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Old July 19, 2011, 12:45 PM   #1
justinpar
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.223 worth reloading or buying steel cased?

I've been noticing some good deals on 1000rd bulk orders for .223 steel cased. Usually resulting in about $0.25-to-$0.30 per round. So my question is at these prices is it really worth it to reload for .223. I do not mind shooting steel cased, since I clean often and don't have a $1000+ AR. So far i've been shooting brass factory ammo in order to build my available cases for reloading.
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Old July 19, 2011, 02:15 PM   #2
Billy Shears
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I reload it. Prepping Lake City brass can be a chore [removing primer crimps, for example], but you only have to do it once if you save your brass and it lasts a long time.

On the other hand, shooting steel cased stuff can be cheap at first, at least until the laquer heats up, builds up and gums up your rifle and you get a round stuck in the chamber.
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Old July 19, 2011, 02:26 PM   #3
603Country
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Upfront cost of reloading equipment can be steep, depending on what you buy, but once you have the cases for reloading, the per-round cost is cheaper than you can buy it. There was just a long discussion on this forum about reloading/not reloading, and you might just get that discussion going again. I'm a reloader and have been for 30ish years, and it's something that I'm real glad I got into. It's nice to tailor your cartridge to your specific rifle if accuracy matters to you. With reloads, that rifle will shoot to the same spot forever. With cheap bought ammo, you can't depend on that happening. And that fact holds true for whatever other rifles and pistols you might have or eventually acquire.

On the other hand, if all you want to do is use that AR to chew through targets at 50 yards - just for the joy of the noise and the dust cloud, then buy the steel cased stuff and have at it. You don't need precision.
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Old July 19, 2011, 02:36 PM   #4
justinpar
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I've been reloading pistol rounds for a year now... mainly 9mm, .39spl, .357mag. Just wondering if I should take the plunge into .223 when steel cased can run around $0.30/rd.

Basically looking for a cost brake down for those who already load for .223. Are your price/rd less then steel cased bulk ammo? I am fairly limited on reloading time and donate a lot of it to 9mm because I shoot a lot of it. Only about 300-400rd of .223 so far.
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Old July 19, 2011, 02:52 PM   #5
603Country
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You've already got the reloading gear, so if I can assume that you already have 223 cases to use, then the math is simple and the bullet itself is the most expensive part of the recipe. I spend about 20 cents or 22 cents each on 'fancy' 223 bullets, but I think I just saw 55 gr FMJ's for 10 cents each, so add 7 or 8 cents for powder and a couple of cents for a primer, and you have a fairly cheap reload. Even with my fancy bullets, we're talking just a hair over 30 cents per reload. As for cases, you might add in a bit of cost to the equation unless you do some shooting of brass cased bulk ammo and save the brass or pick up range brass, or somebody on this forum sends you some brass that they don't need. If you lived anywhere close to me (central Texas), I'd give you some brass, 223 bullets I'm not gonna shoot, and a few hundred primers that I'm not going to use.
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Old July 19, 2011, 03:08 PM   #6
justinpar
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I've been shooting bass cased factory ammo so far so have about 400 cases that are in reloadable condition. biggest issue for me is the time. If there is little cost savings when compared to shooting cheap steel cased then I may just start buying steel for the time being and hold on to my bass cases for a later day.
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Old July 19, 2011, 05:18 PM   #7
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Reload. There is no comparison in quality between proper reloads and the cheap ammo.

Get some firecrackers if you just want to hear a bang.
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Old July 19, 2011, 05:38 PM   #8
JACK308
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reloading give you better ammo then the store brand.
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Old July 19, 2011, 06:22 PM   #9
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I have two .223 bolts,,,and two .223 ARs...

.. I prefer to reload.

.. Much more accurate..and readily available.

When I want to shoot five or six hundred rounds in one day...I just load em and go... dont have to hit several stores hunting ammo down.
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Old July 19, 2011, 11:47 PM   #10
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"Worth it" is kind of a subjective notion. When I got my Saiga .223, I made it my business to find source of once-fired LC brass and just did the work to turn it into safe and accurate ammo. Spent the better part of a month of weekends processing it, and it was a labor of love. I now have two ammo cans full of loaded ammo to feed my Russian.
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Old July 19, 2011, 11:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
Basically looking for a cost brake down for those who already load for .223.

About $0.26 per round. Your major cost is the bullet, I use the expensive ones. With cheap bullets, you can keep it under $0.20 to $0.18 a round using used brass.

Jim
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Old July 20, 2011, 06:09 AM   #12
alloy
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Already having brass and leaving time unfigured, buying projectiles by the 1000, I have a plinker load using LC projectiles that works out to $192 for 1000 rounds. Shoots about 1.5 MOA and beats buying ammo hands down.

3-1/2 lbs powder $80
1000 primers $30
1000 projectiles $82

Using Nosler or SMK it costs me a bit more but for tin cans this load is plenty.
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Old July 20, 2011, 06:14 AM   #13
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reloading time is a wash.Once you start doing it you will see the joy in making your own round. Accuracy will improve a lot. As some one said before and it kinda rings true. ( I shoot so i can reload). If your into just hearing the gun go bang,,buy store brand or if your happy with 2 inch groups at 100 yards,,buy store brand. If neither one of those apply to you,,start reloading

Oh Ya--Don't reload the steel cases,throw them away
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Old July 20, 2011, 04:25 PM   #14
Billy Shears
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Quote:
About $0.26 per round. Your major cost is the bullet, I use the expensive ones. With cheap bullets, you can keep it under $0.20 to $0.18 a round using used brass.
That's pretty much my experience as well. My last batch of 1,000 rounds was done at about .19 per round using the cheap Armscor bullets. Can't put a dollar figure on the time it took me to do this, but it's a lot of fun to me so I don't count it as work.
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Old July 20, 2011, 05:39 PM   #15
chris in va
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I calculated my cost of reloading 223 using range pickup brass and came out to 0.16/ea.

Of course this is after all the reloading gear. My equipment paid for itself many times over now as I went with a very simple and functional approach.

I've been picking up some 223...can you tell?

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Old July 20, 2011, 07:25 PM   #16
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Worst case: When I started I started with 200 purchased brass, Hornady V-max, #41 primers and Varget powder all purchased in small quantity like 100-200 rounds worth and still didn't go over 30 cents each.
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Old July 20, 2011, 07:34 PM   #17
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I reload for my varmint rifle, but not for my AR. But then, I don't shoot the AR much more than for yearly quals. It's a tool, not a fun toy.
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Old July 20, 2011, 11:45 PM   #18
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The price I pay to reload my loads my way is equal to buying cheap brass ammo like pmc or remington mc and even cheaper if I find some 55gr. on sale or some brass for free. The quality is what sold me on reloading. All my reloads are clean burning and accurate. They are very consistent and I know what Im getting when I shoot.
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Old July 21, 2011, 01:33 AM   #19
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Handloading is its own hobby and source of enjoyment for me. I sometimes find deals in the local "Pennysaver" mag. and get great deals on bullets. The last I figured, I can load good, accurate ammo for my AR for about .16 cents a round, although that goes up when I am using,say, Nosler Partitions for my SD loads. I recently was given about 3k Lake City .556 cases from a buddy in the military that he picked up from the range on his base and got a few hundred old Hornady 55gr. JSP's from a friend who got it from a nieghbor lady whose husband had recently passed.

I have also come up with several different loads in .45 Colt that vary greatly in power and bullet weight for my Ruger SA's. Everything from plinkers to
T-Rex killers, not to mention my everyday do it all load.

I am one of those who goes shooting sometimes just to have more brass to load! One way I look at it is that I do not save money by handloading, I just get to shoot more for the money I spend!

The time I spend sitting at my loading bench is very much quality time, like fishing, it is kind of a "Zen" thing. For me, anyway.

I also get to tailor my rounds for what I intend to use them for, and have made some pretty darn good loads for most of my firearms. that is worth a lot in itself.

Willy
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Old July 21, 2011, 03:37 AM   #20
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Does .223 brass require much trimming or can you reload a case a few times before it grows too long?

Trimming is always the most tedious part of reloading...perhaps I need to invest in a powered trimmmer
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Old July 21, 2011, 04:51 AM   #21
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As for the trimming. It really depends on the pressure, if you run full house loads you stress and in turn stretch the brass more causing you to trim every reload. But if you keep the pressure down to say, midrange-ish then you can go 2 or more reloads with out trimming.

I run a full house load of 27.0 grains X-terminator under a 40 grain Nosler Ballistic tip with tons of different brass and Wolf small rifle magnum primers. This combo (since all components bought in bulk) is a lot less expensive than buying premium varmint ammo, but do have to trim every loading and only get about 6-7 loads out of one brass.

And the groups outta my Stag Arms are just perfect at 200. Nice little ragged hole with 5 shots
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Old July 21, 2011, 09:04 AM   #22
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I trim my brass before I ever load it even once. Then, I use a modest load that is very accurate for my gun. So far, I have shot some of them about 5 times or so. They have actually shrunk a little in length and show no signs of wearing out. I shoot a wylde chamber. Maybe that has something to do with it. I don't know, but my m1a and garand don't do that well.
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Old July 21, 2011, 09:34 AM   #23
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Quote:
There is no comparison in quality between proper reloads and the cheap ammo.
Depends entirely upon the diligence of the person or persons doing the loading/reloading.

I am reminded of some things I have read/heard in my 43 years ......

"The professional is satisfied with good enough. It is the passionate amatuer that strives for excellence."

"Close enough for Government work."

"If you really want to ensure something is done right, do it yourself."

So if you care enough to make the very best, take up reloading. If, on the other hand, you trust some unknown hireling in Berzikistan that cares a whole lot more about his production quota than you or your rifle, then go ahead and but the cheapest factory ammo you can find: you generally get what you pay for, when dealing with reputable people...... is everybody in the supply chain between here and Berzerkistan reputable? They probably are. At least you better hope so.

Like the man said, "You get what you pay for." ...... do you really want the cheapest thing that goes bang? Firecrackers are cheaper.



Quote:
Trimming is always the most tedious part of reloading...perhaps I need to invest in a powered trimmmer
You oughta try the Lee trimmer chucked into a 3/8" drill ..... pretty slick.
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Old July 21, 2011, 10:21 AM   #24
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My rule of thumb.

If I can buy 223/5.56 ammo in the low .30 / round its my max to make it worth it.

I like to buy store bought ammo then reload the brass.

Last edited by praetorian97; July 21, 2011 at 10:27 AM.
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Old July 21, 2011, 01:31 PM   #25
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It all depends upon what you are trying to accomplish with the ammo. For myself, I have become hopelessly addicted to developing accuracy loads. Currently, all my rifles are larger calibers, but I am strongly considering buying a quality bolt action rifle chambered in .223 so that I can shoot 0.5" groups. I figure I can develop loads that will do that for about $0.28 per round in a .223. Currently, it costs me $0.38 per round for that kind of accuracy in my .243 and about $0.56 per round for good accurate loads in my 7 MM Mag. But regardless of the cost savings, I just enjoy taking another rifle and finding an accurate load in it.

So, I'm not sure if $0.28/round is as cheap as cheap factory ammo or not. But if you desire great accuracy, that's about what it costs and you won't get it with the cheap stuff.
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