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How to get the number to justify??

This is a discussion on How to get the number to justify?? within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I look at it looooong-term. Forty years ago, I bought a 'Chucker "kit", and dies for a half-dozen cartridges. I cannot say when it occurred, ...

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Old March 21st, 2017, 09:52 AM   #16
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I look at it looooong-term.

Forty years ago, I bought a 'Chucker "kit", and dies for a half-dozen cartridges. I cannot say when it occurred, but I'm relatively certain the costs involved there were amortized out many years ago. The ammo I have loaded was without exception considerably less expensive than over-the-counter stuff. So I'm comfortable with believing it has been worthwhile.

Only recently have I made one exception. For the volume I shoot, I buy 9mm whenever it's cheap, as IOWEGAN suggests, even though I have the dies for it. Yes, I save the brass . . .just in case.


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Old March 21st, 2017, 10:14 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Aqualung View Post
I want to know how he gets free of the cats...

Cost savings will be relative. Like Iowegan says, if you're just going to load 9mm, it's probably not worth the investment.

The benefits to reloading go beyond the monitary if you're looking for such intangibles as the satisfaction of loading your own ammo and the precise control over how your ammo is loaded to get maximum performance.

Personally, I have realized (but have not calculated) cost savings by reloading.

First off, my initial equipment investment was pretty much zero. The equipment and a huge amount of components were given to me by a friend who had inherited much of it. He then added that pile to his pile and then gave it all up to pursue golf. Even the expensive lab balance I use was slated to be discarded because it was used for penicillin and couldn't be sold or used anywhere else in our facility.

The other way I realize savings is the calibers I love for which I load. My favorite three calibers are .300 Savage, .41 magnum and .303 British. While still available, the .300 and .303. Are not widely available or inexpensive. And .41 mag, if you can find it, prices are downright rapacious. And, I've recently started into the .300 AAC Blackout field. Again, not unavailable, but not common or cheap.

I've bought specific dies and components, but can say that I haven't purchased factory ammo for years, with certain exceptions...

-5.56mm for my AR556 and probably will continue to do so, because the sales on it are still good.
- .300 BLK to test my build when it was completed and to see how it grouped before i added my reloads as variables
- 9mm, though technically I didnt buy it. I was given a case by a friend who is issued ammo by the case weekly for training
.380acp, as I do not reload for it and can't abide shooting my .380 much anyhow...

DISCLAIMER: for those that will key in on Sarge on my bench during reloading operations (Daisy's on the chair), I had taken a moment's break, he didn't disturb anything and promptly went to sleep. Next step was to seat bullets, off to the right, away from his tail...It's actually more distracting if they're shut out of the room, as they yowl and scratch at the door if its closed...

I see your not the only one that has a couple companions when your reloading. Jakes usually next to me, molly my chocolate lab is usually not far away either sleeping.

As others have stated the cost is usually upfront getting geared up, but most savings are when you reload expensive calibers like 6.5 creedmoor, 6.5 grendel, 6.8spc, 50ae, 50bmg, and the like. The reloads are precise, and exactly identical. This allows me greater accuracy and tuning of my firearms. Its possible to get great accuracy with factory ammo, but for that kinda accuracy I expect, factory ammo thats is equal is top shelf, so their is my savings.

For 50bmg 750 amax factory ammo is $60 to $70 per 10. I can buy 20 bullets for $40, pound of powder for $23 and 100 primers for $30. So you figure 30 cents a primer equals $6+ 23+40= $69. So I made 20 for the price of 10. If you stretch that out. Factory ammo 200 rounds =$1400 minus shipping. 200 Reloaded rounds = $690 same components and more accurate minus shipping. I buy my powder and primers locally so no hazmat shipping fees. But as other have stated I like the science, the interesting part of it, and the search for better than what is offered commercially. Above all the accuracy.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 10:20 AM   #18
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Cost savings is always thrown out there in discussion as a reason to reload and I've not found that to be true except for when I first started (explanation to follow) or when the round is offensively expensive say rounds like the 500 S&W magnum for example. When you get up to a couple of bucks or even five bucks per round, then reloading does indeed pay for itself and for the higher end rounds, pays for itself in short order.

Mentioned above, when I first started ammunition was expensive for me. I barely could afford the gun and now I have to pay to shoot it? Enter in a marvelous tool called the Lee Loader. Mine was in 30-30 and combined with a Lochmuller mold and a lead pot I was in business. Reclaimed bullet lead, afforded by the place we all shot was easily scavenged and remelted and poured into my 30-30 bullets and as I recall I even had a "pound" sizer for that bullet. Paired with a hammer and a flat piece of steel I was a reloading fool with that Lee loader. Not everyone's cup of tea and certainly slower that other forms of reloading, but the cost of all my equipment was around thirty bucks (back then) and after I shot some factory rounds (for the brass) I had all that I needed only buying primers and powder for the loads.

I can't say that now, certainly for the 38 special load. I could easily probably purchase commercial reloads cheaper, but it wouldn't be quite as fun after all. I moved up to a single stage press, but I still cast my own bullets and I enjoy reloading as a hobby in and of itself. Done that way you don't have to "Run the Numbers", just don't load for your buddies. Too much time involved and you don't have the liability to worry about either. Someone only has to do something stupid once with one of YOUR rounds to find yourself in a courtroom explaining just who gave you your knowledge on how a round should be made. A loosing battle to be sure. Smithy.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 10:53 AM   #19
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I'm in the "don't care and don't wanna know" group. I started reloading out of curiosity, "I wonder if I can reuse these things?" as I emptied a cylinder full of 38 brass in 1969. But here is a google link to some reloading cost calculators https://www.google.com/webhp?sourcei...+calculators&*
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Old March 21st, 2017, 11:59 AM   #20
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You can't SAVE money reloading. That's a lie we keep telling our wives.
You can shoot more for the money you have by reloading your empty brass cases many times. The real cost is the brass case , next is the bullet .
Reloaders do it because we enjoy the hobby. We can make anything we want/need , things not found on any dealers shelf. Same reason we cast bullets , make whatever you want. Not dependent on a manufacturer to make it or dealer to stock it.
Reloaders and casters are the masters of their own ammo supply ! Kind of empowering to be able to do that .
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Old March 21st, 2017, 12:09 PM   #21
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Before I started off reloading, I did the same thing. I had spreadsheets all over the place, that I created to compare costs, predict break even points, etc. Everyone told me I was wasting my time with that line of thinking, and to just get into it and enjoy it.

Soon after I had invested several hundred dollars on equipment, I discovered that the "break even" point is a moving target. Now, I don't much care if I ever break even, or if I ever actually save any money. I love reloading, and love the fact that I can go the range and shoot a few hundred rounds without worrying about how much money I'm burning through the barrel. it's a great hobby, very relaxing, and very theraputic. And there's a great deal of satisfaction in shooting rounds that I made.

I started loading 38 special and 357 magnum, and then added 9mm. I agree with what others have said about 9mm being too inexpensive to justify the investment in equipment, but since I've already made the investment, I am able to load my 9mm cheaper than buying it retail (re-using my brass, of course).
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Old March 21st, 2017, 03:09 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by gwpercle View Post
You can't SAVE money reloading. That's a lie we keep telling our wives.
You can shoot more for the money you have by reloading your empty brass cases many times. The real cost is the brass case , next is the bullet .
Reloaders do it because we enjoy the hobby. We can make anything we want/need , things not found on any dealers shelf. Same reason we cast bullets , make whatever you want. Not dependent on a manufacturer to make it or dealer to stock it.
Reloaders and casters are the masters of their own ammo supply ! Kind of empowering to be able to do that .
I like that ^^

Most of my equipment was purchased 30+ years ago. My first cartridges were .45 ACP, 7mm-08 Rem, and .357 Mag/.38 Spl. My .45 rounds were about the same cost as cheap plinking ammo, but I found they performed better. 30 years ago, there was only one factory loading (Remington 140 gr) for 7mm-08, so I handloaded for my new rifle to get the best performance out of it. When I got the .357, I was able to score a bunch of near-free .38 Spl cases and good bulk-priced cast .358 bullets, so that made for reasonably priced .38 paper punching rounds for me. The 9mm was next. Bulk bullets and a few hundred cases made for some decent 9mm loads, but I was soon '9 less' for over seven years. After buying another new 9-gun, a friend who shot a ton of 9mm gave me 1K+ once-fired cases, which jump-started my 9mm loading again. Since then, I've added three more cartridges (.44 Mag/Spl, .30-06, and .223), three blackpowder muzzleloaders, and have gotten into bullet/ball casting with hundreds of pounds of free wheelweights and linotype. I can tell you that handloading for .44 Mag is worth it to me, in terms of being able to customize plinking and hunting loads, and shoot many more rounds for the same cost, compared to factory rounds.

If I only had a small inventory of 9mm handguns, with little or no intention of getting any other handgun or rifle calibers, I would probably be hesitant about investing in a complete loading setup for only 9mm. There are some pretty good prices these days on 1000-5000 round cases of 9mm ammo. The same goes if I just had one centerfire hunting rifle to feed. There is a plethora of great premium hunting rounds and match loads available from the ammo manufacturers these days.

For me, I greatly enjoy the ability to produce my own ammo when and how I want it.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 05:43 PM   #23
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Think of the start up cost as a investment.
I've been loading for many years and cast my boolets. My ammo runs me anywhere from $5.00 per box of 50 to $7.50 for my hand guns. Depends if I use free wheel weights or buy some Lyman #2 I only buy bullets for my riffles. I haven't bought but a couple box of factory ammo in years, it kinda turn my stomach when I did, and I can't remember the last time I bought a box of ammo for a riffle.
And you can customize your loads for your shooters.
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Old March 22nd, 2017, 03:24 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Shooter606 View Post
What are you guys coming up with for cost and are the number there to justify it?
If you're trying to justify reloading by cost, for most common calibers anyway, simply forget about reloading. Buy commercially remanufactured ammunition instead. The numbers, especially for 9mm, really are that simple to understand.

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Old March 22nd, 2017, 05:04 AM   #25
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I can load 9mm 115 FMJ gr ammo much less than buying new or remanufactured. Buying bullets in bulk, 2000 or more at a time, primers (5000) and powder (8lb) in bulk also really reduces the costs.

Using picked up range brass which is free except for the cleaning required, I load 9mm for $6.50 a box.

I picked up my range brass at 2 different public ranges in my area. I made one trip to each range during the middle of the week, near mid day, when I expected low use. I picked up all my back, knees and hands could endure.

After cleaning and sorting out mis-picked aluminum and steel cases, I ended up with over 40 lbs. of useable brass. This equates to around 8,000 cases. Guess I have enough 9 mm brass to last a LONG time. And due to the quantity I have, I don't mind losing a couple each time out.

Running the brass through my Lyman Tumbler after a quick wash and dry in the sun, I fill the Lee Pro 1000 and have at it.

Now if I wanted to shoot plated or cast bullets, I could lower my costs a bit more.
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Old March 23rd, 2017, 09:24 AM   #26
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606, everybody today is cost cutting. I'll echo all the folks here. I did it a little different. Just like you, I did the math and began to look around. Over the course of 6 or 8 months, I went to all the pawn shops, gun shops, gun shows and estate and yard sales I could looking for good used equipment. Being diligent, I spent only $25 on a Lyman turret press, $10-balance scale, $55- powder measure, bullet puller, calipers and brass/rock tumbler. Quite the haul to start. Bought new dies ($20)for the .45 and ($15) for an older set of Pacific .308 dies. Found a gun shop going out of business and paid a guy $20 for 1000 rounds of reloaded 9x21 ammo. I pulled the bullets, tossed the powder, shaved the brass 2mm and had 1000 pieces of primed brass, bullets to go in them and added VihtaVouri 3N37 powder and shot all 20 boxes for $17... I don't load hot, so I get about 6 reloads out of my cases. I just closely inspect them before reusing and toss any funky cases or split lips. You gradually pick up additional equipment as needed and care for whatcha got. It is a long game, but gives you a much greater sense of control knowing you can make it if necessary. You understand sooo much more about the entire shooting sport when you do . I guarantee you won't regret it if you do...
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Old March 24th, 2017, 12:14 PM   #27
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You do realize the cases will be used many many times, so their cost is almost nothing unless you lose them all.
If you are happy with junk ammo, fine.
$11/50 is 22 cents/round.
So, as far as I am concerned, cost of the case is zero.
Bullets: Fantastic Zero 115gn FMJ for $273/3000 or 9.1 cents/round.
Primers: 3 cents/round
Powder: Let's use Power Pistol, since I load for accuracy and not just to put bullets down range. $69.50/4# or $17.375/# or $0.002482/grain times 6 grains is $0.0149/round.
So, I get 9.1 + 3 + 1.5 = 13.6 cents/round, for a premium round of ammunition that is comparable to any factory round. Then, there are cast bullets and then there is casting your own...
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Old March 26th, 2017, 11:43 AM   #28
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I want to know how he gets free of the cats...

Great picture!
That's hilarious Aqualung! My 2 cats don't get up on the bench but if I say (in a deep voice)
Ruger556 or Laser show, they are on me like I was a piece of tuna...waiting for me to give them their highlight of the day in laser playtime. They do love to sniff every gun and bullet I show them too!
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Old March 26th, 2017, 02:21 PM   #29
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I reload lead 147 gr.(that's what my Beretta likes) using range scrounged brass for about $6 for 50 rnds. But I agree with others; if 9mm is all you're going to reload, it will take you along time to save what you spend on equipment. But if you want to reload than go a head, who knows, you might find a couple other calibers to reload for.
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Old March 26th, 2017, 03:30 PM   #30
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WOW, this is a tough one.

There is a cost savings but as Pam stated, it can be a moving target.

I've been reloading for decades and the situation has changed considerably. There was a time when you could reload shotgun shells and see a huge reduction in cost but that is no longer true. With some light target loads you can realize a savings after a few cycles with the same hull but it's hardly worth it. I still reload shotshells but it's more for the convenience of having what I want on hand. I'm not sure I would get into shotshell reloading these days if I didn't already have the equipment.

Metallic cartridge reloading is all over the map. Some cartridges you can realize a savings and some barely break even. Years ago, the first time you reloaded a casing you saw a substantial savings. Components are far more expensive than they were even 15 years ago. The only time I will purchase brass is when the price is low enough that the completed round is less than purchasing factory ammo. Otherwise, I just buy factory ammo and recover the spent casings. That being said, I still occasionally purchase bulk quantities of once fired casings. Like Iowegan, I reload some cartridges that either are not available as factory loadings or are so expensive that they are not worth buying as factory loaded cartridges (44 "Skeeter" equivalent loads and 38 Special WC come to mind). Currently 9mm is probably the least attractive cartridge to reload but 20 years ago 9mm casings were free or almost free, 500 FMJ bullets ran about the cost of 200 factory rounds and the primers and powder came out to pennies per round.
38 Special continues to be cost effective to reload and the casings last for a lot of cycles if you know what you're doing.

There ARE savings to be realized with some rifle cartridges and I can shrink group sizes with rifle handloads.

There was a time when lead was plentiful and cheap. There was a time when 8 pounds of pistol/shotgun powder wasn't a major purchase. There was a time when a sleeve of 5000 primers was $65 and there was no hazmat fee. Those days are over.

If I were to include the cost of the equipment into the cost of the completed round, I would break even somewhere around 150 years after my death !! Maybe 200 years if I include the cost of gear that I've replaced

SO ........some of us started reloading when it made good economic sense to do so and continued to reload despite the reductions in savings.
Some of us reload because we enjoy the hobby.
Some of us reload because we can make something that we can't easily purchase.
Some of us reload because it gives us a sense of independence , even if that sense of independence is a bit artificial.
Some of us reload because every now and then, there is still a slight savings to be had.

Pick your justification and enjoy life !

Last edited by Petrol and Powder; March 26th, 2017 at 04:19 PM.
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