When does reloading become cost effective?
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:46 PM   #1
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Default When does reloading become cost effective?

I shoot .40, .45, .223, .308 calibers for the most part.

Roughly how much does it cost to make a .45 or .223 round and how much time does it take? How much is an initial investment in equipment to be able to reload the 4 calibers mentioned?

I'm trying to consider and weigh the options to determine at what point reloading becomes cost effective.

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Old 08-17-2012, 02:49 PM   #2
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Put it this way. I'll be spending about $200 to get started reloading 10mm. My carry rounds cost me $1 each. I'll be reloading the exact same thing for $.35 each.

The first thing you will want to buy is a reloading manual.

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Old 08-17-2012, 03:10 PM   #3
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Depends on how much $$$ you want to put into the equipment. Those are pretty common calibers- I'll be you can check Fleabay for used dies and a press.

Other variation is what BULLET do you want to load? Lead cast 45s are cheaper than JHPs. Do you have range brass, or are you buying brass?

Check on the price of the components you want to use, plug them in HERE: http://www.handloads.com/calc/loadingCosts.asp

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Old 08-17-2012, 03:20 PM   #4
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I reload .380, 9mm, .38/.357, 40 & .45. Recently I just started w/ .223.
I shoot more .45 acp than anything else. With cast bullets I can do them for about $13+/- per hundred.
.357 is where I probably save the most with handgun stuff. Not because I'm so clever, but because factory ammo is overpriced.
My .223 was a huge success as far as accuracy went. I suppose that with bulk purchases of cheap Russian ammo, reloading may not make a lot of sense if all your doing is killing cans. My reloads probably cost between $.20 & $.23 ea. With careful shopping I could probably drop that somewhat.
How much do you shoot? If you only pop off a few boxes once in a while it will take a while to recoup your costs. Volume will also dictate what sort of initial investment you will want to consider. High volume shooters will likely want to look at a progressive press (more $$.) Whereas lower volume, but accuracy oriented rifle shooter may be just fine with a single stage.
If you shoot a lot of .308, it's cost effective now. Especially if your buying premium hunting or match ammo. That stuff is like $30 to $40 per box of 20, right ($150 to $200 per 100 rounds)? If you can't reload for way less than half of that, you're doing it wrong.

Initial investment? Anywhere from $100 to $1000 or more. Again, it depends on your needs. My first setup was a Lee Challenger Kit. Nothing fancy, but it did the job. I migrated to a Lee Classic Turret from there. Now that I've started with .233, I broke out the Challenger again. My needs are more humble than some. If you are burning up a thousand rounds per weekend, you might want a Dillon progressive. The Lee kits are good enough to get your feet wet and are good value. I hated the scale and powder measure so I replaced them. But they will do the job and you can make very good ammo with Lee Equipment.

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Old 08-17-2012, 03:32 PM   #5
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Thanks for the quick replies. I'll check out the link and look up some real costs for the supplies.

My guess is that because I use common calibers that the ammo on the shelves is cheap enough that it's going to take a long time to pay for equipment costs. If I shot 10mm then it would pay for itself quickly but I can get .45 for $.40 a round, if doing it myself costs $.35 then it's not worth the time.

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Old 08-17-2012, 03:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yunus View Post
Thanks for the quick replies. I'll check out the link and look up some real costs for the supplies.

My guess is that because I use common calibers that the ammo on the shelves is cheap enough that it's going to take a long time to pay for equipment costs. If I shot 10mm then it would pay for itself quickly but I can get .45 for $.40 a round, if doing it myself costs $.35 then it's not worth the time.
hmmm pay for itself... heh

you just end up spending the same amount in the long run but you get to shoot more for the same money spent. thats my experience.

mine comes in from a 2-1 to a 5-1 cost advantage depending on what im loading up. the more premium bullet i use the greater the price difference between making the same quality or beter than commercial. blackhills and federal match in my ar15a2 match rifle gets around moa or alightly under with open sights. my reloads are about half moa with open sights. since im my own quality control i can make the ammunition as precise as i care to.

.223/556 i can load SS109 for about the exact price i can buy sh@tty wolf steel cased. 1000 air pulled ss109 bullets from upammo was 94$ after shipping then add in powder and primer costs which varies greatly for me depending on availability. i have 0 brass cost atm since all my 223 is range pickups once fired stuff folks have given me.

wolf 62grain 223 off midway is 240$ for 1000 rounds

my cost for 1000 of ss109 at current prices is right at 190$, after factoring in powder and primers, if you add in 1000 pieces of brass once fired off midway which is reusable. so you start beating wolf by the third reload or so using MUCH better more consistant quality components.

i just think that if you like to shoot reloading is one of those things that is a no-brainer

some folks think their time is worth the difference in cost. i think its just the other side of shooting. if all your doing is blowing up rocks at the gravel pit i guess it really doesnt matter. but i outgrew that about 30 years ago...
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:49 PM   #7
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I reload just about all handgun calibers. I use Lee Equipment. A lot of people will tell you Lee is cheap junk but they have always done very well for me. You can get a Lee 4 hole turret press kit with a couple calibers of dies, a tumbler, media, loading trays all for about $200. The only thing I would replace from the Lee kit is to get a digital scale. You can find one for about $25.

If you pick up range brass you can load 500 rounds of .45 for about $50-$60. A box of 100 WWB .45 will be $38.00 at Walmart which is about the cheapest you'll find it anywhere. The $50-$60 will also be a good guess for .357 Magnum which are about $45 per 100 at Walmart. Same with .44 MAgnum that is about $55-$60 per 100 at Walmart. There are some rough price estimates. How long it will take to pay for the equipment in savings depends on how much you shoot.

Another advantage of reloading is once you get comfortable with it and gain experience you can customize your rounds. Then, more as a personal gain, it's fun.

Do yourself a favor and get a good manual to read BEFORE you start loading. I personally like the Hornady or Lee manuals. The ABC's of Reloading and Speer are also pretty good.

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Old 08-17-2012, 03:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yunus View Post
Thanks for the quick replies. I'll check out the link and look up some real costs for the supplies.

My guess is that because I use common calibers that the ammo on the shelves is cheap enough that it's going to take a long time to pay for equipment costs. If I shot 10mm then it would pay for itself quickly but I can get .45 for $.40 a round, if doing it myself costs $.35 then it's not worth the time.
With careful shopping you should have no difficulty building premium quality .45 ammo for $0.25 to $0.30 ea. I'm talking top shelf Sierra or Hornady match grade or self defense bullets.
For less intensive plinking ammo, under $0.20 per round (Plated or bulk jacketed) is easily achievable, again with careful shopping.
And of course, bulk cast bullets drop the costs even more. ($0.07 to $0.10 per bullet, seems normal)
Start scrounging wheel weights and casting your own, bullets get cheap fast.
Just like factory ammo, your needs/preferences determine most of the costs.
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:08 PM   #9
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oh, one other thing... be careful. reloading is just as bad as BRD its a deep deep rabbithole with TONS of toys and fun gadgets that will suck you in just as much as getting your first AR15 or AK47 will.

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Old 08-17-2012, 07:19 PM   #10
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It doesn't. It just becomes a money pit. But, it's a great hobby. A man can spend his money on much worse things.
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