Economics of handloading - - Compiled Threads


March 11, 2003, 01:53 AM
I have a feeling this is going to be one of those questions I'll live to regret asking ;) but here goes:

I know NOTHING about reloading, but am intriqued. From what I've read here so far, I gather that reloading is a hobby unto itself - and is done almost as much for the enjoyment of it alone as simply to save money (although I have to admit - that's mainly what interests me). All I currently shoot are a 9mm pistol and (occasionally) my old .38 Special revolver. I can buy 100 rounds of Winchester white box 9mm target loads at Wally World for $11.97. Would I really save a significant amount of money over that if I reloaded my own?

If so, what is a rough ballpark figure of what I'd have to spend on manuals, equipment, supplies, etc. to get started from scratch? I'm sure - as in every hobby - that can vary widely depending on the quality of the equipment - but let's just talk decent, middle-of-the-road stuff. What all would I have to buy? Feel free to recommend specific makes/models, etc.

Surely this has been asked before, but I didn't turn up anything with the search facility. Maybe I didn't look for the correct words... but anyway, if so, please point me to any other threads where this has been discussed.


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Stephen A. Camp
March 11, 2003, 02:05 AM

March 11, 2003, 06:15 AM
It is going to be hard to reload the 9mm for less than the cost of bulk ammo. I reload the 9 because I like to practice with the same bullet profile as my carry ammo. I can also duplicate or exceed the accuracy of most bulk ammo.

March 11, 2003, 08:22 AM
I load equivalent to the white box winchester for less than $3.25 per 50, less than $6.50 per 100. Buying components in larger quantities could bring the cost down more yet. The price floor will be around $3 per box unless you buy in warehouse quantities I think.

Reloading has never saved me a damn dime, I just shoot more. IN fact I spend more money shooting guns that I reload for than I do ones that I do not reload for.

Bottom Gun
March 11, 2003, 09:01 AM
The benefit of reloading is that you can produce ammo exactly the way you want it.
Sometimes the choices of factory ammo are limited to one or two bullets styles and weights.
For example, try buying a box of 30-06 loaded with 110 or 125 gr hollow points, or a box of .338 Win Mag loaded with 210 gr Partitions or 215 gr BTSP.
Try finding a box of factory ammo for any magnum pistol cartridge loaded to midrange specs.
Reloading will not only give you almost unlimited choices, but my reloads are usually more accurate than factory ammo since I can tune my load to a specific firearm. This is especially true with rifle ammo.

Oh yeah, you'll probably shoot more if you start reloading. :D

March 11, 2003, 09:33 AM
Here is a three part series, with some good info:

Good Luck....


March 11, 2003, 09:37 AM
When I first started, I only loaded for 9mm. Not really any cheaper I just wanted to do it myself.
Now I load for ten calibers. Reloading was so much fun I went out and bought more guns. :D

March 11, 2003, 10:03 AM
My major problem with reloading 9mm...chasing brass.. I'll not bother..wife wants to get a K9, told her to make sure to factor in bulk ammo purchases ;-).

March 11, 2003, 10:49 AM
If you only shoot 9mm, it's not really worth taking it up (yet). If you shoot any quantity of .38 (or any wheelgun caliber), you owe it to yourself to reload. Easy to save brass, extremely wide range of possible loads, and half the price of factory loads.

March 11, 2003, 11:31 AM

If it’s your intent to save money by taking up reloading I would suggest keeping your money in the bank or some other investment.

I know of no one who went in with the intent of saving money with reloading and not end up actually spending more than they had budgeted. Sort of reminds me of the old adage about boats the two happiest days of a boat owner’s life is when they buy one and then when they get rid of it.

Now having said that I personally find reloading to be an enjoyable hobby that contributes to my other shooting activities and as long as I am able to use a firearm I will continue to reload.

March 11, 2003, 03:52 PM
95 % of my reloading is in the .38/.357 calibers with some dibbling in the .44 mag and .45 acp calibers , the .38 is a fun one to work with you can make loads that are light as a .22 in recoil for newbies or some KAB( Kick A** blasters) for the .357 frames , I have cut my usage cost from case lots that I have bought in the past to over 3/4 plus I know what the finished product can do . also if you brass rat the trash cans at alot of ranges you will find free brass which cuts the cost down even more .

March 11, 2003, 05:37 PM
WOW! GREAT information in here! Thanks all. Sounds like I currently wouldn't save any money jumping into reloading (yet), but it sure sounds like fun. I'll have to give it some more thought. I may just take the plunge anyway. I need a good excuse to shoot more often and buy more guns! :D

Thanks again!

March 11, 2003, 05:59 PM
Shoot, clean guns, reload ammo, repeat.

How lucky can we get!

March 12, 2003, 12:44 PM
If you arel ooking for an enjoyable hobby, reloading is something to consider. Not only is it fun, but you will gain more insight into internal and external ballistics as you do your reloading homework.

I load 9mm for about $3.25 a box. I too thought that chasing my brass would be a pain, but I do this anyway when I police up my area when I am done shooting. Also, I usually come back from the range witjh 100-200 more cases than I came with..

Steve Smith
March 12, 2003, 12:50 PM
As some others have hinted at, reloading isn't just a "suppport" hobby, but it is a hobby in itself. The quest for better, different, or cheaper is answered with reloading. Many times you just can't get what you need off the shelf so you make it yourself. Other times, you just want to play, liek my buddy with flechette shotgun rounds, another buddy with multi-projectile rounds for a .357, or another buddy pushing .223's over 2000 fps out of a CZ-52, or me with reverse loaded SWC bullets in a .45 Colt or super-duper hot .45 Colt barn-burners. Sometimes I wonder if I shoot so I can just reload more.

March 12, 2003, 05:53 PM
The best way to get a quick education in reloading is to buy a .41 mag, or a .45ACP pistol, and realize how much money you could save if you reloaded.

March 12, 2003, 06:06 PM
I've reloaded quite a lot of 9mm. Then when I found a source for good commercial reloads (MiWall) for $95/1000, I only reload 9mm when I need to shoot lead bullets at a match.

In .45acp and .44 mag, its a completely different story. I have a ton of .45 brass already, so my cost, using copper-plated bullets, is about $3.50 a box (.07/round). The cheapest decent .45 reloads are more than $7 a box and they don't work well in my guns anyway. In .44 mag, if you want light, target loads with SWCs, reloading is the ONLY way to fly.

.40sw is probably a borderline cartridge in terms of cost savings. You can now get good commercial reloads for about $115/1000. You can probably save about $25/1000 reloading, but that isn't worth it for me.

I shoot mostly light 357s now in cowboy action. There I'm looking at $127/1000 delivered vs. $45/1000 for my own reloads using lead bullets. Worth the time to reload in this case, and you have control over the oal and muzzle velocity--both important when you're shooting lever action rifles in pistol calibers.

March 12, 2003, 08:25 PM
I started off reloading for 38/357 and found I could load at a cost of under 2 cents per round. Of course prices for components have gone up since then but I can still load a 38/357 for under 3 cents. I buy primers in bulk (5000 round sleeves at $67 per) This works out to be 1.3 cents per round. WW231 powder I purchase in bulk cannisters ( 4 or 8 lb. kegs at a cost of 16.50 per pound avg. This works out to .2 cents per grain of powder. 5 grains costs 1.1 cent. Brass is free for the taking at many ranges and since I cast my own lead bullets from free wheelweights, my cost is nothing. Total cost for a round of 38/357 is 2.4 cents per round, or $2.40 per hundred. ( 9mm works out just about the same only a little less powder cost) I doubt you can beat that cost anywhere commercially.

Now do I save money reloading, FAT CHANCE. I just buy more guns and more reloading equipment so I can reload more so I can shoot more. Besides if I factored in the cost of my time spent reloading, Premium ammunition would seem like a bargain.


March 13, 2003, 01:04 PM
as working up a really accurate handload for your particular gun. Especially if you then take a deer/win a match with it. Kinda like catching difficult trout on flies you tied yourself.

PLUS you're never stymied if the store isn't open, and in some cases you can save money (if you don't count the value of your time).

I'd say that reloaders don't really save in the sense that they spend less money, but they can shoot a lot more for the same money. I sure couldn't afford to shoot my 1911 or M1 much if I didn't reload.

I say do it.

March 13, 2003, 02:07 PM
Is it worthwhile to reload 9MM?

I think so. Of course, I only reload about 8,00-10,000 rounds of 9MM per year.

Seriously, even if you didn't save money, it would be worthwhile just for the fun of it, and for the personal satisfaction of "doing it yourself."

I've been reloading since 1964, and I currently reload 17 different calibers currently, mostly on a dillon XL 650.

If you really want an experience that will give you a sense of accomplishment, try reloading 1,000 rounds of .25 ACP. Guaranteed to take your mind off of all other troubles.

I don't save money, but I sure shoot more.

BTW, after you start reloading, start thinking about bullet casting.

March 13, 2003, 03:08 PM
Yo, I too like Miwall ammo. In fact, I'll probably be headed to the next show in Denver to buy a k of their fine 9mm factory reloads.

As others have said, it's not so much the economics of reloading as it is the satisfaction of doing it. I reload for .45 ACP, .38/.357, .30-06, and I will reload for my .223 CZ527 when I get motivated enough.

Someday, I may buy the parts I need for my SDB to reload 9mm, but it'll be a while. Plus, I'll have to get another barrel for my Glock to shoot lead.

March 13, 2003, 09:40 PM
Considering the amount of time that it would take you to load ammo for your 9mm and .38, you would probably not save any money by doing it.
I still load sometimes for my 9mm's, but I don't really don't save any money by doing it. I just can't stand to throw away hundreds of rounds worth of good brass.
Now, if you buy yourself a rifle, then it would be worth your while.
I haven't shot a single round of factory ammo for the .308 in a couple of years (since I only started handloading two years ago). I load all of my own, using new or once fired brass, and mostly Speer bullets and Win 748. My handloads are so good anymore that I can fool people into thinking that they are factory loads.
It has taken some trial, and quite a bit of error, but I am kind of proud of myself. I can match factory ammo in my basement with a 30 yr old Lyman press. I am not really the kind of guy who lives in a world of order. In fact, it usually hurries me to find a pair of socks that match.
But, I CAN handload, and I can do it well.
And, I can shoot alot more for the same amount.

I got a PA whitetail this year with one of my loads. Can't describe the satisfaction of knowing that you did everything just right from start to finish. But I am sure that there are others on this board who know exactly what I mean.

March 14, 2003, 12:04 AM
I got a PA whitetail this year with one of my loads. Can't describe the satisfaction of knowing that you did everything just right from start to finish. But I am sure that there are others on this board who know exactly what I mean.

Goon, I know the feeling. A few years back, I took a nice little 4 point muley with a .45-70 handload, loaded with a 405GR lead bullet that I cast from wheelweights that I scrounged from a service station. It doesn't get any better!

March 14, 2003, 09:05 AM
Reloading is an evolution process, whatever the reason , most people start out with the basic equipment, which would be a single stage press , scale, and powder measure, along with a few other do-dads. My reason was that I got into bullseye shooting, and I couldn't afford to buy ammo. At first I bought bulk lead bullets. After a while, I bought the equipment to cast my own bullets. After that I got a Dillon progressive loader , and so on and on.
I haven't bought ammo from a store in over 30 years. I only load cases that are easy to find and pick up, that does not include 9mm. :cuss:

March 15, 2003, 12:48 PM
Regarding rifle ammo, I can't even imagine NOT reloading. I don't even consider it reloading... it's more like precision projectile manufacturing.

My brass is prepped and chamfered and weighed... better than any factory brass. It is also fire-formed to my chamber.

Bullets are seated to within .002" of the ideal position relative to the lands for each bullet/powder combination.

Powder is measured individually for each cartridge, and each case is neck-sized for near-zero runout. I log all my shooting data, so I can select an ideal powder for each bullet weight.

Result. Not unusual for me to have 5 shots with extreme spread of 12fps or less and standard deviation under 5fps--this at 3000fps velocity.

My recent loads have been grouping in the high 2s (e.g. .28moa). Not bad for a $400 Savage with factory barrel!

Hard work pays off.

- - -

By contrast, I don't have much interest anymore in spending 4-5 hours reloading 1000 9mm to save $30.

March 17, 2003, 01:51 AM
fun, relaxing and economical. It allows me to shoot more for less $$! Now, isn't that reason enough?!:)

April 12, 2003, 12:08 PM
Is it worthwhile to reload .223/5.56mm? What does the cost per round reloading come out to for plain jane FMJ loads? I'm not asking ultra accurate competition ammo, I'm just wondering if it would be possible to make blasting ammo cheaper than Federal or South African milsurp. Thanks.

April 12, 2003, 02:54 PM
I load mine.

Here is a typical cost.

Per hundred
Primers - $1.50
Bullets - $4.50 - Bulk FMJ's are very cheapr
Powder - $4 - Depends on powder and quantity you buy it in.

So basically $10 per 100

If you dont have enough brass already then you can get it a for $18 per 1000 for once fired stuff.

April 12, 2003, 03:17 PM
OK. Guess I won't look too much further into handloading, because I can get Wolf for like $.10 a shot anyways. Thanks.

April 13, 2003, 01:27 AM
If you're only shooting .223 out of a semi-auto for purely plinking, then reloading probably isn't something you need to do. While many, including myself, choose not to use Wolf ammunition, it does provide a cheap source of ammunition for casual plinkers. In your situation, .10/round or $2 a box of 20 is a good enough deal.

April 13, 2003, 05:18 PM
There is something that I think you might be overlooking.

We are in a climate of increasingly negative thoughts and actions by the political climate in our country. Reloading yourself gives you the ability to have a supply of readily available ammo in the event that mil surp or cheap blasting ammo goes away.

I have given it a lot of thought about buying $1,000 worth of cheap blasting ammo or investing (truly an investment)in a reloading set up and loading my own....I have chosen the latter.

April 13, 2003, 05:53 PM
Watch out for Wolf 223... they are steel-cased. And have been known to break extractors.

Steve Smith
April 13, 2003, 07:34 PM
Jmurman makes an excellent point.

In addition, consider reloading a valuabe trade for "Bad Days" that may come ahead.

Using it as a trade is a felony, but if what we know as the world goes upside down, it won't matter. FWIW, I don't put much stock into SHTF stuff, but I am an ordained minister, becoming a Mason, getting my Amateur Radio Liscense, and doing a few other things just to round things out. Also want to know how to brew beer. Handloading falls right into the "good thing to know" category.

April 14, 2003, 04:02 PM
I agree Steve, it's a good thing to know. I don't load for my AK at this point, but probably will get all the supplies I need in the very near future.

April 15, 2003, 07:49 AM
One other point,I really enjoy reloading.
If you put a minimum wage price on your time,it is more expensive than most factory ammo,but hobbys cost.....right?

April 15, 2003, 10:58 PM
...that gives a pretty accurate cost assessment of reloaded ammo.

April 16, 2003, 11:46 PM
If Wolff ammo is working for you, stay with it.

Dave R
April 17, 2003, 12:48 AM
That is a good spreadsheet. If you're interested in the economics, price some components and let the spreadsheet tell you.

One other benefit of reloading .223--even if you are only moderately careful, you should be able to turn out ammo that is much more accurate than Wolf.

Steve Smith
April 17, 2003, 09:17 AM
That is a lousy spreadsheet in comparison to the one I've tried to show people here several times. Unfortunately, most folks are too lazy to click their mouse a few times to download it.

April 17, 2003, 09:27 AM
Let's not take into consideration the startup costs of the equipment which would probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of $400-$800.

If a new box of 230 grain full metal jacket runs me on average $13 how much would that price be cut down if I reloaded it with 230 grain full metal jacket ball ammo.

Bullet, Primer, Powder....assuming that I am re-using a casing already?

I am trying to figure out if it is really worth reloading from a cost point not from a self satisfaction point.

While we are at it same question for .223 and .357/.38. I have pretty much determined that loading for 9mm isn't going to save anybody much money at all based on current market prices.


Oh yeah, does everybody here who reloads still have all their fingers?

April 17, 2003, 09:28 AM
I was unable to open the spreadsheet...

April 17, 2003, 09:32 AM
Heck, I've got a database program that factors in 'useful' life values for things like brass and handles different cost for purchases.. ;-)

As most (all perhaps) reloaders know, you will not save money in the long run..cause you'll shoot more!

John Forsyth
April 17, 2003, 09:39 AM
I still have all my fingers. :) I use VV N310, not the cheapest powder, Winchester primers, and West Coast plated bullets. Not counting the cost of brass, which you can get on Ebay for about $45/1000 for once fired, I am at $3.83/50 for .45ACP. I do not load the others.

It doesn't take long to recoup the cost of your reloading equipment. With that said, reloading allowed me to shoot better ammo and more of it for the same cost.

Steve Smith
April 17, 2003, 09:40 AM
Moved your thread here. I think I'll put a "How much can I save" thread together and make it sticky if Johnny doesn't mind. Its a very frequently asked quesiton.

BTW, a search for "save" or "savings" in this forum will drag up a lot of good info.

April 17, 2003, 09:54 AM
I am pretty confident in saying that a 50% savings is a good solid rough estimate. You can do a bit better if you shop around, but I would say cutting the cost in half is a good rule of thumb for most calibers. I've paid for my equipment many times over...time to convince the wifey for new stuff :D

April 17, 2003, 09:54 AM
Thanks, I guess since I don't reload I never took the time to realize that there was a reloading forum.



Steve Smith
April 17, 2003, 10:10 AM
Chris, Trevman's 50% is probably a good average, but it is really cartridge dependent.

For example, a 20 round box of ammo that comes closest to my Highpower Rifle competition ammo costs about $20 a box. I can load the same amount and better quality for $4 if I use the caes 6 times (no problem). That's basically a 75% savings!

Another comparison, with .45 acp. Plain ol .45's cost about $10 a box of 50 at the local store. I can load with range brass and lead bullets (why use FMJ unless you're using a Glock?) purchased locally and wind up paying $3.04 for that same box of 50. AND I can make sure they exceed the power floor of the competition I'm shooting in.

I have access to a REALLY neat spreadsheet that calculates costs of everything, including your relaoding equipment. Let me know if you'd like to use it.

Zak Smith
April 17, 2003, 10:34 AM
Here's a sample breakdown:

W.C. PRN 185gr: 7.0c/round
primer: 1.6c/round
powder (typical): 2.0c/round
If you assume cases are "free", because you've been collecting your factory brass for a while, that's about $106/case of 1000.

If you add in new Starline cases, and assume they'll last 20 loadings, that only adds another 0.46c/round, for about $110/case.

If you use hard-cast lead bullets instead of plated, you might be able to cut the cost of the bullets themselves in half, bringing it down to $71-80/case.

.45ACP costs about $200+tax locally here, so that's about a 35-65% savings.

With regard to the cost of reloading equipment: If all you want to do is churn out large quantities of .45ACP (or other pistol calibers), I suggest looking at the Dillon Square Deal B. It's an auto-indexing progressive reloading machine that does only pistol calibers.The price is about $275 delivered to your door, set up for whatever caliber you specify.

Beyond that, all you'd need is a set of dial calipers (to 0.001") and a good scale (balance-beam for about $35, digital for about $100). A tumbler for cleaning brass is helpful.

I think you could get all this for about $400. Reloading .45ACP, it would only take 3000-4000 rounds to break even.

Heck, I even reload 9mm, at a savings of about $40/case.


April 17, 2003, 10:48 AM
Is more open to the idea then I am. I guess I just have a little bit of a fear of reloading. Normally I don't mind trying new things but I am afraid that I won't know if the brass is bad or whatever and I will cause some kind of catastrophic failure.

How many times can a decent brass casing be reloaded?

Does the caliber matter in the above question? For example .45 is a relatively low pressure round that really shouldn't put a lot of tension on the brass. How about .40 or .357 SIG or 10mm which are all very very high pressure rounds?

I would most likely want the ability to reload rifle ammo as well as I own both a .223 and 30-06. My other calibers are cheap enough to buy surplus for.

I would want the ability to load reasonably quickly. I don't want to spend a minimum on equipment to find out that it takes me 2 hours to load a box of 50. Even though I am sure this would be reasonably fun I don't want to waste that much time.

What is the best reloading manual to use? Obviously this isn't a "hey ya'll lets try this." undertaking.

Initially I would probably only want to reload .30-06 and .45 ACP as those are my big expenses. Maybe .357 which brings me to another question.

Are .357 loading dies different then .38 Special loading dies?

I want to start out with .45ACP and learn with that as I feel that there should be a little more margin for error with that I wrong for thinking this?

I am sorry for asking so many questions and I guess I could get off my lazy butt and use the search engine but I really have to get some work done today, as averse to some other days. :D

Although I am reasonably well versed in shooting and have experience shooting and cleaning a huge variety of firearms I have absolutely no experience what so ever with reloading. I have friends who do it and a family memeber who is into class III and has been doing it for years but I just never took the time to check into it. So that makes me completely ignorant on the subject.

Anyway I appreciate all of your help and knowledge. It seems to me Dillion is the way to go but there are a couple other reloader equipment providers out there also. Is Dillion the cream of the crop though?

Thanks again.


Zak Smith
April 17, 2003, 11:02 AM

Reloading isn't hard, as long as you can read and follow directions and are careful and diligent.

I suggest buying several reloading manuals, such as Speer, Hornady, Sierra, and Lee. These will all have a "how-to" section in the front that describes how to reload, and what are the most important things to get right. Having multiple manuals on-hand is also very useful for cross-checking data.

Lots of these questions have been answered before here or on TFL.

Does caliber affect how many times brass can be reloaded? Yes, mainly as a function of pressure and how much the brass is "worked" each iteration. Most pistol brass is relatively easy to reload due to straight-wall cases. .357SIG is tapered, which complicates it somewhat - not the best caliber to start with.

All reports I've heard praise the Dillon 550 and 650. (There's a reason why most IPSC/IDPA shooters use Dillon equipment.) These two progressive machines are capable of reloading rifle ammunition. The Square-Deal B is much cheaper, but can only handle pistol calibers.


April 17, 2003, 11:09 AM
The 550 and 650 was what I was looking at. But I wasn't sure they could do both rifle and pistol calibers.

This is a moot point as early on I would only load for .45 but instead of having to buy new equipment I would rather have familiar equipment to grow into.


Zak Smith
April 17, 2003, 11:14 AM

I have a couple friends who shoot thousands of rounds a week. They both use 650's.

Alternatively, many people end up with a SDB for each pistol caliber they reload.


April 17, 2003, 11:36 AM
The 550 and 650 both are well suited to large amounts of ammo produced weekly. I have a 550, love it dearly.

With 230 grain jacketed bullets my 45ACP loads cost me $3.70 per box. With 200 grain lead bullets my cost is $2.50 per box.

Buying a rifle capable loader now is a wise choice.

April 17, 2003, 12:09 PM
Are .357 loading dies different then .38 Special loading dies?
Yes, they're longer. You would have difficulty seating bullets, and decapping and belling .38's using .357 dies. I've tried it, but was unable to properly bell .38's. The decapping and sizing are possible-sort of..
However, the good news is that you can reload both .357 and .38 with .38Special dies.

April 17, 2003, 12:18 PM
Looks like the average cost for a FMJ round of 45 ACP is .07 via reloading...if you spend $1000 for the equipment and want to amortize your costs at .03 per round (to bring your per round cost to .10), you will be loading 33,333 rounds of ammobefore you recover the costs of equipment.

I can buy 50,000 rounds of 45 acp for probably .10 per round and not have to reload it myself...what is your time worth?


Zak Smith
April 17, 2003, 12:31 PM
Where can you buy good .45ACP for $100 a case?


Desert Dog
April 17, 2003, 01:01 PM
I will touch on this matter only briefly as everyone has given all the main points of reloading.

Reloading is a whole hobby within itself. It just happens to coincide with my other favorite hobby, which is guns...

One off-topic comment before I go. DAL, I find your tagline MOST offensive. Islam in itself is not the issue... FANATICISM of a religion IS the issue.


April 17, 2003, 07:28 PM
Dillon 550B $330
45acp dies $50
Powder scale $30
Calipers $50
Total cost of equipment $460.

The above is really all you need, load data is available off the net, and you are reading this. Add 25% for some tools to help out like a tumbler and things that make loading easier for a total of $575. That is a lot more than you need for sure, but why not do it right?

Factory hardball is $12 per box, and that is a good sale price. My handloaded hardball is about $4 per box, for a savings of $8 per box. $575/$8=72 boxes to pay for the equipment. 72 boxes*50 shells is 3600 shells, 3600 shells later the cake is in your POCKET or feeding your insidious gun habit.

The numbers I have used above are pretty conservative, you could easily cut the payoff number down. If you also shoot 357 magnum or somthing like it the savings get bigger by quite a bit.

A 35K round payoff would pay for a 1050 for every day of the week.

Standing Wolf
April 17, 2003, 08:51 PM
I load my own ammunition for accuracy and reduced recoil. I'm sure I save a little money, but accuracy, reduced recoil, and pride of craftsmanship are motivation enough for me.

April 18, 2003, 12:45 AM
Where can you buy good .45ACP for $100 a case?

Try the Hunting Shack....

April 18, 2003, 05:10 AM

I am in the proces of buying my reloading set up. With the Dillon 55B, the absolute bottom line is about $1,000.

I am starting with nothing and am not looking to purchase anything fancy, but am looking for quality products.

I figure that at 5,000 rounds I will have a payoff...although I haven't been able to download any of the spread sheets that some of the fellows have posted

April 18, 2003, 08:37 AM
Jmurman, that is interesting. I put one together WAY under $1000, and I am loading several calibers. If you don't mind me asking what all are you buying? If you wanted to PM that would be fine as well. Maybe I overlooked some things and maybe you are buying something you don't need?

April 18, 2003, 12:36 PM
Sure thing. Keep in mind that I am starting out from scratch so there are some things that aren't reloading related that I feel are necessitites.


Dillon 550B $330
Power upgrade (roller handle, bullet tray, strong mount, low powder indicator)$107
45acp dies $50
Spare part kit $23
Video $6
Case guage $9
Wrench and spare rings $9

total $527, not including shipping


Electronic scale $97
Franklin tumbler $50
Walnut media $15
Empty boxes, 1000 rnds $14
Loadbook $8

total $179, not including shipping

Electronic from my Dad


Pistol cleaning rod $21
Bronze brushes $4.75
Nylon brushes $9.02
Large pk patches $28.75
Lewis lead remover $13.75
Extra bronze screens $2.70
JB Bore compound $7.95
Accu Bore $6.95
Hoppes #9 $3.04

total $98.20 not including freight.

Total purchase approx $800 not including freight

I am also using the 550B for 30.06 However, at this time I am not getting those dies, or accesories for rifle. This also doesn't include any powder, primers or bullets, or bulk brass.

I was raised to do the job right form the start. The only "extravagance" I can see is the electronic scale, but with rifle reloading, I feel that this is a must have.

What do you think?

April 18, 2003, 07:42 PM
The electronic scale is $70 more than my suggestion for a startup and the cleaning supplies I would not consider part of the reloading operation so $170 less. You have some "niceties" in there like the power upgrade, case gauge and spare parts kit that are not needed right off the bat and could be bought a couple pieces at a time, the cost of them brings your list to about $550 plus freight. If you can spare the money by all means buy the list exactly as you have it laid out, it is a VERY nice kit you have planned.

I have used a beam scale for my entire reloading life, with only occasional access to an electronic scale. The electronic are VERY nice but a bit extravagent in my book. I plan to get one but there are other things that will come first.

You are definately doing it right, and are not missing anything that I see at all. The 30-06 will add some requirements but that bridge can be crossed then.

April 19, 2003, 05:35 AM
I came into a little extra money that i should be receiving in a month or so. If I didn't I would not be buying with the "niceties", just the basic and over time adding those.

I am really excited about my new hobby!

February 16, 2005, 04:26 PM
CSLINGER, check out the Hornady Lock-N-Load Automatic tool. The Dillon 550-B has been at the top of the heap for many years, but their design is getting a bit long in the tooth. Planning to buy a Dillon, I loaded on a friend's first...changed my mind, because: (1) it costs $39 for a cartridge conversion kit plus dies...and I reload about a dozen cartridges. (2) The Dillon powder measure is obsolete design...difficult to change loads. My buddy bought 3 extra measures at over $60 each just to avoid the hassel. (3) Inconvenience in removing problem cases if a problem occurs.

Checked out the competition...the Hornady is currently tops. Somewhat lower in cost (and Midway currently has them temporarily on sale for $300!), MUCH cheaper to change cartridge set-ups, uses a modern rotary powder measure easy to change loads, easy to retrieve problem cases at any station.

December 10, 2006, 01:57 PM
...depends upon your cost of components, once you have the basic equipment. Does it pay? YOU BET!!! :D As examples, my 9-mm Luger total cost is $2.26/50, which is about half the cheapest bargain factory 9mm cost (and don't forget to add the sales tax!), .45 Auto is about $2.83/50, and .308 Win/.30-06 is about $3.00/20.

Strategy to save the most:

(1.) Buy components in bulk!
(2.) Standardize powders (I use Win #231 for everything in pistol from 9-mm Makarov to .45 Colt, and #4895 for everything from .223 NATO to 30-06).
(3.) Shop around for best prices...there's a lot of variation! My best sources have been mail order, but don't forget to add in the shipping and handling charges for comparison!
(4.) Combine orders with friends to get the benefits of larger bulk purchases and sharing of shipping charges.
(5.) Check gunshows for bargains.
(6.) Use free range pick-up brass...the case is the second most expensive component of the cartridge.

August 7, 2009, 06:43 PM
Is reloading worth it to me? Well ! I'll tell you since you asked. I reload for two primary reasons. One, I like to do it and two I reload for accuracy. If I save money in the meantime, then that is definitely a benefit.

If you are reloading to save money I will tell you my reloading story. Back in 1989 I purchased a significant amount of primers, powder, brass and bullets to reload. When I say a significant amount, I definitely mean significant. I intended to load and use the materials over a period of years and years.

The Bad News: Unfortunately I never had the time to shoot year after year and the materials sat and sat. The good news: I stored my components correctly and over the past two years I have been able to load and shoot at an extremely low cost compared to today's prices.

Can you imagine shooting .308 Win match ammo for a cost of 7 cents per round. .223 Rem even cheaper and 9mm and .45 ACP for only a few cents per round.

The price of ammo will only go up as with the price of guns. Buy all you want now because as one ammunition manufacturer said to me. "Ammo is the new currency of the millennia."

August 8, 2009, 03:35 PM
WOW a 6 1/2 year old thread, how cool. tootaxed even responded to himself 1 1/2 years later!

August 9, 2009, 09:15 AM
FREONER22, re my posts: same general topic, different information items. They are even more appropriate in today's high ammo cost situation! I bless my having bought components at the time in large the time I thought they were a bit expensive.

And in the future, the same will apply for those who buy now!:D

January 9, 2013, 11:28 AM
Nowadays ammo is getting harder to find and the price is through the rood, even in bulk. I load .308 WIN using good components but not buying powder, etc. in the larger quantities for about a third of the cost of match ammo off of the shelf. But.....I am heavily invested in all the equipent because I found myself shooting a lot more and so was unable to avoid the temptations to get more efficient machinery. Such as, electric case trimmer, electronic auto feeding powder measure/dispenser, micrometer seating die, good case cleaner, progressive reloader, extra presses for the single stage bench, you get the picture. Even with spectacular cost savings for reloading supplies it will be about about nine years equipment payback time for me. Assuming no new gadgets come out. But still, the thought of paying $35 for a box of twenty rounds is horrible. Like was said when the old Ford Falcons came out, if you want economy you have to pay for it.

January 9, 2013, 07:29 PM
Wow, what a way to resurrect an old thread!

For me, I started reloading to support USPSA match shooting and at 1000+ rounds a month, it just took several months to break even. About 18 years later, I guess my cost savings over factory ammunition is over $100,000 and growing. :D

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