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Old May 6, 2006, 11:45 PM   #1
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Reloading has gotten expensive!

I got some reloading components to reload 100 30-30 cartridges. I was figuring the cost and got a shock.
Bullets-15.50 for a hundred
Powder-18.00 for a Lb
Cases-20.00 for 100
For a rough total of $55.00

I can by them for about $8.50 for 20 for a total of $42.50.

It's no wonder reloading is not as popular as it was.
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Old May 7, 2006, 12:23 AM   #2
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My thoughts are that you'd have better numbers if you were thinking long-term investment... For instance, 100 brass = $20... But are you going to use them once and throw them out? I'd hope not! Now, I don't know how many times you can safely reload 30-30 rounds, but let's arbitrarily say 5... 100 brass x 5 uses = "500 brass" for $20, or $4 per hundred.

Now... How much powder are you using per round? You're not going to throw out the left-over powder after loading, are ya? Once again, an arbitrary figure... Let's say you use a 30gr load per round... Well, there's a good 200+ loadings per pound... So you're looking at $9/100.

By thinking about the long-run, reloading can be made cheaper. In this example alone, we get $28/hundred (roughly).

And as the very final bit: Bullets. $15.50/100? As long as you're not competing or bambi-blasting, you could probably go for cheaper rounds, no?

Wolfe... (Not to mention the theraputic effect of reloading... Peace and tranquility is pretty priceless.)
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Old May 7, 2006, 12:39 AM   #3
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If your only loading for 30-30. If you don't shoot very often. If your not trying to make your groups shrink. If your don't enjoy the reloading process. Then you definetly should not be a reloader.
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Old May 7, 2006, 12:41 AM   #4
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look at what you got leftover
Bullets-15.50 for a hundred (used up)
Powder-18.00 for a Lb (depending on exact charge weight and powder type, you should have enough left for another 100 to 150 rounds)
Cases-20.00 for 100 (ready for another loading)
Primers-2.00 (used up)

So look at it this way, your NEXT hundred is going to cost you about $17.50. (bullets and primers) Your third hundred is goint to cost a little more, 'cause you'll need more powder. So say $35 (with plenty of powder left over). So, for 300 rounds handloaded about $107.50 vs $127.50 factory. The further out you go, the greater the difference, until you need new cases again. And then, you can often find "once fIred" brass at around half the cost of new. Sometimes you can even pick up fired brass at a range, or shooting spot, for free.

Now, lets say you shoot a different caliber, one that costs $15 for 20 rounds, or a specialty round that cost $29 for 20 rounds, or even more. Your reloading costs will be a little higher, but a lot less than the cost of factory rounds.

There are some rounds, the most comon, where reloading is only slightly cheaper than factory ammo. For military surplus ammo, some of it is cheaper than you can reload it. But with the reloading, you get to pick the bullet you want, and you can taylor the round to your specific gun and use.

I reload for over 20 different calibers, but I can't make .30-06 GI ammo cheaper than I can buy it surplus. I can make .45-70 ammo alot cheaper than I can buy it, and in a lot more different kinds (Bullet weight/ velocity). I can expirement with different powders, bullet types, seating depths, etc., to get the absolute best accuracy out of my varmint rifles. I can load lead bullets for plinking and Jacketed Hollowpoints for hunting in my revolvers, at about half the cost of buying factory ammo. And I make ammo for guns that NO factory loads ammo for anymore.

It is about way more than just cheap ammo. But that is what gets most of us started. Real quick we learn, reloaders usually don't save any money. But we have more ammo for the same money. And if you go about it the right way, better ammo (for your guns) than you can buy.

Factory loads are made to give the best performance in the greatest number of guns. Handloading is for your gun. Factory ammo has improved alot in the last 30 years, mostly to compete with the accuracy and versatility of handloading!
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Old May 7, 2006, 06:33 AM   #5
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Don't overlook cast bullets

If you enjoy shooting your 30-30 and want to spend time at the range without spending a fortune, start loading cast bullets. You can buy 165 gr FN bullets already cast and lubed for $35 a 1000, and if you load them with light loads of Unique powder you can squeeze about a thousand rounds out of a pound of powder.
Naturally they wont be much good for shooting anything bigger then a squirrel, but if all you want to do is punch paper, they're great. No recoil, very little noise and you can afford to shoot a 100 a week like I do. Just remember to change your sights back if you decide to shoot anything hot in the rifle or you will be shooting a foot high.
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Old May 7, 2006, 06:35 AM   #6
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That should have read $35 per 500 bullets not 1000. Sorry.
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Old May 7, 2006, 08:05 AM   #7
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I remember when Hershey's chocolate bars were 25cents. Things change when you get older.

The best way for me to save on reloading components is to hit gun shows with cash in hand. Shipping charges seem to be the root cause of inflation these days.
Find out about Gun Shows and Training activities.
Get your gun club involved!!
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Old May 7, 2006, 08:16 AM   #8
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Another thing is that you are buying everything in very small quantities.
Reloading isn't all about trying to save money. There are many other reasons to reload. BUT, people who reload with the primary goal of saving money are usually high volume shooters. High volume shooters arn't buying bullets 100 at at time or one pound of powder at a time or one package of primers.
I just finished loading about 2500 rounds 9mm handgun rounds. I bought two boxes of Remington bulk bullets with 2000/box. I went through the better part of five pounds of powder. I didn't bother to calculate how much this cost me. My motivation for doing this wasn't to save money. I am "into" suppressors and have two suppressors in 9mm. That 2500 rounds is all 147 grain subsonic ammo, and is loaded with Alliant Power Pistol which I have found to be an extremly clean buring powder in 9mm. The reason I loaded it is because it isn't all that easy to get good subsonic ammo. I could order it, but since I have everything to do it myself, why not ?
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 May 7, 2006, 08:58 AM   #9
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Golly-Gee Jamie, growing-up I remember the Hershy bars were a nickle. Yes times have definatly changed.....
For those who've never fought for it, the price of freedom shall never be known...
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Old May 7, 2006, 10:58 AM   #10
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Many gunshops sell used brass for 5? a lick. Still get a bunch of loadings from them...

.30-30? No more than 20 grains of 2400 and a cast lead 150-grain bullet can give a bunch of cheap practice.

You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
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Old May 8, 2006, 04:45 PM   #11
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Many gunshops sell used brass for 5? a lick.
BUY BRASS? You must be a rich feller,Art!

Here's my cheap recipe for 100rds of 30/30:

100ct 30/30 brass=FREE I picked it up from the ground at the range. Usually it comes in nice Remington boxes that people throw away.
3100grs of surplus WC844 military pulldown powder at $89 for 56,000grs= $4.92

100 primers: 1/10 of a box of 1000 at $16ea= $1.60
Lead bullets 170gr Lee cast from tireshop wheelweights= FREE
100 Hornady gas checks from box of 1000 @ $23= $2.30
Total cost for 100rds= $8.82 not counting the intangibles. I could make it cheaper using reduced loads with Unique,but that would just be parsimonious of me.

Sure, the components cost me about $129+ tax,but I can make 900 more rounds before I run out of that box of primers and gas checks.
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Old May 9, 2006, 01:48 PM   #12
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30-30 brass...............each year at the Range, the November hunters come out to sight their rifles in for the season...Many lever actions down South...most do not reload. Last season picked up 500 30-30 rounds once fired brass mostly Rem and Win. 400 rounds of 270 . I love day shooters.......IMHO
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Old May 9, 2006, 02:02 PM   #13
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I'm wondering if there is some way I can re-charge and re-skin those primers and get a few more loadings out of them. If I figure it out and they work, I'll share it here on the forum.
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Old May 9, 2006, 02:05 PM   #14
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I shoot IDPA and Bulleye matches, I can easily go 1000 rounds of .45 ACP / month. I can reload a 100 rounds for appox $ 9.50, the 100 round box of Wal-mart Winchester is currently $20.50 here in NC. 50% savings

I also reload my hunting rounds, They normally cost the same or a little more than store stuff but I'm using premium bullets and creating the best possible round for my rifle. You can not beat the feeling of pride when you take a nice buck with a round that you have developed.

Just my .02 worth
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Old May 9, 2006, 04:39 PM   #15
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I recently had to buy a bunch of components for Highpower competition:

2000 155gr J4s--$175
2000 125gr Speer TNTs--$160
8lbs Surplus 4895--$95
5000 primers--$50
2000 unfired LC cases (crimp removed) $190

With 5 firings of the brass, that's about 18? a round for match ammo.
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Old May 10, 2006, 01:38 PM   #16
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+1 what "kingudaroad" said. With what you're doing, if you don't enjoy it for its own sake, dump your gear and buy the stuff at the store. And, by the way, everthing's going up. Now that oil prices are going to finally ratchet up to the world going rate (we paid $6.50 per gallon last year for diesel in France, about $5.00 for gasoline this Spring in Spain) and that rate is only going higher,fasten your seat belts.
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Old May 11, 2006, 10:22 PM   #17
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If you're starting with new cases, that's not reloading.
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Old May 12, 2006, 01:34 AM   #18
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it can be cost effective go out buy new cartridges and reload the brass vs buying new brass.

I dont mind buying once fired brass or picking up casings at range but inspect every one of them and pitch any that looks questionable or put in a lot intended for a light load then leave the brass. wouldnt do that for rifle though.
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Old May 12, 2006, 01:58 AM   #19
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I was shooting at the range today and next to me another guy, also shooting .223. My reloads cost about $.10 ea. His box of Federal vital shock $18.97 for 20. His sighting in- 60 rounds, cost almost $60 - my 200 rounds of plinking, sighting in about $30. And I have fun reloading. Found a load that was 3/4 the grouping size that the factory load got. It was a fun day at the range. I don't mind sticking around to pick up brass, I'm retired.
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Old May 12, 2006, 09:14 AM   #20
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I cheated. I stocked up when prices were low. The powder I'm shooting now cost an average of about $7 a pound, and I don't expect to need to buy more in my lifetime. I'm mostly a cast bullet shooter and I'm stocked on lead. Aside from restocking primers as I use them, and the occasional box of jacketed bullets, the reloading I do from here on out costs me nothing.
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Old May 12, 2006, 04:48 PM   #21
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I shoot various cal. at the range. (.38, .44, .45acp, .45colt, and 9mm) I reload all but the 9mm because Wal-Mart sells it for $11.50 a 100. Reloading saves me enough money that I can either shoot more or save for another gun. Right now I have my eye on a .41 cal model 57 83/4" barrel.
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Old May 12, 2006, 05:56 PM   #22
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Someone mentioned saving money by shooting cast bullets. That is not all that bad an idea, especially with the 30-30. A couple of bullet molds, a cast iron pot you can used over a Coleman stove, a dipper and a lee sizinf tool set up plus a stick of bullet lube will handle quite a few bullets. Straight wheel weight are just about perfect, although you can add a bit if 95/5 percent lead free solder to give the melt a bit more tin foe better mold fill out. Lee has a nice 175 gr. gas check bullet that worls well in most 30-30 rifles, although my choice would be for either the Lyman #311291 or the RCBS # 30-180-FN for one of the molds and the other would be that little Lee 113 gr. bullet for plinking and gallery loads. Size the bullet to .310" and apply the gas check. In the 30-30, you can just about forget about jacketed bullets. That RCBS #30-180-FN will put out 1950 FPS with 28.0 gr. of W-748. Does a right goodly number on deer. I've taken 17 deer over the years with cast bullets, 15 with the Lyman #311291 and 2 with the RCBS bullet.
I did snag a fantastic deal a couple of years ago, in as much as a Super K-mart was shutting it's doors and clearing everything out. I got 27 boxes of Winchester 170 gr. Power Point ammo for $4.00 a box. I made some great savings on .308 and 30-06 ammo as well.
I've been shooting cast bullets in rifles and handguns since I was 16 years old. I'll be 68 come my next birthday. I figure I've probably shot something like 100 cast bullets for every jacketed bullet in my shooting carreer.
Reloading for a 30-30 ain't bad cost wise. The savings may not be as good as you might like, but start loading for some of the big boomers and the savings do mount up. One of my rifles, a .416 Rigby, run me about $125.00 a box for factory ammo locally. That's for 20 rounds. Using .416" Hornady bullets, I can load that ammo up for about $45-$50 a box. Still not cheap, but a sunstantial difference.
Someone mentioned a load of 30.0 gr. of IIRC, IMR-3031, an old standby for the 30-30. You can get 233 rounds loaded from that one pound of powder. You can use that same charge with the cast bullet, and believe it or not, the cast bullet will be a bit faster than the jacketed bullet. Use 5.0 gr. of Unique with that 113 gr. bullet and you have a plinker extraordinaire. Of course, you will have to change your sight setting. If your gun is a marlin, they should feed OK, but the cartridge may be a bit too short to work in a Winchester. Bolt action 30-30s should be no problem. That light load is hell on tin cans, makes for great practice, and does the dirty deed on small game without blowing it up into itsy bitsy pieces. If you can find a tire shop that will give you the wheel weights, a five gallon bucket full with give you something over 100 pounds of cleaned usable metal. Using a 175 gr. bullet, that's 40 bullet to the pound or 4,000 bullets from that bucket. The 113 gr. plinker will get 61 bullets to the pound, ot 6,100 bullets from that same bucket. You cannot say that ain't cheap shooting at it's best. I'm not saying you should go into bullet casting, but it is something to give serious thought to.
Paul B.
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Old May 12, 2006, 06:29 PM   #23
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If you're starting with new cases, that's not reloading.

LMAO...That is freakin hilarious.
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Old May 12, 2006, 06:48 PM   #24
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Berry's Bullets sells 150gr Copper Plated 30-30 bullets, flat-point safe for tube mags.

I bought 250 of them for $15. You can get 1000 for about $50. Load those with titegroup (~8gr) or unique and you get a very pleasant light plinker. Step up to Reloader15 or H335 and get a nice push back from your lever gun, at a cost of about 30gr of powder, give or take.

And Berry's doesn't add a freight charge to their bullets.

They are cheaper than hornady or sierra premium 30-30 bullets, but still behave (mostly) like a quality bullet. Groups open up another inch or so at 50 yards when switching to them for me, but I also suspect I take less time for each shot since it's my "cheap" ammo.

I also have 2 different 30-30's. The light plinker stuff in Berry's 150gr bullets goes in my oldest gun, who is semi-retired. The higher powered stuff goes in my new Win94, who is also scope-mounted. Accuracy could be from a worn barrel with several thousand rounds thru it, too.
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Old May 12, 2006, 11:39 PM   #25
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The back page of the latest Natchez Catalong offers Data Powder 68 at $68 for 8 pounds. It's good for 30-30. That's $8.50 a pound.

You can get 1866 30 Grain loads out of that. That's like... 3 and a half cents a round for powder.

I reload 30-30 as well... at those low pressures, cases just seem to last and last. As pointed out, you can do better on bullets and primers as well. Shop around, buy in bulk.

Please look at those numbers again.
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