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Old January 28, 2005, 02:58 PM   #1
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To Reload Or Not To Reload

Hi, I'm new to the site. I am debating the question to reload my own or not. Although, not new to firearms, I have always purchased good-quality ammo, such as Black Hills. I have never reloaded before, mainly due to lack of time, and would like to consider the pluses and minuses, or whatever else you would like to offer as information.

Weapon: Remington 700 VS .308
Optics: Leupold Mark 4 10X40 M3
Ammo: 168g Match (mainly from Black Hills).
Print: .6 to .75 MOA at 100 yds
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Old January 28, 2005, 03:39 PM   #2
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The main problem with factory ammo (even custom stuff like Black Hills) is that your rifle either likes it or it does not. There's little room for adjusting the load/configuration to suit the particular rifle. Depending upon the accuracy you're looking for, reloading may or may not be for you. Weight sorting the brass, neck sizing to provide a tighter chamber fit, adjusting the seating depth and tension, varying powder type/mfg/and charge for minimum velocity SD all present an oppurtunity for lower overall deviation and tighter groups. Cost is another consideration particularly as the hole at the end of the barrel increases. Premium ammo is high but premium ammo in 30 caliber plus and/or wildcats can be extremely high.

Then there are those folks who simply like to do it. The bottom line is that the decision depends mostly on what you intend to accomplish and your willingness to get there. On the other hand bad relaoding practices with cheap or sub-par equipment can be hazardous to the size of the group, the rifle and the guy holding it.
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Old January 28, 2005, 04:27 PM   #3
bill k
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I agree with Wyatt on most everything. It's a great hobby to do in the winter when it's raining like today or in the summer when it's too hot. I reload in my office, I use a single stage RCBS press on a movable stand. I keep my equipment in one drawer of my file cabinet and one shelf of a bookcase.
If you decide to reload my choice is RCBS. It has a lifetime warrenty and if you're close to Oroville,(I see you're in Northern Cal) generally you can walk in and get a broken part repaired on the spot.
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Old January 28, 2005, 05:20 PM   #4
Smokey Joe
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Reloading or don't

cz759--first of all welcome to TFL. You'll find a fine bunch here, all eager to share opinions, information, stories, etc, etc. And read yours.

Second, re: Reloading: It's the only way some of us can afford to support our shooting hobby. Some get into it to save $$. Some get into it to tune the ammo to their firearm's preferences--and most arms DO have preferences! Some do it to produce ammo they can't buy, or would cost an arm & a leg. Some stay with it because they find it an enjoyable hobby of itself. Everyone has their own reason(s). You will find your own way.

Don't hesitate to ask for advice if needed.

Again, welcome aboard!
God Bless America

--Smokey Joe
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Old January 28, 2005, 06:26 PM   #5
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I've been hand-loading since 1986. I could'nt shoot if I did'nt! If you got the "Time" and I do! then reload.
I agree with a RCBS single stage press. That's what I use. I'll load 45ACP,then 06. maybe .223 or 218Bee. then 38s or 25-06.
Take your time, look around !
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Old January 28, 2005, 07:30 PM   #6
Dusty Miller
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Its time consuming, especially with a single stage press. If you're like me and work a lot of hours you may want to invest in a progressive press.
The difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is the height to which one raises one's foot.
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Old January 28, 2005, 08:29 PM   #7
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A taste for milsurp and the odd is an excellent reason to reload. Back when I bought my first 6.5x55, two boxes of hunting ammo cost more than the rifle. Lord knows where I could have found any ammo for the 1936 MAS I had for a while. The excellent Swiss K-31s now going so cheaply are pretty much a handloading proposition.

Then there are all of the sporting orphans and semi orphans. I'm shooting a .357 Max and there is no factory ammo for it. I'm shooting a .41 Mag, a 9mm Largo, and a .32 WC only in pistols, and a couple wildcat rifles. It's reload or don't shoot for me.
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Old January 29, 2005, 12:06 AM   #8
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If your going to do .308 I can say a few things:
You can make better ammo than you can buy.
the ammo will be cheaper.
You will not save money ( you will shoot more).
Depending on what equipment you buy it will take you about 1000 rounds to amortize your initial investment.

The big problem with reloading is it becomes a hobby within itself and you will continue to spend money on it.

or put another way reloading is fun and adictive.

If all your going to load is .308 for accuracy a single stage press is the right way to go next up would be a turret.

OK, I have Lee presses and dies. My Rem 700VLS in 22-250 consistantly shoots .25 MOA groups with my varmint loads Sierra 55gr BlitzKings.
I did shoot one 8 round group that was .156 MOA with BTHP. Sadly it was the last of that lot of powder i had.
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Old January 29, 2005, 01:20 AM   #9
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To Hand Load or Not to Hand Load! That is the Question


If you are only shooting one firearm, and you are getting .6 to .75 moa with purchased ammunition, and are very happy with those groups, I'd buy a couple of cases (or more) of that ammo and be very happy!

IF, however, you desire smaller group size, or have other calibers to load for, then you may want to consider reloading (or hand loading).

If you decide to reload/hand load, be advised right off the bat, you will not realize any overall savings in the cost of your ammunition for several years!

I always advise people thinking about getting started in the hobby to think it through. If you just want cheap ammo, don't do it. If you want GOOD ammo, then buy good equipment to start with and get on with it!

There are lots of people on this forum, and many others on the 'net, that are more than willing to help!

I've been hand loading for over 30 years and really enjoy getting a reluctant firearm to finally start putting them into an acceptable group. That being determined by their condition and my ability.

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Old January 29, 2005, 12:08 PM   #10
Swamp Yankee
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The key IMO is the brass.

If you've been hoarding all your brass and have a good supply, the cost to handload Match Grade ammo is significantly less vs purchasing new.

Using rough numbers.
With saved brass, using 168 gr Sierra MatchKings, Varget powder and Remington 9-1/2 primers purchased locally my cost to load 500 .308 cases would be about $135 to $150. If you mail order bulk (Midway or Natchez) even less. With Black Hills running about $350 for a 500 round case it will take about a case maybe a little more to pay back a decent single stage press reloading set up. Be sure to look for good condition used equipment to save even more.
This does not include all the other benefits of handloading previosly mentioned. The issue you need to decide is to make the commitment, invest the time, and most importantly do you have room to set up a reloading station.

Take Care
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Old January 29, 2005, 12:37 PM   #11
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The upside of BHA brass is that it is Win. mfg. brass. And, that is a good start. You are shooting a bolt gun, so that minimizes you having to work the brass too much, ie neck vs. full length sizing. You can probably cut your groups down. I would reload in a heart beat!
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Old January 29, 2005, 10:11 PM   #12
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WOW. What a great response. Thank you all for your contributions. I will continue to read and gleen from your posts. I hope I can provide some useful information to some of you when you need it.

I have been saving brass, so I guess there's a start. I haven't really researched any reloading equipment, but I think I will. Thank you for your kind input.
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Old January 30, 2005, 09:15 AM   #13
K9 Big Dog
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It will take a long time for reloading to pay for itself if all you reload are rifle rounds, but if you like to shoot alot, especially pistols you'll make it up pretty quick. That said, once you have some stocked supplies (powder, brass, primers, bullets) your cost per round overall will be less than what it is for factory loaded hunting ammo. And once you find that magic combination that your rifle(s) like, you will accuracy like you never imagined.
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