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Is reloading really worth it?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Barrett93, Dec 20, 2015.

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  1. Barrett93

    Barrett93 Member

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    I was reading today in another online forum about the age old question "Is it really worth it to reload?" There were a lot of replies where guys broke it down to a diluted scale concerning their start up costs. A few guys said that it's not worth it if you aren't a volume shooter (over 10,000 rounds a year is what they considered volume). Some made the point that precision shooters don't mind the start up cost because they are seeking something they couldn't get from the factory. This was my response...

    I got started reloading just over a year ago in November 2014 and I actually had the presence of mind to keep all my receipts and document what I have spent over the past year. My "start-up" year I guess you could say. I could have done gotten by with much less but I enjoy this just as much as shooting.

    Now I have two presses, three beam scales, Hornady Auto Charge, wet and dry tumblers, 22 sets of dies, nearly 30 lbs of powder, 10,000 primers, 6,000 pieces of brass (not including 9mm and .40 S&W brass), 2,750 bullets (I also don't cast my own yet), case prep center and four manuals. All of this, plus way more that isn't listed, cost me around $2,281 according to my receipts. Some was bought new and some used.

    According to my inventory check and pricing all equipment as used and all bullets, powder and primers as they would cost from Midway, I have nearly $3,400 worth of inventory and that IS NOT counting all the rounds I have loaded over the year. Some calibers such as 6mm Rem, 300 Savage, 280 Rem, 220 Swift and 458 Win Mag are almost impossible to find in my neck of the woods. So the handloading makes up a lot of it's cost just by making these calibers available to me. I shoot a lot of 44 Mag also (around 300 rounds per month) so those savings alone help out.

    The whole point of this was to prove that reloading isn't a cheap venture. It could be A LOT cheaper than I made it but I load for every caliber I have except .32 Win Special, which I just dont shoot enough to justify buying dies and bullets until maybe I find some used for cheap. I enjoy handloading. Plain and simple. I don't sit and worry about whether or not I'm coming out ahead. I didn't get into this as a financial decision. I got into it almost out of neccesity when I started acquiring harder to find chambered firearms. I believe sometimes I shoot so I can reload as opposed to the other way
     
  2. 300Whspr

    300Whspr Member

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    That right there is what it's all about... SHTF scenarios not considered.

    IMHO, that's all the justification anyone needs.;)
     
  3. Candyman87

    Candyman87 Member

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    Agreed. I'm pretty sure I spend more money on reloading than I've saved by reloading. That being said, I certainly shoot more often because of it... especially some of the less common and therefore more expensive calibers, like .32 ACP and .380 ACP. On rifle, I certainly save money on .303 British. I don't save any money on 12 gauge or 20 gauge, but as a new .410 shooter, I'm looking to save money there for sure!

    But what I like about it, is a personal satisfaction, and knowing that I'll always have ammo on hand for the guns I like to shoot. No longer need to buy guns based on ammo availability, because I'll just make the ammo I need.
     
  4. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    Yes, it is. I went the less expensive route. My Lee equipment paid for itself the first year. Now it's all velvet. No 10's of thousands of rounds about it.
    Oh, most importantly, I truly enjoy hand loading, so the intrinsic recreational value is tops on my justification list.
     
  5. PCCUSNRET

    PCCUSNRET Member

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    I just turned 63 and after 22 years in the Navy, 16 years with the USPS and almost a year at Cabelas I had enough and am now fully retired. I now shoot, reload, fish, do a little wood working and work in my garden to feed the deer (I used to have a garden but now it's more of a food plot for deer). I have no idea how much I have spent on reloading and shooting since I retired from the Navy in 92 and I really don't want to know. All I know is this is what I worked 38+ years for and I am enjoying my retirement very much. I probably spend 10× reloading now than I do shooting but then will probably never have to worry about another ammo, components or powder shortage when the dem-wits threaten to take away our guns again unless something unforseen should happen. So for me reloading wasn't worth it when I was in the Navy and moving every 2 or 3 years but once I retired it was more feasible. I also picked up and sold lots of brass over the years and that helped fund part of the cost.
     
  6. dirtengineer

    dirtengineer Member

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    It is only cheaper if you don't include your own time. I reload because I like to. I don't include my salary rate because it doesn't offset my work hours. It does decrease what I spend on ammunition.
     
  7. Iron Sight

    Iron Sight Member

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    "If you like this thing, this is the kind of thing you like."
     
  8. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    If you do not factor in the odd cartridges like the .303, 6.5 Jap, 7.7 Jap, 6.5 Swede, 7.5 Swiss, 8mm Mauser, 7.65 Argentine, 7.35 Carcano, 30-40 Krag, 6mm Remington, and a few others I have managed to collect, reloading is definitely not worth learning as a skill................
     
  9. ColoradoShooter77

    ColoradoShooter77 Member

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    I don't even want to think about what 12K rounds/year combined of 40 S&W, 9mm, .223 and .308 would cost.

    I'm basically cutting that cost in half with reloads.

    With factory ammo, you get one load and your stuck with it. With reloading, I can tinker with different powders, charge weights, seating depth's and different weight bullets. Its FUN!

    I shoot to load and load to shoot, lol.

    As soon as I get back from the range with my pile of brass....I'm chomping at the bit to load it up again.
     
  10. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    I look at it this way.

    One can simply get diesel at the gas station for $5/gal (back when it was expensive) and go on a road trip across the state.

    Or, you can build a simple or elaborate filtration system in your garage to make your own diesel from various oil sources like restaurants etc, and drive across country for the same cost...minus labor value.

    :cool:

    I can cast and reload 45's for $4/50. Equipment has paid for itself years ago. Technically I'm not 'saving' money as I shoot a heck of a lot more than I could with storebought ammo.
     
  11. mstreddy

    mstreddy Member

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    OP,
    You have found the icing on the cake. You reload, you enjoy it, and really that's all matters!

    I reload as well, and while I have calculated the costs, I actually did not do so in the beginning.
    Like you, reloading is about the only way I can shoot some of the obscure or less common or outright costly calibers I own. 6.5x50 Jap, 6.5x55 Swede, 7.5x58 Jap, 30-40 Krag, and 300 Blackout.
    I reload so I can shoot more, my most common caliber is 9MM and it accounts for 50% of my loading. It's what I shoot the most often as well. Being able to load a box of 50 for less than $5 makes for a big difference in the amount of ammo I can afford to shoot.
     
  12. Poper

    Poper Member

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    It depends on what you want to get out of it. From what you say in your post, for you, it certainly appears to be worth it.

    For me, like many of the others here, it is purely a hobby. Time and money I would probably spend on some other hobby. Besides, I like to shoot and reloading my own ammo makes shooting that much more pleasurable.

    I'm just not sure if I reload so I can shoot or if I shoot so I can reload.:scrutiny: I find both very relaxing and very enjoyable. ;)
     
  13. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Reloading is worth it.

    I enjoy reloading and it is another past time for me.

    I would not put an hourly cost on a round of golf, watching Formula One on TV or going to the range to shoot, so why would I add an hourly cost to reloading. My time is free when I am engaged in a relaxing activity.

    Besides, most of my reloads are custom crafted and cannot be duplicated by purchasing factory ammunition.
     
  14. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

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    Worth every penny and every minute. I enjoy loading it more than I enjoy shooting it. I'm One of those that shoot to reload... I load 380, 38, 357, 9mm, 45, 300blk and 12ga(slug only) all at about 10-15% the cost of factory ammo. I don't work December-March so during that time, I'm casting bullets, searching around for scrap lead and keeping a hawks eye on armslist for deals. Just last month I found a heck of a deal on a hardly used entire loading setup with components galore for $1100. I sold most new starline brass(5kpcs), plated bullets(11k), ss press, and other various items I didn't need to recoup my initial investment and I walked away from the ordeal with 15k cci primers, 8lb powder, 2k bullets, 4500 1x 9mm, 900 once fired 38, a thousand new starline 357, hornady tumbler, Lyman ultrasonic, couple die sets, digital scale, rcbs aps strip hand primer and tons of various items I've always wanted but never wanted to pony up the cash.

    Also scored 1500lbs of lead this fall for a song.

    My press paid for its self within the first 48 hours I started reloading 4 years back. My cast bullets are darn near free, less than a penny a piece powder coated. Powder and primers- I have an average of $15/100 primers/ 1lb powder.

    9mm and 223 are certainly difficult to see the savings when you purchase your bullets.
     
  15. otisrush

    otisrush Member

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    When this topic comes up I boil it down to this: Does one view reloading as a task that needs to be done? Or a hobby that is to be enjoyed? For the competitive shooter that doesn't really like reloading it more likely is the former: A task that, if not done, would prohibit from competing because competing would be prohibitively expensive. At some level these folks I assume factor in their time in some way - even if it isn't putting a dollar figure on it. (i.e. "Do I dislike loading so much I'd rather not compete?")

    I, like many others, view it as a hobby that is to be enjoyed. So saying "It absolutely is worth it!" is very easy. Rarely are two hobbies so incredibly synergistic: Reloading provides better ammo for less money so I can shoot more. And I enjoy making it. So by doing something fun (reloading) more economically than what I can but ammo for I can get more ammo and shoot even more.

    I've seen others comment how saving money when loading .223 and 9mm is hard because factory ammo in these calibers is cheap. I just don't get that. I load .223 and 9mm for about 60% of what I would pay for factory ammo. With my extra shooting that I'll do as a result of reloading and my simple single stage press setup I'll be paying back my equipment cost in a couple of years. Oh - and I can now do a little experimenting with JHPs. I didn't have a need to buy JHPs when using factory but for about $21/100 rnds I can load my own.

    OR
     
  16. lgbloader

    lgbloader Member

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    I handload because it's custom ammo that i trust.
    I like my ammo that I assemble way more than factory ammo.

    LGB
     
  17. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I started reloading simply because, I wanted to have the ability to shoot custom ammunition tailored to my firearms.

    And once I got started doing it, it transformed into a hobby that I enjoy immensely.

    I'm not blessed with wealth, not by a long shot, yet the notion that I might save some money had little influence in my decision.

    GS
     
  18. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    I've spent a lot more money since I started reloading that I ever did before. Maybe my "cost per round" is cheaper (if you figure labor being free) but I shoot a lot more and I buy stuff that I never would have before because I can reload. For instance, I recently spent $2,800 on a rifle and scope so I could "develop loads" for it.

    It's not a cost savings, it's a disese.

    P.s. Looking at all the guys here that have been doing it for decades and I've come to the conclusion that the disese is incurable
     
  19. bob4

    bob4 Member

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    I'm in the same boat as GS. And only in 4 or so yrs now it's cost me way much more than it would have buying the few rounds I shoot. Is it worth it ? Every penny.
     
  20. rondog

    rondog Member

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    Keeps me out of the bars.....
     
  21. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    Keeps me off drugs.....

    (no money left to buy them)
     
  22. TimSr

    TimSr Member

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    Economically, it all depends on what rounds you are loading, and what your time is worth, and how fancy you wnat to get with yoru equipment.
     
  23. Zendude

    Zendude Member

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    Reloading has allowed me to train with my cc weapons more than I would be able to afford otherwise. With about $500 worth of equipment, I load 32 H&R, 380acp, and 38 special for about $7 per box. My preferred edc is the 32, so just about the only source of practice ammo is reloading your own.
     
  24. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

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    +1

    In the past 4 years i have only purchased one box of ammo- a 20 round rip off box of 165gr 45acp hydrashoks. I shot 7 to make sure they functioned, stuffed the other 13 in my g41 and kept it close as my bump in the night gun. A couple weeks ago, I decided to dump the magazine at the range. First round went click. After several attempts it was clear that it wouldnt go bang. Went home and pulled the round to find the primer had no primer compound in it at all, just a cup and an anvil. Hows that for $1 a round "premium" self defense ammo? Ill just stick with my own from now on.
     
  25. maxxhavoc

    maxxhavoc Contributing Member

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    I started out with a Lee Pro 1000 set up for .45. Total investment $150. I had a mentor who (correctly) told me that was all I needed to start, since he copied load data for me. OAL was measured by cannelure, charges were measured by autodisk using the volume tables. Yes, it made some pretty wimpy loads but I was on a small budget. I have since spent a lot more on equipment, but if you are on a budget, you can pay for your investment in less than 1000 rounds.

    It wasn't until I got a scale that I found out how hefty of a safety margin Lee build into the Volume tables and autodisk capacity charts.
     
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