Do you prefer to reload rifle, or handgun cartridges?

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Dec 24, 2018
There's always the question 'what caliber is the most difficult to justify reloading'?
but today I thought of this, what calibers are we just downright never going to touch?

I reload a good selection of handgun calibers (mostly revolver cartridges, a few auto ones) and four different rifle calibers. (.308, 30-30, .303 British, 7mm Mag)
For me, .223 is the one I never want to touch. The process would be simple, Lube, deprime, resize, tumble, prime, charge and seat. But it's so small and i'd have to reload ALOT of them. .223 Goes by really quick in Ar-15s, and accumulating brass for it is easy, too easy, that in a matter of days you already have thousands of cases for it. Imagine spending your weekend reloading this...
For me, reloading is enjoyable but right on the verge of being stressful (in the middle of widely broadening my calibers). The very thought of reloading for .223 makes me feel like 'Okay, it's done, reloading is now a obligation not a hobby anymore.'

What about any of you? Any cartridge you'd never attempt to reload for cost, difficulty, availability of factory ammo?
I wouldn't reload 9mm right now. I am running a turret press and it takes 4 pulls to make 1 round. If rather make my more cost efficient rounds (38,357, 45 acp and 45 colt) as it takes the same effort to reload the much less expensive 9mm rounds.

I have dies to reload rifle, but no components but brass. The extra steps in lubing the brass just makes it seem to troublesome.
I agree with .223 and .380.

.223 is just too easy to buy and I’d rather be spending time on .30-06 or some other cartridge where the saving are greater.

AR-Bozeman nailed it in regards to .380.

I reload a bunch of 9mm for cheap subsonic plinking ammo with cast bullets.
At some point I began to realize the multiplicity of calibers is not due to there being any gaping niches, but that cartridges are introduced to increase corporate profits. I am not interested in increasing the number of cases, dies, shellholders, trimmers, of which I already have a huge supply. And I am not really convinced, that the cartridge du jour is really the end of history that I read in the in print magazines. The cartridge du jour is simply a concept thrown at the wall, and if it sticks, you will be able to buy brass when you need it. If not, you get into the position I have been for several cartridges, most noticeably the 257 Roberts, a fine cartridge, but brass availability has been such that I waited for around a decade before I was able to find new factory brass, and at scalper's prices. (I just checked, Nosler 257 Roberts is $80.00 for 50 cases!)

I remember when the 40 S&W came out, handguns had finally arrived at the end of history. I did not buy into that, and while there are still plenty of 40 S&W cases on the ground at the range, I see more 9mm than any other. I have no desire for a 40 S&W and I throw those cases back in the grass. Too bad the 38 Special is in decline, I used to pick up coffee cans worth, now, if I get a hand full, it is a rare occasion.

Just go through your "Cartridges of the World", a book that is about the size of what phone books used to be, and every twenty pages or so, there is a cartridge I have. The rest of them, I don't plan to buy a weapon in that caliber.
I load as a means to shoot, whether more accurate ammo, lower cost expensive ammo, or simply ammo which can’t be bought. I don’t have any desire to race to build the cheapest 9mm round, or create some anemic rifle round to minimize cost, and I don’t reload to reload, I reload to shoot.

So for me, if my volume doesn’t meet a certain financial burden, or if the unit cost is low enough I won’t significantly reduce my annualized costs, I don’t reload it. I used to shoot enough 9mm in Competition that it made sense to load, but haven’t needed to do so for many years. For 30-30, I don’t do anything but hunt, so I don’t need to save the $10/yr I might keep if I still reloaded for it.

I have over a hundred sets of dies, and currently reload for over 40 rounds. Not enough time in my life to reload as much as I need, nor shoot as much as I want, so I don’t waste time at the bench when I can avoid it.
I guess I am sort of the opposite when it comes to 9mm and .223. I reload almost all of mine. Sure, you can buy mediocre ammo cheap - for now. But it wasn't that long ago that neither were cheap, nor all that available. Plus, I like to shoot accurate ammo. While 9mm FMJ factory ammo is accurate enough for offhand shooting, the inexpensive .223/5.56 55 gr FMJ ammo when fired from an accurate rifle from a bench rest is not. At least, not for me.
So, I stock up on components to load both (and everything else). The Dillon RL-550B churns out 9mm ammo (frequently with JHP Bullets, which aren't cheap in factory ammo, yet can be reloaded cheaper than factory FMJ), while the .223 ammo is carefully assembled on an RCBS Rockchucker single stage. I don't bother with .223 FMJ bullets anymore, since far better bullets can be had for 10 cents each or less.
I still shop for bargains and recently picked up a Nosler plastic ammo can filled with 400 rounds of their Trophy Grade .223 Rem. 40 gr Ballistic Tip ammo for $169.95. It groups under 5/8 of an inch at 100 yards and is excellent brass for reloading. I reserve it for the 26" barrel bolt gun for Montana varmint excursions.
Other cartridges are almost handload only out of ridiculously priced factory ammo, like the .270 WSM, .338 Federal and .300 Win Mag.
I cast my own bullets. I load 9mm all the time. With cast bullets my cost is right around $5/100.

What I won't reload. Bottleneck handgun cartridges. .357 Sig.

I use the set to separate range brass. I purchased the .380 plate to get all the little guys out of my 9mm stream. I don't own a .380 so I don't load it.

I have the dies and parts for the 650 for .45 Colt and .38 Super. I obviously need to get firearms in those cartridges.
I've got a 650, 550, Ultra-mag, Rock-Chucker, Ponsness Warren 900 Elite, Ponsness Warren 375C and I reload for everything I own:

10 handgun calibers (2 bottlenecks, 7.65 Luger & .357Sig) For the guys that won't touch .380, it's actually way more cost effective than loading 9mm.
21 Rifle calibers (3 are BPCRs)
4 Gauges.

The only ones I'd ALMOST consider not loading would be 9mm and .223, both of which I shoot in matches. I still reload for them because I'm running 147 grn in 9mm and 62 in .223. Both of those are done on the progressives, so it's not a lot of effort. With 12 Ga for 3Gun I also just shoot value packs.
For me, .223 is the one I never want to touch.
It's all about application. I spend more time reloading .223 than anything else, but I shoot fully customized match grade heavy HPBT ammo for less than 55 gr FMJ ammo costs. I also wouldn't own a .375H&H if I didn't reload; I can shoot it for 20% of factory ammo cost by catching bullets on sale.
I don't have guns that I would refuse to reload for, but some aren't worth the time involved, my 7.62x39 as an example. My SKS will burn a bunch of ammo each session and reloading for that would take up a large chunk of time. I can't reload for 5.45x39 as I couldn't find dies and components the last time I looked. Otherwise I will reload for every firearm I own, except rim fires...
The two I have never reloaded for are 9x18 Makarov and 7.62 Tokarev. Not that I wouldn't, I think it would be fun to see what kind of performance I could get out of the Tokarev cartridge in particular through good bullet selection. Problem is, all the handguns I have chambered in these 2 calibers fling the brass across the county line. Fortunately I can still get ammo reasonably cheaply for the CZ82, and am still sitting on a pretty good pile of quality 7.62 Tokarev surplus. Once that is gone, I will probably be forced to reload and hunt for my brass.
32 S&W short, 25acp and 380. To short for me. I have the dies and everything to load for them just in case they can not be bought in another BS shortage.
I stopped reloading cartridges with a shoulder (i.e. 30.06, 308, 5.56, etc.) as I got older...too much work for my hands and didn't have enough volume to justify moving to a more automated press/system (5 stage progressive press).
I reload .40S&W, .223, .30-30, and .30/06. I also buy factory .223. My plinking carbine and the wife and kids ARs run on M193, whereas my 20" rifle runs on 60gr V-Max over H4895. Different purposes determine if cost and time is worth it. The only calibers that are factory-only are .22LR and 12ga.
I don’t shoot the volume to reload .380 and 9mm I buy in bulk. I load all my own revolver ammo and almost all my rifle ammo.
I gave up on the 5.7X28 in an AR57. Too much trouble with its idiosyncrasies and was boring from that platform to boot.

Would be easy to load it for a bolt gun or single shot where the shoulder wouldn't get blown forward.
My why reload cartridge is 9mm and 380. 9mm is to close to breaking even.
If I find 40S&W or 45ACP on sale, I buy it instead of reloading.
I won't reload .22 rimfire. Otherwise I can reload any caliber that I have a corresponding rifle. That doesn't mean I load for all of them all the time. But I can if I choose. Everything to do the job is on hand. Cheap ammo like 7.62x39 or 7.62x54R I don't load very often.
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