I have a friend who shoot 500 S&W for 75 cents a round. Instead of $3.00 a round. When I started shooting in 1975 I shot .357 for a quarter of what factory ammunition would have cost. 9mm, though, has a much slimmer savings ratio. Some more exotic chamberings, the savings might be more, or even approaching infinity where factory ammunition is no longer available.
Long Answer: I did a thread called "Monetizing your reloading time" that sought to explain the calculations involved in establishing the breakeven point for not only the components and initial equipment, but your time. Here it is again:
What's my TIME worth, loading? (Monetizing your time at your press)
There have been a few posts asking about the cost of reloading and if reloading is worth it, financially (ignoring the education, sensitivity, quality, customization, accuracy, availability and independence benefits).
I know many loaders adamantly do not count their time as part of their loading costs. To those loaders, I ask, please do not address this. It will only clutter the thread. If you want to discuss it, please start another thread. This thread is 1) just for curiosity and 2) for those who do put a dollar value on their time.
Say you invest $500 in a loading bench on which you are able to load 100 rounds per hour. (I have done this, so I know you can, too.)
Then you buy enough components to load 2,000 rounds of 38 Special/.357 Magnum ammunition.
That would be 3 lbs powder, 2,000 primers, 2,000 premium plated bullets, and 200 once fired ases (you may already have these on hand from your prior shooting, but I am including them as a cost anyway).
Prices I have found on the internet and in my local gun store.
214.00 bullets (2,000)
70.00 primers (2,000)
56.00 powder (2 lbs)
160.00 brass (400, to be re-used 5 times, which is quite conservative)
Total investment, Tools: $500 Components: $500. $1,000 plus 20 hours of your time at the press for 2,000 rounds.
Equivalent in retail ammunition at $25 per 50 round box, 2,000 rounds.
But you have received nothing monetarily for your 20 hours operating the press.
But, let's take it to 4,000 rounds
Total investment $1,500 and 40 hours of your time for 4,000 rounds
Equivalent in retail ammunition at $25 per 50 round box, 4,000 rounds is $2,000. You have just "paid" yourself the $500 you saved by reloading for 40 hours of your time. $12.50 per hour.
Now, let's take it to 6,000 rounds.
Total investment $2,000 and 60 hours of your time for 6,000 rounds
Equivalent in retail ammunition at $25 per 50 round box, 6,000 rounds is $3,000. You have just "paid" yourself the $1,000 you saved by reloading for 40 hours of your time. $16.67 per hour.
Now, let's take it to 8,000 rounds.
Total investment $2,500 and 80 hours of your time for 8,000 rounds
Equivalent in retail ammunition at $25 per 50 round box, 8,000 rounds is $4,000. You have just "paid" yourself the $1500 you saved by reloading for 40 hours of your time. $18.75 per hour.
I have a spreadsheet that cranks through the calculations, if you want the formulas, I can send them.
To work the calculations you need 6 elements:
1) Cost of your loading setup
2) Number of times your brass can be (or will be) reloaded
3) cost of your brass
4) cost of your primers
5) cost of your powder in one of two ways,
(1)Cost of powder for round or
(2)Cost of powder per pound and an estimate of your powder "spillage" and your charge weight.
6) Amount of time to load your typical session's production, to include ALL TIME SPENT. Setup and teardown, separating brass, cleaning, inspecting, boxing, labelling, EVERYTHING.
I know some loaders don't load start-to-finish (like prepping and priming all their cases for weeks and then completing the loading later). For those loaders, my spreadsheet is not yet up to the task unless you organize the data in digestible form. Sorry.
Enjoy this for what it is, a curiosity.
Check this thread "The Math and Economy of Reloading"
and my original "What's my TIME worth, loading? (Monetizing your time at your press) "