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how to reload bullets. what it takes.


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Old 09-10-2011, 09:47 PM   #11
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Reloading CAN save money depending on caliber- but it also allows us to shoot more so we tend to spend more......
Had I not been handloading on the runup to the failed 2008 elections, I wouldn't have been shooting - ammo got almost nonexistant! I had enough components to weather the shortage.
I now reload for 17 different calibers, and have some equipment that is not REQUIRED - but it makes some operations much easier and less time consuming! Like any hobby, it can take on a life ofit's own.
Being single without kids, I have more budget for goodies than some guys too.
Start simple, see what works for you and what doesn't, see how much you enjoy it, then go from there. Get an account at Midway USA, Wideners, etc.
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:07 PM   #12
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I ran some rough numbers, only because SWMBO asked, and figured it would take almost 10,000 rounds (9mm) to break even, not including my time. Found a local guy who is loading for several of the ranges, and his stuff is probably as good as I'm going to make. How does that break even point sound to those that actually do it?
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:48 PM   #13
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I started w/ 8x57 years ago. The ammo availible commercaily was junk. I load for 12..15 different calibers now for both rifle and pistol with the same Lee O single stage press and a variety of brands of dies. I've added some equipment to my bench over the years, but because of the calibers I shoot save a ton of $.
I can load Barnes XTP 140 or 160gr flat base 7mm for just under .50 a round. Barnes changed the name from XFB so XTP, when they did I could buy a box of 50 bullets for $17.00. .34 for the bullet, .04 for the primer, .10 for powder, brass I already own, Makes a 7mm Rem Mag resonable and the ammo is custom for the rifle. I use Prvi bullets for .308. Buying a lot of 500 at $90.00 including shipping they cost .18ea, primer .04, powder .10, brass I own. .32 a round compared to 1.75 for commercail ammo. It is standard cup and core, but is perfect for whitetail, black bear, or even vermin. I can load some premium bullets that are not availible commercaily for 8x57. Either a barnes TTSX 160gr or TSX 180gr for under .80 a round. My 9.3x57 cost $2.50 a round for Norma ammo. I can reload it w/ 270gr Speer for about .50 and 286gr partitions for .75. I buy most powders in 4lb cans. You save there also.
It is a win/win all around.
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Old 09-10-2011, 10:53 PM   #14
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The big fallacy of trying to compute a 'break-even point' is when the reloader tries to ammortize the cost of his press, dies and other gear into the cost of producing the ammo. Production companies may have to do this. We cannot.
I consider the gear as a one-time upfront expense, and as this is a hobby, the gear and my time are not to be factored in. As I add calibers, do I adjust the numbers to include the old gear, or just the new dies, etc? That would skew the costs of later calibers compared to earlier.

I consider ONLY the costs of brass (often free range pick-ups), bullets, primers and powder. Costs have risen over the last couple years, but not nearly as much as factory ammo! My 'box of ammo' costs have dropped percentage-wise compared to buying it at Wally's. Also, I am using componentsbought years ago at much reduced prices, and we can often find good deals on bulk buys, 'blemished' bullets or brass, etc. Reloading is still FAR less expensive, round for round, than buying nearly any caliber. Used to be we couldn't reload 9mm or most milsurp calibers for less than buying it - that is becoming less true all the time!
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Old 09-10-2011, 11:42 PM   #15
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What Big Dog says is true, depending on the bullet. That is the $ part. I reload 9x19 and have for years. Cast lead was really cheap to reload for. Still is in some cases. There was a time that 750 124gr cast lead were $9.00, now they are $17.00 per 500. Midway use to have great deals on Blemished bullets, that has gone away for the most part. Federal stopped making the 135gr hydro shock. I bought the bullets for $4.00 per 100 from federal. Speer made them and gave me starting load data. You really need to keep your ears open to make it a big savings on handgun ammo.
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Old 09-13-2011, 02:17 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigdog57 View Post
The big fallacy of trying to compute a 'break-even point' is when the reloader tries to ammortize the cost of his press, dies and other gear into the cost of producing the ammo. Production companies may have to do this. We cannot.
Of course any financial analysis must include the cost of the equipment. Break even point of 1,000 rnds is a completely different decision than 10,000 rnds, which is completely different than 100,000 rnds.

Since I found a local guy that is loading, and his ammo incredibly consistent, it makes this a much harder decision. Funny thing, he's also selling his 650 loader, as he upgraded! Six months from now, it maybe a completely different decision, but 10,000 rnds is a long payback period, even at our relatively fairly frequent paper punching.

I am saving all my brass
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Old 09-13-2011, 06:19 AM   #17
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GAHHHH. If you are just starting out, DON'T go to Dillon.
If you aren't sure if you want to reload and want to get in for the least amount of money, get the little Lee Reloading Press and the Richard Lee's book as a kit:
Lee Reloader Single Stage Press Kit--$37.99
I have loaded .30-06 on this press and it will do the job. The nice thing is if you like reloading, this press will always be available for various small jobs and if you don't like reloading, you are out almost no money compared to other options.
Next, you need to buy a set of Lee dies for the cartridge you want to reload. All Lee die sets come with a shell holder for that cartridge and a plastic dipper to charge the case.
Read Richard Lee's book and, if you can, get Lyman's #49 manual or the Hornady or Sierra manual.
For your cartridge, you can check the instruction sheet with the dies or look in the Lee manual for bullet weights and powder that can be used with the dipper. Buy 100 bullets of that weight and 1lb of that powder.
Now, every one is going to freak out, but you can not, unless you really work at it, get an overload with the dipper.
For proper use, you pour powder into a cup or other holder, push the dipper into the powder so gravity fills it, and then remove the dipper and level it off (a business card works well). The loads Lee calls out are all very safe.
If you are loading for a bottle neck case, you will need case lube so the case doesn't stick in the sizing die. Lee's is more than adequate.
There are two ways to prime the cases: by hand or on the press.
To prime by hand, you need a hand priming tool and appropriate shell holder. The Lee Auto-Prime requires specific short shell holders. You would buy the following:
Lee Auto Prime XR Hand Priming Tool: $18.49
Lee Auto Prime Hand Priming Tool Shellholder Package of 11: $14.99
To prime on the press, you would need the following:
Lee Ram Prime Priming Unit for Single Stage Press: $10.79
Buy 1000 of the appropriate primers: small pistol, large pistol, small rifle, or large rifle. You are not going to be loading hot magnum rounds to begin with.
Finally, if you are loading bottle neck cases, they will tend to stretch when shot and need to be trimmed after just a few uses (maybe even after the first use).
You will ultimately want to buy a decent 6" caliper, but for these first loads, all you need is the Lee case trimmer and case length gage:
Lee Case Trimmer Cutter and Lock Stud: $5.99
Lee Case Length Gage and Shellholder (cartridge specific): $4.49
This is everything you need to start producing some good reloads.
After a couple of times loading, you will want to get at least a balance to weight your powder charges, a trickler to bring the weight on the balance up to exactly what you want, and a powder funnel to charge the case. The Lee Safety Balance is more than adequate, but many people don't like them. I would look at RCBS, Hornady, or Lyman balances, an RCBS trickler, and a Lee, RCBS, or Hornady powder funnel (.22-.45 range).
The next step up would be getting a powder measure so you can quickly throw the charge volume you want.
Then, the next step is getting a "better" press and some of those tools you have started to learn about that will make things nicer and even more fun.
You can get in for less than $100 and you can make very good loads without any fancy equipment.
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Old 09-13-2011, 02:24 PM   #18
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I load 9mm for 4 cents a round using bullets I cast
223 for 16 cents a round
I do have about $2000 in equipment that has paid for it self 10 times over. Compared to 35 cents for 9 and 50 cents for 223
Get a dillon for sure I have a 550b
And buy in major bulk say 25000 bullets at a time
And casting is easy fun and cheap
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:52 PM   #19
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Another thing is if you buy one of the single stage presses and you want to load 1000 rounds you will get sick of it.
If your gonna get the single stage to do some deer rifles and pistol here and there stay away from lee it is a knock off brand rcbs is alot better equipment.

My first press was a 25 year old rock chucker I bought for $20

Look on eBay for a used press used trimmer

You won't regret the better stuff
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Old 09-16-2011, 11:12 AM   #20
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some calibers will be more cost effective than other. as for myself, i don't reload for my 223 in my m4, or my semi-auto 9mm pistol, or my wifes 380 auto or my 45 acp semi-auto pistol. i do reload for my 44 mag/spl. pistol. and also reload for my other rifles. another point to consider, is that with reloading, you can fine tune your ammo to the rifle and gain some accuracy. you can also custom make ammo in bullet types and weights not found in off the shelf ammo bought at the store. there is another benefit to reloading, if you enjoy shooting, a lot of shooters enjoy reloading also. they just seem to go hand in hand together. compared to some of the other members, i am still fairly new to reloading, i only started reloading about two years ago. my father quit several years ago and handed down to me all of his reloading equipment about four years ago, then i finally set up a place in the house to reload. i has become an addictive hobby! as of about eight months ago, i move into a 12x14 shed that i bought just for my gun hobby and has given me much more room to pursue said hobby. i have enjoyed working on guns and shooting them for many years, and have found reloading to be a natural extension of this hobby. as one member suggested, get the book, ABCs of Reloading. this was the first book i bought when i started, and is an excellent book for beginners. welcome to the world of reloading, you will enjoy it!
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