thinking of reloading


July 17, 2011, 03:05 AM
I know some ammo its financial worthbit, some itts not.. and i know a lot of people reload for quality purposes, not $$.

However, i am getting a ruger lcp soon, and i noticed thst he ammo is even more $ then 9mm luger. Just talking range ammo, its $18 for 50 fed brand. And $15 for tulla steal case. As much as i plan/ hope to shoot at the range this will add up quickly. I hope to go close to every weekend and shoot at least 100 rounds, more if i can take shpoting it with that little gun. I would like to shoot it as much as i do my .22 (about 250 rounds a trip or more... 500 sometimes) but prob cant take thst many rounds at a time... Anyway.

Im thinking about reloading. But im not sure it will save any money reall. I know with the 9mm i was told it wouldnt.

If i could cut cost to $12 for 50 or better, thst would be great. I know in the futre when i get more guns, it will pay off. Esp sense i really want a nagant revolver for the range. The ammo for that is pricy to me.

I knoe to most gun enthusiests. $18 for 50 is cheap... But 100 rounds a week = $36 x 4 (weeks a month) = $144.. or more precisely. $36 x 52= 1872 a year in ammo... Thats the equivilent of one really nice gun.

What do you guys think? Anyone reload .380 acp? Whats your cost after all supplies?

The lee looks like its a pretty quick method. But om looking at money here. Jist to start with what is a cheaper way?

Sorry for any typos. Typung in cell phone with floating eyes.

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Lost Sheep
July 17, 2011, 05:17 AM
I have been advising a fellow forum member on his starting reloading setup (and getting quite an education for myself in the process).

He just dropped $500 on a first-class loading setup which will allow him to handload 100-200 rounds per hour simply and safely. If that production range fills your needs, I will give you his shopping list. An abbreviated version (upgradeable at no waste) would set you back $200, but only produce 50-100 rounds per hour until you get the rest of the upgrades.

$200 is eleven boxes of ammo (but that does not include the cost of components, primer, powder, bullets and -reusable- brass). By the time you go through 800 rounds, you will have paid for all the equipment AND the components. After that, you will be "making" 10 to 14 cents each round you shoot (these are just estimates. Your cost of components will be different. Check Google for various reloading cost calculators on the web.)

You can get by a lot cheaper, but for the kinds of quantities you mention, I can recommend a $200-$400 setup that I would have started out with if I knew in 1975 what I know now. And my shooting needs (quantity-wise) are similar to yours.

Look up and similar sites to help your decision-making.

Absolutely necessary:
Press my recommendation, approx $100, but others range from $30 to $250 or more
Dies $35-$60
Powder scale $30 and up
Some way to mount the press - a 2x6, padding end table and a clamp or rope may be already on hand.
Optional powder measure $35 or Powder dippers $15
Optional primer dispenser $22

Here are a dozen threads on various forums.

The first draft of my "10 Advices..." is on page 2 of this thread, about halfway down.

The "sticky" thread at the top of TheFiringLine's reloading forum is good, entitled, "For the New Reloader: Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST "

The "sticky" thread at the top of's reloading forum is good, entitled, "For the New Reloader: Thinking about Reloading; Equipment Basics -- READ THIS FIRST"

(I think this one is expired)

"Budget Beginning bench you will never outgrow for the novice handloader" was informed by my recent (July 2010) repopulation of my loading bench. It is what I would have done 35 years ago if I had known then what I know now.

I have a thread "To Kit or Not to Kit?" that describes different philosophies of buying or assembling a kit one piece at a time.

Minimalist minimal (the seventh post down)

Thread entitled "Newby needs help."
My post 11 is entitled "Here's my reloading setup, which I think you might want to model" November 21, 2010)
My post 13 is "10 Advices for the novice handloader" November 21, 2010)

Good luck.

Lost Sheep

July 17, 2011, 05:41 AM
Wow! Thanks a ton. $500 is way too much right now. However, $200 might be doable. 50-1000 rounds an hour is fine with me. Assuming 50/hour tjsts only 200 hours a week to maintain usage.

Looking to start sept. Or so if i do it. Gives me plenty of time to read and formally decide. I will get with you on a list when the time comes.

I would have to make a bench. Hopefully one i can make compact, maybe a folding table? (Wood, not plastic? That i can latch to the wall for support, then unlatch and fold up when done. ( latch meaning none intrusive, quick to operate. Something with two pieces, one on the wall, one on the table, (actually, double that, so theres two latches on the back of the table) thst will snap in, and has a release button of some sort) or maybe a couple door hinges, and i can just pop the middle bolt out when i want to remove the table....

If i already have the set up, it would he worth doing the 9mm also correct? Assuming i keep the gun.

A couple local gun ranges dont allow reloads... But honestly, how woukd they know? I keep all my empty boxes, so it would look like it was federal rounds... Or is that a bad idea? I dont usually go to those ranges so its not a big deal.

Assuming 10-14 cents a round. Thats $5-$7 cheaper per $50. Thats enough reason for me.

July 17, 2011, 09:29 AM
Have you ever shot the LCP? I have the KelTec P3AT which Ruger copied to make 'their' LCP pistol. IMHO it is NOT a pleasant gun to shoot by any standard nor any kind of 'range gun'. IMHO. It is designed to be carried much and shot little, and meant for SD at 15' range and less and does that job very well indeed.

I bring it to the range now and then and fire a couple mags thru it to stay proficient, but if I want to 'target shoot' in .380 I bring my Bersa Thunder.

I reload on a Lee turret now, started with their great Anniv single stage kit, and do reload .380, but if all I had to shoot in that caliber was my P3AT? I would not bother to reload .380. One box of ammo would last me 2-3 range sessions.

July 17, 2011, 11:49 AM
Yeah,the start up money is the hardest part. So I started out buying local things at gun shows and shops. 1st I got Speer's #14 and Lyman's #49 reloading manuls then powder and primers. Next came Lee's anniversery reloading kit. Got it set up to get familar with everything.

Later came the Lee 4 die sets for 9mm,38/357,45acp & 45 colt. Calipers were picked local along the way with other odds and ends. Bullets came last.

The first upgrade from the kit was a set of scales that I could read easier and later a upgrade to a Lee auto disk powder measure.

Took me about 6 months to get going so I used that time to bug everyone to death on this forum. :D

I highly recommend this reloading thing, a great hobby that allows me to shoot as much as like. I never go shooting with less than 300 of what caliber I'm shoot that day.

July 17, 2011, 03:33 PM
I would highly advise it. Im 19, and I spent a good chunk of hard earned money on a nice reloading setup. Its just a single stage, uniflow measure, etc. I started with 9mm which you dont save that much on. You never know what you will be reloading, and you never know how much that extra time can get you a much higher quality product for less!
For instance: today, I loaded up 100 44 mag rounds. Winchester white box is about $37 for 50. So lets just say about .70 a round. I loaded up 240 gr xtps, with Nickel plated starline brass and half full magnum H110 and the other half IMR PB for lighter loads. The end cost was about .67 a round. Doesnt seem like much of a savings, but I got EXACTLY what I wanted, and that reloading cost was including the brand new brass (+.22)

I would start if I were you, its a very rewarding hobby

For the bench I made a 2'x8' bench out of 3/4" plywood and 4x4s. If you need space you could make a small bench with angled front legs (to keep from tipping over while using a press), and cut out pieces of plywood and bolt them to your case trimmer, press, and possibly powder measure if you get one. That way you can use C clamps to remove the various things when youre not using them. Good luck!

July 17, 2011, 08:28 PM
Gibson -
Welcome to reloading.

You've got some erroneous information there. Let me see if I can help.

• I load a lot of 9mm Luger for about $4.50 per 50. I'm not sure who told you you can't save money on 9mm, but I can't find good ammo that cheaply around here. Since they use similar bullets, primers and powder, 380Auto is going to be about the same price. And I'm shooting plated and jacketed bullets only. The cost would be substantially lower if I used lead.

• With reloading you'll..
- Save money by re-using each brass case about 15 times
- Be able to tune the ammo to your gun and gain accuracy
- Have better quality ammo than you can buy anywhere
- Make new ammo anytime day or night
You may only want #1, but you get all 4 in the package.

• Any reloading outfit you buy will be completely paid for within 1 year, if you match the price to the output. So don't buy your reloading outfit based on the price, buy it based on the volume you wish to shoot each week. Buying solely on price would be like buying a Yugo because it was the cheapest car, and then finding that it can only go 45 MPH when you have a stretch of road going to work each day that demands you drive 65. Yea you saved money, but you're also painted into a corner as far as capability is concerned.

If you're still not sure, then buy quality used equipment. At least quality equipment holds it's value.

• Reading is where you start. Go find a book called "The ABC's of Reloading. That will answer a lot of questions. Also the stickies at the top of this forum.

• Secondly, start picking up all your brass right now. You can't reload anything without good brass. If you can find the Winchester bulk packs in the white box at WalMart, that's great brass. Be selective. The imported steel cases cannot be reloaded.

Hope this helps!

July 17, 2011, 08:54 PM
Thanks so far guys. I think used equipmet would be goos if i can find it.

I actually alreasy started to save my brass a little.

Hard part i noticed, is finding it. Half of what i picked up looked really rough, and wasnt even my brand, obviously not my brass...

July 17, 2011, 09:03 PM
Hard part i noticed, is finding it. Half of what i picked up looked really rough, and wasnt even my brand, obviously not my brass...

Yep, you'll loose about 5% of it on every outing. That's why you pick up ALL the brass and swap it later for the size you need. Even I have a baggie full of 380 brass I'll never use. And found 2 more tonight while loading 9 !!

July 17, 2011, 09:40 PM
So just pick it all up, sort it out later.. sounds good.

July 17, 2011, 10:43 PM
So just pick it all up, sort it out later.. sounds good.

Exactly. You can trade it on the "Buy, Sell & Trade: Reloading Components" (Right Here ( on this board. If you find brass like 45ACP, 44Mag, 41, 38 Super, or 357 you could expect to get 2 or more 380Auto cases in an exchange. Cost you nothing but the $6.50 for the small Flat Rate postage. Or, you can buy it outright on the same forum. Check it out.


July 17, 2011, 10:59 PM
Don't just think about reloading, get started. Having said that, I've never had much luck with small 380 pistols when it comes to accuracy. The
LCP only has a 2 & 3/4 inch barrel. You may be disappointed with it's accuracy. It is only an up close and personal type of gun. I would go ahead and get a 9 mm. More power and more accurate. Like some one else said, you can still save money reloading the 9.

July 17, 2011, 11:11 PM
The big cost to reloading is upfront investment in press and assorted other things you will need (caliper, scale, tumbler, bullet puller) and then buy the powder, primers, and bullets in bulk. You save more that way. Remember the hazmat fee of buying powder and primers on the net. If you're gonna buy on the net - buy big. I bought a progressive press and all the extras I needed to load .45 ACP and paid for all of it the first year. I did load a lot of rounds once I got into it.

Keep the 9mm for a range gun. The.380 will get old fast.

July 18, 2011, 10:31 AM
I domt expect it to be very accurate. Of im going to have a gun just for range shooting a would rather it be a .22 then a 9mm. I have a .22 rifle and that gets the most range use. Next to the shotgun at tje clay range. So i dont really feel i need the 9mm for the range. I mainly just want practice with the lcp.

July 18, 2011, 11:09 AM
as well as saveing $,there is also someting else you get with reloading.when you fire rounds that you reloaded yourself there is a level of satisfaction you wont get from shooting a box of ammo you just walked into walmart and me,i just fired my first rounds that i had reloaded my self last week!:D

July 18, 2011, 11:10 AM
A very cheap option would be to get the Lee Hand Press. I found one used for $16.00. I also have the die sets for. 380 and. 357/.38. , and the Lee Ram prime. All together, this set me back less than $125.00. The downside is that is does take longer to make the ammo, but it's a cheap way to get in.
I'm sure there are plenty who will ding me for this, but I also came up with a way to measure powder charges with a BP flask. I file down the spouts untill I have the charge I'm looking for, after weighing the amount of powder after each go on the sandpaper. This, however, is very specific to the powder on hand- it is NOT universal to every powder. When dispensing the powder, it's on a flat surface, and into a dixie cup that is cut down, and folded on the edge to form a spout. I pour the powder into the cases directly. You do need to be careful about keeping those cases upright when seating the bullets.
Going through the spouts may be expensive -or not, if you hit the number you want, right away- I went this route because I happened to have a bunch of black powder material on hand, including a bunch of spouts, and I figured I'd try it. It works for me, as I now have an entertaing power load for my Blackhawk in. 357, and a load that matches factory levels for my 84F. The powder I'm using, BTW, is Accurate #5.
Don't know if this will work for you, but it's a cheap way to get into reloading, and if you've got limited space.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
July 18, 2011, 11:31 AM
Reloading is definately a good, fun hobby. Yes, it costs some money up front to get started. If you are serious about getting more guns down the road, I would get a decent press (single stage is fine) and decent equipment. The little kit that you use a hammer on to assemble the cartridges is the cheapest way to go, however it is my opinion that I would lose patience very quickly with that setup. That is why, when I started about 30 years ago, I bought a Rock Chucker Combination kit which had pretty much everthing to get started (not including dies, powder, pills, primers, cases).

I think the first thing you should get is a decent reloading manual that explains in detail just how the entire process works. If you can read through that and be interested in all it is saying, then you should be a good candidate for reloading. If you cannot understand a thing about what the manual is telling you and it frustrates you just thinking about it, you might want to hold off on buying the equipment. For myself, I enjoy reading manuals, instructions, how to do things, etc. That is just the way I have always been -- able to figure out how things work, how to take them apart, put them back together again, etc. So, reloading kind of came naturally to me as I was learning it.

I had a friend who reloaded and he let me come over and use his stuff to load my first loads as he coached me on each stage. Immediately, I could tell that reloading was for me!

July 19, 2011, 04:26 PM
Have you ever shot the LCP? I have the KelTec P3AT which Ruger copied to make 'their' LCP pistol. IMHO it is NOT a pleasant gun to shoot by any standard nor any kind of 'range gun'. IMHO. It is designed to be carried much and shot little, and meant for SD at 15' range and less and does that job very well indeed.

I bring it to the range now and then and fire a couple mags thru it to stay proficient, but if I want to 'target shoot' in .380 I bring my Bersa Thunder.

I reload on a Lee turret now, started with their great Anniv single stage kit, and do reload .380, but if all I had to shoot in that caliber was my P3AT? I would not bother to reload .380. One box of ammo would last me 2-3 range sessions.
I'm with you. I considered loading .380 for my LCP. But damn. It's such a small and snappy little gun that I don't enjoy putting more than a mag or two through it.

July 20, 2011, 04:24 PM
have yall considered getting the #13 wolff recoil spring? i suppose to make the recoil better, as well as place your empties closer and easier to find... and a few other benifits as well.

July 24, 2011, 03:06 AM
Alright guys, i was fixing to make an online purchase for ammo, and decided to come back here first. If my 9mm sells tomorrow i wilkvhave about $160 to play with. I know its not much, but yall mentioned $200, and stealbirdbststed it could be done less then $125. Now, i have no brassbright now forbthe two i need to reload.

Btw. I need to reload .32 acp as well as the .380 acp originally stated.

Can yall get me set up, even if its not a fast paced set up, with this budget? Im talking brass and bullets amd powder as well. Maybe only one die to start with though. (Start with .320 acp i think. Just because the gun for it will get more range time, it will be for my nagant revolver with 32 acp cylinder)

I figure i can upgrade later when i get the hang of it all, and maybe gift the old set up to a friend when i do.

just in joy
July 24, 2011, 04:44 AM
reloading is a good choice to all calibers minus 22!!!

Gibson I would buy factory brass cased 32. and 380 shoot and collect and collect all the brass you can as the smaller calibers are not so much sought after as 9mm and above are. they are good trade options if you collect all the brass you can. sort and get gallon size storage bags and keep adding to them... I trade with one of my buddies over here I collected on one trip to the range 300 357 80 32 and 38 special 300 45 20 or so 380 nine and 40 I kept for myself he gave me a gallon size back of both 9 and 40 for those. a full gallon size of cases in 40 is roughly 1k 9mm gallon is roughly 1300 - 1500 so it helps to find locals or even buy when you can find the spent cases. thorugh the forums.

just in joy
July 24, 2011, 04:52 AM
I Personally do not see the savings in reloading as I shoot alot more now HEHE!!!!!! but that is not a bad thing as if i spent the money on factory ammo I would be Divorced now...

here is a little Story for you all thinking about reloading...

I took my wife daughter and son to the indoor range here locally to have my daughter test out pistols she may want for our hunting trip... so being ladies night free gun rental and free range fees for the women. but the catch was we have to buy there ammo... 100.00 later and 4 boxs of ammo in less than an hour my wife was a little pissed off as to the amount I spent. she didn't realize why I reloaded only saw the money coming out of my account for Large purchases.... then I took her home and showed here invoices and figures she stated she will buy my next set of primers Powder and Projectiles if I continue to reload and take them out shooting win win for me for that 100.00 I could of loaded 500 rounds of a more quality ammo IMO I love my loads I have for my 9mm.... but this does save money if you shoot once in a while or shoot alot as the factory Ammo will break the bank... more money to spend on other Firearms..

July 24, 2011, 04:55 AM
I wouldn't bother reloading for .380, personally. When I shoot outdoors, my scavenging rate is pretty low. When I shoot indoors, the extra brass that people throw my way makes up for it. But there's rarely more than a random case or 3 of .380 in the pile.

I also wouldn't shoot a .380 all that much. LCP, here, too. It's just not that fun to shoot.

I have the dies. Don't get to use them very much.

July 24, 2011, 07:55 AM
However, i am getting a ruger lcp soon, and i noticed thst he ammo is even more $ then 9mm luger.

Some 30 years ago when I started reloading, it was for loading 380 ACP.

380 ACP is no more difficult than anything else, but the small case and bullets do not work well with fat fingers.

Compared to the Ruger LCP, the pistol I was shooting at the time, a Beretta M84, was a giant and pleasant to shoot. But, I quickly learned that I wanted something more suitable for paper punching/plinking than the 380 ACP. Also, most 380 ACPs scatter brass wildly and policing it can be a pain.

Currently, I have a Kel-Tec P3AT, similar to the LCP. Not too unpleasant to shoot but frustrating to hit much of anything at ranges longer than self-defense ranges.

So, start with 380 ACP since you are headed down that road, but you will probably want to expand your shooting in the near future. Good thing is, once you are set up for reloading, it is not expensive to add a new cartridge.

Ah, unless of course you get a full blown, it does everything automatically, progressive.

July 24, 2011, 10:57 AM
Yea. Everone was telling me the lcp was not all that fine at the range.. so i got the nagant too. Lol. Some say there not that fun Either, but i like it. Thats why i thought maybe .32 acp first, but honestly. I just wanna get started! Lol. Been reading what i could and still am. As well as watching videos on it. Not to mention if i dint get the equipment soon ima end up spending the money on another gun instead. Lol.

July 24, 2011, 11:26 AM
The Lee single stage Anniversary kit sells for $82 and includes everything you'd need for single stage (50-75 rounds per hour batch) reloading except the dies, components and an inexpensive caliper - got mine at Harbor Freight for about $7.

Next higher would be Lee's great 4-hole CLASSIC turret, kits available online. and heck, $220 buys you their full progressive Loadmaster WITH dies and case feeder for one caliber. Pricing obtained from :

Brian Enos is the acknowledged site to go to for the excellent and pricey Dillon hardware, Hornady, RCBS and other manufacturers are carried by MidwayUSA, among MANY other internet resources.

July 24, 2011, 11:27 AM
I reload with 2 single stage presses side by side. Both were purchased at gun shoes for around $15.00. Many out there recommend a turrent press which is fine, I have one, but like the set-up I use.

I can easily reload 200 cartridges an hour, this is using a Lee Pro Auto Disk measure.

I believe my total investment is well less that $100.00. Purchasing new equiment will cost much more. Check out E-Bay with the Buy It Now option.

July 27, 2011, 06:58 AM
You don't have any brass yet? IMO your best bet is to shoot factory ammo until you have built up enough brass.

It's not economical to buy bullets and powder in small amounts. 32cal bullets seem to be more expensive than 9mm bullets! At least from a quick search at leading vendors. I don't reload 32 or 380, but I think you'll save a lot more with 380.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
July 27, 2011, 07:09 AM
I agree, buy factory ammo for now until you have shot enough to have a lot of empty cases. Make sure the primers are correct and that the brass is reloadable. I place a large painter dropcloth to my right and let the brass bounce off and land in that, that way I'm not scrounging around in the woods trying to find .380 brass!

I do load for .380 and have a pretty accurate load, not real hot, using Meister 92g round nose solid lead bullets which feed perfectly into my LCP and don't hurt to shoot, say, 20 to 30 rounds or less.

Once you have a lot of brass collected, then I would think about buying reloading equipment. I would not try to save a few dollars in setting up my new reloading bench -- possibly 'compromising' on quality. I believe in having good tools for the job at hand and then you will never have to buy again. If you get good equipment, it is a one-time purchase. Spread that out over the course of your lifetime and the amount spent makes sense, in direct proportion to how much you end up reloading and for how long (years into the future).

July 27, 2011, 04:53 PM
if i buy factory ammo its going to be PMC, and Prvi Partizan online, or federal at wally word (these are for the .380). these are of coarse just for the range.

the .32 would be fiocchi online. or WWB from wally world. not a fan of WWB 9mm, but i would give there .32 a shot.

anything wrong with the brass of these brass? might just shoot factory for the rest of '11. that should start me fine.

July 27, 2011, 10:17 PM
anything wrong with the brass of these brass? might just shoot factory for the rest of '11. that should start me fine.

One thing I came across when looking at 32ACP: it seems that different manufacturers have different brass thickness, and with such a small case, it may give you case neck tension trouble.

Here's the thread:

I ordered a batch of Rem-UMC brass, the only thing currently available.
When I started loading in it, frequently the .309" bullet would drop right into the case.

It's not unsual for some "odd" manufactured brass to be undersized. From my experience, the Federal and Remington tend to be the thinnest .32acp, and Fiocchi and MagTech to be some of the thickest. YMMV.
I get best result with the .32acp with .311" bullets.

I like the Remington 71 gr. FMJ/RN. they are .311 last time I measured. I size my cast bullets to .311 also.

July 28, 2011, 02:15 PM
I will read further into the thread. By your quote fiocchi at least is good.

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