Reloading for .30 Carbine: equipment & cost ?


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Armchair Bronco
December 14, 2011, 12:23 AM
What's the cost of reloading for .30 Carbine, and what kind of reloading equipment do I need? I'm only interested in plinking, shooting at paper, and maybe building up a small supply of ammo for a SHTF scenario.

I have a .30-06 M1 Garand that I stopped shooting due to the high price of ammo. I'm thinking about selling it and buying an AK-47 instead.

But the gun I've always wanted is an M1 Carbine...but not if the ammo for it will be as expensive as surplus .30-06 ammo.

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medalguy
December 14, 2011, 03:12 AM
See the stickys at the top of this section for information on starting to reload. You can get into it for a couple of hundred dollars or a lot more, depending on the equipment.

I'd say you could reload .30 carbine for

brass .15 but it's good for many reloads
primer .02
powder .05
bullet .12
total per round .34 for the first time if you buy brass
total per round .19 if you reload your own brass

You could also reload .30-06 for about .30 a round using your brass. It's definitely cheaper to reload than buy new, and that's why so many of us do it.

FYI there's no comparison between a Garand and an AK. I'd hate to see you sell the Garand just to shoot cheap ammo with little accuracy.

16in50calNavalRifle
December 14, 2011, 04:31 AM
medalguy covered it very well, as I see it.

I'm fairly new to reloading but 30C is one of my calibers. You will save quite a bit over factory ammo once you are set up (and once you have "paid off" the cost of your equipment). If you have time and patience, take your time, buy good basic gear used - you can get set up for very little.

I think medalguy's cost estimates are very accurate - and with those numbers you wil be at 30% to 50% below factory ammo cost.

You can reduce your costs even further if you go with lead bullets. I plan to stick with what I believe are the original specs for carbine ammo - 110 grain FMJ bullet, 14 to 15 grains of H110 powder - as I don't want to bother with possible leading for this particular gun (two - one a modern reproduction and one a 1943 Quality Hardware).

If cost is an issue, as wiser folks here will tell you, first consider the volume of your shooting. If you are only thinking of reloading for 30C, and you only expect to shoot a few thousand rounds a year - reloading may not make much sense.

Just for ballparking the costs, you can buy 30 carbine by the case, Prvi Partizan from Widener's or Ammo To Go (just examples), for pretty good prices. Look around (use AmmoEngine or AmmoSeek) to get a sense of prices.

chris in va
December 14, 2011, 05:44 AM
I have a .30-06 M1 Garand that I stopped shooting due to the high price of ammo. I'm thinking about selling it and buying an AK-47 instead.

Why don't you just reload 30-06 instead? Heck, I use a Lee Hand Press...for everything. If you look around, pulled bullets can be had at a reasonable cost, and after that it's just 47gr of 4895 and some primers.

BTW, don't sell that Garand. AK's are a dime a dozen, the Garand is something very special indeed.

cfullgraf
December 14, 2011, 09:06 AM
What's the cost of reloading for .30 Carbine, and what kind of reloading equipment do I need? I'm only interested in plinking, shooting at paper, and maybe building up a small supply of ammo for a SHTF scenario.

I have a .30-06 M1 Garand that I stopped shooting due to the high price of ammo. I'm thinking about selling it and buying an AK-47 instead.

But the gun I've always wanted is an M1 Carbine...but not if the ammo for it will be as expensive as surplus .30-06 ammo.

Armchair, if you get into reloading, adding a second caliber is not very expensive. With two sets of dies (30 Carbine and 30-06) you would be able to load for both rifles with the same equipment.

If you shoot any other centerfire firearms, it is easy to add dies for them as well.

From your comment on what you plan to shoot, a single stage press would serve your needs well. On a single stage press, I can load 100 rounds in an hour. If you are concerned about spending hours and days reloading, you can do things in small batches in short sessions. For instance, I prepare my brass shortly after shooting it so it does not take very long. Then, I store the brass for future reloading.

The big savings from reloading comes from reusing the brass. Folks have different opinions and experience on the life of brass, and it varies by cartridge, but with 30-06 and 30 carbine it can be reloaded from 5 to 15 times or more.

Surplus and commercial ammunition is a good source of brass cases. So, keep your brass. Plus, you get to "unload" it as well. I would stay away from corrosive primed surplus ammunition though.

There is lots of information on this forum and others about reloading. For starters, check out the sitckies at the top of this forum.

Reloading can be an enjoyable hobby by itself.

Regardless, I would keep the Garand and add a carbine. But, it is your decision.

USSR
December 14, 2011, 12:22 PM
I'm currently reloading .30 Carbine for $.06 per round, not counting the cost of the brass which is reuseable.

Don

http://ussr.clarityconnect.com/30carbinebullet.jpg

RandyP
December 14, 2011, 02:48 PM
Good tips given already. You can start reloading with a complete Lee Anniversary single stage kit for as little as $82. Add calipers, dies and components for every caliber you want to reload.

https://fsreloading.com/html/xcart/catalog/anivers.html

For higher output than the 50-75 per hour of a single stage, I have had no negative issues with my Lee Classic turret churning out 150-175 rounds per hour.

Hornady, RCBS, Lyman etc all make terrific presses too. I have found MY needs perfectly met by Lee products.

jcwit
December 14, 2011, 03:12 PM
Plus what USSR says, I load even cheaper than that by a couple of cents but I use surplus powder.

Those that can only load 50 to 75 per hour using a single stage, you're doing something wrong. I usually reload around 200 plus an hour with a single stage. Yes I still use a single stage because it how I like to do it. I've got turrents but no progressives.

RandyP
December 14, 2011, 04:34 PM
I gladly bow to your blazing speed with a single stage press. That is some almost unbelievable output for batch reloading to include sizing, depriming, priming, powder dispensing, seating, crimping and 3-4 die swaps. Every other 'high speed' poster I've read around the internet boast outputs barely half your stated 200 rph.

At a very relaxed pace I don't get 200 rounds per hour on my turret. But in fairness I reload as a relaxing hobby, not a piece work challenge - lol

jcwit
December 14, 2011, 06:36 PM
I gladly bow to your blazing speed with a single stage press. That is some almost unbelievable output for batch reloading to include sizing, depriming, priming, powder dispensing, seating, crimping and 3-4 die swaps. Every other 'high speed' poster I've read around the internet boast outputs barely half your stated 200 rph.

At a very relaxed pace I don't get 200 rounds per hour on my turret. But in fairness I reload as a relaxing hobby, not a piece work challenge - lol


Well I should make note depriming and priming are not part of the process. These are done prior to reloading as I have shotgun shell boxes deprimed and polished waiting to be primed and reloaded. When I see the need for more ammo I prime while watching TV 5/6oo cases.

From that point a few loading blocks are brought out, each holding 50 cases, cases are charged using a powder measure, checked, then bullet seated and crimped in one operation. Once I start to reload no die changes are needed, plus all my dies have fixed nuts so as no need to adjust as long as they are used on the same press.

Charging 200 cases an hour and seating/crimping a case with 1 pull of the handle 200 times an hour is to fast figure it out, its 9 seconds per each operation.

Mayhap after 40 some years of reloading I've learned some shortcuts.

Armchair Bronco
December 14, 2011, 08:03 PM
Thanks for all the feedback. There's some real food for thought in the replies I've received so far.

Since I'd be starting from scratch, I'm just trying to get some ballpark ideas about reloading. I don't even have room in the garage for a reloading bench, so I'd have to clear out some space first, and then find the money to buy all the equipment and initial supplies. I'm still not sure if this makes sense for me as someone who is just a weekend plinker.

Regarding the advice that I should keep the M1 Garand, in a perfect world I'd love to do this. But I promised my wife I wouldn't end up with a huge gun collection. It's the same thing with guitars: I like collecting them as much as the next guy, but realistically who needs 10 or 20 guitars? I can only play one of 'em at a time. (For the record, I have 2 nice electric guitars, 1 nice acoustic, 1 cheap travel electric guitars, 1 modern tube amp, 1 vintage tube amp, and about a dozen pedals.)

My M1 hasn't been shot in a couple of years (although I clean it every few months). Seems a shame to keep it locked up in my safe (which, by the way, has no more room for new guns, either). Maybe selling an M1 Garand to raise cash for an AK-47 is a bit sacrilegious (I don't deny that) but I don't have the money to spring for a new addition.

Lastly, I've never really bonded with my M1 Garand. After putting nearly 1,000 rounds through it, I think I've given it an honest shake. Sure, it's a classic gun with an impeccable pedigree, but for reasons I can't explain it just doesn't light my fire. So it's time for something new: maybe an AK-47, maybe an AK-74 (AK-47 ammo is REALLY cheap), or maybe an M1 Carbine eventually if I decide to go the reloading route.

cfullgraf
December 14, 2011, 08:13 PM
Those that can only load 50 to 75 per hour using a single stage, you're doing something wrong. I usually reload around 200 plus an hour with a single stage. Yes I still use a single stage because it how I like to do it.

I still use a single stage press for my rifle loads while handgun has migrated to progressive presses of one flavor or another.

I can flip on the lights in my reloading room and in an hour flip off the lights with 100 cartridges loaded.

This includes setting up the single stage press and the powder measure, priming the cases, loading the cases, storing the ammunition away, cleaning up the press, putting the dies, putting away the powder and bullets, and powder measure away, and filling out my data logs.

I probably spend only about 30 minutes actually stuffing bullets into cases.

Like jcwit, my case prep is not part of the calculation as I prep the cases shortly after shooting them and store them away for a future loading session.

It depends on how you do your rate calculations.


I've got turrents but no progressives.

Even on a progressive, I prep the brass at one session and store it away for future loading session. I prime off the press.

I like the progressive for handgun cartridges because it does a couple of steps simultaneously. Less case handling, easier on the arm.

A Lee auto index turret does the same thing, you just have to stroke the handle and extra time or two between handling the cases.

beefyz
December 14, 2011, 08:43 PM
I can't add much to some of the great info you got in the above, but i'd like to reply in a different way. Loading for the carbine is a hoot. To think i'm not only shooting MY '43 NPM, that one of our Grandfathers or Fathers or Brothers did back then, but also reloading the ammo for it, gives you a real sense of pride and ownership. Surplus ammo is getting harder and harder to find and not withstanding some of the complaints about the new stuff, the new stuff can be outrageously priced. As said, reloading is also a "hobby" which means it should be enjoyable and concerning the.30 cal carbine, it may well be economicaly advantageous as well. Couple it with a Garand, as I did, and you could to, and you have the frosting on the cake. Keep the Garand; get a carbine as well.
You will not be sorry.

RandyP
December 15, 2011, 12:36 PM
Ah, thanks for the explanation of why your numbers don't match mine. lol

I count my reloading output based on starting with a tumbled clean once-fired case. If I took out the sizing/depriming/priming steps it would obviously inflate my results too. But adding that necesssary step back in I reckon our outputs agree.

FWIW I do all the loading operations on my Classic turret (which does all my reloading these days). I still have my very adequate Lee Anniv single stage press mounted on my bench.

velocette
December 16, 2011, 05:08 PM
Armchair bronco;
One thing that was not brought up is to be certain that you trim your .30 carbine cases to the proper length. It is VERY important. The .30 carbine headspaces on the case mouth, like a .45 acp. However the big difference is that if the case is a bit too long, the bolt locking lugs will not go fully into lockup. If the cartridge fires in that condition, you may get a face full of bolt. If the case is too short, the firing pin may not have sufficient reach to fire the cartridge. The cases are well known to stretch significantly when fired so you should always check case length after sizing & before proceeding with your reloading.
The .30 carbine is a great little rifle with a nice general purpose cartridge but it does have its difficultys.
Here's a place to go for a lot of good information on the M1 carbine
http://forums.thecmp.org/search.php?searchid=982383

Roger

Armchair Bronco
December 16, 2011, 06:29 PM
Armchair bronco;
One thing that was not brought up is to be certain that you trim your .30 carbine cases to the proper length. It is VERY important. The .30 carbine headspaces on the case mouth, like a .45 acp. However the big difference is that if the case is a bit too long, the bolt locking lugs will not go fully into lockup. If the cartridge fires in that condition, you may get a face full of bolt. If the case is too short, the firing pin may not have sufficient reach to fire the cartridge. The cases are well known to stretch significantly when fired so you should always check case length after sizing & before proceeding with your reloading.
The .30 carbine is a great little rifle with a nice general purpose cartridge but it does have its difficultys.
Here's a place to go for a lot of good information on the M1 carbine
http://forums.thecmp.org/search.php?searchid=982383

Roger
Thanks for this info and for the link. Man, it's been years since I was on the CMP site.

If you enjoyed reading about "Reloading for .30 Carbine: equipment & cost ?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!