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Thread: Reloading Cost Recovery ....? I think

  1. #1
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Reloading Cost Recovery ....? I think

    Just fired my 500th round downrange from my "Venture into Reloading" Having Fun, but am interested in the question of cost recovery also. Been into it for less than a couple months.....I Did Dive in Deep, but am seeing the surface up there somewhere in the future.

    So after hearing guys mention, "don't save your reciepts," concerning the addictive nature of reloading. I had to cringe cause, being self-employed, I never throw rcpts away, they were laying in a file haunting me so, here are the numbers hope to help some of the new guys see what Current Costs are to enter the world of Reloading your own Ammo,
    this is for one rifle .270wsm

    I bought all brand new and started with the kit, but having seen the quality of construction of all this stuff I would highly recommend putting your own gear together and even finding used stuff online or thru these forums, you could save some real money. But, then I WAS loading within twenty hours of return from the City with my kit stuff, so... you're call.
    I also used these forums to research stuff before buying with questions like "best case trimmer?" there is a lot of experience here and per example, I found a great trimmer made by Wilson found on Sinclair website and am REAL happy with it, thanks to this handloading forum. So, hope I am able to help others with this info.
    Thanks Lots, Murphy, Stid, Smitty, Montana, ADfields, Agl4now, 1Cor, rbuck, Snyd, Vince, Elmerkeith, 270ti
    I could on and on about the help found here from these way cool guys ! Do I miss anything here you guys?

    I bought my RCBS kit (a bit overpriced but to help local guys out, $385) on Jan 29, 2010 and all I needed to get started on one shopping/reading like crazy trip in Anchorage. Then most of the rest was ordered online or while traveling down south at considerable savings.
    Here's the "Basics" Start-up to be able to reload. If you are a "three boxes a year guy looking for hunting loads," this will get you there, but watch out!! It's hard to stop there once you get reading manuals....

    PS just buy a Case Trimmer right off, you'll need it absolutely, and it adds $150 or so to the initial cost listed below

    Reloading Expenses: (Tallied 4/24/2010)
    510 rounds Loaded and Fired since First Load 2/13/2010 (was traveling for thirty of those days)

    Essentials : $589.88 ( to get started “Basically”)
    RCBS Kit (+Bullet Puller, 1 Case Holder)
    Digital Caliper (Hornady)
    One extra Reloading Manual (Hornady)
    Set-up Costs (lumber, bolts, etc.) $50 ( Sorry about the font size chg, I can't fix it so, get your glasses on)
    1 lb Powder (120 rounds), 100 Primers,100 Bullets

    You could stop there and have a lot of fun, but I was in Anchorage and being an Island Guy I had to "Stock Up" so bought Bullets, Powder, and Primers for 1000 rounds and lots of experimenting,
    Factory Ammo available to me was two loads and one brand in Kodiak,
    Federal 130gr Powr shok, $39.95/twenty, and 150gr Vital Shok, $52.95/twenty

    So the BEST part of reloading is the bullets available, I bought 1,050 for $377.73, with a wide variety,
    Sierra 90 gr HP Varminters, Speer 100gr, Hornady and Barnes 110gr, Speer 130gr SST, Hornady and Nosler 140gr, Nosler and Hornady 150gr and Finally Nosler 160gr Partition Spitzers, QUITE THE VARIETY

    Bought Powder based on what I read out of manuals standing in the store, looking for types I could use for a variety of my loads, and what was available in Anch. The guys at GNG were extremely helpful in info and best prices, then SWhse had some more available, Spent total of $251.98 for 8lbs which should get approx 960 rounds at 60gr avg. load
    Got IMR4350 3lb, H4831sc-2lb, RL-19 -2lb, RL-22 1lb.

    And Primers approx $100 -2500 (for 1000 rounds it cost $40)

    and returned from Anchorage anxious to start, two days later, here's my setup BUT, Watch out, this picture has a lot of Add-Ons, Cost listed below



    So, here's what I added in the first two months, First I started with more manuals and ended up with FOUR, which will "get you thinking what you really need," to do this right, my last purchase was a Chronometer and Tripod for the range, I actually think I have all I need for a while hence my reason to tally it all,
    AHHHH Get A GRIP

    Hang On, the Justification and Reasoning, make a bit of sense at bottom

    Add-ons: $677.20
    OAL Gauge, w/Modified Case (Hornady)
    Precision Mic Headspace Gauge (RCBS)
    Extra Case loading tray
    Universal Decapping Die (Lyman)
    RCBS Stainless Dial Caliper (my digital one freezes up while working outside late at night in my garage, at 35F not cold enough to stoke the stove...)
    Flash Hole Uniformer (Sinclair)
    Primer Pocket Uniformer (Sinclair)
    Shallow Angle Chamfer Tool (Lyman)
    Case Trimmer, w/case holder (Wilson)
    Neck Sizing Die (RCBS)
    Powder Measure Stand (RCBS)
    Powder Measure Baffle (RCBS)

    Storage Shelves (Walmart)
    Chronometer ProChrono, w/ tripod (Midway)
    4 cans- Imperial Die Wax
    4- Dry Case Neck Lube (RCBS)
    3- Reloading Manuals (Barnes, Nosler, Lyman)


    Other books, Propellant Profiles, Precision Shooting,...they're all over the house

    Plus I bought 200 rounds of Factory Ammo originally that I am using the brass from, cost $315.87 in Anchorage considerably cheaper than Kodiak
    (eventually brass may factor in at approx $.60-1.20 per round but I have currently 80 in use, 4 batches of 20 and they have been reloaded as such:

    Batch 1-7times, #2-5x, batch 3 - 5x, and batch 4-7 reloads for a total of 520/80 pcs brass, none discarded as yet, so this may take quite a while (certainly my goal of 1000 rounds) before I have to purchase new brass (remember I have 120 Factory pcs still once fired ready to load)

    Hard Facts :
    Since I started Factory Ammo for .270wsm went up to $39/box in Kodiak (from $32.95-130gr Fed) so are approx $2.00/round
    1000 rounds = $2000.00 at local Kodiak Prices (not including the premium bullets, $52.95 for Fed 150gr Vital Shok))
    For total of $2,208.66 I have supplies for over 1000 rounds = $ 2.21/round (this includes the original Factory Ammo purchase which is way high for brass cost)Also all kinds of Long-Life gear to continue for quite some time.
    I have available in Kodiak two options in Factory Ammo for .270WSM, 130gr and 150gr
    Am able to Load for Seven Different weight/types Bullets 90gr,100gr,110gr,130gr,140gr,150gr,160gr
    I have already fired 510 rounds with this equipment and brass = $1,020.00 value (as compared to Factory prices)

    Could have Loaded with just the Basics for 100rounds - $734.88 (incl Case trimmer $145)
    After 1000th round, I will have nearly recovered the Total Cost of Reloading, all the gear will be paid for in savings (including all my overkill fancy gear, Chrony, Neck Sizing Die, enough Imperial Die Wax for about eight years !!!)
    and my $2.00/round cost will be replaced by $0.64/round to Reload
    Powder = $32.00/lb – 120 rounds = $0.27/round
    Primers = $4.00 - 100 rounds = $0.04/round
    Bullets = $32.00 – 100 rounds = $0.32/round
    Brass =when I need it, like a year from now, I may be spending $1/pce (high end brass) for what ten loads or more on each piece... less than a dime more?
    $.75/ round Custom Handloaded OR $2.00+/ round Factory "anygun" stuff, ??
    Seven different types of Bullets and weights or two at the local store??
    Yes, I am Shooting Way more than I used to but that was a big part of my decision to dive in hard, I really like to shoot for accuracy and watch Velocities develop as I learn, I really like the idea of getting this one rifle able to hunt all kinds of game from Fox to Bull Elk, so wanted to "Get to Know" my rifle really well and this is definitely doing that beyond any expectation.
    So, What are you waiting For.......?
    Hope this helps you guys to see what the cost today of getting started is and some of the extra benefits
    PS Don't over inspect my math, ok, stuff like "I couldn't find a Barnes Bullets receipt anywhere," may be included.
    This is supposed to be fun so will be the LAST TIME I count receipts, right, WHEW


    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  2. #2
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Oh Yeah, then there's rifle #2

    Yeah, I forgot to mention the next rifle I'm thinking about, maybe .223, or 25-06, and then there's .300 Weatherby Magnum...

    How many rifles are you guys loading for now?

    Don't even start on the Progressive press thing...
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Great Post Kodiakrain,

    Don't forget to factor in all the hours of entertainment you enjoy while working uploads and shooting.

    I'm currently reloading for 325WSM, 270WSM, 30-06, 45-70 Gov, and 375H&H.

    Steve

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    Yeah, I forgot to mention the next rifle I'm thinking about, maybe .223, or 25-06, and then there's .300 Weatherby Magnum...

    How many rifles are you guys loading for now?

    Don't even start on the Progressive press thing...
    Yup. You got it bad!

    I just counted and I'm down to 37 die sets now, having let some go with guns in recent years. A few of the dies I don't have matching guns any more, but some have two rifles, but there are three (257 Roberts, 358 and 250 Savage) with three rifles and one (7x57) feeding four rifles. I'm going to round it off to 40 guns and call it close.

    Here's one thing not in your formula yet- reduced loads for practice, whether cast bullets (yet another place to invest in gear) or smaller charges of faster burning powder with jacketed bullets. You'll really cut your reloading costs with either, while generating even more rounds for field practice. I'm betting you'd shoot a mountain of 130 grain/2500 fps jacketed loads for offhand and other field practice while adding thousands of shots to your barrel life. And when you switch back to your carefully crafted premium hunting loads for the hunt of a lifetime, you'll be really glad you did.

    I just don't feel the need to shoot full power loads all the time in rifles or handguns, so I spend lots less on ammo while also vastly extending barrel life. Double savings.

  5. #5

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    Well here's my perspective on the matter. Shooting is something that you can do to a level of your love for it. There is reloading and there is handloading if you catch the not so subtle, subtle difference. If you are purely reloading to save a few pennies and recover costs, that is possible but can take a while. When I bought my first rifles, I used only factory ammo and I bought just a few boxes. Didn't really have a clue about anything.... bullet performance or whatever. i figured if Remington and Federal were boxing it, it would kill deer. I looked for the lowest sticker price, and looking back, it usually worked fairly well. I was usually in the 1-1 1/2 MOA range, which was good enough for inside 300 yds. You can reload to this level very inexpensively over the long run, but it will take a good long while because you can buy 200 rounds of factory ammo and it could last you a life time if all you did was sight your rifle once a year with 3 or 4 rounds and popped a few critters every year with another 3 or 4 rounds, you wouldn't need to handload or even reload. My uncle is the most successful PA whitetail hunter I ever knew and I don't think he ever shot more than 5-10 rounds a year from his rifle (a Rem 308) and only one of those rounds was for a buck, which he got almost every year - very rare for a PA deer hunter who didn't own good deer hunting land. He was not what I would call a shooter, but he was a good shot as I witnessed when he used a shot gum on pheasant, grouse and rabbits. He was a remarkable hunter.

    Handloading is something you do to reach a goal and more importantly, for satisfaction. The higher your goal, the more it will cost. The more your love for it, the more it will cost. The practical benefits are, that you can tailor your load and fine tune your accuracy, especially to your rifle.

    From a purely practical view, I don't think you will ever recover your costs, not even close, but that's not all bad.

  6. #6
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    Yeah, I'd say you got bit pretty good by the reloading bug. I started loading as a 14 year old kid with a $10 lee shotgun kit and move on to pistol and finally rifle. I can't even begin to add up what I've spent on loading gear and components. But I don't care as I really enjoy loading, shooting, casting , swaging and even making my own gas checks. I don't think I have saved any money but I have shot an awful lot more than I could have if I had bought ammo. And most important to me is the satisfaction of doing it my way. That,to me, is priceless. I'm only going to guess as to how many guns I load for as I'm to lazy to count. I'm thinking about 35. Now say to the world. I am addicted to loading and have no intention of quiting. Looks like your off to a very nice start with your loading set up. Happy loading and shooting. Buck

  7. #7
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Handloading, Absolutely Crafting them

    [QUOTE=MontanaRifleman;723156]Well here's my perspective on the matter. Shooting is something that you can do to a level of your love for it. There is reloading and there is handloading if you catch the not so subtle, subtle difference.

    Yeah, I get this subtle difference absolutely, and that is the part that grabbed me the most, tailormaking your loads for your own rifle to perform at it's maximum potential.

    When first starting, part of my motivation wanting to learn a new rifle, that cost $40-$52 for a box of ammo, or maybe $80 for an afternoon at the range, not wanting to just run a few boxes a year, I figured that would be not real to spend that much money for the fun, entertainment and education of shooting the new rifle enough to be comfortable and excellent at hunting with it.
    So was a little interested in the economics of it, I think it punches out pretty good,
    This quote is also right on,

    "Handloading is something you do to reach a goal and more importantly, for satisfaction. The higher your goal, the more it will cost. The more your love for it, the more it will cost. The practical benefits are, that you can tailor your load and fine tune your accuracy, especially to your rifle.

    From a purely practical view, I don't think you will ever recover your costs, not even close, but that's not all bad." Montana Rifleman quote

    Then this is Very Real also,

    "Don't forget to factor in all the hours of entertainment you enjoy while working uploads and shooting." Stid quote

    hard to put a number on that, "If you're wondering if it'll be worth it, I would say the hobby alone is one of the best investments I've made in a long time, go for it"

    The absolute Fun that it is to be up late into the night "punching out another test lot" is hard to put a value on,
    Aren't they charging like $7-10 for 2 hrs of entertainment at a movie now days(?) so the entertainment value (and actually think there is some near therapeutic value to the detail and focus required and the hand work on cases,etc.) is certainly being recovered. A meal out on the town, $50 for a couple hours of..... Well I must say, I'm not sure my wife is as entertained by my pounding the Bullet Puller on the garage floor at 2AM, she wasn't the other morning anyway

    Next up, Can hardly wait to get after some critters with my loads, Have a couple Black Bear loads ready and boxed up for PWS or South coast Kenai Peninsula, week after next maybe?

    I'll keep trying to give back to the next new guy, posting results, challenges and questions, etc.
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  8. #8
    Member .338-06's Avatar
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    First off, this is a GREAT post!

    Quote Originally Posted by kodiakrain View Post
    PS just buy a Case Trimmer right off, you'll need it absolutely, and it adds $150 or so to the initial cost listed below
    In my handloading I've found that I don't really need or use a trimmer all that much. I check oal of my cases, but just don't run hot and really haven't seen my cases stretch. So, I'd go for a good set of calipers before a trimmer! And buy used, the cast iron presses last forever.

    You know you're in trouble with your handloading when you buy a gun just because you have dies and components for it.
    I may be slow, but I get where I'm going!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338-06 View Post

    You know you're in trouble with your handloading when you buy a gun just because you have dies and components for it.
    And that's the truth! You definitely are in trouble, and it's definitely going to happen once you're hooked. I'm collecting parts right now to build a 36 caliber muzzleloader. Do I need it? Nah. Any good reason for 36 cal rather than 32 cal or 40 cal? Sure! I've got a 36 cal mold collecting dust.

  10. #10

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    I sold my years worth of gun collection, my large gun safe to become a one rifle, one shotgun, one pistol, one rimfire, small gun safe guy.

    Got interested in reloading thanks to a friend. I almost hesitate to say friend, because I'm not sure sharing an addiction qualifies someone as a friend.

    In my defense, I started to reload in my pursuit of being a one rifle guy so that I could reload 338WM across the spectrum to cover my needs.

    Thanks to the reloading bug, I now reload .44, 40S&W, .223, 338WM, 6.8 SPC, 9mm, 30.06, 30-30, and 458 SOCOM to cover my growing collection.

    I now finding myself justifying gun purchases because that would be a neat caliber to reload.

  11. #11
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Trimmer, kinda need it I guess

    Well, this is an interesting question, 338-06

    "In my handloading I've found that I don't really need or use a trimmer all that much. I check oal of my cases, but just don't run hot and really haven't seen my cases stretch. So, I'd go for a good set of calipers before a trimmer! And buy used, the cast iron presses last forever.

    You know you're in trouble with your handloading when you buy a gun just because you have dies and components for it.[/QUOTE]"


    I found myself after starting out Full Length Sizing every time that after my third reload of Batch one I was out of business on that batch without the Trimmer as the cases were overlength.
    I just switched to another batch and kept going but got ordering a Trimmer right away, Since then I have not needed to trim a single round to keep from being overlength (due to stretching) but I am only Fl sizing everytime on one of the four batches (to check for case life advantage of Neck Sizing vs. Full length Sizing as an experiment)
    So, I am Neck Sizing almost everything with great success, and they don't stretch at all.
    I do still advocate getting a trimmer as I do trim fairly often, or at least am checking case length everytime and finding them not necessarily uniform in length throughout the batch. So even though they are not Overlength I trim them to bring to a Uniform Length, just to keep everything the same. I think this is pretty important, good enough reason for a trimmer
    Interestingly I have not had any trouble AT ALL with Neck sizing becoming "too snug" for the chamber. I worked on setting up the Neck Sizing Die exactly right but this has worked really well for me and I highly recommend NSizing from my limited experience. They Chamber fine even after 5or6 sizings? Seems Verrry Easy on the Brass also, we'll see how they last I guess

    PS Do I have to factor in the cost of the Next Rifle as part of the Reloading Craze? Well, no more counting reciepts for me anyway
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  12. #12
    Member .338-06's Avatar
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    I guess the highest pressure I load is for my .300 win, and I haven't shot that in two years!

    So, I've been shooting a lot of straight walled calibers; .45-70 & .458 win and haven't seen any stretching. So I haven't done any trimming.

    On the other hand, I own two trimmers.
    I may be slow, but I get where I'm going!

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