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How much to load vs components on hand?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Hokie_PhD, Apr 9, 2017.

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  1. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    As far as how to store it, I hit harbor freight and got a bunch of ammo cans for 4.99 each. Fill them up, label them, and slide them under your bench. Akro bins are great to stack on your bench for smaller quantities and sterlite containers from the dollar store or Walmart are handy too. I use the blue maxwell house coffee cans to store my cast bullets in and they stack fairly well and are robust enough for years of use.
     
  2. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    It will come.
     
  3. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

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    Yes pulling bullets isn't fun. I learned that the hard way with a load that was much lighter than I though. Being new I errored on th light side. I learned too light while no KABOOMs means not cycling on my main range gun. Ironically on one of my carry guns it worked fine. Go figure. I guess the subcompacts smaller slide was easier to move ;-)

    I haven't heard of many cases of powder going bad in assembled rounds. I'm sure it happens but most of the cases I've heard were do to improper storage. I rotate my rounds and use the oldest first, same with components so I don't expect to have any problems (barring the unforeseen). Also with the rate I'm shooting now, I don't expect to load more than I can use this year. But well see as things develop.
     
  4. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    yeah this is kind of like asking a stranger what size shoes you should wear. Kinda something you have to figure out yourself.
     
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  5. thomas15

    thomas15 Member

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    That is a good idea. Also, where I have multiple 1 pound containers of the same powder I always put a label on the one that I'm using so that I don't have any more than 1 (1 pound canister) of any particular powder opened at a time.
     
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  6. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

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    I do not keep a lot of loaded ammo on hand. A "lot" is a relative term. I keep enough handgun for a couple range trips, and same for .223. I doubt I ever have more than 6-700 rounds of handgun and 100-200 rounds of .223 loaded at any given time. I have enough components to load each for a couple years. I buy bullets for each 1000 or more at a time. Since the crunch I had been buying powder 1# at a time because it was hard to find what I needed in any larger quantities. Things are getting better and I should be able to find 4# and 8# jugs now.
    Bigger rifles I seldom have more than 20 -30 rounds loaded, and it seems as if I'm always experimenting so I'm ok with that. I always have 20 or so "hunting" rounds loaded in case I need them. Anything beyond that is for playing, testing at the range, etc.

    -Jeff
     
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  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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  8. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

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    Did you read my post?
    The smart reply shows you obviously didn't.
    Worse you didn't even look at the replies if the discussion.
    Had you done so, you'd see the point of this discussion is to come up with a plan to figure out what works for me. Not to get a number.
     
  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I have about half my supply of 9mm bullets in loaded ammo, less than half in .45, much more than half in .38. But not many in rifle ammo.
    No conscious choice, that is just the way my shooting vs loading has worked out lately.
     
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  10. hdwhit

    hdwhit Member

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    I'm a little less than a year from retirement and my income will drop significantly when that happens. To not stress the future budget, I decided to lay in all the components for my expected reloading needs for the rest of my life. I intend to keep most of those components as components so that I can continue to reload when the mood strikes me.
     
  11. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I meant no offense and was not intending to make a smart alec remark, its just an anology. For what its worth I prefer to keep the components unloaded for the same reasons others mentioned, but I do load in bulk, so when I'm going to make 9mm I do so 500 rounds at a time. I would also factor in loading time into your plans. Do you like to load 50 here and there or do you have time to sit down and crank them out for a few hours?
     
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  12. otisrush

    otisrush Member

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    For stocking up on components I tend to measure it in "years"......how many years can I go given whatever my consumption rate is per caliber.

    Regarding amount of loaded ammo to have on hand I tend to measure it in "range trips". I always want at least one range trip loaded in each caliber so if a time window opens up for me to go, I'm confident I can take whatever gun/caliber I want.

    I really like the loading process itself. So loading *too* much in advance I see as a net negative, as it just means it'll be a longer time between loading sessions.

    OR
     
  13. Fishslayer

    Fishslayer Member

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    Just keep collecting brass til you don't need to worry about it, then stockpile some more. Even stuff you don't reload now may come in handy down the road, either as your own loads or as trade bait and you never know when another drought will hit. Odds are good that you will add calibers later. My collection of brass is sorted by headstamp, bagged in freezer bags and stored in plastic tubs from Walmart.

    When you find a load you like buy a keg of powder, a case of primers, bullets. Stored properly they don't go bad and they don't eat anything. It's not hoarding if your stuff is cool, and it's a lot cheaper to stockpile components than storebought ammo. ;)
     
  14. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

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    Thanks
    This is much more helpful

    In fact I think your last sentence is really helpful. Ironically it doesn't help with the question on how much ammunition to load vs leave as components, but does hit on something I've been thinking about lately.

    Currently I load on the weekends and some evenings to relax. Usually in batches if 50 to 100 using my hand press to deprime, my hand primer to prime then weighing out each load then seating and crimping on my Turret press.

    That said as I shoot more I'm probably going to have to put the autoindexer in, and prime and add the powder dispenser to crank out ammo faster as I'm not going to have as much free time plus a need for more ammo.

    Otisrush, I think that might be a good way to look at this. Maybe look at the component supply as my stock to keep at a certain level and build onto. Set a minimum level, then purchase 2x what I use as I approach it. Then adjust the min level.

    Of course that gets me back to the original question of figuring out how much to load. Maybe a few months of range trips. Or load a few then load 2x what I use until I have a supply that makes sense. By that I guess as I do this I'll be figuring out how much I'm shorting and what I really need.

    So I guess im staring to at least get the start of a plan! And as we know that's more important in many ways than exact numbers!
     
  15. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    It took me years of reloading, more----or less---as my interests changed between firearms to get where I am now for my comfort level. So 100-150 rifle rounds that I rarely shoot, 223/308 1K and handgun ammo 500--1K as a minimum to not go below. Then load more as needed for range trips. The major thing these days is if something happens to me the components will be easier to sell than loaded rounds ever will.
     
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  16. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    Once you get comfortable loading "semi progressive" on the Lee turret press with an auto drum you can really crank ammo out. I can do 100 9mm about half an hour. I can only do a few hundred in a sitting though before I start loosing focus. Your doing it the right way to start with doing it single stage till your fully comfortable though
     
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  17. edleit

    edleit Member

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    @FROGO207 : You make a darn good point in your last post!

    At some point we all will check out and leave our assortment of supplies, in whatever state of preparation or assembly they may be, to those who remain here after us. To some, that means passing on our goods to progeny who share our passion. To others, it may present a burden to dispose of. Since most handloaders share a mutual respect and simultaneous aversion to utilizing others loaded ammo, having a profuse quantity of pre-loaded ammunition to dispose of can be a difficult situation to resolve. Unless sons/daughters/spouses are in a position to utilize the stash, it becomes a dis-assembly proposition that may be much less attractive to someone who might otherwise be willing to assist in liquidating this part of the estate.

    @Hokie_PhD : I did not want to hijack your thread, but thought it important to expand on this aspect of component & ammo accumulation that is very often not considered. Individual components, whether bulk packaged or loose, unopened powder containers, and primers in original packaging are probably the most easily disposed of to other loaders. Open/partial powder containers might be very difficult to transfer, unless to a fellow loader who is familiar with your methods and level of care regarding handling and storage. Loaded ammo, as mentioned, may be near impossible to transfer, unless to a familiar ally, and then only if well documented by labeling and load data.

    We should all keep these issues in mind when determining what is reasonable and practical to fulfill our needs.
     
  18. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    I've noticed everyone talking about how much of the components you need to keep on hand and how many loaded rounds to have on hand and reloading techniques to use. All good ideas and info. I think one of the most important things ( some of the posts have touched on it) one should do is record keeping. Nothing worse than getting out a box of ammo you loaded a month ago and you can't remember what you have done with that particular batch of ammo. Especially if you are in the experimental stage of developing your loads. There are templates for keeping reloading data that you can print all over the internet and some of the reloading company actually sell reloading data log books. I keep a log book and also label each different load , plus I color code them.
     
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  19. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I don't really see it as all bad. Either they are glad to get them and will use them (Woohoo!), or they sell them off dirt cheap to some lucky jack leg (Woohoo!) because it's the easy way to get rid of them quickly. No harm no foul. YMMV. :)
     
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  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Amen brother. :)
     
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  21. GBExpat

    GBExpat Member

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    Reading and thinking about this I had to chuckle when it occurred to me that my "stock" approach to ammunition & components is best explained with a technical term:

    Crapload :)

    My scientific approach to this has, for a long time, revolved around the idea that if I'm not tripping over it or losing track of it in one of The Piles or standing there looking at the overflowing bench storage space (which has crept out to include much of the top of the bench) wondering where to put THIS new pile of stuff ...

    ... I do not have enough.
     
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  22. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I have much more components than loaded ammunition. As soon as I loaded everything up for something I would either need the primers, powder or bullets for something else or would come up with a better load.

    I may keep a few thousand of this or that ready to go of something I shoot a lot of but may have less than 50 loaded for loads "in progress".
     
  23. ilbob

    ilbob Member

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    Those plastic boxes work pretty well.

    They also have steel ones 50 cal size that look pretty decent. $13 on sale. I think amazon has them for the same price with free prime shipping.

    The plastic ones are 30 cal size and six boxes of federal automatch 22 will fit in each one, while twelve boxes will fit in a 50 cal can. It does not look that much bigger, but it is.
     
  24. NoirFan

    NoirFan Member

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    I just started reloading this year and I prefer to maximize loaded ammo on hand. Whenever I have empty cases I fill em up and can them for storage. My thinking is that ammo is immediately useful but components are not, so I prefer to have the ammo.

    My assortment is probably a lot smaller than that of most guys here though. Right now I've got under a thousand 38 and 357 cases in regular circulation. I think that's a lot by "normal" standards but not by reloader standards!
     
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  25. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    I reload for 10 different guns and I have about 1000 rounds ready to go. I could load a lot more but I might want to experiment with a load so I don't want to lock myself into having to use a load for a long period of time till I exhaust all of it so I can try something different. Although I understand some of us have a load they really like and don't feel the need to experiment.
     
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