should I start reloading?

Discussion in 'reloading/bullet casting' started by Grumpy, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    it really depends on how much ammo you'll want on hand and if your willing to both buy the equipment,
    and get into the secondary hobby of producing that ammo.

    theres no question that you can produce good reliable ammo at a cost savings ,
    but the time and effort and equipment cost may not be worth the savings unless you shoot a good deal
    read this link

    ammo in bulk is not cheap but youll want to compare the cost vs benefits and the time spent
    getting commercial ammo will cost 45-60 cents a shot in bulk for that 308

    load data is available

    16-20 cents each for projectiles

    16-20 cents for cases

    $3-3.50 a hundred for primers

    and maybe $20-27 a pound for powder and you get maybe 120-130 shots per pound

    then theres the equipment, which you might be able to buy used in great condition at a discount,
    but if you buy good basic equipment you,ll usually spend $350-$550
    (press , powder scale ,dies , shell holder, manuals,case trimmer, primer tools,,case tumbler)

    youll get 4-9 reloads per case, on average depending on the rifle and how hot the case is reloaded,
    you may save 16 -20 cent a cartridge with reloads on 308 win
    the economic point is, reached (and that varies wildly with the cartridge selected)
    but with a 308 win or 223, rem that will generally be a break-even is between 1200-1800 cartridges,
    from that point on the price per cartridge drops.

    if you were reloading a 375 H&H , 300 wby 416 rem or 458 win etc.
    where cartridges cost $60-$80 for 20 cartridges the cost of reloading makes a great deal of sense,
    you could easily reduce the cost by 40%-70% of commercial ammo.

    but for a 308 win, 223 rem,9mm para where mill surplus is abundant, and reasonably priced, at least currently, its generally not a huge savings

    now if you want to shoot pistols ar rifles and use cast projectiles you can save a good deal more,
    especially if you cast your own bullets but that could easily add an additional $150-$500 in additional initial, tool cost,
    but it could also reduce projectile cost to a couple cents a shot,
    in lead, lube and maybe a gas check, for example

    450 marlin ammo costs $26-$30 a box for 20

    (thats about $130-$1.50 cents a shot)
    you can reload it if you have the brass , for under 30 cents a shot using a good accurate cast gas check projectile (a savings of 70%-to - 90%)
    youll have similar percentage savings with many of the larger less common cartridges, especially magnums

    Last edited: Jan 31, 2018
  2. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    I got asked what,
    " what would you suggest if a person was interested in accumulating a S.H.T.F survival rifle and ammo?"

    most people will suggest you buy an SKS or AK47 as the lower cost and dependable option,and store a lot of cases of ammo,and while thats an option, once you run out of ammo your screwed,
    if your looking to have a long term source for a rifle with usable ammo, on a cost per shot basis, and over a long term,
    Id suggest you consider having the ability to reload, and cast your own projectiles, in a caliber that can be very effective using cast bullets, the 357 mag , 44 mag, 45 lc, 450 marlin 458 win, and 45/70 all come to mind as good options.
    as high quality lever or bolt action rifle might be a good investment,
    finding a bargain on used or cheap but high quality reloading tools and decent bullet casting molds a supply of brass,(mild loads allow brass to be re-used many times) primers (stock up a bunch these, they are reasonably cheap, easily stored and last decades and don,t take up much space), and powder , would cost about the same as stocking up with several thousand center-fire cartridges, but in a survival context it would allow you to still have a functional firearm for a good deal more shots.
    the larger diameter calibers pushing a reasonably high mass projectile , can be very very effective (50 million buffalo were killed with cartridges like the 45/70) and if your really forced too you can manufacture black powder
    (obviously look into how that's done and print out, and have copies of all the minute details in duplicate)
  3. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

  4. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    Allen is one of the guys I hunt with, and hand load for , rather regularly,he uses a marlin 45lc and these hand loads,
    cast and use gas check,300 grain bullets, bullets from 95% WW alloy and 5% tin,
    10 grains of blue dot works well, (accurate) and about 1000 fps in the rifle but your limited to about 120 yards , due to trajectory and retained energy
    the bullets are lethal enough at that range for deer and hogs but don,t expect spectacular kills according to Allen
    hit where you need too and they kill very well gun&Source=

    personally if I wanted a marlin too use with cast bullet's in a lever gun Id select a 45/70 like this one linked below
    and load 350 grain cast, gas check bullets over 45 grains of RL7 with a 215 fed primer,
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2018
  5. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member


    these calculator links may come in rather handy,
    consider the fact that carefully selecting a rifle and cartridge,
    that has the realistic potential to use cast bullets will further reduce,
    the longer term cost of ammo!
    rifle and pistol calibers like 44 mag, 500 S&W and 358 win or 45/70,
    that potentially use fairly heavy larger bore diameter projectiles,
    at or below about 2200 fps generally make a realistic, and versatile choice.
    reloading is almost mandatory in some cases as the cost of personally ,custom fabricated ammo,
    can be far lower than 30% of the hard to locate commercial ammo

    related threads
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
  6. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    lets look at hand-loading a 1000 cartridges
    vs commercial options,
    theres zero question that it will require a greater up-front investment in tools and supplies,
    and it will require time to cast bullets and reload ammo,
    but savings of well over 50% in ammo cost is a rather obvious benefit in many larger bore or rarer cartridges.
    you won,t save much on cartridges like 223 or 308 win or 7.62/39,
    as the markets flooded with surplus mill ammo, but on many larger bore commercial cartridges that can use either cast bullets or cheaper commercial projectiles,
    the cost savings make reloading financially a good way to save cash.
    example cast bullets in a 45 ACP, 45 lc, or 357 mag may only cut the cost 30%-50% ,
    but casting bullets and reloading is an interesting hobby for many people.
    Ill assume you have a desire to save money and have ,
    or are willing to buy a new or used ,
    reloading press and sizer and lead furnace ,and accessories as required.
    but even if you don,t currently own the tools
    the cost over cycling through a few hundred or thousand cartridges
    through 6-8 reloads will amortize out over the long term too be minimal,
    in cost per cartridge vs commercial ammo cost.
    lets say all that basic reloading tool material ,
    cost you an additional $500
    to set up for something a bit exotic like a 445 DWSM,
    thats about $1100 for the first 1000 cartridges,but you could but just 50-100 cases and recycle those and save a great deal on the up front cost,
    I generally purchase cases in 500-1000 case batches as the cost per case drops and I generally reload 500-1000 cases over a week-end

    and its not at all unusually that subsequent batches of 1000 cartridges being reloaded
    , cost less than $200 for the next thousand reloads and several,reloads per cycle of those ,
    per thousand more batches of 1000 cartridges

    compare that to the $1-$3 per cartridge I frequently see commercial ammo
    advertised for IF YOU CAN FIND ANY
    the local gun-shop wanted $49 for a box of 20 and only had one box,
    Ive seen the same factory ammo, listed on sale for $45 a box of 20,
    several places, and at gun shows it sells for $60 a box of 20 when its available... making hand loading a very financially profitable option if you own the revolver

    similar saving's on ammo, on many big bore rifles,
    like 416 rigby, 8mm rem mag, 375 wby, and 458 lott are available

    cartridges like the 45/70 and 30/30, using cast bullets can be hand-loaded at greater than 50% savings and still provide performance similar to factory ammo.

    you could very easily cut the cost of ammo for some cartridge like the 445 DWSM by well over
    40-to- %50% percent per cartridge
    over a few years time , and eliminate the fact factory ammo is very difficult to locate,
    and have custom fabricated ammo that maximizes value and minimizes your revolvers cost to operate, with increased accuracy.

    my 445 DWSM
    BRASS =$410 for a thousand cases

    primers $37 for 1000

    gas checks, $45 per thousand

    $20 for bullet mold

    $14 for mold handles

    powder roughly $50 per thousand reloaded cartridges

    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
  7. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    the spread sheet above is rather helpful
  8. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

  9. Maniacmechanic1

    Maniacmechanic1 solid fixture here in the forum

    Nice Grumpy.

    Got a Big expensive bad habit now.
  10. rlphvac

    rlphvac reliable source of info

    Don't think of it as a habit think of it as therapy

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