TFNG question. Reload price vs factory

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Grendel

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 26, 2008
Messages
215
FrankSchaeffer":ns0dqw0u said:
what is the cost between the two also the pro and cons. like time, cost function.
Thanks
Frank

Well, you can look at component prices (powder, bullets, primers...assume brass is free from your range), and then compare to factory prices per round. The savings can vary greatly, depending on what size ammo you're looking at.

Cons:
- Initial costs can be prohibitive for po' folks like me. There's the press, scale(s), caliper(s), tumbler, and even more tools if you're reloading rifle rounds.

-Need a decent workbench, space to work and store components, and distraction-free time. Distractions are a big no-no.

-For some, it can be tremendously tedious and a chore. Others get Zen with it, though. Experienced reloaders with distraction-free time can really crank out the pistol rounds, though.

Pros:
- Cost per round can be significant, depending on what you're reloading.

- You can control consistency of your loads better than cheap factory plinking rounds, with consistent charges, OAL, etc., leading to better accuracy.

- If you shoot competitively, you can custom tailor your rounds for velocity and accuracy.

- If you shoot a relatively uncommon round, the cost per round can be cheaper.

YMMV

-JT
 

69Roadrunner

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 28, 2009
Messages
2
The cost of reloading ammo has gone up a lot in the last couple of years. There was a time when I could reload .45 ACP or 9mm for about a quarter the retail cost of factory ammo or less. Right now the best I can do using hard cast lead bullets is about 45% the cost of the least expensive factory ammo - less if using jacketed. You can reduce the per round cost if you cast your own bullets, but you get into the "what's your time worth" issue discussed below.

The wildcard whenever figuring the cost to reload is the cost of reloading equipment and the value of your time. You can get into reloading with relatively inexpensive singe stage press kits like those available from Lee Precision. Or, you can go with more expensive progressive presses like Hornady or Dillon. The single stages will save you money on equipment, but will take more of your time to reload. Progressive presses cost more, but you can load a larger volume in less time (can reload about 400-450 rounds of 9mm an hour on my Dillon). Over time what you save in reloading will eventually offset the initial cost of equipment, but you've got to reload a lot for it to pay.

What I enjoy most about reloading is being able to tailor loads to my intended purposes. There is also the intangible reward and satisfaction in knowing that you "rolled your own"
 

FrankSchaeffer

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 1, 2009
Messages
6
"rolled your own"

HA I like that. I do roll my own smokes and make my own booze. I just cant see spending 50 bucks every time I go shooting for an hour or so. I may end up "Rolling my own" bullets too.
Thanks
Frank
 

5Wire

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 25, 2003
Messages
196
FrankSchaeffer":3nb164fw said:
what is the cost between the two also the pro and cons. like time, cost function.
Thanks
Frank

Here's an example of how you can figure it out. Excel or any spreadsheet application will do the work. This happens to be from FileMaker and the prices are really old and a one -at-a-time reloading tool, but you'll get the idea.

Generally, the cheaper the commercial ammo you're trying to replace, the higher the number of reloads you have to do to break even. The opposite is also tru, the more expensive the ammo, the fewer reloads required to break even. Once you save enough to offset the cost of equipment, each round represents an additional savings.

Long time reloaders quip. "In the long run, you probably don't save any money, but you shoot more."

Reload2.jpg
 

revhigh

Hawkeye
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
Messages
5,590
69Roadrunner":34ni3yvc said:
The cost of reloading ammo has gone up a lot in the last couple of years. There was a time when I could reload .45 ACP or 9mm for about a quarter the retail cost of factory ammo or less. Right now the best I can do using hard cast lead bullets is about 45% the cost of the least expensive factory ammo

I'l disagree with that ... here's a 45ACP example ...

1000 200 grain LSWC bullets from Mastercast - $63.00
1000 LP Primers - $30.00
2/3 lb Win 231 (roughly 4500 grains) - $12.00

Total - $105.00 for 1000 rounds = $5.25 per box of 50 45ACP.

Please show me where you can buy factory ammo for about $10 per box. I'd say it's more like $20, which would still be about 25%.

So .... if you buy 20 boxes of 45ACP at $20 per box ... that's $400. Roughly $300 saved per thousand loaded. So ... in 2000 rounds you'd have $600 to spend on reloading equipment.

It's a no-brainer.

REV
 

s4s4u

Buckeye
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
1,891
I don't load so much for price, but more for performance. Although both are advantages. I don't shoot 10000000's of rounds a year, but I hunt with handguns and the "factory" offerings leave a bit to be desired, especially in the 45LC and .41 Mag. You can get started for about 100 bucks+dies and that will recoup in short order even if you don't shoot a ton. Plus it is fun and challenging, to find that sweet spot. I have even created a couple of wildcats since I started. I wish I had started much earlier, oh how much more I would know now.
 

69Roadrunner

Bearcat
Joined
Nov 28, 2009
Messages
2
revhigh":21mwsuj8 said:
Please show me where you can buy factory ammo for about $10 per box. I'd say it's more like $20, which would still be about 25%.

So .... if you buy 20 boxes of 45ACP at $20 per box ... that's $400. Roughly $300 saved per thousand loaded. So ... in 2000 rounds you'd have $600 to spend on reloading equipment.

It's a no-brainer.

REV

Your point with .45 ACP is well taken. I was thinking more of 9mm since I no longer own a pistol chambered in .45 ACP. The least expensive box of 50 rounds factory 9mm - Federal 115 gr FMJ - I can find costs $9.47 plus tax ($10.11) at my local WalMart. I'll have to check and see how much they sell .45 ACP, assuming I can find any.
 

Shyoldman

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Messages
26
I cast and lube my own bullets so I figure I load 9mm for $4.00 or less a 100. my buddy and I have fired off 3000 rounds in the last 3 months of 9mm,380,357,38,45ACP, and 44mag Spent $90 on primers $0 on bullets, and am trying to shoot up all my fathers OLD powder so no cost there. Aveage price of those rounds here would be about $25. so would have cost $1500 instead of $90 I think I paid for a press no?
 

Shyoldman

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Messages
26
I cast and lube my own bullets so I figure I load 9mm for $4.00 or less a 100. my buddy and I have fired off 3000 rounds in the last 3 months of 9mm,380,357,38,45ACP, and 44mag Spent $90 on primers $0 on bullets, and am trying to shoot up all my fathers OLD powder so no cost there. Aveage price of those rounds here would be about $25. so would have cost $1500 instead of $90 I think I paid for a press no?
 

Shyoldman

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 8, 2009
Messages
26
I cast and lube my own bullets so I figure I load 9mm for $4.00 or less a 100. my buddy and I have fired off 3000 rounds in the last 3 months of 9mm,380,357,38,45ACP, and 44mag Spent $90 on primers $0 on bullets, and am trying to shoot up all my fathers OLD powder so no cost there. Aveage price of those rounds here would be about $25. so would have cost $1500 instead of $90 I think I paid for a press no?
 

tiger955

Bearcat
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
87
Long and short of it.... I don't see a big savings loading 9mm, when I can buy bulk ammo reasonably. I do load some though, just because I enjoy it.
On the other hand, I prefer full power loads in my 44 mags and save quite a bit loading those.
 

meanc

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jan 29, 2006
Messages
124
I'm still laughing at all those folks that consistently said things along the line of...

"Well you're really not saving anything by reloading, you're just able to shoot twice as much"
.
.
.
.

MY LOADS:

44mag "Ruger Only" hunting load w/ 240gr XTP costs me somewhere around $5.00 per 50.

45Colt "Ruger Only" hunting load with a 250gr XTP costs me somewhere around $6.00 per 50.

Full house 357mag 158gr JSP is actually about $3.00 per 50

Find the cost for premium factory hunting ammo for those three calibers...

Now figure out my savings. :wink:
 

5Wire

Single-Sixer
Joined
Oct 25, 2003
Messages
196
meanc":2dq5ku6v said:
I'm still laughing at all those folks that consistently said things along the line of...

"Well you're really not saving anything by reloading, you're just able to shoot twice as much"
.
.
.
.

MY LOADS:

44mag "Ruger Only" hunting load w/ 240gr XTP costs me somewhere around $5.00 per 50.

45Colt "Ruger Only" hunting load with a 250gr XTP costs me somewhere around $6.00 per 50.

Full house 357mag 158gr JSP is actually about $3.00 per 50

Find the cost for premium factory hunting ammo for those three calibers...

Now figure out my savings. :wink:
How much have you got into equipment? How many round have you reloaded? are you shooting more than you would if you were paying commercial prices?

There's no question the there can be a cost advantage to reloading especially on premium loads but I'll bet you'd be hard pressed :)D) to meet the economy of target grade ammo like WWB or CCI Brass.

All of this is a long way around to saying that for some people making money go further to shoot more is nothing to laugh at. There are plenty of folks who knowingly do just that.
 

revhigh

Hawkeye
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
Messages
5,590
69Roadrunner":3bv33rha said:
revhigh":3bv33rha said:
Please show me where you can buy factory ammo for about $10 per box. I'd say it's more like $20, which would still be about 25%.

So .... if you buy 20 boxes of 45ACP at $20 per box ... that's $400. Roughly $300 saved per thousand loaded. So ... in 2000 rounds you'd have $600 to spend on reloading equipment.

It's a no-brainer.

REV

Your point with .45 ACP is well taken. I was thinking more of 9mm since I no longer own a pistol chambered in .45 ACP. The least expensive box of 50 rounds factory 9mm - Federal 115 gr FMJ - I can find costs $9.47 plus tax ($10.11) at my local WalMart. I'll have to check and see how much they sell .45 ACP, assuming I can find any.

For 9MM, substitute $49 for bullets instead of $63 (for 45 ACP) ... that's awful cheap ($10.11) for factory 9MM... plan on that increasing as soon as they get new stock.

$91 / 20 = $4.50 per box (roughly).

REV
 

patcannon

Single-Sixer
Joined
Aug 5, 2006
Messages
110
This spring I bought: a Lee 4 Hole Turret Press with Auto Index Deluxe Kit, a 4-Die set for 38 Special/357 Magnum, 1000 CCI small pistol primers, 1000 158gr .357 lead bullets, a pound of TiteGroup, and the Lyman 49th Edition Reloading Handbook, for a grand total of about $300.

So for my first thousand rounds, that was $15 a box — including buying the whole kit. As I loaded up my second thousand rounds I added a couple more books, a $25 caliper and a $20 bullet puller.

For purely the consumables — primers, powder and bullets, it's roughly $7.50 a box, versus $15 or $25 for commercial .38 or .357.

I haven't figured in my time. A couple years ago when the economy was stronger, I could choose to work a few hours of overtime to buy a couple hundred buck's worth of factory ammo. Nowadays I don't have that option.
 

JeepVideo

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 5, 2009
Messages
22
Excellent information. Since I picked up my SR-9 getting ammo has been more miss than hit at the WallyWorlds around me. I can usually get hooked up at the gun stores if you don't mind paying higher prices of course :)

Reloading is something I've been thinking about for a while. Darn economy gave me a sock in the face so I'm stretching the dollars until I get things straightened out.

Thanks for all the great info!
 

tomiswho

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 2, 2008
Messages
323
I don't often visit the "semi" part of the board, but I can tell you my current costs for reloading some revolver rounds.
.38 sp HBWC 50 rounds for $4.99
.45 Colt RNFP 250g 50 rounds for $7.31
.454 Casull RNFP 250g target rounds for $7.59

I don't include the cost for brass, as I have plenty!

Cabela's latest Shooting catalog show .45 Colt "cowboy ammunition" nearing $40/50 so I'm saving a BUNCH with my $7.31 cost.

I actually should cut these prices because I get to reload instead of paying a shrink for therapy..... I probably MAKE money the more I shoot!
:lol: :lol: :lol:
 

Jumping Frog

Bearcat
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
Messages
90
revhigh":npwrde2y said:
I'l disagree with that ... here's a 45ACP example ...

1000 200 grain LSWC bullets from Mastercast - $63.00
1000 LP Primers - $30.00
2/3 lb Win 231 (roughly 4500 grains) - $12.00

Total - $105.00 for 1000 rounds = $5.25 per box of 50 45ACP.
Most people don't realize that the cost savings really start kicking in when you cast your own bullets.

Here are my current costs for .45 ACP

1000 200 grain LSWC bullets cast from scavenged wheelweights - $0.00
1000 Wolf LP Primers - $20.00
4/7 lb Clays (roughly 4000 grains) - $6.38

Cost = 26.38 per 1000, $2.64 per 100, $1.32 per 50.

I used $20/k for primer cost because I have about 20k Wolf primers stocked at that price. Current price on PVI is $25.50 per k. I used $89 per 8 lb jug of Clays because that is what I'll be using for the next 14,000 rounds. Current cost at Wideners or PVI is about $105 for 8 lb jug. So at today's market prices, I am looking at $33 per 1000 or $1.65 per 50.

It takes me about 2 hours to cast, size, and lube 1,000 bullets.

My 9 mm prices are actually slightly higher because I use a more expensive powder: $1.43 per 50 stocked cost, $1.71 per 50 at current market prices.

My cost savings for .44 Mag alone paid for the press, all my dies, and all my casting equipment. Cost for full load 250 gr lead Keith-style gas-checked cartridges loaded with H110 runs $102.80 per 1000, or $2.06 per 20. Equivalent Buffalo Bore Ammunition 44 Remington Magnum 255 Grain Lead Keith-Type Semi-Wadcutter Gas Check Box of 20 is selling at $34.99 per box of 20. Loading the first 300 rounds of .44 Mag saved me $500.

Even at today's prices, reloading is highly cost effective. It is way more cost effective if someone is casting their own bullets when one realizes purchased bullets represents about 60-75% of reloading costs (depending upon lead vs jacketed).
 

revhigh

Hawkeye
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
Messages
5,590
Oh yeah, JF, if you cast, it's a LOT cheaper. I've thought many times about casting, but just never got into it. I don't know that I'd have a source of lead or wheel weights, and could never find anyone to 'mentor' me. What equipment to buy was always a mystery, and even though I researched it heavily, it seemed that everyone had such a different idea that I could never get a straight answer ... to say nothing of the dangers in dealing with molten lead and fumes.

I'd love to try it though, or see it done in person ... never had the opportunity.

REV
 
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