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Is it worth it economically?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by vamo, Jan 19, 2013.

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  1. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    Main questions to ask:

    Value of your freetime? Do you like sitting sedentary and measuring and ordering online components? Do you have room to store supplies and make a reloading area? Do you mainly shoot a few calibers, or lots?

    For me, my time is too valuable, and I already sit too sedentary for work, and I shoot way too many calibers to make reloading a good idea. Instead, I just buy ammo in bulk when it's a good deal.
     
  2. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    I beg to differ.

    I think you underestimate your abilities. You have been reloading for 47 years and from your post, I infer you have a room in your home dedicated to loading.

    When I started, all my gear fitting in a small box I kept in my closet and I set up in the living room on an end table with a drop cloth for convenient cleanup. I paid for my entire setup in under 15 boxes of .357 Magnum (RCBS Rochchucker, 10-10 scale, Dies and Powder Measure).

    If I could not have rolled my own ammunition when I started shooting, I would have had to have picked another hobby in 1975.

    So, what is true for you may not be true for others. Besides, I believe you could trim down if you had to (though I am glad you don't have to).

    Lost Sheep
     
  3. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    This topic does get posted all the time, but the questions are often nuanced in new ways. And the answers always bear re-thinking.

    It is easier to buy factory ammo. With 9mm it is almost as cheap, especially if you go to a local commercial loader (check with your local police to see where they get their training ammo).

    Reloading ain't rocket science, but it does involve smoke and flame and things that go very fast, so caution and care are appropriate. But really, anyone who can change a tire with out losing their lug nuts and back a cake without turning stomachs can load ammunition as good as the best factory ammo.

    It isn't so much about being independent of CCI, Remington and Winchester for years, but being independent of spot shortages that may last a few months

    I am not worried when any of my calibers are in short supply at the gun store (loaded rounds or components) because I have a couple thousand rounds worth of components sitting ready in my laundry room. Yet I have a WHOLE LOT less money and space involved in storing those components.

    The fact that the brass is re-usable cuts down a LOT on the space requirement.

    Lost Sheep
     
  4. mizer67

    mizer67 Member

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    I seriously doubt that no one but a few competition shooters has over 20K+ of factory ammo available in their garage. I know more than a handful of reloaders that have several times that amount in components across several calibers.

    Waiting out supply shortages and shooting something for $.17 / round that's now $1.00 / round with panic buying going on is satisfying.

    However, the truth is you'll likely never save any money reloading. You'll just shoot two or three times as much as you would've otherwise. Does that sound like fun?

    I know I never would've stayed shooting as long as I have if I didn't reload.
     
  5. Charley345

    Charley345 Member

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    My 9mm reloads are costing 14 cents each versus 26 cents from our local walmart. savings of 12 cents per round.
    Last year I bought a Lee Classic Turret press kit for $200 ( it is $240 right now at fsreloading.com). Add a set of dies some books and you can easily get started for $300. So after reloading 2500 rounds you would have the equipment paid for. This assumes you already have some brass saved from factory rounds.

    I usually reload 180 rounds in an hour on the lee turret press. That is about as long as I want to reload in one session. I have loaded as many as 200 rounds in an hour when I kept laser focused.

    I have four separate turrets with different caliber dies in each one so I can change between calibers in a couple minutes.
     
  6. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    Naaah you won't save any money so don't bother. That will save all that much more stuff for the rest of us to hoard.:what::D
    Seriously it takes some effort and dedication to become a reloader but if you want more accurate/custom (read premium) ammo that is available anytime you want it and a lower cost per round than cheap factory fodder that is available at the same time then I would definitely become a reloader.

    On the flip side however this is probably the absolute worst time to be starting into the adventure because of supply shortages along with price gouging that is rampant because of many factors. Still you will save substantially over buying factory ammo if starting that now instead. The real savings is in reusing the brass over and that is not only cost effective but good for the environment at the same time. Reloaders have been recyclers for years---long before it became popular for everybody and their neighbor to do just that.:D

    Buying used equipment will also be a savings. If you have a mentor or possibly by reading up on what you need to make the correct choices you can assemble a great setup with the stuff you will never need to replace after first purchase. This sub forum is a great resource if you read all the reloading wisdom threads first. Again if you have or can find a mentor that is the best option to get it right the first time. Your choice to reload or not so good luck with your decision.:cool:
     
  7. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    I do a lot of things that are not economically sound but I feel that I need to know how to do it,,, reloading, trapping, making my own trapping lure, brain tanning, casting boolits, canning, gardening, I think I even want chickens now :)

    So money aside and better ammunition aside it is just something good to know how to do. Doesn't mean you need to do it a lot. As a matter of fact if you do shoot a lot (like competition and practice) you may still buy factory ammo because if you are the typical American you are already busy. Reloading as a hobby does not prevent you from buying ammo just eliminates the need.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  8. Missionary

    Missionary Member

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    Good morning
    There are many reasons to do so but I choose not to be left ammo less.
    Then there is the 50-95 and 414 Supermag.
    And my desire to have the absolute most accurate round for some other items.
    Mike in ILL
     
  9. Utryme

    Utryme Member

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    Reloading is somewhat like going to college. It's all about the experience. If its only "money", by the time you have $250 into presses and dies, $250 into accessories, $300 into a dps system and another $200 of misc items it's economy will only work in volume. Figure it out, you would have to save $.50/round for 2000 rounds to break even and we haven't even talked the time investment.

    HOWEVER, if you want price stability, you buy bulk and control your own stores. If you want accuracy, you tune your rounds till you get sub MOA or find out your gun sucks! If you want cheap fun, you can now shoot for 40% of the cost of factory loads (in the long term savings plan).

    Redneck turned me on to reloading, here's the problem, why you shouldn't do it: "that's good enough" doesn't exist anymore, not until their in one hole! What a challenge. It's like golf with a bang (all about how good you can make you)! Thanks Redneck!
     
  10. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    To me, reloading is a way to buy bulk ammo at a discount, some assembly required. It's cheaper. And it's more flexible, too. (If you cast bullets and/or buy bullets as you use them, you can load a variety of calibers with the same powders/primers). In my mind, you need to be a little of a hoarder to get these benefits.

    If in the mood to do more shooting and less reloading, I can always buy some completed ammunition. But eventually, I'll have some downtime where I will be more than happy to sit at the bench and crank out some rounds.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  11. presspuller

    presspuller Member

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    I reload simply because it is fun. I actually have had to go shoot simply because I didn't have anything to reload. I couldn't tell you if I save one dime or not but I enjoy it.
     
  12. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    I reloaded for two years with nothing more than a set of dies, 20 dollar press, a homemade dipper, and a cheap lee scale. I still only use an 80 dollar press, the same lee scale, and a 25 dollar lee powder measure. I did add a Frankford Arsenal vibratory tumbler.
     
  13. witchhunter

    witchhunter Member

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    It is nice to see honesty about the cost of reloading here. I, like some of you started out to save money at it when I started shooting as a kid in the 60's. Looking around at my reloading room today, I see roughly a couple of thousand dollars worth of of reloading equipment. Most of it 30 years old and still in great shape. I also see several thousand dollars worth of components! . I have dies for 31 different calibers! The more you shoot the more you can save, or the more you can shoot. The more you shoot, the better you get at it. It irks me to buy factory. My son is almost 30 and he has never had to buy one box of factory ammo, ever. My grandson won't either if I can squirrel away a little bit more or if I quit shooting p dogs all summer! I just bought some .375 H&H dies on Ebay, looks like I am in the market for a rifle in that caliber, 375 brass was on sale last month, along with some 270 grain partitions......I could save a fortune loading some .375's. Call it like it is...uh, saving money, yeah that's it.
     
  14. HighExpert

    HighExpert Member

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    Plus,when the SHTF, you will be a very popular guy in your neighborhood. It is very hard to run down deer instead of using the ammo you no longer can get. Is now the best time to get in? I don't know...maybe if the whole situation never improves very much. On the other hand, if the supply does finally catch up...as I believe it will, there may be some people who find out they are not cut out for reloading and have used equipment to sell which can further reduce your investment. At which point you can apply the lessons learned in the past few weeks and never be caught short on components. My 550b cost me $249 and now it is $339 plus I have gotten about 500,000 rounds out of it. The press has a lifetime warranty and I truly hope to wear it out so they have to send me a new one. I have been stocking up a little at a time since the last shortage and I don't mean the one in 2009. I have no shortage of any component because I planned for this. My neighbors have already started hinting around and so far have not been too statisfied. Oh Well.
     
  15. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Member

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    For me, reloading is a part of my shooting hobby. If I didn't reload, I'd probably have another hobby like collecting classic motorcycles or Martin guitars. There's very little cheap fun in life. Reloading may or may not save me money but it's cheaper than most hobbies. Anybody priced fishing equipment, boats, or woodworking tools lately?:what:
     
  16. Adam the Gnome

    Adam the Gnome Member

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    It is definitely worth it! Not only do you get premium ammo for the cost of wwb, it is "loads" of fun. I load only 9mm. It is fun and a way to enjoy shooting when raining, snowing, dark. And you will always have ammo and not have to go out.
    I could not tell you when I will break even on my investment solely on 9mm because that's not my goal.
    I did manage to get the stuff to start .223 before the madness. Surely that will make up for the loss!
     
  17. blarby

    blarby Member

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    Yep.

    *looks at ammo shelves at stores*

    Hmmmmmmmm

    *looks at ammo shelves at home*

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    *looks at price tags on bare shelves at stores*

    Erm..... Whimper.

    *looks at receipts for reloading components*

    Hehehehehehehe Suckers.

    *looks at performance of factory ammo*

    Meh.

    **looks at handload target collection**

    Dang !


    I will state for the record though, that you are standing in the candy store asking if everyone really likes sugar.
     
  18. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    If you're only concern is spending less money, probably not.
    It may not be the same way for everyone, but personally, I spend 5x the money on ammo as I did before handloading. But that's because I'd as soon load ammo as shoot it. It's very relaxing to me. And I like seeing shelves full of ammo and knowing that the next time there's a shortage, my range time won't be affected in the slightest.
     
  19. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    I enjoy reloading, so I would probably do it ever if I didn't need to.

    Does it save me money? In the grand scheme no, because if I didn't reload I probably wouldn't be a shooter. My cost would be $0. But since I want to be a shooter then yes, it saves me money and it is absolutely worth it.

    I cast my own bullets, so even buying commercial lead ingots at $1/pound means I can make 200 grain bullets for <$0.03 each, or about $3 per hundred. Primers cost the same and a 5 grain powder charge is $1.50 per hundred. That's $7.50 per hundred rounds and on my Lee progressive press that's about 30 minutes of work.

    There's a pretty good correlation between practice and proficiency in shooting, and I can send more practice rounds down range for the same $. There's also a strong correlation between round count and amount of fun, so my fun/$ ratio is higher as well. Win-win for reloading IMO. And I will always have ammo.
     
  20. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    That's awsome. I'm gonna be stealing that quote.
     
  21. KeithET

    KeithET Member

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    I can usually reload my ammo much cheaper then I can buy. Some calibers like 9mm can be close but I can still save something. The easiest way to save is to buy stuff in bulk. Each person has to decide when its time to re-load. One thing I can say is in the last two buying frenzies (2009 and now) I have not been caught with sticker shock on ammo prices or wanted to go shooting but could not find any ammo at a fair price to shoot. I always have components because I buy in large quantities when things are cheaper and use it as needed. I listen to people at the range complaining about the cost of ammo and watch them walk away from from all the brass they just wasted on the ground. By collecting their brass and reloading they could shoot more often for cheaper and not have to complain so much. Unfortunately now may not be good time to start reloading if it goes like it did in 2009. I am seeing more and more requests for where to find primers. Once the primer supply dries up its pretty hard to start reloading.

    KeithET
     
  22. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Member

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    One other question to ask yourself is how much free time do you have? There were points in my life where I had more free time than I could fill. These days I have precious little. Having little free time makes me more inclined to want to shoot than reload even if it is just a 22 LR or shotgun shells for clay.
     
  23. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    The more expansive ammo is on the shelves (like right now), the less you need to put into reloading to make it worth it. A Lee Loader will run you about $40, and an pound of powder and 1500 primers will run about $100, and 1400 lead bullets will round about $60. So for $200 dollars you can produce about 1400 rounds. That's 14 cents a round. $200 dollars will buy you about 450 rounds of ammo right now at the local places I've checked. That's about 30 cents a round cheaper.

    Will using a Lee Loader take longer then using a Dillon 650 or even a normal single stage press? Heck yes. However put a value on your time. A round every two minutes (30 rounds an hour) is achievable by anyone right at the start. The cost savings of 14 cents vs 44 cents around works out to 30 cents, meaning you save about $9 a hour in ammo produced. Is you time worth $9 an hour as a start? Even on a Lee Loader somewhere in the neighborhood of 45-60 rounds a minute can be produced, that moving into $12-$18 and hour of savings. That's not a bad days wage for part time work.

    As ammo prices decrease you need to make more ammo or do it faster for the savings to work out. A couple of years ago, it really made sense to just buy it commercial, or run a progressive press. Right now, a Lee Loader will pay for it self in about 150 rounds.

    As an aside, why do you shoot? Do you do it as a fun hobby, for competition, to better be able to defender yourself and loved ones, for meat, to better able to do your job, for all the above? Why you shoot, how much you shoot, and how you shoot will all effect if reloading is worth it for you. You might even find that since you produce your own ammo with a much lower investment then purchasing it commercially you being to shoot for different reasons then when you started. Also there is a convenience for loading small batches. If going to the store to buy 1 box of ammo takes 30-45 minutes, but you've already got your press setup you might produce 20-50 rounds in half the time. You might go shooting when you otherwise wouldn't just due to the convenience of it all.

    -Jenrick
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  24. popper

    popper Member

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    Like wise to what the others say. I started for the economy, now for fun. 9mm is a tough one, economically, 45 and any rifle is a better saver. Wish 20 & 12 ga were low cost to reload.
     
  25. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    Yes, and yes.
    Sure, but if you wanna stock up you can have more for the same money. If the food supply was unreliable, would you buy a big pallet of frozen dinners, or would you buy bulk grains, pasta, meat, and veggies?
     
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