Basic reloading price?


Ragnar Danneskjold
December 2, 2007, 06:17 PM
What is the minimum amount of equipment at the lowest price one needs to get into reloading for .223? Right now I shoot bulk Wolf .223 55gr FMJ(I know I can't use those casings), for about $0.25 a round. What are the savings on reloaded .223? I don't plan on loading really hot rounds, or using premium bullets. I just want to save money on cheap practice ammo so I can afford to shoot more. I also don't plan on making a hobby of it, so I don't need all sorts of the best stuff. I'm just looking for a cheaper way to save money on ammo so I can practice with my AR more.

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Eric F
December 2, 2007, 07:06 PM
My friend and I looked into loading 223 we already have the equipment and all but when you look at powder bullets and primmers you are only saving about $20 a 1000 it will tahe a few hours on the lee turret press so is 3 hours of your time worth $20 if so great go buy the lee aniversery turret press and get to it I think if you shop around it can all be had for around $130 including dies

December 2, 2007, 07:26 PM
You can start with a Lee loader for around $30 but probably won't like it and I wouldn't recomend it. If you want to load 223 with a decent press and save money then I would recomend the Lee Classic Turret Press. I have one and you can buy a kit now for around $150. I load 223 on mine for 9 to 10 cents per round or around $95 per 1,000 rounds. After case prep is done and I start loading I can load around 300 per hour. Loading pistol I can load around 200 per hour.

Edit: Eric you need to shop around for components if you are only saving $20 per 1,000 loading 223. I figure what I am loading for $95 would cost me $350 to $400 if it was new factory ammo.

December 2, 2007, 07:29 PM

Lee Classic Loader - about $15
Powder - about $20/pound
Bullets - dunno...what are .223s going for these days? Ditto small rifle primers...

Anyway, equipment is veeerrrryyy minimalistic, but you CAN do it this way. Kit comes with die set, depriming pin, and bullet seating "ram" that you operate with a hammer/mallet.

Slow, but cheap. According to Mr. Lee, this Loader held the world's record for accurate ammo.


lee n. field
December 2, 2007, 07:33 PM
What is the minimum amount of equipment at the lowest price one needs to get into reloading for .223?

Absolute minimum is a Lee Loader + a small hammer. ("Hammer?" "Don't ask.")

Next up, and most viable in my opinion, is the Lee Hand Press Kit + Lee die set.

December 2, 2007, 07:43 PM
I am not sure that a Lee Loader would be satisfactory for an AR. They are great for my little H&R single shot but how a neck sized only cartridge would cycle...I don't think so. Especially since I am assuming you and your friend have 2 separate ARs and are also probably picking up other's brass. The Lee Loaders are great for bolt actions and single shot when the brass has been previously fire formed by the rifle that you intend to reload for.

December 2, 2007, 08:30 PM
My bad...didn't think about the AR factor. Was only thinking .223.

Mea culpa.

From the owner of a hand press...get the simple "C" frame press instead for the same price. You'll be glad with the rifle cases.


December 2, 2007, 08:59 PM
How much reloadable boxer-primed brass cases do you have on hand right now? That's a vital question, because if you don't already have some good brass you cannot possibly get into reloading and realize any savings.

The lower cost presses and dies allow you to produce some very high quality ammo. But you also cannot avoid getting several other tools such as a scale, powder measure, case trimmer, deburring tool, a bench, micrometer, etc so it still requires a pretty sizeable investment. Then there are the components which are rising in cost almost weekly.

All that being said, I think any hobby costs money. If you go into reloading with the mindset that the initial outlay is an acceptable investment vs. the pleasure you derive from doing it, then even if your own loads save you nothing you have a new skill and hobby!

You didn't buy your rifle and then wait for the moment when it finally paid for itself, did you? Same with the outlay of cash for reloading equipment. Same with fishing rods and reels, or a set of golf clubs.

But consider the brass problem I mentioned earlier, as that will significantly increase your startup cost(s).

December 2, 2007, 10:31 PM
Well not counting the reloading equipment I just bought -
Lee Hand Press Kit
Lee 223 die set
Lee auto prime (hand held one)
Lee Chamfer tool
Lee case size tool/trimmer
Digital scale
Tumbler and cleaning media
Digital calipers
Sizing wax (although the Hand Press kit comes with Lee sizing lube which works)

H335 powder - 1lb is $17
CCI Small Rifle primers ~ $2.50 per 100
Winchester bulk 55gr FMJBT bullets - $8 per 100

Using the reloading spreadsheets that calculate the per round cost once you enter all that in - I load 100 rounds for about $24.

So, huge savings? $240 per thousand rounds is still more than I paid for 1000 rounds 8 months ago. But cheaper than prices today.

But I have found I can reload 10mm for less than half the cost of buying new. I started with 10mm and found I enjoyed the reloading aspect enough to add .223 and 9mm as well even though the cost savings isn't that dramatic on those 2 calibers. Plus this time of year where I live is too damn cold to go to the range, so I have all winter to reload my empty 223 brass.

December 2, 2007, 10:41 PM
your thinking correctly jon. Thats why a lot of reloaders this time a year start to stock up on buying cases, bullet, powder and primers. Then you prep as many cases as you can one weekend. Then prime and load the next. Then just keep the cycle going.

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