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What ammo is worth reloading?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Heavy Metal Hero, Nov 13, 2006.

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  1. Heavy Metal Hero

    Heavy Metal Hero Member

    Sep 17, 2006
    I am really looking into the concept of reloading. I was just wondering calibers you all think is actually worth reloading (in terms of cost)? I am looking ammo for recreational plinking. They will not be used for SD or HD, so this will not be an issue.

    If anyone can give their thoughts on:

    9mm Luger
    10mm Auto(?)
    .45 ACP
    .357 Sig
    .40 S&W
    .223 Remington

    And any other conventional rounds you can think of.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Depends on your requirements and time available.
    From that list many people would handload the 10mm and .357 Sig; and buy econo-ball or surplus 9mm, .223, and .308. The .40 and .45 could go either way.

    But I can load better 9mm than I can buy so even at the same cost it is worth the effort to me. I only shoot .223 and .308 in target rifles in competition or practice for same. The cheap stuff will not do the job and factory match ammunition is very expensive.

    So I handload almost everything I shoot, although I have some 9mm econo-ball on hand for when I get behind.
  3. articdog

    articdog Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    For casual target shooting: military surplus .308 Win is either unavailable or way too high in price today. South African gone up 50+% in the last 9 months. So I've begun reloading .308 and can see the cost savings more than outweighing the additional time and effort. The .223 Rem brass is being saved for possible reloading as I find the occasional milsurp ammo sale.

    For serious target shooting: reloading is the only way to go. You can match the gun preference to the exact combination of bullet, powder, brass, etc.
  4. JLStorm

    JLStorm Member

    Jun 19, 2004
    I tried reloading and it really was a lot of work. I travel often honestly if I reloaded I wouldnt have the time to shoot. The chance of destroying a good weapon during the learning curve also bothers me. I shoot about 250 rounds per range session and I typically shoot 45 ammo. With good prices around $9.99 a box of 50, I just cant justify the time of reloading.

    That said, if you can invest in the right equipment and have the patience to figure it out, reloading will eventually save you money and allow you to produce more accurate rounds, but both of these may take a while. Most of the people I know who reload use the big handgun calibers and in this case reloading is MUCH cheaper...take the S&W 500 or 454 casull for example.
  5. Heavy Metal Hero

    Heavy Metal Hero Member

    Sep 17, 2006
    Well I was thinking more about the larger calibers and 10mm. I am looking to buy something "off the wall" in either 10mm or a larger revolver. Thanks for everyones input so far.
  6. strambo

    strambo Member

    Feb 14, 2004
    If it is worth shootin' it's worth reloading. ('cept .22lr cause they don't make primed rimfire brass;) )
  7. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Southwestern Ohio

    For me the most money is saved on reloading 10MM and .44mag ammo. The 30-06 comes in second on money saved.

    Calibers that I think aren't worth reloading are .380 and 9MM. Ammo is too cheap for them to hassle with reloading. Opinions may vary though.
  8. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

    Jan 29, 2005
    Ava, Missouri
    If it is reloadable...Reload it...:)
  9. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    +1000 bushmaster my sentiments exactly.:) :) :)
  10. 1911user

    1911user Member

    Jan 14, 2005
    You can save money reloading any of them, but you'll save more on some. To me it depends on how much free time you have and how fast your reloading setup is. If I was loading pistol ammo on a single stage press :barf: then 9mm would be purchased not loaded and I'd probably search for deals on other calibers. Since I load on a fast (progressive) press :D then everything except 22LR and shotgun shells get reloaded. Even 9mm can be loaded for $2-$2.50 a box less than the cheap factory ammo.
  11. Barr

    Barr Member

    Apr 7, 2006
    Upstate SC
    I load for all my pistols, shotguns, and rifles. I can tailor my loads to exactly what I like. Light 12 gauge trap and skeet loads etc.

    I really save money on my .380, .45 Auto, and .44 Magnum ammo.
  12. P0832177

    P0832177 member

    Jun 8, 2003
    My 9mm is way cheaper then WWB!
    My 45ACP is better shooting then factory ammo.
    My 223 blasting ammo is cheaper and more accurate! The same for precision ammo
    My 308 precision ammo is way more accurate then FGMM or BHA match! Plus it is way cheaper!

    I enjoy reloading, and that means more then because it is more bang for my shooting money! The key thing is you have to time and inclination to reload!
  13. dmftoy1

    dmftoy1 Member

    Nov 17, 2003
    Lexington, IL
    Same here as what you've already heard. I got into reloading again because the .500 S&W Ammo at $2 a shot was killing me . . .I figure I made back alot of my initial investment in the first 200 rounds I loaded. That led me back into it for the .45 ACP etc etc. The only one where I question my sanity is the .223, but I think I've got it down to the point where I'm shooting the really high quality 69 Gr. Sierra BTHP's for about double what I'd have to pay for the 55 FMJ LC surplus stuff. The group sizes are much better though and if I feel liek I want blasting ammo I can reload using cheap bulk 55 FMJ's.

    Currently I'm loading the following and feeling like I'm saving money on the following calibers:

    .500 S&W
    .45 ACP
    .45 LC
    .454 Casull
    .308 (Soon)

    The only knock I have about all this reloading is that I'm now buying my powder in 8lb kegs, my bullets and primers in at least 1k increments . . . .so my expenses for "supplies" are much higher . ..but I'm shooting alot more than I was as well.

    I do have quite a bit more free time now than I did a few years ago (3 kids in College and a wife working full time) so I don't really count my free time as worth anything.

    Have a good one,
  14. Hazzard

    Hazzard Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    The only ones on your list that I curently reload are 9mm and 45acp. Both are more economical for me to load than purchase, and as other's have said, I get better quality ammo that I can tailor to my own needs. I will start reloading .223 as soon as I shoot the 1500 rounds that I have on hand (Federal brass cased, boxer primed:D) .
  15. Piney Woods

    Piney Woods Member

    Sep 7, 2006
    "Live Free or Die" NH USA
    I shoot a lot and reload everything I shoot - 12 ga, 45 Colt, 357 Mag, 38 Spcl, 32 H&R, 223, 30-30, and 308 - 9,400 rounds loaded so far this year. When I run out of the factory 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP that I bought a while ago I'll reload those, too.
    Of course, I really enjoy reloading. THAT and the Dillon SL-900 and XL 650 presses make a big difference.
  16. zymurgy

    zymurgy Member

    May 28, 2006
    Worth the Effort?

    Cheap ammo in Canada? Ha! Only commercial ammo I use is 7.62x39 and
    7.62x25 and they qualify as "cheap" only because they're Czech corrosive and are sold by the case lot up here (Marstar and Lever Arms). So it's Lee for me :)
  17. TonyT

    TonyT Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    Cost should not be the only criterion for reloading. I reload for every gun I own since I want to customize the load for either accuracy or it's intended use. For bullsye pistol I require maximum accuracy with minimum velocity, for steel plate shoots good accuracy with mid range velociteis.
  18. streakr

    streakr Member

    Jul 31, 2003
    South Florida
    I shoot cowboy action and that's where you really see the savings of handloading. CAS requires lighter loads to prevent ricochet and splattering of steel targets. I load about 5K / year.

    I have taught, over the last 10 years, at least 15 cowboys how to reload, which is a simple, albeit somewhat time consuming process. Actually "handloading" is a misnomer since we reload with semi-automated, human powered presses. I know exactly what the costs are!

    Cost savings of reloading can be considerable but you'll shoot more and the spend more, but, HEY, you're shooting more and having fun!

    I load .38Spl, 44Mag, 45LC, 45ACP, 38-55. 32-40, 45-70 plus smaller runs of 9mm, 44-40, and 32-20.

    Lets look at 38s

    Brass: This cost is one time and I get freebies from ranges. Cost of a new 38 case is about a nickel ($.05)
    Bullets: Cost from $20/1000 for CAS to 35.00/1000 for JHPs
    Primers: Cost $17-20/1000
    Powders: I love Clays. $60/4 pounds, at 7000 grains/lb. and 3.1 gr loads I get about 2200 rounds (38) per pound. I use 5744 for rifle loads with 16-22 grains per rounds, so 400 rounds per pound is average. Black powder or substitute loading requires full cases so cost per round may be as high as 15 cents.
    Labor: This can be a relaxing experience but when you load you need to reduce distractions. No loading while watching football, etc!

    Per round cost (38):
    Bullet: 2-3.5 cents
    Primer: 2 cents
    Powder: 1.5 cents
    Total: about 5.5 to 8 cents each (assume recycled case) or 11-13 cents with a new case! 9mm are about 8 cents due to jacketed bullets!

    How much do new 38s cost you? I'll bet 18 to 35 cents each! ($ 9-17 bucks per 50!)

    My 44s, 45s and 32-20 cost 7-9 cents each.
    44-40 about 10 cents
    38-55 and 32-40 are 15-17 cents each (more powder and bigger bullets)
    45-70 are 20-22 cents (405 gr lead )

    Start up costs for reloading:

    Single Stage Press:
    I start all my students with a single stage press to better learn all the steps and pitfalls of loading.

    Lee Aniversary Kit has all the components to start loading. Costs about $80
    Dies: $25-35 including crimp
    Boxes/miscellaneous: $50-60
    Modern Loading Manual: $15 Don't go loading without it!
    Total: about $200 (Electronic balance is another 100)

    After a while a progressive press is desireable. In this matter I'm all blue which means Dillon. If you load one pistol caliber the Square Deal B (SDB) is the BEST autoindexing progressive press at about $325. If you load more calibers and rifle, the Dillon 650 is the way to go but will run northwards of $500 plus dies. I personally use two 550B, one SDB and a Lee.

    If you shoot 5000 rounds per year of 45 ACP at $15-20 box/50 you will spend $1500-2000 for the ammo alone! Multiply by 5 years. The saving are considerable! You can shoot more for that same $$$ by reloading.

    Note 1: If you don't load to warthog specifications the brass can be reloaded numerous times. I have some CAS brass that is over 10 years old with probably 20-25 loadings!

    Note 2: You need a Manual (I like the Lee) and to start with reasonable loads. In Palm Beach County Florida all of the indoor ranges now ban handloads due to the problem of maximum loadings (and they want to sell more ammo but that's another story)

    Convinced? This is my opinion and I could be....

  19. CZ57

    CZ57 member

    Jan 6, 2005
    Heart of Texas
    All of it! Lower cost is but one aspect, accuracy is the best reason!;)
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