Reloading vs. Cheap Factory

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  • Texas1911

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    Let's say for these common calibers, what would the savings be for a comparable to factory load?

    .45 Auto ($14.50 / 50 WWB)
    8mm Mauser ($13 / 20 Prvi Partisan)
    .223 Remington

    I'm wondering about reloading, but I can't deny that I'm a bit paranoid that I'll squib load or overload something. I guess I'd need to see the process.
     

    phatcyclist

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    Feb 22, 2008
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    Well the one thing about reloading is, that the initial purchase is huge. I haven't started with pistol calibers yet, mainly because the cost/benifit ratio isn't there for me (yet). Rifle rounds are a different story. I can tailor my loads for the particular gun I am shooting them in, and can get tangible accuracy gains from that. None of my pistols are race guns or target pistols, so I know the only thing I would be saving is a little money. Since I don't have a progressive press though, the time I would spend loading pistol rounds would negate the price difference to me.

    I was somewhat hesitant myself before I decided to start. As long as you can be consistent it isn't a problem. I do everything in stages, that way I am not having to remember where each case is. I take them out of one pile, do a process to it, and then move it to a finished pile. The only exception is after I throw powder, I always seat a bullet after I do that.
     

    Owlcreekok

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    Feb 29, 2008
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    Between Houston and Beaumont
    Using my Graf & Son catalog I came up with these prices for your calibers:

    .45 ACP $0.18 per round

    8 x 57 $0.75 per round

    .223 $0.18 per round

    This is assuming that all components are in the purchase price , brass and all. The brass will last "x" number of times so that can be amortized over the life. I used the cheapest bulk rifle bullets in the book for .223 and the cheapest .45 cast bullet. 8mm can be cheapened a little, but as with most rifle cartridges there is not a lot of savings. The military chamberings can be cheap, as you see. This is due to the availability of bulk brass and bullets.

    I cast my .45 bullets and have scrounged metal long enough, as well as brass, that a box of 50 .45's costs me about $1.50.

    I bought gobs of .223 abd .308 FMJ's two years ago, so my current cost for AR and FAL feed is pretty low. On the order of $0.14 and $0.16 respectively. (IF I remember right)

    I didn't include hazmat or shipping in the prices I ran, by the way. As was said, the initial investment is huge. It takes a while to make the money back. I love reloading almost as much as shooting, so the entertainment offsets a lot for me.
     

    Texas1911

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    Works out to be about $9 / box in .45 ... that's a fair savings.

    It's incredibly cheap to reload .223!

    I've been saving my .45 and 8mm brass in the hopes that it might be reloaded some day.
     

    chevydeerhunter

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    The longer and more you reload, it will offset the initial cost. At $9 a box for .45, you can't beat it.

    It's also a very relaxing hobby, IMHO and I now regret selling my equipment.
     

    LHB1

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    Cost of reloaded pistol ammunition can vary widely based on bullet cost/source. The cheaper you can find/make/buy bullets, the cheaper the ammo. Cost can vary from about $4.00-$9.00 per box of 50 for .45 ACP. As far as the danger in reloads, the danger is directly related to carelessness, sloppy techniques, or trying to make "hotter than factory" loads. Reloads are as safe or dangerous as YOU MAKE THEM. I have been reloading for 44 years and still have all my fingers, toes, and eyes. I consider myself in more danger while driving my car than when shooting my reloads. But I am very careful about shooting anyone else's reloads unless I know them REALLY well.
     

    RangeMasterTX

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    Generaly reloading will eventualy pay for itself, what you reload determines how fast that happens. I started reloading .375 h&h and ,458 winmag-my equipment paid for itself in a few hours.
     

    ReVrEnD_0341

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    I really need to get some reloading equipment. I have thousands of 9mm, .45, 5.56, 30-30, .308, and 300 Savage. So far I have not found a non reloadable case I have shot. Just need a tumbler, press, and all that stuff.

    I can reload shot shells, but since prices were so low on them for so long kinda got away from it.
     

    machinisttx

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    I really need to get some reloading equipment. I have thousands of 9mm, .45, 5.56, 30-30, .308, and 300 Savage. So far I have not found a non reloadable case I have shot. Just need a tumbler, press, and all that stuff.

    I can reload shot shells, but since prices were so low on them for so long kinda got away from it.

    You can still easily save money reloading rifle and handgun cartridges. It won't take all that long to pay for the equipment either.

    Shotshells are a different story. I've figured out that I can't load my own for what I can buy standard game loads for, however, I can't buy a factory load equivalent to what I handload. The only real use for handloading shotshells now is loads that aren't commonly available or for stuff that is extremely overpriced, such as 1 1/8th ounce 16 gauge loads.
     

    carney

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    Outside DFW metromess.
    I've considered getting started in reloading but I don't own two guns in the same caliber (except for a couple of .22's and 12 guages) and I'm afraid it wouldn't be cost effective for me to reload .40, 9mm, .223, .308, and 7.62 x 39.
     

    drj3828

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    I have been reloading since 1974, started with a lee loader and a leather mallet. Was just reloading 38 specials casting my own bullets and sizing with out a press it was slow and very time consuming. Later I moved up to a press and sizer for my cast bullets. Quit casting my own bullets when I got my drivers license and could drive to a bigger town and buy cast bullets! I thought I was in heaven not having to cast bullets.
    I wished I had kept records of the savings!
    In the last year I have sold my odd caliber guns and stayed with just the basics. It is easier to load this way, I load 9mm 40 S&W 41 mag 45ACP 45 Long colt, 38 super. On rifles it's 223 308 45-70.
    I use to reload 7.62X39 7.62X54R, 8MM 22 hornet, 9x18 mak, got rid of these sure made it more simple!
    Just watch for specials on components and check shipping charges for the best deals!
    DRJ
     

    73Driver

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    May 20, 2008
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    This thread has been idle for a while, but I wanted to add my $.02.

    I delayed starting reloading trying to justify the start-up costs. I spent the last six months trying to determine where was the break even point reloading 45 ACP and 9mm. I asked several people questions that I noticed were reloading, then paydirt, I had an individual loan me his single stage Pacific (now Hornady). Start up cost were under $200, consumables, scale, dies, micrometer, books, etc. I started reloading with this press, entering data in my spread sheet calculating costs and savings, when the REAL reason to reload hit me. ACCURACY

    I tuned my Sig Platinum 45 and Fusion custom government model 9mm springs to the loads I was rolling for these guns. I placed 6th or 7th in the league I shoot in every Thursday using factory ammo, then enter the reloads. Now I am in the top three in the competition (bowling pins, dueling tree, Texas Star, etc) and top two in the speed round (four targets, four rounds per target, one reload 8.8 second no misses) at the end.

    My skills didn't change in the course of one week but my groupings did. I went from 3 1/2 inch groups at 15 yards to under 2 inches at the same distance. By tuning the springs and loads, the muzzle flip is greatly reduced and I am able to reacquire the target rapidly. I now consider the savings per round (40% per round, either caliber) as a side benefit, accuracy is the real reason I reload.

    BTW, I will be ordering a Dillon 550 soon to replace the SS press. ;)
     

    billt

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    May 22, 2008
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    I have been reloading since 1974, started with a lee loader and a leather mallet. Was just reloading 38 specials casting my own bullets and sizing with out a press it was slow and very time consuming. Later I moved up to a press and sizer for my cast bullets. DRJ

    I did much the same, starting out the same way in 1972. Since then I have "graduated" to this:



    The investment has been worth every cent. All of my equipment has paid for itself dozens of times over. Today, with the cost of factory ammo going all but off the charts compared to just a couple of years ago, it is even more productive financially to reload. On the other forum I posted how handloading saved me over a 2 to 1 margin in reloading .223 over factory ammo. As time marches on this stuff will become even more expensive as fuel prices escalate into outer space. Ammo is dead weight, and costly to ship. Handloading, along with large bulk purchases of components, will help offset this cost. ALWAYS purchase more components than you think you will need. For example, back in the mid 90's my wife and I purchased a ton of shot, (80, 25 pound bags), from Scott Shot in St. George, Utah. We drove up to buy it, load it, and transport it ourselves. It didn't do the rear suspension, or the air shocks on my F-150 any good, but I paid $12.00 a bag at the time. We're still shooting it. Last week I checked when I was in Cabela's and they now want $40.00 a bag. With China and a lot of the other Pacific Rim nations driving up the price of everything from oil to non ferrous metals, this will only get far worse before it gets any better. If in fact it ever does. In the mean time buy as much as you can, when you can, and you will help offset the cost of even the most expensive calibers and gages. Bill T
     

    billt

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    One other thing I would say is to purchase quality equipment at the start. Later you will be glad you did. Reloading tools are no different than any other. Good tools cost money. But once you make the initial investment, you will have them for life. For example, I have a total of 7 firearms chambered for .223 / 5.56MM. 5 AR-15's, a Ruger Mini 14, and a CZ 527 bolt action. My case trimming equipment was horribly slow and inefficient so I purchased a Giraud Powered Case Trimmer.



    http://www.giraudtool.com/prod02.htm

    They're not cheap, but in reloading, like anything else, you must put a value on your time. For me to trim 2,350 .223 cases with my Lyman "Crank-O-Matic" was out of the question. It would have taken forever. With the Giraud I was done in 3 hours, start to finish. The tool also puts a nice chamfer on both the inside, as well as the outside of the case mouth in addition to trimming it to perfect length, (+-.002). It was expensive, but worth every cent! It is a quality tool that will outlive me. It really makes a difference to spend money at the upstart of reloading, rather than upgrade later. Buying everything once is always a cheaper alternative in the long haul. Bill T.
     

    si vis pacem para b

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    Apr 23, 2008
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    The magic formula to determine if Reloading is worth it.

    Question #1. Do you shoot more than twice a month?

    Question #2. Would you like to shoot more acurately?

    Question #3. Would you like to shoot more often, & more acurately for about the same cost?

    If you answered Yes to the previous three questions then go buy a good reloading manual read it over and over like your life depends on it (because it will) shop around and find the best deal you can on Quality single stage press, reloading dies, a reloading scale, calipers, bullets,primers, and powder. If you find that you enjoy it you will be on here in a few months asking which $400 +/- progressive press to buy. Most people are drawn to reloading because they think it will save them a few bucks on ammo, but quickly learn that it is more about the three questions I asked at the begining of this post.
    BTW Ebay is not the place to go for deals on this stuff I have seen things go for more than it would cost brand new.

    Have fun,
    Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
     

    jfrey

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    Apr 8, 2008
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    reloading is a money saver

    If you ain't rich and want to shoot, reloading is the way to go. As far as cost savings, here is what I figure I am saving. .45 ACP - .40/rnd. store bought: .16/rnd reloaded
    .45 Long Colt - .50+/rnd. store bought: .17/rnd. reloaded.
    Even my highschool kids can do the math and figure this one out. As previously stated, the initial cost is fairly substantial. I figured it would take me 3000 rounds loaded to pay for my loader. When I started, I had no idea how long the payout would take. Well, after two months reloading, I have it paid for. Get a Dillon reloader and get started. Before long you will be ordering bullets and primers by the thousand, like the rest of us. Good luck.
     

    Double Naught Spy

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    What you reap in $ savings for reloading, you lose in time. That is where the savings truly come in is in the fact that you aren't paying $ for actual labor.

    While some don't do this and some disagree, many reloaders tend to end up diverting a lot of their shooting endeavors to being reloading endeavors. Aside from buying the gear, setting up the work space, etc., they then have the time they spend at the range where they set up their chronies and then spend a bunch of time evaluating various load variations (powders, primers, slugs, amounts, etc.). Some will get a good balance down and then work for quite a while to try to figure out why they don't have the consistency they think they should be getting, so each range session means breaking out the chrony.

    Then there is all the time spent on the ground looking for the dud rounds to assess why they didn't go bang.

    Then there is all the time spent scrounging for brass, sorting brass, time cleaning, time depriming, time cleaning the primer pocket, and that is just to get raw brass.
     
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