To reload, or not to reload?

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Bertgamble2001, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. Bertgamble2001

    Bertgamble2001 New Member

    Feb 26, 2011
    Williams, Ca
    That is the question.

    I have not yet dipped my toe into the reloading waters, and I plan on purchasing a manual tomorrow and beginning my reading. The question that I don't think the manual will answer is how much more economical is it to reload?

    I am not interested in doing it for the fun, although I might find it to be a rewarding experience. I am primarily looking to shoot more rounds for my money. Since I plan on this being a long term hobby, I am not concerned with the initial start up costs of the reloading equipment, or my break even point. I know that my start up investment will be a few hundred dollars, and that is acceptable.

    I just bought 2k rounds of Blazer .45 ACP and it cost $774 with shipping. That works out to 38.7 cents a round. A good deal, since the same ammo would cost me $954.80 or 47.7 cents a round if I purchased local.

    I see that I can get 2k Tulammo for 597.83 or 29.9 cents a round, but I do not know if this is acceptable amunition. What are your thought?

    I spoke to a person at the gun store and he tried to convince me not to think about reloading, saying that it is more expensive than buying it. I asked if he sold reloading equipment, and he said he does not. I think that may have skewed his opinion.

    Do you guys who reload .45 ACP have an average amount that you spend per round that you could share with me? Since I will already have 2k pieces of brass, it would be a shame to have them go to waste after they go bang.

    Also, is reloading something that is easily picked up by reading the instructions, or is it important to have some one on one instruction?

    If any of you live near Williams Ca, and would be willing to spend a few minutes showing what reloading is about, I will bring the pizza and soft drinks.

    Thank you for your opinions.

    Bert Gamble
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    Buying in bulk, which is really the only way to do it. You can get large pistol primers for around 30 dollars a thousand. A pound of Unique (the Unique load for 45 ball is 6.8 grains. A thousand rounds is 6,800 grains, and there are 7000 grains in a pound, so basically a pound of Unique is a thousand rounds) costs 18 dollars. That's 48 bucks total. Berry 230 grain ball is 40 bucks for 250, so that's 160 for a thousand. Two hundred and eight dollars for 1000 rounds, $416 for 2K.

  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    People will say that you save money by reloading. Most of us that reload know that is not true. We don't save money, we just have more ammo.
  4. Bertgamble2001

    Bertgamble2001 New Member

    Feb 26, 2011
    Williams, Ca
    I knew I joined this forum for a reason. That is exactly the type of info that I needed. Especially how many grains in a pound of powder. That was what was my real sticking point on figuring out cost.

    Thank you very much, and I know I will have more questions once I start reading.
  5. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    .45 ACP is one of the easiest and most economical rounds to reload!

    I started my reloading with it mainly BECAUSE of the economics! My THIRD year in IPSC, 1984, I shot 50,000 rounds PLUS in One Year! (1000/week practice, and 50-150 per weekend in match ammo)

    Buying RETAIL is only an option if you are independently wealth.

    BACK then, I bought once fired military brass for $50/1000. I paid $22/1000 for 200 gr SWC H&G #68 dry lubed bullets, and picked them up by the 10k from the caster every 10 weeks since I had to go near him for a staff meeting, and it was convenient, AND I saved shipping! When I ran o in between, I paid $35-$40/1000 for Vance's grease lubed bullets (which were better than my standard load)

    At the time, factory ammo was about 1/2 to 3/4 what it is now, and it was a no-brainer. My reloads were costing me about 5-8 CENTS apiece not counting brass.

    I STILL have about 3000 rounds of the bullets left, and about 500 of the ORIGINAL 1000 military cases left, along with maybe another 300 cases of mixed factory stuff. Some of my "practice" cases have been reloaded 20-30 times, and still going strong. And I still have about 150 of the ORIGINAL brass that has not been reloaded yet, I guess I am saving that for my "match" ammo should I ever start up again...:p I probably only lost no more than 30-50 cases due to cracks, wear, damage etc.,, but most of THEM were the result of me screwing them up in the press or the process! The "Missing Cases" are because even on your hands and knees you can count on an average of 5% loss with an autoloader. (but then again, a lot of my practice cases are "found" cases that other guys lost! so that is a wash:p)

    I kinda keep up with the costs that it would cost me NOW to shoot that much, and generally the prices have doubled for what I was paying. For example I now see the SAME Vance's 200 gr H&G #68 Lead SWCs at shows for $39.99 for 500. Once fired military brass is no longer available for a nickel each, granted, but you will STILL get 20+ loads from ANY of them.

    Powder that I used is about double what I paid, as is primers. So figure AFTER your investment in your reloading equipment, which is a one time expense of about $200-$500 depending what you want to spend, if the cost is DOUBLE what mine was, you will be spending about 10-16 cents per round, AND getting a load that you are SURE will work 100% of the time, TAILORED to your weapon.

    $100-$160 per 1000 rounds STILL is a HELLUVA deal compared to your price for 1000 retail. Buy all your setup, even if you do not go progressive press ($250-$600) (for a pistol AT LEAST get a Turret press! $100-$200) and you will have saved money over that $700 price for 2k rounds, the FIRST 2k rounds you load! THEN everything else is downhill from there!

    Now as for time, when I started with my $10 "Lee Loader":p it took me about an hour to load 20 rounds, with a Single stage it will take you a couple of hours to batch load 50-100 rounds, with changing dies and all, with a turret you should hit MAYBE 100 rds/hr (I use a turret now since I don't compete, and that is what it takes me), with a good progressive set up right with a good powder measure on a powder through expander die, it will probably take you longer to inspect and load the press with the cases, powder, and primers than to load 100 rounds!:p I would shoot 300 rounds practice every other day, and load the 300 practice rounds in between each off night, and maybe 1-2 hours to load the 300 practice rounds each night with my Pacific Pro-7 progressive press, with Lee Carbide dies, and a Lee auto disc automatic measure/dispenser. My match ammo took me about twice the time, because I primed each case with a hand primer, and was anal about handling each case and bullet.

    But the .45 ACP is low pressure, forgiving, and a REALLY easy round to load!

    Give it a try!
  6. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    And that reminds me! I just checked and I have only about a hundred loaded rounds left in my bin that holds about 500 rounds, so with my 6 or 7 loaded mags I have laying around I have less than 150 rounds loaded! Time to clamp the turret press back to the bench and crank out some MORE:p
  7. woolleyworm

    woolleyworm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2009
    SW Fort Worth
  8. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    I can throw numbers out there, but I won't. Satisfaction is what keeps my head into reloading, not to mention a good laugh at your factory ammo shooting buds because they juuuuust can't afford to stay at the range nearly as long as you! Thats just the icing on the reloaders cake, (especially after picking up all THEIR BRASS):D
  9. polishshooter

    polishshooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    312 I hear you!

    When I shot IPSC we always practiced with the rule that whoever LOST the last timed practice round picked up all the brass.

    I had my practice ammo marked with a Sharpie and knew what practice brass of mine was decent and what wasn't...

    So as a "C" class shooter shooting regularly with at least one "B" and one "A" I picked up a LOT of brass:p:D

    But is is AMAZING how many times I was stuck on my hands and knees my mixed "tired" mostly FOUND :p:RP or other commercial "ratty" cases ended up in THEIR piles when a LOT of their decent military cases ended up in MINE!:p:D
  10. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    Here is a link to a place where you can figure out the cost of each round. You plug in the costs for each component and the calculator will give you the cost per round or 50 rounds or 1000 rounds:
  11. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Bertgamble2001, you will get a lot of information here, these folks are very knowledgeable. I myself have been reloading pistol ammo for well over 30 years, and I only reload to save money. Not real sure about how much I save, but I sure do have a lot of bullets! Here is a place for you to caculate exactly what you are spending on reloading. Check it out!
  12. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Well-Known Member

    i think what all this means is YES it costs less per shot and so you will save $$..the problem is you WILL spend the same or more $$ all because you WILL shoot 3-4 times as much as before and EXPONETILY expand your shooting pleasure!!! and that last is PRICELESS!!
  13. Jay

    Jay Active Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    One additional caveat in favor of reloading..... here in Indiana, the winters can be a bit on the fresh side. I do most of my reloading when the winter weather restricts my outdoor activities. When I head for the range towards spring, I have thousands of rounds of various calibers to shoot up.... win-win
  14. the yooper

    the yooper New Member

    Jan 16, 2011
    i reload for a hobby for me and my boy/ acc/cost savings!! we only reload hi dollar amo example . 340 wby mag store price 60 to80 $ a box i can reload the same bullet powder and primer in MY brass 20 to30 $ and more acc..
    long winters up hear in the UP [upper michigan] so its a good winter hobby for us and passing on some skills. to my boy.
    and you can inprove your acc.
    i load 340wby mag 300wby mag 270 win 44 amg [308 win 223win for acc only allso buy in bulk] 40 9mm allso buy in bulk
    hope this helps you . its win win win for us.:D
  15. Gene Seward

    Gene Seward Member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Batesville, Arkansas
    I thought for years that I wanted to, but was afraid I would blow something up. LOL I started about 4 years ago, and love every minute that I am at my bench. You need to do it for relaxation if for no other reason. BTW, my accuracy is WAAAAAAY better with my reloads. Good Luck.
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