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Old September 13, 2017, 06:30 AM   #1
locknloader
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Tips for buying supplies

Looking for any tips you guys can pass along in regards to buying supplies:

- Better to buy 1lb or bigger containers of powder?
- Better to buy components at store to avoid hazmat fees or online in bulk to spread out the hazmat across many items?
- Can you give me some ideas on what typical costs are for bullets and powder? Whats a good deal and whats a rip off? ( i can get brass for free)

Any other useful info would be appreciated!

Thanks
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Old September 13, 2017, 06:55 AM   #2
Doublehelix3216
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I tend to buy powder by the 8lb jug if I can to save money, but then again, I shoot a lot (over 11,000 rounds this year already).

I try to buy locally if I can. This avoids Hazmat fees and supports local businesses. (I tend not to go to Cabella's or the other large box stores.) I am lucky to have a local shop that stocks most of the stuff I need.

If you have to buy online, look for deals that wave the Hazmat fees. Natchez just had one, and I see them all the time from places like Midway USA and Brownells. Otherwise, do as you say and buy in bulk to spread the Hazmat fees out among a larger purchase.

I have been buying my bullets from Rocky Mountain Reloading nowadays (RMR). Great to deal with, FAST, FREE shipping (I get my bullets 2 days after ordering). If you register with them, they also send out discount codes all the time (5-10% off). I have been buying their in-house jacketed bullets lately at just a hair more than the plated bullets sell for at Xtreme or Berrys. I much prefer the jacketed over the plated.

I've been buying 8 lbs of Titegroup for around $135 + tax (but no shipping or Hazmat) locally.

I buy 5,000 CCI primers for about $125 + tax.

I buy 1,000 9mm bullets for between $60 and $80 with free shipping.
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Old September 13, 2017, 07:28 AM   #3
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8# jugs. If buying online, then max out powder and primers for 1hazmat fee. Bullets best bought by the full case of thousands
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Old September 13, 2017, 08:19 AM   #4
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I buy many items online but NEVER powder 'cause of the hazmat add-on... Big gun shows with a few competitive component dealers are where I buy most of my powder.
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Old September 13, 2017, 08:26 AM   #5
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If you are new to reloading, hold off buying in bulk until you fin out what works best for you. While primers are fairly consistent, powder and projectiles can be very subjective, to both the reloader and the gun they are used in. Buying a thousand bullets that don't work well for you or you gun is not a value regardless of the price. Once you figure out what works well for you, then go for it. Just because someone online claims a specific powder or projectile is the best thing since sliced bread in their firearm, don't make it so for you. For the most part, as a new reloader, stick with those powders/projectiles that have been around for a while and proven over time. They will be the ones with the most info available, and tend to be the easiest to have success with.
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Old September 13, 2017, 08:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
- Better to buy 1lb or bigger containers of powder?
Yes. Depends on how much and for what you reload and how much money you're willing to tie up.

Quote:
- Better to buy components at store to avoid hazmat fees or online in bulk to spread out the hazmat across many items?
Yes. Depends on IF you have a LGS and what their prices are and how diligently you are willing to shop the web and wait for sales. Two friends and I usually combine our powder and primer orders to spread out the shipping and hazmat fees.

Quote:
- Can you give me some ideas on what typical costs are for bullets and powder?
Not without knowing caliber, intended use, intended firearm, yada, yada, yada. There are no such things as "typical" bullets and powder as far as I know. A lot of folks will tell you "I paid this" and "I paid that", but fail to mention where they paid it. I personally like window shopping online for the best deals for the components I like and tailored to my personal preferences, but then I'm a geek.

Not to sound harsh, but a lot of your questions can be answered through a little research on your own. It's hard to give useful information or advice on such general questions with so few background details. Buck posted some good general advice for you as a beginner.
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Old September 13, 2017, 08:44 AM   #7
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It depends on what you can afford, how much you can store, what calibers, how much you shoot.

For me buying online would be cheaper if I get over 8 lbs of powder. Most local dealers are going to be 150+ for 8# jugs of what I buy. Online they are going to be about $130 plus hazmat. Anything over 8# and it makes it a lot cheaper to buy online. However if you buy online you have to have someone at home to sign for the package. I'm never home when stuff is delivered so that doesn't work for me.

You should be able to find 9mm bullets for around $.06 to $.08. Large rifle bullets might be $1.00+. It all depends on what you're looking for.

It's pretty easy for me to rack up a $500 shopping cart at powdervalley.com. The same items would probably cost between $600 and $700 locally. Some people won't bait an eye at spending $500 on powder and primers, others wouldn't be eating for a month...
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Old September 13, 2017, 08:56 AM   #8
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I think you will find this varies on your volumes. The only real advice I have is buy to maintain a year's supply.

The other thing is....if you want to be a load developer, but in small quantities. If you want to be a shooter, buy stuff by the 1000's thinking about your annual usage.

I've only bought a 1000 bullets my gun didn't like once.....they resold quickly.

For rifle accuracy loads, start with new brass. Your 2nd round of loading will be quite accurate!

To get going with bulk pistol, range collection is ok, but there are some nice deals on Facebook on washed and sorted brass by the 1000's. I bought 380 that way to get going.

Last edited by Nathan; September 13, 2017 at 09:06 AM.
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Old September 13, 2017, 08:58 AM   #9
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Contact people at your home range by open newsletter or bulletin board and offer to group buy.

You can't split a can of powder but you can take the hurt out of a hazmat fee when you order twenty pounds of powder or more with two people. You can save on both cost and shipping when you order 5,000 bullets together.
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Old September 13, 2017, 09:28 AM   #10
locknloader
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Appreciate all the insight so far guys, very helpful!
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Old September 13, 2017, 10:28 AM   #11
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Is reddog saying $1 per rifle bullet? Perhaps for some real exotics but hardly for standard bullets. Price at my LGS for Sierra 168 .30 cal Matchkings is $40 per 100 that includes tax. They calculate price and tax so that purchases come out to an even dollar. But imagine paying $100 for a box of 100.
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Last edited by condor bravo; September 13, 2017 at 10:35 AM.
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Old September 13, 2017, 11:02 AM   #12
RC20
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Powder locally. Primers locally.

Bullets on sale or off the internet once you find out what your gun like to shoot.

Key is first find out what your gun likes. Then buy in bulk of 500, shipping should be bulk flat rate at $13.50.

If you shoot the right caliber (223 or 30 caliber) Cabala Hornady Zmax are very good bullet and seem to shoot well in all my guns. Its a Varmint/target bullet. $144 for 500 in 30 caliber.

Locally you save shipping cost but often bullets are not on any kind of sale.

First you want to buy 1 lb powder until you find a powder you like.

Then 8 lb just are the way to go. It saves money and it maintains a reserve. It does not look like a powder shortage any time soon but you never know. I had to do serious scrouiing to keep shooting and now I have 4 or 5 that I refill with 8 lb when I get low.
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Old September 13, 2017, 02:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by condor bravo View Post
Is reddog saying $1 per rifle bullet? Perhaps for some real exotics but hardly for standard bullets. Price at my LGS for Sierra 168 .30 cal Matchkings is $40 per 100 that includes tax. They calculate price and tax so that purchases come out to an even dollar. But imagine paying $100 for a box of 100.
It all depends on the cartridge. Go to MidwayUSA, shop for reloading components, select Bullets, sort by price - High to Low, By Unit. The most expensive item is a 525 grain bullet for 505 Gibbs. A box of 10 bullets is $48.99 or $4.90 each. The OP still hasn't told us what he's loading so any answer is just a guess...
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Old September 13, 2017, 02:49 PM   #14
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9mm, 40cal, 45cal, 223/556, 308
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Old September 13, 2017, 02:56 PM   #15
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Don't buy any components in bulk until you have worked up the load and are finished fiddling with it.
Any savings found on-line will be negated by shipping costs and hazmat fees. Buy components locally. Anything you want can be ordered through your local gun shop. Expect to pay up front and order as much as you can afford at one time. No point ordering one box of bullets or primers or one pound of powder.
For powder in 8 pound kegs, you need a place for it to live that's dry and warm. Local ordinances will tell you how much powder you can have without having a magazine. That's kind of extreme though.
Hornady Z-Max bullets are no longer listed on their site. They were just a marketing ploy anyway. Same bullet as a V-Max but in a scary box. Takes a head shot to kill a zombie anyway. snicker.
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Old September 13, 2017, 03:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
locknloader wrote:
- Better to buy 1lb or bigger containers of powder?
How much do you shoot?

Assuming 4 grains of a powder in a 9mm case, 1 pound (7,000 grains) will yield 1,750 loaded rounds. If you shoot 500 rounds a week, you need to buy powder in larger quantities to get a lower unit cost. If, like me, you only shoot a couple hundred rounds a month, 1 or 2 one-pound canisters is enough to last for a year.

On the other hand, if you're shooting a rifle that uses 45 grains per round, a pound of powder is 155 rounds, so, again, if you shoot more than just during deer season, you might want to buy larger quantities.

Quote:
- Better to buy components at store to avoid hazmat fees or online in bulk to spread out the hazmat across many items?
I regard the hazmat fee as irrelevant. Most on-line sellers are a little cheaper than local stores so if you purchase a large quantity of primers and powder, the price per pound (or per primer) will come close to equaling out.

Still, I buy locally whenever I can. It's not worth it for a local store to pay the costs to stock primers and powder if the only time someone is going to come buy any of it is when they turn up 100 primers short or a pound of powder short. Treat your local store like a 7-11 and that's what it will turn into; with a similarly narrow mix of merchandise.

Quote:
- Can you give me some ideas on what typical costs are for bullets and powder? Whats a good deal and whats a rip off? ( i can get brass for free)
What kind of bullets;
  • Lead, plated, jacketed?
  • Soft point or ballistic tip?
  • Match quality or plinking grade?
  • What caliber?
The short answer is anywhere from about 3 cents per round if you buy small caliber lead bullets in huge quantities to more than $1 per round for individually machined copper alloy self-defense bullets. If you ask a more specific question, the people here can provide more specific answers.

Powder on-line runs from the upper-teens to the upper-thirties depending on the type and whether or not it is a domestic or imported brand. Note that a lot of powder sold by domestic brands is also made overseas. Powder in the stores will run anywhere between $2 to $10 per pound more than on-line. Just as a couple of quick examples:
  • Midsouthshootersupply.com has IMR-4064 for $23.96 per pound (plus hazmat) while the local Academy had it last week for $25.99.
  • Midsouth has IMR-4198 for $25.51 per pound (plus hazmat) while to local gun store near my farm wanted $31.00 per pound.
And I paid the $31 because I wanted to try to keep the store going, but that much difference was just too much of a reach for other people and he recently went out of business.
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Old September 13, 2017, 03:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
locknloader wrote:
Any other useful info would be appreciated!
A lot of pistol shooters use cast lead or coated lead bullets that they make themselves. You've already indicated that you scavenge brass, so adding scavenging scrap lead is a small additional step.

My sons and I do a lot of 100 and 200 yard paper punching with our ARs. For that, I have found "plinking grade" bullets and "pulled" bullets to be an economical source. These are all places I have used before for various types of projectiles.

https://rmrbullets.com

http://www.evergladesammo.com/

https://americanreloading.com/en/

http://www.rozedist.com/

http://www.xtremebullets.com/

https://www.reloadingvalley.com/aboutus.asp

http://magnusbullets.com/

Last edited by hdwhit; September 13, 2017 at 03:27 PM. Reason: Remove statement that OP had not said what he shoots
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Old September 13, 2017, 03:59 PM   #18
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I started reloading almost four years ago now, and I can still clearly remember how much information I had to absorb just reload my first rounds. I also vividly remember all the mistakes I made in terms of what to buy and how much, and from where.

So let me drop some of the lessons I eventually learned through trial-and-error, so hopefully you don't have to repeat some of my mistakes.

First, do as others have undoubtedly already told you and pick the cartridge you want to make from a manual before buying the components. I didn't do that with my first pistols rounds. That ended up costing a fair amount of time and $$.

I began reloading during the most recent 'drought,' so when I saw a box of bullets on the shelf, I bought them before someone else got there and bought them before me. They were a box of plated .40 S&W. Also, there was exactly one bottle of powder on the shelf, so I grabbed that as well. Imagine my annoyance when I got home discovered that my just-acquired powder wasn't recommended for my particular bullets. It was a couple weeks later when I finally found a bottle of appropriate powder.

Also, I had no idea at the time how few recipes there were in my manuals for plated bullets, so I ended up having to ask a lot of questions and extrapolating a recipe. Not fun when you're first starting out.

So do yourself a favor and find a recipe for jacketed or lead cartridges and buy the bullets and powder in the recipe. Not the other way around.

As for where to get stuff, if you're not loading 1,000s of rounds a week/month, a pound of powder will last you awhile, based on the cartridges you say you want to reload. So I'd buy locally, in your case. Ordering online means haz-mat fees, which are around $20 flat, so it only makes sense to buy online if you're going to buy at least 16-20 lbs. at a time. Once you find a powder you like for your purposes, you'll probably consider buying in bulk.

Bullets, on the other hand, are generally cheaper online. At least if you're buying more than 250 at a time. For example, I used to buy Berry's 9mm 250 ct. box for around $45 locally. Found that Berry's 1000 rd. box online was only about $80. Significantly less than half-price, even with the shipping.

I like Rocky Mountain for most of my semi-auto bullets and Missouri Bullet Co. for my cast lead bullets, but everyone has their favorites. There's usually a shipping fee, but no tax, so that's kind of a wash. Also, most of your online bullet sellers have some kind of "sample" pack that allows you to try out a few different bullets before buying in bulk. I suggest that when learning to reload a 'new-to-you' cartridge, buy a small package of bullets initially (probably locally), and once you've shot a few and decide you like them, buy them in bulk online. That way you won't end up with dozens of boxes of partially used bullets laying around the house, like this guy.

Last piece of advice for now: if you haven't already, get a Lyman reloading manual, for the simple reason that they have a good range of recipes for every cartridge you want to reload, which means several options for you in terms of powder and bullets you can use. They even tell you which loads were most accurate in their testing, which has been helpful for me more than once. I'd cross-reference recipes for 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 auto and see if you can use just one powder and one bullet manufacturer for all three. Hint: you can, but I'll let you discover what combinations work best for yourself.

Hope some of that helps.
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Old September 13, 2017, 05:41 PM   #19
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For your handgun bullets, if iinterested in cast variety, check out www.montanabulletworks.com. The lubricant on many cast bullets produce considerable smoke that can be annoying at indoor ranges. MBW uses a blue lube that is non-smoking and they have a good variety of bullet designs, including gas checked handgun bullets, that you won't need, at least now, and offer a variety of sizing diameter selections. Note that other coated handgun bullets are available that produce little or no smoke. Missouri Bullets offers such coated bullets.
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Old September 13, 2017, 05:46 PM   #20
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http://www.shootingtimes.com/reloadi...eloading-tips/
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Old September 13, 2017, 07:00 PM   #21
RC20
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A pound of powder will last forever almost in 9mm

But don't buy big until you settle in on one that you like for your rifles.

Ideally you can get one that covers all of them (Varget maybe) and it may shoot good in all of them.

After that its careful shopping, occasionally bullets are locally cheap but most often not, but locally you can buy a 100 and try them out and then find a low cost source.

I have yet to find any single source that is consistently low cost.

Quote:
Hornady Z-Max bullets are no longer listed on their site. They were just a marketing ploy anyway. Same bullet as a V-Max but in a scary box. Takes a head shot to kill a zombie anyway. snicker.
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Snicker all you want, CAbellas still carries them so it looks like a Cabella only item now and they are $144 a 500 (grin)

My brother laughs as well but when he sees the groups he agrees they are pretty good.

Never was impressed with the Zombie thing but good quality and the price and I can live with yellow tipped bullets and the yokes (pun intended)

In the OPS case they are available in both his rifle calibers.

Hard part is they are box of 500 and you are committed though I think they will shoot at least decently in most rifles. .
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Old September 13, 2017, 08:38 PM   #22
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I can't speak for those who shoot a lot. I only shoot about 100 rounds per week, so I'll answer from that point of view.

Bullets and brass are generally the most expensive reloading components for handguns. So I typically buy brass and bullets when on sale (usually online). I don't burn enough powder or primers to justify the Haz Mat fees so I typically buy those locally, a pound or a thousand at a time.

I shoot less rifle, but purchase those components in the same manner. The magnum cases use up powder fast, but even then I typically don't shoot enough to justify buying more than a pound at a time.

The same basic rules apply for reloading components as well as other items. Look for sales, free shipping, and free haz mat. Of course buying in volume helps as well, if you use enough of the components.

Right now, I'm trying to use up several pounds of various 20 year old powders. Going forward, I think a 5 year supply of components is sufficient. The 20 year old stuff is still working just fine, but I should have shot more and used it up sooner (or bought less at the time).

Looking at what the OP intends to load for, he could probably get by pretty well with just one pistol powder and one rifle powder. But, which ones? And, more importantly, is it possible for a reloader to be content with only one rifle powder and one pistol powder for 5 different cartridges?
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Old September 13, 2017, 11:05 PM   #23
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My observations from the last 6 months: The panic buying has definitely expired, at least in my local stores and ranges. Ammunition and component prices have got to fall. Many on-line sites are offering tiny discounts like 10% which is nothing. Gun companies and ammo companies have jacked prices up 300% or more just because they could due to demand. Now they are going to have to realize that their climate for raising prices is over for a while and offer better prices and deals. They may all be in trouble and have to tighten their belts?? I would advise to buy when you see discounts but not to stock vast quantities right now. Only enough to supply your needs short term. Places that have had crowded aisles shopping in the gun departments are nearly empty around here. Salesmen look bewildered. Just my observation and having gone through boom and bust periods in the last 30 plus years.
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Old September 14, 2017, 06:35 AM   #24
locknloader
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Thanks again guys, this is really REALLY good information and exactly the type of stuff i was looking for.

I shot my first reloads last night (Berry's 115gr & 124gr 9mm) and had amazing groups (for me) using the start load for tite group powder. But i have nothing to compare that to.... so now begins the search for some other bullets to try. (my skill level is also so low that i may not be able to tell the difference just yet between bullets)

I don't shoot that much currently and that is the whole reason i got the reloading setup, so i can shoot ALOT more!!! I'd like to be hitting the range at least once a week and shooting 50-100 rounds of handgun ammo and then as much rifle as i can.

I also want to keep a decent stock pile so when the next panic comes along, i dont need to feed into the hype and can just live off my stockpile.

Think i have all the info and insight i need to get moving with supplies, thanks again guys!
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Old September 14, 2017, 07:49 AM   #25
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Spend some time thinking about this question.....Why did you buy a box of 115 gr and a box of 124 gr instead of 2 boxes of the same bullet?

If your goal is to shoot more, I believe your production goals ought to be to minimize test loads and maximize production of tested loads that give best accuracy for the combination of components. Assuming all loads are safe.
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