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Why bother reloading?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by AKMac, Dec 18, 2009.

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  1. AKMac

    AKMac Member

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    I'm doing some math here, and I'm a little confused as to why I should even bother reloading with today's component prices.

    Let's take .45 for example. I can go down to wal-mart and with sales tax included, purchase it for .34 per round. If I buy components off the internet, including once fired brass, and shipping included I come up with .33 per round (with a 1000 round batch.)

    Now the price of brass will change this, but you can also sell your once-fired brass with the store bought ammo too offset the factor of re-using brass for reloads. You can also factor in the cost of reloading equipment as well.

    Same goes for .223. I can have 1000 rounds of PMC bronze brought to my door for $305+$21.73 S&H = .32 per round. Buying components I come up with .31 per round.

    Now my numbers may be off a little, but I'm certainly not off by half. It's just crazy what the reloading/ammo market has done the past few years.
     
  2. atlanticfire

    atlanticfire Member

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    You can't include the equipment itself. Thats just part of the long term investment. The brass I shoot untill its no good. And for bullets primers and powder. . one word. . .BULK. Plus the pure joy of shooting you own rounds!
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Nate1778

    Nate1778 Member

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    Right, and start collecting lead and start casting, get that .45 down to roughly $7 per hundred with reused brass. Also your math isn't adding up. .04 for a primer .07 in powder, and maybe .07 for a purchased lead bullet. If you get 8 uses out of a case then its maybe a .01 a case. Those numbers are on the higher end as well.
     
  4. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Just this week, I killed my first deer with my handloads, and the feeling was wonderful. Also, you can tailor make a round for your particular rifle. Plus, handloading is just plain fun IMO. I also save more than you. I load for .30-06 and a box of cheap ammo is twenty bucks. Federal Premium ballistic tips cost over forty dollars most places. I can load them myself for less than fifteen. That's with me already having the brass. I'll tell you though, if they were the same price, I would still roll my own.
     
  5. Dodge DeBoulet

    Dodge DeBoulet Member

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    I'm reloading .40 S&W, and come up with a cost per round of $0.12 assuming I'm using "found" brass (either my own that I've saved or someone else's I've picked up at the range). That's using a 180gr cast lead boolit ($0.07), 5gr of WST ($0.02) and a Wolf SP primer ($0.03).

    The cheapest stuff at Wally World is $15/box of 50, or around $0.30 each. For shooting paper, that's a 60% savings.
     
  6. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Reloading to me meant that when the shelves were bare, I was still shooting...and it's a great, fun, relaxing and productive hobby.
     
  7. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    Are you only going to shoot that expensive brass you listed 'one' time.
    Reality is you can use it manyyy times. If you are restricted to just using the internet, you can learn to find the best prices and smarter shipping options ( like XXX # of powder with XXX number of primers incurs the lowest price shipping and only one haz mat. charge, etc etc. Powder is usually available locally.

    There are threads that reloaders have contributed to, that show their actual cost to reload and it's usually signicantly lower than your estimate.

    I reload using one of the most expensive powders (NOT required really) and primers (gun trigger is tuned very light) and my 9mm cost for competition quality ammo 124gr is way under Win., Rem, Magtech et al bulk 115gr ammo.

    All this just discusses Money. Money usually ends up as a lower concern under: supply on hand, quality of ammo, flexibility to tune your ammo to your gun AND your shooting needs, and the satisfaction that this provides to the reloader.

    I'm not selling anything here. I just want potential reloaders to know reloading can be practical for people who shoot regularly. If you break out the old pistola or deer rifle a few times/year, buy Hornady's best---it'll be cheaper.
     
  8. millertyme

    millertyme Member

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    "I'm reloading .40 S&W, and come up with a cost per round of $0.12 assuming I'm using "found" brass (either my own that I've saved or someone else's I've picked up at the range). "

    I understand this to be a not very good way to go about reloading, specifically about 40S&W. Too many people out there shotting Glocks without fully supported chambers. IIRC, the unsupported portion of the casing, if lined up right in a pistol of similar design, has a higher likelihood of rupturing and causing even catastrophic failures in the pistol. It seems that every time I read about a Glock blowing apart it has something to do with it being a 40S&W and someone feeding it a reload they shouldn't have.
     
  9. Clarence

    Clarence Member

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    No, you're not off by 50%, you're actually off by 68%

    I just loaded 500 rds of .45 ACP for .11 / rd = $5.50 / box and I don't cast my own bullets. You can't figure in the cost of the brass because you can re-use it many times. You can amortize the cost of the brass over 10 loadings (which is conservative if using light loads) your cost per box would be about 25 cents for .45 ACP

    Your cost at Wal-Mart - $17.00 / box.

    You're spending $340 / 1000 rds.

    I'm spending $110 / 1000 rds.

    I'm saving enough to pay for my complete Dillon 550b every 3,000 rds. At the rate I shoot that's about every 2 months.
     
  10. 9teenEleven

    9teenEleven Member

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    I shoot FMJ .45ACP for .16 a round. Buy bulk.
     
  11. warnerwh

    warnerwh Member

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    My .357 ammo costs about 7 a box with a jacketed bullet. My .44 is about ten with a jacketed bullet. I also use lead in the .44 which brings the cost down to maybe 9 dollars. Find me some 357 ammo for under 25 a box or .44 mag under 30 a box. So my ammo costs about a third what new costs. I typically go through about 3 boxes with my .357 and 2 boxes with my .44. The price of retail ammo is ridiculous in my mind.

    I can control the loads to suit my needs. Adjust the load for best accuracy for my guns. The load selection the manufacturers offer is very small, even tiny, compared to what loads I can make up for myself. I couldn't afford to shoot my two favorite revolver rounds if I had to get them at the store. Lowest I've seen here for .44 is 33 a box and that's IF you can find them. I understand .357 isn't easy to find either. The ammo shortage has not phased me in the least.
     
  12. James2

    James2 Member

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    Try running the numbers on 357 Mag or 380 auto.

    45 Auto and 9mm are the two cheapest rounds at Walmart, yet you can still load them for much less.

    I figure that if you spend about $350 for a single stage setup, you can make back the investment after reloading 1600 rounds of 45 Auto. It is going to come back lots quicker loading 357 Mag or 380 Auto. A good setup will last you your lifetime. I am still using the tools I bought 50 years ago. I don't know if one actually saves money, but you can certainly shoot more for the buck.

    I cast bullets and reload. Right now I can shoot 45 Auto, 44 Spl or 357 for $5.20 per 100. I guess that's good enough reason for me.
     
  13. AKMac

    AKMac Member

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    Alright, well maybe I'm missing something then. Here's my math for .223 using prices from a company that we probably all use.

    1000 Hornady 55 GR FMJ-BT - $103.01
    1000 FED 205 SMALL RIFLE PRIMERS - $25.50
    1lb H335 using a 25 grain load = 280 rounds = 3.571lbs of powder - $62.49
    Hazmat fee - $22.50
    Shipping - $20
    =$233.50/1000 .23 cents per round. This is of course, assuming the range gods smiled upon me and I found my brass for free!


    Now as I stated, I can get .223 for $326.73 per 1000 to my doorstep. The going rate for .223 brass seems to be anywhere from $70 per 1000 to $140 for prepped brass. If I sell my brass for $70 I get $256.73/1000 = .25 cents per round.

    Not exactly saving a whole lot. Now it's certainly worth while to reload and I'm not trying to discourage anyone from doing it. I just don't think that it's really the cost saving option it used to be for high volume shooters.
     
  14. shaggy430

    shaggy430 Member

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    I can honestly say I've never had any trouble finding .223 or 9mm brass. So I guess I just saved myself $70/1000 according to your math.
     
  15. rondog

    rondog Member

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    It's not just about saving money. It's another aspect of the sport that's challenging and fun, and you can build up a HELLUVA stash of ammo! It's nice to be able to grab what you want to shoot from your stash when you want to go, no trips to the store or waiting on a shipment. You can also make many types of loads for every caliber you shoot, even gun-specific ammo if you wish.

    Also keeps ya outta the bars. Not to mention preparing yourself for the zombie invasions.
     
  16. AKMac

    AKMac Member

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    Well let's see.

    1000 Zero 230gr FMJ Bullets (trying to replicate store bought ammo here, so no cast bullets) - $125
    Win 231 powder is $16.60 per pound but using 5.1 grains per reload gives us 1372 reloads which means the powder cost is actually - $12.09
    1000 Win large pistol primers - $25
    Hazmat fee - $22.5
    Shipping $20
    So added up we get $204.59/1000 = .20 cents per round once again assuming that I get my brass for free.


    Wal-mart has CCI Blazer for $15.97 per 50. Times 20 is $319.40+ $21.08 sales tax is $340.48 per 1000. From what I can gather .45 brass is going for about $90 per 1000. So $340.48 minus $90 is $250.48 or .25 cents per round.

    So about $45 per 1000 is saved. All I'm trying to say here is that the costs are certainly not 50% of store bought ammo like they use to be.
     
  17. AKMac

    AKMac Member

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    Well for me it's about how much shooting can I do for the same amount of money.
     
  18. ReloaderFred

    ReloaderFred Member

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    I shoot so I can reload the brass. End of discussion......

    Fred
     
  19. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

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    You're going to choose Wal Mart ammo over hand loads?

    Plus spend more for it? lol

    Surely you jest?
     
  20. editingfx

    editingfx Member

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    There's your problem. Hazmat on 1000. Got amortize it MUCH longer. My last order was 12 lbs of powder & MANY primers - enough so my primer cost (for SPP, not LPP) was $23/1000. lead bullets are $68/1000. My cost for 9mm (all I shoot) is $100/1000.

    brass is free. calculating brass any other way means you're too lazy to bend over at the range.
     
  21. swiftak

    swiftak Member

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    I have thousands of primers, alot of powder, a lifetime supply of brass, lead, bullet molds, and all the equipment to load ammo. I'm not one of those that whines about the supply of ammo in the stores. Thats why I reload.
    Its not always a cost thing. I haven't bought factory ammo in years, and will probably never have to again.
     
  22. Dodge DeBoulet

    Dodge DeBoulet Member

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    I don't shoot a Glock (I have a couple of S&W M&Ps), so I have a fully supported chamber. I also know what to look for with regard to "glocked" brass.

    Also, regarding the hazmat charge . . . all of my numbers posted previously factored in shipping and hazmat for the items purchased on line (3lbs of powder and 10K primers).
     
  23. evan price

    evan price Member

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    The secret is to find a load that works well in any gun you shoot it in, then STOCK UP on the components for that load.

    When you take shipping, haz-mat & insurance on an order of powder or primers, if you max out the hazmat ticket (50,000 primers) that's only adding $1 per thousand to the cost of the primers. Put 25K primers and 16 pounds of powder on that one order and viola, savings.

    Right now I load .45 acp using Alliant Promo powder (Uses Red Dot data by weight) which is available on the shelf at my local gun shop for $95/8# out the door with tax- and no shipping or hazmat.
    4.5 grain charge in .45 means .765 cents per shot.

    I use Wolf large pistol primers bought in a group buy for $21/thousand shipped.

    I use range brass, free. .45 auto is a low pressure cartridge, you will lose the brass before you wear it out.

    Assuming you buy bullets, Missouri Bullet is a THR vendor. Their 230-grain round nose slugs are about 8 cents each delivered with THR discount.

    That's 10.865 cents per shot, $108.65 per thousand.

    Even if you have to buy brass, you can get mixed range .45 brass for about 7 cents each shipped. That takes you to $178.65 per thousand, but you can re-use that brass a gazillion times (or until you lose it!) so the price per shot is really not that at all.


    Now me, I cast my own bullets using wheel weight lead I scrounge. Including the propane to smelt it down I have about a penny per bullet maximum including lube (actually a lot less than a penny, but let's keep it simple.)

    That means I am shooting my own 45's for less than 4 cents a shot- $40 per thousand.

    I challenge you to find .45 ammo for anywhere near that price for sale anywhere.


    All that said, if you don't see a rationale for reloading, don't bother to look for one any harder. Trying to justify reloading on a purely monetary basis is specious at best and downright wrong at worst. You may get into reloading thinking you will save money but you wind up just shooting more of the cheaper ammo, and your savings evaporates into a cloud of smoke at the firing line.

    But more practice means better skills, and is that all bad?
     
  24. RandyP

    RandyP Member

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    I'm a relative reloading noob (a year and a half now), been shooting for over 40 years though and dearly wish I had jumped in to this great hobby a loooooong time ago.

    Does it make economic sense? Does bowling, golf or sitting on a bar stool?

    Do I save money per round? yes, about the half the price of store bought and I end up shooting twice the round count at the range -lol

    But when times get tight, or the local stores are out of ammo (you do figure in your gas costs to go find the stuff, right?) or I want to fill idle hours with something useful, or have fun and learn something new that I can pass on to my sons?....

    nuff said.
     
  25. Tuckerp229

    Tuckerp229 Member

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    I will chime in here. Yes one can save a great deal of money by reloading. One must always remember the rule "money is earned in the buy, not the sell". In other words you must buy smart not by impulse. Buying components during the last ammo/ reload gun scare is not the way to save money nor buy the best components for your pet load. One paid too much and often compromised out of fear to have something to load with. Let things settle down a bit then check the prices and stock up when the become reasonable.

    Secondly I can tell you that in addition to all the other benefits of reloading their is another, the sweet pleasure of seeing a favorite gun that shoots not so great groups suddenly become a tack driver. This happened to me this year with a Tikka 6.5x55 Swede. The gun and caliber are supposed to be the Bees knees for accuracy but after purchasing the rifle I was dismayed to see my groups sizing around 3.5 to 5 inches with commercial ammo. My first batch of reloads dropped the groups size down to 1.5 inches and my current pet loads are producing 5/8 groups. To cap off the experiment I dropped two deer this year with one shot kills. It has been a good year.
     
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