Cost v. Benefits of Reloading Revisited


March 24, 2007, 07:55 PM
A little personal history. I have shot muzzleloaders for quite a few years, both traditional style and in-lines. I competed numerous times in the Texas Muzzleloader Association events in Brady, Texas, but only won one event--the Newcomer's event the first year I competed. This past year, I realized I could no longer hunt with iron sights and even a change to aperture sights was not working. I decided to go back to centerfires and have done so. My newest toy is a Howa .308 with heavy bbl. After shooting muzzleloaders for so many years I was unprepared for the costs of "modern" ammunition.

Like many new reloaders, I thought I wanted to save $$ over the cost of factory ammunition by reloading I worked out a complicated spreadsheet to convince myself that the cost was justified. I bought the Lee Anniversary Kit but decided even before it arrived to sell the press on E-Bay and substitute a Lee Classic Cast so I could use the Hornady LnL bushings, so I did. After a few days with the Lee Safety Scale, I was not happy. It was difficult for me to see the settings and I had to pick it up and punch the lock button to reset to change weights. So I found a Lyman/Ohous M5 scale and bought that. Much easier to see and adjust.

The rest of the Anniversary Kit was Ok. I've added a few other tools along the way: Dial caliper, RCBS bullet puller and powder trickler. I have a SP/Hornady OAL gauge, modified case and comparator on the way.

Long story short, I have stopped trying to justify the cost of reloading, and here is why: Winchester factory rounds shot earlier this week for brass, best group:

Those are 1" squares. I reloaded those cases last night and shot a few today:

Those are 1/4" squares. Good day at the range all around. I shot in 5 gr increments up to 42.7 grs. but the groups started to open up at that point. Possibly the best load would have been 40.7grs, except for my "flinch" on the third shot.

Thanks to all the advice and advisors on this forum (and others). For me, the benefits far outweigh the initial start-up costs. When new reloaders inquire as to whether it is cheaper to reload, the "stock" answer is "not necessarily, because you will shoot more for the same $$" or something like that. The better answer might be "no, but look at what you can do better."

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March 24, 2007, 08:24 PM
I'll second that. Good shooting and nice groups.

March 24, 2007, 08:31 PM
You're right about the money. I was just tracking my most recent order from Midway and looked at my "order history." I''ll have to reload for a long time to convince myself I'm actually saving money. That having been said, factoring in the enjoyment and improved groups makes it all worthwhile. Great groups ... and 70 degrees; must be nice!

March 24, 2007, 08:37 PM
Hey, I was just guessing about the temp. It may have been higher. Felt good to be shooting and not doing yard work.

I attribute the improved grouping entirely to the reloading. No other variables changed.

March 24, 2007, 09:08 PM
But now, there is NO guessing of where your bullet will land. Only thing left for you to do....see where your best loads lands at 200/300/400/500 yards.

Done!! Very nice groups!!!!

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