At what point do you begin to save?

This is a discussion on At what point do you begin to save? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I plan to get into reloading at some point. I plan to reload .308 and .357. I was looking into the equipment I need (not ...

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Thread: At what point do you begin to save?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array 031131's Avatar
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    At what point do you begin to save?

    I plan to get into reloading at some point.

    I plan to reload .308 and .357.

    I was looking into the equipment I need (not even the primers and powder) and wow. I think the one I was looking at for a .308 was a little over $400.

    Granted I have easily spent that on ammo in the last half year. But at what point do you actually start to even out and save?

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array suntzu's Avatar
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    I never really figured it out. I do it as a hobby for handguns and shotgun and I like to precision handload my .308 rounds.
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    Figure out what you pay per round of factory ammo, and your cost per round to reload. Divide that difference into what your reloading setup, and that's the number of rounds for the approximate break-even point. For example, before the drought .45 ACP was about 40 cents a round ($20 for a box of 50). I reload for slightly under 13 cents a round (primer, powder, bullet with recycled brass), so the difference is 27 cents a round. My initial setup (press, dies, scale, tumbler, and a new bench) was roughly $800. Thus my break-even point was just under 3000 rounds. I shoot about 5000 rounds a year of that caliber, so I recouped my initial investment within a year.

    However... I think I speak for most handgunners who reload - you don't really save money, you just get to shoot a lot more for the same amount!
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    Member Array Jaybm's Avatar
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    "I think I speak for most handgunners who reload - you don't really save money, you just get to shoot a lot more for the same amount!"

    What he said plus you get to tweak your loads to find what works best in your firearms.
    To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

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    Member Array jrizzleP95's Avatar
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    At what point do you begin to save?

    Also if u stock up on all supplies when another "run on ammo" hits it won't affect u cause u can just reload ur brass and keep hitting the range while everyone else scrambles for upcharged ammo. The only thing I'm missing is the powder which who knows when it will be available again. GL
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    The answer is too nebulas to be even approximate. How much does one reload and shoot, what do you pay for components, etc. No two reloaders will come up with the same number of rounds to break even. No two reloaders have the same investment. The amount saved varies by every caliber.

    Most of my gear was bought back in the '70s, so it's paid for itself many times over by now. But the enjoyment is . . . priceless.
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    A lot of factors come into play when looking at savings. With the way things have been heading in the last few weeks ammo could go to new heights cost wise in the near future. Although components can go higher also but probably not to the point to make it not worth while to reload still. Also depends a lot on what your reloading. Pretty sure the 308 is going to be cheaper to load for no matter what. I personally have a couple of Sharps in 45-2 7/8 (aka 45-110) that you can buy ammo for at $80 for twenty and when you shoot a match where your shooting several hundred in a weekend, well you get the picture. Casting your own bullets also can save a bunch in the reloading game. Scrounging every piece of brass you ever see also goes to big savings. So you may or may not see any significant savings right away but eventually they are there.
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    VIP Member Array high pockets's Avatar
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    At the gun show today, I just saw primers at $99.99/1000. That's almost triple what they were last week and 4 times more than the last time I bought primers. The cost of powder is also jumping. HP-38 was $19/lb two weeks ago, and today, at the show it was $38/lb. Costs are definitely rising quickly.
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    Senior Member Array Devilsclaw's Avatar
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    I started reloading back in the early 90's, because that is the only way I could afford to shoot a handgun. I saved up my money, for quite a few months, and bought the Lee Anniversary set, dies, and all the equipment I really needed for around $165 or so. I think you could still get into the same equipment for about the same money. My brother beat that--he found a complete Pro1000, plus boxes full of dies and the works for about $75. But anyway, truth is, you really don't HAVE to spend that much to get started.

    I figure I save about half over store-bought ammo. Used to be cast bullets were a lot cheaper, but they are more expensive now. But anyway, if you don't count your time, it doesn't take very many boxes of ammo to pay for your equipment, if you keep it cheap.
    I would highly recommend a Lee Turret Press, and the AutoDisk powder measure, that's a good running outfit, and it's inexpensive.

    Nowadays, my reloading set-up is a lot more expansive. Sometimes I think I shoot to reload instead of the other way around. I don't know how much I save anymore, but it is sure nice to always have ammo, and more accurate ammo usually, although most factory stuff today is much better than it used to be.

    My attitude has kinda been, that if you shoot enough to where cost is an issue, then you should be handloading your ammo. If you don't shoot much, then cost can't really be an issue anyway. Point being, I've always been somewhat amused by comments from some shooters, complaining about the cost of factory ammo, when they shoot tons and tons of it. My opinion being, if they shoot that much, then why in the Heck aren't they reloading? If they say their time's worth more than that, then ok--I understand that, but quit complaining about the cost then.

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    Distinguished Member Array SCXDm9's Avatar
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    Re: At what point do you begin to save?

    I buy walmart 9mm's pretty cheap, 20 bucks per 100. At the price, with my Hornady Lock and Load, 5-6000 for me to start saving.

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    Senior Member Array 031131's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help. Yeah those .308s are killing me. I haven't finished sighting in my scope and I've spent about $100 (going out to 800-1000 yards). Figured I need to get into reloading.

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    Yeah, it's a sizable investment but look at terms of "payoff" in more than just a monetary amount. Getting to dial in a load just for a specific purpose in a specific firearm is really fun, as well as the obvious functional benefit.

    If you end up being like most reloaders, you'll shoot more so any savings ends up just being absorbed back into your hobby.

    Another really nice benefit, very pronounced right now, is you are a lot less subjected to shortages. That's not to say that it can't hit you, but if you buy in large bulk quantities to maximize your savings, you'll always have a better chance of riding out ammo shortages than the guy doesn't reload.
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    Distinguished Member Array Exacto's Avatar
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    Right away if Frankenstien gets her way, you might have a hard time finding any ammo.
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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    I shoot 45 colt, at yesterdays gun show they were $80 per 100. I went home and loaded a couple hundred for $16 or about $120 savings. So about 4 or 5 boxes would pay back my whole investment. another plus for me is I also shoot 45 70, 32S&W, 38S&W, and 9mm Largo. I cant always find ammo on the shelf. I bought most of my reloading stuff at yard sales and gun shows so it didn't cost much. The one thing I bought new was a Lee anniversary kit. It has all the basics in it. DR

  16. #15
    Member Array RonCo's Avatar
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    At what point do you begin to save?

    I think that in this day and age the only advantage that reloading offers is availability of ammo during politically uncertain times such as these. And that's only true if you've acquired all of your tools and materials well ahead of the uncertain times like those we are currently facing.

    My approach is to budget in the most affordable "target/training" ammo that I can acquire and slowly stock pile it. As of this latest dry spell, I am sitting on about 1,500 rounds of various generic FMJ 115gr 9mm ammo and about 75 rounds of quality carry ammo (most of which is 135gr Hornady critical duty). And, several thousand rounds of .22 LR.

    Reloading is a great hobby, a wonderful skill to acquire, but no longer the savings value that it once was.

    Hell, I'm sure companies like Winchester and Remington buy brass and lead by the metric-ton, so the average DIY reloader will never be able to match the prices that these companies get by purchasing materials in bulk. Not to mention the streamlined, automated manufacturing processes that ensure consistent reliable loads at speeds that no one-man handmade approach could ever compete with.

    All of this results in better quality, more reliable, cheaper ammo... WHEN IT'S AVAILABLE.

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