Are there still savings in shotgun shells?


September 22, 2008, 06:13 PM
I've been reloading rifle and handgun rounds for years, but I've started to grow more interest in shotgun sports and hunting (dove, quail, rabbit, etc) to the point where I'm considering getting into reloading shells.

I recently talked to an old timer who'd been at it for years, and he told me there isn't much to be saved with shotgun shells these days and raw material costs.

Can anyone fill me in on the economics of shotgun shooting? The majority would be lead 2.75" 12 gauge loads of 6, 7.5 or 8 shot. Pretty standard field/sport loads. Locally it's around $5-$5.50 a box.

Thanks in advance.

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September 22, 2008, 06:20 PM
Wally mart has them for 20.00/100. From those I have heard of that load shotgun, you won't save anything at todays prices unless you load the more expensive loads. Just to load for trap/skeet would not be worth it IMHO.

Don't take my word for it, I have been wrong twice this year already.

September 22, 2008, 06:26 PM
if you shoot cheap shells you won't save more than .50 or at most 1.00 per box. if you load quality shotshells and compare them to the cost of AA's then you will save another $1.00 or so.

Bush Pilot
September 22, 2008, 07:10 PM
+1 on the Wal Mart thing. When it looked like prices were skyrocketing, I started buying a few 100 packs of shells everytime I went in (around 16 and change) I ran the numbers and the savings don't justify loading shotshells again. BTW, I don't load premium or speciality shells, I may rethink my position if I did.

Crazy Fingers
September 22, 2008, 11:16 PM
You can actually save a good amount of money if you are smart.

If you go to the LGS and buy reloading components, then you will not save any money.

If you do not buy a HUGE purchase all at once, you will not save any money.

If you use the big name reloading components (remington, winchester, etc.) you will not save any money.

If you do not scrounge hulls from the range, you will not save any money.

If you do not shop around like a madman, calling everybody, checking every website, trying to make every single penny count, and do not buy until you are certain you have the absolute most rock bottom price, then you will not save any money.

That being said, if you buy clone wads, shoot 7/8 oz loads for clays, buy at least 8 lbs of powder at a time, thousands of the cheapest import primers you can get, and be very selective about where you buy your shot (The current spread that I can find online is a high of $67+shipping and a low of $32 shipped) then you can save a ton.

Currently I am shooting for about $3.25 a box.

September 22, 2008, 11:18 PM
I think another variable would be your chosen gauge. If you shoot a 28 or a 16 or some more obscure gauge, then I'm guessing reloading would be more economical. Just like some of the "odd" calibers we sometimes reload.


September 23, 2008, 04:28 PM
Thanks for weighing in on that. It sounds like I might be better off using the money I'd spend on shell reloading equipment to get into bullet casting instead. It seems there is quite a bit to be saved there.

September 23, 2008, 05:05 PM
Lead-free waterfowl loads are like 3 bucks a pop at Cabela's... could you reload them for cheaper or is bismuth or whatever shot even available in bulk?

September 24, 2008, 12:09 AM
As stated above: The more unusual your need, the more you save. But you can also taylor a specific load to your shotgun for specific purpose.

At $5 per box I make shotshells that shoot a beautiful pattern from my particular shotgun for sporting clays, with reduced recoil. I shoot more rounds with more comfort and keep more shots on target. For the same $5 per box at WalMart, my shoulder gets a workout and feels like it wants to quite after shooting through the stations. [And I save another $1 per box by using reclaimed shot for practice loads, although it's getting harder to find it lately.]

But be patient in learning your craft, and be patient in finding that perfect load. It can take longer than finding the right load for rifle or pistol.

September 24, 2008, 06:15 AM
You can reload Steel and Bismuth/Tungsten/etc. I have done a lot of it. You can get performance better than factory ammo at cheaper prices, but be ready to weigh every powder charge, every shot charge, and the press will be of only slight assistance during loading.

I get my components here:

I use a Sam1 wad in a 2.75" Federal Gold Medal empty, Steel #2 shot, using IMR 800X or Alliant Steel powder, and produce velocities of up to 1850 fps. It takes a lot of time, but you really can see a difference on a duck.

September 24, 2008, 10:07 AM
I am loading 7/8 oz. target loads for 2.57/box with shot, Promo, and Fiocchi 209's that I bought in bulk 3 years ago when I saw the commodities market begin to climb. Of course this is lower than can be done today but if you buy in bulk a box can still be had for 3.75 which is for a custom load vs. punishing promos @ $5.50. I definitely think it's worth it if you play it right.

September 24, 2008, 01:01 PM
velocities of up to 1850 fps

September 24, 2008, 01:34 PM
Also, depends on how much you shoot. 500 shells or 10,000+?

You can save if you can buy bulk components "cheap". There seems to be a wide variations on those costs depending on what's in your area.

January 21, 2009, 02:12 AM
Digging up a little bit of an old thread here... but I'm in the same boat. Someone mentioned buying components on the cheap in bulk; Where can I find some of this stuff? Shot around here is ridiculously priced; so much so that I've forgone getting into shot shell reloading. I have thousands of empty hulls; mostly federal, estate and those likes (cheap stuff). It's time I either start reloading them, or get rid of them!

January 21, 2009, 02:24 AM
Since this thread started 5 months ago, bagged shot came down to the mid $30 range at Sportsman's Warehouse. It's even cheaper to reload shotshells now.

Where do you get the REAL deals on shot? You and your club members buy 3 pallets (pallets or 55 gal drums) of shot direct from the manufacturer. Even reclaimed shot is scarce these days, so bulk is the biggest avenue for savings.

January 21, 2009, 07:39 AM
The only real savings are the 410 and 28 with their very high retail prices. I load 2 1/2" 410 for less than $3 a box, not counting the hulls.


January 21, 2009, 01:22 PM
DesertPunisher - try your local shotgun club - if they don't sell it, see if they have reclaimed shot - works great for practice....OR find a group of people and go in on a LARGE load; split among many folks, the freight costs are low.

Most folks I know don't reload the Estate hulls - I have for one or two times - usually need to follow Federal recipes and their wads

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