Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by KY DAN, Nov 21, 2021.
That’s why we’re here.
I started as a way to save money on odd cartridges. It has turned into a hobby in itself that is more enjoyable than shooting.
I don’t shoot nearly as much now that I live in Ohio so I reload more to keep my reserves up (just in case), find accurate loads for newly acquired weapons and for something to do when the weather turns cold, until the ski slopes open.
2. Its relaxing
3. I make rounds I cant afford to buy
4. I inherited all the stuff and buy upgrades for what I want.
5. Its a way to honor my father that's gone.
Same reason why I cook at home:
I want to make food that I like when I want and in the quantity I want to make.
My "average" food made with pantry items are better tasting than "fast food"
My "premium" food made with better fresh ingredients are better than restaurant food
Cooking at home saves money
Reason why I reload:
I want ammunition that my firearms like when I want and in the quantity I want to have on hand
My "general purpose" range blasting reloads are more accurate than cheaper "white box/target" factory ammunition
My "match grade" reloads are more accurate than typical factory ammunition
Reloading saves money* (* Well, actually reloading DOES lower cost per round but since I reload, I shoot more, negating money savings )
Besides, what am I going to do with all the spent brass I pick up?
In the 90s when I started competing in USPSA matches and shot A LOT with family/friends/coworkers/neighbors, reloading was a necessary "hobby" that simply produced cheap ammo with decent acceptable level of accuracy. As decades went by, the "hobby" transition to "passion" where I delved deeper into "reloading variable consistency" with an attempt to minimize or eliminate them. To me, the difference between "reloading" vs "handloading".
Same for cooking.
I started cooking at 16 with a challenge from my mother. Over the decades, especially during my 20s as a starving college student, cooking was a necessary means to produce cheap life sustaining food. After college, especially after I got married, cooking transitioned from simply making cheap food to fine tuning mine and family's favorite dishes to where I now have perfected my favorite pasta sauce, clam chowder, stew, chili bean, chili verde, carnitas, shrimp scampi, tri-tip/BBQ rub, braised short rib, steaks and other wife's favorites including cookies.
I have reached a point where many of my dishes are better than what I have tasted in fine restaurants around the country coast to coast and my "hobby" of cooking has elevated to a "passion".
Seriously, I've always liked reloading. I started about 50 years ago and just stayed with it. I like to get into the nuts and bolts of my recreational pursuits. I used to fly fish a lot. I learned to tie my own flies and even built my own graphite rods. Very rewarding.
It's also something to do on bad weather days.
I can make custom loads for each gun.
And make lower recoiling loads so it don't aggravate my arthritis and neck.
And i can still shoot during the shortages.
My primary reason is to avoid having to pay mindnumbingly-high prices for factory ammo.
When I see good deals/rebates on factory ammo I will happily load up, but I do not intend to find myself jammed into a corner by market silliness.
And, yes, I maintain a mountain of reloading consumables.
Pretty much the same reasons. My Dad started shooting Skeet and Trap when I was 9, and I was interested watching him, so he showed me how. I still load on that same MEC 600 Jr. Loaded 100 7/8 oz. Trap loads on it last night. When he bought an RCBS Jr. 3 metallic reloader not long after, I watched and learned.
When I bought my first rifle (at 14, from my aunt) I started loading for it, because it was a Rem. 742 Carbine. Factory ammo pounded it and me more than necessary, and I thought I could come up with a more accurate load, with less muzzle flash, than was easier on the receiver and my shoulder. Did a lot of research, and came up with 47. gr. of IMR 3031 and 150 Nosler Ballistic Tip for sight-in, and 150 Partition for hunting. That load killed several deer for me. The feeling I got from shooting my first deer was multiplied by knowing I had hand-crafted the round I did it with.
When I started shooting Trap, I could load essentially for free, because Dad bought most of the components, but I calculated the cost per box at $2.10, when factory AA's were about $4.50 (1978) I worked at the Trap range at the time, and practice rounds on days you worked were free. This means I shot, and loaded a lot. I started buying most of the components, back then a gun shop thought nothing of a 16 year old walking in and buying a keg of 700X, a case of wads, and a sleeve of primers. I'd often pick up a pound of IMR 3031 or 4064 for rifle reloading. I used the 700X for .38 Spl. also. When my Dad moved down to TX in '96, he gave me the MEC and RCBS presses, and I promptly got rid of the Whack-a-Moles I had, except 7.62x54R, but I haven't used that one since I bought dies.
The MEC sat gathering spider webs, and I even tried to give it away at one point. Glad none took me up on the offer. When I got back into shooting Trap regularly, I pulled it out, went over it, and started reloading the AA and STS hulls I'd been buying loaded. It wasn't a huge savings, factory shells were $5 for promo and $6 for AA and STS, but the nostalgia, and ability to 'tinker' with different combinations made it worthwhile to me, as well as I've always enjoyed it anyway. On the metallic side, I never completely quit that, but buying milsurps made reloading more viable, and then I bought some bolt .223's, which I loaded up some nice hunting loads for. Then my son got an AR, and he shot that same load hunting. I got an AR, younger son got one, and I started building them. There was a hungry .45 to feed, and a .38 to load for too.
Of course, I've had to slow down a bit lately, components are harder to find, but SWMBO just bought me a jug of Green Dot, and I have 5 bottles of Ramshot coming from Hodgdon, so I can keep shooting Trap like Papa G. Not quite as well, but at least somewhere near as much.
But then last year hit......and with it a close examination of the firearms and ammo industry......and the external risks proposed by regulation. Not of guns......but of ammo. Scared the pants off me once I realized that with a flick of the pen, ammo shortage that was now through to be temporary, could become permanent. Didn't help that one gun was empty......and another down to only 4 rounds. And it stayed like that for over a year. So reloading become a doable option to keep guns loaded and viable. Have now assembled enough components to keep guns viable for my lifetime and beyond. Just as guns are passed down through generations, ability to create ammo for them will now go with them. No expensive clubs for us.
And now that I'm into it, finding it to be not only fun......but highly effective. No regrets.
Edited to add: The one bottleneck that bothers me the most is the fact that almost all primers are under control of Vista Group. All the eggs in one basket. Anything happens to them and it's over So I have focused on buying primers, and will continue to do so. Far more than I will ever need. If nothing else, as an investment. Someday they will be worth far more than any amount of money I spend on them today.
<----------- Built his wife 24' chicken house, 8' chick house, played Quake/Unreal/Americas Army during 20s-30s building own gaming PCs with dual bridged video cards, chased wife riding quads on sand dunes with 4x4s ... and STAYED married for 28 years after doing "Fools Rush In" thing. And even picked up 4 silver lab puppies this year driving over 27,000 miles coast to coast just because wife wanted a new hobby.
And shooting and reloading? Spent over $180,000 on gun stuff with over $160,000 going to reloading components and ammunition.
But I did save my wife like over $250,000 compared to having bought all factory ammunition.
It is something my son (he is 11) and I like to do. No better feeling when he asked to reload some 22 hornet and then go out and hit some steel.
The second reason I reload is a hedge against shortages. I remember the Obama shortage, when I was just getting into reloading.
Third, is I enjoy it. Casting too.
Fourth is, because I want a stockpile of ammo and I couldn't afford it if purchasing loaded.
Fifth is to open up a world of guns that because of chambering, I couldn't afford to shoot otherwise. My 44 special flattop blackhawk is an example. But I like going to a store and seeing a gun in a chambering that others pass on because of the cost of ammo, and knowing that's not a factor for me.
Sixth, historical reasons. I read about Keith, skeeter, and others. Using the same home cast bullets to replicate some of their loads is in itself pleasurable. I'm a gun history buff.
Seventh, I am a do it yourself kinda guy. I fix my own car, do my own carpentry, and make my own ammo. I enjoy learning new stuff.
Eighth. Further my skillset. I believe we will see a collapse of society aka shtf, and being able to not just make ammo, but understanding all aspects of it, will allow me to survive better.
This pretty much sums it up for me.
1. Customization: I reload for several wildcats and some European metric calibers that just can't be bought commercially.
2. Cost: IF I could afford it, I'd by factory ammo for my 3Gun and IDPA loads, because neither have very stringent accuracy requirements
3. Precision: I've yet to find a gun that I couldn't make shoot even marginally better with tailored loads.
I'll add a 4th:
4. Flexibility, depending on need/want I have enough components on hand to reload X number of .300WM, or Y number of .308Win, 9mm could become .30luger as long as I have the bullets for both on hand. For multiple calibers the deciding factor comes down to what bullets I have on hand; primers and powders are multi-use. When it comes to shotgun ammo, hulls and wads determined what gauge gets loaded.
2. it costs less (so I can shoot more)
3. personal satisfaction and pride in my workmanship
4. self sufficiency (provided you can get primers)
I've always been able to get hits around 3/4 to 1 MOA with any of my 30 cal rifles out to 800 meters but one of the guys I worked with loaded his own and would always have tighter groups, but not by a lot, but I would always have to hear about it. I never thought much of it though. But after I retired from the army, something clicked to where suddenly I could see the need to improve, even if it is just a little more improvement. So the new standard is at .5 -.4 MOA. I'm not a competition shooter so I'm satisfied. Sometimes I'll get a .25 or better group, but usually it's right at or below .5. So there is still room for improvement but I'm ok with it.
I didn't get into reloading to save money, but loading 10mm, 44mag and 460SW, it definitely allowed me to save a lot of money. And my carry ammo for 10mm is underwood, so getting practice ammo to match the recoil was something I wanted to achieve as well.
Overall, reloading was mainly for my professional development more than anything. There are some calibers I don't shoot that much, but I just wanted to be able to load them anyway, so I would get all the stuff and get to work. There are worse hobbies. lol
2. Cheaper (especially for self-defense and hunting ammunition)
3. More consistent
4. Easier to store
5. Avoid ammunition tax
6. Keep firearms that have obsolete/or difficult to obtain ammunition shooting
8. Components can be sold/traded to a wider range of people due to their cross compatibility between cartridges.
2 - When I shoot well, I have deep sense of satisfaction. They were my rounds, and my shots. Conversely, when I shoot poorly, they were my rounds and my shots... so there is another learning opportunity. The more connected I feel to the process, the more rewarding it is.
3 - My grandfather and father were reloaders as well. When I load, I feel a connection with them. Some of my reloading gear, and many of my guns belonged to them. That closes the proverbial circle even tighter.
Cost savings is a real thing, just use the minimum equipment needed to get the job done and stop buying more stuff. I have saved so many thousands of dollars shooting my loads I could have bought some nice guns if I had the money I saved. Pistol rounds cost me $42-$43/1000 and have for years because when I stocked up years ago everything I got was on sale, and I also got half a ton of free lead. In about 5 years I’ll have to get primers and powder so I’ll be on the lookout when it starts becoming available and the prices get close to reasonable again.
Cost savings? Sometimes, but sometimes costs more.
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