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Shotshell reloading worth it?

This is a discussion on Shotshell reloading worth it? within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I started loading shot shells in '83 with my father for 12 ga. At that time it was quality time between a father and his ...


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Old January 28th, 2017, 03:12 PM   #16
 
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I started loading shot shells in '83 with my father for 12 ga. At that time it was quality time between a father and his 3 sons. The cost savings wasn't factored in, but, we loaded a much better shell than cheap off of the shelf loads for about the same cost. We used better wads and better ( cold chilled or magnum) shot. In todays prices I think the cost of hand loads would be about the same, although still a better load, in 12 or 20 gauge. But in 410, 28, or 16 gauge the savings would be well worth it. The time spent with your son at the loading bench would be priceless.

I now have two grown sons of my own and we spent time loading with that same MEC 600 that my father bought and added one for 20 and 16. The 12 and 20 loaders set idle now waiting on grand kids but the 16 loader still gets a work out every year before bird season.

Hulls may or may not be free. Hulls unlike rifle or pistol have different internal constructions for different brands. A good load in a Winchester AA hull may very well be way over pressure in a hull of another brand. We settled on one load for each gauge with a particular hull. When we could pick them up free we did but when we couldn't we bought once fired.

I haven't done the math lately but the last time I did 12, 16, and 20 cost about $4.75- $5.00 per 25 rounds and I could buy the 12's and 20's for $18.75 per hundred at WallyWorld but the 16's were $8 to $10 per 25 depending on brand.



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Old January 28th, 2017, 04:45 PM   #17
 
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I bought my 'Chucker and related stuff almost forty years ago. Don't recall what the "kit" cost but it was for sure a fraction of what it would cost now.

Likewise, probably twenty years ago I foresaw the escalation of ammo costs and laid in a LARGE supply of lead bullets, powder, and primers. I haven't bought components since except for some primers about ten years ago. Yes, all this stuff would cost a whole bunch more now.

So for me, reloading now allows me to do the amount of shooting I desire essentially FREE. I have adequate components to outlive me. Hope my kids can get a few miles out of the leftovers.

YMMV

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Old January 28th, 2017, 05:36 PM   #18
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I reload everything from pistol, to rifle to 50bmg. I have not reloaded for shotgun in many years. When I was in highschool, and on the skeet team, and rifle team, the school actually owned its own mec shotgun loaders. When I was in ag class, somedays we would spend the class in the ag shop reloading shotgun shells for us to use in competiton. Its was great. How many schools do that now days.
Anyways I enjoyed it, and maybe why I later got into metallic reloading. The quality of the rounds I produce is far better than anything I could buy for that price. The biggest expenditure now is getting set up with the gear. Then the powder and primers are the most expensive part due to hazmat fees normally. I have a friend that loads shotgun now, and he has told me recently that with the cost of lead now, the only advantage to reloading 12 gauge is tuning the ammo to the gun for the desired pattern or velocity. With all the shotgun ammo I have for 12, 20, and 410 that was purchased from wally world for skeet shooting, I really have no reason to reload them. I save my hulls just in the event that changes in the future.

I agree with the guys, I would see if its something he sticks with, if so, then I would buy the gear next year. I would wait and see before I dropped the funds in the event his tastes change. Thats something that happens frequently with teens.
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Old January 29th, 2017, 05:27 AM   #19
 
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Shotshell reloading worth it?

The very basics of shotshell reloading are as follows:
12ga - will barely save you anything
20ga - will save you a little
28ga & 410 - will save you a lot

This is assuming basic target loads. Once you get into slugs, buck and larger shot sizes the money saved will go up. Reloading 12ga is more a labor of love. Along the lines of reloading 9mm but more so.
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Old January 29th, 2017, 06:08 AM   #20
 
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OP ...As a 55 years of reloading of metalic and shotshell I can tell you there are lots of ways to cut cost First ...I predict the current political situation will hold or even slowly drop ammo prices but interestingly the component prices will fall faster ..
Second ...pull the team together ..get the coach to contact suppliers of components ..often they will support these endeavers with reduced pricing or even out right freebie stuff
Third ..there are lots of wad sources so check them out ...Look for "reclaimed" shot as well as sales on powder (buy 4/8lb kegs) on sale ...same with primers etc
As far as equipment ...do the same as above but also place a want ad on some of the forums for a MEC 600jr or a Mec650 or a Versamec ..don't be bashful ...ask for low low pricing ..explain what a good home for the school gun team it would become ..
Fourth ..In support of your son and being pro active buy components together if donations do not come ..consider offering "machine time" to other team members WITH one of their parents present ....NO ..not a bunch of teens together in one room rolling their own!

Just thoughts
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Old January 29th, 2017, 06:49 AM   #21
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragon813gt View Post
The very basics of shotshell reloading are as follows:
12ga - will barely save you anything
20ga - will save you a little
28ga & 410 - will save you a lot

This is assuming basic target loads. Once you get into slugs, buck and larger shot sizes the money saved will go up. Reloading 12ga is more a labor of love. Along the lines of reloading 9mm but more so.
/\ This is pretty close /\

I've been reloading shot shells for years and the costs have changed dramatically during that time. When the components were less expensive it was clearly advantageous to reload. The price of shot and powder had risen to the point that cost of reloading 12 ga. is negligible. at the same time, the cost of the lower grade target shells has remained relatively low. Now, that only applies if you're comparing reloads to the low cost 12 ga target loads. When you step up to the upper grade target loads, reloading starts to make sense again.
If you don't count the cost of the equipment and just look at components, you can save money with the better quality hulls. The initial case or two of high quality target loads will cost more but if you save those hulls and duplicate those original loads, you'll come out ahead after several reloading cycles.

20 ga is a little better in terms of money. The factory loads tend to cost more than their 12 ga counterparts and the loads themselves use a little less shot & powder.

28 gauge and .410 factory loads are expensive to start with so there is clearly savings to be had there.
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Old January 29th, 2017, 07:48 AM   #22
 
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You will save money on .410 and 28 ga. 12 and 20 not so much BUT You can load shells equivalent to AA target loads for about the same as what the promo loads sell for. AA 12 and 20 go for 9.00 to 10.00 per box around here. You can pick up a bird or 2 extra shooting premium shells otherwise for 12 and 20 ga buy them at Academy and save a buck and your time.
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Old January 29th, 2017, 08:00 AM   #23
 
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Many years ago shotshells are what I started handloading. I'm still grateful for the general experience and confidence it gave me to move to rifle and then pistol handloading. However, I eventually gave up loading shotshells because of the costs, weight and trouble handling the lead shot.
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Old January 29th, 2017, 01:33 PM   #24
 
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Our group shoots trap once in a while and we have a reloading setup for shotshells. We decided that we would buy our flats for the time being with "AA" hulls and get a supply of good reloading casings ready just in case we decided to reload them. The cost is similar, might as well be smart about it.
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Old February 9th, 2017, 10:47 AM   #25
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twoboxer View Post
Hold on a second. . . we need Hawken to share his secret with us lol.

Powder Valley Prices show per round cost to be:

$0.017 Wad in 5k quantities
$0.090 7/9oz lead in 25 lb bags @$41/bag
$0.048 Powder, 18gr Clays at $150/8lbs to reflect partial Hazmat
$0.023 Primer, Cheddite ignoring Hazmat
$0.000 Shells because most everyone throws them away
--------
$0.178
x 25
--------
$4.45 per box of Handloads

So, unless there's some secret method here, your costs will be at least the above. Maybe save $1.00 per box vs what you can get with careful purchases at Walmart.

And yes, we reload shotshell mostly because it's fun. As a standalone cost-saver - not worth the effort though YMMV.
Ha, yeah I was curious how he can do it for $2.50 a box. I am able to do it for a little over $4 for a box of 12ga, 1oz going around 1200 fps. I don't include the cost of hulls because I either got them from shells I bought or our of the trash at the range. I get my supplies at my club which sells them for cheaper than anywhere else I have seen. Plus, I don't pay sales tax or hazmat fees. When I started I had an old Texan single stage press my dad picked up on "permanent loan" when I was a kid. Not needing to buy a press made it more cost effective. But, it was old and wearing out and parts are not available for it that I could find. So, I bought a used Mec 600Jr from someone at the club for, I think, $125 which included the automatic primer feed. I also picked on up at the club in 20ga. When my son was still shooting 20 ga we would set up side by side and load our shells for the next day. That was pretty cool.

As far as cost, I think I save about $2 on a box of shells so I'd have to reload about 113 boxes of shells before I break even on what I paid for the presses. Keep that in mind before you make the plunge. If you're shooting 100-200 rounds a weekend then it probably can start to make sense.

I like the plan of letting him shoot for a year to see if he sticks with it. Also, I just enjoy loading shells. Its a nice quiet time when I can decompress a bit.

Oh, and if he is going to shoot competitively keep in mind that reloads may not be allowed in competition. I took my son to youth sporting clays shoot and they told us this as we were heading to the course and he's got a bag full of reloads. Since this was mostly a fun shoot (I think the winner got a trophy) and I was pretty confident he wasn't going to get a trophy (I was right ) AND I knew the shells we loaded gave him no advantage we just shrugged and shot anyway.
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Old February 9th, 2017, 12:15 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by berudd View Post
Oh, and if he is going to shoot competitively keep in mind that reloads may not be allowed in competition. I took my son to youth sporting clays shoot and they told us this as we were heading to the course and he's got a bag full of reloads. Since this was mostly a fun shoot (I think the winner got a trophy) and I was pretty confident he wasn't going to get a trophy (I was right ) AND I knew the shells we loaded gave him no advantage we just shrugged and shot anyway.
This is a really good point. When I looked into this a few years ago the cost difference seemed negligible. If reloads are allowed in competition, however, maybe it would help your son be more competitive and not have so many holes in his patterns when he's practicing.
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Old February 9th, 2017, 01:14 PM   #27
 
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GONRA suggests to be SURE to factor in PLENTY of time and $$$ for "learning curve" issues.
Pretty sure "learning curve" is a lot longer for shotshells than metalllic cartridge loading!
Is this true?
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Old February 9th, 2017, 01:47 PM   #28
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A very straightforward and to-the-point answer from someone who reloads shotshells. Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!
That was my experience as well about $2 a box (or less) when I was shooting skeet a few years back. Used to shoot about 4,000 shells a year and I used a MEC Sizemaster that I got on e-bay for short money. Buy the powder in bulk and lead shot is the other real cost driver. Pick up as many empties as you can get away with. Many shells you can reload several times and even the steel headed shells I would reload once. Wads look around and tailor to your shells but get in quantity. Start with a shotshell manual and info is available on line. If you are a bit of a scrounge you can save money. I would definitely look in the used market for a loader and have good luck with Mec. Here is a cost calculator:

Reloading Cost Calculator Advanced Ver 1.2 | Trap Shooters Forum

Last edited by terry_p; February 9th, 2017 at 01:53 PM.
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Old February 9th, 2017, 03:50 PM   #29
 
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If your son is going to get inot some serious shooting, I'd say go for it. It's not so much about the money, as time equals money, but more about performance.

If you start reloading, buy a few different wads and powners and components, and go pattern them. Every gun, even same model and make likes different loads. The chokes only do so much on a shotgun. So he would have a better chance to getting into the ranks with a custom load made for HIS gun. In my O/U 28 gauge, I loaded some slower more spreading loads for up close shots, then the second round would be tighter and fast, like 1600 fps fast to catch the bird if I missed him the first time. Cant do that with store bought loads. A good book for easy reading, history of shotgun, etc. Would be the Ballistics Products book, this is what I learned with. You'd be AMAZED at what different wads at different speeds do, but just buying the ammo is a shot in the dark.

It's equivalent to going on the golf course with only 1 or 2 clubs you got on sale and never used before.
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Old February 9th, 2017, 06:53 PM   #30
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Thanks for the continued interest. This has turned out to be a pretty interesting thread for me.

We bought our first 2000 rounds to get us through the first season. Local place sells to the kids for $5.60 a box. And he's going to be starting off with a Franchi autoloader field gun. We'll give that a try for the first season.
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