Economics of reloading ammo(e)

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Aurelius, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Effendi

    Effendi Been here awhile

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    If I may make one more noise on equipment, sir.

    If I were you I would go with the 1050 immediately, do not go 650 and then decide to move up to 1050.

    The reasoning behind this is that you will invariably collect range brass and you will find that some of it has crimped primer pockets. The 650 will knock out the old crimped primer, no issues with that. However, you still need to swage the primer pocket (or waste primers) and the 650 is not designed to do that as part of it's reloading cycle. People will tell you about a couple of widgets on eb@y made by people who purport that their widgets will swage the primer pocket. In my experience they DO NOT, each one cost me around $100 and they both sit in a box unused, effectively expensive scrap metal. Then I bought Dillons super swage 600, yes that does work but, it is a long and laborious procedure picking up each case, fitting it, swaging it and moving on.

    The 1050 swages as part of the reloading cycle, job done, no messing. I have a friend who has a 1050 set up for only 9mm, like us he shoots, a lot, he dedicates one sunday after noon a month to knocking out around 3000 - 4000 rounds of 9mm. I also have a friend in europe who has a 650 for 9mm and another for .45ACP, there is not the prospect of collecting cases with crimped primer pockets on many civilian ranges in euro-land though.

    Bottom line: If you can afford it then go for the 1050.

    All the powder maker's have their reloading guides online nowadays so if you [safely] work within their tolerances for loads then it will not take you long to come up with some standard loads of your own.

    Getting once fired brass is no problem, picking it up as and when on the range I have around 4 x 5 gallon buckets full of 9mm and 5.56mm cases. Bullets I buy from Evergl@des ammo 4000 at a time, primers I buy 20,000 at a time, powder, I could tell you but, the Fed's would have a heart attack....I sort of grab a can as I am passing the display(and it just sort of built up), or pick up bargains (in bulk) when I spot them. Bulk and bargains is the only way to go.

    Good luck!
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  2. cplus

    cplus Been here awhile

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    I don’t shoot as much as @Effendi , probably only around 10k/yr, but like him I look for deals to cut down on costs. I cranked out 1000 rds of 9mm yesterday. Took about five hours on a Dillon 550 but I’m a little slower than most. No case feeder, no bullet feeder, and I spot check the powder charge and OAL every 100 rounds.

    I estimate the cost was around $.125/round using range pick up brass. Most of the cost was bullets - about $.07 ea for 135 gr. Blue Bullets when purchased in bulk. Federal small pistol primers are $44 for 1000, so $.044 ea. A 8 lb. jug of Titegroup was $140, figure another $.01 for a 3.3 gr. charge. This doesn’t include the cost of the press or my time. For comparison, Blazer and Federal 9mm are around $.16/round when purchased in bulk. It’s cost-effective to reload 9mm if you shoot a lot, have ready access to brass, have free time, and can afford the initial $1000 investment in equipment. Reloading other calibers is far more cost-effective. For example, I estimate my cost to reload .40 S&W at around $.135/ea using 180 gr Blue Bullets and 4.2 gr Titegroup, which is about half the cost of Federal or Blazer in bulk.
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  3. Effendi

    Effendi Been here awhile

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    If you whang on a case feeder it is like suddenly moving at lightspeed.
  4. cplus

    cplus Been here awhile

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    Thanks, I might just do that so I can crank out enough to carry me through the winter club league before the cold weather makes reloading in my unheated garage unpleasant.
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  5. BCC

    BCC I know better

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    I’ve pretty well made my decision to start reloading, and based on advice here and from reloaders who shoot in the same competitions I do, to go with the 1050. Except it is going to be discontinued and replaced by a RL 1100. One more thing to consider. I’m going to call Dillon tomorrow and see what they say.
  6. Ge-Mini-gun

    Ge-Mini-gun Been here awhile

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    There are a lot of things to like about the 1050, however the swager station is not the one option I would think about to make my decision. I’ve been loading on (2) 650’s for 15+ years and have never felt the need to jump to the 1050. I load for (8) different calibers, granted only (4) are shot 80% of the time, however 3 of those are for machineguns (9mm, 45 and 223). In March I loaded 3k rounds of 9mm in just under 3hrs and a 1050 will not run any faster as they both have the same “limiting” feature…primer and powder capacity. Couple other things a lot of people don’t know/understand, the 1050 only has a one year warranty…you break parts after that (and you will) you’re paying for them. Also the 1050 really isn’t a press you want to be changing calibers on, it’s more of a single caliber press, yes it can be done and people do it, but it takes some time to get it running 100%. I have a buddy that has one and he used to change calibers…no more, he purchased (3) other for the calibers he shoots the most, everything else he loads on a 650. The 650 has a life time warranty, I’ve broken almost every part on mine over the last 15+ years of owner ship…call Dillon and within a week the parts are in hand. I have no dog in the race, I’m just passing along information from actual experience. I will close on this…if I were to reload only one “load” (same bullet, powder charge, primer) the 1050 would be the press I’d go with.
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  7. BCC

    BCC I know better

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  8. cplus

    cplus Been here awhile

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    I bought a 550c last fall. I didn’t price a 650 at the time because I didn’t think I would ever need the additional production speed. Fast-forward and I now try to load 1000 rounds at a time. My point? The $200 extra between a 550 and 750 is probably worthwhile if you really get into reloading in volume.
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  9. nofendertom

    nofendertom Been here awhile

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    Is there any difference in loading "old" Unique as compared to "new" Unique ? I remember reading something about this.
  10. Fire Escape

    Fire Escape Long timer

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    Everything I read says that weight for weight the New Unique is the same as the Old Unique except much cleaner burning. I may live long enough to test that for myself but I have two and a half of the 1 pound, cardboard and steel 'cans' of the Old stuff to use up before buying any more.

    Bruce
  11. nofendertom

    nofendertom Been here awhile

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    Just used up the last of my "old" Unique---it was marked $13.95.
  12. Fire Escape

    Fire Escape Long timer

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    007.JPG 005.JPG

    There is only one can of Trail Boss (and I bought that when I found it despite already having a few pounds) in the chest so that is the 'overlap' point between pictures.


    The 'can' of Unique that I am working out of is actually plastic but still old. My 'in use' Bullseye & 2400 are cardboard 'cans'. When any of those run out I move on to the back-up powder chest which I inherited a few years ago (along with most of it's contents). There isn't room for any more powder on the self over the bench or on the floor under it so I just try to remember to check and see what is in the chest before buying replacements.

    Bruce
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  13. RustyStuff

    RustyStuff Long timer Supporter

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    I've got 2 cans of unique I'm useing 1 is a old gold and red cardboard Hercules made can, the other is a alliant can from 2018. I really can't tell a difference, they even smell the same. Seem to shoot the same.

    I'm thinking of stocking up here soon. Just in case there's another whacky shortage.
  14. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Transient

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    Two states below you they're requiring a background check to buy ammo if what I read is correct. That would encourage me to start stocking up.
  15. cplus

    cplus Been here awhile

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    So here’s a funny thing. I’m deep into reloading in preparation for my local indoor winter league. (I reload in my unheated garage and prefer not to reload in the dead of winter.)

    Anyway, over the posts thousand or so rounds of .40 S&W, 30 cases have had problems seating primers. If I apply my usual amount of force, the press will pop the old primers but not seat a new one. If I apply a little more force, the primer ends up either crushed or seated well proud of the case.

    My brass is range pick-ups with various head stamps and all the problematic cases are stamped WIN. The Federal, Blazer, S&B and others I don’t remember - even Winchester - are fine. I measured a few primer pockets and the WIN cases are all .168” while the others are all around .172” - .173”. Primers (Federal) are nominally .175”.

    Apparently those few thousandths make all the difference.
  16. YJake

    YJake PAR Nation Supporter

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    I’ve had this issue with some off brand European .357 cases. They were in my mixed brass pile and would almost always seat incorrectly, causing the primers to fold or flatten.

    -Jake
  17. Tmaximusv

    Tmaximusv Long timer

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    Has anyone experienced Fiocchi primers being hard to fit in .223/5.56 brass? I gave up on the last batch of brass and my Lee Auto Prime is refusing to feed them properly.
  18. FPGT72

    FPGT72 Long timer

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    Anyone do shotgun shells....the wife picked up sporting clays and at 100 rounds a week she is going to put me in the poor house. But at $23 for 100 20g shells at the wally world is it really worth the time and effort (who cares about the equipment, that is toys) to load.

    I don't shoot yet but she is trying.

    Any thing I currently have....even powder...transfer over to shotgun....it seems like a royal pain in the butt from the little research I have done, and the equipment seems much more expensive.
  19. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    I've loaded maybe 50k shotgun shells in my life, as I was into trap shooting for a number of years. I probably did 10k on a MEC 600jr press and the rest on a P-W 800 progressive press. It's not hard, but requires attention to detail, like any reloading activity. I was loading AA equivalent trap loads.

    None of your powders or anything else are applicable to target shells. You will need to buy components in bulk. Powder in 8 lb jugs, wads and primers by the case. Shot by the pallet. My personal recommendation is to do a little math on what components would cost you to load a years supply for your wife and weigh that against what new shells at bought online or at Walmart cost. You may find that it's cheaper to buy ammo as opposed to load it. Just make sure the quality of the shot matches up to make it a fair comparison.

    If you were in Idaho, I would give you a good deal on a progressive press and a bunch of components....
  20. Ge-Mini-gun

    Ge-Mini-gun Been here awhile

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    That’s $5.75 a box…I can load a box for right around $3.25. I shoot in a skeet league year around and load for all gauges (12, 20, 28 and 410), where you save BIG money is in 28 and 410. Walmart price for either is around $10, my cost is right around $3, so for me its well worth the time. There are some pistol powders that “transfer” to shotgun…Greendot, Clays and 700-X come to mind. Where you save money is in the components…buy in BULK…I mean BULK. I purchase shot by the ton, if I can get a couple other guys to go together I’ll purchase a couple tons…my last order was 3 tons (shit that was fun moving). There are other ways to save…find a club that buys in bulk and get on with them. Also shotgun loading is not like metallic where you can “mix and match” components…shotgun is a specific hull with a specific wad with a specific powder and primer.