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Old June 7, 2014, 08:37 PM   #1
Jimboh247
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Economics of reloading

Am I just looking in the wrong place for reloading supplies?

I'm looking to getting into re-loading 9mm and .223. Where does everyone go for bullets? Everywhere I look, 100 bullets for either .223 or 9 mm cost as much as new, fully loaded rounds.

I realize buying in bulk will reduce the price, but where does everyone go to get the best price/
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Old June 7, 2014, 08:51 PM   #2
schneiderguy
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What kind of bullets are you looking at?

If you want to save money, you'll want to shoot cast or plated bullets in handguns. I buy cast bullets for my .38spl loads from Missouri Bullet for something like 6-7 cents/bullet, shipped.
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Old June 7, 2014, 09:14 PM   #3
nemesiss45
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9mm and 223 have some of the slimmest margins for reloading... but my costs are like this for .223: 1k 55gr moly coated jhpbt - $100 (10 cents per) primers $45/ 1k (4.5 cents per) powder (aa2460) $21/lb. (@ 25gr/ea - 7.5 cents per) brass free - I get it by the bucket from my dad, so that helps my margin. Total = 22 cents each. Thats $4.40 for a box of 20


Damn now that I add it up, the margins arent all that bad. thats top quality ammo for less than half the cost of the cheapest factory ammo I can buy at walmart. If you have to buy brass, the margin drops a bit, but if you care for your brass, the cost spreads well across several loadings.

I dont reload 9mm yet, so I cant give you a rundown on those.
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Old June 7, 2014, 09:19 PM   #4
nemesiss45
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Even by the 100, .223 should only be less than $20. Plugged into my cost, that's 32 cents each, or $6.40 per box... still darn cheap.
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Old June 7, 2014, 09:51 PM   #5
Ifishsum
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Where are you finding 100 rds of loaded .223 ammo for $15 - $18? That's what a typical box of 100 Hornady 55gr bullets cost most places I look, either locally or online.
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Old June 7, 2014, 09:51 PM   #6
LivewireBlanco
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There's a free app that you can download that is a reloading calculator. It's fun to play with and see how much you really spent per round. It even breaks it down to how much each component is costing you and puts it into a percentage. If you start casting bullets with range scrap lead your costs go waaaaaaaaaaaaaay down!
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Old June 7, 2014, 10:35 PM   #7
Jim243
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Apples and Oranges again.

A box of 100 55 grain 223 bullets (Honady) general run around $23. That's 23 cents a bullet, that and 5 cents of powder and a 4 cent primer (brass is free if you save what you shoot) it comes to 32 cents a round tops, can be done cheaper.

I am hard pressed to find loaded 223 ammo at $6.40 a box of 20 rounds unless using junk steel case berdan primed surplus ammo that is so inaccurate you might as well just throw it at the target instead of shooting it. (LOL)

So I too have a problem with your assumption.

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Old June 7, 2014, 11:27 PM   #8
Jimro
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Wideners has 55gr milspec bullets 450 for 5000, or 9 cents per bullet. That is the equivalent of 100 for nine bucks.

Doesn't get much more economical than that.

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Old June 8, 2014, 02:24 AM   #9
Machineguntony
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Here is the cheapest, if not casting bullets, for .223

Go to powder valley and buy six 8 pound containers of powder, like AA2200. You have to buy in increments of six 8 pound containers because the max per single haz mat fee is 48 pounds. Also, by purchasing 48 pounds, not only do you get only one haz mat fee, but you also get cheaper shipping per 8 pound container. Any less will cause the cost per round to go up. At 6x8, you have have 48 pounds of powder, ie, 336,000 grains of powder. Assuming 21 grains per charge, you will pay 2.8c per charge.

The key is to buy on bulk.



Then go to surplusammo.com and get 8,000 bullets. They sell in lots of $4000 for $320, but you should not get less than 8000 or else the shipping is higher per
$680 for 8000 bullets. 8.5c per bullet, as the cost is $640 + $40 shipping (shipping for 4,000 bullets is $25). This comes out to 8.5 cents per bullet.

These are the bullets...



Then go to powder valley and get primers for $25 per thousand. Get it in bulk. My price for primers, after haz mat and shipping is about $28 per thousand, ie, 2.8 cents per primer.

My partial collection of primers (the CCI, at a mind numbing $42 plus tax per 1k was when there was a primer shortage, and I had no choice)...



14.1 cents per round. Thats $2.82 per box of 20.

Does anyone know of a cheaper source? Please share.
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Old June 8, 2014, 08:44 AM   #10
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First I never buy powder and primers that have to be shipped, adding on the hazmat and shipping fees makes it that much more. I know it depends on what the Local shops have but in truth except for at times 22 are the only thing that gave me problems.

Buy bullets when they are on sale and shipping is free. Watch Extreme Bullets they have very good prices and often offer discount shipping specials. I buy brass when it is cheap and free shipping, I just bought some from Brass Bombers with free two day shipping.

In any event my bullets worked out to be $85 per 1,000 FMJBT and I didn't need to buy bulk. Brass was $80 per 1,000. I found what I like to use in powder R-7 for $21 a pound and last was primers which are Rem small rifle bench rest at $29 per $1,000.

So for 1,000 223's I am looking around $253 buying all of the components, using my own brass then it drops a little to $173 per thousand.

I have seen 223 for as low as $6.99 for a box of 20 so buying factory ammo would be around $349.

I am lucky as I have found several local shops that have had a very strong supply of primers and both rifle and pistol powder in stock. I would mention them but every time one get mentioned in a thread they are no longer a valid steady supplier.
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Old June 8, 2014, 09:49 AM   #11
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Trying to just save money by reloading for rifles isn't nearly as cost effective as for handguns.
High volume reloading for rifles also doesn't necessarily produce nearly as accurate ammo as factory, usually requiring spending a lot of time and effort on it.
It probably only really pays for those who do a lot of shooting and reload with really good (expensive) equipment.
Reloading for 9mm should pay, though.
Not at much as say 44 magnum, but with the right choices in components, it should still save quite a lot.
Assuming the costs of reloading equipment and your time isn't included.
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Old June 8, 2014, 09:52 AM   #12
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Factoring in my time, I don't find it economically feasible to reload 223 or 9mm. It is a little less expensive than buying loaded ammo, but my time is worth more than the small savings. It works out to around a $1/hour I'm paying myself to reload these rounds. I could see loading them for better performance, but the cost savings just isn't worth the time to me. I can be doing something else with my time @ $1/hour that will be making, or saving me a lot more than that and just buy loaded ammo.

I do load for my centerfire rifles, 308, 30-06, and 300 WSM currently. I've loaded for several others in the past. It is worth my time for these, but my primary reason is for better ammo, not necessarily saving money. I can load premium bullets, get better accuracy, and beat factory speeds by 50-200 fps depending on the load for less than cheap budget ammo sells for. Some of the premium factory loads are selling for $50-$60 for a box of 20 now. They are pretty good, but I'm getting better results for under $1/round.
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Old June 8, 2014, 11:38 AM   #13
Farmland
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Reloading has to be enjoyable too or many people would count the time as wasted. I enjoy it and to be honest I could just reload every day and not shoot a single bullet. It makes for a nice evening activity.

Have I saved money reloading? I might have but in the long run I know I spent way more just on supplies, equipment and the ability to shoot way more than I could ever buying factory ammo.

A funny thing happens every year. I always find some new piece of equipment to buy. Some times I never ever use it, go figure, but I have it.

In the end I don't reload to actually save money. Some of the reasons are enjoyment, experimentation, steady supply of what I want, hunting, plinking, accuracy development and I am sure I can think of many other reasons.
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Old June 8, 2014, 08:45 PM   #14
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Some times the on line places are only 5-10 bucks cheaper than Cabelas. The shipping charges are what drive the prices up past beig a savings. Extreme and some others have 5% off and 5$ shipping days. Get an on line account an watch their emails. You can use gunbot and modify the search parameter for brass, etc http://www.gunbot.net/reloading/bullets/38cal/ but it doesn't show everything. Just another tool.
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Old June 8, 2014, 09:51 PM   #15
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9mm is my going thing. I have my price down to around .10 a round (shooting cast. I bought 2k rounds from Darda's cast bullets for 120 bucks shipped (he gives a discount to TFL members). That's .06 per. Primer cost is .03 per round. Oh, 1 lb of HS-6 (not the greatest 9mm powder but I use it because it's cheap) is about 20 bucks locally and I can reload over 1k rounds with it, so that cost is around .015. So, I can load 9mm for 10.5 cents per round. The cheapest (brass) ammo I've seen for 9mm is around the 28 cents per round after tax, and even steel cased will run you a little over 20 cents per round. So... I'm saving 10 cents per round.

Quote:
It works out to around a $1/hour I'm paying myself to reload these rounds. I could see loading them for better performance, but the cost savings just isn't worth the time to me. I can be doing something else with my time @ $1/hour that will be making, or saving me a lot more than that and just buy loaded ammo.
I have a turret press and can load 150 rounds an hour if I'm getting on with it... probably more like 100 rounds an hour if I'm slacking. I saved 15 dollars on those 150 rounds, so I'm actually getting paid to do something I enjoy. Plus I reload because I can make more accurate rifle ammo for my bolt guns and I can afford to shoot my ARs. With loading high volume rounds for AR shooting, then you're talking about more time and a little less savings. I can load .223 for around 20 cents a round if I'm careful about buying components, yet wolf can be had for about 28 cents a round. Also, there's more work and time involved in loading .223. I simply wouldn't shoot steel cased ammo out of any of my current rifles though. If cheap practice was that important and I didn't reload, I'd buy the cheapest crappy Del-ton or P-tac upper I could find in a bargain bin and shoot steel out of that. FWIW, I would shoot steel cased out of a pistol without worrying too hard about it... just can't find it cheap enough
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Old June 9, 2014, 10:52 AM   #16
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I must be doing this wrong, at least on 9mm. I checked GunBot and I'm seeing Remington UMC 115 9mm going for $.28 each. I like these for general plinking and shooting at the range when I'm not reloading.

Buying Berry's plated 115gr 9mm goes for $.09 each. Winchester small pistol primers are going for $.03 each This does not include shipping, tax, has-mat fees and any other fee they tack on just because they feel like it. Okay, I'm not buying bottom of the barrel brass that's been run over and stomped on by vindictive shooters who are annoyed at the people scrounging for their brass as they are shooting. Buying sorted, "once fired", same head stamp Winchester or Federal brass goes for $.086 per case. I could try to figure the cost of demising recovery and suitability and the cost of cleaning, but I'm just talking about the first 1000 rounds. I know they are reusable, but I'm just setting up, so its an expense. I'm not even going to calculate powder. And I'm buying in 1000 pack bulk. That has me coming at around $.21 each (not counting shipping and what not). That's a gross savings of $.07 a round.

Okay, I'd also have to buy Lee dies and a 4 hole plate. That's going to set me back around $50, or $.05 (probably a little more)each for the 1st 1000.

Now I could cast my own bullets from lead I recovered from dumpster diving and from stealing the wheel weights off of parked cars. And I could spend time at the range not shooting but hovering around shooters in the hope of recovering usable, brass casings, instead of the steel cases that are becoming more and more common. But,I'd have to deduct the cost of emergency room visits for injuries sustained fighting off others who are also looking for the same brass. Could I use Tula or Wolf primers instead of the hoity-toity Winchesters?, you bet I could. Saving for this, -$.01 because of all the wasted rounds that failed to fire.

So in a perfect world, scrounging for components and clipping coupons, and compulsively watching GunBot, has me saving a whole $7.00 per thousand rounds of "acceptable" 115gr 9mm ammo that they would drop off at my door step, shipping and tax free. (Of course I would declare and pay the taxes at the end of the year like any good American).

I like reloading, it a great hobby, but when it comes to certain calibers, I don't know if I can afford it.
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Old June 9, 2014, 11:33 AM   #17
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Sheesh, Kirkpatrick...

Quote:
Okay, I'm not buying bottom of the barrel brass that's been run over and stomped on by vindictive shooters who are annoyed at the people scrounging for their brass as they are shooting.
Wow! Really? Find another place to shoot.
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Old June 9, 2014, 11:44 AM   #18
ghbucky01
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I just punched up my cost/ round of reloading 9mm

Using cast lead bullets from S&S bullets, Winchester small primers and powder I am at $0.148 / round. Brass is free. I have picked up 1000s of serviceable 9mm from my range by spending 5 minutes with a broom at the end of my shooting sessions.

The press, dies, manuals, etc, etc aren't factored in price per round, since they are paid for out of the savings over buying boxed ammo. I already had a setup for loading .45 ACP so I just had to buy new dies.

At the end of the day: I am saving $0.13/ shot fired.

[edit] Am I saving money? Heck no!! I'm just shooting a lot more
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Old June 10, 2014, 12:55 AM   #19
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Quote:
I must be doing this wrong, at least on 9mm...
Yes, you most certainly are.

Quote:
Buying Berry's plated 115gr 9mm goes for $.09 each...
Lead is < $.07 each
Quote:
Okay, I'm not buying bottom of the barrel brass that's been run over and stomped on by vindictive shooters who are annoyed at the people scrounging for their brass as they are shooting. Buying sorted, "once fired", same head stamp Winchester or Federal brass goes for $.086 per case.
So you're the one that's actually buying that stuff. I pay a third of that for quality range pickup brass. I always wondered who in the world would pay that much for used 9mm cases.

Quote:
Okay, I'd also have to buy Lee dies and a 4 hole plate. That's going to set me back around $50, or $.05 (probably a little more)each for the 1st 1000.
If you only get 1000 rounds out of a set of dies.

Quote:
Could I use Tula or Wolf primers instead of the hoity-toity Winchesters?, you bet I could. Saving for this, -$.01 because of all the wasted rounds that failed to fire.
Just how many fail to fire? Have you even tried?
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Old June 10, 2014, 02:16 AM   #20
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Around here primers are selling for $32.00/1000 all day every day for CCI,
Win. Tule even less @ $28/1000. Remington primers are much more costly as always.
Just last week I got a pretty fair deal on 4K Win L.R. primers at $30.00/1000.
I buy Hornady 55 grain s.p. bullets for $17/100 retail.
Last year I bought 1000 new l.c. with 55 grain s.p. for $329.00/1000 or .32 cents a pop. Not remfg but new l.c. 2009 & 2010 production.
I sort the loaded ammo by headstamp year & get 1.25 inch at my 125 back woods range which is plenty good for groundhogs out to 275 yards or so.
I have about 1000 s.p. & h.p. .224 bullets, most all Hornday that I bought 2 yrs ago for $15.00/100 retail from midwayusa.
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Old June 10, 2014, 09:29 AM   #21
Wyoredman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmr40
It works out to around a $1/hour I'm paying myself to reload these rounds.
So, how much do you figure you pay yourself to go fishing? To spend all weekend in the woods hunting? For the weekly range trips?

Reloading should be a hobby, not back charged to your bank account!

If you feel that handloading for .223 is a rip off, by all means, sell the dies to someone who enjoys the process!

BTW, I am not picking on you jmr40, just making the point that there are other benefits to making your own ammo!

Good shooting!
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Old June 10, 2014, 01:58 PM   #22
kilimanjaro
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This weekend I loaded up twenty .375H&H shells to run through my new Ruger No. 1.

LGS price for loaded ammo $63 plus tax, is $3.43 apiece. That's the cheapest, could have spent over $4 if I wanted to.

I bought 20 used cases for $15.50, and 50 Nosler bullets for $0.72 each. Powder and primer, total is $1.94 each reloaded cartridge.

Next reload without the cost of the case, I'm down to $1.18 each, or 1/3 of the price of commercial ammo. The price of the dies and conversion kit will amortize to zero in less than 60 rounds, then I'm really money ahead.

If I bought my powder in bulk, I'd knock some off the totals.
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Old June 11, 2014, 06:48 PM   #23
Chili Palmer
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I don't reload to save money. I reload for fun, and mainly to stock up and buy components so I can reload after you can't buy ammo anymore.

If that day never comes, oh well. If that day comes, I am king.
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Old June 11, 2014, 07:49 PM   #24
BillM
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Running right at 14¢ per on 9mm now. Bayou 147 poly coated, VV N320,
WSP, and brass at 2¢.

This gives me a accurate soft shooting load that makes right at 132
power factor for USPSA competition. About half the price of cheap
factory ammo---and right now the wife and I together are burning through
around 2500 rds per month. It adds up!

Price of the press, dies etc have been amortized for a long time. I'm
going to guess that all calibers combined, I've got over 500,000 rounds
on my Dillon 550B.

Time to do it? I don't count that time. It's actually relaxing for me,
and more entertaining than 90% of the drivel that's on TV these days.
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Old June 11, 2014, 08:08 PM   #25
gandog56
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OK Here's what I came up with for .223

18.0 grains of H4198 and a 55 grain
Powder 8 pound jug $160.00
bullets 1000 55 grain Speer HP TNT 131.09
Primers 1000 Tula $23.50
Brass Free (Range Pickups)


Comes out to $10.50 for a box of 50 (Not 20, 50!)
4.20 box of twenty
less than 21 cents a round

And the next few thousand will be cheaper because I get 3111 loads from that 8 pound jug of powder.

Box of 50 $7.73
Box of 20 $3.09

Show me where you buy brass cased storebought .223 ammo with non corrosive boxer primers for $3.09 for a box of 20 and I'll stop reloading them.
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