the $5/gallon gas problems. "They" were telling us that the Chinese and others were buying up all the metal, and ammo just disappeared off the shelf. Since that time we have had one problem after another keeping commercial ammo and components in stock.

I have heard a few stories about shipments being held up at borders due to "bad" (military) markings, but that would be foreign made ammo, not domestic components. I've also heard stories about production runs specifically for the military that drain supplies for civilians.

I honestly can't see an ammo/component company conspiring to put itself out of business.

-- Sam
 

BearHawk 357

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I honestly can't see an ammo/component company conspiring to put itself out of business.

While I agree with this statement, I'm not sure what brought it on. I wasn't suggesting that companies were trying to conspire to run themseves into the dirt but rather that they may be withholding supply to increase the demand (thus creating a price increase). This type of thing happens all the time, especially in a free market place such as ours.

Here's how I see it. The brass supply becomes short. Prices go up. Then a company privately says in a meeting, "let's create a primer shortage so that the price will go up too." Next thing you know consumers are "used" to the high prices. Then when the companies reintroduce normal levels (numbers) of primers back into the marketplace then we are already used to paying so much for them that we don't even care. We are just happy again to get them whenever we want.

This scenario seems very likely. If you don't agree then think back to how much gun shop were asking for AR's and AK's after BO was elected. Prices went through the roof...none were available to purchase...now, that they are back on the shelves the prices aren't as bad....but they are still higher in price now as compared to how much they cost before the election. There have been other gun related products that tried to piggy-back this wave. I see through it.

It's funny to me how people have a hard time realizing that a company will do what they can to ultimately come out ahead. It happens. This thread proves that some people "act" like it doesn't, while others know that it does indeed happen. Why is this? Is it because we have a hard time believing that if a company's success is dependant on us paying for thier product then it may be wise to think that they would NEVER manipulate us. Hmmmm....tell me another funny one.
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
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Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
I wasn't implying anything toward your post, just the general feeling of "conspiracy" that often seems to accompany discussions of this sort. As you point out, it's usually no more complex than a company "conspiring" to relieve you of money... :D

-- Sam
 

CraigC

Hawkeye
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May 27, 2002
Messages
5,197
I would have absolutely no problem with this if it wasn't MY brass. Since it is effectively, MY brass, it should go to the highest bidder. Not the crookedest one. If the brass is worth more to the United States goverment as reloadable components to be sold by Government Liquidators with the proceeds going to the US Treasury, that's where it needs to go. If it is worth substantially less as scrap and scrapping said brass ONLY serves to pad ATK's bottom line and more firmly secure their marketshare, then I have a SERIOUS problem with it.
 
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