At what point do you start reloading for a particular caliber?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Shopfox, May 31, 2020.

  1. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I already have a press and reload multiple calibers. This said, I bought a 350 Legend upper, and I don't anticipate shooting it much. I've kicked around buying the necessities to reload for it. By the time I buy dies (3-hole set plus a taper crimp die), the 4-hole turret head, case length trimmer, brass, and bullets, I'm probably in for ~$135.

    A $20 box of ammo could probably last a whole season, including (2) 5-shot sighter groups.

    That looks like somewhere in the neighborhood of an 8+ year payback.

    When do you start reloading for a cartridge you don't shoot much? Do you say "forget the economics" and plunge forward? Do you wait till you have a pile of brass onhand? Do you reserve reloading for only unobtainable, super-expensive, or super-accurate ammo?
     
  2. Caveman Jim

    Caveman Jim Well-Known Member

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    I haven't put myself in that position...... yet but I do want to build a 10mm AR.... since I came accross a trade with mass quantities of 10mm brass and boolits in hand and I already load 40S&W...;)
     

  3. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    I've always set myself up to reload for every cartridge that I shoot,but some cartridges like 40 S&W,45 ACP have generally been cheaper to buy target rounds for than what it would cost me to load them myself. On those type of cartridges,I do have plenty of brass,primers,and powder to load for them,but I usually only load defensive type bullets in them because I can load those a lot cheaper than I can buy them.

    I load all of my rifle cartridges whether they are for hunting or target loads,mainly because I can load a more accurate cartridge for each rifle than I could buy in any type of factory ammo.

    If I bought a gun in a cartridge that was only going to have limited use,I probably wouldn't waste time reloading for it unless factory ammo was hard to find or didn't shoot to the accuracy that I demand out of my guns.
     
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  4. austin92

    austin92 Well-Known Member

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    I load for everything that isn’t stupid cheap to buy steel cased for like 7.62 and 5.45 x39. Just rather roll my own. Still shooting factory 7.62x25 because of availability of 90gr .311/12 bullets but they’re all on the list to be set up for. I want to load subs for my 7.62 ak when I acquire a dead air wolverine and 5.45s for my ak74 to compete against the AR advocates. I’m fully set up for 9mm and 308win but don’t yet own guns chambered in them. I see it as an investment, I’ll never sell a die set
     
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  5. RaySendero

    RaySendero Active Member

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    I set to reload everything from the get-go.
    But, In the case you're describing,
    I would get rifle put together, buy a box of factory ammo
    and shoot it first. Then decide when to start.
     
  6. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This is the approach I took with 9mm. I had the dies for a while "just in case" I ever wanted to reload. Between time at home, concerns for social unrest and accuracy testing a carbine, it made sense to buy the components (XTP'and powder) and load it.

    I took the approach with the 6.8 SPC of trying various factory ammo's, then eventually reloading the brass I owned. The "lesson learned" from this approach was, "it stinks having 20 pieces of brass from 5 different manufacturers vs. 100 pieces of consistent brass."

    What everyone's saying makes sense. Another point that didn't hit me till now: what if the 350 Legend is a commercial flop (or hunting rules change making it's existence moot)? Would I rather have an ample supply of brass/bullets vs. not having the supply?

    Thanks guys for the feedback and observations. I think it makes sense to acquire the dies and components (even if done incrementally, and without the intention to start reloading immediately).
     
  7. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    At one point, I'd considered selling my AR-10. Someone gave me the advice, "never lose a capability" - in the case for me, it was the ability to shoot .308 semi-automatically.

    Your comment reminded me of that advice - and I think it's good - once you have the capability to load for a cartridge, don't get rid of the dies.
     
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  8. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm chuckling, because I'm exactly between the point of having shot it, and the deciding when to start. No pun intended, when/what criteria do you use to decide "when to pull the trigger" and proceed with reloading.

    I know it sounds like a dumb/obvious question - I just want to think it through because I'll probably be making this same decision several more times down the road.
     
  9. RaySendero

    RaySendero Active Member

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    Ok didn't see that you had actually shot it.
    If function, accuracy and before/after cartridge measurements are acceptable, then reload and shoot it a lot more.
     
  10. oO_Rogue_Oo

    oO_Rogue_Oo Well-Known Member

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    I reload for everything I own except rimfire. All from day one. I get setup completely including components. Which is why I don't really care how bad ammo availability gets or what it costs. I haven't bought a box of factory ammo in over a decade. That first big ammo shortage (when was it 2008?) caught me with certain calibers in short supply and I had to slow down with my shooting outings. I swore it would never happen again. Happily I don't live in a place like California or where ever, where they are beginning to infringe on peoples ability to buy ammo but if I did; or if the trend spreads; I will not be affected. At least not until they begin looking at restricting component access. When I see things trending that way I will begin hoarding I guess (okay I might already be hoarding a little LOL).
     
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  11. oO_Rogue_Oo

    oO_Rogue_Oo Well-Known Member

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    I agree completely. I have dies for over 160 calibers built up over time. I load for almost 90 of them currently. I did buy a LOT of my dies second hand though and refurb them as needed (rare). Most of my dies were in the $20 range and I've never spend over $40. Most of my factory crimp dies I got for under $10 too. All that said it is getting harder and harder to find things at those prices anymore. Shell holders seem to be the hardest to find cheap. I try to buy at $3 when I can find them; even if I have to buy in bulk and then split out what I don't need and resell. I only ever bought new brass once and it was a good sale running at the time.

    Moral to the story is you can outfit for pretty cheap if you're not in a hurry and keep your eyes open for the right deals to come along. 350 Legend being a fairly new caliber, it may be hard to find deals on dies etc but you should be able to find some on the powder, bullets and tool-head.
     
  12. hairbear1

    hairbear1 Well-Known Member

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    I reload for all my calibres except .22 and .22mag of course. When I decide to buy a gun in the calibre I decide on I buy either factory loads and use them to sight in on and run the barrel in at the same time.
    For my hunting rifles I'll buy new factory brass sometimes and I do buy a lot of 2nd hand once fired brass as it's a cheaper alternative to buying and losing new brass and if I lose the 2nd hand brass in the scrub it's not as bad as losing new brass especially when it comes to chasing pigs on my quad bike and using my 30/06AI, 45/70 or 30/30 when bombing up a mob of pigs.
    That's when the brass flies and you don't have time to pick up brass.
    I fls all my brass because being chased by a pissed off pig is not my idea of fun because a neck sized case has decided not to feed.

    Of course the other advantage of reloading your own is that you can improve accuracy and performance of your rifle plus the satisfaction of dropping a trophy animal or winning a target comp with your own secret brew of powder and projectile.
     
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  13. jigs-n-fixture

    jigs-n-fixture Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Depends on what the gun is intended to do. High accuracy rifle, starts the day I buy it. Rifle, glass and dies all bought at roughly the same time. If it something custom, I would talk to the bullet manufacturer, and barrel maker, and engage them in the decision as to twist, and chamber details.

    A plinking AR, I might resist awhile
     
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  14. Wambli

    Wambli Well-Known Member

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    I will only reload if I need to be ultra accurate or if I need something no ammo maker makes. I’m just setting up to reload .45AR with .455 Webley bullets. No such commercial ammo.
     
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  15. 7.62 Man

    7.62 Man Well-Known Member

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    I just recently won a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle in a raffle. Knowing the ammo is more than I'm willing to pay for just to shoot targets & having a bunch of free picked up range brass I figured it would be better for me to reload right from the start.(after the first box of factory ammo)
    If it was a hunting gun I probably wouldn't have reloaded for it, if I could get the results I wanted from the factory rounds.
    I'm glad I started reloading for the 6.5 CM because I found for target shooting the 140gr load I normally bought at the LGS was way too much for easy accurate shooting. I found the little 95gr Hornady v-max is a much better load for killing targets. It also sounds like a large round when hitting gongs. LOL
     
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  16. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I watched a video of a guy machining 30-30 brass into .30 Remington AR brass.

    I figured it's in my best interest to buy the reloading gear so I'm not "that guy" one day. That, and some pocket money from odd-jobs made the purchase doable.

    100 Starline brass, 100 Winchester bullets, Lee die set, Lee crimp die, and 4-hole turret head. The only thing I don't have is the case length gauge/trimmer yet.
     
  17. Leftyfixit

    Leftyfixit Member

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    I reload for all of my guns. I have never fired a factory round through my guns. I also shoot my own cast bullets through all of my pistols. My only needs are primers and powders. During this last ammo shortage I took great pleasure knowing that I wasn't one of those guys looking for ammo for their guns. Satisfaction is a great equalizer when it offsets costs of factory ammo.
     
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  18. partdeux

    partdeux Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I feel your pain. And it's all SWMBO's fault She loves carrying and shooting her .327, and then she won a tricked out 686
     
  19. Notrighty

    Notrighty Active Member

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    I ordered dies bullets and powder for 45auto before I even had the gun. Picked up about 300 cases at the range and went from there. Probably fired about 4000 rounds thru that gun without one single factory cartridge. If you shoot a lot you should reload. If you don’t just buy the cartridges. The exception is if you want to make something special that just can’t be found in a factory load.
     
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  20. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

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    I shoot military calibers so Ill pretty much pickup anything I can when its a good price. many use the same powder / projectiles, so I dont have to buy specific cartridges. as long as I have the components I can make pretty much what ever... most use 4895, and a .30 cal or .303 bullet.

    I can pretty much buy a weird gun like a Krag or Arisaka and be shooting it the next day.... :p
     
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