How much to reload?


June 15, 2013, 03:00 PM
As I used up the remainder of my Blue Dot yesterday, I was thinking about my component use strategy. I managed to "stockpile" quite a bit before this most recent scare over the previous two years so I feel I'm pretty well set for a while. But, that being said, I am wondering, what would y'all do? I have cut back on shooting recently, more due to schedule conflicts and time, but I still manage to make it out to the range once a week or so.

Only reload what I shoot and save my components in case things aren't as bright as I think.


Load everything I can lest Zed comes knockin' on the door.

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June 15, 2013, 03:11 PM
For me, it depends. If I've found a good load in a specific rifle, I'll usually load up a bunch of them. An example is 150 gr Hornady FMJBT with 52 grains of 4064, CCI 200 primer, HPX cases shoots extremely well out of my sportered 1903. I loaded a ton of them and it's one of my main practice loads for that rifle. If I'm still experimenting with a specific rifle, I'll be a lot more stingy with my loading. I'll load enough to be able to tell what works and what doesn't.

I voted "load everything you have" because that's what I do once I've worked up a load.


Lost Sheep
June 15, 2013, 04:44 PM
Who is "Zed"?

I load what I expect to shoot.

I shoot a number of different calibers which share primers and powders. To maintain flexibility in how I replenish my ammo, I never load everything I have.

If you measured all the gunpowder in my house and determined how much was loaded in ammunition and how much was waiting to be loaded, never less than 1/3 nor more than 2/3 is still in the bottles/jugs.

Lost Sheep

June 15, 2013, 05:49 PM
I never know what I will want to shoot a month from now so if I use everything I have on hand how can I load something else in the future? I would never load up everything I own just to load it up.

June 15, 2013, 06:09 PM
How about something in between?

I load more than I shoot, mostly these days for therapy. Thus, my inventory slowly grows. I keep components on the shelf for exactly that reason. I don't want to reach a point at which I need some press time and have nothing to load.

June 15, 2013, 06:10 PM
I selected only reload what you shoot, but its only because there wasnt another option. I like to have about 1 months worth of stuff loaded in advance. I then reload every week or so to keep it up. For example, right now is Bullseye season and two monthly IDPA matches. So I keep 800 rounds of 38 wadcutters and 650 rounds of 45 acp loaded at all times. Every weekend I replenish what I used in the weekend match and the Tuesday match and practice.

June 15, 2013, 06:15 PM
I voted load as you need it. I probably have a thousand rounds of each pistol caliber I shoot loaded and 300-500 of each rifle I shoot with with the exception of .223.

I try and keep at least enough components for 4,000-5,000 rounds for each pistol in the cabinet. Rifle, I ususllay keep 800-1,000 extra bullets, powder and primers on hand with the exception of .223. Although, my .223 stock pile is getting small. There are not many of my favorite 55 FMJ Hornady pills running around out the to buy......

June 15, 2013, 06:18 PM
Depends on how much of a stockpile you have. Otherwise it would be nice to have components to trade.

June 15, 2013, 06:25 PM
Something in between. Load up an adequate supply of ammo, and keep the rest in components. (do you really have enough brass to load all your powder and primers, even if you have enough projectiles to do it?)

June 15, 2013, 06:50 PM
I've developed everything I like long ago, so I stock pile now. And when I find a new bullet to try, I'll do my work up, and then load the rest of it. And since I keep detailed records, and label the boxes, stock piling works well for me.


June 15, 2013, 06:55 PM
Somewhere in between, but I voted for what you shoot. Like a poster above said: I might need some press time. Also, I tend to want to test stuff, so I would need some available components for that.

Magnum Shooter
June 15, 2013, 07:31 PM
I never load everything I have but I load much more than I shoot. I keep a good supply, for each caliber, on hand ready for the range. If I loaded everything, I would not need to reload again for quite some time, maybe even long enough to forget how. ;)

June 15, 2013, 08:40 PM
Hard to advise you, I can only say I like to have some loaded on hand, more than my immediate needs, but never load all my components. I might want to try something different, work up a load for a new bullet.....etc, who knows?

June 15, 2013, 08:58 PM
I voted what I shoot or plan to shoot. Mainly because I don't want to use all my powder up on on a single caliber or load where I may want that powder later for another caliber. For example dump a few pounds of H4895 into a pile of 308 only to wish I had it later for 30-06.


June 15, 2013, 09:07 PM
Brass is what keeps me from loading. If I have a handful of brass sitting around, it'll be loaded within the week. I have reached a breakthrough, I have successfully stopped picking up brass for two of the 4 calibers I load. I pick a magic number for each caliber and stop picking up brass once I reach that number... which happens to be about what I shoot in 6 months. Im still 2k away from my 45 goal and 500 away from my 380 goal.

Its nice knowing that between loaded and components, I can go almost a full year of unrestricted range playtime. Only gun related thing ive bought in the past 7 months was a pound of h110 and a couple boxes of xtp's all at normal prices. Foresight is always better than hindsight.

June 15, 2013, 09:40 PM
I would take it easy on the stockpiling of finished reloads. Just cuz you never know. You might buy a new gun that doesn't like your reloads, or you may trade clear out of a caliber.

You can't sell reloads without a license, but you can sell or recast bullets, and you can sell or reallocate the powder and primers for other calibers.

June 15, 2013, 09:45 PM
i just reload what i need to shoot may need to trade something one day

June 15, 2013, 09:52 PM
load more than I shoot, but less than I have. If I remember right ask Ving Rhames who "Zed" is, think Pulp Fiction

June 15, 2013, 09:55 PM
I pretty much follow Lost Sheep, ArchangleCD and beatledog7 do.

I load a certain amount of inventory of each cartridge and save the remaining supplies for future loading sessions of one of a number of cartridges. I may not shoot a particular cartridge for a long time so there is not need to stock up on tons of ammunition for that cartridge. I load for something like 28 or 29 cartridges these days, but I have slept since I last made a count.:)

June 15, 2013, 10:02 PM
I am fairly new to reloading. I am hesitant to reload much more than I shoot because I am still in a phase where I am still not completely satisfied with very many of my loads. I have a few in .38 and .357 that make the grade so I keep a few hundred on hand but I won't be doing any marathon reloading until I feel like I know what I am doing a little better.

June 15, 2013, 10:04 PM
I suggest having a suitable amount of ammo(reloaded or factory) ready to go and maintaining a good supply of components to reload practice ammo as needed. Reloading components don't help much if you don't have enough ready ammo for the short term.

June 15, 2013, 10:17 PM
I keep 500 rounds loaded for each of my handgun calibers and reload them as I shoot them.

June 15, 2013, 10:48 PM
I have a minimum amount of each caliber loaded ahead that I will not go below so that I can go to the range or wherever and then shoot what I want to. The other stuff stays in component form to load/replenish what I use as needed. I also might not shoot a certain firearm for months or years then choose to shoot it daily for a while so the need to be flexible with limited components is a must.:cool:.

June 15, 2013, 10:57 PM
I load more than I shoot, but certainly not all that I have in stock. I would need many thousands of additional brass and bullets to make use of the powder and primers I have.

As a rule, I do the bulk of my reloading from October through March because the colder rain is here. And so I do stock up for the summer, but of course if I run low then I'll reload regardless of the weather.

June 15, 2013, 11:21 PM
I try to keep a minimum of 300 rounds of handgun caliber ammo ready for range trips. Rifle ammo is almost never done except for a few recipes that work well and even then I have more components than loaded rounds. If I had everything done, how could I stay on top of my hobby?

June 15, 2013, 11:43 PM
Reloading has opened up a whole new chapter in my shooting adventure, but I mainly shoot and load in smaller batches which keeps me busy doing something all the time.

Still Shooting
June 16, 2013, 01:40 AM
I reload for 13 rifle calibers, one rifle in eacn caliber. I try to keep 200-250 rounds on hand for each one, except for the 5.56x45 AR, which has a 1000rd. inventory. This said, I am still searching for a "pet load" for some of those rifles; others I already have found the most accurate load suitable for how I will typically use the rifle.

As an axample, take the .257 Roberts. I have an inventory of 115gr. Nosler Ballistic Tip rounds, and also of 115 gr. Nosler partitions. The two rounds have almost the same POI; the BT is a slightly better group than the Partition, which has a POI about 1" right and 1/2" higher than the BT @ 100 yds. I can either adjust the scope or the hold for a long shot with the Partitions, but default round is the 115gr. BT, with an inventory of 150rds.

I recently loaded 50rds. of Sierra 75gr. hollow points for the .257, which also group well (sub moa) but have a POI about 3.5" higher than the 115gr. bal. tips @ 100 yds. I may try "loading down" on the 75gr. Sierra to get the same POI as the Nosler BT's, if the group can be held below 1moa when doing that.

Same goes for the .243, and the 7mm WSM. Right now I only have a "pet load" at 140gr. for the 6.5x55 Swede, but I've loaded a few 120 gr. rounds to see how and where they group relative to the 140's. I'm still "fussing" with the .22 K-Hornet, and I have a good load sighted with 150gr. Partitions in the .270, but will be shooting some 130gr. next time out to the range.

June 16, 2013, 01:50 AM
I'm reloaded ahead a few months and have supplies.

June 16, 2013, 01:52 AM
The only thing limiting how much I reload is the availability of bullets. I have thousands of primed cases, and plenty of powder.

June 16, 2013, 03:06 AM
I think u should load all if u have time. Maybe at time it would be cheaper,u know it wouldnt be less money. Plus too have just incase u need at the minute,like evacuations,zombie out break{lol),chaos of society.But most cause range ammo is a must?

June 16, 2013, 04:27 AM
I pretty much just load what I'm going to shoot. Otherwise, I'll find a load I like better and have a bunch of ammo stockpiled that I don't want to shoot.

June 16, 2013, 04:28 AM
If you only load each powder into 1 caliber, with 1 projectile, at 1 charge weight, go ahead and load it all. I have a half dozen pistol powders, they cross over between 4 calibers, 20+ projectiles, and a few different charge weights.

Rifles are even worse. Just for .308 I have 17 different projectiles, 3 different primers, 5 different types of brass, 2 types of dies, 8 powders, and about 100 recipes. To keep any amount of loaded rounds of each combo on the shelf just isn't practical. Keep 250 of 3 different "go to" loads for my target gun, and 60 hunting rounds.

But then again, I'm not afraid of poop hitting fans, I just like to shoot and experiment with different rounds and see what they do. So for me, as long as I have 2 mags of +P+ 9mm for my nightstand gun, components to load while I watch TV, and enough shotgun shells to last me until the next pallet turns up, I'm happy,

June 16, 2013, 11:08 AM
I keep 500/1000 loaded rounds of the calibers I shoot most. Maybe 100/200 of others I don't shoot as much. I have about 5000/6000 bullets and 20K of primers and powder to back that up. When I shoot I usually refill the cases within a few days. My shoulder will only let me load a couple of hundred at a time. All my shooting is handguns.
I have also accumulated the equipment and about 250# of lead to start casting. Still looking for more lead. Bullets seem to be the hardest thing for me to accumulate a supply of.

June 16, 2013, 12:34 PM
Neither. I never load up everything I have, but I do load well in excess of my current schedule.

June 16, 2013, 12:39 PM
I reload what I shoot. The reason is that my stock of powders and primers; and to some extent bullets, are useable in a number of calibers. There's little reason to commit all of my components to a single application.

June 16, 2013, 05:11 PM
Thanks for the discussion. It's mostly academic at this point but I am interested in where folks stand. I load a lot more than I shoot and generally try to load what I have shot. Right now I am not really into load development. I did plenty of that in the course of the last "scare".

david bachelder
June 16, 2013, 05:32 PM
I keep about 300 rounds for each caliber except rifle. I usually only keep about fifty each. Since I moved getting to the range is a lot more expensive and a lot more trouble.

June 18, 2013, 10:43 AM
I try to load more than I shoot so I always have extra. I stock pile projectiles when I start to get below 500 for each caliber I shoot. Powder I am always looking for but have enough.

June 18, 2013, 10:52 AM
I voted load everything you have. I haven't had much time for reloading lately, and there is little ammo to be found to buy, but I've still got plenty of ammo to shoot from the reloads I'd squirreled away years ago for just such occasions.

Miss Stana
June 18, 2013, 03:15 PM
You really need a middle choice. Zed isn't really a factor 'cause he will take componants or loaded ammo, I don't think he cares. And you can't grab a can of powder and head to the range, it has to be loaded. So I would load a bunch when I have time, then it's ready to shoot when I need it. Then if I want to try a new load, or get a new gun, I need the individual componants to develope a special round for that gun.

June 18, 2013, 05:50 PM
Did we ever figure out who "Zed" was?

Mauser lover
June 18, 2013, 05:58 PM
Personally, if you have the time, I would reload everything I have, and then get more components, so I can shoot more!

June 18, 2013, 06:34 PM
I'm running a progressive press equipped with a bullet feeder and a case feeder.
It takes me more than 20 minutes to do a complete caliber swap and get everything humming along nicely.

Once I'm running I like to load between 2,000 and 5,000 rounds to last me a whole year. I then swap over to another caliber and do the same.
I only shoot 9mm and .45ACP in semi auto pistol and 7.62x39 and .223 in semi auto rifle.

I only load precision rounds in small batches due to my limited quantity of Lapua brass.

I try to keep 5,000 of each type of primer and enough powder on hand for another run.
It's my projectiles that I need to keep more stock of.

June 19, 2013, 04:04 PM
I purposely omitted an "in between" choice as I figured that would be the one everybody chose. I'm enjoying the replies so far. I hope others are as well.

"Zed" is the zombie apocalypse, or a general SHTF scenario, where, hypothetically you may need more ammunition than you could reasonably carry, or impractically transport, but since we don't generally discuss zombies here I "euphemized" it.

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