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Old December 28, 2012, 04:11 AM   #1
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Good Time or Bad Time, Loader or non-Loader.

If you are a .223 or .308 shooter or both....and you can't even find cheap ammo to pay full price for...(Question)...Is this a Good time or a Bad time to start reloading?

(Jeopardy music playing....)

Okay. Then should the newbie go progressive or single stage.? Hold on, Hoss. I've been 'loadin' since 1978. I just want to 'kah-no' what you think.
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Old December 28, 2012, 04:45 AM   #2
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I was only 1 in 1978 so not reloading then no. In fact I have just been researching the last few months on getting into reloading. I have been reading everything I can get my hands on and watching you tube videos aka picking up other peoples bad habits I'm not sure there is a bad time to get into reloading as long as you take the time to get to know what you are doing. FYI I'm not there yet. I'm just getting to the point where I am ready to start asking questions about the best routes to take to accomplish what I want.

I have noticed though that the supply for materials <power, primers> anyway are back ordered at many places. I do have bins full of brass that I have been collecting over the years including a 55g drum damn near full of 22 brass that I need to find a recycling home for.

So just from my ongoing research I think its a good time to buy a couple reloading books and wait for material supply to catch up with demand. I have also read there are a lot of sales on some materials in jan and feb so Ill be watching out for that stuff.

Anyway just wanted to chime in with what I have been finding in my search. Best of luck! Hopefully by this time next year we will be churning out usable ammo and making fools of ourselves trying to tell the pros how we do it better then them
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Old December 28, 2012, 09:38 AM   #3
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With metals prices and panic buying, it's extra expensive now. Also, I didn't notice prices going down as much after the last panic as they'd come up during the panic. Sadly, it appears to me handloading costs are gradually ratcheting toward becoming like shotgun reloading, where the least expensive commercial ammunition costs less on sale than you can buy reloading components for.

The best cost limiter I can think of is to take up bullet casting and lay in whatever alloy you can while you can still find it.
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Old December 28, 2012, 05:37 PM   #4
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I disagree with unclenick..../ especially on shotshell reloading...but...yes, I think this is a very good time to get into reloading...and making it a part of your overall gun hobby.

I think there is money to be saved on shotshells ( but that isn't what you asked about probably )...but my shotshell reloads are under $ 3.50 for a box of 12ga 1 oz loads....and in my area cheap 12ga target loads are $6 a box..and I'm reloading a premium shell.

On metallic the savings are very big ...I load a premium bullet (Montana Gold) and my 9mm reloads are under $7 a box ...and retail ammo is $ 12-$ 16 a box in my area...and reloads for .357 mag are $8 a box ..and retail is $20 or more.../ if you want to get into bullet casting - and like shooting lead nosed bullets...consider that / but to me, casting is a pain in the butt and I'll take the savings buying my bullets.

You've been reloading for over 30yrs.../I think you were saying, so yes, why not get into a good progressive loader....load some very good ammo / and cut the time down that it takes to make good ammo. Personally I like the Dillon 650 for a metallic press...but Hornaday LNL is also a good machine..

but no reason not to get into primers in case lots (5,000 per case), buy your bullets in case lots ( 2,000 - 4,000 depending on what you want & caliber) ...and powder in 8lb kegs...and you probably have all the extras you need - calipers, case cleaner, etc. anyway....

If you're shooting .223 and .308 in AR platforms....I sure wouldn't want to reload that ammo in a single stage. I can see using a single stage for a bolt action hunting rifle...where you're only going to shoot 50 rds a year...but not for semi-auto rifles ..or handgun volumes.../ go with a progressive press.

Many of us would reload ...even if the cost savings was a push ...because we like it / and we like tailoring our cartridges and shells to exactly what we want to shoot..

Last edited by BigJimP; December 29, 2012 at 06:24 PM.
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Old December 28, 2012, 08:46 PM   #5
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No question about it

There is not now nor ever has been a bad time to start reloading. (In my opinion.)

If anyone disagrees, please share your reasoning.

Here is my reasoning:

Economy is only one reason: Depending on what cartridges you are reloading (and whether or not you want to count your time and the up-front equipment costs) you can save anywhere from just a little to 80% or more of your ammo costs. (9mm is very close to no savings. 500 S&W, my friend's ammo costs are $0.75 per round, factory loaded ammo is $3.00 each for comparable ammo. More exotic calibers (especially rifle calibers) can save even more. Some rounds are not even available on a regular basis at any price.

Even if component prices are a little high right now, finished ammunition is bound to follow the trend, up or down.

Quality: Ammo you craft yourself can be tuned to your firearms particular characteristics. Handloaders for rifles quite often find some individual guns have quite striking differences in group size when shooting tuned ammunition.

Knowledge: As you study reloading, you will, perforce, also study internal ballistics. The study of internal ballistics leads into the study of how your firearm works.

Customization: Ammo you load yourself can be tuned to your particular needs. My friend with the 500 S&W loads full power loads and "powder puff" loads that clock 350 grain slugs a little under 800 feet per second. I know that's more than a G.I. 45 ACP's power and momentum, but they shoot like 22 rimfire in that big, heavy gun. Great for fun, familiarization, training and letting the curious bystander go for a "test drive" with a super-light load, a medium load, a heavy load and, if they are still game one of the big boomers. This tends to avoid the "rear sight in the forehead" mark.

Satisfaction: Punching small bunches of small, medium or large holes in paper or bringing down a game or food animal with ammunition you crafted yourself has a good deal of satisfaction. Same reason I prefer to make my own biscuits instead of store-bought.

Smug satisfaction: When the ammo shelves are bare during a market or political scare, loaders are demonstrably less affected by the shortages. A couple of pounds of powder, a thousand primers and bullets (or few pounds of lead) and a hundred cartridge cases wouldn't fill a small book carton, but lets the loader know he can shoot while price-gougers take advantage of non-loaders.

Self-satisfaction: The repetitive, calm, attentive concentration of the reloading activities is often found to be so much fun as to bring to the shooter's mind the question, "Do I reload so I can shoot shoot or do I shoot so I can reload?". Some find loading to be as satisfying a hobby as shooting or fly-tying or many other hobbies.

The more fanatical among us combine a couple of the features I have mentioned and, instead of shooting for bullseye accuracy at the range, reload in a search for the "magic load" that achieves perfection in a given rifle. Then, they move on to the next quest, which is another rifle and another tuned load. But you do have to be at least a little fanatical to even understand this attitude. It is the hunt they seek, for they enjoy the quest more than the goal.

Thanks for asking.

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Old December 28, 2012, 10:53 PM   #6
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I load because I truly enjoy it, I started when I was 14 or 15 and was hooked from the get go! I load mostly large rifle, magnum rifle, and magnum pistol, there's no doubt I save a lot of money loading the calibers I do, I tend to shoot premium bullets for everything from hunting to target shooting, some of the calibers I load for would cost me a fortune to buy just 20 rounds, example being my .257 weatherby, I use weatherby brass, fed 215 primers, Hodgdon powder, and 80 grain barnes ttsx bullets, I havnt tried to figure out my cost to load 20 rounds but would guess its roughly 12 to 15 dollars, even say 20.00 tops, weatherby sells the same premium box of shells, at least bullet and cases are the same for 74.99 per 20 rounds, that's a substantial savings!!! I have a single stage press (redding big boss) so I'm not setup to load thousands of rounds at a time (I have done it) I loaded for .40 S&W and .45 auto but found it very time consuming with my setup and I could buy fairly inexpensive boxes of ammo for these calibers and they are not my forte in the first place, they are fun but something I can live without and not have hurt feelings over it! Where loading really comes in and pays for me, is my large rifle, magnum rifle, and magnum revolvers. If I were to go mainly pistol I would go a totally different route, something in the lines of a dillon
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Old December 30, 2012, 04:21 PM   #7
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I may be behind on shot shell loading supplies, as I don't buy them often. The killer for me was the last time I tried to get lead shot. It had got to be about $50 for a 25 lb bag with tax, unless I wanted to pay shipping on it (which outweighed on-line savings). That's almost $0.16 for 1¼ oz. After a .03/primer and .03/wad (this is getting shipping and/or taxes in where necessary) that put my 1¼ oz loads at about $5.50 a box. I see shells on sale from time to time in that price range. $5.99/25 not uncommon, and $4.99 rarely (though that's probably a 7/8 oz. load). And that's before sales tax.

But you can see why it looked to me like cost and price were closing in on each other. $3.50 would be great, so please feel free to post recommended component sources.
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Old December 30, 2012, 05:30 PM   #8
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IMHO this is not the best time to start reloading, but anytime is better than not at all.
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Old December 30, 2012, 06:24 PM   #9
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Price of shot is up ....but most gun clubs in my area(shotgun clubs) ....sell shot for near their a benefit to the members ..and they're buying it by the ton ( 5 - 6 tons at a time usually ) it means there is some benefit to the members - where most of us that shoot 10 - 20 boxes a week at skeet, trap or sporting clays still reload. Price of shot at my club has been around $26 - $30 a bag with tax for awhile for new Northwest Shot - but if you have to buy off the internet I can see why it may not make a lot of sense.

But in my area promo shells...even 1 oz loads are still $6 a box retail.

We do keep our costs down a little by shooting 1 oz loads in 12ga ...and thats what my prices were based on ....and I prefer a 1 oz load of 8's at about 1225 fps ...but many guys have been shooting 1oz loads for a long time, regardless of the price of shot...its just a better perfoming load in a 12ga.

My loads....Rem STS hulls (12ga), Green Duster wads(1oz), Win 209 primers, Hodgdon Clays powder. ( I buy wads and primers in case lots - and powder in 8 lb kegs ). Rem STS hulls especially in 12ga or 20ga will last easily for 20+ reloads.../ but your right, its the cost of shot that makes up most of your cost to reload.

If I didn't have the advantage of a club buying tons of shot at a the past I've gone in with a couple of buddies ...( at 80 bags to a ton of shot )...if you get 5 or 6 buddies together...its pretty easy to share 3 or 4 tons of shot...I keep at least 20 bags around most of the a mix of 9's and 8's...( 8's for 12ga and 20ga / 9's for 28ga and .410 ) - and then just watch for the best deal I can find.

Last edited by BigJimP; December 30, 2012 at 06:33 PM.
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Old December 31, 2012, 07:18 AM   #10
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I would encourage anyone who wants to start handloading to just do it. After the initial investment you do start so save some money but.....waiting on prices to drop is a waste of time. Purchase a reloading kit and get started. I vote single stage.

Last edited by TheNatureBoy; January 2, 2013 at 06:49 AM.
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Old December 31, 2012, 11:41 AM   #11
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I checked with my local clubs components guru yesterday afternoon - and he got back to me this morning ...he thinks the next shipment of shot will be selling at around $40 a bag at our club....but that still puts my 1oz reloads at around $ 4.50 a box ( $ 0.10 a shell for shot ).

According to him the cost of low end shells retail heading up to $ 6.50 - $ 7.00 even for Estate and Rio 12ga shells..../ premium shells like new Rem STS are up around $ 10 a box. The club tries to keep the cost of new promo shells down to encourage new shooters to come out ...but the prices are trending up ...and so is the cost of targets...with a round of Skeet or Trap ( for targets alone is now $5 for skeet and trap for members / $7 for non-members ....and $35 per 100 for sporting clays).

The big savings on shotshells is in 28ga and .410 ....but you can still save enough to make it worth your time with 12ga and 20ga target loads at least. I get at least 15 boxes an hour off the MEC 9000 HN hydaulic time isn't really a factor / and I'm semi-retired anyway...but the point is today's progressive presses are efficient and give you a really good high quality shell in my view.
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Old December 31, 2012, 03:17 PM   #12
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If you are a .223 or .308 shooter or both....and you can't even find cheap ammo to pay full price for...(Question)...Is this a Good time or a Bad time to start reloading?
Good time.

It ain't gonna get any cheaper, any time soon. Right now, I couldn't afford to shoot much, if I didn't handload (and cast my own bullets).

Okay. Then should the newbie go progressive or single stage.?
There's too much for a noob to pay attention to, and too much for him to know about the process, for me to recommend they start with a progressive.
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Old December 31, 2012, 04:37 PM   #13
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I’m with lee n field, there are way to many issues you can run into as a new reloader to start with a progressive.
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Old January 1, 2013, 10:20 PM   #14
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Someone new should start with a single stage press. Less expensive, less complications, follows the 'KISS' rule nicely. It might not be the optimal time to start, but it shouldn't keep someone from starting.
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Old January 1, 2013, 11:59 PM   #15
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I load because I needed a hobby to support my shooting hobby.

There is never a bad time to to start. Do it right. Read the books and follow all the safety procedures. This stuff goes "boom" and wont tolerate a moment of ignorance.

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Old January 2, 2013, 12:08 AM   #16
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Are hard times a good time to save money?

Are times when you can't find what you want on a store shelf a good time to have the tools and knoledge to assemble it yourself?

I know the answer to these questions.

It ain't rocket science.
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Old January 2, 2013, 06:25 AM   #17
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I don't reload for financial reasons but for accuracy. Saving money is just a bonus. Just say in'
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