Why and how should I get into reloading?

Why and how should I get into reloading?

This is a discussion on Why and how should I get into reloading? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; As I am shooting more, and thus buying more ammo, and in more calibers, I mentioned to my wife that I was interested in reloading. ...

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Thread: Why and how should I get into reloading?

  1. #1
    Member Array EchoDeltaSierra's Avatar
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    Aug 2012

    Why and how should I get into reloading?

    As I am shooting more, and thus buying more ammo, and in more calibers, I mentioned to my wife that I was interested in reloading. Much to my surprise, she said 'why not look into it?'. After I feel over and picked myself back up, I realize as interesting as this sounds, it's something I know almost nothing about, so I thought I'd start here:

    1. Why should I reload? I've read that there may or may not be a cost savings. It's nice to make stuff and be more independent.
    2. How much does it cost for a basic setup? I'm a strong believer in buy nice or buy twice, so I would only start with something that would be expandable / usable over the long term.
    3. What are some good resources for someone interested in getting started? E.g. where can I get a 'buy this' list or 'do this' video?

    Thanks in advance.
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  2. #2
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    Array TX expat's Avatar
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    I'll give you my thoughts on your questions...

    1. The best reason I can think of to reload is personal enjoyment. If you purchase wisely, it's a good cost cutter for folks that enjoy shooting, but you do have to watch your expenditures and purchase wisely or it can be no less costly than buying manufactured ammo. The ability to fine tune loads for individual needs is pretty rewarding; regardless of if you are looking for the ultimate in practice economy loads or the most accuracy out of a given firearm.

    2. There are so many variables here that it's very tough to say how much you need to spend to get set up. How many calibers would you start with, what sort of volume do you think you'll need, how much time do you have to spend reloading? For a decent single stage press* that will cover all your basic needs I would expect to spend around $300 plus $50 or so for every caliber you wish to reload. If you want the speed/capacity of a progressive setup, then you'll probably spend double that (or more). For consumables, you'll want to start with small quantities until you find the components that fit your needs, then purchase in bulk to drop your unit cost down. I wouldn't recommend buying in bulk before you've done some testing simply because there are so many choices available and there's no good way to identify what works "best" for you ahead of time.

    3. Read "The ABC's of Reloading", which will give you a good idea of the basics, then take a reloading class if you can find one locally. If not, you can find enough internet resources to help guide you into reloading, but I always prefer the live, in person route whenever possible. Reloading isn't rocket science and the basics are not overly complicated, but it is serious stuff and can be dangerous if not done properly.

    Overall, I'd say go for it. I enjoy reloading and it does allow me the opportunity to shoot quite a bit more than I would if I were buying manufactured ammunition. It's not saving me money though, as I just get to shoot more for the same amount I would be spending anyway.

    * Edit: Just to clarify, I'm talking about a single stage press setup, not just the press itself; so press, scale, powder dispenser (basically the starter kit).

  3. #3
    Member Array tqu9047's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    I reload for a number of reasons.
    1) Relaxation
    2) I seem to shoot more often without worrying about ammo cost.
    3) Since I also cast my own bullets, 9mm average about 0.06 and 45 about 0.09.
    4) If SHTF, I can shoot, clean and reload without leaving the shop
    5) It's FUN

    I say it's fun but it's also very serious. Read as many manuals about reloading as you can. This is one time
    you do NOT want to take any shortcuts. This is serious stuff you are messing with. It could cost an arm, eye
    or your life. Like TX said, it's not complicated but BE CAREFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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  5. #4
    Member Array spektrum's Avatar
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    Read a lot, watch YouTube videos, read more. Assembling your own ammunition can be very rewarding. It can also be very time consuming. And it should be mentioned that it can be very hazardous. Getting started on a small single stage set up for pistol or rifle would be ideal for building your understanding of the process.
    It's good that you prefer to buy nice rather than buy twice. Good reloading tools will last a life time. I bought nice pieces for my first set rather than going with a Lee setup. Glad I did too.
    Only down side to it is that I keep finding more tools that I want for my reloading table.

  6. #5
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    Array WHEC724's Avatar
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    For me, the limiting factor is precious time.

    Once I hang up my spurs and go off the grid, I intend to hand-load for all of the reasons above.
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  7. #6
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    Array gasmitty's Avatar
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    You won't save any money - you'll just shoot a lot more for the same dollars!

    I shoot a lot of .45, which I reload for about 13 cents a round versus 33+ cents for loaded ammo. In about a year, I've paid for my reloading gear. A nice bonus is that my reloads are more accurate than the generic ball ammo I'd been using. Just getting into reloading .30-06 for the Garand, and am already realizing the benefits of lower cost and improved accuracy.
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  8. #7
    VIP Member Array SmokinFool's Avatar
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    One - It's an enjoyable hobby in and of itself. And it's extremely satisfying when you consistently shoot better and you can trace it back to ammo that you made yourself.
    Two - You will either save money or shoot more for the same amount of money.

    As for how to get started, I would recommend you read through old threads in this sub-forum. Lots of good information here. Good luck, and HAVE FUN if you choose to get started handloading.
    Last edited by SmokinFool; August 31st, 2012 at 01:00 AM.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array The Old Anglo's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    I have a Lee setup loading both .45ACP and .380ACP. All my weapons are in .45 including my Carbine. My Lady has a .380 so I load for her. .380 runs about $5.70 per box of 50 and the .45 runs around $10.00 per 50. It`s a great hobby and I enjoy making my ammo to suit me..Also,NO scarce ammo here!. Good Luck!.

  10. #9
    Member Array Gunsmoke16's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    I would say it depends on what caliber gun you're shooting. 9mm is cheaper to just buy bulk. .45 or say cowboy gun calibers like .357 or maybe you like the big .50AE Desert Eagle rounds...are definitely cheaper reloading them...if you save your brass...and cheaper yet if you can shoot lead. Glocks cannot, unless you change the barrel as it has a hammer forged hexagonal rifled barrel that will clog with lead. I would get a basic setup (when you get into turrets, progressive reloadeders,
    etc., you have to pay triple attention to details like powder as main thing-making sure it's dropping correct amount and seating bullets correctly. If you have a problem, it's much harder to catch if you don't know what's properly going on! I like Cabella's for their low prices. You could get this 50th Anniversary Breech Lock Challenger Kit for $110. Extra I would get a few more bushings, your particular pistol/rifle dies (A taper-crimp die as last step will assure better bullet accuracy and feeding) and a good dial caliper or digital caliper to start. Buying your primers and powder locally, saves the xtra hazmat shipping fees and such. Bullets are heavy...probably find them local or gun shows are best bet. A case tumbler with corn cob media or walnut (best) would be next buy-look online. Until you get one, you could even use a good tupperware container...I bolted one to bottom of an old jigsaw and set it a box of canned food upright and it vibrated just great until I got one. Here's link: Cabela's: 50th Anniversary Breech Lock Challenger Kit If you really want to learn the basics and don't have much money, try the Lee Classic Loader for $30. It will load whatever caliber you choose economically and is great for rifle ammo...actually it held the world record for 7x. Here it is: Cabela's: Classic Lee Loader. Welcome to DC Forum and happy to have you shooting/reloading. Please, as in fishing, get more people involved by introducing them to target shooting/reloading, especially wemen that you know. The more people that enjoy our sport, the more advancements are made in gear, safety and keeping it alive for the future. Once you get pretty good at it and wish to speed up, you might check out the Lee Pro 1000 Press...It's reasonably priced, does lots of stuff, has many options like case feed/bullet feed and such. I've got one of their old ones and it is a sturdy, good product that can technically chunk out 500+ rounds per hour if you push the thing. Here it is: Cabela's: Lee Pro 1000 Progressive Press. If you get really good at it, check out Dillon Precision for their latest stuff.

  11. #10
    Member Array MikeXD40's Avatar
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    I reload because it is very enjoyable to me. When I clean the brass, punch the primers, measure the powder, I feel a great excitement even holding a bullet after the final press. I only load up target rounds and stick with a pretty basic "recipe" but I like it. My uncle got me into it because he reloads and always has since I have known him. I kept going over there and helping him press a 100 at a time or so and eventually got the hang of it and wanted to do the same. We figured on his .40's and 9mm he was saving almost 50% when he could get a good deal on pieces and parts of the recipe.

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array OldVet's Avatar
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    I've reloaded nearly all the ammo I've shot since the mid-'70s, including shotgun ammo. The primary reason to load pistol ammo is cost savings and creating rounds not available commercially. For rifles, you can handtune a load specifically for your gun that will amaze you! All my hangun and rifle rounds have been turned out on the same old single-stage press I started with.

    Reloading is an extension of the shooting sport, not just an ammo cost saver. When I can reload a box of .45 ACPs for $9 or less, that makes the initial expense worth it. You can spend a fortune on reloading equipment, but you can also do the same for much less, abeit slower, with a standard press, a set of scales, and dies for whatever cartridges you want.

    First off, I'd buy a good reloading manual (or two-three) and go from there.
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  13. #12
    Member Array ThePontificator's Avatar
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    PM sent.

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array hogdaddy's Avatar
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    It's a addiction, befre you know it you will be casting your own boolits ; )
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  15. #14
    Member Array _Hawkeye_'s Avatar
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    For the 45 colt that I am setting up to reload, it will only take 500 rounds to recoup the cost of my single stage set up. That is reason enough.
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  16. #15
    Member Array Archie's Avatar
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    Like Old Vet said, FIRST, buy a loading manual.

    I suggest Lyman's current manual; #49 or so. Read all the introductory part, about cases and powder and primers and bullets and what goes on when one pulls the handle. From that, you can probably decide "Yes, I can do this!" or "Golly Jim Bob! This is way too much trouble!" You'll only be out the price of the manual, and you'll know more about the whole guns and ammo and shooting process anyway.

    Then you can start figuring out how much you shoot, and select equipment from there.
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