At what point does it make financial sense...


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Warners
December 16, 2011, 09:32 AM
At what point would you guys say it makes financial sense to reload? How many rounds per month/year, etc? And what is the REAL startup cost for reloading, starting from scratch. I have NO reloading equipment, but always thought it would be fun to do it. Several (as in about 25) years ago, I did do some reloading .22-250 with one of those little plastic Lee reloaders.....

Thanks,

Warner

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Kristensdaddy
December 16, 2011, 09:45 AM
It is PART of the hobby, or even a hobby unto itself. Just like owning the guns in the first place. You had to make an initial investment in your gun to participate in the hobby/sport. Same thing with reloading. If you take up reloading you may find that it is fun, requires a little skill and concentration and it provides you the ability to have more ammo on hand than if you just go out and buy it. You can get into making ammo for specific purposes.

you can get started pretty cheap, the equipment will last your lifetime and that of your kids, you will become much more aware of how you shoot and what goes into creating accuracy.

Don't try to justify the cost, you really cannot ever justify the cost of a hobby. If it interests you, buy some basic equipment including a good reloading book, a good scale and presses and dies - in that order.

LNK
December 16, 2011, 09:54 AM
Everyone I know that got into reloading got into it as a cost saving measure. What starts off as trying to save money turns into shooting more and spending more. Not that it's a bad thing. Don't do it thinking you will save money, but do it. You will shoot more, learn more, and enjoy the sport more. Good luck.

LNK

Skribs
December 16, 2011, 10:56 AM
I was just doing some shopping around on Google Shopping, and it would actually cost me more to reload for my .40. On the other hand, if I did ever get a .50 GI Glock, I would cut the cost in half.

I don't plan on getting into reloading soon, but I hear a lot of the benefits are that you get to design exactly how it will work - how much powder, what type of bullet, etc. I figure that without a chrono or some ballistics gel to test my stuff, I'll just buy stuff on the market.

jcwit
December 16, 2011, 11:04 AM
These are decisions you'll have to make on your own, read the stickies about reloading. If it weren't for reloading I wouldn't be able to shoot most of the firearms I have. Collection is now into the 2nd or 3rd triple digit so there is a bunch to load for.

You can get started for as little as approx $30 bucks per caliber and the limit is in the thousands. I'd suggest a start up kit consisting of a turrent press even tho I use a couple of single stage presses mounted side by side, simply because thats how I like to do it. A turrent press can be used as a single stage till you get the drill down pat, then expand from there.

Also---GET MANUALS---For sure a Lyman and another one and read, read, read.

jcwit
December 16, 2011, 11:09 AM
I was just doing some shopping around on Google Shopping, and it would actually cost me more to reload for my .40. On the other hand, if I did ever get a .50 GI Glock, I would cut the cost in half.

Please expand on how it costs more to reload for a .40 than buying factory ammo.

Are you breaking down the cost of equipment as part of the cost per round, if so how does one calculate this with no idea what the quanity of ammo will be.

When you buy a new cooking stove for your wife, do you factor that into the cost of your daily meals?

Or if you run to the fast food resturant don't forget to enclude the price of gas.

cfullgraf
December 16, 2011, 11:10 AM
The cost per reloaded round will always be less than commercial ammunition. What you do with the savings is up to you.

Yes, I originally got into reloading 30 years ago to save money and shoot more on the same budget. But, I enjoy reloading and do it as much as a hobby as a way to save money.

I am able to reload for every cartridge that I shoot.

Payback on the capital equipment was pretty quick. But I don't worry about that anymore. If I want/need a new piece of reloading equipment and can fit it in the budget, I get it. Just as if I needed that new golf driver, running shoes, or a bigger screen TV.

One of the great benefits of having reloading equipment is I am able to enjoy old firearms that ammunition is very expensive or just plain unavailable.

gregj
December 16, 2011, 11:10 AM
I got started right after the '08 election, when ammo was almost impossible to find. I started mostly to be able to ensure I had ammo on hand when I needed/wanted it. Then recently my son and I started shooting USPSA, so I was really glad I could reload, as it really cut the cost of competing down.

I also found it was a very enjoyble way to extend my hobby beyond shooting, cleaning, then putting them up till the next trip. Reloading tends to be a cerebral activity, somewhat of a technical challenge that I enjoy. It takes a lot of research on bullets, powder, loads, etc, etc, then a lot of hands-on, out at the range testing to see what works best. And when you get to that point where you've found the optimum load, it's quite satisfactory.

James2
December 16, 2011, 11:13 AM
If you are trying to justify the initial investment, consider first how much you are shooting. It is pretty easy to load for about half what factory ammo costs. Knowing those two things, you can calculate how long it will take to recoup your initial investment. After that you can shoot for half the cost of factory. Even less, depending on how you shop for components.

How much to get started? Again, depends on what you want and how you shop. I would think somewhere between $200 and $350 could get you set up with a good single stage press.

It is a hobby to support the shooting hobby. I enjoy the reloading. I have been reloading for many years. At this point the savings on ammo has been so great that the original investment for equipment doesn't even factor into the cost of the ammo. Good tools will last your lifetime.

If you like mechanical things and like to work with your hands, you could enjoy reloading for the process itself, not just as a means to save money.

45_auto
December 16, 2011, 11:17 AM
it would actually cost me more to reload for my .40.

1000 primers = $20.00
1 pound powder = $20 (will do more than 1000 .40's)
1000 Bullets = $100 (if you can shoot lead, it's only about $80 / 1000)

Where can you buy .40's for less than $140/1000 ($7/50)?

cfullgraf
December 16, 2011, 11:18 AM
I was just doing some shopping around on Google Shopping, and it would actually cost me more to reload for my .40.

Do not forget that the case is re-usable. For handgun, the case cost is next to zero since it can be used many, many times. Not so much with rifle.

Even so, even surplus prices of ammunition usually will cost more than a new primer, powder charge and projectile. Also, the reloaded ammunition will be of much higher quality and tailored to your firearm.

The cost of time is a frequent subject of discussion on the cost of reloads. Since it is a recreational activity, the cost of your time should be considered zero. If you figured your cost of time watching TV, you would not watch. Or you would not go shooting because it costs to much money in time pulling the trigger.

Warners
December 16, 2011, 11:19 AM
I DO think it would be fun. I'm kind of a gearhead type so this aspect really interests me. I have really common caliber weapons in my collection though.....so I don't have any rare or unique calibers to be concerned about. Besides 22 and 22 mag rimfire, I have .25acp, 9x18, 9x19, .38/.357, .45acp, 7.63x39, 30-30, .30-'06 and the 12 gauge shotguns basically.

Warner

jcwit
December 16, 2011, 11:24 AM
Here's a set up that can get you going for less than $100 bucks even with the price of dies encluded.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/423081/lee-challenger-breech-lock-single-stage-press-anniversary-kit

Should also enclude a set of calibers, Harbor Freight $10/15 bucks on sale.

kludge
December 16, 2011, 11:52 AM
Lee Kit $100
Lee Dies $30
Powder $7
Primers $6
Bullets $60

Assuming you already have 40 pieces of brass, and can load them 5 times, you can reload 200 rounds of .308 ammo for $212.

10 boxes of .308 hunting ammo at $25/box = $250

And you still have the press and dies, so it only gets better after that.

So yeah, it makes sense to reload.

kludge
December 16, 2011, 11:54 AM
Here's a set up that can get you going for less than $100 bucks even with the price of dies encluded.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/423081/lee-challenger-breech-lock-single-stage-press-anniversary-kit

Should also enclude a set of calibers, Harbor Freight $10/15 bucks on sale.

This one's better, and on sale. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/121744/lee-challenger-breech-lock-single-stage-press-kit?cm_vc=S016

ranger335v
December 16, 2011, 12:02 PM
"At what point would you guys say it makes financial sense to reload?"

Few of us would address that; the answer matters a lot what on you're loading for, what components you choose, your source of components, your taste in buying equipment and the purpose you want to accomplish with the ammo. Making ammo that goes BANG in one caliber is much less costly than trying to precisely drill holes very close together at long range with several calibers. Anyway, anyone loading for economy rather than effectiveness is likely to be disappointed and if you don't like doing it you won't stick with it just to save money.

I have some 45+ years of experience and first wanted to reduce my costs. As things progressed, my pursuit of accuracy soon over-road my desire for cheep ... but I think I'm probably gonna break even most any day now. :)

gearjammer-2000
December 16, 2011, 12:07 PM
when I got back into reloading I set aside 400 bucks for equipment, i know not a lot BUT , then I started going to yard sales, auctions watching craigslist,ect and it kinda took off from there, I have bought,sold and traded myself into a great setup with top of the line equipment and everything I need and more in the process I got my 400 back and according to my accountant, [my wife,lol] I have managed to put several thousand in my pocket and the buying,selling and trading has turned into a hobby itself.
I have also met a lot of like minded people, got a lot of people into the hobby, acquired several firearms that I would have otherwise been unable to afford otherwise.

jcwit
December 16, 2011, 12:19 PM
Here's a set up that can get you going for less than $100 bucks even with the price of dies encluded.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/423...nniversary-kit

This one's better, and on sale. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/121...kit?cm_vc=S016

Both look to be good start up kits, not much difference that I can see, probably missing something.

cougar1717
December 16, 2011, 01:27 PM
Reloading is for fun. It will never make financial sense. It isn't so much the materials aspect. Everyone likes to show the price of bullets, powder, and primers to go with their used brass and come up with some sort of dollar value per box. The problem is that this isn't the dollar value per box because ammo does not assemble itself. Even if you don't count the cost of equipment, you wouldn't like it if I handed you $8 (or whatever your component cost is) and expect you to give me a box of ammo. However, we do this to ourselves all the time because reloading is a hobby and not a job.

There are two other aspects that many people wanting to get into reloading do not initially think about.

1) Reloads are really just a personal use product. You cannot sell them (without an expensive license) as far as the government is concerned. Other people usually don't want to buy them because of the unknowns. I allow other people to shoot them in my guns, but beyond something low powered like 38 special plinkers, I wouldn't let anyone use them in their own guns for liability. If you had to get out of it, it would much easier to offload components than reloaded ammo, but even then it can be hard to sell partial boxes of bullets and you might as well sell part containers of primers and powder locally than pay haz mat fees.

2) The time involved on a couple levels. A) Accurate rifle ammo requires a lot of case prep. Even inspecting cases for plinking ammo can get tedious. Once a person understands that the brass case, not the chamber is what keeps you from getting hit with shrapnel, it puts prep in a different light. B) After knowing how long it took me to load a batch, I can't pop them off like the bulk ammo I used to buy. I want to make them count, learn from the results, and keep working on the load. and C) There isn't a big list of sub-moa rifle loads for every caliber and rifle. You have to work them up yourself by trial and error. A load that is sub-moa in one rifle might group 3" in another just because of minute differences.

bergmen
December 16, 2011, 01:36 PM
The initial cost of equipment seems high and it makes it difficult to see the cost advantages right away.

I got into reloading about 20 years ago because the ONLY way to get the ammo I wanted for my Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt was to roll my own. I got caught up in it and have been making my own ammo for my 10 calibers (with only a few exceptions here and there) since. I have long since favorably ammortized the equipment cost.

Cost per round is always cheaper with reloads some much more dramatically than others. Also, variety of components (mostly bullets) not available in factory loads sweeten the pot. I can easily tune for precisely the ballistics I want by tailoring my reloads specifically for the task at hand. This will take some time as you study manuals and measure results but once you get on a certain plane, you achieve a level of craftsmanship that results in very satisfying results.

This has filtered down to my three adult children who begin to study reloading components when deciding on ammo choices rather than factory load catalogs. Actually, they have never seen a catalog or data sheet since they aren't even on their radar screens (nor mine).

Just as I pack my own parachutes and build my own motorcycles (and would build an airplane if I were to own one), I load and reload my own ammo.

Dan

ROCKFISH
December 16, 2011, 01:43 PM
Correct, they are both start up kits. No they do not include dies. I bought the one with the off the press primer seater. It cost an extra $10 but is a bit safer.
You will need dies, and a caliber specific trim gauge, which will cost another $30 bucks or so. I am very happy with this set-up, and added a tumbler and electronic caliper as well.

wingman
December 16, 2011, 02:17 PM
After 40 years of reloading I simply find my reloads more accurate and better serve me then commercial while I begin to save money it turned into a life long hobby I would not enjoy going to the range as much with commercial ammo.

Start slow buy equipment as you can,check around for used some good buys out there but look over equipment close. Once you start unlikely you will stop.

RandyP
December 16, 2011, 03:01 PM
The Lee Anniversary brech lock kit includes their Safety Prime on press priming system - the other Lee kit provides hand primers only - I VERY much like the on press system

For pistol caliber reloaders I suggest looking at the Lee CLASSIC 4-hole turret. easily triple the output of single stage batch reloading for not much more $$$ investment.

Yes ALL the other brands though pricier than Lee make SUPERB hardware. Lee has been making reloaders since about 1958 and their products are durable and reliable and at a very affordable price point. I suspect that more folks have started reloading on Lee gear than any other make.

To the OP's question.... blowing my limited spare cash on a hobby (and I have a few) has never made financial sense to me, but it sure provides me with enjoyment in my free time - which for me is priceless.

Skribs
December 16, 2011, 04:03 PM
Maybe I should have said handloads instead of reloads. I looked up the cost of primers, powder (and judged how much powder using a table I found online to get the approximate velocity that the factory ammo I was comparing it to ran), bullets (I compared the same type of bullets of the same weight) and cases. Without the cost of cases, reloading would be cheaper, but using new cases skyrocketed the price.

I did not include the cost of the reloading equipment in that.

jcwit
December 16, 2011, 04:15 PM
OK, so the main difference between these 2 set-ups is the priming system. So again it would be up to the OP as to what system he would like.

I have 5 or 6 of the Press mounted Auto Primes but have never used one. Personally I like to reprime while watching TV with a hand primer, even using the one at a time instead of the type that uses a tray. Just the way I like to do it.

56hawk
December 16, 2011, 04:25 PM
I actually did this calculation for a friend of mine. Using mostly Lee equipment the cost was just over $200 for a full one caliber setup. For him loading 40S&W it will take him around 900 rounds to break even. Of course each additional caliber will only take a set of dies, and you will break even at less than 100 rounds. I'm also negating the cost of brass, since I figure if you have already been shooting factory ammo for a while you should have plenty of brass.

Reloading rifle ammo you will break even much sooner. For example when I got my 460 Weatherby I bought two boxes of brass and the reloading dies for just over $200. Took me loading 35 rounds to break even.

quartermaster
December 16, 2011, 04:38 PM
My opinion for what it's worth, is that if you are going to reload just to save money, it will become a job for you. If you shoot a lot and enjoy it and want to understand the whole scenario and get more accurate loads, as well as be able to select your bullets for specific results, them by all means, go for it.

A suggestion would be to buy yourself a reloading manual. Most good ones will take your through the whole process step by step and show you what's involved. Or check out varmint al's website and you can see how much involved reloading can be. There is a happy medium. I think all the dedicated reloaders that are members on THR will attest to the fact that you start out simple and expand your horizons and expenses the more you get into it. It is truly a labor of love.

Good luck

beatledog7
December 16, 2011, 06:44 PM
If I were reloading just to save money I'd be better served timewise to clip coupons. I dislike clipping coupons. I like handloading. The more I do it, the more proficient I become, the fewer goofs, I suffer through, and the more I like it.

A completed batch of 100 .40 SWCs is a pretty sight.

cfullgraf
December 16, 2011, 07:22 PM
Without the cost of cases, reloading would be cheaper, but using new cases skyrocketed the price.



No normal person hand loads, or reloads depending on what definition you want to use, where they only expect to use the case once.

Even the super accuracy, miniscule minute of angle bench rest crowd re-use their cases. They have too much time invested in preparing the cases to chuck them after one firing.

Yes, cases are a part of reloading costs, but not the full unit cost of the case. Sometimes it is difficult to calculate the true cost of brass as it sometimes difficult to figure the number of times a case can be reloaded.

I have no idea how many times I reload my handgun cases. I generally lose semi-auto cases long before they fail. As long as I can stuff a bullet in the and the primer does not fall out, I reload it.

Rifle cases do not last as long. Depending upon the cartridge they may be discarded after 4 or 5 reloadings up to to 15 or 20 or even more.

jcwit
December 16, 2011, 07:34 PM
No normal person hand loads, or reloads depending on what definition you want to use, where they only expect to use the case once.

I agree, but the range I frequent we have a gentleman who loads brand new 45 ACP & 9 mm Starline Brass. Leaving the fired cases for others to pick-up. Yes he's the one who actually loads these cases and then leaves them, unreal. I don't always get to be the lucky one there at the right time but have been for a few good hauls.

Now if he only loaded the oddball handgun calibers I use also.

dbarnhart
December 16, 2011, 07:43 PM
Do you really enjoy shooting and would do a lot more if you could afford it? If so then welcome to reloading. As others have said, it's not going to reduce the costs of your reloading hobby. You just get to enjoy the hobby a lot more.

My current costs for reloading .223 are about $118 per thousand. If I can get the lead-casting thing down pat my cost for .45acp will be about $75 per thousand (the equivalent of $3.70 per box)

I think it ALWAYS pays to reload. Way back 35 years ago, newly married with a wife and a mortgage, the only way I could afford to shoot was to reload. I bought a Lee Loader. It, a plastic mallet, pound of powder, some primers, and a bag of bullets and I was in business. For the 50 rounds per week that I was shooting it was a perfect solution.

BYJO4
December 16, 2011, 08:03 PM
I began reloading in the mid 70s to help control my ammo costs. The amount of savings depends on the calibers and amount of shooting you do. While I have added to my equipment over the years, I have saved a tremendous amount of money and enjoyed a great hobby. There is nothing more satisfying than shooting the center out of a target with your own loads.

Redneck with a 40
December 16, 2011, 08:55 PM
I shoot 500+ rounds of .308 ammo/year. I reload using Nosler custom comp hpbt bullets for about 45 cents/round. Factory match ammo runs about $25/20. My ammo is running be about $9/20. That's a huge savings and my ammo will produce 5/8" (5) shot groups at 100 yards.

I shoot well over 2000 rounds of 40 S&W and 9mm every year. My 9mm rounds are $5.50/50 and my 40 S&W rounds are running $6/50. Cheap factory 9mm runs $11/50 and most 40 rounds go for about $15/50. Multiply that out by 40 boxes and that's a huge savings.

My "savings" go into more component's = more shooting and I'm ok with that!

Seedtick
December 16, 2011, 09:31 PM
I agree, but the range I frequent we have a gentleman who loads brand new 45 ACP & 9 mm Starline Brass. Leaving the fired cases for others to pick-up. Yes he's the one who actually loads these cases and then leaves them, unreal. I don't always get to be the lucky one there at the right time but have been for a few good hauls.

Now if he only loaded the oddball handgun calibers I use also.

jc, if you were to offer that fellow some brand spanking new Starline in return for his old worn out used up once fired stuff :rolleyes: he might bring you a towsack full.

Might be worth asking him????

Seedtick

:)

Hondo 60
December 16, 2011, 09:35 PM
My advise to anyone even remotely thinking about reloading is to buy or borrow a reloading manual.

Many here promote "The ABCs of Reloading"
My favorite is Lyman's 49th Reloading Manual.

Both are a treasure trove of "How to" knowledge.

Before I bought any reloading equipment, I went to the local Library & borrowed Lyman's Manual.
Read it cover to cover & had a pretty good idea of what I wanted.

35 Whelen
December 16, 2011, 10:26 PM
At what point would you guys say it makes financial sense to reload?


At the same point that you have a defense pistol for the bedroom, defense pistol for the living room, defense pistol for the car, a rifle for whitetail deer at long range, a rifle for whitetail deer at close range, a rifle for elk in timber, a rifle for elk in the open, a varmint rifle for coyotes, a varmint rifle for prairie dogs, a varmint rifle for crows, an AK-47 for home defense, an AR-15 for home defense...:D

Reloading is not always a necessity, just as many of our guns aren't, but reloading is FUN.

35W

kennedy
December 16, 2011, 10:35 PM
I think of reloading like making my own wine or brewing my own beer or making my own jerky, I made it and that makes it special.

Master Blaster
December 16, 2011, 11:27 PM
Never, you just shoot more.

J_McLeod
December 17, 2011, 12:21 AM
It doesn't. I just shoot more than I used to, and spend more than I used to.

But to me it's as much fun as shooting. I know some reloaders like to say that some reload to shoot, but they shoot to reload. I realized that was true of me why I bought a box of Wolf Gold 7.62x54r just so I could shoot it and reload the brass.

ArchAngelCD
December 17, 2011, 12:49 AM
I can't answer this question because I think I would continue to reload even if I weren't shooting, I like reloading that much.

I also enjoy shooting all I want to shoot and enjoy shooting the most accurate ammo anywhere!

baronthered
December 17, 2011, 05:33 AM
I'm not personally into reloading... yet. (looks like my kind of thing.) I like things I can sink my teeth into so to speak and the satisfaction of doing things myself. Some things I have gotten into for the cash savings but have turned into their own rewarding type of hobby. I hope that makes sense. been working doubles...

41 Mag
December 17, 2011, 06:15 AM
I sort of grew into it guess you could say. My pop loaded his own and I simply grew up with the understanding that "OUR" rounds were better than anything we could buy, and were more accurate to boot.

This said, as I started shooting at a VERY young age, I developed somewhat of a taste for buring through ammo especially with the 30 Carbine, then a 303 British, then no to other higher powered rifles. Once I got my teeth cut on the 38 Spl, it all went to pot. Pop had me loading the rounds I wanted to shoot and it quickly became ingrained in me to load for what you shoot.

In my teens and early 20's I really got into shooting handguns and eventually purchased a 41 magnum. Even back in the early 80's, factory ammo for it was not overly abundant not cheap when you found it. It was, and has been easy to beat any facotry prices while loading my own. I also purchased a 10mm another not so easily found factory ammo nor cheap to shoot. IT also is easy to stay under any factory priced stuff and quickly realize the cost savings.

Rounds like a .223, 9mm or similar are hard to beat the cheaper stuff on the market if simply loading for those. But throw in a few odd ball or not so popular calibers and you can quickly calculate out the savings and time it would take to pay for your equipment. This said your shooting also plays a role in it as well. If your only shooting a few times a year then stick with factory and try and find a sale and pick up what you can afford to at the time.

1911Tuner
December 17, 2011, 06:49 AM
Reloading to save money is like buyin' things that you might need while they're on sale. You almost never save money by reloading. What you do is shoot more for the same money...or shoot a lot more and spend more money than if you'd stuck to store bought ammo.

Even if you don't shoot enough to justify the cost of the equipment, reloading has other advantages aside from the money question. It gives you the ability to keep your ammo stocks replenished when it's hard to find...or impossible at some future date. It's also a good way to maintain stocks for calibers that are scarce or all but unobtainable in certain areas. .30-30 is everywhere you look. .32 Special...maybe not. .44 Magnum is everywhere. .41 Magnum...not so much. .308 is widely available. .30-40 Krag can present a problem.

Reloading and having the equipment to use for that is a good tool to have. Add casting to the box, and you're another leg up...even if the cost of the equipment is never amortized.

P-32
December 17, 2011, 07:00 AM
I also reload for every thing I shoot. Problem is I shoot High power. Try finding loaded 223 with 80 gr. match bullets for shooting 600 yards. Big $. Or even the 77 gr match bullet I use every place else. Ok, now lets talk about 308. Have you ever priced the costs of match 308 with a 168 SMK? Federal GM is about $25.00 per box of 20. I need a 100 rounds for each match. We only shoot 88 rounds but if I need to re shoot a string, I have the ammo.

Bottom line is for the price of 2 boxes of match ammo (40 rounds, used to be 20 rounds) either 223 or 308, I can load a 100 rounds of the same stuff that more than likely shoots better in my rifles to boot and still have some $ left over. Last time I sat down and ran the numbers, it would run me around $125.00 just in ammo to shoot a match using factory stuff. Then there is practice.......

gamestalker
December 17, 2011, 07:14 AM
First of all, factory ammunition is a one size fits all standard. So with that said my primary focus in reloading when I started 30+ yrs. ago was, and remains, quality. Yes, I save some money by reloading. And even though I don't load anything but jacketed bullets and slow burning powders, I still come out pretty far ahead economically. But if your serious and commited when you decide to do it, don't skimp on the press if deciding on a single stage press. Even the least expensive "O" frame RCBS press will put you in a primary piece of equipment that will out last you. I don't have any bells and whistles, but I assure you I can load ammunition that will produce single hole groups, and you can too.

Hondo 60
December 17, 2011, 10:12 AM
If the only reason you want to reload is to save money...
Just keep buying factory ammo.

Reloading is a hobby unto itself.
And if you don't LIKE or LOVE doing it, you'll get too sloppy (and dangerous).

It's far too easy to make a mistake & hurt yourself or others.

jcwit
December 17, 2011, 10:27 AM
Excellent point, Hondo!

MrWesson
December 18, 2011, 01:03 AM
Day 1

I cast,reload,shoot bullseye, uspsa and 3 gun.

One hobby broken down into 5 separate hobbies all related.

Reloading is a separate hobby that can save you money per round but as everyone says you wont save a dime only get more for that dime.

DLEJones
December 24, 2011, 07:14 AM
It is all true...you shoot more because you have the ammo you made yourself. I practice and practice and practice for an Invitational PPC match in the Spring. I shoot, 1000 rounds in Jan, 1000 rounds in Feb, 1500 rounds in March for an April date...I bring home at least one medal of the three events I shoot every year, for the last 8 years. If I didn't reload I couldn't practice as much and chances are I would not have done as well every year. I shoot 45 acp, 1911 in the standard duty and team matches and 38 special, in the undercover match using a 2-1/2" revolver. I enjoy the competition and friendships I have made over the years. I do save money over factory ammo costs, I just spend it on twice as much of my reloads...

wanderinwalker
December 24, 2011, 08:06 AM
Reloading to save money is like buyin' things that you might need while they're on sale. You almost never save money by reloading. What you do is shoot more for the same money...or shoot a lot more and spend more money than if you'd stuck to store bought ammo.



Well written sir! That's always the point I try to make when talking to people about how "reloading saves money." I say, "Nope, I haven't saved a single penny reloading. What I have done is shot a whole lot more and become a much better shooter."

I also reload for every thing I shoot. Problem is I shoot High power. Try finding loaded 223 with 80 gr. match bullets for shooting 600 yards. Big $. Or even the 77 gr match bullet I use every place else. Ok, now lets talk about 308. Have you ever priced the costs of match 308 with a 168 SMK? Federal GM is about $25.00 per box of 20. I need a 100 rounds for each match. We only shoot 88 rounds but if I need to re shoot a string, I have the ammo.


The Highpower addiction is a tough one for me to figure out too. I'm not sure I would have stuck with Highpower if I hadn't been a reloader already. I remember seeing the price of factory .223 match ammo 9 years ago and knowing I would never be able to afford to shoot enough of it to get as good as I wanted to be. But an 8-lb jug of Varget, a couple of 1000 .224" match bullets and primers and away you go!

CMV
December 24, 2011, 10:57 AM
YMMV but this is how the cost breakdown for me is looking for .223

About $575 in equipment. That's pretty high since I went with mostly Lee stuff, but I bought a Hornady auto powder measure/dispenser for $200. Take that out & initial equipment costs are pretty reasonable. I also bought some duplicate items mostly because having no experience I wanted to compare different things. I bought an ultrasonic cleaner and a tumbler & a couple different kinds of case trimmers for example.

My initial components were $269. I didn't have any brass (other than loaded ammo) so I bought 1k 1x fired locally for $60. I bought powder & primers at a local shop so they cost a little more, but only buying enough for 1k it was less than paying Hazmat shipping. Now that I've found some slightly better prices I should be right around $198/1,000 for components. Could shave another $40+ off using surplus powder but I'm not that brave just getting started.

So when do I break even or come out ahead? Never unless my time is worth $0/hr. Never if I shot Wolf @ $220/case delivered. But since I'm trying to duplicate USGI M193 I'll use XM193 for cost comparison @ $330/1,000 delivered.

My 1st 1,000 rounds will cost 84.4 per round. Yikes.
Following batches will cost 19.8 per round. That's more like it.

So shooting Wolf at 22 vs my reloads at 19.8 - it really isn't worth saving a couple pennies. If you're purely looking at cost for plinking ammo it's real hard to justify.

Anyway, right around 5,000 rounds is where I'll have recovered all the cost of equipment and be slightly ahead. From that point forward, I save $132/case assuming components or XM193 prices don't change or go up inline with each other.

BUT - what if I get into other calibers? Really all I need is a set of dies & a case trimmer. Pretty insignificant cost and I'd be ahead on the first case.

Really for me though it's not knowing what the political climate is going to be like in the future. What if all ammo imports were cut off? That would be a much less politically risky move than something like another AWB. Imagine how much a case (if you could even find one) of American Eagle, UMC, or WWB would be if there was no Wolf, Tula, Prvi, PMC, etc. It would be 2008 all over again but for a very long time.

Other than several cases of .223 & 9mm and maybe 500 rds for everything else I keep on hand, I don't really have the room to store cases & cases of ammo. I don't have the extra money to go out & buy a case of something every month either. But I can grab a a couple boxes of primers every month, or 1,000 projectiles, or a few pounds of powder. I could have the *equivalent of* 20,000 rds of ammo in my stash taking up much less space and at much less cost. And, I don't have to compete with everyone else to get ammo when it's scarce.

Redneck with a 40
December 24, 2011, 11:00 AM
I don't even factor in my time, if there is a raging blizzard outside, what else am I going to be doing? Nothing! I'll go down to the man cave and put together 100 rounds of 223.

helotaxi
December 24, 2011, 11:13 AM
The moment that ammo supplies dry up and you have stock on hand to maintain your supply, it makes perfect financial sense.

jcwit
December 24, 2011, 12:10 PM
I never understand those who claim they factor in their time.

Do they do the same while sitting down to eat any of a days 3 meals?

Do they factor in their time while getting their 8 hours of sleep?

I've yet to hear of anyone putting a dollar amount on their time while gassing up their vehicle.

We all start out a day with 24 hours, some of us spend a portion of that allotted 24 hours working making money for necessities and the balance for pleasure. Few of us can even put a dollar amount on the other 16 hours, but for those that can as in a 2nd job or whatever, is it time and half or regular time.

These are my opinions, but then I'm retired and my time is spent mostly enjoying what time God has left allocated for me.

ImjinScout
December 24, 2011, 02:28 PM
For me it became smart to reload when the wife and I were shooting 300 to 400 rounds per week. When it came time to buy some more factory ammo I couldn't afford it and she is the one that suggested for us to start reloading. When you start to add the cost of .40S&W and .45acp it's a no brainer.

dirtengineer
December 24, 2011, 03:21 PM
If I were you I would find a friend with a press to start - that is how I did it. Then your only cost is the components. Lee makes a decent reloading book for around $20 which will teach the basics. Then I would invest in a decent single stage if you like to reload. The Lee kit with the cast press would be a good choice - my lee single stage is the aluminum O press and I would prefer the cast.

I have moved up over the years and my investment in equipment is probably near $1000. I have a progressive (Hornady LNL), a decent tumbler, dies for 8 calibers, and electronic powder dispenser, etc. I am a big fan of Lee dies and their single stage equipment. It is a good value and simple. Also, might consider the hand press to start if you are doing handgun calibers.

918v
December 24, 2011, 03:26 PM
You can start-up for under $200. That's like 10 boxes of 22-250.

35 Whelen
December 24, 2011, 03:59 PM
I never understand those who claim they factor in their time.



Excellent point. I bet the same people don't figure what their time costs when they're sitting on their butts in front of a TV, playing golf, or fishing.

35W

helotaxi
December 24, 2011, 04:40 PM
Or shooting that ammo for that matter. I guess it all depends on how you view reloading itself. If one views it as a hobby in its own right, the time is free just as with any other leisure activity. If, on the other hand, they view it as work or a simply a means to an end, there is opportunity cost involved because, at least in their eyes, they could do something more valuable with their time.

Double Naught Spy
December 24, 2011, 05:15 PM
It only makes sense financially if you do not count your time involved with the reloading operation. For some folks, this is fine. They enjoy going out to the range early Monday morning and mining brass from the weekend. They will spend a couple of hours hunting brass, a couple sorting, more time depriming, polishing, etc etc. etc. They do save money.

From my perspective, I don't have enough time for the things I enjoy doing already. So reloading would be very costly for me just from the time angle alone.

One thing I have noticed about some folks who reload is that they seem to go through a change. They are no longer so much interested in shooting when they go to the range as they are in assessing the quality of their reloads. It would seem to me that they went from deciding to reload to support shooting to shooting to support reloading, the range time being the final quality control stage of the production process. Not everyone gets like that, but when I have seen it happen, it is an interesting change. You have the guys that go from shooting drills and clearning malfuncitons on the fly so as to finish the drill as quickly as possible to guys who will start a drill, have a malfunction and instead of clearing the malfunction will stop and stare at their gun to assess what has happened and then slowly work the action to catch the errant round or case, and then examine it. At that point, it is no longer about the shooting. It is about reloading.

918v
December 24, 2011, 05:16 PM
People who figure in their time think very highly of themselves.

jcwit
December 24, 2011, 05:27 PM
People who figure in their time think very highly of themselves.

I do not factor in my time, what are you trying to imply about me?



Hey EVERYONE out there in reloading land and here on THR

A Very Merry Christmas & Good Health and Prosperity for The New Year!

918v
December 24, 2011, 05:50 PM
I do not factor in my time, what are you trying to imply about me?

That you are not full of yourself.

jcwit
December 24, 2011, 05:55 PM
That you are not full of yourself.

In some circles that can be highly debated!


Actually it might be discussed just what I'm "full of".

918v
December 24, 2011, 06:09 PM
Good nature and wisdom?

cfullgraf
December 24, 2011, 06:42 PM
From my perspective, I don't have enough time for the things I enjoy doing already. So reloading would be very costly for me just from the time angle alone.


Right. Your time has value, although not cash value, and you have to decide what you would rather due with it and what you are willing to spend cash on.

Reloading is not for everyone. Among other things, reloading is a way to save money on what you shoot or shoot more for what you spend. But only if you have the time to invest.

Metal Tiger
December 24, 2011, 07:10 PM
Great comments all

The idea to get started by reading first is a fantastic idea. Before I got into reloading some 30 plus years ago I read and read all I could find. Here is a start:

Lyman Reloading manual 49th ed available at Amazon.

Personally, I like the green reloading equipment like the Rockchucker. Its a bit more expensive than the Lee press but will pay off in the end. JMHO here no offense to the Lee crowd. Available at Midway:


http://www.midwayusa.com/product/646599/rcbs-rock-chucker-supreme-single-stage-press-master-kit

Jonah71
December 24, 2011, 07:53 PM
I wouldn't save a dime. I'd just shoot more. It would stack up a bit during winter months and by the end of spring I'd still end up buying ammo.

orionengnr
December 24, 2011, 08:55 PM
If you enjoy shooting, handloading makes financial sense... :)

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