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Old February 2, 2013, 07:41 AM   #1
mfreem08
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Recouped cost?

He guys. I looked but didn't see any recent postings on this subject. What I'm curious about is how long does it take (reloaded rounds) before you are actually "saving" money. Obviously this would include dies, presses, powders, scales, etc.. I would like to get started reloading .40, 30-30, & 8mm. Realistically what is that break even point?
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:25 AM   #2
Mike / Tx
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Quote:
Recouped cost?
He guys. I looked but didn't see any recent postings on this subject. What I'm curious about is how long does it take (reloaded rounds) before you are actually "saving" money. Obviously this would include dies, presses, powders, scales, etc.. I would like to get started reloading .40, 30-30, & 8mm. Realistically what is that break even point?
Well it would depend on a few things in general. The biggest would be the amount of shooting you actually do with the mentioned calibers. that would be followed by the actual cost of the combined equipment you purchase either being new or second hand, followed by the cost of the components you chose to use to load your ammo with. If your shooting economy loads or using the best brass, bullets and individual powders for every load.

In my case the equipment cost was quickly recooped simple due to the specific calibers I load, not to mention the amount I shot them. Take for instance that one box of 7mm STW factory loads usually runs in the mid $40 range even for standard loads, then throw another 10 into that for a sudo premium bullet or another 20 onto that for a premium bullet. It doesn't take too many had loaded rounds to cover the cost of a press and a set of dies.

With the amount I shoot I purchase most things in bulk. I pick up primers in case lots of 5K verses 1K to save a dollar, same with bullets when I can. For powder I try to stick with the ones that will cover more than one caliber or a specific load say like H-4895 or H-1000 which covers several loads in several calibers and I get it in 8# jugs verses 1# jugs. Again to save a little. It does add up, but it takes a bit of research and compromise to do so. Like for the 4895, it might not be the overall top end performer in every caliber I use it in, but it will and does give me an accurate load in the ones I use it for, at a decent velocity to do what I want done. It is plenty good enough to warrant one powder for several loads verses several powders for one load. It would be like say Unique is for handgun rounds, not the overall best, but can be used to load something in almost every caliber if needed.

Then you have the bullets which can either be purchased in bulk from jacketed to cast. Which one and what brand and type will either cost more or less depending on just what your goal is. Some bullets aren't offered in bulk quantities as well, so again a compromise. Me personally I would rather spend $100 on a thousand bullets than on 3-4 hundred of a top named brand. In some cases only getting 1-200 for the same cost. I shoot plenty of Remington jacketed bullets purchased in bulk and get great results in both rifle and handguns. I DO shoot a few premium bullets like the Nosler or Barnes for special loads, but not for all around general shooting.

Cases if purchased new are simply a consumable to me. I don't even add the cost into the equasion since they are reusable. Some do and it might make a diference but it is so quickly absorbed it's not worth the effort to me.

Also I load some calibers that simply cost more to shoot than others like a 10mm, 41mag, 454 Casull, and the rifles as well like the 6.5x55, and STW and some customs which can't be purchased in factory form. So for me it is only logical to handload.

Where some folks shoot 5 boxes of shells a year I might shoot that many in one weekend or even a day of shooting. Throw in the factory cost verses me loading them, and if I were shooting factory I wouldn't be shooting much. Figuring that a good press, scale, and other tools will last years and years with decent care, your cost is recovered eventually. The key to it all is, if you have it you will have ammo if you have supplies to put together. Also your ammo will be tailored to your needs and wants rather than what you can find sitting on the shelf.
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:44 AM   #3
ScottRiqui
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You can use Google to find "reloading calculators", where you enter in the price of your components (primers, powder, bullets, cases), and it calculates a "per round" or "per box" cost. Compare that to what you're currently paying for commercial ammo, and then multiply the difference by how many rounds/boxes you'll be shooting.

Using cast lead bullets (bought from Missouri Bullets, not cast myself), I can reload .380, .40 and .45 for something like $4.50 - $6 per box of 50, so it didn't take long for the savings to exceed the price of my press & dies.

Note that I'm probably not spending any less money overall than I did before I started reloading, but I'm sure shooting a heck of a lot more!
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:49 AM   #4
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Don't let anyone fool you into thinking you save money reloading. All you actually do is shoot a whole bunch more.
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:52 AM   #5
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Save Money??? how can one save money when there are so many purchases to be made??? Powder Primers Cases Bullets, Range trips Testing..........
There is no savings until about your 10 or 15th year.......
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Old February 2, 2013, 09:11 AM   #6
mfreem08
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Thanks for all the quick responses guys. Very useful information Mike/Tx! I also here ya Hooligan & TMD. I have read many accounts where guys that wanted to save $ like me & they just end up shooting 3-4 times more often. Ah the viscous cycle. Thanks again
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Old February 2, 2013, 09:24 AM   #7
Misssissippi Dave
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Last year I saved well over $3k when you compare the price of my reloads to factory ammo. Since most of that was also shot I didn't save a thing. At least it does help to keep the cost of my other hobby (shooting) in check. Since I got back into reloading I have notice one thing has changed, I don't spend as much on new pistols now. Change the load and it feels like a new pistol.

Last edited by Misssissippi Dave; February 2, 2013 at 09:40 AM.
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Old February 2, 2013, 09:42 AM   #8
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I believe the benefits of having the exact ammo you want probably outweight the cost savings. Over a lifetime though you can save yourself some money, but the actual return on the equipment investment will be slow. If you figure in your labor you are probably better off buying new ammo.

I feel reloading is a part of the sport, you have the ability to tailor loads to your situation and that puts you on a different level. You have to want to reload, it can not be a duty. If it feels like work, again you may be better off with new ammo.

I have reloaded 12ga. shotgun for trapshooting for many years. I feel I can produce a shell that is as good quality wise as any premium shell like a AA or STS for about $4.40 currently. Those shells cost around $8.00 at your local WalMart. I actually like my 1140 fps 1 ounce "low recoil" load better than anything that is on the market, because there is no such load on the market.

I decided to start loading metallic because I was tired of an inconsistent supply of ammo in my area, even before the "panic." Plus my son bought a new 9mm and I am now loading for two instead of just myself.

I bought the RCBS Supreme master kit from Midway for $319, with it I get 500 free rebate Speer bullets coming from RCBS. I already have a Dillon scale so I sold the 505 scale from the kit for $75 dollars on ebay. I have Red Dot, Titegroup, Green Dot, and 700X on hand. I bought some brass on Gunbroker at decent price to compliment what I had. My 9mm bullets were a gunshow bargain I could not pass up from 5 years ago. Traded a fellow some 209 primers for small pistol. So all in all I do not have much in my start up.

If I decide I hate loading metallic (so far it is enjoyable) everything I have will sell nicely and get me back to almost even.
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Old February 2, 2013, 12:06 PM   #9
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You should be able to save at least 50% of what factory ammo cost. So for example if a factory round cost 20 cents and you can load it yourself for 10 cents then you are saving money, what you do with those savings is up to you. If you can't save money reloading you aren't buying right.
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Old February 2, 2013, 06:05 PM   #10
Lost Sheep
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Short answer / Long answer

Short Answer:

I have a friend who shoot 500 S&W for 75 cents a round. Instead of $3.00 a round. When I started shooting in 1975 I shot .357 for a quarter of what factory ammunition would have cost. 9mm, though, has a much slimmer savings ratio. Some more exotic chamberings, the savings might be more, or even approaching infinity where factory ammunition is no longer available.

Long Answer: I did a thread called "Monetizing your reloading time" that sought to explain the calculations involved in establishing the breakeven point for not only the components and initial equipment, but your time. Here it is again:

What's my TIME worth, loading? (Monetizing your time at your press)
There have been a few posts asking about the cost of reloading and if reloading is worth it, financially (ignoring the education, sensitivity, quality, customization, accuracy, availability and independence benefits).

I know many loaders adamantly do not count their time as part of their loading costs. To those loaders, I ask, please do not address this. It will only clutter the thread. If you want to discuss it, please start another thread. This thread is 1) just for curiosity and 2) for those who do put a dollar value on their time.


Say you invest $500 in a loading bench on which you are able to load 100 rounds per hour. (I have done this, so I know you can, too.)

Then you buy enough components to load 2,000 rounds of 38 Special/.357 Magnum ammunition.

That would be 3 lbs powder, 2,000 primers, 2,000 premium plated bullets, and 200 once fired ases (you may already have these on hand from your prior shooting, but I am including them as a cost anyway).

Prices I have found on the internet and in my local gun store.

214.00 bullets (2,000)
70.00 primers (2,000)
56.00 powder (2 lbs)
160.00 brass (400, to be re-used 5 times, which is quite conservative)

Total investment, Tools: $500 Components: $500. $1,000 plus 20 hours of your time at the press for 2,000 rounds.

Equivalent in retail ammunition at $25 per 50 round box, 2,000 rounds.

But you have received nothing monetarily for your 20 hours operating the press.


But, let's take it to 4,000 rounds

Total investment $1,500 and 40 hours of your time for 4,000 rounds

Equivalent in retail ammunition at $25 per 50 round box, 4,000 rounds is $2,000. You have just "paid" yourself the $500 you saved by reloading for 40 hours of your time. $12.50 per hour.


Now, let's take it to 6,000 rounds.

Total investment $2,000 and 60 hours of your time for 6,000 rounds

Equivalent in retail ammunition at $25 per 50 round box, 6,000 rounds is $3,000. You have just "paid" yourself the $1,000 you saved by reloading for 40 hours of your time. $16.67 per hour.


Now, let's take it to 8,000 rounds.

Total investment $2,500 and 80 hours of your time for 8,000 rounds

Equivalent in retail ammunition at $25 per 50 round box, 8,000 rounds is $4,000. You have just "paid" yourself the $1500 you saved by reloading for 40 hours of your time. $18.75 per hour.

I have a spreadsheet that cranks through the calculations, if you want the formulas, I can send them.

To work the calculations you need 6 elements:
1) Cost of your loading setup
2) Number of times your brass can be (or will be) reloaded
3) cost of your brass
4) cost of your primers
5) cost of your powder in one of two ways,
(1)Cost of powder for round or
(2)Cost of powder per pound and an estimate of your powder "spillage" and your charge weight.
6) Amount of time to load your typical session's production, to include ALL TIME SPENT. Setup and teardown, separating brass, cleaning, inspecting, boxing, labelling, EVERYTHING.

I know some loaders don't load start-to-finish (like prepping and priming all their cases for weeks and then completing the loading later). For those loaders, my spreadsheet is not yet up to the task unless you organize the data in digestible form. Sorry.

Enjoy this for what it is, a curiosity.

Lost Sheep

Check this thread "The Math and Economy of Reloading"
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=508887
and my original "What's my TIME worth, loading? (Monetizing your time at your press) "
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=663065

Last edited by Lost Sheep; February 2, 2013 at 06:14 PM.
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:08 PM   #11
mfreem08
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Awesome post Lost Sheep! An exact breakdown for me to figure my cost. Like stated earlier, I wouldn't consider my time in it just bc I like this kind of stuff. Tearing down my Mosin to get all the cosmoline off of it was.. Fun! I know it sounds crazy to some but that's what hobbies are, not for everyone. Thanks again guys.
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:23 PM   #12
Lost Sheep
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You're welcome, mfreem08

You're welcome, mfreem08. You can see my postings got mixed reviews when posted before. I appreciate anyone who likes it.

Lost Sheep

Last edited by Lost Sheep; February 3, 2013 at 05:06 PM.
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Old February 3, 2013, 05:05 PM   #13
whipper
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The numbers don’t lie compared to purchasing store bought ammo. You can save a ton of money. That’s what you tell your wife (or significant other) to get permission to reload. But, once you start reloadin that means more trips to the range, more reloadin, more trips to the range. So you do save money. It’s just the more trips to the range that cost more. And the me time is priceless.
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Old February 3, 2013, 07:34 PM   #14
m&p45acp10+1
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For reloading my break even or better poing cam withn I started casting my own lead. I can load a thousand round of .45 acp using Bull's Eye powder, the cheapest primers I can find, and casting lead that cost me $20 for about 300 pounds of it after I sorted the wheel weights.

Total cost for 1k is less than $65

My .45-70 the brass cost a bit, the components of primers were $35 per 1K Trail Boss powder I get about 350 or so from a can that cost me $17. Factory loads cost over $1 a shot.

It cost me more to reload for my Mosin than it does to buy spam can ammo. Though I reload for that one for my wife so she can enjoy shooting her rifle wihout the pain from recoil.
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