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Old 03-19-2009, 03:41 AM   #46
HardCase
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Back to the economics of reloading......and wxwax makes an interesting point about the value of time, and also the capital costs. As Aurelius pointed out, for many of us this is a hobby and for virtually none of us is it a money-making profession or occupation. Because it is a hobby, we do it for enjoyment and essentially donate our time.....albeit in varying amounts depending on other commitments and features of our individual lives.

Capital costs.....certainly could be taken into account. It's hard to assess, however. We all have different equipment, some more, some less, and what about, say, my Dillon 550B press which I use only for certain handgun calibers. Do I have to factor the cost of that in when I load, say, 308 ammo on my 30+ year old RCBS Rock Chucker press? In my case, I've been handloading for decades, starting when I was 11 or 12 and would "help" my dad and began doing tasks for him, followed by reloading my own ammo, etc. All of my equipment is more or less ancient, but I do pick up items now and then, a new set of dies and a primer-pocket swage being recent additions. But we are talking about $130 total for those items, spent in the past 6 months, and the vast bulk of my gear has been long ago amortized.

I think the way most of us look at it as we get started and are required to shell out a chunk of money, several hundred dollars to acquire "major" pieces of equipment, capital costs if you will, is to try to get a rough idea of how many boxes of ammo, or rounds of a given caliber it will take to amortize those costs, for them to "pay for themselves". For most guys who have been at it for any considerable length of time, and solely for their own use and/or as a hobby, that break-even point was reached long ago.

Hey Aurelius, here's one you might like. Consider the 500 S&W Magnum. I practically fainted the other day when I went to my favorite local shop, one that is very competitively priced, and saw that my favorite round for that gun, the hand-numbing/ass stomping CorBon 440gr hard-cast rounds were $49.99.....for a box of 12!!!!! I found a box at home which I'd acquired circa 2004 with a price tag from the same shop of $28.50. If only my IRAs had done so well. In any case, the new price breaks down to a fairly staggering $4.16 per pull of the trigger. Here's my actual cost to reload already owned brass and duplicate this load:

CastPerformance 440gr flat-point, gas-check, "heat treated" solids..........50 cents @.

41 grains WW296........$22 per pound, 170 charges per pound........13 cents @.

Primer.......3 cents @.

Total cost per shot.......66 cents.

Savings per shot.......$3.50.

Time cost/capital amortization, general satisfaction from knowing that with each pull of the handle you're saving $3.50..........Priceless.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:02 AM   #47
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When I consider 41 grains of powder in a handgun cartridge, my brain hits a wall of cognitive dissonance.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:05 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadyRascal
When I consider 41 grains of powder in a handgun cartridge, my brain hits a wall of cognitive dissonance.
Crazy innit? My typical RIFLE reloads rarely go over 25 grains.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:05 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadyRascal
When I consider 41 grains of powder in a handgun cartridge, my brain hits a wall of cognitive dissonance.
Yup, that's the way I felt the first time I looked at loading data for that round.

Edit: For that matter, it is hard to wrap my mind around a 440gr handgun bullet. John Ross, a veritable guru where this round is concerned, routinely loads 700gr bullets in his specially made 500s. They have a different twist-rate and a special high-tolerance barrel-cylinder gap setup, and can shoot very heavy bullets at quite high velocity. Ouch.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:27 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardCase
Capital costs.....certainly could be taken into account. It's hard to assess, however. We all have different equipment, some more, some less, and what about, say, my Dillon 550B press which I use only for certain handgun calibers. Do I have to factor the cost of that in when I load, say, 308 ammo on my 30+ year old RCBS Rock Chucker press? In my case, I've been handloading for decades, starting when I was 11 or 12 and would "help" my dad and began doing tasks for him, followed by reloading my own ammo, etc. All of my equipment is more or less ancient, but I do pick up items now and then, a new set of dies and a primer-pocket swage being recent additions. But we are talking about $130 total for those items, spent in the past 6 months, and the vast bulk of my gear has been long ago amortized.
I started when I was fourteen. The best deal at the time, given my limited finances, was a Lee startup kit containing all the basics. I can't recall the price of the kit and various reloading components, but I do remember running the numbers and arriving at a break even point of ~600 rounds of Winchester 225 ammo (the only gun I had at the time). Since shooting was my only hobby in those days, it didn't take long for the equipment to pay for itself. In the decades since then, I've added a Lee hand press, an RCBS hand primer, a Lyman case trimmer, a Redding powder dispenser, a Lee Progressive 1000 press, many different loading dies, an RCBS electronic scale/powder dispenser, and most recently a Lee bullet casting kit. Some items which I no longer use have been sold - usually for more than I originally paid for them.

Quote:
Hey Aurelius, here's one you might like. Consider the 500 S&W Magnum. I practically fainted the other day when I went to my favorite local shop, one that is very competitively priced, and saw that my favorite round for that gun, the hand-numbing/ass stomping CorBon 440gr hard-cast rounds were $49.99.....for a box of 12!!!!! I found a box at home which I'd acquired circa 2004 with a price tag from the same shop of $28.50. If only my IRAs had done so well. In any case, the new price breaks down to a fairly staggering $4.16 per pull of the trigger. Here's my actual cost to reload already owned brass and duplicate this load:

CastPerformance 440gr flat-point, gas-check, "heat treated" solids..........50 cents @.

41 grains WW296........$22 per pound, 170 charges per pound........13 cents @.

Primer.......3 cents @.

Total cost per shot.......66 cents.

Savings per shot.......$3.50.

Time cost/capital amortization, general satisfaction from knowing that with each pull of the handle you're saving $3.50..........Priceless.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:33 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardCase
Yup, that's the way I felt the first time I looked at loading data for that round.

Edit: For that matter, it is hard to wrap my mind around a 440gr handgun bullet. John Ross, a veritable guru where this round is concerned, routinely loads 700gr bullets in his specially made 500s. They have a different twist-rate and a special high-tolerance barrel-cylinder gap setup, and can shoot very heavy bullets at quite high velocity. Ouch.
On the basis of cost alone, I'd say your best bet is to sell the 500 Mag and hunt with a rifle.
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:42 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Aurelius
On the basis of cost alone, I'd say your best bet is to sell the 500 Mag and hunt with a rifle.
True. In fact, I've not hunted with it in the past couple of years because I wanted the option to take a long shot if necessary and consider myself confined to 50 yards with the 500. Still, it's fun to shoot, a 'toy' for the most part. You should see what it does to a head of cabbage!
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Old 03-19-2009, 06:09 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by HardCase
True. In fact, I've not hunted with it in the past couple of years because I wanted the option to take a long shot if necessary and consider myself confined to 50 yards with the 500. Still, it's fun to shoot, a 'toy' for the most part. You should see what it does to a head of cabbage!
I've seen what it does to a berm at 25 meters. My wrist still hasn't recovered from the experience.
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:11 AM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardCase
Yup, that's the way I felt the first time I looked at loading data for that round.

Edit: For that matter, it is hard to wrap my mind around a 440gr handgun bullet. John Ross, a veritable guru where this round is concerned, routinely loads 700gr bullets in his specially made 500s. They have a different twist-rate and a special high-tolerance barrel-cylinder gap setup, and can shoot very heavy bullets at quite high velocity. Ouch.
So to load do you just use a coffee cup for a powder scoop?

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Old 03-19-2009, 07:12 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by ShadyRascal
So to load do you just use a coffee cup for a powder scoop?

No, I use a measuring cup.....want to be very precise!!
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:22 AM   #56
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My theory on reloading is that rather than save me money it has allowed me to shoot more for what I would have spent anyway.
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:26 AM   #57
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Say, here's a question for you guys. I use CastPerformance bullets in the 500, and also just picked up some .357 180grainers with the thought of brewing up some fairly stout 357 Magnum loads. Their website doens't tell a whole lot. But they bill their bullets as "heat treated"......hmmmm. They seem like a fairly hard alloy, and the ones I use have gas-checks and some sort of blue colored lube in the grooves. I've used a lot of the 50 caliber ones in the 500 and they don't lead the barrel, even at fairly high velocities (1500+ feet per second). I assume they are a harder lead alloy of some sort, but heat treated??? Can you heat treat lead? Sounds like some to me.
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:36 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardCase
No, I use a measuring cup.....want to be very precise!!
The old man who picks up brass at the shooting range south of Ozark, MO said he was talking to some guys who were shooting AR-15s. When he found out that they were reloading he inquired about the loads they were shooting. They didn't seem to understand what he was asking when it came to "grains of powder".

They explained to him that they were just dipping the cases down into the powder and leaving just enough room to squeeze a bullet in.


I wonder how that is working out for them.
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:08 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Kawasaki
The old man who picks up brass at the shooting range south of Ozark, MO said he was talking to some guys who were shooting AR-15s. When he found out that they were reloading he inquired about the loads they were shooting. They didn't seem to understand what he was asking when it came to "grains of powder".

They explained to him that they were just dipping the cases down into the powder and leaving just enough room to squeeze a bullet in.


I wonder how that is working out for them.
Jeebus! I suppose that works okay with powder that is sufficiently slow burning that it doesn't result in an over-charge even if the case is filled to the brim and compressed, but hardly the way to get anything approaching decent accuracy, and in an AR one has to wonder if they have functioning problems......in more ways than just one.
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:24 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HardCase
Say, here's a question for you guys. I use CastPerformance bullets in the 500, and also just picked up some .357 180grainers with the thought of brewing up some fairly stout 357 Magnum loads. Their website doens't tell a whole lot. But they bill their bullets as "heat treated"......hmmmm. They seem like a fairly hard alloy, and the ones I use have gas-checks and some sort of blue colored lube in the grooves. I've used a lot of the 50 caliber ones in the 500 and they don't lead the barrel, even at fairly high velocities (1500+ feet per second). I assume they are a harder lead alloy of some sort, but heat treated??? Can you heat treat lead? Sounds like some to me.
Apparently you can heat treat lead. Here's a good article on the subject of various lead alloys used for cast bullets:

http://www.sixguns.com/crew/castbullet.htm
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