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Bean counter question...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by gilgomesjr, Jan 24, 2011.

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  1. gilgomesjr

    gilgomesjr Member

    Sep 21, 2008
    In the great NorthEast
    Okay... Firstly I'm not a big bean counter fan. Even though my wife used to be a cost accountant... :neener:

    I've put together a spreadsheet to show how much I'm saving reloading and how it's paying off all the hardware I keep needing to buy. ;)

    I've included everything that goes into making a round, including media for the tumbler, pro-rated for each type of round. (Except of course for labor... It's part of a hobby... so...)

    I'm currently only reloading .45ACP and 9mm, and will eventually do .38 Special.

    Including everything brings the price of the reloaded round up quite a bit. (I need to buy bullets in bulk, obviously, as that's where most of the dollars hide.

    My question is... Since I'm not including any of the hardware in the price of reloading each round and am just subtracting how much I'm saving from the hardware cost... Is that a viable approach from an accounting standpoint?

    Also... Can I look at this from a different perspective? Can I keep ALL expenses in one bucket and subtract the actual market value of what's produced from that? :confused:

  2. Rollis R. Karvellis

    Rollis R. Karvellis Member

    Feb 16, 2007
    JAX, FLA.
    Can I look at this from a different perspective? Don't bother trying to justafy cost, eventuly, you will be thinking, the kid's don't need to eat everyday. So just enjoy your new life.
  3. ExMachina

    ExMachina Member

    Jun 14, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    My experience on DIY hobbies: you NEVER "save" money ;)

    Why? For me (and I think most people) I simply have a "hobby budget" that gets spent no matter what. If your hobby is shooting and reloading, then whatever money you save on a round-for-round basis, you will then spend on either a)more equipment or b)more rounds shot.
  4. ngnrd

    ngnrd Member

    Nov 27, 2010
    South Central Alaska
    So... how do you plan to account for the fact that you wouldn't be shooting as much if you had to buy your ammo off the shelf?

    I suggest that you put the calculator away and just enjoy your hobby.
  5. RandyP

    RandyP Member

    Jan 28, 2009
    You will NEVER 'save' any money on any leisure activity for which you have to open your wallet. You WILL save money by only engaging in hobbies that are free. And shooting is surely not one of the free ones - LOL - In fairness nobody ever saved their money by spending it.

    Reading books and watching movies you get from the library are pretty low cost hobbies. So is walking in the woods (discounting bear attacks or worn out hiking boots).

    Reloading for me, and I suspect everyone else, lets me shoots more rounds per dollar, but either way I blow the money. My indoor range fees are set at $25 per visit.
  6. 788Ham

    788Ham Member

    Sep 24, 2010
    Hills west of Denver
    You buy firearms to save money? You have to shoot them to enjoy them right? Eating is kind of a need also, you go to the market and buy grub, you spend monies there correct? For me, its getting into the basement to reload, build up a reserve of ammo to take to the range, so, when you shoot these reloaded rounds, you're basically "throwing money away!", am I wrong in this so far?
    Go shoot your firearms, enjoy them and reload, and buy the new toys needed to keep up with your reloading.......... or get a bigger jar to keep the beans in. JMHO
  7. 918v

    918v Member

    Mar 16, 2006
    The joy of assembling your own ammunition cannot be quantified.

    You can't put a $ sign on reloading.
  8. James2

    James2 Member

    Nov 27, 2009
    Northern Utah
    You can count the beans any way you want.
    We don't save money by spending it.
    I suppose most of us have an amount we can spend for hobbys.
    What reloading does is let us shoot more for the buck. At least that was my original goal. There are other benefits as we get into it, like trying different bullets and working up loads more accurate than factory ammo. Plus I enjoy doing it.
    As far as the hardware you mention, most of it will last a very long time, perhaps your lifetime. You can just forget to add the cost of hardware to your cost of ammo.
    I will end this the way I started it: You can count the beans any way you want.
  9. MrOldLude

    MrOldLude Member

    Aug 24, 2010

    I can and do. I compare the amount of money on a reloading session compared to an equal amount of time spent in a stripclub. In all circumstances, reloading is cheaper. And in both cases, I leave the range/club practically empty-handed. Practically in that I leave with spent brass from the former, glitter and cheap perfume stuck to my face for the latter.
  10. RidgwayCO

    RidgwayCO Member

    Feb 22, 2006
    Beautiful Western Colorado
    Buy your reloading hardware setup and figure the total cost. Then figure out how much each reloaded round costs for consumables (prorating for things like reusable brass, polishing media, etc). Then subtract the per round consumables cost from the per round cost of factory ammo, this is your "reloading savings per round". Finally, use the savings per round to figure out how many reloaded rounds it will take you to equal the total cost of your reloading hardware setup. Those first rounds cover your "fixed costs", and all subsequent rounds save substantially over factory rounds. Easy, huh? Please understand, however, that you'll likely add "just one more piece of hardware" to your reloading setup, multiple times. That's the way of obsessions...

    Or just say, "The hell with it... I LIKE doing this" and have some fun. It's hard to put a price tag on fun...
  11. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    High up in the Rockies
    :p You don't save money reloading! You just shoot more! :D:D

    Seriously, buy in bulk. Join a gun club that has a FFL and buys for their members wholesale, and in bulk.

    If you can't find such a club in your area, google your state laws governing non-profit corporations and get together with some friends and organize one.
  12. gilgomesjr

    gilgomesjr Member

    Sep 21, 2008
    In the great NorthEast
    Point well taken...

    Good points, guys. This actually started, believe it or not, with my wife asking me how much I'd be saving by reloading. Will it ever eventually pay for all that hardware? Since I'm not fond of the chore of removing baby oil from my right hand... My answer wasn't "who cares?":eek:

    I was hoping there was an actual certified counter of beans who might answer this. But...

    Long story short. Yeah. I also golf and have a project car... so... I get it. :cool:
  13. Seedtick

    Seedtick Member

    Mar 23, 2009
    Central Arkansas
    There is this -> Handloading Cost Calculator <- that might help a little.


  14. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

    Oct 19, 2010
    East TN
    First of all, it is worth looking at the savings. Whether you shoot the same amount and spend less by reloading or spend the same and get to shoot shoot more by reloading, you have saved.

    It is difficult to figure a cost per round for equipment/hardware. Most last virtually for ever. I used to wear out a Lee Auto Prime every year or so and potentially cutters on trimmers wear out, but in 30 years of reloading those are about the only pieces of equipment that I have worn out. If you reload enough, stuff will wear out. but the unit costs will be negligible.

    Consumables such as tumbling media and case lube can be figured, but again, they last oh so long for me it is difficult on a short time basis to get a cost per round. I load 5000-8000 rounds per year.

    Brass, bullets, powder and primers are easy to figure.

    For me, I would take the cost of consumables, subtract it from the cost of commercial ammo and figure out how quickly I paid off the hardware/equipment.

    Finally, I long since stopped figuring what a cost of my reloaded ammunition is. Most of my reloads are not duplicated by the commercial ammunition and some of it is wildcat or obsolete ammunition.

    Besides, reloading keeps me out of the strip joints.
  15. 230RN
    • Contributing Member

    230RN Marines raising the left-leaning Pisa tower.

    May 27, 2006
    Cook the books to obtain whatever result you want... or she wants.

    Works for major companies.

    Don't amortize your equipment costs. It's a fixed cost at the first reloading session, and thereafter it's free.

    In line with that, report only second quarter data to the former bean queen (spousie-person) who is overseeing all this.

    Deduct from your expenses the projected income from possibly renting out your equipment.

    Add in the projected income from recycling your spent bullet cores and their jackets as scrap material. Don't forget that the spent primers ejected from your decapping operation are made of valuable brass as well.

    Don't show her the spreadsheet. Instead, distill it down into a nice, simple PowerPoint presentation. That always looks more official and believable than a bunch of those icky number-filled cells on a piece of paper or computer screen. Use pie-charts and bar graphs therein only if they support your position.

    Bear in mind that accounting practices depend on the accountant and the purpose of the accounting. Rehearse this idea in your mind. Nay, fix it in your mind.

    There, see?

    Works for major companies, don't it?


    Terry, 230RN
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011
  16. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

    Jan 8, 2011
    You definitely save cost per round....I wouldn't factor in the cost of the equipment, because most of it simply does not wear out. If you ever decide to sell it down the road, you will find that used reloading equipment holds a high percentage of it's original retail value. Heck, even some of it appreciates if you hold onto it long enough. I often see quality presses and dies that are 20 years old selling on eBay for more than they cost brand new.
  17. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

    Apr 24, 2008
    Hot and Humid FL
    No reason not to amortize the cost of the equipment into the equation. As for appreciation, it doesn't even keep up with inflation

    It is a cost, plain and simple, as are the cost of the components - one is fixed, the other variable
  18. kennedy

    kennedy Member

    Jan 6, 2004
    southern Ind.
    figure cost of bullets, powder, primers and cases if bought, if they are your own cases than don`t include them, if it adds up to half of commercial than I am happy.
  19. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

    Oct 28, 2007
    South Texas
    Taking money from your wallet and firing it into a dirt berm DOES NOT save money.

    $100 worth of factory ammo = xx.yz" of grin. $100 of reloaded and more tuned to your gun ammo = two times xx.yz" of grin. Quantify that.
  20. CHALK22

    CHALK22 Member

    Sep 14, 2010
    MSO, MT
    That load data calculator is pretty neat. Now I can tell people how much my reloads cost when they want to "buy" them. Bookmarked just for fun!
  21. italy176

    italy176 Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Why reload? Because it is fun!

    Why keep track of costs? Because it is yet another challenge. Who knows it may add to the fun/challenge of reloading.

    When I reload 9mm I make 50 rounds for about $9.50 ($0.19/rd). Keep in mind that these 50 rounds are equivalent to Buffalo Bore standards (velocity/energy/hollow points). Now, with that said, the Buffalo Bore costs $25 for 20 rounds ($1.25/rd).

    I am very pleased with my cost outcome. I have made some high quality ammo for less than than what I can buy cheap range ammo at Walmart and I have some real kick butt performance.

    Perhaps in the future I may see how low I can go - buy lead bullets, use cheaper powder, buy hordes of primers online, and use minimal amounts of powder. Note: I didn't "average" in the cost of my press, dies, etc. If i did it would double the cost of the first couple of thousand rounds...
  22. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

    Mar 8, 2010
    S/E Michigan
    Years ago I started reloading to save money--the kids were killing me with our Uzi.
    It didn't take me long to forget the savings & start buying every good piece of reloading equipment I could get my hands on. I gave up trying to save & started enjoying my hobby.
    I hope you will junk the calculator & start to relax & enjoy a great hobby
  23. fractal7

    fractal7 Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    The 9mm savings is quite slim, even if you factor in "free brass" depending on the bullet and the load. I think you can make some pretty good dents in .45ACP, but .38 special is a giant money saver. My 38 special wadcutter loads take 2.8 grains of bullseye, and lead bullets from MBC, I think my cost comes to about $5-$7 per box of 50. I usually see a box of 38 rounds for sale at about $17 (Although I'll put the disclaimer on that statement that I'm sure that somewhere there is a deal I am unaware of but that is about the average "cheap" price that I see.)

    Anyway just giving you some help to tip the balance sheet, although I know its not the accounting answer you were originally asking for.
  24. mbruce

    mbruce Member

    Nov 24, 2010
    Western NC
    yes you factor in the cost of EVERYTHING. you depreciate it over the life that you think you will keep it until you replace it with a "better" one...life being # of rounds in this case. with that said...

    the most important aspect of a spreadsheet is nice bold yellow colored column headers, frozen panes, and repeat headers at the top.... sorry i use to do financial analysis for an investment bank.

    most reloaders on this forum will say they do it for enjoyment....it's a hobby -- what hobby actually saves you money? I do it because I have nothing else to do -- wife works in a different city 4 months out of the year and reloading keeps me out of trouble..LOL
  25. murf

    murf Member

    Nov 16, 2010
    get your wife to start shooting. she wil forget about the question.

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