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Weighing the cost of reloading

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by allaroundhunter, Nov 13, 2012.

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  1. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

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    Hey guys,

    I recently started shooting 3-gun, and with the cost of ammo, I am trying to make it as cheap as possible.

    Currently, I can buy .223 ammo for about $0.24/round and 9mm for about $0.15/round (both per 1,000 rounds). That translates to me spending roughly $400 + shipping (about $435 total).

    My question is, if I get into reloading for these two calibers, what can I expect to spend per 1,000 rounds of each? Would it be worth doing?


    And for those of you that load either/or .223 or 9mm, what powder do you use/would you recommend using? I plan on shooting 62 gr FMJs out of the .223 for competition/practice and 115 or 124 gr FMJs in 9mm. And how much powder would y'all estimate it take to reload 1,000 rounds of each?



    I also just inherited a .38 Super so I feel that getting into reloading would be good, and I have always wanted to start for my .308. The only things keeping me back are that being in college I don't have a whole lot of time to reload.

    Now that I am shooting 3-gun I plan on loading about 1,000 rounds of each (.223 and 9mm) whenever I go home if I do start reloading so that I don't have to keep going back every weekend.



    Sorry for the extremely long post, y'alls input is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    This subject comes up frequently. Do a search of the forum and you will find other threads on the cost of reloading.

    Check out the sticky at the top of the forum "Reloading Library of Wisdom" or something to that effect.

    On components, you will save money over purchasing factory ammunition. The main stumbling point is how you value your time.

    I enjoy reloading so it is another past time for me to get more out of my shooting hobby. If I was not reloading I would be sitting in front of the tube or surfing the net.

    It has been so long since I worried about calculating a cost per reloaded round so I am no help. Primers are about $30/1000, powder is around $20/pound (7000 grains per pound, about 25 grains powder in a 223 Remington), bullets $15-$25 per 100. Cases are reusable, life depends on the cartridge reloaded but generally the cost of the case becomes negligible. Shopping around and different quality bullets will change those prices.

    I use AA2230 in my 223 Remington, 55 grain bullet loads. There are lots of good powders out there for 223 Remington.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. fatcat4620

    fatcat4620 Member

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    My dad always told me that you dont reload to save money, you do it to get more accurate ammunition. That said I have been able to load handgun ammo very cheap but rifle seems to be a tie between reload vs. steel case.
     
  4. BearGriz

    BearGriz Member

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    Yeah, there are plenty of threads on this. I've participated in a few, and some have gotten a bit personal.

    From what I can tell, you will always save money (if you count strictly the dollars put into it), if you do reload even semi regularly. There will be the upfront cost of equipment that you will need to recoup.

    Like the other guy said, the real stumbling block (this is what has kept me from doing it) is time. How do I value my time? Some of the arguments that come up are whether you can look at reloading time at the same $/hr. rate that you get at your job. If you love it as a hobby, then you can't compare the two. If you see reloading as work, then perhaps you can look at it in that light, or at least in a similar light.

    Personally I like paying a guy in a factory to do it right, do it efficiently, and do it safely. By "safely" I mean that the rounds are not only made well (and probably won't blow up on me), but I also don't have to deal with dirty brass and the health (lead) issues that arise with handling and cleaning it. Also, at this time, I don't have the room for such equipment (and I'd want to keep it away from the family at least the equipment that touches dirty brass). YMMV.
     
  5. blarby

    blarby Member

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  6. Bud0505

    Bud0505 Member

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  7. Baryngyl

    Baryngyl Member

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    I am just starting to load 223 (been loading others for around 12-13 years), I just plugged my numbers into that calculator and this is what I come up with.
    The exact powder charge is yet to be determined so I am am using the average listed charge in the calculator until I get the load worked up and then I will know for sure what it is.
    $0.196 per round
    $195.77 per 1000
    This is using bulk WC844 surplus powder from http://www.gibrass.com/ , Blem bullets from midwayusa.com and primers from wideners.com at the following prices, plus shipping.
    $100.00 for 8 pounds of WC844.
    $8.49 per 100 for Blem 55gr bullets.
    $14.50 per 1000 primers.
    $69.00 for 1500 once fired 223 cases.

    If I do not count the price of brass after the first time reloading it looks more like.
    $0.15 per round
    $149.77 per 1000



    Michael Grace
     
  8. Steel Talon

    Steel Talon Member

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    Are you including your cost layout for the needed equipment?
     
  9. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

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    Right now I am considering reloading equipment a Christmas present so I am not including it in the initial costs.

    Where are you getting that deal??
     
  10. Lerk

    Lerk Member

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    I'd say you picked two of the hardest cartridges to save money on easily. This is from my opinion as a fairly new reloader, unless you really search around to find the deals and buy in bulk and shoot a considerable amount to make the savings add up, it may not be worth the time. I know that my .223 reloads come out to just a bit pricewise under suprlus, but I'm happy with that as my reloads are a ton better to shoot through my AR. I don't do 9mm yet, but numbers I have run for it with jacketed bullets I have to hit about the 5,000rds a year quota for reloading it to make the savings worth my time for it compared to what I can get in the store. Now if you did lead cast for the 9mm, you can get some pretty good savings to add up there.

    Where you're really going to see savings with reloads is the bigger or exotic calibers. Right now I'm doing both 10mm Auto and 45ACP about $7 per 50, which is a HUGE savings vs store bought (10mm is $30/50rds and 45ACP is $24/50rds).

    Now once again this is simply my view on it, I know that I personally cannot consider savings to be significant for these calibers. Others have different experiences. But going from your earlier statemeant about time issues due to college, you need to evaluate just how much money you want to invest in reloading and how much time you have per week/month to devote to it to keep up with your shooting. Once you know those two things you can get into the specifics.
     
  11. TFL

    TFL Member

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  12. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

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    Thanks for those links and spreadsheet to calculate costs.

    From what they have said, I am not going to be saving much money, which is about what I expected with .223 and 9mm. However......that itch to get into the reloading game is still calling me......

    It seems like I have been putting it off forever and this just seems like a fun way to get into it (and a semi-good excuse, right ;))
     
  13. RhinoDefense

    RhinoDefense Member

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    At those prices it tells me you're probably shooting steel cased ammunition, which is worse compared to brass cased ammunition. Steel cases don't seal the chamber like brass does, so you erode your chamber and throat faster than with brass.

    You can load 223 for about $150 per K and 9mm for about $120sh. Shoot lead in 9mm and you'll be around $100. The benefit you get is custom loaded ammunition for your weapons that no factory will provide or match.
     
  14. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

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    It isn't, it is brass cased. I don't put steel cased ammo through my competition guns.
     
  15. Baryngyl

    Baryngyl Member

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    I went trying to find the info for you and the actual price was $$59.75 per 1500 shipped, not sure if he still has any but it was starreloader at http://castboolits.gunloads.com/member.php?u=14903



    Michael Grace
     
  16. JRWhit

    JRWhit Member

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    If your getting .223 for that price, I don't see a savings for that cartridge.
    I am very curious where your finding .223 for that price though. Cheapest brass cased I have found is around $.32 per round. I believe .24 is about what you could load it for after brass is paid for. I see only a gain in accuracy.

    I can report savings on .45 acp. I am able to produce 100 rds. for about $17
    Normal price on a box of 50 around here is $20 +/-. I was able to recover my investment cost of press ,dyes,exe at a little over 1000 rds. and the accuracy gain was greater than I expected. I would only assume that would translate to 9mm but I have not ventured into that cartridge yet.
     
  17. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

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    My 3-gun team gets a good discount on ammo (.223 and 9mm especially) because we order roughly 10,000 rounds of each at a time.
     
  18. Drail

    Drail Member

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    I started reloading back in the 80s and I have found that reloading did not really save me any money but did allow me to shoot a lot more rounds for the same money I was spending on factory ammo. One of the biggest factors is you must buy components in mass quantities at low prices. And as someone else mentioned another important consideration is how much your time is worth to you. (which has lead directly to the huge popularity of progressive loading machines). All of this may not be true today given the absurd prices being charged for components and the shipping rates. Bullets are heavy and powders and primers are treated as hazardous materials by the shippers and their insurance carriers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  19. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Member

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    If you're intention is to reload strictly to save money?

    Fuggetabotit!

    Over the last 4 years I've spent several thousand $$

    BUT - I've had a BLAST (pun intended)

    My ammo is available when I want it.
    And it's customized to my guns.

    Once you start reloading, if you're like most of us, you won't save a penny.
    There's always the next gadget to buy
    and you'll shoot tons more to check out the new load, new bullet etc.

    Reloading is a hobby unto itself.

    Plus, I can tell myself that I spent 50% or less to buy components vs factory ammo.
     
  20. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

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    Ding ding ding.

    Do you enjoy sitting at a press for hours, loading components? Researching reloading and buying primers, lead, bullets, powder, etc.? Collecting, sorting and cleaning brass casings? Setting up a place in your home for your press and storing powder and such? Then reloading is for you.

    Conversely, if you can work more and earn more, it may be wiser to do that and just buy factory reloads in bulk.
     
  21. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Everyday is a holiday when you are retired.:)
     
  22. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I wouldn't bother with it then. You will have better concentration at matches not thinking about the best spots to start picking up brass after the match.

    Also before you look at it from a penny's per round standpoint, how much time do you want to spend loading ammo? You can get a cheap single stage or turret press and spend all day loading for one match after you include swaging/reaming primer pockets and trimming or spend a few thousand and have the best of equipment to make it painless to load but take forever to break even with the deal you are currently getting.
     
  23. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

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    That's my main problem. I would be wanting to load about 1,000 rounds of each caliber over a 4-5 day period whenever I needed to restock on ammo, and at the present I do not have the cash to afford a nice progressive press to make it a little faster.

    It looks like I'm going to put off reloading for a little bit longer, thanks for all of y'alls help.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!
     
  24. James2

    James2 Member

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    I always figured I could reload for about half the cost of factory ammo. May not be true for some of the surplus military ammo.

    In any event, reloading is an enjoyable hobby in itself for me.

    Good tools will last a lifetime. Once you have recouped the original investment, you don't have to do it again. (unless you upgrade) It doesn't take many rounds to make back the cost of one of the single stage kits.
     
  25. JRWhit

    JRWhit Member

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    I can't argue the new hobby aspect. Since I started loading I have a hard time keeping away from all the gadgets available and started looking at press upgrades before I came close to breaking even on mine. You really have to watch it in that regard. I had to restrict myself from visiting certain websites for a while.
     
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