Our house was flooded last May (2022), and that flood pretty much took out a decade's worth of reloading gear, including primers. So, I aimed at replacing it all around the first of this year (2023) in hopes of returning to a specific level of shooting come springtime.
However, after running the numbers (aka shopping around for presses, scales, primers, bullets, etc) I have come to the conclusion that - in the current economic conditions - reloading holds no advantage over buying commercially-available factory ammunition in 9mm caliber.
9mm is my primary caliber, and using today's component prices I can reload it for about $0.23 per round (.10 per plated 147 grain bullet, .10 per primer, about .03 for powder).
Compare that to the case (1,000 rounds) of S&B 124-grain ammo I just bought for $259 shipped.
This is the case for 9mm only; two other calibers (.327 Fed. Mag. and .38/.357) are wildly different, and the savings are still pretty substantial. However, I do not shoot the quantity of those two calibers that I do in 9mm.
My hope is that reloading will re-gain its advantage by summertime. For me.
I get it - Haven't reloaded since it all went south on primers - Saving any I have for the big one. Shooting 22's and some of my revolver rounds to capture brass. My range is hanging on to anything shiny to make ends meet. Only primers here in Mpls area are $120/1k of foreign stuff. I'm not going to do it. I may buy another 22 pistol just to have even more fun. Not like the old Bang Bang Bang days.
|I Deal In Lead
You can find primers for $79.00 to $89.00 per thousand on a fairly regular basis on the net.
Buy 5,000 or so at a time and hazmat doesn't add all that much.
Some guys I reload with just bought 10,000 primers from an Argentina manufacturer from one of the major websites.
$79.95/1,000 and $19.95 hazmat plus shipping, another $20.00
Not a bad deal these days.
|Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
Sorry to hear about your situation. The idea of a flood in my reloading room is the stuff of nightmares.
I agree regarding 9mm. I still load some, because I've already got the components, but I've also been buying it commercially whenever I see a decent deal. 9mm was always marginal at best for return on investment, even when stuff was cheap.
For other stuff, though, like mil-surp calibers or revolver ammo it's not only very cost effective, but often the only way to get what you need these days. Also, the ability to customize your loads has a lot of value.
I think if I had to start over again today, the smart move would be to buy a basic single-stage setup for the more exotic calibers and slowly build back up from there as prices improve.
I agree on the more exotic calibers. Heck, even .38/.357 is considered that, these days. Prices are insane on factory ammo in those calibers.
Doubly so for my favorite, .327 Fed. Mag.
With $80 primers, you’re still pushing $200/thousand for 9mm.
from the abyss
Cost aside, there's more to reloading for me. It's a hobby. It's a time when I can go out to the shop, turn on the radio, pour a cup of coffee, and just sit at my bench and baby each round as it goes through the process. I can afford to go out and buy as much ammo as I want, but I can't afford to buy the feeling that it gives me to build my own.
"Great danger lies in the notion that we can reason with evil." Doug Patton.
I’m like Gustofer. I love to load. However, 9mm hasn’t made much sense for a very long time.
Even before all the insanity, 416 Rigby was around $12 a squeeze for factory ammo ($160 for a box of 20). You could sometimes find Hornady solids in the $110-120 range. Now, you cannot find that ammo at all.
I can reload it for $2.50 a round, depending on how fancy of a bullet I want to use. This is assuming you have the brass. Reloading is the only way to go for most rifles, excluding perhaps 5.56.
Demand not that events should happen as you wish; but wish them to happen as they do happen, and you will go on well. -Epictetus
I've been toying with adding 9mm to the list of calibers that I reload for, for years now, but it just doesn't pencil out for me. .223/5.56 is pretty much the same story, except for match ammo. I reload all of my match ammo. Other stuff I still reload for is mostly small batches (<200 rounds) of things that are relatively expensive to buy commercially, like .45 Colt, .45-70, and magnum calibers.
I've never reloaded shotgun ammo, although now that I'm retired I'm thinking about taking up some purely recreational (i.e., non-competitive) trap shooting, so who knows?
Any satisfaction I get from reloading is when I take it out and shoot it and it performs well. The process itself has, over the years, become more of a chore than a hobby. Especially case prep, trimming and the like. I hate case prep work.
|I Deal In Lead
I've been reloading shotgun ammo since 1969 and back then and even up until a few years ago, you could save money reloading any gauge.
These days, 12 and 20 gauge aren't worth it unless you're using components purchased years ago.
OTOH, 28 Gauge and .410 bore are very good for saving money, especially .410 bore where you can save a fortune.
You are right about the therapeutic nature of reloading. That is what I have missed most, this winter.
Shotgun reloading setup is in my radar for 2023 as well.
You've hit upon it! Better still is using components you're father bought before you were born.
Unhappy ammo seeker
Yes, I’m in the ‘hobby’ camp also. I wouldn’t be keen if I had to resupply at todays prices & availability.
It’s nice to make you own ammo, especially if scarce. One of my favorites is the 284 Winchester, a few years ago scarce ammo was $80 for a box of 20. I think 45-70 ammo wasn’t far behind.
My son has a single shot in 8mm Lebel. That’s another rare & expensive round.
Flood waters/silt don't care how old your primers are ... it destroys them equally. Same for powder. I did have some bullets and brass that survived, as did my lead ingots.
I have a single stage press. To me it is away to pass away winter in Yooper land. I do 100 rounds a week.
I understand completely at my age I have quit reloading and sold of most of the powder and primers
Got rid of most of the guns also.
|I Deal In Lead
I've been on Medicare for 12 years now and since retiring I reload and shoot a lot more than I did when I was working as I now have the time to do both as much as I want to. So do a whole bunch of folks I shoot with every week, twice a week minimum.
my old friend
Yeah I reload for accuracy not cost. I do love reloading in the winter and i am always playing with new powders and accuracy in rifle rounds. I have been stocking up on primers for over a decade so I am good there. Don't much reload for handguns. All in all I find reloading relaxing and almost therapeutic.
“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” - Thomas Jefferson
Might be another reason to reload that’s not financially-related. If you live in a state which requires (or will require) background checks to purchase ammo and you’d prefer to stay out of those databases, maybe you’ll be lucky and there’ll be a loophole available for components.
Not gonna happen in West Virginia.
But, never say never.
I *will* get back into reloading;having to replace everything, however, it holds very little to no economic advantage in the current market. I'll wait, maybe buy some components by summertime, a press, etc. and just wait and watch.
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