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Old July 17, 2012, 03:16 PM   #1
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Beginning inquiry

I'm sure this may have been answered at some point previous to this, but I'd like to possibly get some more information from you experienced reloading shooters. I've read up on reloading and know its benefits, but the real question I'd like to ask is how long does it take for reloading your own ammo to actually save you money as opposed to just buying factory loads? I'm sure prices on the reloading equipment is much different than it was years ago, but any answer can help. I will most likely only be reloading 3-5 different calibers for rifles I own if I do indeed get into reloading if that helps any. Thanks for all of the help
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Old July 17, 2012, 03:50 PM   #2
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Use the search function at the top of this page and you will find this topic has been done to death in one form or another. The answer depends on the caliber, how many reloads you get from each case with that caliber, what kind of bullet you are using, and how much of each reloading component you purchase at one time. No blanket answer is possible. You need to be specific. A few calibers that are commonly available as surplus can take a while to get a payback on because surplus is cheap, relative to other ammo.

Many folks reload, particularly for precision rifle, because after allowing for features unique to their gun, they can make more accurate loads than they can buy. Money savings is secondary for them.
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Last edited by Unclenick; July 17, 2012 at 04:33 PM. Reason: typo fix
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Old July 17, 2012, 04:09 PM   #3
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A clarification on the calibers goes as, .220 swift, .260, .300RUM, .270 win, and 30-06
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Old July 17, 2012, 04:30 PM   #4
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I second what Unclenick said.

For me the cost of just hardware was about $3,200.
The break even point was about 8 months of use.
The reloaded round count to break even was about 18,000 rounds.

The total savings in about about 4 years is about $13,000.
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Old July 17, 2012, 04:39 PM   #5
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Yes, but you don't need to spend that much or shoot that much to start saving money. (Or shooting more for the same cost.)

A handloading manual, a Midway catalog, and a calculator will give you numbers. There are even computer spreadsheets to do the work.
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Old July 17, 2012, 04:42 PM   #6
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How much do you shoot? Those calibers really dont jump out at me as volume cartridges. If you are getting into the hobby to make money, it will probably take quite a while unless you get a barebones, low price setup.

As Unclenick pointed out, rifle reloading (other than folks who are volume loading for their ARs and the like) is usually done for precision/accuracy reasons with cost savings as a future side benefit. Given the current political climate, a good many reloaders take as much benefit from the thought of having a steady, reliable supply of ammunition from their own hand rather than relying on factory supplies. Of course this requires a great outlay in upfront component costs to ensure this supply so actual cost savings come much, much later.

The .300RUM and .220 Swift ammo costs a fortune so you can probably start saving there pretty quickly, but those are also the calibers you will want to take the most time building up to, in my opinion. Dont take my word for that part of it, I am primarily a handgun reloader, but if I were starting out on your calibers the .260 would be the one I would start with.
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Old July 17, 2012, 04:47 PM   #7
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Brass is the most expensive component to buy. Most of us start out with a supply of once-fired brass to work with. I figure for my .243 Premium loads cost about $30/box. With premium bullets, powders, primers I can do 20rds. For $9-$15. I spent ~$200 to get started (I had a hand me down press) and every so often I buy something to make life easier. There's no doubt that the price per round is down, but I have spent more money since I started loading because of how much I now shoot.

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Old July 17, 2012, 04:51 PM   #8
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reloading hasn't saved me any money at all, I shoot more now than ever LOL it has become an obsessive hobby experimenting with different bullet/powder combination etc looking for that most accurate round. gotta love it
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Old July 17, 2012, 04:57 PM   #9
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Here is how it went for me.

I bought a Ruger GP100 earlier in the year. Ammo is kind of pricey. (looking around) Well, I have an ammo can of assorted .38 Special. (Look some more) Hmm, Dad has a stash of brass, and wait, what's this??? A full RCBS Rockchucker set up?????? Let's get to it then! (Pop bought the gear in 1977 and never used it)

Now I have dies for two calibers, and want to get the full set to load for my collection. I have aspirations of buying a progressive press, a few more bullet mold, and tools to make gas checks.

It rapidly devolves into this. I can shoot cheaper, therefore, I shall shoot more. I burned up 250 rounds of 9mm and 150 of .357 magnum in an afternoon. Before this disastrous journey, the only way that volume of fire would be feasible if I stuck with my .22 rifle.

Can you save money? Yes. Will you? That's still up for debate.

The most important question is this. Is it fun? Absolutely.
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Old July 17, 2012, 05:13 PM   #10
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Youngshooter, reguardless of the money you save, reloading for the .220 Swift will be rewarding and exciting!

There are very few commercial loads available for the Swift, and handloads will alow you to achieve accuracy that you never knew was possible from your rifle.

Besides saving money, handloading makes you become more familiar with your rifle and its capablities. It becomes so addictive that you want to try more and different combonations. You will be amazed at how after shooting a .33" group from your Swift, you go home, sit down at the bench and try to figure out why that darn group wasn't .25"!

Hanloading is more than just saving money!
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Old July 17, 2012, 05:45 PM   #11
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Well I can't enlighten you on reloading for rifle. I reload just two pistol calibers. It didn't take long for the store bought ammo prices to make me consider reloading. Reloading has a "startup" cost for the equipment but if you shoot much, then the savings will quickly add up...

...even with 9mm. The folks who proclaim that "there's no savings in reloading 9mm" either get their ammo at unbelievable cheap prices (not at Wal-Mart) or they need to brush up on their math skills. Simple equipment can be less than $200. I got a little higher grade equipment for two pistol calibers, with a number of bells and whistles, for slightly less than $600 - and recouped the initial investment in less than one year with 4000 rounds of 9mm reloads. Plus, I now shoot ammo which has been custom tuned to my pistols.

My current cost is $11.90 per 100 rounds with 124 grain Berrys bullet, CCI primer, Power Pistol powder and “reconditioned” brass. The cost includes shipping and prorated Hazmat fees on small bulk orders from Powder Valley. At Wal-Mart’s current prices, I save $14.20 per 100 rounds. The savings are even better when reloading 40S&W.
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Old July 17, 2012, 06:26 PM   #12
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Well its for dern sure you don't need to rush out and spend 3 grand on equipment to start reloading. Check out the reloading kits available at midway U.S.A. or check out the used equipment on E-Bay.

I know for a fact one can get started for less than $300 bucks components and equipment, everything.
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Old July 17, 2012, 07:00 PM   #13
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here is a cost calculator.
Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.
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Old July 17, 2012, 07:07 PM   #14
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That page does not come up!
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Old July 17, 2012, 08:22 PM   #15
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You won't be sorry you did it. Just be careful and start gradually. You DON"T need to spend $3200. I've been doing this a long time and I doubt I have spent much more than that total. I load about 15 different calibers and 20 different cartridges. Big bore rifle rounds are pricey. You will save money or shoot more or both. It is a lot like dining. It's nice to have a ready made meal. It's convenient. However if you can cook-at home. Well you can make whatever you need now. No longer is your shooting controlled by what Walmart has in stock. Good Luck.
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Old July 17, 2012, 09:55 PM   #16
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A clarification on the calibers goes as, .220 swift, .260, .300RUM, .270 win, and 30-06
Shouldn't take long at all with those calibers.... My first caliber was .308, which doesn't save much, if you shoot only cheap ammo.... However, good hunting ammo is $30+ a box, and I can reload it for under $15 a box. My second caliber was 9mm... still not a big money saver, but I reload it for about $7 a box vs $12 at the store, which is enough of a savings for me. I recently started reloading 30-06 for my dad... I did the math, and counting the dies, turret, case trimmer (lee) a pound of varget, and the first 100 primers and bullets, he would save something like $35 on the FIRST 100 rounds, and $80 on each hundred after that......

According to my spreadsheet, I have spent $550 on reloading "hardware" (which includes by turret press, and turrets/dies for .308, 30-30, 30-06, .300 savage, 9mm, and .380 auto, plus the case trimmers, and other misc stuff) and $629 on components.... of course, $300 of the components money was in stocking up on primers... I figure those are the only part that would really be hard to get if things go bad come November so I have been trying to buy a couple boxes a month.....

So, while I have not yet "broken even" on the money I have spent buying reloading gear/components, I like to think of it kinda like an ammo buying discount club.... The cost to "buy into the club" was the price of the press/dies, which I have already spent, so now each time I need more ammo, I spend $30-$60, and get 100 rounds of rifle or 250 rounds of pistol.... which would cost me $150 for rifle and $60-$100 for pistol If I were buying factory stuff. Just the .308 I shot last year would have cost around $250 buying factory stuff.... plus many hundreds of 9mm, and now I have started reloading .380 auto, so should get some good savings out of that too.....
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Old July 18, 2012, 12:01 AM   #17
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Here is another suggestion. Don't worry about the cost, just purchase a set-up that you wish and the components that will fit your needs and have at it.

When you started a household did you wonder how soon the stove, fridge, dishwasher, small appliances, dishes, silverware and all the food products would be paid for over eating out every meal?

Bet not!
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Old July 18, 2012, 12:19 AM   #18
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It won't save you any money.....

.... but I highly recommend it!

I figured it up a couple of years ago for .270 WIN ..... about 300 rounds before the savings over factory ammo would pay for a Lee 50th Anniversary kit, assuming you bought premium bullets 100 at a time, primers 1000 at a time, and powder in a 1lb can, all at Cabela's in-store prices.

Before I started handloading, I shot a box or two a year.

After I started handloading, there were times I shot 150 rounds/day on CONSECUTIVE DAYS- June prairiedogs are SOOOO much fun! no, you will not save any money, but you can not help but become a better shot.
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Old July 18, 2012, 01:33 AM   #19
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Cost Calculators

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Old July 18, 2012, 01:40 AM   #20
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Here's one way to visualize it and another to calculate

Reloading Cost by the Box

Consider the cost of getting into handloading by comparing the cost of retail boxes of ammo to the cost of that same amount of ammunition bought as components and including the cost of the reloading gear.

For comparison purposes, I will stipulate that a typical box of (50 count) handgun ammunition costs about the same as a typical box of (20 count) rifle ammunition.

If you take enough money to buy 12 boxes of ammunition and apply it to the purchase of;

A) 2 boxes of store-bought ammunition (so you have the brass which you will re-use) and apply the remaining money to the purchase of

B) A decent press, dies, scale, a few extra small implements necessary to the activity

C) enough powder, primers and bullets to make 10 more boxes of ammunition, (500 handgun or 200 rifle)

you will have spent the same amount of money for the same amount of shooting (12 boxes worth - 600 handgun or 240 rifle) and you may well have some powder left over.

After that, all your ammunition is a fraction of the cost of store-bought (excluding your time, of course, but for some cartridges, you can amortize your time, too and still be saving money; depending on if you count your time as worth $20 per hour or $100, of course. The bonuses of satisfaction, better quality ammo and the independence from retailers are not even addressed here).

This rough estimate applies equally well to bottlenecked rifle cartridges as to handgun cartridges.

The exact figures will depend on local prices, but I expect counting by boxes will be more universal than counting by currency, even in different countries.

Then I made a spreadsheet to amortize the cost of the equipment and presented it in this thread

Who says one can have only one hobby? I sling lead AND I crunch numbers.

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Old July 19, 2012, 01:16 PM   #21
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this calculator will tell you rounds to break even
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Old July 19, 2012, 01:28 PM   #22
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That depends…

If you reload a 338WM, 450 Marlin, 45 Colt, 480 Ruger, even a 30-06 it won’t take that long if you shoot a lot.


If you shoot a 9mm well it could be a while.


I do it for the love of the hobby and I like the variety and quality of the ammo I can reload that I just can’t buy

BTW I have a single stage press and it works just fine.

Good luck and if you decide to pursue Handloading….

Follow the directions and be careful and you will have a ball.

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