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Economics of Reloading 45ACP Revealed

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Five of Clubs, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. Five of Clubs

    Five of Clubs Member

    Jun 1, 2008
    This is a question that I had to answer for myself, but it may help others. Where is the "break even point" on 45ACP with reloading versus buying off the shelf? The answer for me was 1000 rounds. Here is the math:

    Walmart price (cheapest around) for 100 rounds 45ACP = $32.99

    X10 = $329.90 for 1000 rounds purchased.

    Reloading startup costs:
    $138 for Lee Breech lock Single Stage kit plus carbide dies shipped from
    $17 Digital calipers from Harbor Freight
    $106 for 1000 230gr lead bullets
    $18 for 1 pound of Unique powder
    $30 for 1000 CCI large pistol primers
    $25 for ammo boxes (loaded rounds)
    $0 Free range brass
    $334 dollars total reloaded

    Every thousand rounds of 45ACP from now on will cost $154 until prices change. All reloading components were purchased locally. I could probably get bullets cheaper off the web, but the hazard fees prohibit buying the other components that way.

    Therefore, my advice is that if you plan to shoot more than 1000 rounds through your .45, start reloading. This is especially true if you have about 4 hours per week to dedicate to this hobby. The good news is that I have developed a load that I LOVE to shoot. The bad news is that I shoot WAY more than I ever did prior to reloading.

    I hope this helps some person like me when I was looking a few months ago.
  2. sniper7369

    sniper7369 Member

    Sep 2, 2008
    The People's Republik of New York
    I did the same math myself a while back. I also shoot a lot of 9mm, .380ACP, .357mag, and 38spl though. Either way, you're about right it works out to less than half of what you would spend on WWB at wally world.
  3. jr_roosa

    jr_roosa Member

    Oct 28, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Ha ha ha ha ha!

    Call us when you hit 1000 rounds and you haven't bought any more stuff!

    You'll see, once you buy a gun because you can reload for it you'll forget all about this "break-even" nonsense.

    Seriously, though, you're right that the only way to shoot volume without being wealthy or sponsored or enlisted or a cop is to reload. The only way to be a good shot is to shoot volume. So, reloading is the only way average Joes like you and me can really work on our shooting skills.

    Before I started reloading, I'd look at a $25 box of .45acp and wonder if I really needed to shoot all 50 in one trip. Add in $15 for range time, $10 for gas, and $5 for targets, and that's $55 for an hour of shooting. Now the ammo is about $12/100, it shoots much better than the cheap factory stuff, I can shoot enough to justify joining the range, AND I start to see real improvement in how I'm shooting.

    Reloading makes a world of difference in your shooting, but in the long run it will never actually save you any money. Good luck!

  4. xsquidgator

    xsquidgator Member

    Jan 14, 2007
    By casting my own boolits from scrap lead/wheelweights, I got the cost for 9mm/38/357/45 down to just the powder and primers, about 4 cents per round. There's loads of free pickup brass out there, just keep at it.

    But, I don't save money, just as I was warned. I've been picking 40SW brass for a long time just because there's a lot of it out there with the other stuff. Yesterday I ordered the reloading dies, and a boolit mould and sizer die for 40SW. And I don't yet even have anything in 40S&W (to be fixed soon though I hope).

    They warned me that reloading would get this way, and it did. I don't save much if any money, but boy I can sure shoot a lot for the same $ I used to spend! At about $2 consumables cost per box of 50 ($4 for 100) I like to claim that I'm saving lots of money. A weekend range trip usually means a couple hundred 9mm and 45 rounds expended, so even at the 9mm price of about $20 per 100 the savings do add up!
  5. MCMXI

    MCMXI Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    NW Montana
    ... where did the word boolit come from? I keep seeing it on this board. In a technical sense, is it different from bullet? Is it even a real word? :confused:
  6. dmazur

    dmazur Senior Member

    Apr 28, 2007
    Pacific NW
    boolits and other cool terms

    I'm probably an old fart, so I'm perhaps not the best to try to answer this -

    I think the disintegration of the English language is a terrible thing to witness. Considering the influence of "texting", it is also probably inevitable.

    So, boolits and Bushy, Remy, et al are slang terms that are part of today's lexicon.

    I am so impressed by this.

    By the way, a link to the folks who probably started the "boolit" nonsense is -


    The information is accurate and they seem a dedicated, professional bunch. Coining a horrible appellation is a minor sin. :)
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  7. MCMXI

    MCMXI Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    NW Montana
    I don't get it ... it's not like boolit has fewer letters than bullet!!! I can't find any reference to it in any dictionary that I've checked (online too) so I was just wondering where this ridiculous word comes from. If it has a specific technical meaning such that it's a subset of bullet in the way that hollow point, jacketed, lead, copper, hard cast, gas checked etc are all subsets of bullet then I can see the point of it. :(

    The one "real" reference I could find is that boolit is a Finish word and is the plural of booli which means punch (the drink, not the fist version).

    You're not kidding!!! :cuss:
  8. Griz44

    Griz44 Member

    May 4, 2008
    The term simply differentiates between "store bought" and "homemade" projectiles. I have my costs for 45ACP down to about 6.10 per hundred or 67.00 per thousand. And I too, shoot a lot more than I used to!
  9. MCMXI

    MCMXI Senior Member

    Jul 1, 2008
    NW Montana
    Thanks for the explanation but I'm assuming that this is slang or a colloquialism rather than a "real" word.


    As for the OP, this is very helpful information. I showed some calculations, plots etc a few months ago showing the cost of reloading .45 Colt and basically wanted to "prove" that it isn't significantly more expensive than .38 special (which some had claimed). Some folks will by a firearm based on their perception of what it'll cost to shoot rather than how enjoyable or functional the firearm will be. I was advised by many here to buy SAA revolvers in .38 special rather than .45 Colt for the simple and erroneous reason that they're "much" cheaper to shoot. I ended up buying USFA Rodeos in .45 Colt because that's what I wanted. I'll happily pay an extra $0.02 per round to own/shoot a caliber that I like versus one that I don't.

  10. evan price

    evan price Senior Member

    Dec 7, 2005
    http://www.ohioccw.org/ Ohio's best CCW resour
    I got my .45 ACP down to $8.70 per hundred ($87 a thousand).
    That's using purchased 230-RN lead bullets, Wolf primers, Titegroup powder, range brass.
    And my Sig 220 likes 'em better than WWB.
    Now I can shoot 200 .45's in one session and not feel guilty, and my targets look better because of it. What would have been $65 is now $35. That's what I call savings. However, back in the day, I would have just shot 100 .45's for $32. Now I shoot 200 for $35. Am I really saving anything? :)
  11. chbrow10

    chbrow10 Member

    Jun 12, 2007
    I did the exact same analysis and came to the same conclusion, break even is at 1000 rounds, and after i bought powder and primers Friday, I updated the cost, it is was still almost %50 less then wal mart factory ammo.
  12. hill billy

    hill billy New Member

    Mar 13, 2008
    I ran out the numbers recently and not counting my initial investment for the press and such I can load 100 .45 FMJ for right at $20. If I bought in more bulk, I could lower that. I shoot Glocks so straight lead is out. So I save around $10 per hundred on FMJ and around $80 per hundred on JHP.

    Parenthetically I was in a Big 5 over the weekend and they get $45 a box for .45 wwb. Yikes! I kind of laughed at them and told them how much Wally World has it for and the guy told me I was crazy.
  13. ForneyRider

    ForneyRider Member

    Jul 26, 2007
    Forney, TX
    castboolits is another forum website. Their focus is casting bullets.
    Many people here are members on both.

    I doubt you will save any money for the most part. Hobbies are expensive.

    I reload for friends and family hunting loads, but it is gratis. They are making out like bandits.

    If you shoot a lot, it will be cheaper to reload. If you shoot competition, and don't have a sponsor,
  14. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Senior Member

    Jan 3, 2006
    The Dark Side of the Moon
    good thing your mechanic doesn't ammortize the price of his tools into your bill every time you get your brakes done.
  15. Lookn4Brass

    Lookn4Brass Member

    Aug 9, 2008
    Not to mess up a thread here, but hill billy, you CAN shoot lead in a glock. Hard cast lead is OK. Just don't shoot max loads, and after a few mags of lead, shoot a few jacketed bullets through the gun. Really helps keep out the leading. Give it a try. And yes, I love shootin' more since I jumped into the brotherhood of the brass chasers!
  16. EVIL1

    EVIL1 New Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    I've been thinking about buying cast bullets to bring my costs down even further..... but I shoot at an indoor range. Is this really something to be concerned about. I shoot about 200 rounds per week from my .45
  17. RustyFN

    RustyFN Senior Member

    Jul 5, 2006
    West Virginia
    From the link above.
    I also cast my own bullits for 45 auto and am loading 45 for 2.6 cents each or $26 per 1,000. I'm getting ready to start casting for 9mm and 38 spcl soon.
  18. ultramag44

    ultramag44 Member

    Aug 15, 2008
    Lubbock, Texas
    Actually, the term started on the old shooterstalk (now long gone) cast bullet board. I don't recall the individual that first came up w/ the unique spelling (in very late 90's?), but that's where it started.

    When shooterstalk went belly up, the guys always on the cast bullet board started another site.

    I've been casting my own since 1982.
  19. JustAnotherPlinker

    JustAnotherPlinker New Member

    Aug 30, 2008
    I too have been pricing the economics of reloaded .45 ACP.

    Here's what I've determined:

    $68+$10 s/h for 1000 200 gr RNL from http://www.missouribullet.com/shop/details.php?prodId=78&category=5

    ~$27 for 1000 primers (gunshow)

    ~$18 for 1lb of PowerPistol (local shop)

    $0 1000 pieces of range brass

    Don't factor in the cost of reloading equipment. The initial investment is very low unless you drink blue koolaid :p

    My cost less time = 78+27+18 = $123/1000 rounds.

    If I were to cast my own rounds I could probably get this down to $50/1000. There are also other ways to get cheaper powder (surplus AA #7, etc.) and primers (buy 5000-1000 at a time)

    I wish I could afford a progressive press. :(

    If you have to shoot a jacketed bullet you might want to consider rainier plated or possibly 185 gr JHP noslers. I bought a 250 bullet box of the noslers from midway for like $37. Not bad IMO
  20. VARifleman

    VARifleman Senior Member

    Feb 6, 2005
    Northern VA
    Break even for me is 3000, but I'm using JHP and premium powder for USPSA...for which I now shoot 9mm...oh well.

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