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Old 02-28-2012, 09:51 PM   #101
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Wow. Very educational. That's why I hang around this site.

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Old 02-28-2012, 09:56 PM   #102
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The main issue with reloading cost is where you obtain your components. Too many people pick up a Cabela's catalog, and using their component prices as a baseline, dismiss reloading as "not worth it". Like anything else you buy in quantity, you must shop around for the best price if you expect to save. In over 40 years of shooting and reloading, I've picked up enough empty shotgun hulls and brass off the ground to fill a 2 car garage solid. Today as more people are getting into reloading it is becoming more difficult, but there is still a lot of brass available for the picking. Especially in the cheaper, more common calibers like 9 MM and .223.

It was the same 25 years ago when .308 and .30-06 was then considered to be common and cheap at the time. I would collect boxes of the stuff because most shooters couldn't be bothered with it. I would even have guys come over and ask me if I wanted their brass, after they saw me scrounging for it. I always said yes, even if it was for a caliber I didn't reload for at the time. Sooner or later I did, and that brass was put into good use.

Many leave 9 MM and .223 on the ground at my local club because they feel it is simply too cheap to bother with. While that may or may not be true today, you can bet the cheap prices won't last much longer. I'm surprised they've lasted this long. The days of factory, brass cased, reloadable 9 MM for under $10.00 a box aren't going to be with us much longer, as the prices of the raw materials used in ammunition keep rising, (Brass, Copper, and Lead). It is one of the main reasons so many manufacturers are going to steel cased ammunition. Especially the Russian manufacturers. Brass is a premium commodity in that country. Even American companies like Hornady are now producing steel cased 7.62 X 39 MM ammo at premium prices.

If you buy in bulk you will keep your cost per round lower. Watch for sales. The Internet is a good source to shop for bulk components. It means a more expensive initial investment, but you will save a lot more, and you'll be shooting clean, accurate, brass cased, hand crafted ammo. Not filthy, inaccurate, steel cased, Russian crap. For example, I picked up 12,000 primers recently from Cabela's of all places, (they do have sales that you have to watch for), for just $19.95 a thousand. I should have bought more as there was no limit. That's a mistake I won't make again if they ever have them for that price again.


For powder WC-844 is excellent for both .223 and .308. Places like Pat's Reloading has it for just $85.00 for an 8 pound jug. If you buy several at once you amortize the Haz-Mat fee.

http://www.patsreloading.com/patsrel/ItemDetails.aspx?Category=Powder&SubCategory=Rifle _Powder&Name=WC844_Surplus

For bullets I purchased a case of 5,000 Lake City 55 Grain FMJ Boat Tail Bullets for $390.00. These are the same bullets Federal loads in their XM-193 Ball Ammunition.

http://www.wideners.com/itemdetail.cfm?item_id=8691&dir=278|281|1081|1141

If you break the price down on the above prices, and you already have the brass you are looking at:

Primers..........02 cents per round

Powder, (25.0 Grains per charge).........04 cents per round

Bullets.............08 cents per round

Total...........14 cents per round

If you want to calculate time it would depend on how many rounds per hour you are capable of producing on your equipment. I'm not in a race when I reload, but on my Dillon Progressive I can easily produce 400 rounds per hour once I'm up and running with full primer tubes. Even at just .14 cents a round that amounts to $56.00 of ammo per hour. No one will pay you that to chat on the Internet.

As I said, I've been doing this sort of thing since I got out of high school in 1970, 42 years ago. Over the decades it has paid off well, and continues to do so. For someone starting out in reloading it still can, you just have to shop carefully for your components. Paying too much for anything negates any savings you might experience from it down the road. Reloading components are like anything else, the cheaper they can be obtained, the "better" they are.
Good write up Bill , I really not sure I could justify buying a progressive loader and make it pay off right now , I do have several different calibers .22, .25 , 9mm, .40 cal , 12 ga, .223, 30.06 and probably something else in there Im missing , I dont shoot my 30.06 enough to justify buying new brass to reload with . my step father used to reload alot of stuff before he passed away , but all of that stuff was sold at auction when I was in high school 20 some yrs ago . I wish I had it all now then I could justify doing it . maybe some day I will stumble across one at a auction and be worth it because I would love to know what my rifles are really capable of and how to get them there . its alot of work so my buddy says but in the end your time is worth it for precision
Thanks again
PH
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:05 PM   #103
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Good write up Bill , I really not sure I could justify buying a progressive loader and make it pay off right now , I do have several different calibers .22, .25 , 9mm, .40 cal , 12 ga, .223, 30.06 and probably something else in there Im missing , I dont shoot my 30.06 enough to justify buying new brass to reload with . my step father used to reload alot of stuff before he passed away , but all of that stuff was sold at auction when I was in high school 20 some yrs ago . I wish I had it all now then I could justify doing it . maybe some day I will stumble across one at a auction and be worth it .
Thanks again
PH
The initial purchase of the equipment is worth it, but it does take time to recover the cost. How much time depends on just how much you shoot. One thing is certain, and ANY reloader will tell you this. You will shoot more once you start reloading! I look at reloading tools like any other tools. The more you use them, the more money they will save you.

I keep a "reloading slush fund", for lack of a better term, that way when I find a good deal, I have the money to buy. Once you start reloading you'll be amazed at how many people don't, and leave their brass on the ground. To me it's like picking up money off the ground. Just check the price of a bag of 100, .223 or .308 brass and you'll see what I mean. Brass will last for several reloads. Just how many will depend on your rifle, and it's headspace, along with other factors like how hot of a load you shoot. But overall you cannot shoot as good of ammo for a better price than you can make it for.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:07 PM   #104
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... I've picked up enough empty shotgun hulls and brass off the ground to fill a 2 car garage solid...
I bet your wife just loves parking her car outside in the heat of summer in the Valley of the Sun!

Good write up, Bill. And would be good as a thread in its own right. But you have to admit your cost may be lower than average so not everyone can beat the price of steel case.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:25 PM   #105
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I bet your wife just loves parking her car outside in the heat of summer in the Valley of the Sun!
My house is like a nuclear sub leaving port. I've got stuff stashed everywhere. The attic is a good place for brass, but not plastic shotgun hulls. Too hot in the Summer.
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:06 PM   #106
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I agree, nice wright up on reloading.

Even at 14 cents per round, not including your time, it's roughly 6 cents savings per round over Wolf or Tula.

How long does it take to load 1k rounds?

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"The biggest issue with assembling an AR isn't so much getting the parts together right - it's getting the right parts together."
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Old 02-28-2012, 11:21 PM   #107
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How long does it take to load 1k rounds?
It depends. I'm never in a hurry when I reload. Even though a lot of these presses advertise a very high hourly rate of production, it's not entirely realistic. You have to include refilling primer tubes, along with refilling powder measures. It is also wise to check the charge weight once and a while even though I have never had a measure move on me. And then it's good to take a break once in a while.

I would say I could knock out 1,000 rounds in 3 to 4 hours, maybe a little longer. I usually reload during the hotter Summer months when there isn't a whole lot to do outside. I try to reload enough to last me through the cooler Winter months when I do most all of my shooting. Sometimes it doesn't always work out that way, but I'm really stocking up on .223 brass for this Summer, so I should get enough reloaded this Summer to last me.
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Old 02-29-2012, 12:57 AM   #108
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I have to agree on the reloading. My biggest gripe with the .223 is the case trimming. For me that is the biggest killer for time. I have never bought brass for any caliber (9,40,45,.223 & 7mm rem mag). I got most of my reloading equipment from my father in law but have picked up a progressive press along with other tools that make it easier.

Typically I will gather up around 500 rounds at a time and go to town. I will spend one evening after work resizing and de priming. The next two nights I will spend trimming brass and priming (hand priming). I will then spend the next night on the progressive press charging and seating.

I load my 7mm on the single stage press. I use that for hunting so I like to take my time and make sure it is as exact as possible. My pistol calibers I load completely progressive and I can load about 400 rounds in an hour once the press is converted. I do run my .40 brass through a special sizing die to remove the "bulge".

If I wasn't such a cheap a$$ and bought a good progressive press from the start I would have made my life much easier. With the money I have dumped into the pro 1000 I could have bought the hornday lnl.

When prepping and loading my .223 I am only spending about 1-2 hrs a night. My wife and kids would kill my if I spent the amount of time I wanted loading! Again, this would all be incredibly faster if I had different equipment.

I am not financially able to buy in the kind of bulk that Bill is. However my savings in just about the same as his. The big savings is in the premium hunting bullets. I am loading ammo for around $10 per 20 that if bought in a store would cost $50 per 20.

I attached a picture of a 3 shot group using only the magazine as a rest. .223 by the way and I can get this kind of accuracy for around .18 a round!

Ryan...RLTW!

image-1768270590.jpg  
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Old 02-29-2012, 01:34 AM   #109
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Wow that was an excellent write up Billt you've convinced me into learning about reloading and investing in it. Any advice for me, Ill be honest I don't know any thing about reloading.

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Old 02-29-2012, 02:06 AM   #110
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I have to agree on the reloading. My biggest gripe with the .223 is the case trimming. For me that is the biggest killer for time.Ryan...RLTW!
I agree. That is why I finally "bit the bullet" and purchased a Giraud Power Case Trimmer. They're expensive, but well worth the investment. With it I can trim up to 20 cases a minute. The nice thing is it it trims to length, as well as puts a nice chamfer on both the inside, and the outside of the case at the same time. It works like an electric pencil sharpner.

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