Economics of reloading ammo(e)

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

  1. FPGT72

    FPGT72 Long timer

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    I really need to educate myself to this is sounds like....I will see if she sticks with it.....after buying a new M2 I hope she does.
  2. Year1911

    Year1911 Adventurer

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    Anybody reloading 6.5 Grendel in here? Been playing with 100 and 120 gr. Hornady ELDs and 107 gr. Sierra TMKs. Bullets in the 100 - 110 gr. weight are of particular interest to me and this is where I am spending the majority of my time.

    Also been very interested in Moscow Match ammo (pulling the bullets from Factory Wolf (Barnaul) ammo, reweighing the powder charges, and substituting a higher quality bullet). The Wolf ammo is cheap (I have 3K rounds stockpiled), I have a ton or Hornady and Sierra bullets to play with, and it is a big time saver on the bench. Plus, I never concern myself with recovering the steel cases in the field.

    I love the Grendel in an AR, far and away my favorite AR cartridge.
  3. Fire Escape

    Fire Escape Long timer

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    Unless you can buy shot in huge quantities you won't save $$$ by reloading 12 or 20 gauge shotshells vs. buying what is marketed promotionally. You can however make better quality ammo, most any shot you buy will be harder and reloaded high quality hulls are more uniform than lots of the newly made promotional ones. Seems like every few weeks someone at our club shows up with brand new (cheap) ammo that does not fit many chambers.
    Where you can save is making specific loads, being too old to find recoil fun and shooting short distances, I shoot a lot of 7/8 once loads in my 12g Citori. They would cost more than 'on sale, cheap' ammo but by loading 1/4 oz less of shot in each round I end up saving and getting the load I want.

    As stated already it is a BIG change to go from metallic reloading to shotshells. You will need to find out exactly what 'recipe' you will be following before buying components, very little can be varied without resulting in surprising pressure changes. Usually, if you think that you'd like to try something just a little different, it will require ordering different 'parts' to accommodate that change. Even something that would be a minimal change in metallic reloading like reducing a powder charge might end up with you having to find/order a different wad because you are now loading to a specific load volume as well as pressure.
    One thing that WILL carry over from your metallic reloading is your scale. I don't know who makes up the charts as to what powder bushing (I have only experienced MEC bushings) throws how much of any given powder but they make my local weather forecasters look amazingly accurate by comparison. Weigh and verify!

    I enjoy loading shotshells and shooting what I have loaded but had I not inherited much of what I use to do it would have considered it another expensive hobby rather than a way to save $$$$!

    Bruce
  4. WYO George

    WYO George Epstein didn’t kill himself

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    I have connections that get me really good prices on 12ga and loading it just isn't economically beneficial. I do whoever shoot a lot of 16ga and it's well worth loading because I can load it a tad cheaper than 12, but loaded ammo is almost 3X the price of 12ga so it's definitely a win. As stated before, 28 and 410 will be the same situation.
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  5. RustyStuff

    RustyStuff Long timer Supporter

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    So I should throw out all the spent hulls I've been saving?
  6. WECSOG

    WECSOG Dirt Road Denizen

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    No way. It's easier to save money than that post makes it sound, especially if you already have hulls. Besides, those claims of "you can't save money" assume you will go to walmart :puke2and buy whatever shotshells they have on sale at the moment. And they assume that there will always and forever be some kind of shotshells on sale for $6 a box or less at walmart :puke2, and that it cost you nothing to drive to walmart :puke2to buy them.

    When you reload, you don't have to throw a dart at a reloading manual and then buy the hull, wad, powder and primer the load it lands on specifies. You can watch for Powder Valley or Graf's to have a good price on Promo or whatever powder, buy 8 or 16 or 32 lbs of it and also 5,000 Cheddite primers (which tend to be about the cheapest and still perform perfectly) so you get it all on one hazmat fee. Maybe go ahead and buy whatever rifle and/or pistol powder and/or primers you're running short of too, at the same time. Then go to BPI or wherever and buy 5,000 Claybuster wads. You can get those for about $100 or a bit more. Then just find the data you need. Those wads and primers are very popular because of their price, you you will have little or no difficulty finding data that will work for your purposes.
    For shot, if you go to Rotometals you can get 50 lbs for about $120 including shipping. Sometimes less.
    You don't save much, for 12 gauge. Sometimes you might not save anything, depending on current prices. But that tends to be temporary and seasonal.

    Personally, I don't really care. I want to save money, but I'll buy components and load my own even if I'm not saving money. It makes the whole shooting hobby an overall richer experience.
    Bus fare can be cheaper than keeping and maintaining a motorcycle, too.:muutt
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  7. Ge-Mini-gun

    Ge-Mini-gun Been here awhile

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    No, however you will need to look through a loading manual and find out what other components you will need to match your hull, mainly because some hulls are tapered hulls and some straight wall…the wads are not interchangeable. I only use Winchester A-A hulls, they are pretty much the “reloading industry standard” hull to use, Remington STS are second (distant second) and everything else a distant third. There are hulls that can be swapped and I’m not going to go through them here for obvious reasons…you get things wrong and the gun can come apart and not in a good way. As mentioned I purchase everything in bulk, shot by the ton, wads by the case – 4 or more, powder in 32 or 64lb lots and primers (normally 20k). I load a 12ga 3/4oz load that smashes targets in either skeet or 16yrd trap, does ok with sporting as long as the targets aren’t a football field away. As Wecsog mentioned I like to save money and since I shoot 20k or more a year (pistol, rifle and shotgun) EVERY cent counts, so that $2.25 I’m saving on a box of 12ga adds up to some real money in the end. If you get into this the shot is the killer in saving money as mentioned…I would look around for a gun club that orders components and ask if you can get in on the deal…saves HAZ-MAT fees and shipping, that’s how I get my components, it’s a real PITA handling the amount of shot I normally get, but luckily I have a neighbor that shoots with me, so that helps. Initial startup can be expensive, presses run from $40 to $3k that’s one gauge, but that isn’t a true picture either…some presses have interchangeable tool heads, which greatly reduce costs. I run a Dillon SL-900 with tool heads in 12, 20 and 28 and Posness-Warren in 410, only reason is Dillon doesn’t make a 410 tool head. I’ll end here as I can go on and on.
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  8. RustyStuff

    RustyStuff Long timer Supporter

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    Yeah I wouldn't be buying in that quantity( tons and kegs of powder) as I have nowhere to store it, I mostly shoot clays once a month with a buddy for fun. Around 100 shells at a time. I've done that a few times and I've got a cardboard box filling up with newer winchester and mostly older federal hulls in mixed 12/20 and High brass/low brass.
  9. Fire Escape

    Fire Escape Long timer

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    I can't buy in those quantities either, my old farm house would fall in around our ears. For reference a 25 pound bag of shot will load about 400 shells, a pound of powder 300 or so (my 7/8 oz. trap load runs more like 450/shot and 375/powder). Your actual load will of course change that one way or another. When they have shot in stock my LGS retails it (a few months ago) at $44/bag, shotgun powder around $22, primers about $33/1000. I costs me about $0.23 to load a 12 ga. target shell or $57/case/250. I can buy promotional shells (Federal or Estate) for $59.95/case in the same store. I like loading and shooting my own ammo and believe that they are better (not that my shooting could prove it either way) than promo loads. Once you get into loading something 'special' you really can save $$$, at least once you amortize the tooling costs.
    Even if you don't start loading right away, save all the quality hulls that you can find because someday ........

    Bruce
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  10. Motor31

    Motor31 Long timer

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    Way back in the 70's when I was shooting skeet and thinking about getting into competition with it I started looking at reloading shells. There was a system at the local club where they reclaimed shot and wads. Several of the competitors would use the reclaimed wads (AA only) and reloaded the AA hulls with the stuff for really decent savings.
  11. Ge-Mini-gun

    Ge-Mini-gun Been here awhile

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    Now you want to go down “that” road. The shot is where the majority of the money is used and you can save BIG money by using reclaimed or even making your own. I never used reclaimed as I’ve read some bad things happening to barrels, from gravel, steel and other items no being caught during processing, I have made my own, but that has changed as well. 10-15 years ago you could get wheel weights from tire shops for very close to nothing, if not free…melt them down into “nuggets”, then melt into shot…long process but the saving were substantial, even back then. Now days they won’t sell to you or if they do they want $1 per lb. and as mentioned if you purchase large enough you get a price break.
  12. BCC

    BCC I know better

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    A couple of months ago I asked for opinions about which press I should get between a 650 and a 1050, with me going through around 2500 rounds a month of 9mm shooting Steel Challenge and other stuff. I got some great advice. Then Dillon announced the 1100 (which still hasn’t been released, November is likely) and the 750 came out.

    I bought a 1050 with a Mr Bulletfeeder this week, put it together over the last couple of days and went to the range to try out the rounds this afternoon, using the components recommended by a shooting friend, for what I was after.

    I’m delighted with the range results.

    Still a little fine tuning left to do on the Bullet feeder, as I’m getting the occasional double drop. But other than that, everything works great.

    I was nervous about starting out with a 1050, but it put together easily enough and my shooting friend helped with the fine tuning and gave me some tips. Super appreciated.

    Why didn’t I go with the 750? Well, they haven’t figured out a good way to use the bullet feeder yet. And Double Alpha was discounting the 1050 bundle....:D
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  13. Malamute

    Malamute Low speed adventurer

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    One friend that shot a lot of various loads for shotgun ended up setting up one spare room in his house as his reloading room. He bought used shotshell loaders and had a different machine set up for each gauge and load, i think he had 4 or 6 shotshell loaders and a couple Dillons or so for pistol loads, several tool heads with measures ready to swap, and a single stage. 4 shotshell loaders were on a square table in the middle of the room, the others on benches along two walls. I always admired his priorities.
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  14. Fire Escape

    Fire Escape Long timer

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    A friend has done that with shotshell loaders. If he wants another load, gauge or whatever he gets another machine. He hates to tinker with getting all the adjustments right (I thought it was half the fun) so if one works to his satisfaction he never messes with it.

    Bruce
  15. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    I did similar with multiple Dillon Square deal B's, for each pistol cartridge I loaded for. First it was just two, one for each size primer. Then I would buy another whenever they came on CL. Finally sold them all and bought a 550 about 6 months ago, as I don't shoot as much as I used to.
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  16. scottcolbath

    scottcolbath Long timer

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    At the recommendation of a friend, I stopped in Bruno's Reloading Supplies in Phoenix over the past weekend. Super nice folks and lots to choose from. But, no Dillon products of any kind. Not sure why. I picked up ten 100 round boxes for 9mm and that was it. I didn't have time to dilly dally. I'll go back at some point for a longer visit, and to see why there's no Dillon hardware, and maybe ask to see how the reloaders they do sell, work.

    S.C.
  17. Malamute

    Malamute Low speed adventurer

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    Im curious why they arent stocking Dillon stuff. Its not the only viable choice, but to not stock them at all is interesting.

    Ill suggest to not get in the mindset of trying to see how many rounds you can achieve in a given time, but to strive for consistency and mindfulness over every operation and every round. Its not a game for one thats easily distracted. I usually prefer not to have anyone around or radio or something that requires attention going while loading, but do find it rather enjoyable in its own right. Since about 1973 or 4, Ive, so far, not ever loaded a round with no powder, a primer too high to function, a double bullet or double charge, or otherwise non-functional rounds. Just from paying close attention and wanting to produce the most consistent rounds I can. Ive had maybe a half dozen dead primers in that time, otherwise, many happy years and rounds.
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  18. Fire Escape

    Fire Escape Long timer

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    Bruno's, as I recall used to be one of the places that really catered to the Benchrest/precision shooting crowd. That could have changed in more recent years. I have been out of touch since "Precision Shooting" magazine went under, that was where I would see their ads. As a more recent arrival to the 'information age' it might be prudent for me to see if they are now an online presence.

    Bruce
  19. Malamute

    Malamute Low speed adventurer

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    I had a square deal B with 2 or 3 calibers of dies, but dad had a 550 he gave me. I decided it was better from the standpoint of adding more calibers later (can also use dies I already had) and it can do rifle loads, so the square deal was sold. I sort of wish I kept it, but its so simple to swap calibers in the 550 that it didnt make much sense.

    In the simplest terms, one could do worse than starting with the simple old school Lee Loader, the one you use a plastic mallet with, just to begin loading and getting an understanding of the process. Once you get a handle on the concept, and start making something as cool as your own cartridges, and the Lee Loader is a super cheap way to do that save money thing, then each step forward in loading evolution feels like a great advancement, and it is. I still keep a couple around, ones from way back when I first started. Good memories, and they still make cartridges if needed, just not real fast. The Lyman 310 tools are also cool. I keep a couple around for travel gear use, and once in a while sit on the porch and run small batches of rounds through some steps. They prime well, have the M expanding die, and seat and crimp well. If i have a choice, I use the bench press dies to size, but its nice knowing I can make ammo anywhere, with gear that fits in a shoebox.
  20. Fire Escape

    Fire Escape Long timer

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    I started out, going on 50 years ago with a Lee Loader and it is a great way to get going (maybe not if you are loading something that should be full length resized) because you really learn what has to happen at each step in the process. That said it only took me a very short time (and just a few detonated primers) to discover that I did not appreciate hammering a fired case over a new primer. I still have and use my ancient Lee Hand Primer that was purchased a couple of days after the Lee Loader - the one that they stopped making decades ago, wish I had bought more shell holders for it back in the day as it is often still my choice for small priming jobs.

    Bruce
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