The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 11, 2013, 04:13 PM   #1
Traveling Fur Hunter
Junior Member
Join Date: April 9, 2013
Posts: 11
Can Reloading Be Dangerous?

Have any of you had problems with reloading, like guns or bullets blowing up, misfires, bullets getting stuck in the barrel etc? And is it cheaper and by how much.
Traveling Fur Hunter is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 04:19 PM   #2
Join Date: April 7, 2013
Posts: 46
IMHO I don't think I could cover my losses from the initial expense, I shoot about 200 rounds a month from various firearms and for me, the initial investment of the equipment plus all the powder, primers, casings, and lead would not equal out to the cost of me just buying ammo. Especially once time is figured into that equation. I have had problems with some reloads, like some feeding issues and once a bullet shoved down into the casing. My gun shop takes my empty casings in and discounts my ammo so that is the best solution for me, and I'm no expert. Just throwin my 2 cents in.
Flashover2011 is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 04:21 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: June 17, 2010
Location: Virginia
Posts: 4,713
Cheaper? ..... naaaaah
(Unless you're competitive shooter in a high-volume and/or a specialty cartridge game)

Dangerous? About as dangerous as power saws and drill presses -- where if distracted or sloppy you will eventually hurt yourself.

Experience ? In 45 years I've had one instance of a powder mixup, but where my general approach to staying mid-pressure both saved the day (blown primer only) and was caught immediately by looking at carefully-kept records.
mehavey is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 04:23 PM   #4
Junior Member
Join Date: April 4, 2013
Location: Rockwood, Pa
Posts: 9
If you follow the specs on the cartridge size, use the proper powders (dont exceed max limits) and primers you should never have a problem of any sort in a good condition firearm. Fo your other question, reloading is not cheaper in the short run( reloading press, powders, bullets, etc) but if you are shooting alot, it is well worth it in the long run( for the most part you can reload for half the price).
xboxevo2006 is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 04:23 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: April 14, 2009
Location: Sunny Southern Idaho
Posts: 1,909
I've not had any problems like you described. There's certainly some danger, but it can be mitigated by working carefully and methodically.

As far as cheaper, well, it depends upon what calibers and how much you shoot. I shoot a fair amount competitively and cast my own bullets, so it's cheaper for me. You've got to do the math for yourself, I guess.
Well we don't rent pigs and I figure it's better to say it right out front because a man that does like to rent pigs is... he's hard to stop - Gus McCrae
Hardcase is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 04:47 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: February 12, 2009
Location: Butte, MT
Posts: 2,004
For me it is cheaper. 100 rounds of .45 Colt costs me about $20 to assemble. Compare that to factory..... For me it isn't about 'cheap' though.... It is about crafting accurate ammunition that meets my needs. Enjoyable 'hobby'!

As for Dangerous.... It can be as dangerous as you make it. I've not had a problem since I started reloading in around '80. Of course if you disregard the manual load data, crank the handle as fast as it will go, and not willing to 'learn' about reloading, powders, primers, cases and such.... Well, you'll run into 'problems'..... Like anything, if you are okay with smoking while filling your gas tank.... all bets are off . Patience, attention to detail, and you'll be fine. No patience? Don't reload.
A clinger. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Single Action .45 Colt (Sometimes improperly referred to by its alias as the .45 'Long' Colt or .45LC). Don't leave home without it. Ok.... the .44Spec is growing on me ... but the .45 Colt is still king.
rclark is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 04:52 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: March 6, 2013
Posts: 614
I have been reloading for four years. Another 1000 rounds and I will be about even leaving out labor.....I am not a competition shooter but I do shoot a lot.

I have screwed up crimping and seating but other than that no issues.

I take my time and have loads for my -06 that are better than what I found with factory ammo and plenty of handgun I am still shooting while others are looking for ammo or afraid to shoot their supplies....

Buy everything in bulk....I rarely buy less than 5000 bullets at a time...big jugs of powder.
boondocker385 is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 05:01 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: March 17, 2013
Location: Lenhartsville, PA
Posts: 164
Reloading is a strange thing. There's not much involved in making safe ammo, but there's a lot involved in making great ammo tailored for a specific rifle. There are only 4 components to a loaded cartridge, but they need to be assembled with caution and attention. Things can go terribly wrong if you don't take the time to learn how to do it, and also terribly wrong if you're careless after you've learned how to do it. It's fun, but it's also as serious as a heart attack.
cvc944 is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 05:03 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: May 3, 2009
Location: Central Texas
Posts: 3,544
The only dangerous part of reloading for me is when my wife finds out how much I spent on supplies.

If you are one of those I just want some rounds to go bang, so I will just watch a couple of how to videos on youtube, and buy a progressive press, load compnents in, pull the handle till all rounds are loaded without checking things it can be very dangerous for you, and people around where you are shooting.

While reloading cuts cost if you shoot a lot. You have to invest attention, time, and energy into it. If you lack in any of those areas wait a few more monts for suppliers to catch up, and buy bulk commercial reloads.

I save a lot, and my reloading equipment has paid for itself many times over in savings. Especialy when I started casting my own bullets.
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.
m&p45acp10+1 is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 06:00 PM   #10
Brian Pfleuger
Moderator Emeritus
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Western Colorado, finally.
Posts: 19,118
Each round I shoot is much, much cheaper and much more accurate than any factory ammo.

However, I have spent far more money on equipment and have shot far more rounds than I would have EVER spent when I shot factory ammo.

So, do I spend less money? Absolutely, positively not even close. Heck, just a few weeks ago I bought a gadget for $250 that I would have never bought if I shot factory ammo. I wouldn't have shot $250 worth of factory ammo in 5 years.

Besides that, I've bought guns chambered in cartridges that I'd have never bought if I shot factory ammo. That's a good thing, yes, because it opens up SOOOooooo many possibilities but it's also an expensive thing.

For the money I've spent on reloading and shooting since, I would have certainly, no exaggeration, bought enough factory ammo for the rest of my life, with plenty of money left over.

I would have also never enjoyed the firearms hobby, or hunting, anywhere near as much as I do now. I would never have learned what I know now about firearms and reloading and would never have "met" all these fine folks on this forum.

There's not a question in my mind, I'm going to spend even more money in the future and the hobby is worth every last cent.

In terms of danger, yeah, do a some looking around and you'll find pictures of guns that people have blown to bits by making careless mistakes. Filling a rifle cartridge with pistol powder because the names are similar and your not paying attention is a good way. One fellow blew a Savage to pieces with a load that QuickLoad (a reloading program) estimated would have generated 196,000psi.

Pay attention and do it right and you'll be fine. Driving your car is a lot more dangerous than reloading and people do that distracted all the time. Don't do it while you reload, don't do it while you drive, both will be safe.
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 06:00 PM   #11
David Bachelder
Senior Member
Join Date: August 23, 2011
Location: Trinity, Texas
Posts: 633
It will cripple your wallet.
David Bachelder
Trinity, Texas
I load, 9mm Luger, 38 and 40 S&W, 38 Special, 357Magnum, 45ACP, 45 Colt, 223, 300 AAC, 243 and 30-06
David Bachelder is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 06:08 PM   #12
Senior Member
Join Date: December 11, 2012
Posts: 525
its relaxing and rewarding in so many ways
Grizz12 is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 06:33 PM   #13
Senior Member
Join Date: April 12, 2010
Location: Lake Martin, AL
Posts: 2,877
The one thing that has yet to be mentioned is insurance. It keeps me with available ammunition to enjoy shooting. It is an insurance to having ammo, and it could be insurance against possible rises any prices for me. We don't know for sure what the future will bring us, and we could even see future taxation beyond sales tax on ammunition.

I can reload for every firearm I own except rimfires. The last new ammunition I purchased was some .17 HMR last Spring.
lamarw is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 08:02 PM   #14
Senior Member
Join Date: October 28, 2007
Location: Upper Indiana
Posts: 609
Can reloading be dangerous? Probably less so than driving to the range.

I'be been reloading since the latter 50's early 60's.

Is it cost effective? Lets see, I can reload 45 ACP cartridges for $ .013 each, yup I bought components awhile back. That works out to $1.30 a hundred rounds.

Cases are free, I pick them up at the range, have thousands. Bullets are less than free, I help to clean the berms at our indoor range and cast my own bullets, excess lead is sold.

Most of my presses were purchased years and years ago, some new some used.

BTW I reload for 30/40 different rounds.
U.S. Army Veteran
NRA Certified Range Officer
jcwit is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 09:03 PM   #15
serf 'rett
Senior Member
Join Date: June 25, 2009
Location: Stuttgart, AR
Posts: 1,568
Dangerous? Yes, if you are not a "details" type of person.

Less expensive? Yes and no.

Yes - I saved enough with my first 4000 9mm reloads to cover the cost of my $600.00 reloading setup. Plus I make custom cartridges tuned to my firearms.

No - You will be enticed to buy more equipment, components and firearms to feed the new addiction.
A lack of planning on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part.
serf 'rett is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 09:39 PM   #16
Junior Member
Join Date: April 23, 2011
Posts: 5
What a wonderful hobbie and a reason to get a gun to try another round!
wisconsinjim is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 10:08 PM   #17
Join Date: February 17, 2012
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 64
Dangerous? If you take shortcuts, can't pay attention to detail or do dumb stuff, yes. Otherwise, not really. As another poster said, it'd be dangerous if my wife found out how much I've spent though.

Cheaper? Cheaper is relative & contextual. I would have spent several thousand dollars less if I'd never started reloading. But, if I hadn't been reloading, I wouldn't have shot 15k rounds in the past two years either. The ammo I've loaded has cost me $2,931 in used actual components used to date (19,782 rounds across 11 calibers). The pre-panic, average price for those same rounds would have come to $8,584. (I'm a bit anal retentive on my record keeping).

One of the most wonderful parts has been these past 5 months... I've got ammo, can shoot when I want and don't care what the stores have or don't have. If I'm low on a caliber, I make more. But, I was well stocked on components (and intend to stay that way). That takes some capital for bulk purchases, but that's OK. I also learned to cast lead bullets (which will keep me shooting 9mm, .40 and .45 for less than 5 cents a round) and I've also got swaging dies coming, so I'll be shooting .223 for about 10 - 12 cents a round very soon. Bonus - I've learned a ton and I'm self sufficient in ways non-reloaders will never be.
ricklaut is offline  
Old April 11, 2013, 10:18 PM   #18
Sure Shot Mc Gee
Senior Member
Join Date: January 2, 2012
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 3,204
Have any of you had problems with reloading, like guns or bullets blowing up, misfires, bullets getting stuck in the barrel etc?
Yep!! 300 Savage on a couple of occasions because of a head space problem. (Shell separation just above it base.) Bought a Hornady Comparator Tool and immediate resolve was had.

And is it cheaper and by how much?
How much do I save on a 20-rd box? That largely depends on the brand and type of bullets used. A little less than $10.00 a box it cost me maybe on my 270 and 25-06 to make. (w/Nosler-BT bullets)
On my 32 Special >Win 94? A box of 20 cost me no more than $2.00 to make since I cast my own bullets for this one out of tire wheel weights.
B/P Hawken? I make my own powder and cast my own balls. The only thing I purchase store bought is percussion caps for this one. It's so cheap to shoot. I can't even guess at the amount.

Sure Shot Mc Gee is offline  
Old April 12, 2013, 07:02 AM   #19
Senior Member
Join Date: January 22, 2005
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 2,428
I've loaded my own for over 50 years now, cast my own bullets, bought jacketed ones for hunting etc. I'd view reloading your own ammunition as a demanding exercise in concentration. Over the years I've come to some hard and fast rules for survival of myself and my guns. By way of backround, here's my bonofides. I was trained as a civil engineer, but after a cpl tours in Vietnam, I spent nearly 40 years as a commercial airline pilot. I note this to explain that my professional life was spent in demanding occupations, where attention to detail, while still not losing the big picture was essential.

Reloading is dangerous, demands attention to the task, and like flying or work on the ocean, is terribly unforgiving of inattention or incompetence. Here are my loading shop safety practices.

I will not load if there are distractions in the shop...people, dogs, kids, wives, loud music, mental overload (worrying about job or family).
I won't shoot another person's loads...ever.
I don't pick up range brass....who knows how many times he's loaded it?
I use published data from several sources.
I have and use a chronograph to verify load levels vs. published velocities. This practice has alerted me to changing powder characteristics over the current Unique is hotter than it used to be..same is true of 2400. Winchester 231 is slower, and is identical in current production to HP38.
I wear glasses 100% of the time while loading and shooting. This habit has saved my eyes 4 times now....PM if you want details.
I'm aware of any change in the way the press, scale, or primer seater feels as I complete the process. They'll tip you off to misaligned cases in a progressive press, over or under loads due to a piece of grit in the scales knife edge, and potential primer sympathetic detonation due to crushed, misaligned primers.

The key on all of this to remain aware...tuned to the process and press. Don't trust data...any data,...check it against other sources...typos due happen despite the loading manual's editors. Beware of old loading formulas...powders have changed. Read a and elsewhere, and note the good guys on line...some have really extensive experience...but as I know from 17,000 hours of flying...the newest, greenest guy in the other seat may see something that's gotten past you. Be ready to accept new viewpoints, but be critical in your thinking as to the newest, best, shiny theory.

HTH's Rod...admittedly a Geezer, but with both eyes and hands still in original (for the most part), condition.
Cherish our flag, honor it, defend what it stands for or get the hell out. Our Freedoms are not free, they've been paid for many times over by heros in uniform. Far better men than I, died that we could be FREE.

USAF FAC, 5th Spl Forces, An Loc, lll Corps, RVN, 69-70, Vietnam Vet '69-'73
rodfac is offline  
Old April 12, 2013, 08:21 AM   #20
A pause for the COZ
Senior Member
Join Date: October 11, 2012
Location: Braham, Minnesota
Posts: 1,308
I dont count the cost of my reloading equipment. Most of my equipment I purchased used and will be worth about the same as I paid for it when I sell it.
I count it as money storage.

As for reloading, I could not see how I could even do this hobby if I did not.
I just ran the numbers for my 300 Black out loads.
Shoot about 300 a week or so.
I have it down to $2.48 for a box of 20.
What is it $25 to buy a box?

I can do a box of 50 45acp's for less than 5 bucks.
Winchester white box is what 20 bucks?

Big plus is I have ammo when I need it.
A pause for the COZ is offline  
Old April 12, 2013, 08:36 AM   #21
Senior Member
Join Date: January 6, 2011
Location: Thornton, Texas
Posts: 3,282
I've done more damage to myself with a screwdriver than I have with my reloading of ammo. What rodfac said was (as an uncle used to say) "perzactly right". Just be careful and do wear safety glasses.
603Country is offline  
Old April 12, 2013, 02:48 PM   #22
Senior Member
Join Date: March 20, 2011
Location: Willamina, OR
Posts: 879
I once cut my finger on a sharp case mouth... The most danger was the old lady finding out how much I spent on supplies and other gun stuff but divorce solved that problem...

Geezerbiker is offline  
Old April 12, 2013, 03:17 PM   #23
Senior Member
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 12,894
I've been reloading, off and on, for well over 30 yrs.../ No, I've never had a squib round - or a malfunction from a reloaded round ( double charge, etc). I've had guns break ( extractors, firing pins, etc )...but not because of my ammo.

I look at reloading as part of the hobby. I buy components in bulk - and reloading a premium jacketed bullet my reloads - with today's cost of components for a 50 round box:
( 9mm, 115 gr, $ 7.75 a box) ...retail in my area $ 19 - $25
(.40S&W 180gr, $ 10.25 a box)..retail in my area $ 25 - $28
(.45 acp 230gr, $ 12.40 a box) ...retail in my area $ 30 - $35

so yes, there is a significant savings....but in reality, I shoot 2 or 3 times more with the same ammo budget !

Like others said reloads are way more accurate than most any factory ammo. Reloading means I have some inventory on ammo ...don't have to shop, fuss about it. Its extremely long as you understand the process, how your press works, have good procedures and have attention to detail.

I shoot about 20,000 rds a year in a variety of calibers...( 9mm, .40S&W , .45 acp, .38 spl, .357 mag and .44 mag )....or about 8 boxes a week or so...and if I wasn't reloading ( I'd shoot 4 or 5 boxes a month is all probably )..../ if you invest in a good progressive press - it'll easily load 10 boxes an hour(many of them will do 15 - 20 boxes an hour with case feeders, etc) time isn't really a factor.
I recommend reloading as part of the hobby ...if you think you'll enjoy the process. If you do it just to save money ...ok, but that's not the primary motivation for most of us that reload.
BigJimP is offline  
Old April 12, 2013, 04:23 PM   #24
Senior Member
Join Date: September 6, 2007
Posts: 1,201
Yes, reloading can be dangerous.

Of the thousands of rounds that I have loaded I've had a few that didn't fire.

After the initial investment you will start to save a few dollars.

Last edited by TheNatureBoy; April 13, 2013 at 05:25 PM.
TheNatureBoy is offline  
Old April 12, 2013, 06:58 PM   #25
Senior Member
Join Date: March 2, 2013
Posts: 131
The reason I reload is to make shooting cheaper so I can justify shooting more. At factory prices I can't justify shooting as much as I want. At reloading prices I can. My presses and dies have used resale value that I can subtract from the total cost which means that my investment in them pays for itself sooner. As for dangerous? I sure hope I can keep my record spotfree.
Cesure is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:52 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2016 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10908 seconds with 9 queries