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 Newbie Question about Reloading 
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 Post subject: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:43 pm 
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After spending $100 per month on target practice, it got me thinking about reloading.

Since I have never even seen this done, can you give me a couple high-level tips:
How much time does it take to reload 100 shells?
What is the initial investment required in tools/machines?
How does the cost of materials compare for 100 completed shells versus 100 factory shells?

I am interested in 9MM or .40 S&W.

Thanks in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:22 pm 
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you will not save money reloading, ever, however, for more money, you will shoots an awful lot more rounds.

break even is a ways out there, even if you do not shoot more, but it does work out to more shooting for similar money.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Wed Jul 08, 2009 11:30 pm 
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I would be happy to shoot more for the same money.

It's like I always say when I got to the casino. I would pay $100 if they let me just play for 4 hours even if it meant I had not option to make money. (I hate losing my $100 in 15 minutes). 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:28 am 
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Maverick68 wrote:
It's like I always say when I got to the casino. I would pay $100 if they let me just play for 4 hours even if it meant I had not option to make money. (I hate losing my $100 in 15 minutes). 8)

Come over to my house. I'd be happy to deal you just-for-fun blackjack @ $25/hr. :wink:


To answer your questions:

On my single-stage press, I can load a hundred rounds in an hour. Progressive presses will do 500+ per hour.

Initial investment varies, but my setup (with dies for one caliber) was around $300.

I load both 9mm and .40 for around a dime per round.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:40 am 
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I concur with macphisto, Maverick68. I'll add a few things.

Generally, I can reload for a cost of 10% to 25% of a box of loaded ammo. Translated: if a box of ammo costs $20, I can reload for $5, worst case, and usually less.

Before you get a press, get a book called "The ABCs of Reloading" or something like it. Usually found at gun shows or gun shops. You'll see what you're getting into.

You'll want a single stage press, to start. You may buy a progressive press, eventually (I did), but you'll still find that single stage press useful for short production runs and one-off tests.

Have a good work bench and an well-lit area. You don't need a workshop. I onces a had a reloading station set up in an apartment, using a wood butcher's block & table as the bench, all placed in a small closet.

FWIW.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:43 am 
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I'm not sure where these guys get their components. I can't load for a dime around. Nor can I load for 25% of factory cost. OTOH, I shoot jacketed bullets, so they might be saving additional money getting solid lead (or even casting - that would bring it down to 25%).
At current prices, I make a box of 50 rds. for just under $6. I use a single-stage. I'm a little faster than Mac seems to be, but not much.

1000 primers ~ $30
1000 bullets ~ $70
1/2 jug pow ~ $10
misc. ~ $ 5 (media, electricity, extra coffee, etc.)

That's 9mm. 40s&w is a little more cuz the bullets are bigger. I'm well South of the river. If you have any interest in seeing the process, give a holler.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:54 am 
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Thanks everyone. Very interesting. I love the cost savings (even though I know I will still spend the same total amount!).

Where do most of you get your empty casings? Do you pick them up at the range, save everyone after you practice, purchase them?


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 1:18 pm 
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Hopefully you have been saving some of the cases from the factory ammo you've been shooting. You can purchase new cases. Not as cost effective, but a good way to start. I would refrain from range pick ups, unless they're your own (mark the case head with a Sharpie before you shoot them) or purchasing used cases on the internet until you get some handloading experience under your belt and you are able to inspect cases and know what you're looking at. Most everybody selling used brass claims that they are "once fired". Don't believe it. Sure, some are being truthful, but they're all out there to sell brass and some sellers will say anything if it helps them make a deal. Buyer beware.

As was previously posted, get the book "The ABC's of Reloading". Go to Gunstop in Minnetonka and visit with John Walton. He's a good guy to get to know if your going to get into it. He's also a great source for the components and your press.

I started out with the RCBS Rockchucker kit. It has everything you'll need to get started except the dies and shell holder. It's going to cost you what a average priced handgun would cost to start. Around $500.00 + - . I always figure as a rough rule of thumb that reloading is 1/2 the cost of factory ammo. The big advantage is that it is more accurate and you can taylor your loading to the guns you shoot. It's like custom ammo for your own gun. I now reload on a progressive press for 6 different handgun calibers. The only factory ammo I buy is .22LR.

I regard handloading as a seperate hobby. A craft. You cannot worry about the speed of your reloading or how many rounds per hour you can make. Especially starting out. If you feel like you need to rush, forget it. There is very little room for error in handloading.

Hope this helps you out. Good luck with your new hobbie!


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 5:21 pm 
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I've done it before (now some time ago) and have recently checked prices.

In general, it is my observation that it is no longer possible to produce cheap ammunition for much less than the cost of buying cheap ammunition, in quantity, from low-cost suppliers. There was a day, in the 1970s and before, when commercially manufactured ammunition was relatively more expensive than the components, but that is no longer the case.

If you want to do it because it's your thing, great. If you want to do it because you're loading match, great. If you want to do it because you're a rifle guy trying to get better accuracy, great.

But don't do it to save money on basic range ammo.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:46 pm 
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MostlyHarmless wrote:
I've done it before (now some time ago) and have recently checked prices.

In general, it is my observation that it is no longer possible to produce cheap ammunition for much less than the cost of buying cheap ammunition, in quantity, from low-cost suppliers. There was a day, in the 1970s and before, when commercially manufactured ammunition was relatively more expensive than the components, but that is no longer the case.

If you want to do it because it's your thing, great. If you want to do it because you're loading match, great. If you want to do it because you're a rifle guy trying to get better accuracy, great.

But don't do it to save money on basic range ammo.


Interesting. Ok, so let's change the topic slightly....

Where do you find these low-cost suppliers? I have found .40 S&W a cheap as $17 per box, locally. Can you find it cheaper than that?


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 12:21 am 
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So you're getting 9mm for roughly $6/50? I wanna see a reciept from some time in the last 4 months.

MostlyHarmless wrote:
I've done it before (now some time ago) and have recently checked prices.

In general, it is my observation that it is no longer possible to produce cheap ammunition for much less than the cost of buying cheap ammunition, in quantity, from low-cost suppliers. There was a day, in the 1970s and before, when commercially manufactured ammunition was relatively more expensive than the components, but that is no longer the case.

If you want to do it because it's your thing, great. If you want to do it because you're loading match, great. If you want to do it because you're a rifle guy trying to get better accuracy, great.

But don't do it to save money on basic range ammo.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:47 am 
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Maverick68 wrote:
I have found .40 S&W a cheap as $17 per box, locally. Can you find it cheaper than that?


Wally World has the Blazer Brass .40 @ $12.47 (when they have it in stock...and that seems to be more and more lately).

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:31 pm 
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BurritoButt wrote:
Maverick68 wrote:
I have found .40 S&W a cheap as $17 per box, locally. Can you find it cheaper than that?


Wally World has the Blazer Brass .40 @ $12.47 (when they have it in stock...and that seems to be more and more lately).


That is about as cheap as I can load 40 s&w (if it's $12.47 for a box of 100). If it's a box of 50, then it's twice the price of reloads.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:09 pm 
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Right now you can't get ammo or components in quantity at reasonable prices. The market is a mess.

If you look at prices, say, a year ago, you could get Berdan primed, aluminum-cased 9mm for around $11 for a box of 50, and .40 S&W for a buck or two more. I don't think anyone can reload for much less than that, including all the costs -- press, dies, scale, trays, boxes, gadgets, books, leftover components, replacement brass, mistakes that have to be thrown out.

Another consideration is that even people who are careful, smart, knowledgeable, who have the right equipment and a good process, and who have done it a lot, sometimes overcharge a round. The results can be, how shall we say, dramatic.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Question about Reloading
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2009 5:39 am 
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FWIW, here are my costs.

My baseline is Federal Gold Medal Match loaded ammo (45 ACP, 185 gr SWC). This is match-grade ammo that really does deliver match-grade results in my pistols. 1000 rounds from Champions Choice: typically $500.

My load is 45 ACP, 200 gr SWC. Recurring cost break down, neglecting taxes, sunk costs (press, dies, brass), and burden for 1000 rounds:

Powder: $19
Primers: $32
Bullets: $100

Total: $151.

$350 savings pays back pretty fast at 5000 to 10000 rounds a year.

And I've never double-charged a load. However, I have made primer-only loads on two occasions. On each occasion, the "gun went off funny", so I stopped firing, checked the pistol, and found a bullet in the barrel. Pushed the bullet out with a wooden dowl rod, and continued shooting.

I suppose it all depends on how much you shoot and how detail-oriented you are.


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