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Should I or SHOULDN'T I ???

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by C5rider, Jun 3, 2011.

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  1. C5rider

    C5rider Member

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    That's a question that I've been asking myself each time the topic of reloading comes up. I know that no one on this forum can make that decision for me but, with the broad base of knowledge that we've got here, I'm openly inviting those who know to chime in.

    I don't shoot ALOT but I can go through a couple of boxes of ammo during a range visit (usually once or twice a month). I shoot 9mm and 38 and 357 Magnums. I also have a 25 Krag that I would like to shoot more but, you can't just go out and buy 25 Krag ammo. My thinking is that if I were to reload, I could shoot more 357 Mags and my 25 Krag. I doubt that I'd reload the 9mm since I can get them pretty cheap already. I already have the dies for the 25 Krag (my dad used to reload but sold all his equipment years ago) so I'd just need to purchase the 357 stuff. It would take a little bit of time to reload and dad would surely help me out to get the hang of it. My main concern would be with the amount of shooting that I do, would I be able to make up the initial cost of the press and other stuff with the limited amount of shooting that I do?

    If I were to shoot thousands of rounds, the equipment would pay for itself rather quickly, but, for the occasional shooter like me, would it be financially feasible/smart? My cousin reloads and currently has my 25 Krag dies. He said he could reload some for me but, he lives 1100 miles away and I don't want to bother him with it as well.

    I'm interested in anyone's experiences. :confused:
     
  2. bfoosh006

    bfoosh006 Member

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    Danger Wil Robinson Danger !!!

    Yes, you can make up the difference in savings.... but reloading is a bottomless money pit for some... ( me..wink.. ) you can help save money, by picking a good load and sticking with it. ( find one from the Sierra Reloading Manual.. ) One powder, one bullet, one primer ... per cartridge. And then adjusting its overall length , its powder charge, etc and finding its sweet spot for your firearm. If you start goin' out and buying all the latest, greatest components... you'll spend more on that stuff than you would on factory ammo. So I guess I'm sayin' ... buy wisely.

    That said, I love reloading. I can make exactly what I want, tailor fit for my firearm. Save all your brass regardless of your choice... you may want it years from now.

    Edit. If you are young, start now. You'll have more time to devote to the reloading experience.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  3. bubbacrabb

    bubbacrabb Member

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    I dont know your financial status. So that I cant make a statement on that. I know I blow a ton of money on bs with guns. But I work a lot of overtime to make all that. I keep seperate funds. A living fund, a very important savings fun which takes almost 40% of my check, and emergency fund, and finally a fund that is for guns/reloading that is mostly made by overtime worked. I shoot more than I ever have because of reloading. I probably spend the same amount, but now I shoot a ton more. I also cast my own boolits now which aside from the time I make 1000 rounds of pistol ammo for unbelievably low cost to me. Its almost theraputic to me to do this type of work. After a long day at work, I enjoy reloading some bullets I cast myself. It might sound weird, but anymore I almost enjoy reloading almost as much as I do shooting. I dont know how many thousands of rounds I have now, but its a lot. Might come in handy some day.
     
  4. Steve Koski

    Steve Koski Member

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    Yep, you'll have more fun too.

    Koski
     
  5. C5rider

    C5rider Member

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    All very good responses and thank you. I've built up a nice safe o' guns. Enough for about anything that I might need (carry, plinking, paper cutting, etc) and most of them were bought used. I've not seen any appealing options in the used market for reloading but maybe there's something in my future. I don't need the biggest and the best, just something that works for me. Some of the dies that I've seen so far were a little too rusty for my tastes. is this common? Does it matter? If I could save a few bucks up front, that would surely help make my decision easier. I'm going to keep looking, and thinking, and trying to figure out if I should, or shouldn't.

    Keep those responses coming and help me make an informed decision!
     
  6. dwhite

    dwhite Member

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    I go through a couple hundred rounds a month of .40, 38 Special, and 30-06. I reload because I come from cheap Scottish blood.

    I have a Lee Hand press which is more than adequate for the volumes I need. I can do about 60 rounds an hour without great effort. Lead bullets meet most of my needs so that's what goes in the case.

    Bfoosh is right, find a bullet, primer powder that works well for your loads and stick with it. Buy powder in 4 lb containers. Buy bullets and primers in bulk also.

    It's a great hobby too. You'll have fun with it. Start cheap and improve your gear as your demands require.

    All the Best,
    D. White
     
  7. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    The satisfaction in being able to do so anytime you want to make some more ammo.......you can't put a price on.
     
  8. rsrocket1

    rsrocket1 Member

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    3 cents for the primer and about a penny for the pistol powder, those are fairly fixed costs (+/- a few percent for bulk buys). The projectile is the big variable. If you buy premium bullets, they can go for as much as 20 cents a piece, good lead bullets are about 6-8 cents each. With minimum casting equipment, you can get by at about 1 cent each or free if you scrounge up your own lead. So even 9mm can be as low as 4 cents a shot. That's close to 22lr cost. If you are creative, you can find ways to cast very cheaply and still make quality bullets.
     
  9. ranger335v

    ranger335v Member

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    I started reloading in '65 for the same reasons and situation as you. My volume got bigger fairly quickly but even if I had stayed small I would surely have reached the 'break even' point fairly soon.

    Perhaps the best suggestion I could give you is to not over spend for equipment. Not only is the expensive stuff a LOT more costly than it need be but the quality of ammo you can produce be no better than expensive tools can make. And, with a minimum of care and a little lube in the right places, the least costly dies and presses will last a LOONNG time!

    I suggest you look carefully at Lee's Classic Turret press, it's all steel/iron and is unique among turret presses in that it has an auto-indexing system that makes reloading MUCH faster than a single stage. The turret heads are easy to change in seconds and cost so little it's practicle to have one set up with dies for each cartridge you reload; that can be a real time saver for a smallish volume loader doing multipule cartridges!

    Lee's dies load ammo as well as anyone elses and most of their sets include a shell holder, something others will charge you $7-9 for. Lee's adjustable powder measure works about as well as any and, for coarse rifle powders, better than most.

    Disregard anything 'digital'; conventional scales and powder measures are easy to use and work quite fast if you position them properly and develop a rythum.
     
  10. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    +1 on the Lee Classic 4-hole turret. Complete Kits less dies are widely available.

    150-175 rounds per hour output, not a large initial investment and it will handle your pistol and rifle calibers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2011
  11. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    Savings??? We don't need no stinkin' savings!! LOL

    Seriously, I shoot a LOT more because I reload.
    I might tinker with a recipe trying to get that imaginery one hole group at 50 yards.
    So after adjusting the recipe I'll go to the range.
    Well as long as I'm there, I might as well make it worth while.
    So I take along 2 or 3 other guns....

    But I really enjoy it!
    A day with out reloading just seems a little off.
     
  12. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Most .357 Magnum ammo will cost you ~$30/box. If you shoot 2 boxes at the range twice a month that's a retail cost of $120. You can reload 4 boxes of .357 Magnums for $32, that's a saving of $88 a month. At that rate you will pay for a Lee Classic turret press setup in 3 to 4 months not counting the fact you will be able to shoot your Krag.

    Add in the .38 Special and 9mm ammo and you will probably recoup your initial cost in 3 months or less. Don't forget, you are also going to shoot more accurate ammo than you can buy.
     
  13. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    Your absolutely correct, we can't make that decision for you. However, with a compiled base of opinions, we can hopefully help you to make an informed decision based on varying experience.
    I know I'm not be any stretch the one of few with approximately 3 decades of reloading experience, but with as much importance are those who have less than 10 years at the bench. With that said, you can be fairly sure the opinions you'll get are going to be well seasoned, and as well, are going to contain a vast degreee of methods and purpose.
    My method is by single stage and as are the verious steps of the process I utilize. And regarding my purpose, I focus my loading on how well I can build a round to obtain the maximum potential of a given cartridge from the hardware being employed. I think it's pretty safe to say that the majority of hand loaders are very economic minded to the extent that most of what they load is focussed on that aspect. There is certainly nothing wrong with trying to increase the yield. But on the other hand, I started reloading for reasons that didn't include economics. I don't complain when I get a good deal on components, I'm not wealthy so I can appreciate a good deal. I also don't shoot thousands of rounds per month though. If I was involved in a shooting the extent it required me to load more than what can be comfortably accomplished on a single stage press I'm certain beyond a doubt I would utilize one of the many high quality automated systems that are commonly used by many. In fact, I would be willing to bet that I'm probably of the minority in this regard.
    So to sum it all up from my point of view is the questions you need to ask yourself, as I sumerized above. Economics, how much do you shoot or plan to shoot, the general purpose for wanting to load your own such as bench rest or other competitive events, hunting, personal pleasure in the quest for optimum performing ammunition, and so on. Just as important is initial investment. Getting started in any respect is going to be some what costly. Lee does make an inexpensive reloading set up that can save a group of money if all your wanting is the bare minimum in terms of quality and convenience. But based on your post I would think a decent single stage press and the necessary tools of the trade would probably do just fine. If your just wanting to load 50 or 100 rounds per session a single stage set up will meet your needs and at the same time will provide you with everything you need to load serious high quality custom ammunition, which is my primary purpose.
    Good luck with what ever you decide to do and how you decide to go about it.
    Welcome to The High Road!
     
  14. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    The good news is that there is a way for everyone at all budget levels to particpate in this hobby. From the $30 Lee Loader (what it with a mallet) thru the $90 Lee Anniv complete single stage kit, the $250 Lee Loadmaster progressive full setup with dies, on up to the $1000+ Dillon 650 and 1050 manufacturing centers.

    IMHO none of the manufacturers out there make 'junk'. RCBS, Hornady etc are also great machines.

    If you shoot only a box of ammo every couple months? Reloading may not fill a 'need' though it is still fun to learn a new skill.
     
  15. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Dad time? Priceless.

    Depending on how old you are (and how much longer you will continue shooting and loading), you probably have plenty enough time for the equipment to pay for itself.

    I will spare you the calculations, but the price of 20 boxes (1,000 rounds) of mixed .357 and 38 special ammunition will get you a pretty darned good loading setup and enough consumables to make those same 1,000 rounds.

    Spending quality time with your Dad, sharing a hobby? Priceless.

    Lost Sheep
     
  16. jgiehl

    jgiehl Member

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    I don't shoot a ton myself. Truth be told I've only shot twice this year. But I reload for the flexibility so that way I'm not "having to conform" to what everyone else has to shoot, so to speak. Plus it's fun.
     
  17. P-32

    P-32 Member

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    I got into reloading when the wife suggested it after complaining about Winchester Silver Tip '06 costing $12.50 for box of 20 when I was sighting in my scope.

    I found a load for the '06 no factory ammo could beat group wise. (Sub MOA)

    The biggest thing is when reloading, you are your own QC. If details are something that give you a hard time then reloading might not be for you.
     
  18. olafhardtB

    olafhardtB Member

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    I started reloading after the Lord came to me in a dream and told me if I ever ran out of ammo I would die. First I bought a brick of 22 lr. I consider handloading a totally different hobby from shooting. I know I can buy eggs for less than I spend on my chickens. I am not a good gardener and could get better produce cheaper at local markets but l garden anyway. The most expensive fruit I have ever eaten came out of my orchard. I love to reload and cast at my rate and my loads. I load less than max loads with Lee dippers on a single stage press and It enriches my life.
     
  19. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Well said, olafhardtB

    Well put, olafhardtB. Your post sounds like a great signature line:
    The fish I catch might cost more than the fish I buy;
    The veggies I grow might cost more than the those I buy;
    The ammunition I shoot might cost more than retail;
    Why do I fish, garden and handload?
    If you have to ask why, you probably won't understand; these activities enrich my life.

    Actually, to tell the truth, I do calculate the cost of my ammunition, fish and zuccini. I even include the dollar value of my time. If you have to ask why, you probably won't understand. Running the numbers satisfies my curiosity. If including my time in the cost of my handloads makes them appear to cost more than store-bought, so be it. I don't care. If it doesn't enrich me, it, at least, enriches my life.

    Thanks for the food for thought, olafhardtB.

    Lost Sheep
     
  20. bentongunclub

    bentongunclub Member

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    For me handloading is all about finding an accurate and comfortable load. Once you have that nailed down then you can make all you want any time you want.
     
  21. capreppy

    capreppy Member

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    This is how I have operated. I wanted more range time to increase my comfort with my weapons of choice.

    Once I found a round that was accurate, had a reduced recoil, and was cheap, I stuck with it. I'll build several thousand of that load. Later when I have time, sure I'll experiment, but time isn't something I have a lot of and reloading although relaxing and enjoyable is a means to an end (shooting more frequently for a lower cost).
     
  22. raddiver

    raddiver Member

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    I will add this....
    while im not the frugal when it comes to sourcing my components, i can still generally come in under what i could by them off the shelf for. Sometimes i break even, or im over.
    But the knowledge to be able to make ammo, the enjoyment that comes from the process, etc make it worth it.
    I've probably got about 2K in my reloading setup. Do i care when im going to break even? Not really. I'll be in the hobby for a long time. I know over the course of my lifetime it will pay itself off a few times over.
     
  23. USSR

    USSR Member

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    "I've spent most my money on guns, molds, and reloading supplies, the rest I just wasted".

    Elmer Keith
     
  24. C5rider

    C5rider Member

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    One year later...

    Well, I decided I should.

    I got a Lee single stage press kit last Christmas and my dad came over and gave me a bunch of pointers to get started. I mentioned to a friend of mine that I started reloading and wanted to get some dies for 9mm, 357/38 and 45. His reply, don't go BUY em! Borrow mine! He had several dies that he hadn't used in years. He had them packed away in boxes. I've been using them, along with some others that I picked up along the way. I've gone through my first lb of Universal powder (at 4gr a pop. Figure out how many rounds THAT is!) and looking at buying more. I know there are other powders out there that folks like, but Universal has worked for me in the 38/357, 45 and 9mm. Will most likely get a 2nd lb along with some 4064 IMR for the 25 Krag. I've got about 100 cartridges for the Krag and getting ready to tackle annealing the brass before loading.

    I've started forming my own process for loading and while it isn't highly productive, that's okay. It's got the necessary checks and balances to help prevent a double charge. Not sure that I've reached the ultimate accuracy on each load yet, but it's enough to ring a 18-inch gong at 117 yards in my 357. I'm okay with that.

    Overall, it's been fun, it gets me out in the shed for a little "alone time" and, it's opened up some new avenues for me. I no longer look at those 45 Colt guns wondering how I'd ever feed them! :D

    On the down side. I've noticed that I walk around the local ranges with my head down-- looking for brass! I feel like the kid in the lunch room --- "uh, you gonna eat that?" ;)
     
  25. wolfe

    wolfe Member

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    I don't shoot a lot either but I enjoy reloading and also like knowing that I have rounds available to shoot whenever I want to go, regardless of time of day or day of the week.

    It is a nice hobby and good stress reliever.

    Get the Lee classic turret, you won't be disappointed
     
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