Weighing the cost of reloading


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allaroundhunter
November 13, 2012, 12:12 PM
Hey guys,

I recently started shooting 3-gun, and with the cost of ammo, I am trying to make it as cheap as possible.

Currently, I can buy .223 ammo for about $0.24/round and 9mm for about $0.15/round (both per 1,000 rounds). That translates to me spending roughly $400 + shipping (about $435 total).

My question is, if I get into reloading for these two calibers, what can I expect to spend per 1,000 rounds of each? Would it be worth doing?


And for those of you that load either/or .223 or 9mm, what powder do you use/would you recommend using? I plan on shooting 62 gr FMJs out of the .223 for competition/practice and 115 or 124 gr FMJs in 9mm. And how much powder would y'all estimate it take to reload 1,000 rounds of each?



I also just inherited a .38 Super so I feel that getting into reloading would be good, and I have always wanted to start for my .308. The only things keeping me back are that being in college I don't have a whole lot of time to reload.

Now that I am shooting 3-gun I plan on loading about 1,000 rounds of each (.223 and 9mm) whenever I go home if I do start reloading so that I don't have to keep going back every weekend.



Sorry for the extremely long post, y'alls input is greatly appreciated!

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cfullgraf
November 13, 2012, 12:24 PM
This subject comes up frequently. Do a search of the forum and you will find other threads on the cost of reloading.

Check out the sticky at the top of the forum "Reloading Library of Wisdom" or something to that effect.

On components, you will save money over purchasing factory ammunition. The main stumbling point is how you value your time.

I enjoy reloading so it is another past time for me to get more out of my shooting hobby. If I was not reloading I would be sitting in front of the tube or surfing the net.

It has been so long since I worried about calculating a cost per reloaded round so I am no help. Primers are about $30/1000, powder is around $20/pound (7000 grains per pound, about 25 grains powder in a 223 Remington), bullets $15-$25 per 100. Cases are reusable, life depends on the cartridge reloaded but generally the cost of the case becomes negligible. Shopping around and different quality bullets will change those prices.

I use AA2230 in my 223 Remington, 55 grain bullet loads. There are lots of good powders out there for 223 Remington.

Hope this helps.

fatcat4620
November 13, 2012, 12:44 PM
My dad always told me that you dont reload to save money, you do it to get more accurate ammunition. That said I have been able to load handgun ammo very cheap but rifle seems to be a tie between reload vs. steel case.

BearGriz
November 13, 2012, 12:47 PM
Yeah, there are plenty of threads on this. I've participated in a few, and some have gotten a bit personal.

From what I can tell, you will always save money (if you count strictly the dollars put into it), if you do reload even semi regularly. There will be the upfront cost of equipment that you will need to recoup.

Like the other guy said, the real stumbling block (this is what has kept me from doing it) is time. How do I value my time? Some of the arguments that come up are whether you can look at reloading time at the same $/hr. rate that you get at your job. If you love it as a hobby, then you can't compare the two. If you see reloading as work, then perhaps you can look at it in that light, or at least in a similar light.

Personally I like paying a guy in a factory to do it right, do it efficiently, and do it safely. By "safely" I mean that the rounds are not only made well (and probably won't blow up on me), but I also don't have to deal with dirty brass and the health (lead) issues that arise with handling and cleaning it. Also, at this time, I don't have the room for such equipment (and I'd want to keep it away from the family at least the equipment that touches dirty brass). YMMV.

blarby
November 13, 2012, 12:52 PM
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=18835

Bud0505
November 13, 2012, 12:59 PM
Plug some numbers in here:http://handloads.com/calc/loadingCosts.asp to get an idea for the cost of a reloaded round.

Baryngyl
November 13, 2012, 09:23 PM
I am just starting to load 223 (been loading others for around 12-13 years), I just plugged my numbers into that calculator and this is what I come up with.
The exact powder charge is yet to be determined so I am am using the average listed charge in the calculator until I get the load worked up and then I will know for sure what it is.
$0.196 per round
$195.77 per 1000
This is using bulk WC844 surplus powder from http://www.gibrass.com/ , Blem bullets from midwayusa.com and primers from wideners.com at the following prices, plus shipping.
$100.00 for 8 pounds of WC844.
$8.49 per 100 for Blem 55gr bullets.
$14.50 per 1000 primers.
$69.00 for 1500 once fired 223 cases.

If I do not count the price of brass after the first time reloading it looks more like.
$0.15 per round
$149.77 per 1000



Michael Grace

Steel Talon
November 13, 2012, 09:40 PM
Are you including your cost layout for the needed equipment?

allaroundhunter
November 13, 2012, 09:46 PM
Right now I am considering reloading equipment a Christmas present so I am not including it in the initial costs.

$69.00 for 1500 once fired 223 cases.

Where are you getting that deal??

Lerk
November 13, 2012, 10:11 PM
I'd say you picked two of the hardest cartridges to save money on easily. This is from my opinion as a fairly new reloader, unless you really search around to find the deals and buy in bulk and shoot a considerable amount to make the savings add up, it may not be worth the time. I know that my .223 reloads come out to just a bit pricewise under suprlus, but I'm happy with that as my reloads are a ton better to shoot through my AR. I don't do 9mm yet, but numbers I have run for it with jacketed bullets I have to hit about the 5,000rds a year quota for reloading it to make the savings worth my time for it compared to what I can get in the store. Now if you did lead cast for the 9mm, you can get some pretty good savings to add up there.

Where you're really going to see savings with reloads is the bigger or exotic calibers. Right now I'm doing both 10mm Auto and 45ACP about $7 per 50, which is a HUGE savings vs store bought (10mm is $30/50rds and 45ACP is $24/50rds).

Now once again this is simply my view on it, I know that I personally cannot consider savings to be significant for these calibers. Others have different experiences. But going from your earlier statemeant about time issues due to college, you need to evaluate just how much money you want to invest in reloading and how much time you have per week/month to devote to it to keep up with your shooting. Once you know those two things you can get into the specifics.

TFL
November 13, 2012, 11:21 PM
Here is a grest work sheet for reloading costs. I use it a lot.
http://westernsafellc.com/Reloading.xls

allaroundhunter
November 14, 2012, 01:28 AM
Thanks for those links and spreadsheet to calculate costs.

From what they have said, I am not going to be saving much money, which is about what I expected with .223 and 9mm. However......that itch to get into the reloading game is still calling me......

It seems like I have been putting it off forever and this just seems like a fun way to get into it (and a semi-good excuse, right ;))

RhinoDefense
November 14, 2012, 01:40 AM
At those prices it tells me you're probably shooting steel cased ammunition, which is worse compared to brass cased ammunition. Steel cases don't seal the chamber like brass does, so you erode your chamber and throat faster than with brass.

You can load 223 for about $150 per K and 9mm for about $120sh. Shoot lead in 9mm and you'll be around $100. The benefit you get is custom loaded ammunition for your weapons that no factory will provide or match.

allaroundhunter
November 14, 2012, 01:42 AM
At those prices it tells me you're probably shooting steel cased ammunition, which is worse compared to brass cased ammunition. Steel cases don't seal the chamber like brass does, so you erode your chamber and throat faster than with brass.

It isn't, it is brass cased. I don't put steel cased ammo through my competition guns.

Baryngyl
November 14, 2012, 06:23 AM
Where are you getting that deal??
I went trying to find the info for you and the actual price was $$59.75 per 1500 shipped, not sure if he still has any but it was starreloader at http://castboolits.gunloads.com/member.php?u=14903



Michael Grace

JRWhit
November 14, 2012, 07:27 AM
I can buy .223 ammo for about $0.24/round and 9mm for about $0.15/round (both per 1,000 rounds). That translates to me spending roughly $400 + shipping (about $435 total).

If your getting .223 for that price, I don't see a savings for that cartridge.
I am very curious where your finding .223 for that price though. Cheapest brass cased I have found is around $.32 per round. I believe .24 is about what you could load it for after brass is paid for. I see only a gain in accuracy.

I can report savings on .45 acp. I am able to produce 100 rds. for about $17
Normal price on a box of 50 around here is $20 +/-. I was able to recover my investment cost of press ,dyes,exe at a little over 1000 rds. and the accuracy gain was greater than I expected. I would only assume that would translate to 9mm but I have not ventured into that cartridge yet.

allaroundhunter
November 14, 2012, 10:01 AM
If your getting .223 for that price, I don't see a savings for that cartridge.
I am very curious where your finding .223 for that price though. Cheapest brass cased I have found is around $.32 per round. I believe .24 is about what you could load it for after brass is paid for. I see only a gain in accuracy.

My 3-gun team gets a good discount on ammo (.223 and 9mm especially) because we order roughly 10,000 rounds of each at a time.

Drail
November 14, 2012, 10:13 AM
I started reloading back in the 80s and I have found that reloading did not really save me any money but did allow me to shoot a lot more rounds for the same money I was spending on factory ammo. One of the biggest factors is you must buy components in mass quantities at low prices. And as someone else mentioned another important consideration is how much your time is worth to you. (which has lead directly to the huge popularity of progressive loading machines). All of this may not be true today given the absurd prices being charged for components and the shipping rates. Bullets are heavy and powders and primers are treated as hazardous materials by the shippers and their insurance carriers.

Hondo 60
November 16, 2012, 08:22 AM
If you're intention is to reload strictly to save money?

Fuggetabotit!

Over the last 4 years I've spent several thousand $$

BUT - I've had a BLAST (pun intended)

My ammo is available when I want it.
And it's customized to my guns.

Once you start reloading, if you're like most of us, you won't save a penny.
There's always the next gadget to buy
and you'll shoot tons more to check out the new load, new bullet etc.

Reloading is a hobby unto itself.

Plus, I can tell myself that I spent 50% or less to buy components vs factory ammo.

leadcounsel
November 16, 2012, 10:23 AM
On components, you will save money over purchasing factory ammunition. The main stumbling point is how you value your time.


Ding ding ding.

Do you enjoy sitting at a press for hours, loading components? Researching reloading and buying primers, lead, bullets, powder, etc.? Collecting, sorting and cleaning brass casings? Setting up a place in your home for your press and storing powder and such? Then reloading is for you.

Conversely, if you can work more and earn more, it may be wiser to do that and just buy factory reloads in bulk.

cfullgraf
November 16, 2012, 12:45 PM
Conversely, if you can work more and earn more, it may be wiser to do that and just buy factory reloads in bulk.

Everyday is a holiday when you are retired.:)

jmorris
November 16, 2012, 01:22 PM
My 3-gun team gets a good discount on ammo (.223 and 9mm especially) because we order roughly 10,000 rounds of each at a time.I wouldn't bother with it then. You will have better concentration at matches not thinking about the best spots to start picking up brass after the match.

Also before you look at it from a penny's per round standpoint, how much time do you want to spend loading ammo? You can get a cheap single stage or turret press and spend all day loading for one match after you include swaging/reaming primer pockets and trimming or spend a few thousand and have the best of equipment to make it painless to load but take forever to break even with the deal you are currently getting.

allaroundhunter
November 16, 2012, 06:21 PM
Also before you look at it from a penny's per round standpoint, how much time do you want to spend loading ammo? You can get a cheap single stage or turret press and spend all day loading for one match after you include swaging/reaming primer pockets and trimming or spend a few thousand and have the best of equipment to make it painless to load but take forever to break even with the deal you are currently getting.

That's my main problem. I would be wanting to load about 1,000 rounds of each caliber over a 4-5 day period whenever I needed to restock on ammo, and at the present I do not have the cash to afford a nice progressive press to make it a little faster.

It looks like I'm going to put off reloading for a little bit longer, thanks for all of y'alls help.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

James2
November 17, 2012, 12:14 AM
I always figured I could reload for about half the cost of factory ammo. May not be true for some of the surplus military ammo.

In any event, reloading is an enjoyable hobby in itself for me.

Good tools will last a lifetime. Once you have recouped the original investment, you don't have to do it again. (unless you upgrade) It doesn't take many rounds to make back the cost of one of the single stage kits.

JRWhit
November 17, 2012, 06:58 AM
I can't argue the new hobby aspect. Since I started loading I have a hard time keeping away from all the gadgets available and started looking at press upgrades before I came close to breaking even on mine. You really have to watch it in that regard. I had to restrict myself from visiting certain websites for a while.

dragon813gt
November 17, 2012, 07:38 AM
For those calibers it's hard to save money with jacketed money. You start saving money if you shoot cast bullets that you make yourself with lead you paid for. You save a lot of money if you cast with free lead :)

But picking up casting leads to buying a whole set of new tools. And collecting molds is as addictive as anything else.

I wouldn't get into reloading to save money. It's cost me thousands of extra dollars. But the ammo I produce is more acurate than factory and I can tweak it for every firearm I own. I also enjoy it since it means I'm not a work or working on my home when I'm doing it.


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Hit_Factor
November 17, 2012, 08:17 AM
I use H335 or AA2230 for my 223 loads and titegroup for most pistol competition loads.

This is hard to factor into costs, but in my experience hand loaded ammo usually gives me more accuracy. You can also have reduced recoil in you pistol rounds, resulting in faster splits.

hentown
November 17, 2012, 08:47 AM
How about posting a link to where you're buying 9mm @ $150 per 1000 and .223 for $240 per thousand. I don't see prices like that at any of the online vendors that I use.

Magnum Shooter
November 17, 2012, 09:19 AM
I havenít been able to find any premium factory loaded ammo that shoots as well as my reloads, let alone any military ammo. If I were you and wanted to tighten my groups the first thing I would do is start reloading and carefully work up a load for each of my guns.

Etkini
November 17, 2012, 05:47 PM
As others have said, you might not save a whole lot just based of those two calibers alone.

For me:
AA2230 - $129.75/8lbs
55gr FMJ pulled - $85/1000
CCI primer - $26/1000

I don't factor in case cost, because when it's time to get new cases (which isn't often since I do very light loads), I just buy factory ammo and save the cases. I have quite a bit of Federal AE223 saved from when I was able to get it for $6/20, now it's $11/20 around here.

Anyway, that brings me to $.164/ea, or 164.29/1000 for .223. I don't reload for 9mm, but I do reload for .40S&W. My cost for those is $.149/ea or $148.57/1000 using plated bullets, and that's just using powder and primers I got at a retail store. I will save a lot more when I buy in bulk online.

I reload for a couple reasons:
-Sure, I save $2-3/box on .223 and $7.50/box on .40S&W, but I also shoot a lot more since I can afford to. Essentially, I'm spending the same amount on ammo alone, but that money goes a lot farther.
-I also reload because I can tailor the round to my own specific firearm - the only rounds that shoot almost as well as my reloads are top-dollar stuff that runs $1-2/ea.
-You will spend a lot of money on reloading equipment. You can tell yourself now you only want to get by with the least possible amount of equipment, but you will always find something else you want or need.
-I enjoy reloading, almost as much, if not as much as shooting to be honest with you. It's calming and gives me a small sense of accomplishment\pride. Plus, it's really neat to be shooting ammo you technically made or tuned to your particular firearm.

With that said, with the amount of ammo you shoot, you're going to tire of a single stage very, very quickly. I did, gave up on reloading .223 and .40S&W, then finally broke down and bought a progressive press I had been thinking about for over a year. Now that I have it, I wish I had just bought one before when I had the opportunity, or started out on one. If you are mechanically inclined, patient, have a careful eye, and know when you stop before you go too far, I don't see why starting on a progressive would be a bad thing. It is a big investment though, one you may not be willing to take right now, because reloading really isn't for everyone.

I would suggest trying out a press (or ten) before you make the decision to buy one. A progressive may be really daunting for you, a single stage may be too boring (although you will probably always have a use for one, especially if you get once-fired range brass and a Redding G-RX die), and maybe you find a turret is your sweet spot. If the availability is there to try them out, I say go for it.

It also depends on how valuable your time is to you, as was said before. If you're only got an hour of free time a night, you may only be able to get 50-100 done on a single stage, 100-200 on a turret, or 400+ on a progressive.

hentown
November 17, 2012, 07:18 PM
I'm using 844 @ $85 for 8#. Was using AA2200 before that ran out, @ $48 per 8#, shipped. I just bought 6k Hornady fmjbt new, not pulled, bullets @ $.08 each. I also recently bought 10k small rifle primers from Wideners @ $14 per thousand.

Although I also don't try to compute the price of brass, I did recently get 1000 100% processed pieces of .223 brass for $75, shipped.

I'd still like to see a link for commercial 9mm @ $.15 per round or commercial .223 @ $.24 per round.

Etkini
November 17, 2012, 07:24 PM
I'd still like to see a link for commercial 9mm @ $.15 per round or commercial .223 @ $.24 per round.

Me too..actually the cheapest .223 I get is Tula, which is $5/20 which brings me to $.25/ea. But that's also steel cased, where he said it was brass he was shooting. I'd love to stock up on some of that for when my brass runs low.

Cheapest brass I found (not anymore) was AE223 which was about $6/20, or $.30/ea.

Steel Talon
November 18, 2012, 06:41 PM
Allaroundhunter
Currently, I can buy .223 ammo for about $0.24/round and 9mm for about $0.15/round (both per 1,000 rounds). That translates to me spending roughly $400 + shipping (about $435 total).


Can you share a link to the seller. My wallet is all lit up right now LOL
The best I have found for 9mm is at about $250.00 for 1K brass cartridges.
ST~

dragon813gt
November 18, 2012, 08:10 PM
You can do better than that at Walmart. Assuming that's the cost for 115 grain rounds. It's $21 per 100 for Winchester white box. You can even do better, by around $10, than that price for 147gr FMJ at a few different online retailers.


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Steel Talon
November 18, 2012, 08:28 PM
About $250.00 out the door per K with tax
ST~

ShadowsEye
November 18, 2012, 08:44 PM
Lots of folks are paying a lot for pulled bullets, check out these two places. I can vouch for the service with Precision Delta, I've loaded their 9mm and LSWC 357 bullets, haven't ordered from Everglades but their prices look good.

http://www.evergladesammo.com/223-55gr-standard-fmj-bullets.html

http://www.precisiondelta.com/product.php

Edit, just placed an order for 1000 115 9mm from Everglades, thanks for reminding me I was out. :)

Reefinmike
November 18, 2012, 09:08 PM
using my free lead cast boolits, tula primers and HP-38 powder(same as win 231 but cheaper), I have 38, 357, 9mm and 380 down to 2.7c/round or $1.36 a box. once i factor in hazmat fees for powder and primers, im looking at about $1.55 a box of pistol ammo. not bad considering it is between $12(9mm) and $24(357) a box at the store and I can pump out 6 boxes an hour on my cheap lee turret press.

223 on the other hand takes a significantly larger amount of time due to case prep(lubing, sizing, trimming, tumble tumble tumble). once i get things smoothed out, I can probably do 9-10 20 round boxes an hour. once i get my components in, 223 will be 14.7c/round or 2.94/20 round box.

with my figures of $174 for a thousand of each, you could almost have a lee turret kit, priming system, dies, a lead pot and a bullet mold all paid for with the savings...

of course as others have said, you have to factor in what your time is worth.

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