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Old November 29, 2010, 11:45 AM   #26
Doodlebugger45
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Cost can certainly be a part of it no doubt. Availability is another issue. For instance, I shoot a lot of .45 Colt in my revolvers. 2 years ago, you could not buy a single round .45 Colt anywhere. But I had plenty of my own. Now, you can buy certain loadings for .45 Colt, usually the "cowboy loads" only. And they cost $35/50 rounds at the cheapest. Meanwhile, I am happily churning my own out for a cost of about $10/50 rounds. And I can load them as mild or as hot as I feel like, depending on the intended gun and use that I desire that day.

It gets even more extreme when you get into more specialized cartridges. For my .454 Casull, it costs me $0.29/round versus $1.40/round for factory. That means my own loads cost 21% as much as factory ammo, or I can shoot about 5 times as much as I could otherwise. Once again, I am limited in bullet choices to whatever the factories choose to put out there.

Same thing for rifle cartridges. A box of factory ammo for my .325 WSM is $50 for the "cheap stuff", or $2.50 per round. I can load my own to my specs for $0.44/round, or $8.80 a box. That means my cost is only 18% of the factory cost.

Besides, it gives me something to do at night. It is a very relaxing hobby.
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Old November 29, 2010, 02:57 PM   #27
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Okay, lets be realistic about the savings of reloading. First, count the cost:

Presses are expensive, especially progressives, plus case and bullet feeders and turret heads to make them work well. Die sets too, including special crimpers and neck dies. Then buy a powder scale plus check weights, case trimmer and pilots, case neck turner and pilots, mouth deburring tool, primer pocket crimp reamers and uniformers, flash hole uniformer/deburring tool, loading blocks, powder measure and stand, powder funnel, powder trickler, hand or autopriming tool, case gages, OAL tools and bullet compairators, precision calipers, micrometer, vibe tumbler, media, media polish, media seperator, primer pocket cleaner, case and neck lubes, a few loading manuals, concentricity gage including a good dial indicator, plastic cartridge boxes and you're all set. (Leave out any items you won't need for a 9mm. ??)

Well, except for a loading room/space, and a sturdy bench, plus good lighting, storage cabinets and strong shelving, HVAC; all that counts too, right?

Then, if you want "free" cast bullets you only need to add molds, mold mallet, lubracator-sizer plus lube and dies, plus nose punches for each bullet. Maybe want a few boxes of gas checks too? If so, get a check seater as well. And a lead dipper, lead melting pot, ingot mold, flux, and a casting thermometer. Then find a source of free casting metal, including wheel weights (for antimony), lead, and solder (for tin) or those "free" bullets are still gonna cost you a bit of money as well as a significant amount of time.

Now, figger out how much all that's gonna cost you. Then figger the price of each rounds components for reloaded vs. store bought ammo. Finally, divide the cost of the tools and everything else by the unit savings to find your break even point. (It WILL be more than a few hundered!) But, after that, you should start to see a bit of "savings" vs. store bought stuff.

Me, I'm an avid loader and do it all, have for a long time, but I've never deluded myself that I'm doing it for economy! Rather, I enjoy making my ammo BETTER, not cheeper; I can get cheep at Walmart and with much less fuss. So, no, I don't suggest people get into reloading to "save money."

Last edited by wncchester; November 29, 2010 at 03:12 PM.
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Old November 29, 2010, 03:17 PM   #28
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Factory 1,000 rds: $250 at Wideners for Federal Am Eagle 9mm FMJ plus shipping

Handloads:
$65 for 1,000 Penn hardcast bullets
$30 for 1,000 primers
$20 for 1 lb powder for 1,000 - 1,500 loads
$25 shipping fee from Cabelas for primers and powder
$0 for cases since you can reuse factory cases you have already shot, or collect from friends ( I have 3,000 cases and never bought one empty case, and have probably lost a few hundred cases at the range)
=============
$140 TOTAL for 1,000 rounds handloaded

About $100/1,000 savings or $5/box of 50 for about the cheapest possible factory ammo. Around my parts the local stores are selling cheap 9mm ammo for about $15/box, so the savings would be even greater.

The handloading costs are not even trying to find the best possible prices, just some quick look ups.

If you don't shoot every often then factory is cheaper than gearing up for handloading.

Some thoughts about benefits of handloading:
- cost savings even greater when you get into premium bullet selections
- you can tune the load to best accuracy for YOUR handgun
- you can save even more by buying components in bulk at various times and different sources
- since you buy in bulk it is easy to have components on hand to load 1,000 or more rounds so during times of drought you are more likely to be able to keep shooting more often than if relied on factory ammo supplies
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Old November 29, 2010, 03:18 PM   #29
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For me part of reloading is-like doing one's own cooking or baking-finding out what you and your firearms like. I cite the benchrest shooters as an example of people who spent a great deal of time working on super-accurate loads, who turn cases, carefully measure powder, etc. Also, depending on where you live, reloading-like cooking or baking-is a great "Cold Winter Night" activity.
In many cases, such as "obsolete" or esoteric or limited production rounds, reloading is the only way to duplicate original loadings. As an example, the 38 S&W is currently only produced with a 146 gr RNL bullet. Several board members have discussed their attempts to duplicate the orginal British military 200 gr RNL round.

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Old November 29, 2010, 03:37 PM   #30
Mike Irwin
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No one has skipped the cost of the necessary sundry items.

But...

You can easily get into loading using a Lee kit like this one from Cabelas:

Breechlock Reloading Kit

That kit includes the scale AND the press, not to mention a powder thrower.

All on sale right now for $100.

Loading data is easily obtainable off the web for virtually any powder you want to use, but you should have at least one loading manual.

Lee Modern Reloading

That's $15.00

Then you need a set of dies.

Lee Delux Four Die Pistol Set

That's another $42 at full freight.

So, to get set up with a competent, but not top of the line, loading kit, power, bullets, loading book, primers, bullets, and dies (we'll say he saved his cases from the last time he bought ammo and factor them in as null value for ease) is $227.00

Now say he can reload a box of cartridges for $6, as shown above, while to go out and buy the same 50 cartridges is $15 (I don't think that's a stretch, because that's the kind of differential I'm seeing right now.

That's a disparity of $9 a box.

So, how many boxes of ammo does our budding reloader have to reload, rather than buy, to make his purchase of that Lee kit a smart deal?

Roughly 25 boxes.

That's right, his investment could pay for itself in as little as 25 boxes of ammo, or 1,250 rounds.

And that's using Cabela's prices, which tend to be on the high side.

I don't think it's a stretch for a lot of people here to say that they would easily see a loading set up pay for itself in two or three months.



"Well, except for a loading room/space, and a sturdy bench, plus good lighting, storage cabinets and strong shelving, HVAC; all that counts too, right?"

What, you're purchasing a SEPARATE facility just to do your reloading? And it HAS to be dedicated reloading space?

Pshaw!

For quite a few years I did my reloading on a desk in our spare bedroom. The press was mounted to a board, and the board was C-clamped to the desk. After use, the items were boxed up and put into a closet to be brought out the next time I needed them.

It wasn't until I moved into my own home that I finally set up a dedicated reloading area. Many people I know still don't have dedicated reloading areas in their homes, but still do very well at churning out large amounts of ammunition.

Don't confuse items that you already have as part of your daily life as being "extra cost items" when you start reloading.

Just because you start reloading doesn't mean that you now have to invest $6,500 on a furnace and air conditioning system for your home, or go to the expense of stringing electricity. Most homes these days already have those as standard ammenities.
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Old November 29, 2010, 03:57 PM   #31
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Since everyone has already covered the cost aspect of reloading, thus answering the OPs original question in many different ways, I'll address one more reason that people choose to reload. There are those of us that possess and love a weapon in a caliber that has been "disowned" by the ammunition factories and can no longer find decent fodder for their favorite pea shooter.

An example is my .357 maximum barrel for my Contender. That is the sweetest shooting tack driver I've owned and it absolutely prefers the original factory Remington loads. The few companies that load for obsolete calibers have nothing that shoots even close in my Thompson.

Reloading becomes the only way to feed that firearm and still enjoy shooting one hole groups at 100 yds.
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Old November 29, 2010, 04:28 PM   #32
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I pick up and re-use range brass and in 9mm / I can reload a premium bullet 124gr CMJ - for $ 5.19 per box of 50 ......so there is significant savings there since you said you're paying $ 10 per box of 50. $ 5 a box isn't going to enrich my retirement savings ( besides I just shoot more / but shooting more is part of the fun !! ).

But honestly, I'd reload even if the cost was a push ..... I like reloading / its another part of the hobby ... and it does save money / and its easy. My press easily cranks out 1,000 rds an hour ( so time isn't really a factor either).

I like shooting my own ammo ...
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Old November 29, 2010, 04:54 PM   #33
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Remember you reuse brass.... 9mm brass should last until you lose it.

but I found it easier to buy 45 ACP than to reload it... until the shortage last year... then I was happy to have the stuff.

45Colt, 480Ruger, 450 Marlin, 338WM, even 30-06 can get real costly.
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Old November 29, 2010, 04:56 PM   #34
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i just wanted to reload as a side hobby, since firearms are a new hobby to me. if it was cost effective i would. it is and the saving are there but it would take some time for the devices to pay for themselves.

i just found out that my range i believes charges 350 a year to use your own ammo. that is a total rip off to me. they charge 19 for a box of 9mm [50]. also a rip off. ive only shot once in my lifetime. i didnt even take my brass. i missed out on my only 50 i could reload.

i live in the city and right now i wish i lived in the desert. this would make my choice alot easier. id probably shoot very often. its that $350 now that bugs me. ill see if i can get around that.
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Old November 29, 2010, 05:23 PM   #35
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That's unusual for a range to charge extra - when you shoot your own reloads ....but there are ranges around here that do as well.

The only restriction I have at my local range - is I have to shoot brass cases(no steel or aluminum allowed) - and jacketed bullets ( no lead bullets ) - because lead bullets smoke excessively, and its too smokey for an indoor range even with a good ventilation system. But those are reasonable rules - in my opinion.

Yes, it take awhile for a reloader to pay for itself / but its pretty quick when you're saving $ 5 to $ 15 a box - depending on the caliber you reload. Paying an extra $350 a yr ....would certainly infringe on your savings ....but I shoot at least twice a week ( 4 - 6 boxes a time at least ) ...so its still possible to save money even with their extra charge .... I think I would at least discuss the up-charge with the management / maybe if you're a Life Member or something they waive it ???
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Old November 29, 2010, 05:44 PM   #36
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Quote:
I've been loading since '65 and have helped quite a few get started. BUT -- my usual response to anyone asking if reloading is "worth it" is, "NO". That's especially true for commonly available puny ammo like 9mm .38 S, 5.56
I think it also depends on the quantity shot. I started with 9mm and had my set up paid off in a few months. You need to scrounge brass at the range, it's laying all over for free. Buy everything else in quantity. For example I go in with a couple of friends and we order primers 50,000 at a time and powder 48 pounds at a time. I can load 9mm, 38 spcl and 45 auto with my own cast bullets for $25 per 1,000 and 223 for $110 per 1,000 not to mention I am shooting better ammo than I can buy. Is it worth it to reload, for me heck yes.
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Old November 29, 2010, 05:56 PM   #37
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I started in 83 ,have`nt neccasarily saved $$ but shot a whole lot more !!

& it all was taylored to MY guns !

& I won`t get into the castin part , put it this way ,the bullets Ive bought since 83 ya could probably tote in a plastic grocery bag & not even worry `bout the bottom blowin out !!

That`s all I`m gonna type SWMBO may read this !!!
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Old November 29, 2010, 05:57 PM   #38
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guessing that you only checked on 9mm then... you sure didnt figure it out for 44mag, 500 mag or 460mag
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Old November 29, 2010, 06:00 PM   #39
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DR

460 is tuff to swallow off the shelf !!!! & they even put em in 20 rnd boxes !!!
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Old November 29, 2010, 06:16 PM   #40
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Awhile back I tallied up my real cost for loading my own versus the cost of factory ammo. I then divided my cost by the factory cost to get a percentage and see which rounds were the most cost-effective when reloading and which rounds were the least cost effective.

For my revolvers, the .38 special was the least cost effective. It cost me 42% as much to make my own as to buy it off the shelf. But that is still less than half the price of factory ammo. The most cost effective was for my .480 Ruger and .454 Casull. My cost was about 21% of the cost of factory ammo, which means I could shoot nearly 5 times more ammo for the same amount of money.

I got similar results for rifles. I saved the least amount on .243 ammo. I can load my own for 41% of the cost of factory ammo. Of course with rifles, the accuracy issue is even more important than it is for revolvers. So my cost of less than half the price of the cheap factory ammo doesn't even tell part of the story. My biggest cost savings though is on the various WSM cartridges I shoot. I can shoot .325 WSM for 18% of the cost of factory ammo and for .270 WSM the cost is 22% of factory ammo.
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Old November 29, 2010, 06:31 PM   #41
DiscoRacing
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I got mine awhile back... only two boxes tho... they had it priced at 70.99 and sold it to me for the low low price of sixty bucks per....ye ha
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Old November 29, 2010, 07:11 PM   #42
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Reloading Tests

I really identify with everything said here, but just wanted to point out a good set of tests for the "should I reload" question:

1) If you open up a box of, say, Fiocchi 62gr. .223 ammo and can visually discern that the bullet seating depth is different on every round, and that bugs you, then you might should be reloading.

2) If you're paying more per round for factory than your component cost (accounting for reusable brass), and you have a lot of time to spare on a new and deep rabbit hole of gun-nuttery, then you might should be reloading.

3) If you have OCD and also like guns, but have your ADHD under control, you might enjoy reloading and should probably get into competition shooting to boot.

3) If you're a very casual shooter, are short on time, and you live by the 'time is money' mantra even when you're not at work, you probably don't want to get into reloading.

Just my opinion..
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Old November 29, 2010, 07:49 PM   #43
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Well I use a single stage press well (2) at a time when loading & prepping
I Tumble. Then I decap & size in one pull move to next press & flare & then
I hand prime Lee hand primer Well yall know the rest. So Prices are

.380 95gr-50rnd-$5.68 Both of these
9mm 124gr-50rnd-$5.39 Are LRN

.357 158gr-50rnd-$8.11= SJHP or SJSP or 158gr hardcast a little cheaper
So 30% of 380 price 50% of 9mm & 30% @ Most ; )
Y/D
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Old November 29, 2010, 07:51 PM   #44
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The Shepard.Oh my god,,, I knew i was OCD,but now im ADHD too!!!! Ha Ha
Oh well as the sayinggoes,,,somebody has to be. Reloading is the only way to go,save money or break even,Like others have said, It's a hobbie and lets you fine tune your loads.
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Old November 29, 2010, 08:13 PM   #45
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Quote:
If you're a very casual shooter, are short on time, and you live by the 'time is money' mantra even when you're not at work, you probably don't want to get into reloading.
Even in this case, it makes sense to reload if you shoot a big-bore revolver. And maybe 10mm (I'm not sure about 10mm)
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Old November 29, 2010, 08:15 PM   #46
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If one is happy shooting steel case ammunition, one can shoot for close to the cost or reloaded ammunition. The following was derived using current prices for the most inexpensive ammunition I found quickly on the net and for quality components, so the costs are higher than most reloaders actually achieve.

Why Reload?

.38 Special 148gn Wadcutter
S&B 148gn L-HBWC $360/1000 36¢/round
Remington virgin brass $302.99/2000 15¢/case
Remington 148gn L-HBWC $114.99/2000 6¢/bullet
Remington 1 1/2 small pistol primer $30.49/1000 3¢/primer
Winchester 231 powder (2.9gn powder) $131.99/8lb 0.71¢/round
Total per virgin round reloaded 24.7¢/round
Total with used brass 10¢/round

9mm Luger 115gn JHP
American Eagle 115gn JHP $289/1000 29¢/round
Brown Bear (steel case) 115gn JHP $94.95/500 19¢/round
Starline virgin brass 129.99/1000 13¢/case
Remington 115gn JHP $191.99/2000 10¢/bullet
Remington 1 1/2 small pistol primer $30.49/1000 3¢/primer
Winchester 231 powder (5.0gn powder) 131.99/8lb 1.2¢/round
Total per virgin round reloaded 27.2¢/round
Total with used brass 14.2¢/round

.45ACP 185gn JHP
Remington 185gn JHP $49.95/50 $1.00/round
Wolf Gold 185gn JHP $26.95/50 54¢/round
Starline virgin brass $159.99/1000 16¢/case
Remington 185gn JHP $366.99/2000 18.4¢/bullet
Remington 2 1/2 large pistol primer $30.49/1000 3¢/primer
Winchester 231 powder (5.5gn powder) 131.99/8lb 1.3¢/round
Total per virgin round reloaded 38.7¢/round
Total with used brass 22.7¢/round
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Old November 29, 2010, 08:33 PM   #47
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Well, theshepard makes a very valid point. There are some people who REALLY SHOULD NOT get into reloading. It would be a catastrophe for some of my friends to try it. You really do have to have a streak of OCD or perhaps perfectionism built into you to do it safely and accurately.

If you took college chemistry lab and really liked the precision involved in that, then reloading might be something you enjoy. If you like working on car engines and getting every last part blueprinted and balanced, then reloading is right up your alley. If perchance, you really get excited about the technical details of different diesel engines, then you're a natural.

But if you're the type when doing home improvement type carpentry who thinks a tape measure is an unnecessary nuisance, that just "eyeballing it" is good enough, you will not do well as a reloader. Same thing if you think maintenance on your ATV or truck is optional, then reloading isn't your thing.

Likewise, there was a long period in my life when I knew that my circumstances would not support a reloading habit. I read about it all the time and wanted to do it, but when you have kids, dogs, horses, wives running around demanding constant attention, that is not the optimum setting for reloading. You need a certain amount of time and space that will guarantee uninterrupted concentration. Otherwise you are asking for trouble.

For some of us, the reloading act itself is comparable to the shooting in terms of giving us enjoyment. But it is something that cannot be taken lightly. It is fun for most of us of course. But the consequences of a screw up can be very severe indeed.
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Old November 29, 2010, 08:45 PM   #48
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When you start loading some of the magnums 300 Winchester Magnum, 375 H & H magnum, 338 Win Mag, or one of the different metric calibers, then reloading becomes very cost effective.

Start paying $5 to $10 a round and you will start reloading soon.
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Old November 29, 2010, 10:22 PM   #49
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The savings as said above is minimal. There is another thing to think about. We all seen the ammo drought when it came to 45acp and 380's. In my part of the country they were getting hard to find, especially 380's. When reloading, you always have ammo at the ready.
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Old November 29, 2010, 11:34 PM   #50
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I think it's pretty hard for a newby to get into any reloading today because it saves money. I have about 6 presses around and I have yet to pay over $75.00 for any of them. I have one Lee press and it is set up permanently for 218 Bee only. I have what looks like an endless supply of dies, some of which most have never heard of the chambering. I don't think I have more than $25.00 in any of the die sets individually. So I got into it when it was still cheap. I bought up components before the price increases and still have powder under $10.00 a pound and primers under $7.50 a thousand. So to save money today and get into reloading today you are not going to save any money. It's all about tailoring a load to a specific firearm to achieve maximum accuracy and velocity, not saving money. If the custom loading is a thing you want to do, it's a fun hobby for most. But like most hobbys, it can get expensive to get into. And the deeper you get into it the more expensive it gets.
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