The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The North Corral > Black Powder and Cowboy Action Shooting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old March 15, 2014, 09:29 AM   #1
chaz12
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 22, 2008
Posts: 211
Shooting percussion is not cheap anymore

Went to Cabelas yesterday and paid 90 dollars for 100 .36 cal roundball, 100 .44 cal roundball, 200 remington #10 caps, and 400 felt wads. They only had the two #10 caps, or I would have gotten a few more. Subtract out the extra 200 wads, and that's about 70 dollars for 200 rounds, or just under .30 per round. About the same as what I get .38 spl for on line.

I tell people that you save money shooting percussion revolvers because you shoot less rounds. I shoot about 25 percussion rounds in an hour, and then I switch to some cartridge shooting where I shoot maybe 100 rounds, and that takes me another 45 min to an hour.

Chaz
chaz12 is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 09:36 AM   #2
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,753
Start casting your own balls and cutting your own wads and your cost will drop dramatically.
Hawg is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 10:52 AM   #3
4V50 Gary
Staff
 
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 16,924
What Hawg said. Cast your own and stamp out your own wads. The more self sufficient you become, the cheaper it becomes.
__________________
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
4V50 Gary is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 11:04 AM   #4
Kappe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 28, 2013
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 149
Sounds a little expensive. Around here I pay $10.99 for a 100c box of .36 round balls, + $1 or $2 for .44 I think, $6.99 for a tin of 100 caps.

I don't use wads. I smear lube over the chambers. I've stocked up on some Bore Butter and SPG, whichever's the cheapest at the time. Both of these could also be used for lubing BP or low-velocity smokeless cartridge loads.
I still haven't finished the first 5 oz tube of Bore Butter after probably around 150 shots. That was about $6 or $7, I think. So $45 in all or 23 cents a shot for what you got.
Kappe is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 11:20 AM   #5
maillemaker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2010
Posts: 1,025
I cast my own. But it's still not cheap. In fact, I think BP shooting is on par with cartridge shooting.

I buy my lead from Rotometals for $2.10 a pound, with free shipping (although lately it's up around $2.50 a pound). It's more expensive than some of the sources folks have told me about, but I can be sure it is 99.9% pure lead. I usually buy it at 70 pounds an order, which comes out to about $150. 70 pounds of lead is enough lead to make about 980 500-grain bullets.

I buy FF Goex from Back Creek Gun Shop in Winchester, VA for $15/pound - if I can get folks to pick it up for me at the Nationals. If not, shipped it's about $25 a pound. I shoot a 44 grain charge in my Richmond Carbine, and a 48 grain charge in my P53 Enfield. 48 grains of powder is about .007 pounds. That comes out to $.11 per shot of powder. Dynamite Nobel primers from the same store are currently $73 per 1000, or .073 each - again only if I can get them picked up. Otherwise it's shipping and hazmat and they are about $12 per 100 or $.12 each. And a 500 grain bullet is about .071 pounds of lead, which works out to about $.15 of lead per shot. So that works out to $.33 per shot total - best case!

Worst case it's $.18 in powder, .12 per primer, and $.17 in lead, or $.47 per shot!

For a competition, I make up 100 rounds per firearm, or about 300 rounds. That's $141 in ammo.

Steve
maillemaker is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 11:26 AM   #6
bedbugbilly
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 19, 2009
Posts: 2,240
Hawg took the words right out of my mouth! Yes, you have the initial investment of a mold - Lee are reasonable and work just fine - roughly $20 = shipping from Titan. If you don't have a propane burner or don't want to invest in an electric pot - you can cast over a wood fire just fine.

I agree that the price keeps going up on caps and powder but it has on everything else as well.

As Hawg suggested - you can make your own wads as well. Casting and making what you can will lower the price but you still are going to have to pay for the powder and caps . .. just no way around it.

Just like your .38 specials. I started reloading just because of the price on store bought. On .38 specials - if you save your spent casings they can be reloaded many times - if you have to buy them - figure .06 - .08 for range brass. Primers - I pay around $35 / 1000 so figure it at .04 each. Powder - a pound of smokeless will go a long way - I use Bullseye presently - can charge a .38 casing for .02. I cast my own lead slugs - most of my lead is "scrounged" so I have little or nothing in it - just my time. End result - I can reload a box of 50 for around $3.00 - pretty cheap shooting. If you had to buy your bullets - probably around .10 ea. so reloaded rounds would be around .16 ea. - so $8.00 / box of 50 using your casings but purchasing cast bullets to use.

You still have the initial investment in reloading equipment but over time, it will ay for itself (you don't need to spend high $ and get the best when something much cheaper and proven will work). Casting my own, making my own wads, lube, etc. and reloading just helps to keep the price down for both BP and cartridges - allowing me to shoot more and more often.

At some point, you might give some consideration to casting your own, etc. There are some good sites that you can get information on and there is plenty of good help on here. Good luck to you!
__________________
If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
bedbugbilly is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 11:55 AM   #7
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 21, 2008
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 1,195
Boy, I must shoot real cheap. There are three of us in the family who shoot.
I have a lifetime supply of everything. Powder 9.00 a lb. I get 500 shots to a
lb. Caps 32.00 a thousand. Balls were 9.00 for 700. So I probably shoot for
a nickle a shot or so. All three of us shoot about a 1000 total. I have enough
of everything for 25,000 shots. That's 25 years at the present rate. I'm 71.
kwhi43@kc.rr.com is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 12:21 PM   #8
dr1445
Member
 
Join Date: January 10, 2009
Location: CT
Posts: 67
wads by the 1k.
http://www.sageoutfitters.com/catalo...43/7463802.htm
dr1445 is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 02:23 PM   #9
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,753
Quote:
you still are going to have to pay for the powder and caps . .. just no way around it.
Well you CAN make your own powder for about 3.00 per pound. Plenty of folks are doing it these days and if you're a glutton for punishment you can make your own caps but to me that whole process sounds like a PITA and I quit making paper cartridges cuz that was a PITA to me.
Hawg is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 06:48 PM   #10
maillemaker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2010
Posts: 1,025
I've been considering making my own powder. It's getting harder and harder to get real black powder. And the hazmat shipping is eating me up.

I also have been contemplating making caps but I'm leery of making contact explosive.

Steve
maillemaker is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 07:29 PM   #11
Sure Shot Mc Gee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 2, 2012
Posts: 2,091
Watch'en Andy Jackson slip away.

You guys want to shoot those six shooters. It's going to cost yaws. After all you fellows aren't shooting Great Great Grandpa's single shot hand canon as seen in the early 1800s.
As far as component pricing. There are a number of ways to trim costs. But those basic B/P ways which help to hang onto Andy Jackson's. Yup they require free time. And there lies the problem. Perhaps it's cheaper to purchase than to home-made make y'alls our own.
Sure Shot Mc Gee is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 08:58 PM   #12
wap41
Member
 
Join Date: August 3, 2009
Posts: 90
kwhi43

Phil,glad you have a big enough supply to last for 25 years but what are you going to do after you are 96 yrs old?
wap41 is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 09:04 PM   #13
ZVP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 20, 2009
Posts: 841
Cabela's discount code?

Is there a cupon code to save shipping at Cabela's?
Thanks
ZVP
ZVP is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 09:17 PM   #14
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 21, 2008
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 1,195
Downhill sking.
kwhi43@kc.rr.com is offline  
Old March 15, 2014, 11:52 PM   #15
shortwave
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 17, 2007
Location: SOUTHEAST, OHIO
Posts: 5,936
^^^Heee-hee-he.^^^

You tell 'em kwhi43
shortwave is offline  
Old March 16, 2014, 07:22 AM   #16
B.L.E.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2008
Location: Somewhere on the Southern shore of Lake Travis, TX
Posts: 1,926
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaz12
Went to Cabelas yesterday and ...............
I think I've spotted your problem. I work about a mile away from a Cabelas and I often buy reloading supplies and modern ammo from them but buying muzzleloading stuff from them, you might as well eat lunch at a ski resort.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwhi43@kc.rr.com
Downhill sking.
Lift tickets are free for 70 and over at Sipapu NM.
__________________
Hanlon's Razor
"Do not invoke conspiracy as explanation when ignorance and incompetence will suffice, as conspiracy implies intelligence and organization."

Last edited by B.L.E.; March 16, 2014 at 07:28 AM.
B.L.E. is offline  
Old March 16, 2014, 08:57 AM   #17
brazosdave
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 7, 2012
Location: Copperas Cove, TX
Posts: 307
I have cut costs to minimal. Cast my own balls, punch out my own wads, use mainly dishsoap and water for cleaning. I mill, press, grind, and screen my own black powder. I use mainly olive oil for lubrication. and for my single shots, I have found that the little packs of 100% cotton in the sewing dept at walmart for 98cents, while cut into strips, dampened with a little olive oil, and then put into ziplocks, makes for great cut at the muzzle roundball patches. The only thing i'm really buying now is percussion caps, and depending where i go to shoot, range time. Oh, and for cartridge, just reload with the powder you made and your good to go on that for fairly cheap also.
__________________
"I'm your huckleberry, it's just my game"
brazosdave is offline  
Old March 16, 2014, 12:39 PM   #18
DoubleDeuce 1
Member
 
Join Date: February 21, 2013
Posts: 76
I just bought a couple of tins of caps for $2.50 a tin. I have been casting my own round balls since about forever. The cost isn't too bad. No telling what the future holds.
DoubleDeuce 1 is offline  
Old March 16, 2014, 02:51 PM   #19
maillemaker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2010
Posts: 1,025
Quote:
I mill, press, grind, and screen my own black powder.
I would like to know more about how to do this. What do you think your cost per pound is, not including your time?

Steve
maillemaker is offline  
Old March 16, 2014, 02:54 PM   #20
swathdiver
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 19, 2012
Location: Treasure Coast, Florida
Posts: 145
I pay .70 cents a pound for scrap lead and then smelt it into ingots with turkey fryer. Cast conicals and round ball as needed with Lee Molds and bottom pour 4-20. Had Ohio Ramrod turn me wad punches in the three revolver calibers and by wool felt from Duro Felt. Lube is also home made. Buy powder in bulk and same with caps to keep costs down. Less than .20 cents a round, try that with a 1911 or even a .38 special these days.

Ohh, there's no excuse for sticking with sythetics when Grafs and PowderInc can ship the real thing to your door for the same or less when you buy at least 3-5 lbs and preferably 10-25 lbs at a time, the cost of powder comes way way down making the hazmat fee essentially disappear in the grand scheme of things.
swathdiver is offline  
Old March 16, 2014, 03:35 PM   #21
shortwave
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 17, 2007
Location: SOUTHEAST, OHIO
Posts: 5,936
Maybe guys in the same state/area could get together and place orders in bulk to make things cheaper.
shortwave is offline  
Old March 17, 2014, 10:55 PM   #22
Modernhoglegs
Member
 
Join Date: July 10, 2013
Posts: 24
Grandma's Squirrel Meat Gravy

Years ago Backwoods Home magazine ran an article that described a form of diy gun powder composec of potassium nitrate from the chicken run, sugar, and powderdd rust. The article is available online.

I have not tried it yet, but I found out the nitrate can be purchased at the pharmacy.
High grade rust can be purchased as red paint pigment labeled as ferrous oxide.
Sugar is sugar.

YMMV
__________________
Author of the "Handbook of Modern Percussion Revolvers"
Modernhoglegs is offline  
Old March 18, 2014, 08:12 AM   #23
Sure Shot Mc Gee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 2, 2012
Posts: 2,091
How much $$ one can save making their own Black. Depends on where you buy your supplies. But on average its runs about 2.50 to $3.00 a lb. Some chemical dealers even offer discounts. The more you buy the cheaper their chemicals cost.
It really isn't hard to make. There are two method's that I know of. (Wet or Ball rolling.) Either way of doing require a progression of steps in its making needing to be followed exactly in proper order.

Only difference between homemade and store bought is in their metering. Homemade is lighter in weight than store because it hasn't been coated with graphite or whatever. Thus your going to use more homemade powder in a Charge because of its fluffy-ness so to speak. When compared to a store bought powders Charge. {You'll notice the difference in amounts.} So its best to scale weigh at first until you get accustom to using.

As with any powders use. Homemade B/P does require some tweaking up or down its (amount.) Being necessary to get the results you want.
If you intend to shoot B/P pistol. Homemade requires it being lightly dampened than pressed into disks dried than broken or ground down into small pieces and screened to desired kernel size. But homemade shot out of a rifle only requires it being dampened than forced through a screen to size wanted (2-FF or 3-FFF) and dried.

Where many people get confused is in its charcoal. Black Willow charcoal ground into a fine dust or (air float) as its called is the Gold standard for good rifle powder.
FWIW: If someone happens to live in a apartment building. I wouldn't suggest B/P being made.
Sure Shot Mc Gee is offline  
Old March 18, 2014, 12:23 PM   #24
maillemaker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2010
Posts: 1,025
I wonder if removing the graphite from BP makes it less conductive and more prone to detonation from static?

Steve
maillemaker is offline  
Old March 18, 2014, 12:48 PM   #25
robhof
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 16, 2007
Posts: 705
robhof

Graphite was indeed added to resist static ignition and to slicken the powder for consistent pouring.
robhof is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12813 seconds with 7 queries