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Old June 18, 2011, 08:06 PM   #1
grubbylabs
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Is this right?

I was talking to a friend about cost of reloading and I was guessing that I was about 5.00 for a box of 50 for 45. He had a customer in the shop that said there was no way I could load for a 45 for that cheap so I figured it out and it turns out he is right, I am actually 2.00 for a box of fifty.

My costs are

Unique powder $16.00-$21.00 per pound, I figured the $21.00
I use 5.7 grains and rounded up to 6.00 grains.

My primers are $32.00 per 1,000.

I did not count the cost of brass since most of it is rang pick up
and I did not count the bullet since I cast my own and the lead I picked up for free.

So what say you, is my math right?
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Old June 18, 2011, 08:16 PM   #2
lamarw
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My cost is a little higher since I buy my brass and bullets. I would guestimate my cost about three times yours or around six bucks for 50.
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Old June 18, 2011, 08:48 PM   #3
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i shoot .30-06 and .30-30 for around $.05 a shot, or $5/100.

10mm is a bit more because of the cost of the brass.
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Old June 18, 2011, 08:58 PM   #4
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You forgot the price of the bullets. I cast my own and load 45 auto for $1.25 for a box of 50.

Edit, sorry I just noticed that you also cast.
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Old June 18, 2011, 09:01 PM   #5
troy_mclure
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i cast my own from(nearly) free lead. i paid $21 to make 300# of lyman #2.
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Old June 18, 2011, 09:07 PM   #6
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It's easier to figure the bullet cost when you buy them. Even free lead costs money (energy, be it electricity, propane, or gas) to melt and cast. I'm sure even then that you're spending less casting your own. It's just one part of the reloading hobby that I haven't started yet.
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Old June 18, 2011, 10:00 PM   #7
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Arithmetic tells me $2.50 but your logic is wrong. Math?

The guy who corrected you was obviously including the cost of everything that went into your reloads (and making assumptions about what they were, to boot).

$21.00/7000*6=1.8 cents per round for powder
3.2 cents per round for primers
5 cents per round times 50 is $2.50 per box of 50

But my primary difference with your calculations is your logic of excluding the components you count as "free". They may be free to you, but they are likely not free to the person you were talking to, so likely will result in a mis-communication. Mis-communicating? No point in having the conversation, right?

If you got several thousand primers, slugs and powder as a gift, would you then count the cost as zero?

Last year I bought 500 Berry's copper plated 230 grain 45 bullets for $76
Primers, I get for $15 for 500
Brass, if I had to buy it would be about a penny apiece, per firing (estimate)
Powder, lets say $12 per 500 ($24 per lb, and 7 grains per loading, just for ease in rounding the calculation)
Amortize my press and other gear, just for simplicity, we'll call this zero, but it is a cost, nonetheless.
My time. Opinions vary on whether this is a cost or not. So, zero

Bullets $7.60 for 50
Primers 1.50 for 50
Powder 1.20 for 50
Brass 0.50 for 50
Total $10.80 for 50

If I use cast lead from a local bullet caster, about $8.00 per 50

If I cast my own, I could get down to about $5.00 per box of 50, but at that point I would be more out-of-pocket expenses to hire the kid down the street to mow my lawn. How do I factor in THAT cost?

Logic.

The satisfaction of having freedom from my local retailer's purchasing decisions? The value of quietly setting down and cranking out a useful commodity? Priceless.

Not to be sexist about the comparison, but think of it this way. Women knit because it produces a good, occupies the hands and calms the mind. The clothing or doilies or whatever produced, and its cost is almost beside the point. Making handloads, for many of us is analogous to knitting. Ask Rosie Grier why he knits (anyone remember him?) Of course, you can't do that on airplanes any more, but you can't load ammo on a plane either.

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Last edited by Lost Sheep; June 18, 2011 at 10:35 PM.
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Old June 18, 2011, 10:26 PM   #8
grubbylabs
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Quote:
If you got several thousand primers, slugs and powder as a gift, would you then count the cost as zero?
I would for the rounds I loaded with those components. I have a steady supply of free lead so having to pay for it any time soon is not likely. There for it is reasonable to say at this point and time my bullet cost is zero.

And I agree he was operating under false assumptions.
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Old June 18, 2011, 11:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Even free lead costs money (energy, be it electricity, propane, or gas) to melt and cast.
i dont pay the electric bill either.
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Old June 19, 2011, 12:58 AM   #10
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You're lucky. I have to pay for electricity, gasoline, propane, etc.

I do miss having the company vehicle with personal use privileges. Ah, the good old days...

Reloading saves me a lot of money, but nothing's free. At least nobody's dropped off anything at my door lately that didn't cost me something.
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Old June 19, 2011, 01:55 AM   #11
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most of my lead was picked up as weight belts either while rec diving or at work.

i got a helluva deal on an 8lb keg of power, paid just over the 1lb price.

rifle primers were $20/k when i bought, pistol was lots higher.

the largest cost to me is time. im too poor for a progressive press so im on a single stage.
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Old June 19, 2011, 02:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grubbylabs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost Sheep
If you got several thousand primers, slugs and powder as a gift, would you then count the cost as zero?
I would for the rounds I loaded with those components. I have a steady supply of free lead so having to pay for it any time soon is not likely. There for it is reasonable to say at this point and time my bullet cost is zero.

And I agree he was operating under false assumptions.
Well, I can't argue with that. I went back and re-read your original post. What you said was essentially correct; what he said was incorrect. It is true, YOU can reload for under $5 a box. What you said does not apply to him, so it is information worthless to him.

To make a statement you (should) know will be misunderstood is disingenuous. What was your intent? Was the guy being a jerk?

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Old June 19, 2011, 03:46 AM   #13
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Arrrgh. How do you guys get these great prices on lead?

I have to make trips on occasion to our regional scrap yards for old wheelweights; I'll usually buy about 200 lb. at a time. Last time I went, they charged me 40 cents per pound. Durn it.
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Old June 19, 2011, 04:48 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grubbylabs
I was talking to a friend about cost of reloading and I was guessing that I was about 5.00 for a box of 50 for 45.
Your first guess is close to my cost for a box of 50 .45acp. With hazmat and shipping I last paid $67.18 for 8# of Unique, $107.55 for 5000 LP primers and $95.70 for 1500 200gr SWC bullets. Works out to $4.66 a box.
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Old June 19, 2011, 04:51 AM   #15
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Arrrgh. How do you guys get these great prices on lead?
It's called scrounging, an ancient and honored tradition. I've never bought lead, but I do buy tires. When I go in to the store to buy tires, I take a bucket with me and try to talk the guy out of a bucket of wheelweights. Hey, I'm buying tires, and I cast my own bullets, how about throwing in a bucket of lead?

I've used roofing lead, old lead pipes, ship ballast, lead from X-ray rooms. You just gotta keep your eyes open and your head in the game. If you see lead, try and scrounge it. I may have to pay for lead next year, but so far I've never had to buy any lead.

I studied cost accounting while I was in college and I know that nothing is free, but I'm not going to assign opportunity cost to my hobby. Plus, my equipment is old enough that I would have depreciated it to zero several years ago.
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Old June 19, 2011, 09:04 AM   #16
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Quote:
Even free lead costs money (energy, be it electricity, propane, or gas) to melt and cast.
You are correct. The reason I think we don't figure that cost is because it is so small. I also get all of my lead for free. I have around 1,600 pounds of wheel weights. I can smelt around 1,000 pounds of WW's into ingots with one bottle of propane. That ends up costing around .05 cents per bullet or 20 bulleets for one penny. I didn't figure electricity but imagine the cost isn't much different than the propane.
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Old June 19, 2011, 09:22 AM   #17
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a customer in the shop that said there was no way
THAT GUY gets around doesn't he...?
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Old June 19, 2011, 09:36 AM   #18
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I load mine for less than $8 per 100. That is using range pick up brass, and the lead usualy cost me a 12 pack of iced down Bud Light for a 5 gal bucket full, so cost per pound is pretty low. Primer I do not buy in bulk so they usualy run about $40 per thousand, and Bull's Eye powder is less than $18 for a pound. If for my .41 Mag I use a lot of Trail Boss so add 1 cent more per round.
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Old June 19, 2011, 10:31 AM   #19
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Well the bullet is the most expensive part. I get .45 bullets sometimes for 20 cents per round. I can go cheaper and get them for 12 cents a round if I buy cast bullets. I'm really not sure how exactly to factor in brass since I can reuse it. That being said I am already way above your price with just the bullet. You have simply managed to get the two expensive parts (brass and bullets) for free and only need to pay for powder and primers.
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Old June 19, 2011, 11:57 AM   #20
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I use Berry's or Rainier plated bullets by the 1000, primers too. Powder is about $20. a pound for Bullseye, a box of 50 runs me about $10. Same with 44 Special. Using 38 or 9MM bullets from the same companies, a box runs me about $7. Still a significant savings, plus the fact that I enjoy reloading them anyway. Component prices seem to rise in proportion to factory ammo, so it costs me between 25-50%, depending on caliber. I can remember when you could buy a can of Bullseye for about $3, so I wasn't born yesterday, sonny!
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Old June 19, 2011, 12:05 PM   #21
grubbylabs
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Arrrgh. How do you guys get these great prices on lead?
I have found that people on these forums are some of the nicest folks you will ever meet. I meet a guy on the cast boolits forum who lives just a few miles from me. He is in charge of up keep on some trucks and managed to get the service shops to give him all their lead. He now has several 55 gallon drums full of WWs. He gives them to me by the 5gallon bucket.
You can't even tell when I take the weights out of the drum.
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Old June 19, 2011, 12:11 PM   #22
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My Dillon 550 is coming out of a long retirement today. I ran thru $45 worth of factory ammo in a brief practice session yesterday. I figure my reloaded ammo's free since the components have been sitting around for years, any accounting method would have them depreciated out by now.
OTOH if you consider the purchase price of components and equipment the cost is a bit higher. To spread out the cost of the equipment you simply load more, that will allow you to buy components in bulk to save even more! Then you get to shoot more, which is the only real benefit of reloading.
So how much will my 45acp reloads really cost? I can come up with a number anywhere from $2-10/box, depending on how I figure it. Beats the heck out of that $22/box stuff I was shooting yesterday!
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Old June 19, 2011, 12:32 PM   #23
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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. There is just not that much free lead to go around. I know....I've tried. I used to have a good source for free lead, but that has dried up. I tried spending afternoons going to different tire shops and getting a pound or two of wheelweights from each one, but found the price of gas and my time spent wasn't worth the effort. I've found spending that time working a side job for cash is easier and buys me better bullets anyway. Altho I spend $120 a thousand for jacketed .45s, they're actually cheaper, and take less time and effort on my part than when I cast my own. So in other words, cost is relative.....and what is realistic is reloading is still cheaper than factory and produces a better load for your individual gun. Folks that only shoot a thousand rounds a year, and buy their powder a pound at a time, their bullets 100 at a time and their primers 100 at a time from their LGS are never gonna realize $2.50 a box ammo. I've seen many new reloaders that got into reloading, investing quite a bit of money, because someone told them they could reload .44mag for $5.00 a box, only to realize it is not realistic for them.

Again reloading is cheaper than factory, and it is a rewarding hobby. But cost is relative.
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Old June 19, 2011, 01:09 PM   #24
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Even if you're paying absolute max for everything buying minor amounts from local shop your still going to be at less than $8 a box for the OP's examples and almost nobody does that.
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Old June 19, 2011, 01:25 PM   #25
troy_mclure
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you can get wheel weight ingots shipped to your door for $1/lb.

1lb/7000gr

230/7000= 30 bullets for a buck.

a 10lb pot will run 300 boolits for around $11 with electricity cost.

add lube, around $1 for 150 or so boolits(unless tumble lube, then its about $.01 per 100).

so grand total is about $13 for 300 boolits.

cheap lead is readily available, and easily found.
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