How many casing before reloading?


January 11, 2008, 02:07 AM
Hey, I just wanted to know HOW do you guys get enough rifle casing/pistol casing for reloading?

Do you buy FACTORY ammo and wait till there all used up for the casing? Or do you just buy empty used/new casing to reload?

I have been reading post and post about reloading but one thing just strike me now is that how do I get enough casing for reloads....

I haven't gotten a PROGRESSIVE press yet but I've been saving the spent brass the first day I got my pistol. After sweeping all the spent brass I've collected 1k of 40 I store separately since its what I shoot, 1.5-2k of 9mm mixed with .22 which I don't shoot, and 45, 357, 38spc, 223, all kept separately if I do plan to invest those calibers.

SO how many casing have you saved up before you started to reload?

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January 11, 2008, 02:16 AM
Depends...With pistol, I try to acquire a good size bucket worth...anywhere from a thousand for the less favorable calibers to several thousand for 9mm and .45 ACP.

Sometimes I pick up range scraps or dumpster dive...other times I borrow a couple hundred from friends to get started.

Rifle is another animal entirely. I typically buy 100 new for load development and accuracy work. That way I know the history of the brass and can keep an accurate count on how many times they've been fired. Once I figure out what the gun likes, I buy a bag every time I go to the store...keep a stockpile at the house.

Personally, I won't pay for once-shot just have to know where to go to pick it up. ;)


January 11, 2008, 02:18 AM
I have just saved my own factory ammo casings for reloading.
9mm casings you dont need to worry about, every range is full of them just pick em up.

January 11, 2008, 04:16 AM
I reload everything using a single stage press (I'm just like that), so I tend to reload any amount larger than 20.

January 11, 2008, 07:42 AM
Easiest way is to just buy it in bulk from one of the supply houses (Midway, Widners). Sale flyer from Midway shows 45 acp at about 18 cents, .223 at 22 cents. The 45's will last a long, long time. .223's maybe 5-10 loads.

Cost is almost a non-issue with pistol. Rifle, figure "use" cost of maybe 3 to 8 cents depending on caliber and load. Biggest cost for rifle are bullets, then powder, and brass and primers are tied for last.

January 11, 2008, 08:56 AM
Depends on how much you are going to shoot. Back in the day I would load around 300 .45's and it would hold me for 2 to 5 range trips. Now I just load a box of 500 bullets when I reload, unless I am working up loads. I may have 500 or less of two or three bullet styles ready to go in .45.

You have plenty to start.

brassmanbrass ( and other places like it are good places to buy once fired brass. Keep an eye on Gunbroker or Auction Arms and sometimes they have a deal.

Pick up range brass. I have NEVER purchased 9MM brass, new or used, and I supply my brother as well. I have a bunch put back.

Eric F
January 11, 2008, 09:18 AM
I agree it depends on what you shoot and how much. My 38 super I bought alot of factory and reload that. For the 50-90 sharps factory ammo is about $100 for 20 or brass is $140 per 100 so thats a no brainer.

January 11, 2008, 10:18 AM
Ranges are the best places for pistol brass. I used to do a wide sweep of the lanes next to mine and the area behind mine, to get my own brass and to come away with plenty of others. For 40 cal, indoor ranges are the best, especially if there's one nearby that does police practice and qualifications. Get there the day after and you'll probably find a lot of 40cal. I pick up everything, but I won't use it if it's glocked too badly. If it's only slightly buldged, I'll size and it inspect it again. With the plethora of other 40's out there, I'm seeing less and less glocked 40cal. I don't imagine I'll need 40 or 9mm for a very long time, unless I go out someplace and lose a bunch.

Rifle brass is best purchased, as stated above. Though I did pick up some 762x39 for my SKS that was once fired from a guy (traded some FN 5.7 cases I happened upon). After inspection, cleaning and sizing, they look good and have shot just fine.

You'll develop your good-brass eye in time.

January 11, 2008, 10:25 AM
You can go to Action Arms auctions or similar

I bought 1000 once fired Federal 45acp all tumbled and resized for $58.00 the shipping was $11.50 the guy added another 500 R-P brass for $28.00 in same box. so works outs for a reasonable 6 1/2 cents a case. Now if i can shoot those 10 times each, i am set for a while.

January 11, 2008, 10:52 AM
I shoot at a public range and there is never a shortage of 9mm, 40 cal or 45 ACP lying around. At the beginning of hunting season the place is littered with 30-30, 308, 30-06, 7mm and a assortment of other cases.

January 11, 2008, 11:09 AM
When I buy a new or different gun, I will buy a supply of brass from one of the biggies such as Starline, Winchester or Remington. That way I start my new reloading project with new brass. And after one firing they are all sized to my chamber. And I don't pass up a nice pile of range brass either.
good shooting

lee n. field
January 11, 2008, 11:34 AM
Shoot up factory ammo, and scavenging. Very seldom have I bought brass.

haven't gotten a PROGRESSIVE press yet but I've been saving the spent brass the first day I got my pistol.

Good for you. LIkewise, I was accumulating brass for years before I started reloading.

January 11, 2008, 11:51 AM
I've found that I won't start reloading until I have a minimum of 100 for a given caliber. (I think that was his original question). The reason I use 100 is that I like to use an entire tray of primers at one time. The one exception is if I have two calibers I want to load for and I have 50 empties of each and they're the same primer size.

(the above typically applies to rifle calibers . .I like more for pistol calibers but I will start to play once I have 100)


January 11, 2008, 02:29 PM
I've been scrounging all my own factory brass, and any other I could get my hands on. All goes into the respective caliber buckets. I didn't have as much .40 and .45 as I wanted when I was shooting more IDPA so I purchased an additional 1.5k and 1k respectively off the net. Otherwise, just reload what I have, whether I originally purchased it or picked it up at the range.

I probably have a couple of thousand 9mm cases I've picked up over the years, and I don't even have a 9mm (yet).

Mr White
January 11, 2008, 02:35 PM
I've been shooting for about 14 years and have always saved my brass, knowing that someday I'd probably get into reloading. When I decided to start reloading about a year ago, the one thing I didn't have to buy was brass. I save my brass and whatever I can scrounge at the range. I inspect everythign when I bring it home. If its good it gets reloaded, if not, it goes in the junk brass bucket.

January 11, 2008, 02:38 PM
I saved factory brass before I started reloading, but will buy Starline for competition. Gave some once fired .45acp away to a local gunsmith to build goodwill, but I probably had 500 or so to start. Sometimes working up new loads, I will make a run of 20. :D That's about all I want to bang out with an intertial puller if I really hate it.

January 11, 2008, 02:52 PM
Both, and other ways too.
Keep spent brass, family and friends give me their brass, and I might buy some new brass if it is on sale or if I just need to get that caliber.
BTW, you don't have to have any certain amount of empty brass to do a reload. Sometimes I just reload six rounds for the .357 with a certain bullet and powder, other times I sit down and press out hundreds of rounds. It's just that fun.

January 11, 2008, 04:55 PM
I just started to reload 45LC (have been reloading for about 12 yrs) and was going to buy factory and shoot it for the brass but at $20++ a box I bought some used brass at a gun show and traded some brass that I don't have guns for. The first session was with 150 cases, but I wanted to shoot my new gun so I would have loaded one case and shot that if thats all I had.

January 11, 2008, 10:59 PM
I usually buy once fired pistol cases from AA or Gun Center if they have them. Since I load pistol calibers in batches of 1000, I need at least that many.

Rifle cartridges are a different animal. I like to buy this brass new. I will go once fired if is cycling through an automatic such as my M4 though.

evan price
January 11, 2008, 11:24 PM
I started scrounging and now I clean up at the club range. In 4 months of scrounging I wound up with ten 5-gallon buckets overflowing with unsorted brass.
I started scrounging and sorting into the large butter tubs like Country Crock or Parkay comes in at the grocery, or the nice plastic sherbert containers, about same size. They have snap on lids and are basically free, we've been saving them for leftover storage. My wife didn't notice a couple dozen vanish from under the sink. Once you have a good pile start loading. I would say depending on how much you fire at a range trip, 2x a standard trip is a good number. 500 rounds for common pistol is worth reloading.

January 11, 2008, 11:38 PM
"...I've collected 1k of...1.5-2k of..." That's more than enough. 50 pistol cases is enough, but 100 or more is better. Brass you have no use for becomes trading goods.
If you ever buy a firearm in a brand new cartridge, but at least 500 empties too. The manufacturers can and do drop new cartridges if sales don't meet the projected expectations. And they don't care about the people who did buy their newest thing. If you have brass, you won't end up with a firearm you can't get ammo for. The .41 AE is a classic example. Nobody is making brass or ammo. I'd have a nice shiny, but useless BHP barrel if I hadn't been able to buy 500 cases when I bought the barrel. Mind you, finding cast .410" bullets is an issue. Suitable jacketed isn't terribly easy to find either.

The Bushmaster
January 12, 2008, 10:30 AM
One (1)...You can have more, but that's where I would start...

January 13, 2008, 02:49 AM
I'm relatively new to reloading and I've never bought brass. I have, however, been saving the brass from the ammo I shot for years. Aside from having pack rat tendencies, I always figured I would start reloading someday and saved the brass for that day. Once you have a "starter supply", you can reload for a long time before having to replace the brass supply. Typically, handgun brass can be reloaded 6-8 times. Rifle brass won't be reloadable as many times, especially if you are full-resizing the cases.

January 13, 2008, 03:58 PM
eh depends on caliber. I have 80 pieces of 7mm-08 but i load for it- 270 i have 50 pieces but i load for that too. If i don't shoot the caliber much, but have dies for it, I require 50 good cases to load.

for pistol-I'll buy 1x fired if i can't scrounge it. Also don't be afraid to trade brass with other loaders. I like to have a couple k of brass around for popular pistol calibers, but for the odd ball round I don't shoot much (44 mag in my case) I have 200-250 pieces.

really let your range sessions decide. If you shoot 50 rounds every trip, you really don't need more than 50-75 cases.

January 13, 2008, 05:10 PM
Denpends here too. I changeover the Dillion 650 when I'm about out of whatever I'm shooting. I load the odd stuff a box at a time on the turret.


January 13, 2008, 06:09 PM
Mind you, finding cast .410" bullets is an issue.

Try Kead bullets. I have had good results with his cast .357, .41, and .45 bullets. He also makes a specific bullet for the .41 AE, and his prices are reasonable.

January 13, 2008, 07:07 PM
Sgt. Dusk wrote:

I have just saved my own factory ammo casings for reloading.
9mm casings you dont need to worry about, every range is full of them just pick em up.

Where is this? ;)

When I took my new Cz on its maiden shooting trip yesterday, I was (I think) the first one at the range that morning, and as is now typical at that range (a state-run handgun range in PA), I found, with fairly careful range pacing, 4 9mm shells, 3 .45ACPs, and 2 .40s. Nowadays, even the .22 shells are worth collecting, to the people who drive by to scavenge (mostly for recycling, though I think some are reloaders).

In fact, when I'm scavenging, nowadays I'll frequently grab the .22 shells, too -- they're not (though it's possible) going *down* in value, and when they're off the ground, it's easier to spot the others ;)


January 13, 2008, 07:39 PM
I'm jealous of you folks being able to pick up brass at the range. Where my dad and I shoot we're not allowed:cuss: It seems the range owner picks up some and resales it. Tho when I pick up my brass it seems to multiply:what:

January 13, 2008, 10:12 PM
my range is pretty good- no diving in the brass buckets, those are for sale to sponsor the youth leagues. anything on the ground is fair game.

January 14, 2008, 04:01 PM
At the indoor/outdoor pistol club that I am VP of you may take any brass you want to reload, but don't take it to sell, that is in poor taste. If it's there for long we take it to the scrap yard to sell it ourself. Also the lead that we take out of the traps is availible for casters (800lbs 4 times a year) but also not to sell, we get that too. We have 8 PDs that train and qualify here, so some times there is a LOT of brass.

January 14, 2008, 05:33 PM
Depends. Are you an ammo glutton? I like to have at least 1000 rounds on hand for most of my guns.

The other thing is the type of round and weapon. Are you a blaster or bullseye guy? If you only shoot 20 rounds per range trip (belted magnums, .500S&W mag, .50 BMG) you probably only need 100-200 cases.

You also can save $$$ by buying in bulk, both ammo or brass. The benefit of buying ammo for the brass is that you know it's good brass. You'll know it really is 1x fired, not 8x fired. You'll know it's not military brass fired in a loose-chambered machine gun.

I'm starting to reload for .45 ACP. I plan on buying at least 1000 1x cases. I also have 1000 rounds of brand new .223 Federal waiting to be shot.

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