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Old July 9, 2005, 10:33 AM   #1
Join Date: February 10, 2005
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Cost estimate

Any current numbers on total cost (assuming you purchase new brass and then use it 4-5 times or so) for 38 special, 357 mag, and .223. I'm curious for people's cost per round for both plinking ammo and target/defense rounds.

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Old July 9, 2005, 07:39 PM   #2
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It's hard to pin a # down . Bullet and powder costs vary allot from brand to brand , store to store and on quantity purchased. FWIW, It generally costs me about $7-8/100 for 38's, $11-12/100 for 45acp and $14-18/100 for .223 (when I bother). I buy my cast bullets by the 1000, (shotgun) powder by the 8# keg for the handgun loads. The 223 uses 7x as much powder as a 38 ( and the powder is more expensive). I'll reload for my bolt/varmint 223's but feed my semi autos commercial/milspec stuff. Same goes for 9mm and 380. It's not even worth reloading for the price I can get it at wally world.
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Old July 9, 2005, 07:51 PM   #3
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For .38 Special plinkers, my costs are under $2 per 50 and may be as low as $1 per fifty. Case life is many times your assumption and I buy range brass at $12 per thousand. My bullets are home cast from WW. Since my .38 Special WCs shoot 1" 50 yard groups from a scoped Handi, I see no need for more expensive components.

I do not load .357 Mag but I do load .357 Max. Brass cost runs about 3 cents a shot. Primer is 1.5 cents. Bullet is a dime when I shoot jacketed. (Bulk Rem. 180) Powder is about 2.5 cents. That would be about $8.50 per 50. Using home cast gas check bullets would bring it down under $5.

Brass cost would be about 1 cent for .223 using military pulldown cases cases five times each. Primer 1.5. Powder 3. Bulk Rem SP bullets 6.5. Total is about $6 per fifty.

Key to keeping loading costs down is buying in bulk. Costs can easily double if you buy minimum quantities. Triple or more if you insist on premium bullets.
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Old July 9, 2005, 09:48 PM   #4
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brass use

#8 brass you can use a lot more than 4-5 times. I have reloaded mine many times over that and it works just fine. I suspect the same for .357. as for .223 brass it will not last as long. but it's load dependant to a degree. Unless your a real accuracy freak or loading it real hot you should be able to load it more than 5 times.

Straight wall cases like .45acp seem to last forever. .
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Old July 10, 2005, 09:08 AM   #5
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I agree with those above re: case life. I use rifle cases (i.e., .223) until the necks split; straight-wall handgun casaes seem to last forever. Worst investment I ever made was in .44 Mag brass. I have enough that I can sell it back to Midway; I'm still using cases I first reloaded in 1976.
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Old July 10, 2005, 08:45 PM   #6
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If cost was a consideration for me, I would just shop for cheap factory ammo. I like the diversion it offers as well as the challenge. Unless one is shooting a ton of ammo, it is hard to ammortize the investment in press(es), scale(s), components, etc. I just like to reload for the sake of reloading (and I like to shoot things a lot hotter than most factory loads).
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Old July 11, 2005, 06:02 PM   #7
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Was just going to say the same if you have to figure the press and all that goes with it.And you don't shoot much it's not worth it.Any way you look at it just with the cheapest you will spend $200 on up to start, with a Dillon 550 I would say $500 on up before you even do your first round. $200 or $500 buys a lot of WWC.Do I reload yes I do
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Old July 11, 2005, 08:30 PM   #8
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Your case life estimate is pretty good for .223 rem.
I could never get more than 5-10 uses out of a case.
However, most pistol brass lasts until you lose it, or it fails during case prep.
357SIG is the exception. It's life is limited like the rifles.
The problem is you didn't specify your needs regarding the amount of ammo you need is what calibers.
Most progressive presses don't do .50 bmg.
The ones that do aren't exactly free.....
I'm not just a gun.
I'm YOUR gun.
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