Per round cost of reloading .45acp


September 19, 2009, 05:56 PM
How much does reloading .45auto cost per round, not including initial setup costs and materials? Generally, how many reloads does it take to start saving money?

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September 19, 2009, 06:16 PM
It depends on what load you're using. Jacketed HP bullets, or home cast from free lead? Get more specific, we'll do the math for you!

September 19, 2009, 06:22 PM
This won't help with the overall setup cost -to-savings ration, but it will show your precise cost per box/100/500, and you can do the math:

Plug in the cost of your components (note: since I use either recycled range brass or re-use my own factory brass, I just put zero in my brass cost). You'll be surprised, I guarantee.


Steve Marshall
September 19, 2009, 06:36 PM
You just opened the Can of Worms "R" Us outlet. Will you be scrounging brass at the range or buying once fired brass or buying new brass or shooting up factory ammunition and reloading the brass? Will you be casting your own bullets or buying cast/swaged bullets by the box or buying bulk cast/swaged bullets or buying jacketed bullets by the box or buying bulk jacketed bullets? Will you settle for nothing less than the latest whiz-bang hollowpoint?
Despite saying disregard the initial cost of reloading equipment, there is a huge difference between the Lee Loader, $20, and the Dillon 1050 @ circa $1600.
For the sake of discussion, let's assume you buy a mid-priced reloader start up kit for $250. Equipment wise you are good to go. We'll also assume that you buy once fired brass for 7 cents each and are good for 7 reloads which = 1 cent each. And we'll assume you buy cast 45 bullets for 12 cents each. Primers cost with haz-mat or at a local gunshop 4 cents each. You reload with 231 powder which will cost 11/2 cents each if powder is $21 a pound as with 5 grains you get 1400 loads. So you are looking at about 19 cents apiece. You could be considerably lower or higher than that dependant on your choice in components and if you buy in bulk. How much do you pay per box now? How often do you shoot? If you are paying $25 a box and shooting it once a week you would be saving $15 a week. So in that case your $250 investment in equipment will be amortized in a little over 4 months.

Steve Marshall
September 19, 2009, 06:42 PM
I started loading for economy but ended up shooting a LOT more. Even as I wind down due to age etc. I still shoot 100+ rounds per week on average. Reloading will drain your finances if you aren't careful. But if you truly like to shoot, reloading is the only way to go. I started out with a .357 magnum. That was just the beginning.

September 19, 2009, 06:59 PM
I will probably be using jacketed bullets and once used brass. I'm paying 20 per 50 rounds of blazer brass 230 grain. I shoot about a box per week weather permitting.

September 19, 2009, 08:37 PM
Do the math for putting components on your bench! Geez that is common sense! Some people here are using powder that was bought years ago, and the same with primers, and even projectiles. So they flaunt costs that do not provide you a valid answer.

If you have to ask, then you should not be reloading :banghead: since a prudent reloader can figure out his costs!

September 19, 2009, 09:58 PM
Don't mind cranky.

You will save money and enjoy shooting more, but, like most of us, you will almost surely spend those savings on more shooting, so you won't really save money. ;)

Good news is you get to shoot more. :)

September 19, 2009, 10:35 PM
You should be able to load for half of what the cheap Win value box cost. Some of us that cast our own bullets load for just what powder and primers cost. Yes 45ACPUSER with last years powder and primers I am loading 45 auto for $23 per 1,000. :neener: :D

September 19, 2009, 10:42 PM
How much does reloading .45auto cost per round...About half of what you're paying.

...not including initial setup costs and materials? Generally, how many reloads does it take to start saving money?Well, one. If they cost half, you start saving money on the first one.


September 19, 2009, 10:58 PM
Do the math for putting components on your bench! Geez that is common sense! Some people here are using powder that was bought years ago, and the same with primers, and even projectiles. So they flaunt costs that do not provide you a valid answer.

Using prices from 12 months ago, I shoot for $2.50 per box of .38spl.

Using today's prices is ridiculous, SINCE I CAN'T GET COMPONENTS except for the lead to melt into bullets. If you are smart about how, when, and how much you buy, you can do MUCH better than the CURRENT cost to reload. Buy when it's cheap. Buy enough to last for 2 or 3 price cycles. Replace what you shoot when the price goes back down to a reasonable level. It's the same thing that I do with toilet paper, canned soup, bulk bags of premium grade Japanese rice, printer/copy paper, or any other non-perishable goods. Unless you are loading out of a studio apartment, buying an 8lb jug of promo (or varget, or whatever) or two and 10k primers isn't much of a storage problem.

If you buy your shooting components the same way you buy fresh lettuce (pay whatever it costs on any given day), yes, you are going to get screwed on price, and you're going to tend to think that people who buy cheap, and shoot what they stockpile are using "artificial" prices in their cost calculation. However, if you have a couple of hundred bucks lying around (and you are willing to cast your own bullets), you can stockpile a year or more worth of ammo/components. For $500, you can set yourself up for three or four years worth of shooting if you shoot a box a week, depending on what caliber you shoot.

Is that artificial? Only if prices never come down at all in order to restock. Could that happen? Very possibly. However, by that time, salary inflation and an increased pay grade will make up the difference, and I can restock with minimal pain. If prices DO come down a bit (as I suspect), I can shrug my shoulders and restock if I need to (I mostly don't, except for primers. I have almost a lifetime supply of everything else).

September 19, 2009, 11:04 PM
banjoman2255; ok just to do the math; pricing given in the examples below are from my suppliers and ARE NOT NESSARILY the same in your area!!!

the formula is p1+p2+b1+c1=cst/k
or p1=cost of powder for 1000 loads
p2= cost of 1000 primers
b1 = cost of 1000 bullets
c1 = cost of 1000 cases (this should be zero if you are reloading them)

cst/k is the total cost for 1000 finished reloads (divide this number by 1000 for a single reload)

note all costs are tax included as shown below

example; 9MM jacketed 115gr FMJ bullets for 5000 rds using 5gr win 231 powder

powder = p1 = win 231 8lb container. cost is $138.99 + tax = $151.85
(i am using the tax rate here, 9,25%) or 138.99 X 1.0925 + 151.846575

1 lb = 7000 grains /8 X 7000 = 56000 grains (gr) or 5000 x 5 = 25000gr for the load

divide $151.85 / 56 = $2.71 per 1000 gr times 25 = $67.79 for 5000 loads

primers = p2 = $39.99 per 1000 + tax times 5 for 5000 or 39.99x1.0925x5 = $218.45 for 5000 loads

bullets = b1 = $87.00 + tax /1000 or 87.00x1.0925x5 = 475.24 for 5000 loads

cases =c1= 0.00 (i am reusing the cases, this is why its called reloading! in my setup my customers supply the cases for their loads)

total for 5000 rounds = 475.24+218.45+67.79 = $761.48

per round loaded = 761.48 / 5000 = 0.152296 per round

or in english, 15.22 cents per round for 9MM 1-2 cts more for .45 ACP and 5-10 cts more for rifle depending on caliber

i will sell this for $275.00 per 1000 or for an order of 5000 to my customer that brings his/her brass back, $1375.00
nice profit ratio for 6 hours work, $613.52, and i can do this 5 days a week at 40 hours a week for $3681.12 gross before income tax
PER WEEK!!! (yes thats $191,418.24 a year!! NOW you know why i own 3 550B and 2 XL650 Dillon presses)

you see, from the cost of parts the math works both ways....... and it feels good to pay taxes on $190 thousand a year!

yes i did this just to point out how easy the math is. and the fact that if you reload for your friends, it will usualy pay for yours and then some!!
havent bought a factory round for over 25 years not counting the rimfire stuff!!

September 19, 2009, 11:07 PM
With current component prices using a 230gr FMJ bullet it costs me $8.09/50 rounds.

If you go with the $20 Blazer ammo price you will save $12/50 rounds by reloading or $120/500 rounds.

OR, if you are like most reloaders you will continue to spend that same $20/week but shoot more for the money you spend. Instead of shooting 50 rounds/week you can now shoot 125 rounds/week for the same $20.

If you are asking how many weeks it will take you to recover the complete set up costs of buying a press, dies and tools needed add up what all the equipment costs and divide the total by $12 and you will get your answer. For example, if you spend $240 for what you need and shoot only 1 box a week you will probably pay for the equipment in 5 months.

September 19, 2009, 11:18 PM
Reloading does not save you money. If allows you to shoot more for the same amount of money. Currently save over $120 a 1000. Times 5000 a year. Complete Dillon setup paid off in 1 year.

September 20, 2009, 12:11 AM
Thanks for the responses. My woman is outfitting my bench for Xmas. I'm starting the search for materials now.

September 20, 2009, 07:15 PM
Well, I get $0.03 per primer (fed LP), $0.01 per powder (bullseye), and $0.12 per bullet (oregon trail 200gr LSWC). Brass is more or less free.

That's $8 per box of 50.

On the other hand that number is not a real number. If you divide how much I spent on reloading stuff by how many rounds I've reloaded, you get $0.62 per round. I don't think I'll ever get below $0.50 per round since I keep buying more stuff.


September 20, 2009, 09:02 PM
What is the advantage to .12 lead bullets over the .07 ones ?

September 20, 2009, 09:12 PM
It's not that simple. .07 vs .12.

What bullets?

Better? Maybe, maybe not.

September 20, 2009, 09:23 PM
Not showing the math, which I calculated for each of the rounds I reload, I can produce ammo at 40-50% the cost of factory. Just a rule of thumb. I think the upper limit will change some with the addition of the 50 Beowulf to my collection.

September 20, 2009, 09:31 PM
What is the advantage to .12 lead bullets over the .07 ones ?

To the average shooter, nada. The cheapest bullet is going to work just fine. I've cast my own, ordered from lots of folks, tried swaged, cast, jacketed, double struck... what have you. First and foremost, make sure it's the right size for your barrel. Next, shoot a whole lof of 'em.

I started reloading to save money. I started casting to save money. All I learned was a 50 lb bucket of wheel weights really isn't gonna last that long. :)

September 20, 2009, 09:52 PM
You cannot save money reloading.The only way you can save money is to bury it or put it in a bank. But thats no fun. I started reloading to save money now 8 sets of dies, 6different types of powder, 4 different types of primers, tricklers, scales ' tumblers, case lubes, on and on.My intial investment is just shy of the GM bailout. I too have a formula but I dont feel comfortable releasing it on the web. Although I will say at the current rate of spending per month, times shells shot , divided by hunting spent primers[dang Lee loader spitsem everywhere] If I live to be a hundred and twelve I will have recovered my intial investment. Did I have fun ya darn tooten.

September 20, 2009, 09:58 PM
The advantage of the $0.12 oregon trail bullets is simply that they were on the shelf when I needed cast bullets. Once I started with them I stuck with them, they seem to work fine.

Next time I'll probably try some zero bullets or some other brand.


September 22, 2009, 10:40 PM
For a lead bullet I pay 13 cents for a .45acp round.

The best thing about reloading is having ammo when you want it. I can't walk into Wal-Mart and buy a box of .45. But with a couple hours time on my single stage press I can have 100 rounds.

September 22, 2009, 11:42 PM
there are alot of variables as stated above. I guess you need to figure out what kind of bullet and performance you want and then go from there.


September 23, 2009, 06:51 AM
Basic per round cost, subtract the cost of new empty brass from the cost of over the counter factory new ammo, this might be close.

September 23, 2009, 08:21 AM
Here is a cost calulator that will give a idea of costs:

Steeltown Joe
September 23, 2009, 09:19 AM
Here is another cost calulator that may help you shoot more !

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