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Old September 3, 2000, 08:11 AM   #1
Dangus
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Why is it that handloading has to be so much more expensive than buying factory? I mean, I know factory ammo is not as high quality most of the time, but that's simply because the care factor isn't there. Why do the materials alone have to cost more than the whole completed factory round? Even bulk considerations aside, this seems rather absurd when the homemades cost up to 3-4 times as much as factory in some cases(especially with .308 NATO).

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Old September 3, 2000, 08:16 AM   #2
griz
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I don't understand your question. Even when counting brand new brass in the cost the handload isn't 3 times the price, it comes out about even.
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Old September 3, 2000, 01:17 PM   #3
char923
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If you buy in bulk, like primers in 5000, powder in 4 lbs. or 5 lbs. keg, with my cast bullet it cost me about $3.30 per 100 rounds, store bullets it cost about $8.83 per 100 rounds. Thats better then $12.00 to $16.00 per box of 50 rounds.
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Old September 3, 2000, 01:39 PM   #4
DialONE911
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It all depends. If you're comparing mystery milsurp with handloads, handloads are expensive, but if you put handloads against new, commercial ammo, reloading is very cheap.

Personally, I'd rather avoid the cheap, corrosive 1948 stuff from Outer Mongolia.
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Old September 3, 2000, 04:52 PM   #5
jdthaddeus
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I reload handgun and am not familiar with rifle. But, the brass expense is only initial. I reuse my brass many times over.

It costs me under $3 to make a box of 50 lead .45 rounds.
Or, I like to make nice Ranier jacketed hollowpoints in .45 for just over $4 a box of 50.
That is WAY below the cost of buying ammo, especially hollowpoints. Those prices are of course, in reusing my brass.

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Old September 3, 2000, 08:58 PM   #6
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Deduct your case/shell cost and then remember the "tailored " load shoots better than factory SAAMI averages for lead /velocity etc.THEN it makes sence!

In some countries to be able to have ammo is very useful, as especially pistol ammo is now being considered to be severely restricted to "prevent crime". Supply of other types is next.
Similarly, recently here a new law made dealers only hold 10 pistols at one time...the rest are kept in bond and sold individually from the government repository/warehouse direct to the buyer. This is to 'prevent criminals getting their hands on them'...well no...actually it is to increase Big Brother's power, but keep it quiet OK?
Reload brothers, even a LEE tool is better than nothing. A gun can be used as a club I suppose.....


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Old September 3, 2000, 09:13 PM   #7
Bud Helms
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Dangus,

I fear someone has mislead you about the cost of reloaded ammo. Component costs have risen over the past fifteen years to the point that handloads will, on the average, run about 25-50% of the cost of commercial ammo. Not the other way around. The time involved is never figured by reloaders. It is a labor of love.

The initial cost of equipment for reloading keeps some shooters away from it. But, averaged over the number of rounds you load, you can see that the cost per round keeps getting lower as time passes and you reload more.

Two things. First, it is difficult to beat the price, per round, of the imported mil-surp ammo, but in this case you definitely get what you pay for. Second, it is increasingly difficult for reloaders to beat the quality of off-the-shelf commercial ammo. I'll just say that in the past it was accepted that any good reload WOULD exceed the performance of its commercial counterpart. It is still routinely done and is a point of pride to find that load that your rifle likes best, but the quality of commercial ammo is better than it has ever been.

With that said, most, if not all, commercial ammo components are available to reloaders. Get the point? With today's high quality bullets (especially the bullets), brass, primers and powder available, anything the commercial ammo makers can do, you can do too. Anyone trying to decide whether they shoot enough to justify the cost of investing in the equipment to reload should probably just hold off, unless they need some extremely accurate handloads. That's another story.

There are special tools for loading for accuracy that I don't include in the per round cost of my .45 ACP loads. But I do consider those tools in the average cost of each round of .223, .30-'06 or .308.

Your mileage will definitely vary ...

[This message has been edited by sensop (edited September 03, 2000).]
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Old September 4, 2000, 12:49 AM   #8
bk40
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listen to sensop- he speaks the truth!
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Old September 4, 2000, 01:55 AM   #9
Dangus
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Ok, I was talking with some reloaders and perhaps I misunderstood some things. I shoot 7.62x39 exclusively at this point, and I could understand from what you said above.

Is there enough of an advantage to handloading 7.62x39 for AK and SKS?

I have chromed barrels, not match grade or stainless by any means.

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Old September 4, 2000, 07:36 AM   #10
Joefo
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Is there enough of an advantage to handloading 7.62x39 for AK and SKS?[/quote]

Probably not. The 7.62x39 is probably the most abundant surplus ammo available nowadays. It would be hard to handload this caliber cheaper than you can buy surplus.

Joefo

[This message has been edited by Joefo (edited September 04, 2000).]
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Old September 4, 2000, 07:38 AM   #11
griz
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762X39 is one of the cases where reloading does not save anything compared to the "surplus" ammo. The cost of a jacketed bullet is almost the same as the Russian stuff. You can beat the cost if you use lead bullets but for most people that's not practical. You can reload better rounds(more accurate, better bullet performance) but it will not save money and you may not see much difference in an AK or SKS. I'm not slamming those rifles, I like my own SKS and its one of the few semi autos that has absolute 100 percent reliability for me.

[This message has been edited by griz (edited September 04, 2000).]
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Old September 4, 2000, 07:49 AM   #12
Bud Helms
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Probably not.

For myself, I just don't shoot mil-surp. If I come into some, it has to be free, as in no cost. I also decide whether I want to deal with the military primer crimp. Then you have to get that yucky shellac off the case ... Did I say that reloaders don't include their time in the cost? Dealing with mil-surp will definitely make you think about it! If you are shooting 7.62x39 mil-surp in an AK or SKS that was made for that ammo, then by all means shoot it. I'd want to be sure my AK or SKS was up to "snuff" (issue standards) and not some substandard copy. But I'm not into AKs and the like. I forgot about them.

I'm looking at a recent Sportsman's Guide mailout and see 7.62x39 for as low as $0.14 (14 cents) per round for 1000 rounds. A 20 count bx is $3.97 (20 cents per round). This stuff is not reloadable. I'd have to reload quite a while to catch up with that "per round" price. It's steel cased and Berdan primed (not reloadable). It is described as non-corrosive, though I never trust that claim about foreign mil-surp ammo. A box of 20 reloadable Federal 7.62x39 looks to be $7.97 in this issue. That's 40 cents per round. If I didn't reload already and had an AK or SKS I liked to shoot, I might buy the mil-surp too.

*********************

Dangus, your use of the term "factory ammo" in place of mil-surp kinda threw me off .... not quite the same thing.



[This message has been edited by sensop (edited September 04, 2000).]
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Old September 4, 2000, 08:51 AM   #13
Turk
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Dangus:
[B]I mean, I know factory ammo is not as high quality most of the time, but that's simply because the care factor isn't there.

Let me address the above. My experience over the years is that factory is safe and accurate. Yes you can taylor a handload that closes the group up but for general hunting and shooting the factory round is excellent and today for hunters you can get a wide aray of bullets form custom bullet makers.

Win., Rem., Fed. and others have high levels of quality control in place they can't afford lawsuits. Think about the millions upon millions of rounds that are manufactured and the track record they have.

Concerning military surplus. Buy only the later dates in the last couple years I've got some 7.62 NATO Brit ammo that is excellent shooting and accurate.

I reload for basically one reason and that is the cost saving. Somebody has misinformed you about the cost of reloaded ammo.

I may spend the same amount of dollars but I get to shoot a lot more rounds for the
dollar.

Take the time and figure up the cost per round loading in quanities of 1000 and I'm quite sure you'll see the saving. The following site has excellent bullets
www.nationalbullet.com/1new.html

Turk



[This message has been edited by Turk (edited September 04, 2000).]
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Old September 4, 2000, 10:17 AM   #14
Johnny Guest
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Dangus--
You only shoot 7.62x39, so this probably won't apply to you. It may to some people, and you may have heard them discussing it at the range.

If you start fresh on a new caliber and must begin from a zero point, it sure seems expensive to load the first couple of hundred rounds. When I got my Dillon 550 in 1991, most of my 9x19 mm brass was in storage but I had a new (to me) High Power and really wanted to get back into 9 mm.

I went to the shop and bought 200 brand new W-W cases. Then paid full retail for some Hornady 124 XTP HP bullets. And I was nearly out of small pistol primers and got a thousand of those.

I admit, the first couple of hundred rounds were pretty high priced, especially considering I had the cost of the new progressive press and accessories in the back of my mind. Also, some of my SMG-owning friends were paying well less than $100 per thousand rounds for Egyptian military 9 mm.

The NEXT couple of hundred rounds cost a LOT less, because I had gotten some old brass, long since paid for, out of storage. And I bought a thousand BULK bullets, which were less expensive to start with--Rainier plated as opposed to the XTPs. Even Hornady bullets are much less money when purchased by the thousand, and R-P FMJs are downright reasonable in bulk.

I laugh at paying over a dime each for new brass when I can get once-fired so cheaply now. And won't buy it. I weakened a while back and said I'd take 5,000 for $35. The seller wanted me to take an additional 5,000 at same price, and I just had no use for it. He finally GAVE me the other 5K just so he couldn't have to haul it home. I can't even afford the components to load 10K right now. Not if I'm going to load anything else.

If you shoot 7.62x39 only in SKS or AK guns, the mil spec ammo will do fine. But if you weaken and get, say, an Interarms CZ bolt gun or something similar in that caliber, and mount a scope on it, things will change rapidly. You'll get tired of shooting three-and four-inch groups from a fine, scope sighted bolt gun, and will weaken and purchase a box of commercial soft point hunting ammo. Sha-ZAM! A whole new world opens up. It'll be wonderful, even at ten bucks for 20.

But you'll recall the cheapo mil-spec ammo and will start thinking about hand loading, and you'll be right where I was with 9 mm. Be patient--the commercial once-fired brass will get cheaper, and you'll learn sources of inexpensive bullets, and, Hey! We have a new member of the H&R fraternity.

Gotta go now--I need to load up some eight-buck-a-hundred .45 ammo.
Best regards,
Johnny
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Old September 4, 2000, 10:38 AM   #15
Johnny Guest
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Dangus,
I left out of the above---
You mentioned, "(especially with .308 NATO) " being more expensive to hand load than to buy surplus.

You have a good point here. I HAVE paid more for high-grade match and hunting bullets than for an equivalent number of loaded .308 military rounds All I can say is, you get what you pay for. The bullets from the foreign military surplus ammo, pulled and reloaded into commercial cases with the best care possible, with precisely weighed charges of the finest powder, will STILL not equal performance of Sierra Match King 168 gr bullets in the same rifle.

For making noise and plinking beer cans in the neighbor's pasture, the milsurp stuff is great. Just don't presume it is non-corrosive just because someone's cousin's daughter's step-neighbor-in-law TOLD you it is. It would be silly for me to use high grade match ammo for other than match practice, or of course, in matches. And when sighting in for the Big Hunt, I use the same premium bullets with which I'll hunt.

Best,
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Old September 4, 2000, 04:09 PM   #16
WalterGAII
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Maybe I misread something, but it looks to me as if Dangus thinks that he's shooting 7.62 NATO through his AK and SKS.

FWIW, I've never found factory ammo that competes with my handloads for accuracy. Some of it's pretty good, but not AS good.

Using AA2200 powder and IMR FMJ bullets, I'm loading .223 for under $.10 per round. That's cheap enough for me.
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Old September 5, 2000, 05:51 AM   #17
Nukem
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Where do you get your data from? Where are you buying your components from ?

I can load a box of .45 with 230gr JHP for under $10. Where can you buy factory .45 JHP for that?

I can load .223 for less than Q3131.

The only thing that I can see costing more to load is 7.62X39 which I've seen for $79 per K lately.
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Old September 5, 2000, 06:49 PM   #18
Dangus
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Maybe I misread something, but it looks to me as if Dangus thinks that he's shooting 7.62 NATO through his AK and SKS.[/quote]

lol, no, I know better than that. I had just had a long conversation with some reloader friends of mine whom I really respect, and had focused the conversation around what I mostly shoot, which is 7.62x39, but I also shoot .308 NATO on occasion. I shoot exclusively military surplus ammo(which is made in a factory, thus I call if factory). Their conversation with me led me to think that all reloading was more expensive than buying mass produced ammo, which from what you guys state, is not the case.

On a side note, are there any machines people can buy that allow them to create their own cases and slugs in an expedient manner?

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The Bill of Rights is a document of brilliance, a document of wisdom, and it is the ultimate law, spoken or not, for the very concept of a society that holds liberty above the desire for ever greater power. -Me
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Old September 7, 2000, 06:34 PM   #19
lowepg
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dangus:
Ok, I was talking with some reloaders and perhaps I misunderstood some things. I shoot 7.62x39 exclusively at this point, and I could understand from what you said above.
[/quote]

I was just about to say you are crazy, but, luckily I read all the replies and found you were talking about 7.62x39

I think 7.62x39 might be just about the WORST CASE example for the cost of handloaded vs. factory.

Other rounds I shoot, but dont bother to reload:
.32 (FN by the case is too damn cheap)
9mm (lots of bulk stuff for CHEAP)

I shoot a lot of 38, 45 and 10mm. These are a reloaders dream in terms of potential savings, 10mm being the best deal...
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Old September 8, 2000, 04:48 PM   #20
Don Gwinn
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I'm not an expert, but I THINK this is right:

You can make your own slugs, certainly. But in a rifle, like your AK, un-jacketed lead slugs will lead up the barrel pretty badly because velocity is so high. In slow-moving rounds like .45 acp this doesn't matter as much. It should be easy to find a mold for lead bullets, but adding jackets would be pretty difficult and probably not a good idea, plus it would have to be expensive, I'd think.

Cases have to be made pretty precisely, which is strike one. They have to be made of material you know and trust, which is strike two. And they have to be heat-treated, I believe, which is strike three. I wouldn't try to make my own.

The problem with mil-surp cases for 7.62x39 is that most are commie steel cases. You don't want to reload those. They work-harden differently than brass and can damage dies. If your cases stick to a magnet, dump 'em. That's another reason why 7.62x39 is not as cheap as "normal" ammo to reload--you have to spring for either new cases or better ammo in order to have brass, whereas I can reuse the brass from the cheapo remanufactured .45 I took to Missouri last month.

If I missed something or misstated something, somebody jump in here.
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