A day at the range: I'm glad I'm a handloader!


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Landric
November 4, 2009, 09:12 PM
I went to the range with the PD to qualify today. I didn't think much about it at the time, but on the way home I started adding it up in my head. I fired about 450 rounds, only 150 of which were on the PDs dime. I footed the bill for the rest. For the record, it was 100 rounds each of .38 Special, .357 Magnum, and .45 ACP for my two off-duty guns and my BUG.

Until a couple of years ago we were required to shoot duty ammunition for qualification. That meant if I wanted to carry, for instance, Speer Gold Dots in my .357 Magnum, I had to fire 100 rounds of it every year to qualify (which, of course, doesn't include any practice). At least until a couple of years ago a 50 round box of Gold Dots could be had at the police supply store for about $25, but that was still $150 worth of ammunition for three guns. These days, if I could find the ammunition, it would be closer to $300. Obviously that doesn't encourage officers to qualify with off-duty guns. Luckily a few years back the state came to its senses (I expect mostly due to PD budgets, not individual officers not being able to afford to qualify). The rule was changed to "Duty ammunition or its ballistic equivalent". Now, if I want to carry say the 158 grain Gold Dot in my .357 SP101, I have to either qualify with it, or another magnum load shooting a 158 grain bullet at roughly the same velocity.

Enter the handloads. I load ammunition that is the ballistic equivalent of my carry ammunition for practice anyway. I figure my cost to qualify today, mostly because I just got into casting and therefore I wasn't shooting any of my own cast bullets today, was about $30. Next year I'd be shooting all my own cast stuff, and my cost will be less than $15 to qualify.

If I didn't handload, even shooting ballistic equivalent WWB or some such, I simply could not have afforded to shoot 300 rounds of ammunition, not with three kids and my wife having been laid off from her job. I have a coworker who didn't qualify with her .38 this year because she couldn't afford the $40 plus for 100 rounds of practice ammunition. I can understand that, I'm in the same position. Luckily we have another range date set for Friday, and I told her I would hook her up with some .38 Specials.

This ammunition situation has really gotten crazy. I don't know how anyone can afford to shoot factory ammo.

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armoredman
November 4, 2009, 09:48 PM
I cast and reload, and with the shortage of primers, that is a little hard on the loading, but if I didn't reload, I would be shooting about once every two months.
We don't have to qualify with off duty sidearm, no ammo used there.

Otto
November 4, 2009, 10:19 PM
I've shot tens of thousands of .22LR. out of a Ruger MarkII. It's a good platform for learning basic marksmanship and most anybody can afford $15 for 550 rounds.
I reload and enjoy it but it's not for everyone.

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