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Old May 6, 2005, 11:51 PM   #1
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My Reloading Cost Analysis

I often get chastised by shooting buddies along the lines of "why do you reload, you should just by in bulk, it's just as cheap and you have more time to shoot?"

Well...for shooting buddies don't have a wife and kid, so I can't really afford to blow 50 bucks every week or two on ammo.
One of the main reasons I got into reloading some 16 years ago was for cost, then I learned that I can make better stuff than I could buy.
As for the "more time to shoot" comment, well...everybody needs a hobby, I live in the suburbs, within a couple hundred feet of an elementary school...I really don't think cranking off rounds in the backyard would go over so well if you know what I mean. I don't have time to go to the range (as often as I would like), and handloading is just a short walk to the shop in the backyard.

Anyway, without further delays, I picked a caliber that I shoot often, just to see if it was really "worth my time". (Not to mention, I get better quality ammo than the cheap factory stuff)

Let's use my newest favorite: 9mm Makarov

Using Unique @ $19 a pound (average price including sales tax)
7000 grains to a pound.
7000 divided by 4.2 (grains) = 1666.66 We'll call it an even 1650 rounds per pound
$19 (powder) divided by 1650 = .0115 cents per round
$2 (primers) divided by 100 = .02 cents per round
Total cost, using cast bullets (free lead) and recycled cases about .03 cents per round.
.03 x 50 = $1.50 per box of 50
Cheap ammo from the gun store $7.00
$7.00 - 1.50 = $5.50 savings per box of 50
Even if I bought new cases each time, It would still be cheaper (or close to the same) as buying factory ammo.

As you can see, it doesn't take long to recover the equipment cost. Yes, you could save even more by buying bulk for Sportmans Guide or Cheaper than Dirt or whoever, but you have to figure in the shipping and don't forget the quality that you lose by not loading your own.
The electricity that I use to melt the lead isn't counted because if I didn't cast my own, I'm sure I'd have some other hobby or pastime that uses just as much, or even more than a casting furnace. I also didn't include bullet lube because, well, I really don't know how to break that down into individual rounds, not to mention the stuff is pretty cheap comparatively.
I haven't done anything when buying jacketed bullets because I really don't shoot many of them.

So, what do you all think? Am I pretty close?
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Old May 7, 2005, 12:55 AM   #2
Guy B. Meredith
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I use pretty West Coast Bullet copper plated bullets for .38 spl. that get my reloads rave reviews on visual presentation. Even with that, I can do a box of 50 for $4 or less. There is some cheap ammo available commercially, but no where near the quality I like. Commercial reloads I used to purchase cost $7.50/box of 50 and commercial with plain lead is $10 on up. My commercial reloader is no longer in the area anyway so that is no longer an option (and is actually what drove me to begin reloading).

Figuring even the minimal saving when compared to the reloads the saving is over $3.50 per 50. This gives a minimum savings of $70 per month when I am in competition and doing at least 1000 rounds per month. On this basis, the savings realized by reloading paid for the equipment in less than a year. It has been saving me over $850 per year since.

Yeah, it makes a difference. It can be boring if you settle on one load and just continue to crank that one out, but you can always consider it meditation time away from worries--and the honey-do list.
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Old May 7, 2005, 08:53 AM   #3
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So, what do you all think? Am I pretty close?
Thats about right. I load for about 1.50 per 50 also. Works out to around 4 bucks a box for a box of 50 44 mags, which have more powder and sometimes gaschecks.

You have to look at what you're comparing though. Even using virgin brass it doesn't surpass the cheap ammo price and what you get is more along the lines of premium ammo than the cheap stuff. Ok for the 1.50 ammo vs 7 or 8 bucks a box (45acp) you wont have jacketed ammo, but you get to to shoot 300% more, but in larger calibers like 44 mag, at 4 bucks a box of 50 compared to premium ammo (apples to apples) the savings is a heck of a lot more and the same quality if not better. Try pricing 50 rnds of premium lead 44 mag and you'll see what I mean. You want jacketed? Ok add 5 bucks a box and you're up to 9 bucks a box for ammo that would cost close to 50 bucks a box for factory, if not more.

And boring? I think not. I've got my staple loads, maybe 200 or 250 lbs worth sitting ready to be shot up and almost as much new experimental loads of different stuff loaded up too.Anyone who gets bored at the reloading bench doesn't have much of an imagination!

The way I figure it, reloading throughout the time of being married & raising the kids, saved me even more money in that it kept me out of trouble and off the street where I undoubably would've gotten more traffic tickets and so forth and the higher insurance that would've gone with it. That right there cancels out the gas or electric used to cast with.
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Old May 7, 2005, 09:17 AM   #4
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Old May 7, 2005, 10:21 AM   #5
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You're close. My costs run a little lower because I shoot surplus powder I bought at about a third of gun store pound can prices and I buy primers 30-50k at a time for about $14 @m. Primer still costs more than the rest of the components put together.
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Old May 7, 2005, 05:47 PM   #6
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Hey wudjalike2no, thanks for that link, that's a nice little tool there. I tapped all of my figures out on a calculator, this sure would have saved me a lot of time!

BTW- It was really close to the same numbers I came up with.
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Old May 7, 2005, 07:57 PM   #7
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you are very welcome
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Old May 7, 2005, 08:38 PM   #8
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I load my own rifle rounds as well as handgun ammo.

I can buy 50 130 grain Nosler balistic tips for about 10 bucks.

Load them up and shoot/ sight in with what I will hunt, for a lot cheaper than I would be able to do at $15/ 20.

Translate...More shooting...better shot.
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Old May 7, 2005, 10:20 PM   #9
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Reloading ...not only cheaper but also if done correctly can be alot more accurate and consistent.
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