Reloading question

Discussion in 'AR-15 Discussion' started by Fumbles, Nov 25, 2011.

  1. Fumbles

    Fumbles New Member

    I have not had time to sit down and figure out all the costs involved so I figured to ask here in case someone else has already done this homework.

    I have an RCBS single stage press. It's a nice one I got many years ago from an uncle who gave it to me when I purchased his Ruger Super Blackhawk.

    Almost everything is there....RockChucker loader, Uniflow power measure, a bunch of spare parts, reloading small hand tools and extra primer holding cases, lube pad etc. I also have dies for 9mm, .44, .38/.357. Thinking I was going to reload I bought a nice RCBS reloading scale and a hand primer. But then I never ended up reloading.

    I reckon to get into reloading .223/5.56 all I need are the dies and maybe a couple of small items. I have everything for my handgun calibers.

    But my question is........ is it anywhere near cost effective to load for .223/5.56? Given that it's a single stage press and will take a fair minute to crank out 100 rounds or so.

    I am wondering if it is rather just a way to custom load my own rounds using a particular design and weight bullet as well as a custom powder charge...... that I might not get in cheaper commercial ammo such as Remington UMC or Federal. So perhaps I could save over premium ammo but plinking ammo might just be more cost effective to buy at the store.

    Unfortunately, I live in Los Angeles so I cannot buy online and have it shipped to me. So I miss out on the sales. The cheapest I have seen Federal XM-193F is $6.99 and I heard it has been as low as $5 and change. Generally I pay $7 for Remington .223 UMC and $8 for Federal XM-193F 5.56. The other Federal with the metal cores is between $169 and $189 for 420 rounds in clips in a steel case but you cannot shoot it at the ranges here. Good for SHTF situation only unless you are prepared to travel a ways to find a place to shoot it.

    So is anyone loading plinksters for their AR?

    And if so....... would you re-use Remington UMC brass?

    Thank you.
  2. TimKS

    TimKS Active Member Lifetime Supporter

    It's cost effective if you don't count your time, but if you want to figure the time......forget it. I reload when I have time to beats playing video games, Wii, and texting. :D

  3. Fumbles

    Fumbles New Member

    Yeah I figured. Thanks TimKS.

    Maybe the idea will be to get it up and running and keep loading at least 50-100 specialty rounds per range sesh...... maybe hollowpoints, nice bullet design and good powder load etc to see the performance and get good at reloading........ and then just keep primers, powder and bullets on hand in case anything ever happened and buying ammo in stores became not too great an option.

    Perhaps it just goes along with storing food, water and other emergency supplies. The ability to stay ammo'd up.

    How do your rounds come out Tim? Do you load a little towards hot and with premium bullets for super accuracy/stopping power....... or do you just tend to load plinking rounds?

    Really...... I like to think it's doubtful a serious SHTF scenario will ever play out in this country......but experts greater than I are advising to be prepared for it. Seems stupid not to, if you can.

    I forgot to mention I need a tumbler also...that I don't have.
  4. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    As the man said- if you want to count the cost of your time, well...... what is your time WORTH? I am a neurosurgeon, and my time is $79.85 a minute. Ricky works at Burger Doodle, and HIS time is worth $6.25 an hour.

    :p No, I am not a neurosurgeon.

    I mainly reload for accuracy, and to get loads I can't readily buy. Like .348 Winchester, and 185 gr .357 magnums.

    I also enjoy woodworking. Yes, I can BUY a storage chest for much less than the cost of making one, but I enjoy it. Same with reloading.
  5. Catfish

    Catfish Member

    If you start reloading you will spend alot more on your shooting. The ammo per round will be cheaper, but you will find yourself looking for a better shooting load and spending more time at the range. BUT, you will become a better shot. ;)
  6. Rick1967

    Rick1967 Well-Known Member

    One thing that you will find is that you can make much more acurate ammo for less than buying the cheap stuff.
  7. Fumbles

    Fumbles New Member

    We are doing an insurance remodel on our bathroom due to the toilet/bath/laundry backing up into each other and eventually overflowing onto the bathroom floor. The 8' vanity had to be taken out and was damaged in the removal so it is being replaced. 8'X18"X34" with 8 nice sized drawers and the two under sink cabinet area's with doors, for access to the sink plumbing. It's actually (2) 4' units side by side.

    I am already in the process of changing things up in the garage and I am going to modify said vanity to become a work bench and reloading bench.:D The tile countertop is gone of course, so I will use two pieces of 4'X18"X3/4" birch ply as the bench tops and I'll shelve out the under sink cabinets where the plumbing access was, for powder and cleaning supplies etc.

    I have had this RCBS setup for perhaps 12-13 years and never used it. It looks like solid stuff.....I read somewhere the older RCBS stuff was made very well.

    I have been a pro guitar player all my life and have 18 guitars and basses.....I have always wanted a work bench to putz with them and just have never got around to it. I also have a small home recording studio and desperately need a nice work area to fix things, make audio cables etc etc etc. I am stoked about this build idea.

    I hope I did not ruffle any feathers posting this reloading thread here. I will take any further reloading stuff to the appropriate forum.

    Thanks for all the help y'all's.
  8. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver New Member

    Hell, I would'da believed the neurosurgeon part! :D

    OP, almost all my reloading stuff is RCBS brand. They are a solid company with excellent customer service. If you ever have a problem with any of their products, just give them a call and it's likely they'll take care of your issue without any cost. I'm sure I save some money by reloading my ammo, but I do it for the enjoyment and better accuracy I get from doing it.

    ETA: I reload all my brass that has box primers. I don't know that I've ever been able to tell the difference .223 Rem. brass and 5.56mm NATO stuff. The military brass has crimped primers that require you to remove the crimp the first time you reload the brass, so it's a little more work.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  9. Fumbles

    Fumbles New Member

    I did not know that. I just looked at a .223 and a 5.56 and I see that there is a circular line around the primer on the 5.56....... I assume that's the crimp?

    So do you still press or drive the primer out, but then have to resize the primer pocket with a reamer and after that regular commercial primers will fit okay?

    Thanks for the info.
  10. Snakedriver

    Snakedriver New Member

    Yes, it will still press out normally even with the crimp, but with a little more effort required. I prefer to ream the crimp out myself, but some people use a swagger device to press it back and thus resize the primer pocket for the new primer. Either method will work, but failing to remove it has caused many new reloaders much frustration when trying to install the new primer. The good news is you only have to do it once, the first time you reload the 5.56mm NATO brass.

    If you're going to be doing large numbers of crimped brass you may want to look at getting a RCBS Decapping Die made especially for the work, then you can resize and proceed normally with your other dies. If you don't get the decapping die at least get a pack of spare decapping pins for your sizing die. They do get bent and even break occasionaly when decapping military brass. They cost pennies and the come in two varieties depending on the age of your dies.

    Also, if you will be priming a large number of brass consider getting a Lee Auto-prime device. You will thank me later for this suggestion. They cost under $20 and you can prime a hundred brass in just a couple of minutes with it.

    ETA: For .223 / 5.56 you'll need a #4 shellholder for the Lee Auto-prime device. The shellholders are sold separately for $2.99 each or in sets for around $17.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011