Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Is .223 worth reloading STRICTLY on a cost-savings basis?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Futo Inu, Oct 14, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Futo Inu

    Futo Inu member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2003
    Messages:
    731
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Of course if you're looking for an accurate or performance load, it is, but yes or no, on cost basis only for general purpose shooting, reload .223 or buy it in bulk?
     
  2. C.R.Sam

    C.R.Sam Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,632
    Location:
    Chino Valley, AZ., USA
    I don't think so.
    for fun of loading, target etc; yes.
    Just plinkin....no.

    Sam
     
  3. 444

    444 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    8,047
    Location:
    Ohio
    Depends on what brand of ammo you are using to plink with. I shoot about 90% Wolf. It costs about the same as my handloads using bulk Remington bullets. Every other brand that I have easy access to is substantually more.
     
  4. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    4,777
    Location:
    Transient
    on cost alone, no. definitely not.

    but what fun is it if you can't hit distant targets? that's where handloading comes in...
     
  5. ocabj

    ocabj Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Messages:
    2,383
    Location:
    Riverside, CA
    My father and I reload 9mm, among the other calibers we shoot. You save a few pennies here and there, and reloading pistol isn't that hard anyway. Rifle on the other hand can get strenuous, specifically for semi-auto. Case prep takes awhile. If you have the time to reload for .223, go for it. I don't really plink with my AR anymore. I used to just go wild and waste ammo, but then I bought a .22 and sunk 7-8 times the cost of the gun into accessories (barrel, scope, internals) and I spend about $20 for a brick of 500 Wolf Match Target.

    $30/1000 .223 FMJ (Golden West Bullet) = $0.03/round
    7000grains/25grains = 280 rounds per 1lb powder* = $20/280 = $0.07142... ~ $0.08/round
    $15/1000 primers = $0.015 ~ $0.02/round

    This comes out to about 13 cents a round, not counting brass and shipping costs.

    *I just picked 25gr because IMR 4064 and Varget can do 25gr as a low to mid power load.

    You have to ask yourself if it's worth it to you to take the time to reload or just spend $$$ on cartridges? If anything, I'd buy Winchester Q3131A from Ammoman.com or MiWallCorp.com and save the brass. You can sell it or keep it.
     
  6. 444

    444 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    8,047
    Location:
    Ohio
    I answered the question as the original poster asked it; on a cost basis only.
    However, I totally agree that if you factor in time and effort is definitely isn't worth it. For plinking and self defense type practice, it definitely isn't worth it unless you are just trying to find something to do away from the TV. IMO, loading high volumes of rifle ammo is a PITA. I have a Dillon 550 set up to load .223. It is certainly faster than loading on a single stage, but it is many times slower than loading handgun ammo on the same press. Before you do anything, you have to lube the case. In the first stage you size/deprime/prime. Then you need to remove the case from the machine and remove the case lube (at least I do, I know some people don't). Then you need to measure the case to decide if it needs trimmed.........................

    I do handload .223. I have two bolt guns and a Bushmaster V-Match AR that I handload my more refined target/varmint ammo. I augment my plinking/self defense type ammo with handloads. But the vast majority of my .223/5.56 ammo is Wolf which usually goes for around $90-$100/ case at the gunshows. It runs flawlessly out of my ARs and it is plenty accurate for what I am doing with it. I don't feel that I am making any kind of a sacrifice at all in using it. But, I wouldn't use it in the bolt guns or the V-Match for firing groups on paper at 300 yards.
     
  7. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Messages:
    3,507
    Location:
    Kansas City, KS
    No, I 2nd the vote of support for Wolf. It's not match grade but as long as you're not shooting so fast as to melt the lacqure you're good to go.
     
  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,394
    Location:
    Southeastern US
    I agree with Sam. For plinking, no. For target use, you have to weigh your costs and benefits.

    You cannot buy better ammo than I make for half of what they sell it in the stores for.
     
  9. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Messages:
    2,022
    Location:
    SW NH
    Second what Mr. Smith said!

    For me, reloading .223 is primarily a winter hobby, when I'm not shooting as much as in the summer. A few thousand bullets, a case of spent brass, primer and powder, and I can sit through a Nor-easter or two with ease. But what do I know, I reload for 9mm also! :rolleyes:
     
  10. SodaPop

    SodaPop member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2002
    Messages:
    1,430
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I would never buy any of that SS109 or M855 stuff in bulk. It usually costs about $220 on up, and my reloads cost about $125 per 1000rds. My reloads are more accurate than all the Greek and British stuff.
     
  11. BigG

    BigG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    7,081
    Location:
    Dixieland
    Futo Ino, for the purpose you state, no it isn't to me. You can pick up the Win White box for ~ $4.00 or .20 a shot. Reloading a box of ammo with adequate case prep and cleaning etc is a hell of a lot more to me when I factor in the time. For super accuracy, yes, you can do better reloading but you pay for it in time. For just making noise or target practice, $10 worth of factory ammo will get it out of my system with no muss or fuss and I leave the brass neatly policed and returned to the box for some "lucky" individual to find. YMMV

    Same goes for 9mm.
     
  12. Sunray

    Sunray Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2003
    Messages:
    11,274
    Location:
    London, Ont.
    What use is ammo that won't drive tacks? And you'd have to sight in every time you change ammo.
     
  13. BigG

    BigG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    7,081
    Location:
    Dixieland
    Nobody said it wouldn't.

    You don't have to hit the "B" on the budweiser can to have fun. Besides, my AR15 SP1 has iron sights and I don't use it to puncture prairie dogs at 400 yards. When I put my high power 20X Leupold on my 223 it would shoot 3/4" groups off the bench with ball but that ain't what I'm about usually. YYMV
     
  14. HankB

    HankB Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2003
    Messages:
    5,230
    Location:
    Central Texas
    I recently bought 1000 rounds of Win USA 5.56mm ammo for $168 out the door, so that's $3.36 a box with tax. It's 55 grain FMJ and has a crimped primer . . . so it's hard to do better reloading "plinking" ammo if your time is worth anything even on a progressive press.

    South African surplus was also pretty good, and a bit cheaper, but seems to be much less available today.

    Of course, when I'm seeking best accuracy or performance I handload.
     
  15. Ivanimal

    Ivanimal Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    CA
    I dont buy loaded ammo anymore cost aside its just superior results and consistency.
     
  16. Mr. Chitlin

    Mr. Chitlin Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Messages:
    296
    Location:
    90.44.1W 35.48.4N
    Last year, I stocked up on South Afrikan surplus M193. For our local 3 gun matches and general blasting it is just fine. I got it for $279/2700, or just over 10 cents per round. I did the math and can not load it that cheap. The only 223 I load any more is my hunting loads using 50 or 55 grain Ballistic Tips as opposed to buying factory loads. I DO save money on them. I can load 500 or so, and that will last me all winter for hunting and sighting in.

    I am also going to have to look at 9mm the next time I run low. I have gotten out of loading lead, just too nasty for me any more. I am going to have to compare the cost of bulk to loading my own. I enjoy loading as much as anyone, and load many thousands of rounds per year, but if I can buy factory cheaper than loading my own, that is a no brainer for me.
     
  17. FireInTheHole

    FireInTheHole Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Messages:
    299
    Location:
    Kansas City, Kansas
    Has anybody considered using surplus powder for .223? If you buy enough (30lbs) cost drops to about $8/lb..... I've had good results with WC846 in .308.

    My 9mm costs:
    115gr star 9mm/1000: $37.50 ($150/4000 with shipping included)
    alliant power pistol @ 6 gr ~ $.0125/rd = $12.50 ($58/4lbs @ gunshow after tax)
    WSP primers ~$16/1000 ($80/5k after tax)
    1000 9mm brass: free

    Total per 1k: $66

    As I consider reloading WORK:

    add about 3 hours of my time ~$8.50/hour(after taxes:fire: )

    Total with My Time: ~ $91.50

    I save about $30 per 1000 rds over bulk, with my time factored in.

    If I enjoyed pulling the handle, ammo would be about half what the store charges. If your time is worth more, factory is the way to go.
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,394
    Location:
    Southeastern US
    I don't think calculating your hourly wage into your handloading budget is a good thing to do.
     
  19. BigG

    BigG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    7,081
    Location:
    Dixieland
    If it takes time away from something else you should be doing, it should be calculated in. If it takes time away where you could be doing something else, it is an opportunity cost, at the least. So you prefer to do the brass prep, charge up the system and pull the handle. To me, that is work unless I'm saving big bucks or working up a special load.

    If you are calling it a hobby and you would only be watching the idiot box for lack of something better to do, yes, I call that worth your while.
     
  20. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Messages:
    16,341
    Location:
    South PA, and a bit West of center!
    I think most bases been covered .. and no ...... I don't think the cost-saving is in itself enough ..... provided we talk plinking. My Mini-14 will eat all it is given and I can burn up good home-loads way too fast ... tho I have to say that then and only then does the lil puupy actually shoot rather well.

    That aside .... and if the time factor accepted as ''hobby'' and thus not chargeable ......... then like any rifle round the .223 Rem is definitely best ''home brewed''. certainly when it comes to loads to suit a Contender for intsance . then it's a must. I am waiting on some experimental bullets from a buddy of mine who swages ..... and shall be playing with some 45 grn and 50 grn bullets ... probably over Varget. No factory loads that'll cover that sorta round.
     
  21. BigG

    BigG Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    7,081
    Location:
    Dixieland
    We got guys who reload shotgun at the gun club. They tried to tell me I needed to get a MEC. I said how much does it cost you to load a box of 12 gauge? After some head scratching, figgering, getting a piece of paper and writing on it, etc. the answer was um about $3.50 -.75 a box. Here I have four boxes of Federal 12 gauge for 16 bucks and this guy takes his shot, which misfires and he has to get the cleaning rod to knock the wad out. Returning, they say, yeah, you really need to get a reloader. The other guy shoots, misfires, and gets the cleaning rod to knock the wad out. etc.

    As far as metallic ctgs go, I like reloading 45 ACP as it is large enough to put into the bullet seating die without my fingers getting in the way. Same with a large rifle ctg like 375 H&H. The .223 or 9mm or other mini ctg, no way. YMMV
     
  22. JA

    JA Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    391
    Location:
    Memphis,TN
    I have got to know who is paying all these guys that say "my time reloading is worth X dollars a hour"?
     
  23. 444

    444 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    8,047
    Location:
    Ohio
    I have always wondered that myself, because I want a piece of that action. If my time is so valuable I should also get paid for shooting, sleeping, eating, in fact I should be on the clock right now.

    But in a seriousness, there are some things that simply arn't worth it to me. When I am getting ready to take a class, I am firing a couple hundred 5.56 rounds daily for a month or two. If I was handloading them, I would do nothing else but load and shoot. It is worth it for me just to spent the $100 for a case of Wolf. Of course if I lived somewhere that I couldn't shoot year round, I could use that down time to handload a nice supply for the rest of the year.
     
  24. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Messages:
    4,394
    Location:
    Southeastern US
    Some guys have to save up to buy a 1K case of Wolf 7.62x39, and others can buy it whenever they feel like it. I suggest that if we want to keep this friendly and keep personal finances out of this, we stop right now.
     
  25. FireInTheHole

    FireInTheHole Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Messages:
    299
    Location:
    Kansas City, Kansas
    LOL, I'm one of those poor bastards. I save up over months to get decent prices. All so I can feed my obsession. :D

    When I finish school and get a real job, I doubt I will even bother to reload, save for accuracy.

    Exactly.

    Back to the topic, cheap .223 can be made for ~half the cost of nonwolf ammo. I dont like shooting russian stuff in anything but russian guns, JMHO.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page