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At what point does it make financial sense...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Warners, Dec 16, 2011.

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  1. Warners

    Warners Member

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    At what point would you guys say it makes financial sense to reload? How many rounds per month/year, etc? And what is the REAL startup cost for reloading, starting from scratch. I have NO reloading equipment, but always thought it would be fun to do it. Several (as in about 25) years ago, I did do some reloading .22-250 with one of those little plastic Lee reloaders.....

    Thanks,

    Warner
     
  2. Kristensdaddy

    Kristensdaddy Member

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    It is PART of the hobby, or even a hobby unto itself. Just like owning the guns in the first place. You had to make an initial investment in your gun to participate in the hobby/sport. Same thing with reloading. If you take up reloading you may find that it is fun, requires a little skill and concentration and it provides you the ability to have more ammo on hand than if you just go out and buy it. You can get into making ammo for specific purposes.

    you can get started pretty cheap, the equipment will last your lifetime and that of your kids, you will become much more aware of how you shoot and what goes into creating accuracy.

    Don't try to justify the cost, you really cannot ever justify the cost of a hobby. If it interests you, buy some basic equipment including a good reloading book, a good scale and presses and dies - in that order.
     
  3. LNK

    LNK Member

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    There is no point that it makes sense...

    Everyone I know that got into reloading got into it as a cost saving measure. What starts off as trying to save money turns into shooting more and spending more. Not that it's a bad thing. Don't do it thinking you will save money, but do it. You will shoot more, learn more, and enjoy the sport more. Good luck.

    LNK
     
  4. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    I was just doing some shopping around on Google Shopping, and it would actually cost me more to reload for my .40. On the other hand, if I did ever get a .50 GI Glock, I would cut the cost in half.

    I don't plan on getting into reloading soon, but I hear a lot of the benefits are that you get to design exactly how it will work - how much powder, what type of bullet, etc. I figure that without a chrono or some ballistics gel to test my stuff, I'll just buy stuff on the market.
     
  5. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    These are decisions you'll have to make on your own, read the stickies about reloading. If it weren't for reloading I wouldn't be able to shoot most of the firearms I have. Collection is now into the 2nd or 3rd triple digit so there is a bunch to load for.

    You can get started for as little as approx $30 bucks per caliber and the limit is in the thousands. I'd suggest a start up kit consisting of a turrent press even tho I use a couple of single stage presses mounted side by side, simply because thats how I like to do it. A turrent press can be used as a single stage till you get the drill down pat, then expand from there.

    Also---GET MANUALS---For sure a Lyman and another one and read, read, read.
     
  6. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Please expand on how it costs more to reload for a .40 than buying factory ammo.

    Are you breaking down the cost of equipment as part of the cost per round, if so how does one calculate this with no idea what the quanity of ammo will be.

    When you buy a new cooking stove for your wife, do you factor that into the cost of your daily meals?

    Or if you run to the fast food resturant don't forget to enclude the price of gas.
     
  7. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    The cost per reloaded round will always be less than commercial ammunition. What you do with the savings is up to you.

    Yes, I originally got into reloading 30 years ago to save money and shoot more on the same budget. But, I enjoy reloading and do it as much as a hobby as a way to save money.

    I am able to reload for every cartridge that I shoot.

    Payback on the capital equipment was pretty quick. But I don't worry about that anymore. If I want/need a new piece of reloading equipment and can fit it in the budget, I get it. Just as if I needed that new golf driver, running shoes, or a bigger screen TV.

    One of the great benefits of having reloading equipment is I am able to enjoy old firearms that ammunition is very expensive or just plain unavailable.
     
  8. gregj

    gregj Member

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    I got started right after the '08 election, when ammo was almost impossible to find. I started mostly to be able to ensure I had ammo on hand when I needed/wanted it. Then recently my son and I started shooting USPSA, so I was really glad I could reload, as it really cut the cost of competing down.

    I also found it was a very enjoyble way to extend my hobby beyond shooting, cleaning, then putting them up till the next trip. Reloading tends to be a cerebral activity, somewhat of a technical challenge that I enjoy. It takes a lot of research on bullets, powder, loads, etc, etc, then a lot of hands-on, out at the range testing to see what works best. And when you get to that point where you've found the optimum load, it's quite satisfactory.
     
  9. James2

    James2 Member

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    If you are trying to justify the initial investment, consider first how much you are shooting. It is pretty easy to load for about half what factory ammo costs. Knowing those two things, you can calculate how long it will take to recoup your initial investment. After that you can shoot for half the cost of factory. Even less, depending on how you shop for components.

    How much to get started? Again, depends on what you want and how you shop. I would think somewhere between $200 and $350 could get you set up with a good single stage press.

    It is a hobby to support the shooting hobby. I enjoy the reloading. I have been reloading for many years. At this point the savings on ammo has been so great that the original investment for equipment doesn't even factor into the cost of the ammo. Good tools will last your lifetime.

    If you like mechanical things and like to work with your hands, you could enjoy reloading for the process itself, not just as a means to save money.
     
  10. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    1000 primers = $20.00
    1 pound powder = $20 (will do more than 1000 .40's)
    1000 Bullets = $100 (if you can shoot lead, it's only about $80 / 1000)

    Where can you buy .40's for less than $140/1000 ($7/50)?
     
  11. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Do not forget that the case is re-usable. For handgun, the case cost is next to zero since it can be used many, many times. Not so much with rifle.

    Even so, even surplus prices of ammunition usually will cost more than a new primer, powder charge and projectile. Also, the reloaded ammunition will be of much higher quality and tailored to your firearm.

    The cost of time is a frequent subject of discussion on the cost of reloads. Since it is a recreational activity, the cost of your time should be considered zero. If you figured your cost of time watching TV, you would not watch. Or you would not go shooting because it costs to much money in time pulling the trigger.
     
  12. Warners

    Warners Member

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    I DO think it would be fun. I'm kind of a gearhead type so this aspect really interests me. I have really common caliber weapons in my collection though.....so I don't have any rare or unique calibers to be concerned about. Besides 22 and 22 mag rimfire, I have .25acp, 9x18, 9x19, .38/.357, .45acp, 7.63x39, 30-30, .30-'06 and the 12 gauge shotguns basically.

    Warner
     
  13. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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  14. kludge

    kludge Member

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    Lee Kit $100
    Lee Dies $30
    Powder $7
    Primers $6
    Bullets $60

    Assuming you already have 40 pieces of brass, and can load them 5 times, you can reload 200 rounds of .308 ammo for $212.

    10 boxes of .308 hunting ammo at $25/box = $250

    And you still have the press and dies, so it only gets better after that.

    So yeah, it makes sense to reload.
     
  15. kludge

    kludge Member

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  16. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "At what point would you guys say it makes financial sense to reload?"

    Few of us would address that; the answer matters a lot what on you're loading for, what components you choose, your source of components, your taste in buying equipment and the purpose you want to accomplish with the ammo. Making ammo that goes BANG in one caliber is much less costly than trying to precisely drill holes very close together at long range with several calibers. Anyway, anyone loading for economy rather than effectiveness is likely to be disappointed and if you don't like doing it you won't stick with it just to save money.

    I have some 45+ years of experience and first wanted to reduce my costs. As things progressed, my pursuit of accuracy soon over-road my desire for cheep ... but I think I'm probably gonna break even most any day now. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011
  17. gearjammer-2000

    gearjammer-2000 Member

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    when I got back into reloading I set aside 400 bucks for equipment, i know not a lot BUT , then I started going to yard sales, auctions watching craigslist,ect and it kinda took off from there, I have bought,sold and traded myself into a great setup with top of the line equipment and everything I need and more in the process I got my 400 back and according to my accountant, [my wife,lol] I have managed to put several thousand in my pocket and the buying,selling and trading has turned into a hobby itself.
    I have also met a lot of like minded people, got a lot of people into the hobby, acquired several firearms that I would have otherwise been unable to afford otherwise.
     
  18. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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  19. cougar1717

    cougar1717 Member

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    Reloading is for fun. It will never make financial sense. It isn't so much the materials aspect. Everyone likes to show the price of bullets, powder, and primers to go with their used brass and come up with some sort of dollar value per box. The problem is that this isn't the dollar value per box because ammo does not assemble itself. Even if you don't count the cost of equipment, you wouldn't like it if I handed you $8 (or whatever your component cost is) and expect you to give me a box of ammo. However, we do this to ourselves all the time because reloading is a hobby and not a job.

    There are two other aspects that many people wanting to get into reloading do not initially think about.

    1) Reloads are really just a personal use product. You cannot sell them (without an expensive license) as far as the government is concerned. Other people usually don't want to buy them because of the unknowns. I allow other people to shoot them in my guns, but beyond something low powered like 38 special plinkers, I wouldn't let anyone use them in their own guns for liability. If you had to get out of it, it would much easier to offload components than reloaded ammo, but even then it can be hard to sell partial boxes of bullets and you might as well sell part containers of primers and powder locally than pay haz mat fees.

    2) The time involved on a couple levels. A) Accurate rifle ammo requires a lot of case prep. Even inspecting cases for plinking ammo can get tedious. Once a person understands that the brass case, not the chamber is what keeps you from getting hit with shrapnel, it puts prep in a different light. B) After knowing how long it took me to load a batch, I can't pop them off like the bulk ammo I used to buy. I want to make them count, learn from the results, and keep working on the load. and C) There isn't a big list of sub-moa rifle loads for every caliber and rifle. You have to work them up yourself by trial and error. A load that is sub-moa in one rifle might group 3" in another just because of minute differences.
     
  20. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    The initial cost of equipment seems high and it makes it difficult to see the cost advantages right away.

    I got into reloading about 20 years ago because the ONLY way to get the ammo I wanted for my Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt was to roll my own. I got caught up in it and have been making my own ammo for my 10 calibers (with only a few exceptions here and there) since. I have long since favorably ammortized the equipment cost.

    Cost per round is always cheaper with reloads some much more dramatically than others. Also, variety of components (mostly bullets) not available in factory loads sweeten the pot. I can easily tune for precisely the ballistics I want by tailoring my reloads specifically for the task at hand. This will take some time as you study manuals and measure results but once you get on a certain plane, you achieve a level of craftsmanship that results in very satisfying results.

    This has filtered down to my three adult children who begin to study reloading components when deciding on ammo choices rather than factory load catalogs. Actually, they have never seen a catalog or data sheet since they aren't even on their radar screens (nor mine).

    Just as I pack my own parachutes and build my own motorcycles (and would build an airplane if I were to own one), I load and reload my own ammo.

    Dan
     
  21. ROCKFISH

    ROCKFISH Member

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    Correct, they are both start up kits. No they do not include dies. I bought the one with the off the press primer seater. It cost an extra $10 but is a bit safer.
    You will need dies, and a caliber specific trim gauge, which will cost another $30 bucks or so. I am very happy with this set-up, and added a tumbler and electronic caliper as well.
     
  22. wingman

    wingman Member

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    After 40 years of reloading I simply find my reloads more accurate and better serve me then commercial while I begin to save money it turned into a life long hobby I would not enjoy going to the range as much with commercial ammo.

    Start slow buy equipment as you can,check around for used some good buys out there but look over equipment close. Once you start unlikely you will stop.
     
  23. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    The Lee Anniversary brech lock kit includes their Safety Prime on press priming system - the other Lee kit provides hand primers only - I VERY much like the on press system

    For pistol caliber reloaders I suggest looking at the Lee CLASSIC 4-hole turret. easily triple the output of single stage batch reloading for not much more $$$ investment.

    Yes ALL the other brands though pricier than Lee make SUPERB hardware. Lee has been making reloaders since about 1958 and their products are durable and reliable and at a very affordable price point. I suspect that more folks have started reloading on Lee gear than any other make.

    To the OP's question.... blowing my limited spare cash on a hobby (and I have a few) has never made financial sense to me, but it sure provides me with enjoyment in my free time - which for me is priceless.
     
  24. Skribs

    Skribs Member

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    Maybe I should have said handloads instead of reloads. I looked up the cost of primers, powder (and judged how much powder using a table I found online to get the approximate velocity that the factory ammo I was comparing it to ran), bullets (I compared the same type of bullets of the same weight) and cases. Without the cost of cases, reloading would be cheaper, but using new cases skyrocketed the price.

    I did not include the cost of the reloading equipment in that.
     
  25. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    OK, so the main difference between these 2 set-ups is the priming system. So again it would be up to the OP as to what system he would like.

    I have 5 or 6 of the Press mounted Auto Primes but have never used one. Personally I like to reprime while watching TV with a hand primer, even using the one at a time instead of the type that uses a tray. Just the way I like to do it.
     
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