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How much does reloading cost? How much do you save? Login/Join 
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Picture of signoir
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This thread is for all inquiries into what reloading equipment and supplies cost, and what savings over the purchased price of ammo can be reasonably expected. If you wish to share your reloading costs and savings with others, please post them here.

Links to relevant posts:

http://sigforum.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/840601935/m/4051091261

I'm sure there are a lot more...

This message has been edited. Last edited by: signoir,


"When I held that gun in my hand, I felt a surge of power...like God must feel... when he's holding a gun!" H. Simpson.
 
Posts: 1042 | Registered: July 04, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of signoir
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Equipment:

I've been reloading now for over 30 years. I started reloading .45ACP with a $40 Lee Classic Loader back when I had more time than money. When I bought a .44Mag revolver, I also bought an RCBS single-stage press and the 2 sets of dies that I needed. When I added a .41Mag and .357Mag to my arsenal, I bought an RCBS Rockchucker and a Uniflow powder measure and performed 3-stage loading - decap and resize on the Rockchucker, charge powder with the Uniflow, and seat and crimp on the other press. When I added a Walther 9mm, a Sig P226, a Kimber 10mm, and a S&W PC1911, I decided it was time to go progressive. Luckily (or by design) RCBS makes a progressive conversion kit for the Rockchucker called the Piggyback. I probably have around a $1000 in reloading equipment and I use it all - nothing was a wasted purchase. Now that I have more money than time, I keep adding stuff if it makes me more efficient. Most recently I bought a brass sorter so that I didn't have to keep hand picking the 9mm and .40S&W out of the .45ACP everytime I came back from the range. After recently building an AR15, I bought a swaging die to reform the crimped primer pocket in military brass. All of this equipment has sped up the entire reloading process - from sorting brass to packaging the finihsed rounds. Once my equipment and materials are set up, I can crank out about 400 rounds/hr. For me, shooting so many different calibers (9mm, 357 Sig, 40S&W, 10mm, .38spl, .357Mag, .41Mag, .44Mag, 5.56, and 6.5 Grendel) has made reloading cost effective and enjoyable.

Supplies:

Brass is the most expensive component. Most of the stuff that I get is free courtesy of my fellow shooters at the range. Some stuff is rarer and I have to buy new and recycle (10mm, 6.5 Grendel) and some stuff is easily available once-fired (45ACP, 5.56 military). Bullets are next most expensive and, for practice, I buy the cheap stuff. Powder and primers are pennies a round. For 9mm, 40S&W, 357 Sig, and 45ACP, I'm reloading at under $6 per 50 rounds. For other cartridges (10mm, Magnum pistol, and rifle) my costs are higher but I still end up saving at least 50%.

Time:

I enjoy reloading so I don't put a price on the time spent doing it like I do - say - washing the car. Reloading is as much a pleasurable hobby to me as it is a way of saving money. I can load "hot" when I want to impress myself and load "cold" when I want to keep recoil down. I can play with different bullet and powder combinations to get the effect that I want. I use a $120 chrono to keep track of velocity.

Summary:

For a given number of rounds, reloading will eventually save you money. How fast it pays for itself will depend on how often you shoot and what calibers you shoot. Today, with the high cost of ammo, I'm thankful that I took up reloading over 30 years ago.


"When I held that gun in my hand, I felt a surge of power...like God must feel... when he's holding a gun!" H. Simpson.
 
Posts: 1042 | Registered: July 04, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Shaman
Picture of ScreamingCockatoo
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To buy 45-70 cartridges is about $1.25 each.
So I ordered 150 cases and cast my own bullets.
16 grains of Trail Boss and a primer is the majority of my expense.

I've been casting my .452 bullets now too.
For the 45ACP and 45LC.





Before there was man, the parrot ruled the world. Now man rules the world and the parrot has not forgiven - Native American Proverb.
 
Posts: 37805 | Location: Atop the cockatoo tree | Registered: July 27, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by ScreamingCockatoo:
To buy 45-70 cartridges is about $1.25 each.
So I ordered 150 cases and cast my own bullets.
16 grains of Trail Boss and a primer is the majority of my expense.

I've been casting my .452 bullets now too.
For the 45ACP and 45LC.


Do you use a drop-tube?

Sorry, taking it to email...

Check your email
 
Posts: 41 | Registered: October 02, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Stone Cold
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Like with any gadget based hobby, you'll keep finding things you need for quite a while, so that keeps the savings from happening until you no longer need stuff. Also, you'll shoot more, so you probably won't save at all, but you'll become a better shooter and have lots of fun you wouldn't have had.


mz
 
Posts: 139 | Registered: June 18, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here is a link to a handy spreadsheet that will calculate cost, quantity needed and even print labels. I can take no credit for this spreadsheet as I found it on the THR forum.

http://www.thehighroad.org/files/reload99.zip


Democracy is two Wolves and a Lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a Well-Armed Lamb contesting the Vote! Ben Franklin
 
Posts: 253 | Location: Parachute, Colorado | Registered: December 30, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you're mainly looking loading for handguns then the dillon 550 is a very good choice depending on how many calibers you plan to load will decide how much you have to spend you can look to spend atleast a 1000.00 for the press a tumbler the conversions for each caliber brass dies scale but once you get started you will save money and hopefully have fun doing it
 
Posts: 6 | Registered: November 18, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sigless in
Indiana
Picture of IndianaBoy
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With the components that I have on hand I am loading 223 for my AR at a cost of $170 per 1000 rounds.

I don't remember what I am spending for 9mm but I remember calculating that my Dillon should pay for itself in about a year and a half of shooting.

My fiance and I shoot USPSA so saving on 9mm is the biggest justification.
 
Posts: 12745 | Location: The Edge of the Ozarks | Registered: December 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't know how much I'm saving, but I love being able to cater a round to my desire. I'm pretty sure I could not afford to shoot as much as I do if I didn't reload. I used a Lyman single forever and then went progressive.

My Hornady Lock N Lock almost paid for itself the moment I received the 1,000 free bullets I got for buying it.

Based on how many 1,000-packs of primers I've gone through, I guess I've loaded around 6 -7,000 rounds in all. Never have had a problem. And if I had it to do it over again, I'd buy the LnL again.

I bought it on 3/6/08 for 369.99 from Miller Outfitters (I just checked his web site and he still has it for that price). He was the only place I could find one. He's a really nice guy and will tell you flat out if he can't beat a price. Most times he beats Midway and Hornady hands down.

Hack
 
Posts: 189 | Location: Columbus, Ga | Registered: December 17, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A quick survey of what it costs me to reload:

-- 9mm: I get my cases free from my range. Powder 2 cents, primer, 2.8 cents, bullet 10 cents. Total cost, 15 cents per round or $7.50 per box.
-- 5.56: I get my cases free from my range. Powder, 4 cents, primer, 2.8 cents, bullet 7 cents. Total cost, 14 cents per round or $2.80 per box of 20.
-- 7.62 x 51: Case, 10 cents, powder, 6 cents, primer, 2.8 cents, bullet 16 cents, total cost, 35 cents per round or $7 per box of 20.
-- 357 SIG: case, 3.7 cents, bullet, 10 cents, powder, three cents, primer, 2.8 cents, total cost, 20 cents per round or $10, per box.


tk


www.malabargunleather.com One-stop shopping for civilians who want to carry concealed.
 
Posts: 2657 | Location: Central Florida | Registered: May 05, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Don't forget. Your initial cost of cases, if you have to buy them, is not a factor in subsequent rounds when you reuse them.

I can buy a 250 round box of UMC 9mm for $50 from Walmart.

Reloading, I can save approximately 25% of that cost and get better, more accurate rounds. So over a relatively short time I have paid for my equipment. By the way I use Lee equipment and it's works good and is cheaper.
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: January 18, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If I buy brass, I assume that I can get 5x reloads and only count 20% of the purchase cost per round. I can often get more than 5x reloads but I also lose some brass too. Some brass is available for purchase once-fired at substantial savings initially - so, 20% of that is even cheaper.


"When I held that gun in my hand, I felt a surge of power...like God must feel... when he's holding a gun!" H. Simpson.
 
Posts: 1042 | Registered: July 04, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Shaman
Picture of ScreamingCockatoo
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I have brass I've loaded at LEAST 10 times.
I found 1 45ACP the other night that the mouth had a slight crack.
Maybe just a notch in it.
I was thinking if I was easy with it, i could load it at least 2 more times. Big Grin





Before there was man, the parrot ruled the world. Now man rules the world and the parrot has not forgiven - Native American Proverb.
 
Posts: 37805 | Location: Atop the cockatoo tree | Registered: July 27, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
When you fall, I will be there to catch you -With love, the floor
Picture of rscalzo
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One of the benefits of being the range officer on our indoor range is all the brass we get to take home at the end of the night. I have a large bag full that I have to sort at the moment.

Reloading 5X's is probably on the conservitive side. I've gotten much more than that on straight walled cases. 45ACP do tend to crack sooner than the others though.


Richard Scalzo
Epping, NH

http://www.bigeastakitarescue.net
 
Posts: 4418 | Location: Epping, NH | Registered: October 16, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I load for about 18 different calibers, but the last time that I figured price was yesterday for my .41Magnum. I have been working up a new load, and finally decided my load and components.
I drop 15.5gr of IMR4227 powder @ $20.00 per #.
215gr LSWC @ $60.00 per thousand. 1000 WLP primers @ $25.00 per thousand. This calculates to $6.47 per box of .41Magnum Range Reloads, which is quite a savings over factory ammo, and much higher quality and more accurate also.

Eric


NRA Certified Chief Range Safety Officer
NRA Certified Pistol Instructor
DNR Certified Firearms Instructor
NRA Life Member
 
Posts: 110 | Location: Forest Lake, Minnesota | Registered: January 24, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Right now I'm loading 9mm for about $7.15/box with Berrys 115gr RN bullets It would be cheaper but Gander mountain has been price gouging me for primers. Making me pay the individual Sleeve(100ea) price when i buy a box of 1000. So I Just today payed $40+tax for 1000 CCI primers.
 
Posts: 256 | Location: Minnesota | Registered: January 20, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Reloading also becomes a separate and enjoyable hobby - not just a cost saving function. I did start out with three motivators 1) cost savings and 2) I wanted to shoot a revolver in IDPA (SSR) and could not find commercial ammo that met power factor, 3) commercial ammo in 9mm and .45 ACP are hotter than required for IDPA and the commercial reloader I was buying from started having delivery problems and then went out of business.

Warning - I believe there is a cost as far as time goes. There is no way I would have taken the time to reload when my kids were living at home. I invest a lot of time sorting, cleaning inspecting brass then case checking each round.




Speak softly and carry a big stick loaded Sig
 
Posts: 4056 | Location: Raleigh, North Carolina | Registered: September 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It used to be that for the common calibers (9mm, 40S&W, 45 ACP, etc.)that you could buy in bulk (and this is loaded ammo) it was damn near impossible to break even with a good turret setup or a Dillon because the bulk ammo prices were SO low that you would have to stretch the expense of the equipment over 20,000 rounds or more just to break even.

Fast forward to today, and it isn't about money anymore. If you depend on stores for your ammo, you very well may be screwed for months to come. All of us reloaders who bought stuff before Jan. 20th are fat and happy in our basements, and I can probably keep shooting for a year or two off the stuff I got. So it just isn't about price anymore, and that adds another variable to whether you want to reload. BTW - Dillon is still shipping tons of stuff out, so there is no shortage of their equipment.

The other factor, which is just the opposite of what I first said, is that you can SAVE (not just break even!!) a TON of money if you reload some of the big expensive calibers. 500 S&W and .338 Ultramag are both $2.50 A ROUND, Eek and you can pay for damn near any setup by simply loading up 6 or 7 50 round boxes of either one. With the ammo shortage, prices are also going up on more normal stuff, and crappy watered down 10mm ammo was $27 at Cabela's and the good hot stuff was $32 a box. Once again, you can actually save money pretty fast at these famine prices. (Plus you can load 10mm hot as you want it (within the limits of the reloading manual, of course) all day long.

Right now, it's hard NOT to have a reason to start reloading.
 
Posts: 1067 | Location: Minnezotah | Registered: September 09, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I find that I save money by buying powder that yields results and uses less grains. That is why I use Titegroup powder. 4.5 gr in a 124gr jhp at 7000gr/4.5=1,555 loads per pound. Or 5.0 gr in .45's.

If I load, I try to load premium hollowpoints or the most high priced bullets I can find for the best price. I dont want to spend time loading cheap bullets. I can buy blazer ammo for plinking. Pick your favorite most expensive ammo and load those bullets,like federal, hornady, remington etc. For example: I like Remington Golden Sabers 9mm 124gr. for feeding in my P226 and smaller 9mms. They cost $25 a box for 25 Rounds! or $500 for 20 boxes! and they are nickel cased. 500 Golden saber bullets cost $60 or a little over the price of 50 factory rounds loaded. I use my own Brass and if I buy ammo, I buy brass ammo and recycle it and buy cheaper round nose fmj ammo at the range. This way it costs me a little over half the cost of Factory to reload.
So the best way to save time and the most money is to recycle brass, buy premium bullets at the cheapest price, primers, and use powder that gives the best results with the lowest charge weight or in other words if two or three powders perform the same, pick the one that uses the least amount of powder to do the job.

Another way to save money is not to use media and a tumbler. I know I thought this was the only way. Now there are many ways to clean brass cheaper and white vinegar, dish liquid, and baking soda will do the trick. see 6mm benchreat sight for these formulas. Some people just use boiling water and dish soap believe it or not. The only thing in these methods are you have to deprime used brass first before cleaning
so as not to corrode the primer pocket.
Thats how I get the biggest bang for the buck. Shooters choice just came out with water based cleaners, I am going to try on brass to see if they work.
 
Posts: 67 | Registered: October 09, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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With the rising cost of ammunition over the last couple of years, many shooters are considering the alternative of reloading to help cut costs. A lot has been written about how much, if any, money is actually saved when everything is taken into account. This is a cost breakdown for the 2,350 rounds of .223 I finished loading a few months back. A fellow on another forum, who was interested in reloading for his AR-15's had asked me. The brass I used was mixed headstamp. CCI, Remington, Winchester, Lake City, S&B, and a few others I'm forgetting. This brass was obtained from on line sources on the web. I processed it all the same. First I resized and deprimed all of it with a RCBS Small Base Sizing Die. Then I processed all of the primer pockets on my Dillon 600 Super Swage, because some of them were military with crimped primer pockets. I then trimmed all of them to uniform length on my Giraud Powered Case Trimmer. After that they went into the tumbler for several hours and received a polish with ground corn cob and Dillon Rapid Polish added to the media. The final step was to run it through my Dillon and crimp with a Lee Factory Crimp Die. They turned out very good. My total investment in this batch of .223 was:

Brass---------$20.00 total. (It was free, but I paid the shipping).

Powder-------$65.00 for 8 pounds of AA 2230C. (25.0 Gr. per load X 2,350 = 58,750 Gr. 58,750 divided by 7,000 Grains per pound = 8.39 pounds of powder total.)

Primers-------$59.38 for 2,350 primers @ $25.00 per thousand.

Bullets-------$172.21 (2,350 Winchester 55 Gr. FMJBT from Midway)

Boxes--------$52.00 for 100 boxes and trays from Midway. (Actually $26.00 because I used only 47.)

Grand Total = $342.59



By comparison the 1,000 rounds of Remington UMC FMJ in .223 pictured above cost me $371.00 delivered from Natchez, (9 months ago). Reloading can be extremely cost effective but you must find good sources, and buy in bulk. Here are 2 very good sources for brass, bullets, and powder. If you are willing to do a little Internet hunting, brass can be found quite inexpensively. It may require cleaning, and primer crimp removal, but tools to do that can be purchased cheaply, and the amount of time added to the operation as a whole isn't much.

www.gibrass.com

www.patsreloading.com

Now let's make some adjustments, then do the math to find out just how much, if anything, I really saved. Before we do that we need to make one critical adjustment. The $371.00 I paid for the 1,000 rounds of Remington UMC is LONG GONE. Rising fuel prices along with non ferrous metal prices have driven that number to new heights. Especially when you include shipping. If you buy locally, whatever you save in shipping you'll eat in sales tax. So it's pretty much tit for tat. The Glendale, Arizona Cabela's 2 miles from me as of last week, charges $10.00 a box of twenty for Remington UMC .223. Let's roll with that figure. Cabela's is a very large retailer, and while others might stock ammo a little cheaper, Cabela's most always has it in stock which is important because you can't very well buy what a store doesn't have when you need it. So, using Cabela's $10.00 a box of twenty price for Remington UMC 55 Gr. FMJ .223 ammo that comes to:

$500.00 per 1,000 plus 8.1% Arizona sales tax. That's $540.50 per thousand. $540.50 X 2.35 = $1,270.17 for 2,350 rounds.

So as I type this it would cost me $1,270.17 to walk out of Cabela's with the same 2,350 rounds of .223 that cost me a grand total of $342.59.

Now let's do the math.

$1,270.17 - $342.59 = $927.58 Savings over what it would cost me right now to buy the exact same thing 2.5 miles from my home from one of the biggest shooting and hunting retailers in the country.

Now let's talk time.

Resize and deprime all 2,350 cases....... 9 hours. (That's only 4.3 cases a minute, but I'm 55, and not the fastest guy when I reload.)

I tumbled all 2,350 cases over 2 nights while I slept. Adding the time to install plus remove 3 loads, (I use a Dillon FL-2000).......2 hours. Again I'm slow.

Run all 2,350 rounds through my Dillon Progressive.......Approx. 300 rounds per hour. Yeah, I know they say 500 to 600 rounds per hour, but that's not very realistic. You have to include refilling powder measures and primer tubes, plus taking a break once and a while. 2,350 Divided By 300 R.P.H. = 7.83 hours. But let's be generous and call it 9 hours.

My wife has nimble fingers and she enjoys boxing and labeling them for me, but I'll toss in another 3 hours for that as well to keep things on the up and up. So, the grand total in time invested runs:

9 Hours (Resize and deprime)

2 Hours (Putting in and removing from tumbler)

9 Hours (Yanking the handle on the Dillon)

3 Hours (Labeling & Boxing)
.................................................. ...........

23 HOURS TOTAL

$927.58 Savings Divided By 23 Total Hours = $40.33 PER HOUR.

$40.33 per hour is a damn good wage, let alone getting it for doing something you enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

So in conclusion I would say reloading is still worth it, but you must buy your components wisely, and use good equipment. As for "earning" $40.33 per hour doing it. Let's just call that icing on the cake. That cake will get more and more "frosted", as ammo prices just keep getting more and more expensive. And rest assured THEY WILL! Bill T.
 
Posts: 11 | Location: Glendale, Arizona | Registered: April 17, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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