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Old April 12, 2008, 09:00 AM   #1
djonathang
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Value of Reloading?

Hello All,

Order built with Midway. I'm about to pull the financial trigger for a reloading setup, which adds up to $500. I got nervous and decided to post here first.

Other than the pleasure of reloading, this investment in reloading for my .270 will save me money, right?

DG
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Old April 12, 2008, 09:07 AM   #2
DaveInPA
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Well, I'm not sure. I reload for my handguns AND my .270. I haven't seen any significant savings loading for the rifle, mainly because I put a LOT more rounds through my handguns. I've already paid off the cost of my equipment in handgun reloads, in just a couple of months. With the rifle, you'll likely not be putting 500 rounds through it every weekend. If you are, you have one hell of a shoulder!

The main benefit of reloading for the .270 that I've found is increased accuracy through experimenting with different loads. I'm honestly not expecting any costs savings with the .270, just the .45 ACP, .40 S&W, and 9mm.

Hope this helps.
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Old April 12, 2008, 09:15 AM   #3
ligonierbill
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You will save money, but unless you shoot a lot, it will take you a long time to make up $500. Why reload? 1) Tailor loads for accuracy. 2) Load hard to find rounds, or commercially weak rounds to their potential (e.g. 8x57). 3) Have fun. 4) Save money. In that order. If saving money is your only reason, I think you will be disappointed.
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Old April 12, 2008, 09:25 AM   #4
CrustyFN
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Yes you will save money. Here is an example of my reloading. I buy powder and primers in bulk to save money. I can load 1,000 rounds of 223 for around $100. The same 1,000 rounds in factory ammo would cost me around $400. If you don't save money it will be because you are shooting a lot more than before, which isn't a bad thing. I also load 9mm, 38/357 and 45 auto. I shoot the same amount of reloads as when I shot factory ammo, maybe a little more. I am saving money for all calibers I load for. The best part about loading for your 270 is you will end up with better more accurate ammo and still save money. Just curious what equipment you have on hold with Midway.
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Old April 12, 2008, 09:27 AM   #5
djonathang
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Rusty,

In the world of Chevy versus Ford debates, I'm following the lead of my friend who reloads. I'm simply going with all RCBS equipment.

DG
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Old April 12, 2008, 09:54 AM   #6
CrustyFN
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The RCBS equipment will work fine. In my opinion going single stage any brand of equipment will work fine for normal reloading. I have heard a lot of great things about the RCBS warranty so if anything goes wrong or breaks they should take care of it for free. If you are buying a kit just make sure that all of the pieces are quality. For example Lee equipment is good but the scale that comes in the kit is not user friendly and I would recommend a different scale. If you are shooting rifle a single stage press will be great. I shoot competition and a lot of pistol so I started with a turret press because a single stage wouldn't keep up with my ammo needs. I started reloading to save money but it quickly turned into another enjoyably hobby that I enjoy almost as much as shooting. Welcome to reloading.
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Old April 12, 2008, 10:31 AM   #7
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djonathang,
I think most people on this forum who are avid shooters will agree with ligonierbill & DaveinPA's posts. The best thing about reloading is creating the perfect round for your given firearm. Back in the 80's when I first started loading it was for cost reasons. I could not buy .38 PPC league ammo for less than I could reload it for. As time went on I came to find the other reasons mentioned in the posts on your thread. ACCURACY that can't be bought at the ammo store. I have been loading for all my metalic cartridge calibers for 20+ years now and just recently bought a shotshell loading setup due to the toll that trap shooting was taking on my funds. I really like loading my own shells. It gives a boost to my confidence when I am the only guy on the squad to hit constantly over 23 birds every time. This is because I can taylor a load to the best pattern for a given choke with lower recoil the store bought shells. So.....get reloadin' and never look back !!
Good shootin'.
E.
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Old April 12, 2008, 10:41 AM   #8
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You should save 66-75% per shot compared to factory rounds. I can load 3-1 and 4-1 perspectively when comparing similar components - i.e. same bullet, etc. If you work you load up right, you can make a round that is far more accurate than any factory round due to consistancy - weigh each powder charge precisely and you'll see the difference. A touret press is not a good idea if you are loading for accuracy on a rifle. The powder charges will vary...Pistol poweder is very fine and meters consistantly. Extruded rifle powder is relatively large - like broken pencil leads - and thus to really gain in the accuracy field, each round should be weighed. Different poweders have different consistancy, like Benchmark, which is the smallest extruded I have ever seen will work well in a touret type press, but because I reload for accuracy, I still measure and trickle every load, even with this powder...By the way, the best accuracy rounds I've gotten w/ 270 have been with H4831sc (stands for short cut - the "powder" is a shorter cut than the standard H4831. The data is interchangeable according to the manufacturer. Another good powder is H4895. I prefer Sierra Game King 130 BTSP's.
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Old April 12, 2008, 10:56 AM   #9
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The simplest answer (and quite factual) is always going to be, "I don't save money, but I shoot a lot more for the same amount of money." That sounds like it's skirting the question, but it's not-- it's the truth.

The reality is that the degree to which you save money and lower the cost of your handloaded ammo is directly related to how much (or in what size bulk) you can purchase. If you can buy large quantities of bullets, and you can purchase your powder in 4 or 8 lb kegs, you can lower your costs dramatically.

The problem with trying to narrow it down simply to money is that it takes big purchases to realize the most savings. And as a new reloader, it's hellishly difficult to buy in quantities when you don't know exactly what you need. And it's not a simple question with a simple answer. Reloading is a chase, you work toward goals in calibers, you find out through attempts which work okay, and which work better.

For most of us, we'd be reloading even if it cost the same or slightly more to produce ammo by hand. We didn't start that way-- we thought we could save money, and a lot of guys "sell it" that way to their spouse. But we continue to reload because it opens up an entirely new hobby, related to shooting and involving shooting, but completely separate and wholly, totally enjoyable.

For myself, it's a way to "be shooting" and working with the "stuff" I enjoy even if I can't get to the range because of time, weather, schedule, whatever. I can spend 45 minutes or 3 hours at the load bench on any day when I have the time. I don't have to pile guns in to cases, grab all the gear, load up the ammo, gather targets, drive to the range, etc etc. I can simply go downstairs in to the "man cave" and get something done and enjoy the hell out of it.
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Old April 12, 2008, 10:57 AM   #10
armoredman
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I do save money reloading, especially since I started casting my own bullets. I have some cast loads that are wicked accurate. I moved to a town with NO reloading supplies for miles, so I have to make do. Fancy jacketed bullets are held for "emergencies", while I make up some more cast loads!
I buy factory ammo every six months, to swap out the carry rounds.
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Old April 12, 2008, 11:05 AM   #11
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Casting is a whole 'nuther ball of wax that takes a new set of tools, a proper place to do the work and a skill set that is developed with experience. While you can save a HEAP of money by casting your own projectiles, I don't think it's typical to use it as an example of saving money to a new reloader, because a new reloader has a helluva to learn just building ammo.

I'd reckon that there aren't a lot of new reloaders who start casting their own at the same time they begin reloading. I think it's a logical next step for a lot of reloaders, though.
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Old April 12, 2008, 12:10 PM   #12
TexasSeaRay
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Reloading for only .270 will not save you any money--at least not for a long time or unless you shoot a LOT of rounds every month. Most long gun shooters I know don't. Their ammo is for hunting.

I load for all my hunting calbers. I do so because I started reloading for all my handgun calibers, thus I already had the big investments (press, scales, etc) out of the way and only needed dies, case trimmer, etc. I can also make better, more accurate ammo than the factories can (mass produced, that is).

I now reload for every caliber I own with the exception of .22LR. And yes, I save buttloads AND shoot more. Recently I began casting my own boolits, and this will bring the cost of handgun ammo to almost obscenely cheap.

But if all you ever foresee loading for is .270 and you don't shoot that often, you may never realize any cost savings--not with the way the cost of components continues to rise.

Jeff
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Old April 12, 2008, 01:18 PM   #13
djonathang
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Hello All,

Thank you for the thoughtful responses. I will proceed for a combination of reasons mentioned.

Thank you again for your time and consideration.

A great forum to say the least.

DG
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Old April 12, 2008, 03:10 PM   #14
W. C. Quantrill
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If a person just goes out and plunks down $500 on reloading toys, it is going to take a long time to recover enough savings to BREAK EVEN. On rifle shells, I figure I can save $.20 each, so that takes 2500 rounds before I have recovered the initial investment.

If you were to shop around and purchase some bargains over a few months time so that you had the same equipment for say $100, then it would take perhaps 500 rounds to break even.

Most of the time the reloader thinks--Wow, I've saved all this money, so for the same $ spent, I can shoot that much more. That is probably what happens more often than not. I ended up shooting three times as much because I "saved so much".
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Old April 12, 2008, 04:20 PM   #15
DEDON45
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I just spent a little more than the OP is considering; I know it will likely be about a year before I hit the break even point, but I did it not just to save money, but I enjoy it (yes, even with the aggravations I face relearning some things I've forgotten) too. In my case, since I bought Hornady equipment, a big chunk of the initial investment will be recouped with all the bullets that will be coming my way due to the free bullet offer they're running right now... so I'll probably be ahead of the game in 6 months in reality. I'll probably just end up shooting more, so I'll have more fun for the same money. Good thing about any of the better / best brands (RCBS, Hornady, Redding, Dillon, Lyman) is that the equipment generally seems to last forever; they all have quirks, but all are good in their own right.
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Old April 12, 2008, 07:14 PM   #16
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Henry David Thoreau went to the woods "to live deliberately." He did it for a year and spent the rest of his life writing about it. I lived in the woods for five years and am not sure what he was all that deliberate about. But I reload as part of shooting deliberately. I have been doing it for 3+ decades and still in many ways consider myself as having a lot to learn. I can reload 9mm's for less than 2/3 of factory price - but as another post said, I would reload even if there were no savings. I have dies for calibers that i no longer own (45 auto rim...) and load for cartridges that you can't buy ammo for (.256 Win Mag and 32-40). For me it is part of what shooting is all about.

I started with a Lee loader for 38Spl and (soon) got a RCBS Rock Chucker press. Probably have paid for it by now - but thats not the point. Reloading is, for me, a big part of what shooting is all about. I would say to go ahead and "pull the trigger" on the purchase. Buy good stuff. In 30 years it will seem like money well spent. In my not so humble opinion...
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Old April 12, 2008, 08:12 PM   #17
djonathang
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Trigger Pulled!

Very excited.

Thanks All.

DG
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Old April 12, 2008, 09:10 PM   #18
CrustyFN
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Quote:
djonathang:
Trigger Pulled!

Very excited.

Thanks All.

DG
Today 08:14 PM
Congrats and welcome to reloading. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Load safe and shoot often.
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Old April 12, 2008, 10:14 PM   #19
TexasSeaRay
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Quote:
Good thing about any of the better / best brands (RCBS, Hornady, Redding, Dillon, Lyman) is that the equipment generally seems to last forever; they all have quirks, but all are good in their own right.
Hmmmm.

Been reloading over two decades and one-hundred-thousand-plus rounds. I sent back a Hornady powder measure because it just flat wouldn't work right. Great customer service, those Hornady folks.

Sent an RCBS electronic scale back because it was off, consistently, by an average of seven to ten grains. Fantastic customer service.

Sent my Dillon 550B back twice because of a single part that either wasn't milled right or installed properly. You can't beat Dillon's customer service and how they take care of their customers. No argument from me.

So how is Lee's customer service?
Not bad. I finally broke a minor piece on my Pro1000 somewhere around 80,000 rounds. They overnighted me the part at no charge and I've gone another 20,000 rounds with zero problems. I've done well over 5,000 long gun rounds on my single stage Challenger with zero problems.

Got a mix of dies. Funny, but my Lee dies are the only ones in which I haven't had to replace the decapping pin . . .

I went looking for an RCBS factory crimp die for my SKS and AK loads--couldn't find one. I went on Hornady's website looking for bullet-casting furnaces and moulds and lube/sizers. Must not have looked in the right place.

Jeff
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Old April 13, 2008, 07:21 AM   #20
Leeman
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Don't jump in the water if you can't swim.

Unless you are really rich, $500 is a lot of bucks. Dip a toe in the water and find out if you like it. Heck that first reload is great fun, no one ever forgets it. I did it more tha 50 years ago with a Lee Loader for shotgun shells. It cost $7.95. It was so much fun I shot a box of factory ammo just to get the empties. Reloaded them again and had a blast.
The point is get yourself in at little cost and get an education. Then you can better evaluate what you need. If you are a judge of quality by something other than price you are a wise man.
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Old April 13, 2008, 10:07 AM   #21
Art Eatman
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As a professional cheapskate, I've acquired a lot of my reloading gear second-hand from gunshows.

A primary benefit in cost-savings from reloading is that it keeps you out of the beer-joints at night.

Reloading equipment is basically indestructible. Divide your capital investment by 50. For $500 worth of "stuff", that's $10/year. Next figure your component cost per round, and rounds per year. Factor in the $10 and then check store-bought ammo prices...

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Old April 13, 2008, 10:21 AM   #22
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If you shoot a big-bore handgun, I don't see any way to avoid reloading -- not saying that reloading isn't a rewarding hobby in itself, because it is. I don't think I could enjoy shooting very much if it cost almost $1 per shot (that's .45 Colt or .44 Magnum, exotic cartridges are even more expensive.)

I like shooting ammo that I built. I pull the trigger and the gun goes "Bang!" and the bullet hits the bullseye and I think "I did that". I can customize the ammo for the particular gun, and I can make weird stuff that you can't buy at any price. And by casting my own bullets, I can shoot for about a nickel per shot, although I have a fair amount of time invested in each round. But I enjoyed that time I have in it.

I recommend to anyone that they start with a very good used single-stage press. They may quickly upgrade to a progressive press when they get their feet wet, but that ss press will still come in handy.
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Old April 13, 2008, 11:42 AM   #23
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I have three presses. I hope to answer your questions.

One is a Lyman Orange Crusher single stage. It has a very wide and tall "staging area" where I can easily fit my hand and a magnum length brass case and a long bullet. I use that for making large cartridges that are loaded, with singularly weighed powder on a 'non-production' basis.

Think of its use if you wanted to make a dozen perfect hunting rounds.

I also have a Lyman turret press. I can install several calibers at one time and adjust each to make a certain catridge using a pre-selected bullet. I can control the various weights of powder at this stage.

Let's say I wanted to load an SW .40 with a 165 grain bullet. I don't know where it will group (if at all) with my handgun, and I want to experiment with a number of powders and loads. I now have flexibility. I make a boxful fairly quickly--or several powder settings or powder types at one time.

Sooner or later I find a load I like, like my old favorite plinking .45 ACP. I have a cast bullet I make, I like 1911's and I found a combination that is accurate.

This load goes into my Dillon Square Deal-B. This press is for a large amount of production. I use a large Country Crock butter tub to hold the day's work.

Also behind the scenes, I have trimmers, a bob-weight powder messure, an electronic powder messure, a dial caliper, champfering cutters, funnels...
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Old April 13, 2008, 12:24 PM   #24
DMZX
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Quote:
If you shoot a big-bore handgun, I don't see any way to avoid reloading -- not saying that reloading isn't a rewarding hobby in itself, because it is. I don't think I could enjoy shooting very much if it cost almost $1 per shot (that's .45 Colt or .44 Magnum, exotic cartridges are even more expensive.) - zxcvbob
Good point as I do shoot big-bore handguns and reloading has allowed me to continue to enjoy them without going broke.

Plus, I can custom make some accurate, effective loads for my .44 Mag's that won't have me to reaching for the Tylenol bottle when I get home from the pit.
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Old April 13, 2008, 12:43 PM   #25
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I wouldn't start reloading on only the idea that your going to save money cuz when you start you can't stop and it takes up alot of your time. But on the other hand you will end up shooting more and I was surprised how easy it was to handload rounds that are alot more accurate and faster then the factory rounds of the same bullet. Over time it will become cheaper to handload but you have to learn alot to do it well.. I am new into this and it seems like I learn something every time I load another round
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