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Thread: Cost

  1. #1

    Question Cost

    I was windering if someone would not mind answer a question for me. I do not reload my own ammo but have been thinking about it. So, I was wondering what the price difference is buying and reloading. If you went to your local store and bought a box of Federal Premium 300 Win Mag 180 grain Nosler Partition Federal Ammo item number P-300WD2 it would cost you? xxxxx and what would the same box cost you to reload?

  2. #2

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    I don't have any current prices in front of me because I usually buy reloading supplies in large quantities, and I haven't bought in a while. But I'll make some close guesses on current prices on round-number loads and do the math for you.

    Let's say the powder charge is 70 grains and a pound can of powder cost $20. There's 7000 grains in a pound, so you get 100 rounds from a can. A box of 20 loaded rounds will cost you $4 in powder.

    Say a box of primers costs around $4. That's 40 cents in primer costs for your 20 loaded rounds.

    Say your Nosler partitions cost $20 for a box of 50 or $40 for 100 bullets to ease the math. That's $8 worth of bullets for your box of 20 loaded rounds.

    Assuming you already have fired brass and don't have to pay for that, you've got $4 + 80 cents + $8 invested. Call it $12.80 in the box of ammo. If I'm off and the powder costs $30 (or $6 per loaded box of ammo) and the bullets cost $50 (or $10 per loaded box), we're only up to $16.80 for your box of ammo.

    If you use cheaper bullets or even cast bullets for practice loads rather than shooting Noslers, you can really cut those costs.

    By watching for sales and closeouts, then buying larger quanitities, I usually cut my cost of reloading supplies a lot over standard retail, so my costs are often 20-30% less.

    Any more questions about why I reload?

  3. #3
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The best description of handloading is it's more expensive than factory ammo in the long run, but you'll shoot more and become a better shot.

    If you're planning to shoot 100 rds or less a year, handloading isn't for you, if you want to be shooting hundreds if not thousands of rounds a year, you need to handload.

  4. #4
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    I will have to respectfully disagree with handloading being more expensive.

    I spent a few minutes over on www.midwayusa.com to add up the cost of some components. Alliant RL-19, Winnie WLRM primers, Nosler bullets and Remington cases. It works out to roughly $20.00 or slightly more per box, as Brownbear pointed out.
    I bought two (2) boxes of Winchester Elite .300 Winnie 180 grain for my friend in Kotlik and it cost $98.00 for this ammo, or $45.00 per box.

    You need to check around on Gunbroker or Auctionarms (now that eBay quit carrying brass), and find once fired cases. These will be much less expensive than buying 100 at a time. Buy a case of 5k primers instead of a tray at a time, and your costs significantly fall. Remember that you can use a case 5-6 times if you want to, and if you aren't stupid about having the fastest load you can possibly get, run that number up to 8-10 loads per case. Buy an inexpensive reloading kit and it will pay for itself in 10-15 boxes loaded.

    I think our esteemed moderator was thinking in terms of "once you start reloading, you end up buying more and more firearms, and more gear, so in the end it will be more expensive", or some such. Lastly, I will agree if you do not shoot more than 1000 rounds a year, just buy it from the store.
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    Default Good read

    About 1/3 of the way into this guy's article. His prices aren't exactly current but it's the same ratio/percentage saved.

    What's the "Break-Even" Point for Reloading vs. Buying Ammunition?
    http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill...1/new_reld.htm

    Jake

  6. #6
    Member 8x57 Mauser's Avatar
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    Default Slight variance

    I'm mostly with Nitroman and Paul H.

    2 differences.

    1: No minimums. Reloading is just plain enjoyable. Measuring your brass, trimming, weighing, loading, going through all the steps to really do it right, developing a load, and taking game - or just shooting a great group - with ammo you put together yourself is really rewarding. Doesn't matter how many you shoot in a year, unless your family budget means you absolutely have to amortize the equipment purchases.

    2: I'm not willing to buy somebody else's 'once-fired' brass. It's a buyer-beware market on the Internet, and I have no way to really know that it wasn't fired 5 times before they sold it as 'once-fired'. Or, more frighteningly, fired only once in a rifle with excessive headspace.

    So, amortizing in the cost of new mid-quality brass over 6 firings (although I hope to get more), my 30-06 ammo is $1.01/round with premium bullets. Comparable factory ammo this summer in my town ran $1.64/round.

    But my handloads group better at 200 yards, are just a little faster, and they're a whole lot more satisfying.

  7. #7

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    Paul is absolutely right and that's why he's a fine moderator. It's more expensive unless you shoot enough to ammortize your investment in gear. Spend $300 on a setup, but save only $30 a year on ammo, and your break even point is ten years down the road. Save $15 a year and your breakeven is 20 years down the road. But save $300 a year on ammo costs and you break even in a year. Your net savings over nine years is $2700. Your net over twenty years is $5700. But it only works if you shoot lots.

    So if your wife complains about how much you are shooting, tell her you are only doing it to save money!! Push it a little and tell her that the savings are so great that you can justify a $2700 custom rifle every ten years! Kinda sounds like politician math, doesn't it?

  8. #8
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    Wink

    I don't believe you will ever save money by reloading. With the cost of Brass, bullets, primers, hazmat charges, Good equp.ect. But you can cook up ammo custom made for your guns.If you shoot only once in a while it may not be worth it. Almost the same as tying flies, making your own arrows, it's a hobby,that lets you control one more aspect of your hunting,shooting. For some it may be the only choice, for hard to find ammo,older cartridges,so that these folks will have a supply on hand as the world changes, and new chamberings come and go. Bill
    ; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 1 SAMUEL 2;30

  9. #9
    New member George's Avatar
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    Default reload or no

    I can't disagree with anything posted so far. I think I became a better shot, became a better hunter and learned a great deal more about what makes guns and ammo tick for having reloaded practically all my ammo for the last forty years. It's an appreciation thing on the whole. In some cases, as has been pointed out, there really is no alternative. For example- quality, loaded rounds of some of the obsolete cartridges simply do not exist or are so expensive as to be prohibitive. Or for some old guns the ammo has to be custom loaded for that individual gun's chamber and bore/groove diameter for best and safest fit and function. I guess it depends upon an individual's long term interests, priorities and such.

  10. #10
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    It really comes down to do you want to shoot more. Say your factory ammo is $40 a box, you're only going to fire a few boxes a year, more then that and you can't stomach the cost. The only option is say a .223 bolt gun to shoot milsurp, but it's drying up.

    But if you start handloading, you'll want to try a couple different powders and bullets, and before you know it you've gone through a 100-200 rounds just getting the feel for it, and you'll have spent more than you would have on a few boxes of factory ammo.

    Then you start pondering new guns and chamberings just to see what a paticular round will do.

    If you're willing to drop $300-500 to get started, and that includes a few pounds of powder and a few selections of bullets, you'll definately be glad you did.

    There is no way I'd shoot as much as I do if I didn't handload.

  11. #11

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    Excellent point about the obsolete calibers too, George. Several calibers that I shoot today simply are unavailable unless you want to pay collector prices. Yet I shoot them as cheaply as any other reload.

    Wildcats are yet another topic. Got some of those which delight me and are very useful. Couldn't do that at all without reloading, whether I did it myself or paid someone else.

    As Paul said, it depends on how much you are going to shoot, but as George said, it can also depend on what you shoot.

  12. #12
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    I really don't think saving money is the right reason to get into reloading. It is one of those hobbies that require dedication to the task and doing it to save money isn't a good idea. I think it is the most rewarding part of the shooting game. I handload all my hunting and match ammo and have done very well with it over the years, I doubt that I've ever saved a penny, considering the cost of components and equipment, except when I was casting my own bullets with free lead. I do love it and have spent a lifetime doing it.

    You can shoot more for you ammo dollar but it will take time to ammortize the cost of good equipment. I also would not buy used brass regardless of how good of a bargain it seems to be. Buy good quality, new brass and take care of it, it will last a long time. You can load any bullet you choose and can always make ammo that will shoot better in your gun because it will match you needs and your rifle. There are so many good reasons to handload, if you save any money, that's just a bonus.
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  13. #13

    Default Reloading cost

    In the last 32 years I don't think I have saved any money. All I use are an old RCBS Rockchucker and a Dillon 550 B. I will probaly get a Redding T 7 this winter. I usually keep a few thousand .45, 9mm, 38 Special and 223 rounds loaded. The .44, 45-70, 30-06,.338 and .375 rounds last the longest. Almost all my reloading is done in the winter when things have slowed down. I enjoy it when I do not feel rushed. I know I shoot better because of it and I have a better understanding of what happens when I pull the trigger because of it. I like it and will do more when I retire. Unfortunately I have not seen anyone in my immediate or extended family that seems real interested in it. It is worth the cost!

  14. #14
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Independence, is the best reason I can think of to reload my own. Not being tied down to what is offered by a manufacturer and whether or not the store still has any in stock, makes a world of difference.

    Here is my past experience with factory loads, the only misfires I ever had came from factory ammo. I control what makes up my ammo, I have no one to blame but myself for my ammo's performance.

    I'm all for the one load rifle, that's the load that works best for me in that firearm, for the intended purpose. What a degree of confidence having taylored ammo gives me.

    I started reloading in the late 50's as a kid, when ammo was cheap. The reason for me was so I could shoot a lot more ammo than I could afford to buy. I knew then as now, it takes a lot of shooting to be a good shot. So if that is one of your goals, then reloading is a must.

    If you want to immerse yourself in the gun, then it is necessary that all phases become important to you.

    Looking around at my reloading gear, I have to say, that no, reloading is not cheap. But then again, nobody says you have to spend a fortune either. I started with a hand-me down Ideal tong tool, then moved up and away as I could afford better gear.

    As for buying used brass, you bet I do, but only military as I know that it is only once fired. I, not long ago finished up buying 20,000 rounds of once fired 5.56 NATO brass. This is for a one time run of loading, I do the same with 9mm. and .45 acp. I load this stuff on two RL 1000's Dillion machines I've had for many years.

    If you are loading for family members, you will want to think hard about learning and developing the skills that will put you at the top of the game.

    I just finished up 500 rounds of .250-3000 for the grand kids, this is about their yearly supply for their hunting rifles. They practice as much as they can through out the year before they hunt. Of course they are given as much rimfire ammo as they can use also. I could not nor could their folks afford to give them that much factory ammo for their old 99 Savages.

    Lots of reason to reload, not all of them about money!

  15. #15
    Member IceKing02's Avatar
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    Default If you REALLY want to save money...

    Pick up a cheaper hobby...like...watching paint dry.

    The last three posts sum up the reasons that I just started reloading. While it might not be cheap to get up and running with excellent equipment--and I enjoy having good quality tools--it has cost me about $600 to get started. I purchased a RockChucker Supreme starter kit, four powders, three sets of dies, two shell holders, a case trimmer, primers, and four boxes of premium bullets. I've built a loading bench and put together bins and made covers for all of my equipment.

    Get into reloading because you think it will be a kick! I can think of many other was to effect having a couple of extra bucks in my pocket at the end of every year. Especially when I can't get my &^%$^%$^% bullets to group in my .405 WCF. I mean that dog-gone*&*&^%$&^%^%*-ing .405 won't put the bullets into the same zip code, let alone a discernable group! And, then, THEN, I had a misfortune of over-lubing my cases and hydroforming a couple of nice dents into my brand-spanking new brass. THAT really helped the accuracy, I'm certain! Did I forget to mention that I spent about $40 for a box of 50 brand-new pieces of brass? I could go on, BUT...

    In summary, if you need an obsession that does not involve swinging a metal club at a 1" white ball, then by all means get into reloading. If you're kidding yourself that you're doing this to save money...find another sucker to buy that one! This reloading stuff ROCKS!

    Cheers!

    IceKing02

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    Member .338-06's Avatar
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    I have to disagree with the idea that you don't save any money handloading. I started loading 20 years ago not to save money, but as an extension of my shooting hobby. A few years ago I bought a used .458 win mag, then I went to buy a box of ammo. $80! I nearly had a heart attack! Bought $80 worth of dies and components instead. That same box of ammo(Federal) is over $100 now. I started and still use Lee presses and dies, which will only cost you $100 to set up a reloading operation. Not the fanciest, maybe not the "best", but it works. So, at least in .458 mag you could be loading your own for the cost of two boxes of ammo!

  17. #17
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    Thumbs up

    Some of you guys crack me up Just for giggles I went on line to Midwayusa and looked at my account info for the last few years...... now mind you that I only buy a small portion of my reloading and bullet casting supplies and equipment thru them, but figuring that I have around 15 different fire arms, and reload for 6 of them, cast bullets for 4 (dont do shot shells or .22 obviously) and realistically get out to shoot maybe once a month (I also have 2 small children and a pregnant wife) I figure if I had the cash on hand that I have spent on all my reloading and bullet casting in the last 10 years, I could afford to buy enough ammo to last well into my grandchildrens golden years But hey, there is really nothing that compairs to the "quiet me time" spent alone reloading in the garage (did I mention that I have two small children and a pregnant wife???) so to me its worth every penny!

  18. #18
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    Potential handloaders are no different than practicing handloaders, in that we would like to justify it with cost savings.

    I don't disagree with anyone, who says that it's gonna cost more, but it kinda depends on how you look at it, too.

    Say for example, you are already set up to load some cartridges already, and you buy a 338 WM. For just the cost of dies and components, you can load them 338's at substantial savings over factory rounds. Sooo, you might want to get the barrel re-crowned, the trigger worked on, and, and,,,,,,

    Still, if I hadda start all over again, knowing what I know now, I betcha I could save lots of money handloading. For one thing, I wouldn't buy some of the stuff I paid for during my learning. I'm not through learning though, so here we go, gin.

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