Reloading-Cost Effective?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by dlee58, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. dlee58

    dlee58 New Member

    I shoot mostly 9mm for now. I plan to go on to other things but have been wondering about reloading. How much do you have to reload to make it worth the money?

    All the equipment, books, materials it seems to me it would take a very long time, or do most reloaders do it for the fun vs saving money.

    REDTAIL Member


    there has been news on all of the forums that ther is a shortage or a hold on all Primers, which is worrysome for us reloaders :mad:

  3. jeepcreep927

    jeepcreep927 New Member

    For sheer volume you'd have to shoot a ton to justify it depending on what you shoot. For calibers that have a surplus and/ or bulk market like 9mm and .223, decent ammo is pretty cheap, comparatively...

    Until you start getting into rounds tailored for a particular application like varmints or long range. Premium .223 ammo gets pricey and if super tiny or super distant targets are your thing you may not realize the potential of your rifle with factory ammo.

    I do it more for fun than to be cost effective.
  4. TXnorton

    TXnorton New Member

    Reloading 9mm may not be a whole lot less expensive then buying (cheap) factory ammo anymore. 20 years ago, you could save a few bucks by reloading 9mm, but over the past few years the cost of reloading components has gotten very high due to raw materials cost escalations and this has made it more of a marginal economic proposition. I still reload for my 9mm (plus about 12 other calibers), but mainly because I cannot stand to leave that nice brass on the ground at the range, plus I always bring home more brass than I shot that day.

    As has been noted by others, the current Obama frenzy has caused a run on both ammunition and reloading components. It is getting hard to find bullets, primers and powder in the stores anymore, and even on-line suppliers like Cabella's and Midway are back-ordered on many components.

    While reloading may, or may not, be less expensive for 9mm, it is definately a cost saver when you reload the larger calibers. Whether you would ever recoup the cost of the equipment to reload is a function of how much you shoot. Many people who reload do so because you can often handcraft better quality ammo than you can buy commercially, and I for one just enjoy doing the reloading work.


    "My vision of redistribution of wealth is having many full 30 round magazines ready for (re)distribution"
  5. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    To me, reloading is not about cost savings (it does help though). It is about self reliance. I "could" buy cheap 9mm ammo but I would be relying on someone else's abilities. I cast my own bullets so the cost savings for plinking ammo is fairly considerable even in 9mm.
  6. hunter Joe

    hunter Joe New Member

    Reloading is about accomplishment to me, I get a kick out of shooting quarter inch groups at 100 yards. I do not ever shoot factory ammo except for rim fire. It's relaxing to sit at my reloading bench turning out one round at a time and depending on what I am loading, I do save money.
  7. supergus

    supergus New Member

    I was at the semi- local gun club a few months ago, and this dude was shooting a Winchester 94 chambered for Winchester.375. He had an entire mobile reloading station, with his handloading ballistics charts, chrono, the whole shee-bang. He'd reload one round, shoot, write the results down, and make an adjustment. Then he'd reload one more, shoot it etc. He must have been there the entire day, but I can imagine how relaxing and satisfying it must have been.
  8. Samples.32

    Samples.32 New Member

    Haha. My fiance recently got into reloading and asked me to start de-priming. It is so relaxing for me that I REFUSE to let him de-prime MY brass (which technically is most likely his brass because it probably came from one of his guns), but witht he way prices of ammo are going for us reloading is a bit cheaper and much more effective. He is a guns salesman so we get the oppurtunity to see really how much of a difference there is between reloading and buying ammo (you also have to take into consideration that he REFUSES to buy the cheap ammo. He is rather particular about things like that.)
  9. hunter Joe

    hunter Joe New Member

    Handloading Cost Calculator

    Here's a link, can't remember where I found it, might have been here. Pretty helpful though. Hunter Joe
  10. skullcrusher

    skullcrusher New Member

    Great link, Hunter. Thanks.

    I've been thinking about for a long time now. The problem is that I have too many hobbies. I make my own lures for fishing when I have the time, I wrap my own rods when I have time, I'm building a smoker when I have time. I wonder when I would have time to reload, but I'm convinced that having the ability to reload is another step in survival. :)
  11. spittinfire

    spittinfire Active Member Supporter

    I got into reloading to save money. Now I just enjoy it. I pride myself in the tighter groups and I especially pride myself in taking game with my self loaded rounds. I've taken everything from dove to deer with my hand loads and each time it makes the hunt that much sweeter. Money aside, I'd keep hand loading.
  12. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    don't do it to save money do it to add another control over your shooting and accuracy.
  13. anm2_man

    anm2_man Member

    Everybody probably has their own requirements on why they reload. I've been doing it for over 20 years and the reason I got into it was when my son got old enough to have a wide variety of weapons. The costs of purchasing ammo if you shoot 3-4 times a month became prohibitive. So we bought a press and learned how to do it. There is a bunch of up front money to get into this hobby, but what I have found the equipment rarely depreciates. I bought a Dillon 550b for $225 w/one caliber conversion (conversions at that time were $20 + dies @ $40). The price of this machine today is just under $400. This press has reloaded just about every caliber and has loaded at least 250k rounds. Its been rebuilt by Dillon 3 times (oh at no charge - Life time no BS warranty), looks like new and I could sell it today for at least $350 (gee I think I made a profit - that doesn't happen very often).

    Has it paid for itself - I think so. We reload 9mm, 40 S&W, 44 Magnum, 45ACP, .223 .308 & 30-06. For me to reload .223 with military pull down powder and FMJ projectiles, I average about $.19 per round. Today its hard to find any kind of .223 for less than $.40 per round. Now I'm using my own brass (long ago we bought factory loads, shot them, saved the brass and have been reloading with them since). You have to call me a brass whore ! If your shooting next to me and your not going to take the brass, I'll ask you for it.

    And then sometimes there is need ! We shoot a lot of 30-06 tracers thru our browning MG's at night. You can't buy 30-06 tracer rounds today. Nobody's manufacturing it, once in a while somebody that has stocked it up is selling some, but thats about it. I stocked up over the years on tracer projectiles and now can reload for about $.23 per round.

    If you plan on owning and shooting weapons for longer than 10 years, then reloading can be a cost saving. If you desire high precision rounds that match you weapon, you can only get it via reloading.

    There is only one downside, I can remember loading 44mag's for a number of years. They were costing me around $.10 per round. I happened to price a box of 20 Remington 44mag at the gun store. It was $18 for a box of 20. I said wow I can go shoot at least 8 times as much and it won't cost me as much as the factory loads. So you end up shooting more and having more fun.

  14. NC Ken

    NC Ken New Member

    There are few things we can actually control anymore. Reloading the 'perfect' round seems to me to be as satisfactory an act of control as I can think of at the moment.
  15. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    Properly speaking, you should account for your time- but I reload as a hobby, so I don't. If you shoot something like .348 Winchester, or 9.3X72R, or even .32 S&W Long- suddenly reloading just got a LOT more attractive!

    I reload 38/357, 9mm, and 45 ACP (and some .308) fairly regularly. My .38 Wadcutters are about $1.40 per 50 rds, my .45 Auto about $1.50. HOWEVER- I cast my own bullets, and have access to free wheelweights. My only cash cost with those (outside of molds, dipper, melting pot) is fuel to melt, a bit of liquid ALOX for lube, and a dab of beeswax for fluxing the lead.

    Lee makes a mold the throws a bullet that needs no sizing, and is lubed with liquid Alox. And the molds cost about what 2 boxes of Walmart ammo cost.

    I still buy JSP bullets for my .357 loads- but those are high end loads with a heavy bullet- for a heavy framed LOOONG barreled revolver- and custom loads for THAT would be about $65 /50 from Buffalo Bore.
  16. BILLYBOB44

    BILLYBOB44 Active Member

    Not much room left?

    c3, I have moulds for .358+.452 and have access to free wheelweights. With todays primer prices, there's not much room for powder, if you can load .38spl. for $1.40/50+.45acp. for $1.50/50. I still have some $20K primers, but they will have to be replaced with $30-35perK, when the old cheap ones are used up. This will bring up price to $1.50/50 for primers alone.:eek::confused:
  17. SlamFire

    SlamFire New Member

    .458 Win. Mag. runs $120 a box of 20, $6 / round. Box of 50 for brass in this caliber runs about $50. At a dollar per piece, I can't see leaving the brass lying on the ground at the range.

    I'm paying $25 for 100 pieces of Federal, once fired match brass in 308 Win. I can't see leaving that on the ground at the range.

    So, it's sort of about "recycling."

    I started reloading 25 yrs ago to save money. I spend the same amount of money, but I get more ammo out of it, and better ammo too.

    Nonetheless, if you don't enjoy doing close spec tool and die work -- and it's repetitive -- reloading is not for you.

    Now, the reason I load these days is, look at my avatar. That's a FIVE shot group on a 1" circle at 100 yds. 223 Ackley Improved out of a Rem. 700 Police. It takes me maybe 6 hrs to load 50 rds for this sort of performance.

    But hey . . . it beats bowling. :D
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  18. RL357Mag

    RL357Mag New Member

    Reloading is cost effective to the tune of about 30% savings over factory ammo. The real reason I reload however is to produce accurate ammo. Reloading starts out as a hobby for most people looking to save some money. For the serious reloader it becomes more of a science with the goal shifting from financial savings to match grade accuracy. I can produce ammo using match grade components for roughly 1/3 the cost of buying such ammo. In 5.56 it costs me roughly $135 to produce 300 rounds of ammo which retails for $26/bx of 20. This is roughly the equivalent of 300 rds. of Remington 55 gr. FMJ ammo at Wally World, only I am using Sierra 69gr. HPBT Matchking ammo and H335 powder with Federal Match primers. I am no longer interested in just punching holes in paper, now I try to punch one ragged hole with 5 rounds. Reloading can become more expensive due to the experimentation involved in testing various components and combinations thereof to find the best combination of powder, primer, and bullet for a given rifle, and it seems that every rifle requires a DIFFERENT combination. Once the magic recipe is found however, the cost is far less than buying Federal Gold Medal Match or TAP ammo.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2009
  19. shoez

    shoez New Member

    I cast bullets for all my pistols, 357 mag, 44 mag, 44 auto, 32 S&W Long, and have huge savings. I got my lead free a couple years ago, so that helps. If you buy lead, that cuts the savings down greatly. Anyway, I shoot my 45 auto for less than $2 per 50 with my cast bullet. I can shoot the 32 long for barely over a dollar per 50, only uses 2 grains of powder and the primer, and these shells cost close to $30 for 50 at Cabella's. The brass last a long time. I have reloaded 45 auto cases over 30 times. I throw them out when I can't feel the primer seat anymore.

    But, like other guys said, calibers like the 9mm are hard to save anything by reloading and I have never had luck with lead bullets in the 9mm. I still pick up the brass though. even if I didn't shoot it. Just can't leave them lay.I've got thousands of them. Don't know why my gunroom is overflowing....
  20. ChuckMc1

    ChuckMc1 New Member

    Yep, I have too many hobbies also... but, to me, it keeps everything interesting. When I get alittle bored with one, I simply move on to another, and just keep them in rotation. They always thrill me again when I haven't done them for awhile. But, I guess I'm just that way by nature. Being a low temp refrigeration tech by trade, I am a jack of all trades, but a master of none. Some people do one thing until they become expert, but I get bored. :rolleyes: