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Why Do People Reload When ...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Satasaurus, Apr 1, 2013.

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  1. wlewisiii

    wlewisiii Member

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    My .45 Colt costs me $7 to reload or $30 from the factory for 50 rounds. I'll make that significantly cheaper still once I start casting. .38 isn't quite so dramatic but sufficient. But it's my rifle loads where reloading really shines especially for my Arisaka where the only factory loads are $40 for 20.

    I could not afford to shoot if I did not reload.
     
  2. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    To answer your specific question, there are many, many calculators on the internet that will answer you question, based on the cost of supplies where you are. Supplies in my town tend to be more expensive because of the shipping.

    Here's one.

    http://www.handloads.com/calc/loadingCosts.asp

    But your original post asked a more general question.

    Here's one man's take on it:

    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.

    Here is an essay I wrote enumerating some of the reasons:

    Why reload?

    Let me count the ways:

    Economy: Depending on what cartridges you are reloading (and whether or not you want to count your time and the up-front equipment costs) you can save anywhere from just a little to 80% or more of your ammo costs. (9mm is very close to no savings. 500 S&W, my friend's ammo costs are $0.75 per round, factory loaded ammo is $3.00 each for comparable ammo. More exotic calibers (especially rifle calibers) can save even more. Some rounds are not even available on a regular basis at any price.

    Quality: Ammo you craft yourself can be tuned to your firearms particular characteristics. Handloaders for rifles quite often find some individual guns have quite striking differences in group size when shooting tuned ammunition.

    Knowledge: As you study reloading, you will, perforce, also study internal ballistics. The study of internal ballistics leads into the study of how your firearm works.

    Customization: Ammo you load yourself can be tuned to your particular needs. My friend with the 500 S&W loads full power loads and "powder puff" loads that clock 350 grain slugs a little under 800 feet per second. I know that's more than a G.I. 45 ACP's power and momentum, but they shoot like 22 rimfire in that big, heavy gun. Great for fun, familiarization, training and letting the curious bystander go for a "test drive" with a super-light load, a medium load, a heavy load and, if they are still game one of the big boomers. This tends to avoid the "rear sight in the forehead" mark.

    Satisfaction: Punching small bunches of small, medium or large holes in paper or bringing down a game or food animal with ammunition you crafted yourself has a good deal of satisfaction. Same reason I prefer to make my own biscuits instead of store-bought.

    Smug satisfaction: When the ammo shelves are bare during a market or political scare, loaders are demonstrably less affected by the shortages. A couple of pounds of powder, a thousand primers and bullets (or few pounds of lead) and a hundred cartridge cases wouldn't fill a small book carton, but lets the loader know he can shoot while price-gougers take advantage of non-loaders.

    Self-satisfaction: The repetitive, calm, attentive concentration of the reloading activities is often found to be so much fun as to bring to the shooter's mind the question, "Do I reload so I can shoot shoot or do I shoot so I can reload?". Some find loading to be as satisfying a hobby as shooting or fly-tying or many other hobbies.

    The more fanatical among us combine a couple of the features I have mentioned and, instead of shooting for bullseye accuracy at the range, reload in a search for the "magic load" that achieves perfection in a given rifle. Then, they move on to the next target, which is another rifle and another tuned load. But you do have to be at least a little fanatical to even get it. It is the hunt they seek, for they enjoy the quest more than the goal.



    Lost Sheep
     
  3. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    Again, thanks for asking our advice. Don't get too far ahead of yourself. Reloading isn't rocket science, but it does involve flame and smoke and things that go very fast. Caution is to be observed. Still, if you can change a tire without losing your lug nuts and back a cake that rises properly, you can reload safely and with high quality.

    Aside from eye protection and manuals, you only need three things (physically) to load good ammo. (Of course, you would be severely limited in some ways, but capable of producing one round at a time, but safely.)

    Press because fingers are not strong enough to form metal
    Dies because fingers are not accurate enough to form metal to SAAMI specs
    Scale (or calibrated dippers) because eyeballs are not accurate enough to measure out gunpowder.

    A set of calipers would be a good idea, too, just to verify dimensions.

    Everything else can be done without, substituted for or improvised until you can afford to buy good, quality gear.

    But it is more efficient and cost effective to get equipment that fits your needs in the near future.

    But the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING is knowledge!!!!!!!!

    Get a couple of loading manuals from your local library and read the early chapters. It does not matter how old they are, the steps of loading have not changed much in the past 150 years and you will see how it is done and what equipment is needed.

    We could target our advice better if you shared some information about yourself: (What I use has no relevance to you if our needs are not similar.)

    What calibers will you be reloading?

    What quantities will you be reloading for those calibers?

    How much time will you be willing to devote to those quantities

    What is your budget?

    Will you be putting your gear away after each session or leave it set up permanently?

    How much space will you devote permanently to a loading area, if any?

    Do you want it to be portable?

    What are your shooting goals? Cheap ammo? Ultimate long-range accuracy? Casual plinking, Serious competition - what kind? Cowboy Action Shooting? Strictly hunting?

    Lost Sheep
     
  4. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

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    I reload because I can buy thousands of components, and guarantee that I'll have ammo when I want it. But my .45 ACP loads are coming in pretty well under factory prices.
     
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    At current component prices (current just before the "shortage" that is) The price for loading 50 rounds of 240gr LSWC .44 Magnum rounds is exactly $8.36. That's a far cry from the cost of factory ammo when it was available. Cowboy .44 Magnums are $43/50 rounds from Ten-X and $32/50 rounds from Ultramax, that's a lot more than the price of the handloads.

    Add to that you can customize your ammo for anything you want to do, it's a great hobby.
     
  6. Buck13

    Buck13 Member

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    I started because I have a 96-year-old revolver in .32-20 and there is a nice indoor range nearby that only allows copper jacketed or plated bullets. I've seen JHP ammo in that caliber on a website, but it is never in stock. Lead factory ammo is 60 cents a round for muzzle energy that can be bettered by a hot .22LR. I can reload plated bullets in .32-20 for 20 cents a round and comply with the range rules.

    Now that I have the tools, I can load my 10 mm brass down to wimpy stuff that feels like a .380, or for 33 cents up to hairy monsters that come close to Buffalo Bore's $1.50 a pop goodies.

    It's not JUST the price. You can make things you want that you can't buy because no one manufactures them in mass quantities. Just like home-brewed beer: I can't make an IPA as good as I can buy, but I can make a good peach mild ale, or a ginger-and-chile-pepper-spiced red ale. Those are not availble commercially at any price.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  7. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I know you are using that as an example but that sounds REALLY good. I do like spicy foods and drink!
     
  8. PabloJ

    PabloJ Member

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    In terms of fun it's right up there with the sport of curling. Oh yeh!
     
  9. evan price

    evan price Member

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    I got into reloading so I would save money and still be able to shoot in case of supply disruptions...like now.

    I shoot any nonmagnum pistol caliber for under five cents a shot. Most magnums are only a couple cents more. I load rifle for less than a third the cost of storebought. Plus I can make exactly what I want.
     
  10. ObsidianOne

    ObsidianOne Member

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    As others have stated, there's more reasons than just savings that reloading offers. Examples include entertainment (I personally spend more time scavenging for brass and reloading than I do shooting!), creating more accurate (factory ammo doesn't perform the best for every gun, with reloading, you can fine tune your loads to your gun so that it is more accurate and/or powerful) ammo, getting higher quality ammo, often for less than the price of plinking ammo, and most of all, being able to afford to shoot more.

    I'll give you a break down for example, as I have a caliber that is very 'odd-ball', if you will. 41 Remington Magnum.

    You'll see it average over $1 per round (pre-scare price) in factory ammo, however, look below:

    Alliant 2400 - $32.00/lb. (17.5 grains per round)
    CCI Large Pistol Primers - $39.99/1000
    Hornady XTP 210 gr - $25.99/100
    Starline 41 Magnum Brass $21.99/100
    Reload about 7 times per piece of brass

    Now, these are all prices that I've paid recently, unfortunately I didn't reload this caliber before all the madness hit, so these prices are mostly over what they normally were.

    As you can see, that's cranking out a round for .41 cents a round! A box of 50 rounds would cost me about $21.00, whereas normally you could buy a box of factory rounds for ~$35 for 20 rounds.

    I also reload for 9mm Luger and the savings, even then, are very good.
     
  11. Deer_Freak

    Deer_Freak Member.

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    Any reloading handbook you buy the first sentence in the book is don't expect to save a lot of money reloading. You might save a little more by reloading with the ammo shortage. Another thing you are going to run into is the selection of bullets. Even when supplies are plentiful you can't find JSP bullets for a 357 or a 44. You can cast bullets but to get cheap factory ammo velocity you need a gas check. People say they can reload ammo for $4 a box but unless they are reloading for a 25 auto they have a $4 box of ammo.
     
  12. ObsidianOne

    ObsidianOne Member

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    False. Lots of savings can be had, the problem is that you won't SPEND less, just be able to shoot more.

    Pre-scare I was reloading 9mm for .13 per round, under $7 a box of 50. Factor in how much I'd shoot, probably around 400 rounds a month, $11 a box. That's almost $90. Reloading 9mm came out to be around $53 for 400 rounds. Please tell me how I'm not paying less for ammo.

    I've seen plenty of JSP .357 or .44 prior to the scare on the shelves of my local store.

    To my knowledge (I'm sure there are more, I'm just not aware of them) the only caliber that there aren't savings to be had with is 7.62x39, and that is due (again, to my knowledge) to most brass being expensive and uncommon for the caliber. In addition the more common guns that shoot it (AK variants and the SKS) ding the brass pretty bad upon extraction.

    Sent from my PC36100 using Tapatalk 2
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2013
  13. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    There ya go!
     
  14. GP100man

    GP100man Member

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    First let`s ask how much do you shoot ?? & what ???

    If it`s a few 100 a yr. then investing in a good reloading outfit has probably promted this thread ,but if it`s a few 1000 a year then it`ll pay off in the long run.

    I started to feed a 44mag then added calibers since I had the equipment , then added casting as components became more expensive thus allowing me to maintain my shooting quota persay with out investing $$$ in factory fodder.

    Been doing it since `83 & never regretted a dime spent on equipment or components .

    I`m in the 3-4,000 rounds/yr. shooter since giving up any type of competition.
    But when competing I shot 3-4,000/month counting practice.

    So ya can see if ya can save $.02-.05 per round it`ll add up qwik.
     
  15. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    If you want to see a real savings wait till you start loading rifle calibers such as 45/70.
    Factory 45/70 ammo is some where around $50 a box of 20,I can load that same box of 20 for around $6 using my own 500 gr cast bullets. Years ago a writer for Guns and Ammo was curious as to how may times he could reload a 38 special case. He used what is considered a standard load 144 gr wadcutter behind 3.5 gr of Bullseye and a standard primer. The brass case finally failed at 156 reloads. So how much does a 38 case cost now a days 5 maybe 10 cents? Now do you see the cost savings of reloading?
     
  16. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    With cast bullets, my 30-06 reloads cost about as much as my 9mm reloads.. with thumpers, full power rifle powder with paper patched lead slugs, the powder differential is the main difference.. as little as four cents a shot.
     
  17. 4season

    4season Member

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    Like the others have said, if you figure cost for one load on a common caliber then you wont save money. But you can customize your loads for your gun even if it something common like a 38. But I never got into reloading for the savings. My first deer rifle was a 260 rem. There were only a few factory loads out there for it and my rifle didn't like any of them. Within a couple of weeks from getting my reloading equipment my groups went from 6-8 inch to .75-1.5 inch. Now most guns won't show that kind of improvement but it was sure worth my time for this gun. Every gun that I have ever worked up a load for has cut it's group size in half. That includes common handgun calibers.
     
  18. EMC45

    EMC45 Member

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    I can reload (With my cast bullets) .38 Special for about $2 a box of 50. .32 S&W-L less than that. I can reload cheaper than I can shoot rimfire .22LR. I don't factory in the cost of brass in most instances due to the fact once any of my friends find out I reload they save all their brass for me or I pick it up off the ground at the range.
     
  19. AethelstanAegen

    AethelstanAegen Member

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    I've started handloading .45 Colt and 12ga. At this point, I'm reloading .45 Colt at well under half the cost of factory ammo and that's without casting my own bullets and with using blackpowder (generally more expensive than going the smokeless route since you use more of it). The 12ga is certainly also cheaper but I started reloading since my Winchester 1897 has 2 5/8" chambers and thus the modern factory stuff is too long (so a win-win for me to reload). One day I'll get a press and start loading for my other calibers but I've been having fun starting with the Lee Classic Loader die set you use with a hammer. It's been working really well so far.
     
  20. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    There is USUALLY a cost advantage for most kinds of reloading. But that's not really why we do it.

    First of all, you can have a degree of precision and versatility reloading that you don't get with factory loads in most cartridges.

    Second, it gives you a more global understanding of shooting and firearms in general. If you don't reload, ammo is that other side of the fence you never look over, someone else's problem. If you DO reload, you own more of your own operation.
     
  21. Jimfern

    Jimfern Member

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    Reload to save money? Look at it this way, the fish people catch and the deer/elk people hunt cost quite a bit more per pound than fish or steak do at the store once you consider all they bought to be properly outfitted for those endeavors. Do you ever hear them complain about it?
     
  22. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    Here's an example of the fun you can have. I don't take the boys out right now because I'm hoarding .22. But I was finishing off belling 1000 .45 cases I bought online last night, and my 7 year-old wanted to help. So I let him set the cases in the shell holder in the hand press while I ran them through, we made a game of it, going through the last few hundred that way. It was a way to involve him in the process and get him interested at a young age.
     
  23. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    RCModel, I believe that would be just under 10 cents apiece for those bullets. :)
     
  24. kBob

    kBob Member

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    I started reloading when I was a younger fellow making a nickel over minimum wage and hour. I started with an old Lee Loader and a plastic mallet.

    I once figured that even buying someone elses .45 bullets that by the time I had loaded my first one hundred brass three times I had paid for the tool.

    When someone else found out I was hammering away at the Lee Loader they gave me a Lyman C press and things got "better"

    A buddy that was a security guard when he started would pick up brass on the range on days he volunteered as a range officer and swap and trade for the brass he wanted. He went with a Lee of a later design sort of a nut cracker affair and would do ammo in stages as in one night while watching the idiot tube he might size a paint can full of .45 ACP brass or .38 Special or .357 mag and on a different night he might prime a few hundred etc etc.

    For a bit two buddies and I did what we called a "regressive loader" this was a fun poke at the Progressive loaders at the time. We would set up three C type tools on a table and set each up for a different operation. The guy on the left would start de priming and sizing, next guy belled and primed, third guy threw powder seated bullet and crimped, we kept a 1921 over stamp Thompson fed doing that one summer. Still took a lot longer to load the brass than to "unload" it with the Thompson though.......

    Neatest reloading "trick" I was aware of was a college shooting club that had members contribute to the purchase of a progressive loader by pitching in the money AND time to load ammo using bulk components also purchased with group money. I understand everyone had their money back in savings by the end of two semesters and a pile of their own reloads, and the club had the machine, actually eventually three set up for different calibers. Yep, no savings there......

    -kBob
     
  25. gspn

    gspn Member

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    Yep...the same folks who populate the "comments" section on the interwebz can also post anything they want on Youtube.

    I'd start with a few good books to build a solid foundation of knowledge. Once you have that you'll have enough knowledge to begin smelling BS even on the internet.

    There are some great videos out there...but without a working knowledge to begin with you won't be able to separate the good from the bad.

    The ABC's of Reloading by Rodney James is a great place to start. Good luck...and welcome to a rewarding hobby that can offer as much knowledge as you want to learn.
     
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