Keep Buying Bulk or Start Reloading?

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seniorxj

Bearcat
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Apr 28, 2015
Messages
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We'd all love to hit the range more, but are held down by the cost of ammo. So what's the avg savings on say cost per round or per 50 round box on 9mils & 45's? I'm also trying to figure out the break even point where for example, after 1 or 2k rounds of reloads vs money spent on cheap range ammo equals out?

With 1100 rounds thru my Ruger SR9, & only a few hundred with my 45acp Hi-Point Carbine, the only reason those numbers aren't doubled is cause a 1000 round bulk buy of 9mm is around $225, & near double for 45acp. My thought is that I can use the bulk buy money & use it for setting up shop. I trust my mechanical skills, but of course this will be a learning process with learning curves.

Hope this topic hasn't been talked to death as I did do research but figured I'd just outright ask u fine folks!

Thanks!
 
Joined
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I look at it a bit differently. Reloading gets you ammunition that is custom to your gun, and what you are doing (hunting vs plinking) Plus it costs a whole lot less, than a box at the store. Start up costs for reloading depend on getting new vs used equipment. Lee vs Hornady etc. then the various components, and whether you can buy local or off the internet with haz mat fees. Good luck. :)
gramps
 

Jim Puke

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If you like to shoot and intend to shoot into the future...reloading is worth the investment and your time.

Look around...on forums and craigslist (national search engine will turn up a lot) for used reloading equipment...you can start for very little money and then upgrade as you learn more about your reloading needs and wants.

If you decide to take the plunge, remember, there is a wealth of reloading knowledge on this forum that is available to you, just for the asking. If you need help with something, come here and ask...you will get the help that you need.

In my opinion, few things will add more knowledge and enjoyment to your guns and shooting hobby, than reloading.
 

jbntx

Single-Sixer
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Jan 30, 2012
Messages
199
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Texas
Not reloading is like buying ALL your meals in a restaurant. You're stuck with what's on the menu and it's expensive.
Cooking at home saves you money and you eat the food you want.

Reloading is no different.
 

tsubaki

Single-Sixer
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Mar 3, 2013
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Savannah
I can't say it better than anybody above and agree with all.
I'm not one that goes to the range to shoot but I shoot at the range in order to make me and the firearm more proficient.
For me, reloading has the same purpose.

I first started reloading 1989 and was tickled that one caliber cost me less than 35¢ per round to reload whereas a factory one was about $1.10 each.
But other common calibers would cost more to reload than buying the factory stuff, if you had to buy the brass.
 

tsubaki

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Oh and it's almost impossible to give you an idea of cost comparison to reloading or buying bulk loaded stuff unless you have in mind which components you are going to use.
In my case with 45acp using the powder/primers/bullets I prefer and already having the brass on hand runs me about 27.45¢ per round.
If I were to change to a cast bullet I could drop the cost down to about 21.45¢ per round.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
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Sep 18, 2002
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Lake Lure NC USA
A lot of good advice above.
I guess the biggest thing about the cost savings or expenses depends upon how much you shoot. In general, if you shoot a fair amount,,, you will save money if you were to compare the facts.
1000 factory rounds, vs the cost of similar ammo handloaded.
If you only shoot a few hundred occasionally, then reloading will take a long time to recover the expense of the equipment.
On average, a person can get into reloading equipment, by buying new, & getting what they need to start, for under $500 spent on top grade equipment. (Example is a RCBS master kit and a few things you need to add to it.)
If you have the empty brass,,,, excellent.
The expenses just switched from loaded ammo to components.
Primers; about $30 per 1000.
A pound of powder,,, around $25-$30 a pound.
Bullets,,, Lead=about $60-$70 per 1000. Plated, about $100-$120 per 1000, jacketed,, around $200 per 1000.

Now, many of us buy in bulk to get a lower component cost.
An example; I buy primers for $150 per 5000 case.
I buy powder in 8 lb kegs, and depending upon which powder, I pay $140-$170 a keg.
Bullets, I cast a lot of my own, but I do buy plated 45 & 9mm a lot. I buy them at $475 for 5000 45 acp.
For my powder, I use a lot of Unique, and it cost me $140 a keg, and I can get 1200 rounds per lb. That's 9600 rounds per keg. And my powder only costs $17.5 per lb.
So, lets break it down.
Primers; $30 per 1000
Bullets; $95 per 1000
Powder; (1 lb @ 1200 loads per average,) about $16.50 per 1000.
That totals $141.5 for 1000 rounds. And that's buying plated bullets.

With the amount of ammo I have shot in the almost 40 years of reloading,,, I've paid for my equipment long ago.

Reloading allows me to shoot a lot more ammo than if I had to buy factory. By shooting a lot more,,, I get in more practice, and feel I'm a better shooter.

Besides,,, if you have the components, you do not have to freak out if you want to shoot & the factory ammo isn't available. Shortages, high prices, etc have not phased me ever.
 

Jimbo357mag

Hawkeye
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
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So. Florida
If you are going to shoot more than a box of ammo once in a while then reloading is worth it. On average you can save about 50% or more over the cheapest ammo out there. Unfortunately the 9mm and 45acp are the least economical rounds to reload but the savings are real. It will cost you some time though. If you don't enjoy doing things for yourself and saving money while doing it, then maybe reloading isn't for you. It's really a hobby that saves you money. :D

Jump right in. :D
 

DGW1949

Hunter
Joined
Apr 10, 2005
Messages
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Location
Texas
seniorxj said:
We'd all love to hit the range more, but are held down by the cost of ammo. So what's the avg savings on say cost per round or per 50 round box on 9mils & 45's? I'm also trying to figure out the break even point where for example, after 1 or 2k rounds of reloads vs money spent on cheap range ammo equals out?

With 1100 rounds thru my Ruger SR9, & only a few hundred with my 45acp Hi-Point Carbine, the only reason those numbers aren't doubled is cause a 1000 round bulk buy of 9mm is around $225, & near double for 45acp. My thought is that I can use the bulk buy money & use it for setting up shop. I trust my mechanical skills, but of course this will be a learning process with learning curves.

Hope this topic hasn't been talked to death as I did do research but figured I'd just outright ask u fine folks!

Thanks!

It's all relative to YOUR needs, wants, expectations, etc, etc.
Yeah, one can save some serious bucks by reloading some calibers, or by shooting home cast bullets ahead of minute amounts of fast powder in any caliber, especialy if you buy componants in vast quanities.
Thing is though, with an apples to apples comparison relative to the final product, how much are you realy saving when you factor in the cost of the equipment you chooze, and the time you'll spend either at the bench, the melting pot, or both?...which can vary from 100's to 1,000's, depending...plus the hours, if not hours 'n hour's 'n more hours....again, depending.

Yeah, reloading is great...I've been doing it for decades.
Yup, bullet casting if fine too...I've done it myself.
But....what I do and how I do it is geared for my own wants, needs and expectations...as-is the equipment I've choozen. I'm sure that others have used similar thinking to get to where they are too. Point being, we aint you....only you are......so....

My best advice here would be for you to decide how far you'd realisticly care to go relative to the things I've mentioned, put a pencil to it, and go from there.

Good luck and good shooting.

DGW
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
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Redlands CA USA
Hi,

Be careful about being led down a flowery path with that idea you'll save money reloading! I don't know anybody who does. But I know a lot of folks who can shoot a whole lot more for the same amount of money, myself included.

Add the "custom" capacities, the pride of "doing it yourself" and a few other intangibles, and it's pretty easy to understand why so many people enjoy this addiction... er, that should be "hobby!" Add that with a little planning, one can lay in enough supplies to keep reasonable supplies of ammo during times like we've seen the last 6-7 years, as well as being able to shoot a lot of the calibers that are hard to get ammo for even in "better" times.

Rick C
 

jbntx

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
199
Location
Texas
Yea, I wish people would get past the myth that reloading saves money. It doesn't.
You reload so you can shoot more, not save money.

If you want to save money, then shoot less.
If you want to shoot more, then reload so you can get more rounds for the money you do spend.
 

Cheesewhiz

Hunter
Joined
Feb 8, 2008
Messages
2,114
Location
Chicago, IL
Not to be the wet blanket as I agree with most of the points made but reloading is a commitment and requires a certain frame of mind to be good at it. When people ask me about reloading and may have some interest in it, I ask them to spend some time researching it and deciding if they want to lay out the cost and effort to excel at it. You really need to be pretty good at it at some point, a bad reloader whether by the neglect of clear and careful learning or just lack of capability is sad and a bit dangerous. I really only ask that those considering that jump take a look at themselves and think it through before acting. JMO
 

6gun

Hunter
Joined
Oct 10, 2012
Messages
2,580
Money wise reloading 9MM and 45 ACP your not going to save much money unless you use cast lead or plated bullets and buy everything in bulk, both are fairly cheap rounds compared to other new factory loaded cals., personally I refuse to reload 9MM the tiny shell casing are just to small for my large hands to work with.

I compared prices reloading using FNJ bullets like factory loads on both cals. and it's just not worth it, plus some guns like Glock's can't handle lead bullets without replacing the barrel.
 

DGW1949

Hunter
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Texas
6gun said:
Money wise reloading 9MM and 45 ACP your not going to save much money unless you use cast lead or plated bullets and buy everything in bulk, both are fairly cheap rounds compared to other new factory loaded cals., personally I refuse to reload 9MM the tiny shell casing are just to small for my large hands to work with.

I compared prices reloading using FNJ bullets like factory loads on both cals. and it's just not worth it, plus some guns like Glock's can't handle lead bullets without replacing the barrel.

Those are the kinds of considerations which I was addresing in my first response.
Yeah, the OP can save some money by reloading his 9MM brass (leastways, what he can find of it), but if his goal is to duplicate SAAMI-spec FMJ ammo with a single stage press, he'll be working for about $2 an hour.

Personaly, I'd rather spend that hour shooting.
But hey, that's just me....and I aint him.
Maybe he's got more spare time than I do.

DGW
 

WIL TERRY

Buckeye
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Single Chute, SD USA
IMNHO, if all you are interested in in is ' saving ' money you should NOT get into handloading ammunition as that is the EXACTLY wrong attitude to have while doing something that can and Will wreck guns, remove fingers, and eyeballs etc etc.
The HANDLOADING [ NOT reloading !!! ] of cartridges is the inch thick frosting on the cake and it is NOT to trifled with by men who's only goal is to save another 1 /100 of a cent per cartridge. This I GUARENTEE YOU will bite you right in the ass someday simply because YOU chose the wrong goal/viewpoint as it were.
I AM DEAD SERIOUS HERE, AM NOT KIDDING EVEN A LITTLE BIT, and last year went over 875,000 cartridges handloaded by YEST. I've worked for two ammunition companies, wrote a Handloading column in PH for several years, and have seen the results of dozens of shredded guns by guys whose first loading tool was a Dillon 550 " and [he] can load 600 rounds an hour oh it..."!!! He can slow up a bit now with his gun in pieces...
And so it goes...
 

DGW1949

Hunter
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Texas
In all due respect to Mr. Terry....there's been many a handloader who got into it strictly to "save money" and has never injured anyone, nor destroyed a firearm. That, and as far as I can tell, the only real difference in the words "reloading" and "handloading" is that reloading impliies the use of a previously fired cartridge case......which BTW, is a common practice, even amoungst those who "load their own" for "other" reasons.

Getting back to the OP's question (as posed)....yeah, reloading can save you money....but a better question might be, will the savings be worth the start up cost and time involved "for you"?......and only you can answer it.

DGW
 

6gun

Hunter
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Messages
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DGW1949 said:
6gun said:
Money wise reloading 9MM and 45 ACP your not going to save much money unless you use cast lead or plated bullets and buy everything in bulk, both are fairly cheap rounds compared to other new factory loaded cals., personally I refuse to reload 9MM the tiny shell casing are just to small for my large hands to work with.

I compared prices reloading using FNJ bullets like factory loads on both cals. and it's just not worth it, plus some guns like Glock's can't handle lead bullets without replacing the barrel.

Those are the kinds of considerations which I was addresing in my first response.
Yeah, the OP can save some money by reloading his 9MM brass (leastways, what he can find of it), but if his goal is to duplicate SAAMI-spec FMJ ammo with a single stage press, he'll be working for about $2 an hour.

Personaly, I'd rather spend that hour shooting.
But hey, that's just me....and I aint him.
Maybe he's got more spare time than I do.

DGW


I don't shoot 9MM or 45ACP but my kids do, they started reloading them for a while and gave up after funding how much time it took for what little they were saving.

As for me I reload for my revolvers and rifles, and we all know we can reload these kind rounds for less than half the price of factory loads.

Bottom line is 9MM and 45ACP is made in such mass quantity manufacture's are able to sell it far cheaper than revolver rounds that they make far less of.
 

AJGUNNER

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The Sticks---N.W. Orygun
One thing that I have not seen mentioned yet is the fact that both ammo and components will continue to rise in price. I bought bulk (hoarded) all sorts of components back in the 80's and 90's. Some thought I was crazy spending money on a lifetime supply of primers, powder, bullets, and 22 ammo, but for some reason the stuff just refuses to rot. So now 25-30 years later, I smile like the cheshire cat when I see the prices on this stuff. I figure if you are young enough and have the bucks to spare here and there, start hoarding now. This way when you get the kids out of the house and you want to spend some time cheap loading and shooting, you too can have a big grin on your face. :mrgreen:

For those that don't agree about the saving money aspect---well lets just say that most everything that I have hoarded, has more than tripled in price. I think it was a good investment since my 401 has not tripled in that same time frame. The other positive aspect is the fact that if I needed to, I can always sell the stuff off for at least double what I paid for it. The most I ever paid for 22 ammo was $15 per brick---let me know when you see any for that price because I would be buying more. :)
 

WIL TERRY

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DGW1949 said:
In all due respect to Mr. Terry....there's been many a handloader who got into it strictly to "save money" and has never injured anyone, nor destroyed a firearm. That, and as far as I can tell, the only real difference in the words "reloading" and "handloading" is that reloading impliies the use of a previously fired cartridge case......which BTW, is a common practice, even amoungst those who "load their own" for "other" reasons.

Getting back to the OP's question (as posed)....yeah, reloading can save you money....but a better question might be, will the savings be worth the start up cost and time involved "for you"?......and only you can answer it.

DGW
YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT, DGW. There are indeed a lot of men who started handloading and never really had problem one. It is the others that trouble me greatly, scare me, and tell me that many should NOT load ammuntion, PERIOD. When I was a young buck one blown gun was talked about for years. Now it is hardly news for a day or a week. When I see the handloading questions on the 'net it shows that few of the newbies EVER bothered to read the textbooks of handloading their own ammunition and expected to be spoon fed information like pablum to lazy babies. Many of the newbies I've questioned do not understand nor can explain HOW their loading dies work...and WHY.
And so it goes...
 
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