Should you reload or not?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by stalkingbear, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. stalkingbear

    stalkingbear Well-Known Member

    Whenever I'm asked if a person should reload I always have to say it depends. Do you want to save money on ammo? Would you like to learn more about ballistics? How about the satisfaction of cleanly harvesting game animals with handloaded ammo? Are you wanting more accuracy than factory ammo provides? Is your rifle or handgun chambered for hard to find cartridge? All these are considerations on whether you should reload or not. Reloading is rewarding in several areas.

    Reloading is not for everybody however. If you don't shoot enough to justify reloading, are happy with the performance of factory ammo, or just buy your ammo in bulk then perhaps you shouldn't reload.

    Also I don't advise using reloaded ammo for self defense. While I don't personally know for SURE that a prosecuting attorney will rip you in the aftermath of a defense related shooting when using reloaded ammo, I've heard/read enough horror stories that I don't want to take that chance.

    The factories do an amazing job of producing ammo that performs very well today, and especially the "premium" loadings. However they have to load generic so that that same ammo will perform satisfactorily in ALL the firearms out there chambered for that cartridge. When you handload you're loading for your particular individual firearm only. You're working up a load tailor made for that exact rifle or handgun. Needless to say, properly painstakingly handloaded ammo WILL perform better than generic factory ammo.

    In my experience, while you'll save a LOT of money per round, you won't save any money overall. What I'm saying is that while the cost per round/box will be a lot cheaper, you'll be able to shoot more. That's not a bad thing of course. You'll also gain a keener understanding of ballistics when researching reloading data for loads.

    Another advantage of reloading is you can load premium or match bullets for oddball rifles. For example my .284 only has 1 factory loading (that I'm aware of)-Winchester 150 gr soft points. By reloading different weight and
    construction of bullets I can transform that deer rifle into an elk rifle or
    even a groundhog/coyote rifle.

    With factory ammo my .284 would only group 1.5" for 100 yard groups. By careful handloading I can cut the size of those groups by at least 1/2, if not a bit better.

    These are some of MY reasons for reloading.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  2. joshfireart

    joshfireart New Member

    when i bought my dillon i was ready for some big savings on my ammo and just as Stalking bear said i just shot three times as much. i was loading for pistols but i found that i really enjoy shooting my riffles so im loading a lot moor for them now.

  3. Gordo323

    Gordo323 New Member

    Great post stalkingbear.
    I probably haven’t saved any money reloading, I’m now just breaking even, after buying the press, dies, scales, etc., etc. (and that’s been quite a few years ago).
    But for me saving money is not what it’s about. The satisfaction I get out of shooting a cartridge that I have carefully worked up and know will shoot well out of my particular gun is what its about, plus I enjoy the mechanics of it all, I am very slow at it, as I have found patience to be a virtue. But I find it a very relaxing hobby, and am fascinated with ballistics and how many more different calibers I want to try!
  4. lonyaeger

    lonyaeger Active Member

    I'm just getting started and it's guys like you, Bear, who have made me want to do it.
  5. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    My problem is this. All the money I save on reloading goes right back into reloading by buying more bullets and more equipment. It is easy to fill up all your space in a short amount of time. Lots of things you NEED to reload.
  6. jpattersonnh

    jpattersonnh Active Member

    Stalking Bear put it well. My 1st deer rifle was a sportered GEW98 in 8x57. There was no decent ammo for it at the time. My friend Dwayne Sutten, owner of Bullseye sports set me up w/ a Lee reloading set, dies, bullets, powder and primers for less than $200.00. He had coffee cans of bullets on the lower shelves and you could buy 10 or 2000. He tossed me a box of Sierra hunter 175gr. and I was hooked. I bought more rifles/ calibers, more dies and bullets.
    Now I reload for 16 rifle calibers. The great part is .308, 7.5x55 and 7.5x54 all use the same bullets and powder. .303 and 7.62x54r use the same bullets and powder. I buy Blemished bullets once a year in large quantities. The jacket color is off, but they perform great. I save a bunch that way. I averaged $9.80 per 100 bullets on my last buy. You can even get great deals from companies like Barnes. Most of the time their TXP (previously the XFB) are .75 a piece. But by buying old stock they average .35 each. So I can load my 7mm Rem Mag for .60 a round as opposed to $2.50 for factory ammo. My 9.3x57 is even better paying full price for bullets. .45 compared w/ $2.75 a round. It makes it possible to shoot/ practice with any rifle at any time. When you have a few hundred bullets of any type you may want to use for any game you may want to hunt, and a few hundred rounds of all of the bullet types, it makes things so simple. I can use my .308 HB for woodchucks w/ 120gr varmints or targets w/ 168gr match, Whitetail w/ 150 or 165gr sp., Even 180gr partitions for elk. So for 4 rifles that use .308 bullets, each can handle 4 different tasks. My BLR also shoots Barnes 150gr TXP for elk and bear. Rifles are: Howa 1500 HB.308, Browning BLR '81 .308, Swiss K31 7.5x55, Mas '36 7.5x54. Talk about diverse.
  7. VitSports6

    VitSports6 New Member

    I've only been reloading for a few months, I agree that it isn't the cost saving that got me started, My dad use to do it, I have all his old equipment from the 70's and it all still works great!
    One nice thing I have personally noticed is how relaxing it can be to just get in the groove, Working through the steps in peace and quiet(I have 2 children 9 and 7 and 3 hounds who like a lot of attention) putting the day behind me and focusing on one thing, Its similar to garage/wrenching time.
    I only reload 2 rounds, 9mm and 7.62x54R I hope to work into 30-30 and 7.62x39, But I would like to make sure I have learned the first two before I move on.
    I know there are still quite a few items I would like to try out for reloading accuracy, But they will come along with knowledge, time, money and shooting.
    Great post by the way.
  8. diggsbakes

    diggsbakes New Member

    I think those are pretty good guidelines Bear. I've been pondering that exact question for close to six months now and haven't come up with an answer.

    While my interest in ballistics and need for a hobby continues to grow, I can't yet justify the cost of tools/start-up. Once again my planned range session was canceled by bad weather this week and its been over a month since I've shot :( (painful)
  9. opaww

    opaww New Member

    Good post SB
  10. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    Good post Bear. I used to reload, but lately I am not getting out like I want, so factory is what I've been shooting.
  11. opaww

    opaww New Member

    My thoughts on this is that if you are only going to shoot once or twice a year then No it is not worth the cost. But if you shoot once a week as my son and I do or more often then Hell yes.

    As some have said I put my savings right back into reloading but I do shoot a lot.
  12. spittinfire

    spittinfire Active Member Supporter

    I started to reload when I was shooting a lot more then I'm currently able to do. I got into it to save money which I did. It gave me more money to put back into reloading so now I can reload for all the weapons I own.
    I know the feeling of watching groups get tighter or finding the perfect mix for a target load. For me the best is taking game with loading I worked up just for that purpose.
  13. hunter Joe

    hunter Joe New Member

  14. Silvertip 44

    Silvertip 44 New Member

    Bear, that's a very good post.
    No, I don't save by reloading, I probably spend a lot more. As a matter of fact, I know I do, but then, I sometimes shoot 4 days a week. I bought several thousand rounds from CMP a couple of years ago so I would have an ample supply of brass for my Garands and 03s. Seems like I am always looking for deals on powder and bullets and usually have some on order from somewhere.
    The best asset from reloading is that I can tailor my ammo to each specific firearm or need. It's difficult to find factory loads that perform as well as my handloads. Also, I can shoot high quality and much more accurate ammo cheaper than the cheaper boxed stuff.
    Furthermore, it gives me something to do on days that the weather won't allow anything else.
  15. Troy Michalik

    Troy Michalik Is it Friday yet? Supporter

    Great write up Bear.

    I originally got into reloading because an old school buddy of mine was in a pinch for cash and made me a heck of a deal on all his stuff. Like has been said before, it hasn't saved me much money, but I don't really care so much about that. I have had it forever. It's still in great shape (thanks RCBS). Reloading is like therapy. and I consider it part of my SHTF kit.

    Joe, thanks for posting that link, I hadn't seen that website before. It has been bookmarked.