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Cost/Benefit analysis

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by wilkersk, Sep 28, 2009.

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  1. wilkersk

    wilkersk Member

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    -----------------------------------------------------ADDED------------------------------------------------------------
    OK, So I know this topic gets beat to death. I didn't see the pinned thread on reloading cost when I first posted this. I hope this thread might be of additional value. If not, I won't feel hurt if it gets deleted.
    -------------------------------------------------ORIGINAL POST------------------------------------------------------

    The current prices for reloading components has really got me to thinking about the cost benefit of reloading over buying factory bulk ammo. So tonight, I sat down to do a good old fashioned "Cost/Benefit Analysis" for reloading .45acp over buying one of the lesser expensive brands of factory ammo.

    I used price data from Cabela's, Montana Gold, and Starline Brass. And I figured the initial cost of 1000 rounds of new, unprimed brass plus subsequent costs of reloading the same brass over 5 different batches.

    The bottom line is, I found that after 5,000 rounds (the first load of virgin brass + 4 reloads), the total cost savings is enough to pay for a new Dillon XL650 with the case feeder.

    I saved the data as a single-file webpage (*.mht). If anyone wants it, I might be able to figure out a way to post it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2009
  2. benzy2

    benzy2 Member

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    It gets even better if you buy range brass or just scrounge it for free. Switching to lead instead of jacketed goes one more step and before you know it you are casting bullets in the garage out of wheel weights you picked up free. It is a vicious cycle that only gets worse from here. The hook has been set.
     
  3. Landric

    Landric Member

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    Yeah, I just got into casting this year (after 15+ years of handloading). With recycled brass, I can get down to as little as $.03-$.04 per round, only slightly more expensive than .22LR was the last time I bought any.

    There is plenty of savings with the common cartridges, 9x19mm, .38 Special, .45 ACP, but the real savings comes from loading stuff like .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .444 Marlin, .45-70 Government, etc.
     
  4. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    I'll go you one better than that. Pick up every piece of brass you find. Swap every piece you don't need for ones you do need. Brass is free. Put an ad on craigslist for lead in any form. Wait for the call to pick up your lead. Lead is free or almost. Cast your own bullets. minimal cost that pays for itself in no time. Shortly all you are paying for is powder and primers. I currently load 9mm, 38,357, & 45 for around 45.00/1000 at current prices for powder & primers. Now figure out how soon your equipment pays for itself.
     
  5. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    The cost:benefit value misses the point. It really comes down to what criteria you use and the goals you seek.

    For monetary benefit, after we factor in the cost of components, time, loading room & bench/storage, equipment/tools, etc, and reloading vs. buying isn't a very good deal for many of us.

    Factor in what we like to do in our leisure time, what we enjoy, what we get out of it, and reloading becomes cheap enough for the enthusiast.

    So,.. what's important to YOU?
     
  6. wilkersk

    wilkersk Member

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    SHOOTING!

    I started shooting IPSC this year. I can easily shoot 500 rounds per week. And, I dang sure can't afford to buy the factory stuff.

    5,000 rounds to break even for an XL650 with a case feeder? You bet! I'm all over that!
     
  7. Deavis

    Deavis Member

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    Don't forget to count your time, it is not free. Any analysis that excludes it is short-sighted. Don't give me the whole, "I like reloading" or "reloading is relaxing, it doesn't cost me anything," spiel, that isn't the point. Your free time is worth something, generally it should be valued at the money you could be making in that time OR the monetary translation of other activities you could be doing that are rewarding for you.

    If any of you value your free time at $0, then come talk to me, I'd be happy to employ you to reload for me at that rate 24/7. I'll even throw in a copy of Thoma Sowell's, "Basic Economics," to cure you of your opportunity cost ill :)
     
  8. Nate1778

    Nate1778 Member

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    Reloading is like flying. You think buying a ticket on a commercial aircraft to a destination round trip is $1200. So you get a pilots license, plane, hanger, mechanic, so you can take the trip for $300 in gas.

    The real question is how do I deal with the addiction? You know you have it hard when your sweeping the indoor range floor for them. When you have to get through the last box of ammo you brought because filling out 75 rounds of a 100 round box doesn't make sense to you. You'll stop to pick up a single wheel weight sitting in the street, your the only guy during a cease fire at an outdoor range picking up bullets with a bucket and so on and so forth.
     
  9. angus6

    angus6 Member

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    Your missing the point it's MY free time , if you employ me then it is no longer free time as I'm employed.
    Should I start billing the SWMBO for scratching her itch ? charge the kids to take them to what ever ?
    It's free time ie: in time that I'm not employed , which I'm lucky enough to have 4 days a week of
     
  10. benzy2

    benzy2 Member

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    Do you bill yourself for everything you do off the clock? Do you judge your free time doing what ever it is you do based on what you could be making if you were at work? I find reloading near as much fun as shooting. You can say it cost me my hourly wage but so would going to the range to shoot yet you don't see anyone adding in their hourly wage to their range tips for their time lost do you? Free time is FREE. You weren't making money on that time anyways. I'll bill myself at the same rate I bill myself to watch football on the couch.
     
  11. Deavis

    Deavis Member

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    The laws of economics don't end because it is YOUR free time. Read what I wrote and put your brain in gear before you post your argument. ALL of your time is worth something, that is the basis for opportunity cost. That is a fact. Just because you choose to ignore that fact doesn't mean it is untrue. The fact that you immediately indicated that you wouldn't reload for me for free shows that you DO understand opportunity cost but refuse to apply it equally in your life. You are ALWAYS on the clock.

    The value of your time, including your "free" time is what you could be earning or receiving with that time by working/trading/whatever. Simply because your job doesn't employ 24/7 doesn't mean that you COULDN'T be making money during that time. Scratching your SWMBO's back is not free, it is costing you whatever you could get paid in the free market by working or by engaging in one of a myraid of other activities that benefit you. That DOESN'T mean that you shouldn't scratch her back, I'm simply pointing out that you COULD be earning money instead.

    Yes, because your time on earth is finite and is therefore a scarce commodity. That makes every minute of it worth something, there is no time off the clock. Don't confuse what you call "free time" with the economic term free.

    That is blatant ignorance, don't take that personally, but those statements show that you do not grasp the principle of opportunity cost. The fact is that you COULD have been making money or receiving any type of compensation you chose during that time. You just made a value decision that watching football was worth more to you than the money your normal job offered you. Which means that the football game may have cost you MORE than your normal work wage.

    Unless you are a slobbering idiot with no marketable skills then your time is worth something monetarily and even if you are that poor soul, your time is still worth something since you can still do things that benefit you with your time. Even if it is just drooling on your feet and laughing about it, that is worth something.

    That is why you CANNOT exclude your time from the equation when you reload. In other words for those of you who can't get past the basic principles, the time you spend reloading is time you could have spent making money (dollars lost), scratching SWMBO's back (brownie points lost), teaching Little Billy to read (Daddy points), shooting at the range (becoming a GM IPSC shooter), or any other of the million things that you could be doing with the little time you have here on earth.

    It is the same reason I pay people to fix my car now. I could fix 99% of the issues with it myself but I'd rather pay a mechanic to do it using the money I earned from trading my daytime hours for dollars because the time I spend with my family while the mechanic is working is worth more than the savings in dollars I would receive by using my time to fix the car. Similarly, this post has cost me something in terms of productivity but I accept that because I've enjoyed driving home the simple principle of opportunity cost more than the sales I may have lost. Worth every penny to preach the message, do not UNDERVALUE your time, it is the biggest disservice you can do to yourself.
     
  12. Landric

    Landric Member

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    I can't spend the time at the range becoming a grand master, my time is worth too much for that!

    Perhaps I should cut out sleeping so I can spend more time working and making money (which BTW, I can't take with me once my limited time here on earth is over).

    I really am starting to get tired of people coming to handloading forums and telling me (and others) that handloading doesn't save any money because I have to spend time doing it. If that is how you feel about it, fine, don't handload. My time is worth the value I place on it, not what some forum poster or PhD has to say about it. I don't want to spend all my time working, and given that, I am not losing anything spending hours in front of the press doing something I enjoy. If others feel that they are losing something, then the answer is simple, don't handload.
     
  13. Deavis

    Deavis Member

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    Who said that in this thread? Point to the post where someone said that you can't save money? It wasn't me. Who said anything about cutting out your sleep and working more? Where is that evil bogeyman to which you refer? Is pointing out the logical fallacy in a computation somehow offensive?

    Here, I'll say it. Even if you value your time at $40 per hour, you can reload for less than equivalent factory ammo if you buy in bulk and use a progressive press. At least you are right about one thing in your misguided rant against some strawman somewhere, you do determine the value of your free time through your choices. :rolleyes:
     
  14. RidgwayCO

    RidgwayCO Member

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    Deavis, I teach economics at the college level and understand the concept of opportunity cost, but your comments are really beyond the norms of polite society…

    Name-calling is not "The High Road." In your comments you used the words and phrases "short-sighted… spiel… if any of you value your free time at $0, then come talk to me… put your brain in gear… you choose to ignore that fact… blatant ignorance… you do not grasp the principle of opportunity cost… slobbering idiot with no marketable skills… even if it is just drooling on your feet and laughing about it… misguided rant...", but then try to soften the blow with "don't take that personally"? You weren't even addressing me and I took it personally.

    Nobody works 24/7 (at least for long), and everybody needs downtime which is (usually) never compensated. The small point that most of the posters above were trying to make is that nobody pays them to watch the tube or mow the lawn, so they don't feel they have to justify the cost of their reloading time by including it in the cost of their reloads. Would they be more accurate if did? Yes. Are they in complete denial if they don't? Not really…

    Ok, flame suit on. Let me have it…
     
  15. Landric

    Landric Member

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    No one yet, but its coming, it always does in these threads. It is also always from someone who places a dollar amount on their time and factors that into the cost of handloading.

    No matter what anyone says to the contrary, any time that I spend not working by choice has no dollar value. It has value, I would never claim that it doesn't. However, since I work a set number of hours a week at my job, I have no ownership in my own business, and I choose not to engage in other activities to earn money in my off time, it does not "cost" me anything to spend my time doing whatever I choose, whether I enjoy the activity (like handloading) or not (like mowing the grass). You might tell me that point of view is contrary to that of an economists. I don't care, I'll be he doesn't totally live the principle either.

    Is it really worthwhile to consider the "cost" of everything one does in life? How much do I "loose" by sleeping eight hours a night? Could I make more money if I only slept six? I like going to the range, but it will "cost" me three hours that I could be working and making money, so perhaps I shouldn't go.

    Perhaps posting on the internet to people like me who think your argument is unrealistic, even if technically true, isn't cost effective either. How much did it cost you to read this thread?

    My point is that putting a monetary value on everything, and spending the necessary time trying to decide if any given activity is "worth it" isn't a particularly relaxing way to live, and might eventually contribute to the shortening of one's finite time on the planet.

    OK, so how much do you pay yourself to handload, and how much do you save when including that cost?
     
  16. wilkersk

    wilkersk Member

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    Wow, "Opportunity Cost"!

    I took a couple of semesters of accounting in college. The guy teaching the course was an MBA/CPA who worked locally and taught evening courses at the college as a side job.

    He once said that the only good reason for applying the "opportunity cost" model to your spare time, is to convince the wife that hiring a roofer was better than trying to teach yourself to roof.

    What's the opportunity cost of watching TV vs say, learning to speak Farsi? ................>

    Exactly!
     
  17. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

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    I mad as hell! Somebody been crapping me out my pay! Somebody been listening to the prez too much ....what they ain't no free health care! And just think I thought my free time was mine to do with it what I choose! I'm getting me a lawyer!

    JK
     
  18. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    "It is the same reason I pay people to fix my car now. I could fix 99% of the issues with it myself but I'd rather pay a mechanic to do it using the money I earned from trading my daytime hours for dollars because the time I spend with my family while the mechanic is working is worth more than the savings in dollars I would receive by using my time to fix the car. Similarly, this post has cost me something in terms of productivity but I accept that because I've enjoyed driving home the simple principle of opportunity cost more than the sales I may have lost. Worth every penny to preach the message, do not UNDERVALUE your time, it is the biggest disservice you can do to yourself."

    Deavis, I disagree to some degree but, maybe since I ain't no touch-feely, PC college prof your comments don't offend me at all.

    You have "preached" a good sermon, points well made and explained. But, like many preachers, it seems to me that you miss the point. Loading IS something and it has value in that, but any attempt to equate the "value" of our time as if it has some intrinsic value is nonsense. Our time has no value only if we are doing nothing with it. How we do that is up to us of course, we DO use it, and balance that use in ways that seem good to us but mey seem foolish to others. Let others go chase silly golf balls, I have better - to me - things to do! And it doesn't bother me a bit that hoards of other guys are on the links on Saturday while I'm at the riange, in fact I'm GLAD they are "wasting" their "free" time!

    Trying to equat the "value" of free time without including the recreational aspect of any activity means nothing, at least not to most of us. My "work time" has value (or did when I had a job) and I expect to be fully paid for it. But, my free time is my own and I'll spend it as I wish, otherwise it WOULD be worthless to me! When I wish, I go to church or a movie, nap or reload, mow grass or plant flowers, fish or shoot. We all do, and we don't do a cost to benefit analysis on it to see if it's worth our time.

    My original observation that reloading isn't really cost effective for most of us was for MOST of us, not all of us. And then I pointed out that the cost:benefit consideration is irrelivant, we do it because we enjoy it. And that doesn't translate to anyone saying they have chores or loading we can do for them. If a man is too lazy to work he should not eat (2 Thess 3:10-12), nor should he get to shoot reloads.

    BO's illusions aside, NO ONE else has right to claim a share of either my pay or my time simply because they would like some of me!
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2009
  19. angus6

    angus6 Member

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    maybe he's right , I like to shoot 147gr 9mm , looked online and the cheapest I saw was$328.00 K , I can reload them in 2.5 hrs for $133 , looks to me like I'm making about $78 an hr , shoot I can't afford to go to work for my $25 an hr rate think I'll call in sick :D
     
  20. Shrinkmd

    Shrinkmd Member

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    The economic argument applies to many other things, but life is about meaning, and not just the money.

    If you make your own coffee in the morning, it is yours. Not Starbucks or whoever elses. And if you pack your own lunch, make your own sandwich, etc. How about bake your own bread (every now and then) or make up a batch of real oatmeal, not the horrible chemical microwave stuff. Add some real cinnamon and honey, throw in some raisins.

    Or make up a nice batch of 200 gr SWC for your 1911. Try buying those in a store these days. Better yet, obsessively measure group sizes by powder charge, type, and seating depth. Turn your plane jane plinker into a target gun.

    You get the point. Life is to be lived and enjoyed. I know I enjoy shooting more when its my own loads, both because I made them (assembled anyway) and because I can concentrate on the target better when I'm not thinking about how expensive the &%*%# ammo is! And reloading time is like gun cleaning time, just part of the sport.
     
  21. MikeS.

    MikeS. Member

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    Forget all the economics, I reload to have ammo when I want. Not when WM might get some in.
     
  22. PT1911

    PT1911 Member

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    to me, reloading to save money is like buying a new car to save gas... doesnt really work.. at least...it takes quite a while before it does...


    I want to get into reloading for simple reasons.. I would like to get into working on some loads for my guns, and I dont like having to depend on ammo manufacturers to supply my ammunition needs.

    when I start reloading, I will continue to buy ammunition just as i do now, whenever I feel I need it. But there will be no fear of when it will be hard to get which caliber.


    Of course this is all dependent on component availability.. I wont even buy a press until I feel confident I can get the components I need.



    ALSO, I doubt I will get a progressive press.... at least initially.. I feel one added benefit that most seem to forget to reloading is the fact that you are putting time and work into it... may slow down the rate of fire a bit...aim, squeeze, bang, and repeat... rather than just bang bang bang.
     
  23. wilkersk

    wilkersk Member

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    Ya know, when I started this thread, I thought I'd just come up with a good argument for why I need to buy a new Dillon XL650 with the case feeder. I figured maybe someone else might be looking for a similiar excu.....(er, ...reason?) yeah, ....REASON!:D
     
  24. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    I never thought a thread about Economics would actually get responses :).

    I could not afford to shoot if I did not handload. I enjoy the reloading part and the shooting part.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2009
  25. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    MikeS.: " Forget all the economics, I reload to have ammo when I want. Not when WM might get some in."

    Good one Mike, that's an intellectually valid response, right on the "money" too!
     
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