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Reloading 12 Gauge - cost effective?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Charlie Martinez, Jan 13, 2021 at 9:14 AM.

  1. Charlie Martinez

    Charlie Martinez Member

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    Some months ago I posted this question and based on responses I concluded that reloading was not worth the trouble for 12 Ga (only for 20, 28 & 410).
    Now 12 Ga prices have gone up from the previous low of around $5/box to over $7/box.
    Our range has also raised prices of each trap round from $6 to $8.
    A friend has proposed the idea of buying a reloading machine for 12 Ga to save a few bucks.
    Has anyone experienced the same & changed their mind on reloading for 12 Gauge?
    If reloading is now worth the trouble which reloading machine would you recommend for an average of 200-250 shot shells per week?
     
  2. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    The biggest problem is sourcing components... like powder. Much has been talked about as far as metallic reloading components and the shortage, I don't know about shotshell components... like shot, primarily, and primers.

    I gave up on reloading 12ga some years ago, I concluded just buying a box, as you say... for $5, was easier than putting a bunch of money into components and loading a box for $4.50. I am not a volume shooter anymore, however.

    Make up a sheet with everything you will need to reload shotshells... and amortize the cost out yourself to get the answer.
     
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  3. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    You have to compare "apples to apples". I've heard this question many times before. People go to discount store and buy "bunny" loads for $2.00 less that trap loads and think they got a deal. Maybe. I have cut a few of those apart and chronie them too. The wad is nothing but a small cup and velocities very greatly. On the other-hand my son and I Ioad for our specific guns. He has a 94.6 ave I have 93.4 ave. We have found the cheapie shells can cost us 1 or 2 birds per trap round. Buy in bulk and load for your gun. Compare your custom loads to Win. AA trap loads and now you can see the cost savings realistically.
     
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  4. Blackrock

    Blackrock Member

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    I have been reloading 12ga for over ten years now and have a fairly good stock of components on hand. So now at the current prices it's cost effective to reload. Before not so much but for now I'm saving money.
     
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  5. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    If buying all needed components today (assuming you can find them) you will find very little maybe no savings.
    If you start buying when it’s available and prices aren’t crazy and stock up, you will be better off the next time insanity comes around.
     
  6. NMexJim

    NMexJim Member

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    When you look at just price, 16 ga (hard to find any 16 ga anywhere) plus the sub-gauges, 410 and 28ga, are where the best savings lie. 20 ga won't save you much and on a cost basis, I wouldn't bother.

    Shotshell Reloading Cost Calculator (ecsc-skeet.com)

    The above is a shotshell cost calculator and has a lot of good info on all thing related. My cost per box using premium components is $5.51. My press has been paid off for years, so I don't include press cost nor do I include shell cost as I have 'em by the thousands.

    I've been loading 12-ga for many years. For skeet or sporting clays, there are good factory ammo alternatives although I do like being able to tailor my own and so don't buy the factory. When you start to buy heavy pheasant loads or, whew, duck loads, then the savings are there.

    The MEC site will tell you how many rounds a particular press will load in an hour.
     
  7. shootbrownelk

    shootbrownelk Member

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    Buying 12 gauge shotshells WAS always cheaper than reloading costs. I emphasized WAS. Reloading the smaller gauges like 410, 28 & 16 was always cheaper IMO. Nowadays if you have the components on hand you can reload 12 gauge cheaper. Finding those components is the problem. A fella can't even find cheap bulk pack shotshells at Wally World anymore. It's getting scary out there.
     
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  8. denton

    denton Member

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    In my experience, reloading common types of shot shells is not very cost effective. Turkey loads and pheasant loads are much more cost effective. The big payout is in quality, though.
     
  9. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    I cast my own buckshot and load them. That is a pretty large savings.
    Birdshot, not so much.
    But with the ammunition supply being scarce at times, its good to know how, have the basic equipment, and a few components lying around.
     
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  10. Barbaroja

    Barbaroja Member

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    Look around on Craigslist/armslist/ ask around at the trap club for a pre owned mec 600. I’ve gotten them for as little as $20 before.probably harder to find those kind of deals these days but they are still out there. The only trouble may be sourcing primers but they do seem a little more available than most other sizes.

    I sure save money on my hunting loads as I like #4 shot for most of my small game. Most commonly available #4 shot is loaded for pheasant and turkeys which is way hotter than I need to put some squirrels in the bag. I also cast and load 1oz slugs for about .20 cents. With slugs costing over a dollar each prepandemic, there are some savings there as well.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021 at 3:56 PM
  11. Bill M.

    Bill M. Member

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    Cost is not even a factor to consider when deciding wether to reload or not. You are a dog barking up the wrong tree.
     
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  12. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    The only factor that matters some times is having supplies to make what you need when you cant buy it. Stocking deep loaded off the shelf does exactly the same thing.
     
  13. Charlie Martinez

    Charlie Martinez Member

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    Please expand on this. I don't understand what you mean.
     
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  14. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I think he is trying to say it is a minor cost compared to other costs in shotgun clays games competition, or duck hunting, for instance. In normal times, this is true. These are not normal times.
    OTOH, the one type of reloading where things haven't gone nuts in price or become unobtanium, is shotshell reloading. I'm still cranking them out regularly, and shooting them regularly. (Trap loads) After I load up the last 300 small rifle primers in some .223, I'm done with loading metallic for a while.

    Charlie M., Trap shooters, (and I suspect Skeet & SC shooters as well) are a bunch of cheap SOB's who will keep dropping powder and/or shot amounts in their loads, and desperately seek out group bulk buys with shady characters, all to get the cost per shell down.
     
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  15. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I only shoot buck and slugs, so for me, handloading the 12 was a no-brainer, especially considering how cheap the Lee Load-All is.

    The high volume clay shooter is out of luck regardless, it seems to me, unless he stocked up ahead of time. Noo hulls, no primers, no powder... no point in getting started handloading.

    <edit> Although Entropy, above, seems to know more about it than me. I had assumed that the shotgunners were as hard hit by this current nonsense as the rest of us.
     
  16. George P

    George P Member

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    Shot is available but expensive; wads are readily available; powder somewhat available; primers are touch and go. For grins and giggles, load your 12 with 3/4 or 7/8 to save on shot. With BASS selling some remaining Remington Gun Clubs for $9/box. my light reloads going up from $3.75 to $5/box is still a deal. That said, if I can fond some basic cheap 4 packs at Walmart or Academy, I'll grab them. As to machines, a basic MEC Jr single stage with the primer feed will get you loading 4-6 boxes per hour, so 2 hours tor your needs
     
  17. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I admit, I've been lucky; my LGS hasn't gouged, though the last shipment of powder he got was up about 15%. I buy my wads by the case (5000) or bag (500), depending on which one, online. My LGS has gone to selling 209's one box (1000) at a time, but I had some beforehand, and I pick up a box every time I stop in for shot. (this puts me ahead on primers, as I get @360 shells from a bag of shot)
    My Walmart has 6 boxes of 28 ga. field loads and 4 boxes of 16 ga. field loads left.
    For those who can't find shot locally at all, it isn't the cheapest, but Rotometals has West Coast at 2 25# bags for $119, shipping included. They also have Eagle @ 2 for $109, with shipping included.

    https://www.rotometals.com/west-coast-magnum-shot-lead-2-25-bags-50-lbs-size-4-9-freight-included/
     
  18. George P

    George P Member

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    I reload 3/4oz so I get 533 from a bag of shot; that will smoke a 16 yard target easily enough
     
  19. George P

    George P Member

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    As to Rotometals, Brownell's sells it for $50/bag with $9.95 shipping regardless of how many bags; my last order had 6 bags and a case of wads for $9.95 shipping.
     
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  20. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I shoot a lot of Annie Oakleys, and some handicaps in Jackpot shoots, so I'll stick to 1 1/8's. I do have a 1 oz bar, I've contemplated loading 1 oz for my league shells, as that's all 16 yd, but I don't like having to tote 2 different loadings around in the bag. The top gun at our club shoots 1 oz for Oakleys sometimes, but I'm not quite there yet.
     
  21. George P

    George P Member

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    You'd be surprised how well a 7/8oz load can do; after all, it is the max load for the Olympics, and those targets are 50% faster and physically 50% harder to withstand that added speed
     
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  22. NMexJim

    NMexJim Member

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    A lot of us got into reloading thinking we were going to save money. And we might have at some point. But, considering what my own reloading room looks like after near 50-years, saving money fell off by the roadside a long damn time ago.

    I flat hate to buy any form of ammo. Entropy said it well about hardcore shotgunners ......"are a bunch of cheap SOB's who will keep dropping powder and/or shot amounts in their loads, and desperately seek out group bulk buys with shady characters, all to get the cost per shell down." At some 5k+ rounds fired in a year plus gas, lodging (did I mention better shotguns?), and all the rest, we have to be. Worse than cow pasture pool or BOATS (Boat = break out another thousand - oh the shame!!). Fly fishing never even got close for the cost!
     
  23. Skeptic13

    Skeptic13 Member

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    I am not sure it is cost effective in normal time but right now I am glad I can reload shotshell. Lately I have been reloading #4 buckshot as well as #8 birdshot. Here I haven't seen a lot of anything on the shelves.
     
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  24. George P

    George P Member

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    One thing folks who do not shoot clay targets may fail to consider is that when you add the cost of the target, you have doubled the cost. With some tournaments now running $1.50 per bird (I am signed up for a few major Sporting events), every little bit I can save over the long term makes attending those expensive shoots a little easier to swallow. One of these events, the SE regional in Forsyth, GA this Spring is such an event. I am signed up for two events, 300 targets total, cost for the targets is $385, plus gas for the truck (towing a golf cart on a trailer), plus the ammo, plus a hotel for 3 nights and meals. I figure $1K; if my cheap reloads helps me save even half that much over the year, momma doesn't get too mad........ (Happy wife, happy life)
     
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  25. NMexJim

    NMexJim Member

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    Yep, yep - lots of buck. Big, nasty #00 and #4 buck with lots of heavy #5 pheasant loads backing that up. Glad I am indeed.
     
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