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Feeding my revolvers...~cheap reloads for .38 special

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Nathanael_Greene, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. Nathanael_Greene

    Nathanael_Greene Well-Known Member

    Anyone know of a good source for fairly cheap .38 reloads in the DFW area?

    I'd like to get my hands on a few hundred 148-grain wadcutters.

    I've thought about trying a gun show, but it's like thirteen bucks just to get in, and I'd hate to waste a trip.


  2. KansasSasquatch

    KansasSasquatch Well-Known Member

    Don't shoot random reloads. If you want to go the reload route, either learn the skill for yourself and buy an inexpensive setup, or buy them from a licensed company with a good reputation. For just one pistol caliber you could easily get into rolling your own for less than the price of a couple hundred rounds. It's also not as complicated as some people claim, just something you need to PAY ATTENTION while doing.

    Gunshow reloads are often done by someone in their garage. They may be cheaper sometimes but you have no way of knowing if the person selling them is knowledgeable or not. A licensed (re)manufacturer will also have liability insurance in case their product causes you serious harm. Good luck to you if something catastrophic happens from random gunshow reloads.

    But their are some licensed companies that sell reloads at gun shows, like RAM Ammo for instance. I'm just saying don't buy random stuff off of a table.
  3. Drail

    Drail Well-Known Member

    Also be aware that most "cheap reloads" in .38 Spl. will be loaded with dead soft swaged lead bullets that will deposit leading in your barrel. Try to find "hard cast" bullet reloads if possible. Ask about what the bullets are made from before you buy. Soft lead fouling can be removed (buy a Lewis lead removal tool) but takes more elbow grease.
  4. Bush Pilot

    Bush Pilot Well-Known Member

    I can't help you with the ammo. Are you really paying $13.00 to get into a gun show?
  5. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    I make my own. Mine are the best, tailored to my guns. :D
  6. Nathanael_Greene

    Nathanael_Greene Well-Known Member

    "I can't help you with the ammo. Are you really paying $13.00 to get into a gun show?"

    Yep. $8 admission plus $5 to park. That's why I don't go.

    As to the others, I've been shooting commercial reloads for over 25 years without any problems other than some extra cleaning.
  7. jmace57

    jmace57 Well-Known Member

  8. benzy2

    benzy2 Well-Known Member

    Be careful buying "hard cast" reloads as well. If they used a hard cast bullet meant for 357 velocities you will have just as much leading issue as if you used ultra soft lead. Most have a hardness meant for the faster speeds.

    While not the cheapest, I like loading with plated bullets. This way I can load them fast or slow without worry. Its more practical and easier to keep straight.
  9. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    Georgia Arms has a very good reputation. I load my own ammo but a few friends have bought from them and all the ammo has been top grade.
    Their 148gr WC .38 Special ammo is $26/100 which isn't all that bad today.
  10. Dudedog

    Dudedog Contributing Member

    Reload your own

    It's fun, relaxing and gives me a sense of satisfaction. If you went with a Lee turrent press you could probably get all the equipment necessary for under $300 give or take.
    Primers are about $30/1000. Missouri bullet has wad cutters for 34.50/500 so about $210 for 3000 shipped to you door with the THR 5% discount. Powder, if you can find it aaaarrrrgggghhhhhhh:banghead: :banghead: is about let call it $30 a pound. I would guess about 1500 rounds out of a pound of powder. Cases are, well free if you try hard enough. In light .38 special loads you can reuse them a bunch of times. So not counting startup costs you could load 3000 rounds for about $370 so lets say $400. (of course this places no value on your time!) but it should come out to around $6.50 a box.
    A little higher if you have to pay shipping and hazmat on the powder and primers but if you have the time I think it is worth doing if you plan on shooting very much.
    Does reloading save me any money, no I just shoot twice as much! :D

    And sorry I know this is off thread but I just had to make a pitch for loading them yourself.

    PS: with 3000 rounds it would be well fed.:evil:
    PS #2: Yes I intended two bangheads
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2014
  11. Matt Dillon

    Matt Dillon Well-Known Member

    At $10.00/500 lead swaged HBWC, I have never had leading problems over 2.8 grains of bullseye, and they are the cheapest center fire ammo I shoot.
  12. Vodoun da Vinci

    Vodoun da Vinci Well-Known Member

    What Dudedog said...^^^^^^

    I bought a couple thousand bullets from various places in various weights, 158 gr. Flatnoses, 110 gr. Wad cutters, 148 gr. plated wadcutters and 3 lbs of Unique last Summer. Paid $16.80 per pound for the Unique but the shipping/hazmat cost almost as much as the powder.

    All said and done, using a single stage press and dies I already owned and one fired brass I'm loading 50 rounds for under $6.00 and they are precise as only I can make them with my finicky ways. :evil:

    Don't buy the ammunition...buy the components and tools and do it yourself if low priced ammo is your quest.

  13. sixgunner455

    sixgunner455 Well-Known Member

    I'll jump in on the load your own wagon. I started loading with .38 Special, and still load more for it than anything else.

    I did it the cheapest possible way - I got a Lee Loader for $10.00, just to see if loading was something that I actually wanted to do. $15.00 or so for a pound of Bullseye, a box of cast bullets, and some primers, and I was in business.

    It didn't take up any space in my apartment, and it let me get comfortable with the loading process for next to nothing. I'm on my second press now, a Redding T7 that I got at an estate sale for $50, and I load a lot of ammo much more quickly with that than I did with the Lee Loader. I can load, even with commercial cast bullets (or jacketed), for way less than I can buy comparable commercial loads. And I have ammo whenever I want it. I'd rather sit in my garage and make loads than run around looking for ammo, burning gas and time and finally spending more money on the loads than a set of dies would cost.

    Just my opinion, but I think that if you have space for a little bit of equipment and enough patience to follow a recipe to cook a dinner, you can be a successful and safe handloader.
  14. beag_nut

    beag_nut Well-Known Member

    A couple fundamental misconceptions here. The harder a lead bullet is, the less it will lead. Period. And, plated bullets can withstand up to about 1250 fps max, before they begin fouling. This info is for the benefit of the OP.
  15. billybob44

    billybob44 Well-Known Member

    " Period. "

    I 'Think'?? I've heard this word on the Health Care Law??:scrutiny:

    Your post is NOT a true statement. Too hard of alloy bullet CAN cause excessive leading if not driven FAST enough to swell the base of it for a good gas seal.

    Read some of Brad's comments @ Missouri Bullet Co.

    Incorrect info, especially in reloading does more harm than good..Bill.;)
  16. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

    I would venture to guess you are spending as much, or even maybe more for your gun show reloads, as I do to reload jacketed. I can load a box of 50 JHP's, full tilt +P even, for about $10. So considering you only want to load target ammo, you could probably do it for half that cost by reloading your own.

    Personally, I won't shoot something I didn't load with my own two hands.

  17. rswartsell

    rswartsell Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
  18. witchhunter

    witchhunter Well-Known Member

    I'm with Gamestalker, I won't shoot anybody's loads but mine, haven't for over forty years. But, it ain't for everyone. I certainly wouldn't buy reloads from a gunshow! Well, let me clarify that, I would but I would pull the bullets and reload em myself, I might buy em just for the components.
  19. Dudedog

    Dudedog Contributing Member

    If you decide to load your own there are a bunch of great people here to help with any questions you might have.

    ArchAngelCD, BDS, RCModel, Walkalong just to name a few, and there are many others.
    Sorry if I did not mention you by name but you know who you are:)
  20. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    There are many on this forum who are more than willing to help anyone who asks for help. Everyone had to start somewhere and I know I got a lot of help when I was learning and I enjoy passing what was passed on to me. IMO the more the better...

    Right now components and gear is starting to become available again. You can also look in the "pay it forward" thread and see if someone can give you some of what you need to get started. I would offer you stuff right now but I gave all my spare equipment to one of my son's friends who wanted to start reloading.

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