"Senators Tester and Baucus of Montana faxed a cosigned letter to the Department of Defense asking DOD to reverse their new policy requiring "mutilation" of fired military cartridge brass."
These two Democratic Senators from Montana will be getting a letter of appreciation from me. It's apparently their joint effort that has tipped the Department of Defense into rescinding its brass mutilation policy. I shoot a lot, and I can't afford to buy factory ammo. So it's reloading for me. And one of the best sources for 7.62 and 5.56 brass is bulk suppliers who buy from the government. I've seen a few comments lately that this is simply the ending of government subsidy of shooters, and that we have no right to complain about it. But that's wrong, and here's why:
The government must use ammunition made with virgin brass for quality control; it will not use fired brass because of the impossible task of tracking how many times brass has been reloaded, and thus liable to fail at a critical moment in combat, fail causing injury to service members, or fail during manufacture causing production delays.
Virgin brass has relatively high costs, as it must go through the complete manufacturing process. Manufacturing is what adds value, and cost. Shredding a fired case obliterates all the manufacturing steps past creating a pure alloy. And the steps to shred the brass cost additional money in equipment and staff pay.
Shredded brass can only be sold for its value for the metal; once-fired brass has utility for at least five more firings, without the manufacturing costs. This enhanced value creates higher demand for the case, allowing a higher price. This higher price paid reduces the government's overall cost per cartridge.
The government recovers more of its initial cost through purely voluntary purchases of a surplus material. The consumer gets a known quality product at a lower price. That isn't a subsidy, it's good business, with both parties gaining a benefit they couldn't get on their own. The only person not coming out ahead on this are people who want the shooting sports strangled.
H/T Cogito Ergo Geek