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Old June 19, 2011, 02:05 PM   #26
CrustyFN
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Arrrgh. How do you guys get these great prices on lead?

I have two small independent tire shops in town that think it's not worth it to take it to the scrap yard. I offered them money but they said they didn't want anything for them.

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I think folks need to be realistic. Not everybody is fortunate enough to have access to an unlimited supply of free lead, delivered to their door. I would assume less than 1% of all handloaders are this lucky.
Buck we are not saying everybody should be able to load with free lead like we are. But to say nobody can do it is false. You would also be surprised how many people get free or very cheap lead for casting.
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Old June 19, 2011, 03:06 PM   #27
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I think folks need to be realistic. Not everybody is fortunate enough to have access to an unlimited supply of free lead, delivered to their door. I would assume less than 1% of all handloaders are this lucky. For the majority, they need to buy lead or buy bullets. For folks to claim we all can reload .45ACP for $2.50 or even $5.00 a box if we become scroungers is ridiculous.
I am realistic, I am also a scrounger. Have been all my life, doesn't matter what we're talking about, lead, wood, steel. I let everybody I talk to that I'm a boolit caster, that I can use most any kind of lead. A guy at work says he has a "lead statue". Or he thinks it might be pewter.!! I said I'd pay .50/lb no matter what it was. Turned out to be nearly pure lead. Makes great 45 HP boolits.

I heard they were re-building the indoor range at my gun club. The trap hadn't been mined for 20+ years. I asked if I did the clean up, could I have the lead? Yup! It took a gang of kids, a couple trucks, and about 10 tanks of propane to get a ton,(that's 2,000 pounds), of lead out of there. And we left a bunch there.





Here's what I took home.



It took most of the spring of 2010 and maybe 100 manhours, but the final cost was maybe $2.00 per 100 pounds. Works out to be .02/lb, I'd call that negligible for a 200 grain 45 boolit @ 35/lb.
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Old June 19, 2011, 03:59 PM   #28
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I am also a scrounger.
I resemble that remark. Snuffy I almost drool in my keyboard every time I see those pictures.
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Old June 19, 2011, 04:12 PM   #29
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It took a gang of kids, a couple trucks, and about 10 tanks of propane to get a ton,(that's 2,000 pounds), of lead out of there. And we left a bunch there.It took most of the spring of 2010 and maybe 100 manhours, but the final cost was maybe $2.00 per 100 pounds.

As I said, cost is relative. My side jobs(not my regular job) average me about $40 an hour. 100 hours of work would net me $4000. Last time I checked, the local recyler told me he'd sell me all the WWs I wanted for $.70 a lb. That's $1400 a ton(yep, 2000 lbs in a ton). That means I could do without the TWO trucks, the handful of kids, the ten tanks of propane and still end up with 2.85 tons of lead for the same amount of work.

I guess if you put no price on your Spring of 2010 and your time is worth absolutely nuttin', then you've done good. My time is valuable and I put a price on it. Over Memorial Day weekend, I took on a side job that took me right around 20 hours, and netted me over $800. With that I could've bought half a ton of wheel weights I guess and spent the next weekend smelting and casting. Instead, I bought a new 5'' 686 and spent the next weekend shooting jacketed bullets. That's being realistic.

Now I'm not saying it's not a good idea to recycle. I'm also not saying that casting your own bullets is not a rewarding hobby. It is and one cannot put a price on that. But again, realistically the majority of handloaders out there do not have a whole spring to dedicate to scrounge for ton of lead. Nor do they have the availability. That does not mean they won't save monies and have better ammo if they reload with store bought components. Yes, I fully agree that some can reload for the prices they claim.......but that is the exception, not the norm, and I think it is wrong for so many folks to give a different impression of these facts to new reloaders.
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Old June 19, 2011, 04:49 PM   #30
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buck460XVR, so do you charge your self for the time spent reloading?

casting and smelting is all part of the same hobby, i dont add my time for smelting, casting, or reloading any more than i do for shooting.

it seems like that the people with more time than cash are able to get the nearly free lead that is so "impossible" to get.
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Old June 19, 2011, 06:47 PM   #31
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I think the point is that it's a cost either way. It's either a money cost, an opportunity cost or both.

If you count it as part of the hobby, great. Me, I can't see how spending your entire spring and tanks full of propane is part of reloading. If you can make the money and buy the stuff in the same or less time, you're foolish not to IMHO. Some people can't, some can.

Me, if I had to cast my own bullets I wouldn't shoot at all, probably never for fun. If I had to chase down the lead AND cast my own bullets... Well, I'd probably sell my guns.
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Old June 19, 2011, 08:46 PM   #32
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As I said, cost is relative. My side jobs(not my regular job) average me about $40 an hour. 100 hours of work would net me $4000.
Well it sounds like you are a lot younger than me. I'm not retired yet but I've reached that age where they have to sweet talk me at work to get me to work more than 40 hours. When somebody offers me a side job I turn it down. I have to drive by the tire shops where I get my free lead on my way home. It takes me 5 to 10 minutes to stop and pick up a 140 pound bucket of WW's. I could smelt and cast all 1,600 pounds in around 70 hours. That 1,600 pounds will produce 56,000 bullets, around $4,500 worth. That nets me around $64 per hour, it all depends how you want to look at it. I know it's not for everybody. You have to enjoy it or nothing will make it worth doing.
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Old June 19, 2011, 08:59 PM   #33
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I'm glad I'm not so busy that I feel like I have to charge myself for my time and assign an 800 dollar value to my boolits. Scrounging for WW's isn't the big burden you guys make it out to be.

If you have to drive a few different places for just the right present for your Wife do you charge time to the task and deduct running cost from the price of the gift?
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Old June 19, 2011, 10:04 PM   #34
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Buck, You have to realize that some of us don't WANT to work that much. I refused overtime every time I was asked. It meant giving up my free time doing what I wanted to do, like smelt lead or cast boolits.

What it boils down to is different strokes for different folks. You would rather work to make extra money, then go buy ammo. I'd rather do it it myself on my free time.

What's gonna happen to guys like you when TSHTF? Not if but when. One of the first things that will disappear will be factory ammo. I have enough components to load 5,000 rounds for all my guns combined. I need to buy some .22 ammo though, can't load that stuff. Ammo will be like currency.
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Old June 20, 2011, 12:01 PM   #35
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+1 on snuffy's pics.

Back in the early 90's when I reloaded a lot, a friend tried to get me into bullet casting. I decided against it due to the relatively low cost of swaged bullets such as the HBWC's I was using for my .38 Spl. - those always seemed like a bargain to me.

With regards to cost, I had determined that my .38 handloads were running me about $1.80 per 50, given that a) my handloading time was time that I enjoyed spending, b) I could get reloading components for wholesale w/ virtually no shipping fees, and c) my brass was very often free or close to it - there seems to be a lot more supply than demand for .38's and ~1% losses from rim cracks per cycle for the older ones means that 1000+ cases will last a very long time.

And with regards to the OP's post #1, I think that the other party stated that it essentially wasn't possible? I find scounging as well as handloading fun and that can change the equation, as others have shown here as well.
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Old June 20, 2011, 06:36 PM   #36
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buck460XVR, so do you charge your self for the time spent reloading?
No I don't Troy....I just said my time is worth something. I also said that for ME it makes more sense and works out better economically to do it my way.

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it seems like that the people with more time than cash are able to get the nearly free lead that is so "impossible" to get.
Again Troy, if you have the time, have the access to it and enjoy doing it, I'm not saying it isn't possible, nor am I trashing or feel the need to condescend anyone else for doing it.
What I am saying is not everybody has the access to free lead, even if they have the time. As I said before, I once had a good source of free lead. Still have some out in the garage.


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I have to drive by the tire shops where I get my free lead on my way home. It takes me 5 to 10 minutes to stop and pick up a 140 pound bucket of WW's.
You're lucky then Crusty, but I doubt that everyone that reloads has the same luck. This is all I'm saying. Yes, it's possible for some to get lead for nuttin', so it is possible to reload for $2.50 a box, but giving folks the idea that deals like yours are at every corner is not the case. The same dealer here that sells WWs also buys them from all the shops in town. He pays them around $.50 a pound. Whoever is in the tire shop giving you your free lead is taking $70 outta his own pocket every time he gives you that 140 pound bucket. In today's economy, Tire shops around here ain't that generous.....even to old friends.

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What's gonna happen to guys like you when TSHTF? Not if but when. One of the first things that will disappear will be factory ammo. I have enough components to load 5,000 rounds for all my guns combined.
First off, I don't shoot much factory ammo, and I have around 12,000 bullets in various calibers myself. Got enough powder and primers to go with it. If the S really does HTF, I got more things to worry about than enough reloading components. Odds are tho, that long before TSHTF, tree huggers will make lead bullets a thing of the past......just like lead WWs, lead pipe and 50/50 solder. Hopefully, when that happens, I will still have the option to work a side job to buy non-toxic bullets.

You folks are jumping on me like stink on manure because you think I am saying you can't get free lead. I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying not everyone has that option and folks that tell new reloaders that they too can find an easy supply of free lead is not always an accurate statement. Snuffy's free lead cost him a lot of time and effort. I give him credit for having the gumption to do it. Me, I take the easy way out and do something I enjoy to make enough monies to do other things I enjoy.......and I enjoy other things other than just shooting.

Reloading is great hobby and provides me with benefits beyond the savings it provides. Even when I had a unlimited source of lead, I still bought a lot of commercial cast and jacketed bullets because I just didn't enjoy the smelting and casting process. Most of the casting I did was for my muzzle-loader. When my supply dried up and another could not be found, my side jobs were and still are a easy solution.....and basically, I too get my components for nuttin'.
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Old June 21, 2011, 12:38 AM   #37
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Count your time or not count your time?

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Originally Posted by Edward429451
If you have to drive a few different places for just the right present for your Wife do you charge time to the task and deduct running cost from the price of the gift?
No, that would be wrong. You have to ADD the running cost to the price of the gift.

However, if you select a gift and have a buying service pick it up wrapped, the running time is included in their pricing. Added in, not deducted.

Accounting-wise, including the dollar value of your time is the correct way to calculate the cost of your ammunition. But it is hard to put a figure on your free time. Harder still to put a figure on the value of the joy you get from shooting your own ammo. (How much more do you value each hole in the target produced by your handloads than factory loads? A penny apiece? A dime?

Accountants and Economists are always at odds with each other largely because of the philosophical difference over how to compare various goods. Accountants require dollar values. Economists take what they can get and do the best they can. It is largely a philosophical difference. Count you time as a cost, don't count your time. I do it both ways, out of curiosity more than to decide to load or not to load.


If you want to make a reasonable and meaningful comparison, you really have to use the same frame of reference and criteria as your audience.

Let those of us with clear thinking not make the same mistake made in the original post.

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Last edited by Lost Sheep; June 21, 2011 at 12:48 AM.
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Old June 21, 2011, 08:29 AM   #38
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Just a last thought on buying a box of bullets

With the price of the box of ammo, one should be adding in the cost driving to and from the gun shop/"Wallieworld" and the range(s). At $3.60 - $3.90 a gal that is an expense worthy to consider.

Anyway you place this discussion. One reloads to achieve a specific load best for one's weapon and to improve personal accuracy. A second are the costs that in the long run cheaper than buying factory ammo.

I have "retired" (I'm 69 and in better than most in health in their 40s) from my other cash draining hobby (and my most favorite) of pro side bass fishing. I "retired" not because of age and aches but of overwhelming expenses. Now I shoot and drive 10 miles to my range and 35 miles to shoot in competition. To fish, I drive 90 - 130 miles just to launch my bass boat for practice or competition.
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Old June 21, 2011, 08:48 AM   #39
snuffy
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If the S really does HTF, I got more things to worry about than enough reloading components. Odds are tho, that long before TSHTF, tree huggers will make lead bullets a thing of the past......just like lead WWs, lead pipe and 50/50 solder. Hopefully, when that happens, I will still have the option to work a side job to buy non-toxic bullets.
So you're saying the EPA gestapo police will go door-to-door confiscating all my lead? Or some sort of federal police will stop cars on the highway, checking to see if I may be heading to the range with illegal boolits?

Is the common public going to put up with those kind restrictions without some kind of civil war? TSHTF scenarios can take a lot of different courses. Right now, we're headed for economic crisis. If we don't deal with the national dept, the Chinese will!

Signs of unrest have already started. Look at what happened in Madison lately. Governor Walker had to balance the budget, so he took away bargaining rights from teachers.
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Old June 21, 2011, 10:16 AM   #40
Brian Pfleuger
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Only on the Internet could a discussion of reloading costs turn into a SHTF, lead confiscation argument.

Seriously guys.

This should all be really simple. Counting the hourly costs of a hobby is silly. Many among us count casting as part of the hobby, many of us don't. If I had to cast, I would DEFINITELY count my time as I would not enjoy it at all and would consider it "work" not play. As such, I would gladly do some other job that I hated less and use the money to buy bullets.

If you enjoy hunting down lead and casting, do it. If you don't, don't.

It's not the End of the World either way. Get real.
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Old June 21, 2011, 10:51 AM   #41
Don P
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Buying all the components except brass my cost is $6.00 per box of 50. $120 per 1,000. Lead bullets have gone up a little
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