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Old October 8, 2002, 08:43 PM   #1
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Is reloading really worth it?

Ok, I shoot both 9mm and .45

Can I beat $100/1000rds for 9mm?

Can I beat $180/1000rds for .45ACP?

If so, how much do I need to spend to start? At what point will I break even, and begin to realize a gain? (And no the experience is not what I'm looking for, it's to save money.)

Someone help me get going in the right direction.

Keep buying ammo or start reloading?

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Old October 8, 2002, 09:03 PM   #2
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You can save significant money loading 45 ACP with lead bullets. You can load them for around $4.00 for 50 which comes to plus or minus $80 for 1000, especially if you can scrounge lead and wheel weights and cast your own bullets.

Whatever your equipment costs, you can amortize it at about $100 per 1000 rounds loaded in 45 ACP. Now I can't speak about 9mm but I think its nearly as cheap as you can get already to buy paramilitary (white box) or army surplus for plinking. Maybe somebody else can fill you in on that one.

Now, the tradeoff comes in the fact that you have to spend TIME to do this. Time is money. Now if you can justify it to yourself that this is a HOBBY and you enjoy doing it, fine. If it is work to you it probably is not worth it. You have to make the call.
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Old October 8, 2002, 09:07 PM   #3
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Do a TFL search. Your question has been asked many time in many ways.

For me?

I don't shoot 9 mm. It seems to me the concensus on the forum is it is hard to make reloading with your time based on the price of 9 mm at Wally World.

.45 ACP different story.

I pick up brass.
Lead is from a discount supplier that does local gunshows.
Powder is purchased in 4 lbs lots at gunshows.
Primers are shopped at gunshows.

Gunshows prices are better that any storefront operation.

I reload .45 ACP for $3.50 / 50 rounds. Based on an average retail price of $14.50 / box, I'm printing money pretty quickly.

Be warned. If you get into reloading you will not save money. You will simply be able to shoot more at your current spending level.
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Old October 8, 2002, 09:08 PM   #4
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Lead.....Kinda what I thought.

I really hate to handle lead rounds, even .22lr makes your hands soo dirty loading mags.

So I think I would stick w/jacketed rounds.

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Old October 8, 2002, 09:11 PM   #5
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I don't reload, but I have looked into doing it.

I don't do it now because the cost savings is not enough to offset the big up-front costs (mostly a cash flow problem ... guess I could buy the equipment on credit, but I avoid credit as much as possible).

I am 100% sure I will reload someday. I have an interest in IDPA so when I start shooting regularly it will probably become more cost effective to reload.

But my main reason for wanting to reload is NOT the cost savings (that will just be a bonus) my main reason is because I want to learn to make rounds that are exactly to my specifications and because I just want to know how to do it (just in case someday it becomes a necessary skill, either because of SHTF or because of antis getting heavy restrictions placed on ammo sales).

I think reloading becomes more attractive if you look at it from the "custom ammo" perspective and not the "save some green" perspective.
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Old October 8, 2002, 09:34 PM   #6
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This is an excerpt of an article I wrote for our club newsletter a while back:

Let’s take a quick look at how much it costs to reload 1000 rounds of .45ACP using 230 grain lead round nose bullets. The primers will cost $15. The bullets will cost about $40. 4 lbs. of Alliant Bullseye powder costs about $55 and is enough for about 6200 rounds of .45 ACP. That works out to about $9 of powder per 1000 rounds. 1000 rounds of unprimed brass costs about $110. Assuming that we can get reload the brass 10 times before it needs to be discarded, that gives us a cost of about $11 for brass. Adding all the costs up yields a figure of $75 per thousand, or about 7.5 cents per round.

Full metal jacket bullets are about twice the price of lead round nose, costing about $80 per thousand. So loading full metal jacket 230 grain bullets would bring our costs up to about $115 per thousand or 11.5 cents per round.

My cost to get started with a Dillon 550 press was about $760. How long will it take for that investment to pay off? If we’re reloading 230 grain lead round nose for $75, then we are saving about $145 over the $220 cost of factory ammunition per 1000 rounds. Dividing the cost of the reloading setup, $785 by the savings per 1000 rounds, or $145, we get 5.4. If I’ve done my math correctly, that indicates the press will pay for itself after loading 5400 rounds.

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Old October 8, 2002, 09:34 PM   #7
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I reload .38 special, .357 magnum, .45 A.C.P., and .44 magnum. My press is twenty-odd years old, an R.C.B.S. Rock Chucker, and is slow, but 100% reliable. I buy bullets in bulk from Dillon, but otherwise just pick up components in shooting shops. I suppose I save a little money, although my time is worth more than the savings. The main reasons I reload are that I can work up very light loads for the sake of my wrist, as well as enjoy extremely consistent loads. I enjoy the sense of self-sufficiency, although realistically speaking, I'm still dependent upon component manufacturers.
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Old October 8, 2002, 09:39 PM   #8
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Reloading is either a separate or complimentary hobby, depending on you look at it. Most people can't shoot every day, don't like to shoot in 100+ degree heat, etc. It is a way to stay invovled in your shooting hobby at any time you want.

You can save money reloading 9mm, provided you don't put any monetary value on your labour. I can load 115gr FMJ more cheaply than Win USA. No question. You won't see much if any savings by buying 100 count boxes of bullets; that's certain. The real savings in 9mm appears when you compare commerical 124gr JHPs to practice rounds that duplicate the load, etc.
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Old October 8, 2002, 10:02 PM   #9
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I can still reload cheaper than the 100 White Box at Wally World but then I rarely reload 115 gr. bullets. I agree with Cee-Zed, once you move to 124 gr. the savings really grow. In reloading there are tangible and intangible costs/savings. For me the feeling of tailoring and shooting my on reloads outweighs the tangible costs.
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Old October 8, 2002, 10:20 PM   #10
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I'm reloading 230 gr lead & Bullseye for about $2.93/50, and 124 gr 9mm FMJ for around $2.50/50.

There's no doubt that you save a lot of money, shoot a lot more, and enjoy an entirely new hobby that lets you get completely involved in every aspect of the sport.

It's also something to get obsessive/compulsive about. I'm shopping for .44 Mag/Spec dies so's I can load up the two or three hundred pieces of brass I've found lately in my personal junk hoarding activities. I don't have a 44 firearm of any sort.
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Last edited by zanthope; October 8, 2002 at 10:41 PM.
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Old October 8, 2002, 10:28 PM   #11
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As you will find out, saving money is not the issue!
But, seeing your very own handload's perform is.
Lots of times handloads will out perform the factory

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
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Old October 8, 2002, 10:34 PM   #12
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I've got a single stage press now. And will definitely be reloading for my .480Ruger and my .45/70 this winter.

Is it worth my time reloading 9mm or .45ACP on a single stage press? or will I go nuts?

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Old October 8, 2002, 10:48 PM   #13
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Look at plated bullets if you don't like lead. Yep it's worth it, no you won't save any money, but you will shoot more.

Steve, for the cost of a case or two of ammo you may also be able to buy a .22lr conversion for your guns, another route to more trigger time.
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Old October 9, 2002, 12:15 AM   #14
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Yes! As was pointed out,your startup cost will be absorbed and you have gained an important hobby which will enhance your shooting. You will still buy factory rounds from time to time. You will now have at your beck and call the ability to make your own excellent target or hunting rounds and tailor make them for the firearm involved. Yes it takes time but you will be making a quaility product with your own hands. As was pointed out, the feeling your get when your score with your own handload is indescribable.
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Old October 9, 2002, 12:23 AM   #15
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If you just want to save money by reloading, forget it.
You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
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Old October 9, 2002, 12:30 AM   #16
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If youn don't want to spend a bunch of money for a press you can get a lee turret press with auto index and an auto disk powder feeder. With 45acp dies and a lee reloading manual shouldn't set you back more than $150 new. This press is quite a bit faster than a single stage but not as fast as a progressive. The lee will load about 150 to 200 rounds in an hour for me. Changing calibers is very easy on this press too. Mark
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Old October 9, 2002, 02:03 AM   #17
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If the only reason you are thinking of reloading is to save money, and are planning on using comparable components as the "El Cheapo" factory or military surplus ammo, the answer is no.
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Old October 9, 2002, 05:44 AM   #18
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Can I beat $180/1000rds for .45ACP?
Ok, let me nswer your question with a question. Is that figure based on your choice of carry or home defense load? I'm betting it isn't. My preferred factory load for the .45acp is the Federal Hydra Shok 230 gr standard pressure. I like it because it has a good reputation, and is the most accurate factory load in all my 1911's.

1000 rounds of factory would run between $650-$780 depending on where I bought it,,,assuming that I could find 1000 rounds all in one place.


I can duplicate the round for a pittance.

It all boils down to giving yourself that little extra edge that's the difference between a dirt nap and seeing your grandkids grow up.

Which would your rather do? Send 1000 rounds of shoot-em-up ammo downrange, or 1000 rounds of your hand loads, that duplicate your defensive load down range? The added bonus is that your handloads will be cheaper on a per round basis,,,,the confidence you'll gain can't be measured in dollars and cents.
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Old October 9, 2002, 06:08 AM   #19
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I can't afford

to shoot my handguns enough to gain skill if I must buy ammo. And if it's sunday or a holiday and I don't have ammo, I'd be outta luck if I couldn't reload.

I don't think (correct me if I'm wrong) your practice load has to be identical to your defense load, it just has to have the same recoil, bang/flash, and impact point, so it feels and shoots like your carry load. You can get that with lead or economy jacketed bulk bullets.

I use a single stage press and can load FMJ .45 for around $6 a box. The value of my time? Well, the fact is, when I'm reloading it's at a time I couldn't be earning money anyway, and if I weren't reloading I couldn't shoot, so I put reloading time into the same category as time spent driving to the range or cleaning guns. Heck, it takes time to aim and fire, the holes don't just appear in the paper when you wish for it.

Every trip to the range, I scavenge .45 brass. I've got ammo cans full. It takes me a long time to shoot my way once through all my brass, and I've reloaded cases more than 20 times. The cost of the brass, even if you buy it, can be neglected at least for .45 because it lasts so long.

I enjoy handloading. Days when I can't shoot, I can at least have a little gun fun reloading. And I get a kick out of stacking up those boxes of neat, fresh handloads in my safe--makes me feel prosperous. For me it's worth every penny and minute. And when it comes to loading for my M1, there's no question. I couldn't shoot at all, unless I gave up beer, and what kinda life is that?
The M1 does MY talking!
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Old October 9, 2002, 07:08 AM   #20
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I don't know if there's any advantage to having practice rounds "feel like" defense, carry rounds.

Even if they are identical, the difference in adreneline will eliminate any similarity in bullet recoil, trigger weight, etc. I'd guess any tendency to "limp wrist" the gun would vanish under stress.

Practice enough with the "real deal" ammo to assure yourself that it feeds reliably. Then just "play" with the cheaper home-rolled cast wheel weight bullets to reinforce good habits (like remembering to take it off "safe" before shooting the bad guy)

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Old October 9, 2002, 07:33 AM   #21
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Not handloading

for your favorite gun, and instead paying someone else for ammo to use in it, is akin to paying someone else to get your wife pregnant!

You're missing most of the fun!
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Old October 9, 2002, 08:23 AM   #22
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Should your handloads duplicate your carry round?

To me, this question misses the whole point. Reloading gives you real ultimate power. (hehehe) YOU make the call. You can shoot an oddity one day (90gr cast?) and a factory duplicate the next.
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Old October 9, 2002, 09:34 AM   #23
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I reload 124gr FMJ 9mm for $85 per thousand. That saves me at least $15 per thousand. For me, that's $250 saved per year and well worth it.

Here's a breakdown to try:
Remington 115gr (slightly cheaper than 124gr): $84/2000
Winchester Small Pistol Primers: $14/1000
Winchester WSF Powder: $54/4 pounds
Brass (from $99/1000 ammo, spread over 10 loadings): $10/1,000

That actually comes out to $77 per thousand.
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Old October 9, 2002, 10:05 AM   #24
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The VOls fan had it right, reloading has little to do with saving money. It is great to see your own product perform well, but for me the joy is the catharsis. By the time I get through cranking out a a couple hours with my trusty Dillon 450 Jr. (now that's old!) all my worldly problems have dissappeared and I have a nice stack of 300 or 400 rounds of custom .45acp rounds.
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Old October 9, 2002, 10:29 AM   #25
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For you, probably not. Keep buying your ammo, you'll be much happier.

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