Spreadsheet ideas for keeping track of reloading supplies?


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1858
September 22, 2008, 05:21 PM
Like many here, I reload for a number of different calibers ... 12 to be exact ... and some of those calibers such as .45 Colt are loaded in SAA, Marlin and Redhawk versions. Keeping reloading supplies can get complicated. I have powders such as W231, H110, Trail Boss, RL15, RL22, VV N120, VV N130, IMR 7828 and IMR 4895. Then throw in the primers such as small pistol, small pistol magnum, large pistol, small rifle, large rifle and large rifle magnum and add the myriad of bullets (too many to mention) and it gets REALLY complicated. The question regularly comes up as to how much of this or that do people have and how much should they have etc. I have this "notion" that I should have matching amounts of reloading supplies i.e. if I have 1000 primers for say .357 Magnum loads, I should have enough powder for 1000 loads (based on the maximum load possible) and the same number of bullets for that load. I often find myself buying loading supplies on a whim such as when I see a good deal at a gun shop. But I'd like to have a better idea as to what I need so that I can spend money more wisely and plan for the future. So who here has a really good system for keeping track of their reloading supplies? I've started to put together a spreadsheet but soon realized that it's COMPLICATED!! There's a reason why my wife's company uses some fancy software to track inventory. Reloading is tricky because some powders/primers/bullets are multipurpose. Anyway, I'm just looking for some ideas or even a turnkey system (if someone could be so generous). I have this idea in my head that a plot of some form could tell me in an instant that I need to buy powder, or bullets, or primers etc based on what I have unloaded, loaded, and what I've shot recently.

Thanks.

:)

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AZAndy
September 22, 2008, 05:34 PM
You could probably do it with a spreadsheet and some big hairy macros. Be easier, though, with a database. For some ideas on how this can be done, have a look at the Reloader's Reference. (http://sourceforge.net/projects/reloadersrfrnce/) It keeps inventory of supplies (as well as providing an enormous amount of reference material and calculators) in an Access database. You don't need to have Access to install it; there's an option during install for non-Access runtime.

Soybomb
September 22, 2008, 07:11 PM
I know this isn't much help to you but I made a database. It is handy to be able to pull up a quick inventory for primer, powder, and bullets. It makes it easy to take a quick peek before you go to the store or order online, you can see what you're low on.

Bush Pilot
September 22, 2008, 07:19 PM
I feel your pain, there was so much stuff I was getting a headache just attempting to start an inventory. My solution was to put everything in order on quality shelving, it may not be as fancy as a spreadsheet, it works for me.

1858
September 22, 2008, 10:27 PM
I feel your pain

... :uhoh: I knew someone would understand.

Thanks everyone!! I downloaded/installed the Reloader's Reference program and accompanying manuals but it's not quite what I need. I took a look at the various features of the software but I don't see any way to enter loaded/shot ammunition and have it automatically update the inventory in terms of powder, primers and bullets. Macros and Excel may be the way to go or I may have to make my own database using Access.

Thanks.

:)

CU74
September 23, 2008, 01:03 AM
Macros and Excel may be the way to go or I may have to make my own database using Access.

It depends on just how complicated/accurate you want to get with your records. Excel and the "Copy" and "Paste Special" features between worksheets should get what you need.

I keep reloading "inventory" on an Excel worksheet. I use three columns on the worksheets - Purchased, Used, and Remaining - to keep track of bullets and primers. The "Remaining" column has a formula that subtracts the Used from the Purchased. I only have about 30 pounds of powder, stored in two drawers of an old file cabinet, and a periodic inventory is sufficient for my powder records needs.

1858
September 23, 2008, 08:51 PM
It depends on just how complicated/accurate you want to get with your records.

Last night I downloaded Open Office from OpenOffice.org (http://www.openoffice.org/) and installed the Base and Writer parts of the suite. I've been playing around with Base doing such things as creating tables, creating forms, making relationships etc. I'm not sure if this is going to work the way I want it to but if I manage to make something of it I'll be sure to make a post to that effect.

:)

cpttango30
September 23, 2008, 09:12 PM
I would think for ra simple inventory you could use Excel.

Or you could use Access and get yourself a book (http://www.borders.com/online/store/SearchResults?keyword=microsoft+access&type=0&simple=1) to go with it. Access is a great program and can do a lot. While it is not Oracle it is still a very good program that can do a lot of stuff. The Nurse at my school has an Access databse that tracks every single kid in the school system and their medical condition Their are 800 kids in my elementry school and their are 17 of them plus about 8 middle schools and 5 high schools.

Steve C
September 24, 2008, 03:17 AM
I think we can get over complicated with an inventory system of very small magnitude on a computer. Computers are good for large systems with multiple users but for a small group or one person a simple visual system is better.

If you don't already have it get some shelves to store your reloading supplies. Segregate all the inventory by type, IE al the small pistol primers together, all the powders of different types together, bullets by weight and caliber, etc. Keep a note pad and write down your resupply needs as they occur and take the list with you in your wallet to remind you what you need to get when you go to the gun shows or other supply sources.

Doesn't take a lot of time inventorying, data entry or just looking things up. Now if you want to do the spread sheet for fun or experience then go ahead but its not as efficient as a simple visual system and writing down what's needed.

CU74
September 24, 2008, 11:07 PM
Simple visual systems are indeed good for many applications. However, once you move beyond a few components things are no longer simple. I used to merely look at my shelves and cabinets for inventory, but no longer.

I have over 12,000 primers in seven different types/sizes, ten different powders, and over 10,000 bullets in 24 different calibers/weights/types. Primers are stored in two separate locations, powders in three. I use an Excel spreadsheet......

dirtman
September 25, 2008, 11:51 PM
Access is a great data base, which can track massive amounts of inventory. its not that hard to make forms, queries, reports or macros.... but then you still have to load the data on a regular basis..... and damn.... I am not so sure I want to screw up a good hobby.... and start to make it more like work.......

1858
September 28, 2008, 05:54 PM
I think we can get over complicated with an inventory system of very small magnitude on a computer. Computers are good for large systems with multiple users but for a small group or one person a simple visual system is better.

I don't agree with that. I feel that it is quite complicated because I want to know what combinations of supplies I have. For example I use RL15 for .223 and .308 and RL22 for .300 WSM and .300 WM. All of those loads require markedly different amounts of powder.

Here's an example (this does not reflect what I actually have in stock).

6lbs of RL15
350 55gr .223 bullets
1200 77gr .223 bullets
500 168 gr .308 bullets
500 180 gr .308 bullets
3000 small rifle primers
3000 large rifle primers

What if I load 1000 .223 rounds using the 77 gr bullet and 24.0 grains of RL15? That leaves 18,000 grains of RL15 which if I use 45.0 grains for each 168 gr bullet I can load 400 rounds of .308. Now I've got no powder, 200 77 grain bullets, 350 55 grain bullets, 100 168 grain bullets, and 500 180 grain bullets. I'm down to 2000 small rifle primers, and 2600 large rifle primers. How much powder should I buy if I want to load the remaining .223 and .308 bullets bearing in mind I'll need different charges for the 55 grain .223 and 180 grain .308 bullets?

This scenario is only based on one powder, four bullets and two calibers. Now bear in mind that primers, bullets and powders can be used in other calibers. For example, the 180 grain .308 can be used in the .300 WSM and .300 WM and the large rifle primers can be used in both so it gets complicated FAST!! If you throw hunting bullets in the mix (all those mentioned are SMK HPBT bullets) such as the Barnes TSX in 168 and 180 grains it gets even more complicated.

Basically I'd like to enter everything that I have in a table such as those found in Access, Base etc and then add/delete supplies as I buy/use them and then through queries, determine what I'm short of, what I need, my options etc and get a good idea as to how many loaded rounds I could make up with the supplies at hand.

:)

ocabj
September 28, 2008, 06:46 PM
If you want to be that detailed, then you need to use a relational database. Use some variant of SQL, such as MySQL or PostgreSQL, or you could go Oracle and do PL/SQL.

Write your databases to incorporate manufacturer, type, and lot numbers along with date of purchase, date of manufacturer (if not part of lot #), and source. Then write your DB applications to do the proper joins and unions of the respective columns of your tables/databases.

This is a pretty simple database to put together. Even if you don't know SQL and some sort of programming language to interface with SQL, you could learn it all in about 10-20 manhours. I figure you could hammer out an alpha version of the db and interface application in another 10 or so hours. Then another couple of hours testing and fixing bugs.

1858
September 28, 2008, 08:28 PM
ocabj, aren't Access and Base "relational databases"? The fact that I'm asking this question shows that I don't know much about databases. I've only used C++ for programming and that was a while back. I've been trying different things in Base to see if it'll do what I want it to. I've created some tables and forms (see example below) and I'm trying to figure out if I can use the functions when making queries to extract the information I'm after. I realized early on that I need to have this all laid out BEFORE I start making lots of tables. It's kind of like cutting up two by fours to build a house without having building plans ... you may get lucky but it's highly unlikely.

:)

azar
September 28, 2008, 10:31 PM
1858,

Yes Microsoft Access and OpenOffice.org Base are relational databases, on a more "lightweight" scale than Oracle, PostgreSQL, or MySQL. If you were to relate them to cars Access and Base would be the Geo Metro's while the others would be fine Italian sports cars.

But for your simple needs either should work just great and moving to one of the "heavyweight" databases would be overkill.

1858
September 28, 2008, 10:35 PM
If you were to relate them to cars Access and Base would be the Geo Metro's while the others would be fine Italian sports cars.

azar, right now I feel like I'm on a skateboard but if I end up with a Metro I'll be more than happy!! :D Thanks though.

dmazur
September 29, 2008, 03:55 AM
Just $0.02 worth -

The problem with databases is that someone has to enter the data!

I'll use as an example our maintenance management system. We have several flatbed trucks, a crane, grader, bulldozer, backhoe and tank truck. We also have a lot of "fixed plant" that requires maintenance.

Scheduling all of this is a nightmare if you do it manually. However, if you read hr-meters periodically, the computer can print "work orders" according to which equipment is due.

Very little data input, lots of hassle saved in figuring out which 50 hr or 100 hr PM is due.

For my own "fleet", which consists of two cars, there just isn't that much time saved. I just check the paper charts and do what's recommended based on reading two odometers.

I believe reloading is going to be similar. In order to get any benefit out of a parts and materials tracking system, you have to enter how many rounds you have loaded, and select the bullets, powder type, etc. each time you load.

Then you can do a periodic report that shows remaining stock and suggested reorder items.

There is still no guarantee you won't run out of something. You'll have to run the report frequently to prevent this.

I like the suggestion of organized shelves. Label the row and, at a glance, you can see what you're short of. (Well, you can't see how much remains of a single powder container, but if there's only one in the row, you need more!)

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