Posted on November 29 2018
You can mold bullets from battery lead. You can recondition primers. You can reuse the heck out of brass. What you can't do is make smokeless powder without modern manufacturing. I'd be happy to be wrong on this, but I haven't found a way.
So, when the powder is gone, so are the modern rifles.
Adios, sweet ARs. Too bad you couldn't eat gunpowder made from bat dung.
[Technically, some ARs can shoot a few times before jamming like a Rastafarian on black powder, but it's not a good idea. I'm looking for guns that will work well with BP.]
I set out to find and acquire a rifle that historically sat astride muzzle loading black powder and the invention of smokeless powder. If I could have the last cartridge-firing rifle in the post-SHTF world, that sounded nice.
As many will know, one of the few and probably the best was the .45-70 Government. Soon after the cartridge was invented, so was smokeless powder. As a result there are few guns that function reliably with black powder. To find one, you must thread a very tight historical gap.
Shiloh Rifle in Big Timber, Montana makes replicas, so I ordered one and in two short years it arrived. Luckily, it was inexpensive.
It wasn't at all inexpensive. But it's beautiful.
Next step, I've order the particular reloading supplies from Midway and I'll make some cartridges. After that, I'll seek out one of the few repeating rifles from the Civil War era, the Spencer Repeating Rifle.
Next step after that (on order as I type):
Spencer Repeating Rifle, from the same transition time between black powder and smokeless powder)
In the unlikely event of the apocalypse, and in the even more unlikely event that everyone will run out of bullets, and in the even MORE unlikely event that I'll still be alive... I might have the last gun that shoots cartridges: my Shiloh "Forever Gun."