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Reloading Today vs Purchasing

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Post by Orion 8/21/2022, 4:30 pm

After a 9 year hiatus, I'm going to start shooting again. Ammo looks like it went up in price about 2.5x since 2013. Can anyone share their experience or a web article on reloading target/standard loads vs purchasing? Any insight would be appreciated.
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Post by dannyd93140 8/21/2022, 4:59 pm

Depends on what your going to shoot.  

Primers have quadrupled from 2013, powder as at least doubled depending on what you load. 

9 mm is cheaper to buy if you can use store purchased.
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Post by Dcforman 8/21/2022, 5:06 pm

My pricing....

New Starline brass is $0.20 each. Average use is maybe 8 times before being lost or split. Maybe more. Let's say $0.025 per load.

Paid $0.10 a primer for my last batch purchased earlier this year. 

Picked up 8# of WST for $210. My standard load is 3.7 grains. So $0.014 per round.

I use Zero 185 LHPSWC, about $0.10 each.

So total is $0.239 per round. Basically $12 for a box of 50. Still far cheaper than purchasing accurate factory ammo. But more importantly, it's tuned to my gun, is accurate, and soft. 

Hopefully, this is a starting point. Obviously doesnt include the cost of equipment. 

Dave

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Post by zanemoseley 8/21/2022, 5:10 pm

Loading is easy enough if you can find components for decent prices which can be hard these days. Primers are going for $90-$100 if you find them, used to be $30-$35 in 2019. Seems prices are slowly coming down. If you don't already have components it's almost a better idea to buy ammo for now.

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Post by RodJ 8/21/2022, 5:24 pm

Economics are roughly… at current component prices, and amortizing brass, 45 acp LSWC reloads will cost about 25 cents per round. Maybe $12.50 per box of 50. Unless you cast but I don’t. Then there’s your startup costs for equipment and your time. I’m good for about 300 rounds per hour without a struggle on a Hornady progressive AP LNL.  These are practice rounds not match quality.

I’m certain I save 12.50 per box if I could even find LSWC ammo. My time is $75 per hour at 300 rnds per hour. Plus I can adjust and fiddle with different loads, crimps, OAL, etc.  I’ll guess $750 for decent used equipment and at that price and rate of loading you’re in the black (pun intended) after 10 hours of effort, 3,000 rounds. Up to you whether you shoot very much.

OTOH, you have to be patient, mechanically minded, careful and methodical to reload successfully.

Hope that helps.

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Post by chiz1180 8/21/2022, 6:45 pm

zanemoseley wrote:Loading is easy enough if you can find components for decent prices which can be hard these days. Primers are going for $90-$100 if you find them, used to be $30-$35 in 2019. Seems prices are slowly coming down. If you don't already have components it's almost a better idea to buy ammo for now.

This is a fair assement. Many longtime shooters judge their cost of ammo based on the price they previously paid for components not current replacement cost. Buying in bulk makes a big difference in cost, though not so easy to do at the moment. If buying components one other overlooked cost is the time spent looking for the item you want at the best price from a reputable source. If you have the available time, seeking out the components you want and assembling can definitely be cheaper than factory options, just depends on how much time you have available.
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Post by BE Mike 8/22/2022, 6:52 am

Maybe things have changed, but I never factored in the cost of brass. I have several lifetimes supply of .45 ACP brass. Some of it is 1x fired. Short line loads are especially good with multiple fired brass. I also never considered my time, even when I was working long hours. Reloading time is free time. The only component that has become obscenely expensive is primers. I can't imagine that the 4x-5x the increase since the election and COVID can continue, but I may be wrong. Like as has been said here, you can reload quality match ammo much less expensively than buying, even with the crazy high prices. You can reload for at least half of what you can buy match quality ammo for. That has always been the case. it is why unsupported bullseye pistol shooters on a budget have also always been reloaders.
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Post by RodJ 8/22/2022, 1:46 pm

BE Mike wrote:Maybe things have changed, but I never factored in the cost of brass. I have several lifetimes supply of .45 ACP brass. Some of it is 1x fired. Short line loads are especially good with multiple fired brass. I also never considered my time, even when I was working long hours. Reloading time is free time. The only component that has become obscenely expensive is primers. I can't imagine that the 4x-5x the increase since the election and COVID can continue, but I may be wrong. Like as has been said here, you can reload quality match ammo much less expensively than buying, even with the crazy high prices. You can reload for at least half of what you can buy match quality ammo for. That has always been the case. it is why unsupported bullseye pistol shooters on a budget have also always been reloaders.
100%  

I went (back) to reloading to ensure that I had access to ammunition and at sustainable prices.  I could spend half a day driving around, calling, and scanning the internet for expensive ammunition, or I could sit quietly at home and be certain that before lunch I’d have 500 rounds of nice ammo. 

Two snaps and a twist!
(Reference: 
https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t19831-for-sale-star-tool-head-completerevised-sold)

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Post by dannyd93140 8/22/2022, 3:37 pm

Reloading and bullet casting are the only I do besides work, so component's are going to have to really get expensive before I quit.  With primers at 116.50 a thousand my 38 special targets wc's are still only 8.75 a box of 50.  I can definitely live with that.  Wink
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Post by Pinetree 8/22/2022, 7:29 pm

I've been reloading for as long as I can remember.. my equipment has been paid for years ago, and I have a decent stash of components.

For me, it's a hobby, so money hasn't really figured into it. The only reason I've bought factory ammo was to accumulate brass/hulls.

If you're the kind of person who calculates "cents per use", it might not be for you.

The most basic Dillon press is easily $400 more than when I bought mine. You didn't mention if you had any presses or not, but if you were to start anew right now it would be quite an investment. If you were to find some used equipment or if you already had some and a stash of components then the difficult part is availability of said components... primers are scarce these days.

I honestly don't know how much factory ammo costs these days, and in years past I would have wholeheartedly recommended getting into reloading. But the world is a different place right now.

My best recommendation would be to be very honest with yourself.. you could spend a whole lot of money to get started reloading, or you could just buy a case of whatever caliber ammunition you need and be done with it.
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Post by chiz1180 8/22/2022, 7:57 pm

So do you guys reload to shoot or shoot to reload? I don’t mind reloading if I have the time but time is currently a limited resource for me.
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Post by Pinetree 8/22/2022, 8:04 pm

I reload so I can shoot more.

With a progressive press, I can crank out a hundred rounds in no time.

Then again, I'm retired...

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Post by zanemoseley 8/22/2022, 8:30 pm

Don't get me wrong I love all my progressives but to start reloading now with component availability it's a bit more of a decision than when I started. How many rounds do you WANT to shoot a year?

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Post by 8eightring 8/22/2022, 8:49 pm

Has anyone tried to purchase "match quality ammo" lately?  Is it even available out there?
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Post by dannyd93140 8/22/2022, 9:08 pm

I shoot to reload and cast bullets if I had to stop doing that I would never shoot again.
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Post by SingleActionAndrew 8/23/2022, 12:05 am

I Load ammunition because I can't (reliably at least) purchase ammunition that meets my desired performance. I'm optimistic I'll break even within two decades Very Happy (assuming I stop buying more brass and equipment!)
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Post by Bigtrout 8/23/2022, 6:42 am

I handload 9mm for accuracy, not for cost savings.  I doubt very much commercial loads can match my best handloads for my 2 pistols.  My $1.00 due to inflation.
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Post by chiz1180 8/23/2022, 6:51 am

8eightring wrote:Has anyone tried to purchase "match quality ammo" lately?  Is it even available out there?
It has been available in similar manor to that of some components. 

As far as loading on a progressive saving time in the loading process, yes that is absolutely true, however any "free time" used for loading needs to coincide with being with your loading set up, If you do any traveling for work, visiting family, ect. Not the easiest to come up with free time to load. 

At the end of the day if you are starting from square one you need to be honest with yourself as far as what your time is worth and how much actual shooting you want to do. Your free time only costs what else you could be doing in that same time.

For what it is worth, I do load. However I have most of my components were purchased a few years ago. I am considering using some factory loads as a time saver, it really sucks to have to spend time loading rather than go shoot a match.
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Post by Dcforman 8/23/2022, 7:08 am

As a reference, in terms of factory ammo... the two named most regularly for Bullseye are ASYM and Atlanta Arms, both 185 JHP running around 775 FPS. ASYM runs $38 for 50, and Atlanta $46 for 50. So... I just bought a Star Reloader (which I love) for about $1000 all in (completely refurbished). Saving an average of $30 per 50, I need to load about 1650 rounds to recoup that investment. Not really that much.

But again, the primary benefit is the ability to tune the load. Cost savings (though important) is secondary.

Dave

EDIT: Chris posted as I wrote this. Though I haven't mentioned it, your time is valuable. I agree with what he says. Because I leave everything set up, I can crank out 50 rounds in maybe 8-10 minutes before I go to the range. Having a press dedicated to 45 definitely helps.

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Post by dannyd93140 8/23/2022, 9:02 am

I have loading for over 35 years that equals 192,975 rounds.  Sometimes I shoot 3 to 4 times a week.  Never have any old stock primers on the shelf except maybe shotgun.  Wink
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Post by 8eightring 8/23/2022, 11:48 am

chiz1180 wrote:
8eightring wrote:Has anyone tried to purchase "match quality ammo" lately?  Is it even available out there?
It has been available in similar manor to that of some components. 

As far as loading on a progressive saving time in the loading process, yes that is absolutely true, however any "free time" used for loading needs to coincide with being with your loading set up, If you do any traveling for work, visiting family, ect. Not the easiest to come up with free time to load. 

At the end of the day if you are starting from square one you need to be honest with yourself as far as what your time is worth and how much actual shooting you want to do. Your free time only costs what else you could be doing in that same time.

For what it is worth, I do load. However I have most of my components were purchased a few years ago. I am considering using some factory loads as a time saver, it really sucks to have to spend time loading rather than go shoot a match.
Agreed, time is very valuable especially when job, family, commitments are concerned. I am a retired broken down tired old man, past Master class shooter. Reloading is about all I have left. The component shortage really put the hurt on my only hobby.
That said, it really is nice to have a press dedicated to 45, 38, and 9MM. It takes no time at all to load a few rounds to go play.
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Post by RodJ 8/23/2022, 6:08 pm

Reload to shoot. And for the following reasons:
Availability. I hate the feeling when I can’t find ammo.
Cost.
I can be out of ammo at 9pm on a Saturday night, and have hundreds of rounds by 10pm.
Cost.
Consistency - I can have the exact same loads over and over. Can’t always find the same loads at my LGS from one week to the next. Or even online.
Availability.
Tune and experiment.
Cost.
Availability.
Yes components are also hit and miss, but buying 5000 primers for $500 and storing them is less of a hit than buying 100 50-round boxes for $3,500 to $4,000.
Cost.
Availability.

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Post by zanemoseley 8/23/2022, 7:11 pm

Anyone else love these post & ghost threads? The regulars sit around dropping advice left and right and the OP is nowhere to be seen with feedback.

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Post by chiz1180 8/23/2022, 8:14 pm

zanemoseley wrote:Anyone else love these post & ghost threads? The regulars sit around dropping advice left and right and the OP is nowhere to be seen with feedback.
Still is a good debate with no "right" answer, only right for you type of thing. In this specific instance both options are valid in the appropriate circumstances.
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Post by Orion 8/23/2022, 9:57 pm

zanemoseley wrote:Anyone else love these post & ghost threads? The regulars sit around dropping advice left and right and the OP is nowhere to be seen with feedback.

My fiancé is pregnant and have been taking care of that, sorry for not getting back to you.


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