saving money with reloading

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Felix, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. Felix

    Felix Guest

    Can reloading be cost-effective or in the end do you end up paying the same amount as if you purchased ammo?

    Has anyone ever done the meticulous calculations to determine the truth?
  2. Bidah

    Bidah New Member

    I do not have the cost calculations right now, but yes, I have done them. Of course they change in an upward fashion lately. This is after you have "paid" for the equipment to get you started.

    In general, I do not count the cost of brass, for pistols especially, since they can be reloaded so many times that the cost becomes negligible. For rifle, I include it at 1/5th the cost as I usually reload them 5 times.

    Here is a very general sampling...

    .45acp Lead, round nose... $5/box FMJ $6/box Pay: $11 and $14

    .223 Match rounds.. my reloads about $26/100. Buy.. $125/100


  3. 1hole

    1hole New Member

    Like most "home made" things, the money saved from buying factory stuff vs the cost of the tools and materials to do it yourself depends on how much you actually do it.

    If you shoot a couple or three boxes of ammo a year and are happy then don't bother to reload. If you shoot, or want to shoot, more than a couple of hundred rounds a year you will break even in maybe 2-4 years, depending on how elaborate you set up and then it starts to actually save money.

    Most of us shoot far more home made than we ever would factory ammo so the money saved is more than spent on components but we have a lot more fun too.

    And many of us are low volume shooters who reload for the enjoyment and neither the volume nor savings are not all that important to us. Loading and searching for that one-hole group load is a pleasant hobby all by itself. Beats sitting in a bar on evenings.
  4. Dgunsmith

    Dgunsmith New Member


    Reloaders are the original recyclers !

    Your cost per round reloading your brass is a significant savings over factory ammo.

    Equipment costs are spread out over a lifetime as they really dont wear out.
    You must buy primers by the 1,000 to get the best price.
    You didnt say what calibers but buying pistol bullets in bulk 1,000 at a time will save $$$.

    There are 7,000 grains in a pound of powder. Look up how many grains the load you wish to do uses, divide 7000 by that to see how many loads per pound you will get. If rifle rounds, buying powder in 8 pound kegs saves big $$$.

    Lead bullets are cheapest for pistols, FMJ next then JHP cost the most.
    With rifle reloads, you can tune the load for maximum accuracy out of your rifle.

    Best bet is talk with a local NRA affiliated club and take the basic reloading course. Great starting point. You will save $$$
  5. Catfish

    Catfish Member

    The real answer is it will cost you alot more to shoot if you reload. The cost per round will be more accurate than factory ammo and will cost you less than 50% of new ammo, but you will end up shooting at least 10 time the amount that you do when you buy factory.
  6. Lambert

    Lambert Guest

    Reloading Saves Money

    Hi, Felix. Interesting question. Unless you shoot 1000s of round in one calibre, or load for MANY calibres, getting into the reloading business is quite costly, and your cost per round will be prohibitively high. If you are just getting into reloading, quite often members of a local shooting club will have surplus used equipment for sale.

    Money aside, there is a lot of pleasure in reloading your own, beside the potential for more accurate ammo than you can purchase. You cannot buy decent 30-30 ammo for a Savage 340 or 24F rifle for example, but you can surely load your own. You will eventually want to expand into bullet casting, etc. The list is endless.

    The way I look at it, I don't save money, but I sure shoot a lot more!

  7. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter


    You can save big $ if you reload but, you will likely shoot more negating the savings. Your skills will improve greatly so it is worth it. Reloading can become as much of an addiction as shooting.
    I reload for 26 different calibers and cast bullets for 12 different handgun calibers and 6 rifle calibers as well as two muzzle loading diameters.

    I have kept my eyes open for dies and molds in common calibers even if I do not have a gun that shoots that caliber. I have an assortment of ammo for many calibers that I do not have guns for. Just in case I come across one some day. You never know when you will find a .38 super or .243 and need ammo.
  8. rickrem700

    rickrem700 New Member


    I also reload a lot of different rounds, and it is addictive, I love all the math involved in finding the perfect load!!! as far as saving money, I probably shoot more than most people do so I guess I have saved money somewhere along the way, but as Robocop stated its addictive and I already have an addictive personality so I reload every cal I have to many to list, and cast every black powder round known to man, so yes the investment is huge, and inventory is a nightmare! however the price of ammo has gone strait through the roof. For example my 300 ultra mag ammo cost around 67.00 dollars a box of twenty my 30-378 cost 130.00 dollars a box of twenty, you can see the savings is huge on those two, these are Gander Mountain prices you could probably find them cheaper somewhere else, I just happen to notice them ,as I was just there yesterday. The only draw back I can think of about reloading, It's kind of like having the only pickup truck on your buddy's moving day, my friends are constantly hitting me up to reload for them and I hardly have time to keep up with my own, word to the wise encourage your Buddy's to reload also!!!

    WILDCATT Guest


    If you buy Lee turret press 4station/dies/powdermeasure /scale /mold/
    can figure about $200.
    BUT the biggest point is you will have the availability to produce ammo when there is no more available.rifle ammo is now about $15 to $40 per 20 rds.pistol ammo is about $15 per 50 and all going up.In Mass you cant order and have it shipped you have to buy from dealer.a lot are going to RI or NH to get their supplies.
  10. RePete

    RePete New Member

    Actually there is a saving IF you use range brass that you've picked up, buy the bullets, primer and powder in large quantities.

    If you can get in on a local bulk buy, the savings can be large.

    Right now .223 and 9mm may not be the best to reload, as ammo is fairly cheap. .223 for a bolt action may be reloaded to what you require in accuracy.
  11. Bidah

    Bidah New Member

    I beg to differ on this right now. For standard Wolf, 200/1k is the low point in .223. I can reload it for far less than that, and have a better shooting cartridge as well. The normal point is close to $400 or over, and match is even higher than that. I reload my match stuff for 1/3 of what it costs commercially.

    For 9mm, I am reloading for half of what it costs to buy the WWB stuff, slightly more if I use FMJ.

    Yes, it is a fun and addicting aspect of the hobby.

  12. RePete

    RePete New Member

    Up here it's cheaper to buy 9 and 223 at this time.
  13. tuck2

    tuck2 New Member

    I started reloading back in 1952. Each year since then I have had some money left for hunting ,fishing,and shooting. By reloading I could find accurate loads for my varmint and big game rifles at a cost less than purchasing factory ammo. For the rifles I could match the bullet type and weight to the animal hunted. I could not have afforded trap shooting if I had not reloaded shot shells. Learning how to reload as a teen ager, it has ben a life long hobby that has not saved me any money but I got to shoot a lot more than if I had to purchase factory ammo.
  14. seedy

    seedy Member

    When you start reloading you will take your relationship with firearms to the "next level." You will discover what makes powder fast or slow burning, different manufactoring of bullets, and at what price is accuracy achieved.It's an activity thats not appropiate for all as it takes time and self organization. Though I find it relaxing it is not a casual activity with checking and double checking the norm. The time I spend reading about it is the same as I spend in the actual reloading if not more. ;)
  15. anm2_man

    anm2_man Member

    Just a couple of costs. For .223, and assuming you already have the brass, primers will cost $.025/ round, Powder will cost about $.084 / round, and a 55grn FMJ projectile is around $.06 / round. This totals to about $.17 per round. You would be hard pressed finding factory loads for that price. Here is a neat calculator that you can use to calculate the costs:
  16. NYPD13

    NYPD13 New Member

    I Tend To Buy In Bulk When On Sale Not As Needed And With The Cost Of Ammo Lately, I Save Significantly. Reload To Factory Cost Averages Around 70% For Target Grade Components. For Precision It's Best To Buy Loaded Ammo Online.
  17. G21.45

    G21.45 Guest

    :) In consideration of the fact that reloading - and NOT shooting - has become my first and foremost pastime, I don't think that I've saved very much money, at all, over the past 30 years. Whatever I might have saved on the purchase of new ammunition, I am sure I have spent on that entire room full of reloading equipment I have, also, ended up with.

    This is (or was) especially true because Wal-Mart pushes all sorts of really cheap ammo deals out the front door. When 45 acp ammo was selling for well under $10.00 a box what am I saving by: cleaning, sorting, bringing in the components, setting up, and reloading a thousand rounds? Maybe, if the price of commercial ammo (like gasoline) continues to climb to insane heights I'll change my mind; but, right now, I'm still running Blazers, and WWB for daily practice; but, like I said, this could change. ;)
  18. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    I do not include the cost of brass in my reloads because if you are not reloading then you only shoot them once. By reloading that cost is born on the first loading only for me.

    It saves money but you might never see it. If you are like me I love gadgets. The money I save ends up going right back into buying more gadgets for my reloading bench. My wife used to get mad when 2000 bullets showed up on the door step. But after I worked the figures and showed just how cheap I was shooting she said oh ok now she does not get that mad at me for reloading stuff.

    My 45acp loads are dirt cheap.
    Bullet: 200gr Rainer .11
    Powder Hodgdon Titegroup: .01
    Primer: Winchester LRP .02

    Loaded ammo for .14 a round

    At midway USA 500 WWB for $285.99/500 = .57 per round. that is a .43 savings per round.

    For my 223
    Bullet 50gr V-Max: .16
    Powder w748 25.5gr: .07
    Primer CCI BR4: .03

    Total: .26 per round

    Hornady Varmint 55gr or 40gr V-max .88 that is a saving of .62 per round.

    If that is not saving I am not sure what it. Like I said though I turn all mine back into the reloading bench. on handtools and relaoding gadgets.
  19. RePete

    RePete New Member

    I forgot to add that you will never, maybe rarely:eek:, save money because you will shoot more.:)
  20. BigO01

    BigO01 New Member

    Before prices started to rise I sat down and figured this out for the same question at another gun forum .

    I figured I could load my 45 acp's for less than half what I could even get Winchester White Box 230 gr loads at Walmart .

    Where you really save is time and now even Money for gasoline , Time waiting to be sold your ammo at Walmart "Which can be insane at times" gas to drive to there unless it's on your way to the range .

    Once you get comfortable with a load and it feeds well in your gun you can load hundreds or thousands of rounds .

    When the urge to go shooting hits you you just load up the car with guns and gear and go have at it without wondering what the price of ammo is going to cost you for that trip .

    It makes it easier to tell the wife you spent $200-400 all in one shot than to tell her you spent $100 6-7 times a year "Or more figuring in gas nowadays" .

    Look at it this simple way a 1 LB container of powder = 7,000 grains , with the correct powder say Winchester 231 even with max or near maximum loads for certain bullets in certain calibers you will get 1,000 rounds of ammo out of that 1 lb of powder . 38 special covered , 9mm , 40S&W , 45 acp and even the 357 magnum can all be safely and accurately loaded with this powder and even develop max loads with many if not all bullet weights for those calibers .

    With my favorite load for 45 acp I use 5.3 grains of 231 at a cost of 1.5 cents each if the pound of powder cost me $20 or 75 cents for a box of 50 rounds . If premium defensive ammo is your goal you can save close to 75% .

    Take 45 acp Remington 185 grain Golden Sabres as an example , a box of 25 loaded rounds at Midway USA is $32.49 yet 100 of the bullets is just $24.49 or 24 cents a bullet a whole $6 worth of bullets Winchester 231 powder will drive that to factory velocities for a cost of less than 2 cents a round or a total of 50 cents even if primers hit $30 a thousand thats 3 cents per primer or another 75 cents for a box of 25 round . We're at $7.25 and even if you use brand new Remington +p cases "which there is no reason you can't use once fired brass you already have on hand" they cost is 25 cents each or $6.25 for 25 total for 25 hand loaded rounds is $13.50 almost 1/3 of the price of the ammo loaded at the factory .

    A premium defensive bullet should still perform even if you can only come withing 100 FPS of the factory loading .

    At a savings of nearly $20 a box it wouldn't be long before the reloading press , Dies and scale paid for itself and you can get started without the scale by using Lee plastic powder dippers or a Lee Autodisk powder measure .

    O BTW I have loaded 45acp , 38 special and 357 magmum cases well over a dozen times with medium-upper range loads many many times in 20 years of reloading .
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008