Factory vs Reloads - how much of each do you maintain?

This is a discussion on Factory vs Reloads - how much of each do you maintain? within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I've been debating this. Since reloading is meant to lessen or negate dependence of factory ammo, I was thinking of shooting off all my remaining ...

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Thread: Factory vs Reloads - how much of each do you maintain?

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    Ex Member Array DetChris's Avatar
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    Factory vs Reloads - how much of each do you maintain?

    I've been debating this. Since reloading is meant to lessen or negate dependence of factory ammo, I was thinking of shooting off all my remaining factory ammo first and using the brass to reload after. And then maintain just reloads from then on, keeping zero factory ammo. From there on out, just buy enough factory ammo to replenish any damaged or overused brass.

    What percentage of factory ammo vs hand loads do you maintain? And do you stock up on factory ammo; and for what reason?


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    VIP Member Array Rob99VMI04's Avatar
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    I really don't keep any factory ammunition around, my personal reloads are as if not more reliable than factory ammunition.

    At any given time, I try and keep around 5000-10000 rounds of 223, 9mm I keep about the same. 308 keep about 2K-3K and .45 about the same.
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    I don't maintain a strict percentage, but I have factory ammo around for all the calibers I shoot. Occasionally that results in some fresh brass being added to the cases in 'circulation' for reloading. I buy factory stuff usually by the case at the big gun shows as long as the price is reasonable.

    Just a f'r instance - I probably have about 2000 .45 ACP cases in various stages of reloading. Some need to be tumbled, some are ready for the press, maybe 500 or so are already loaded. Leaving out the defensive ammo, there is at least a case of factory ball ammo on hand. .30-06, maybe 400 factory/milsurp rounds on hand, 300 reloads ready to go, 100 cases in the "to be prepped" can.
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    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    As soon as I can find frickin powder I'll answer the question.
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    Distinguished Member Array Brady's Avatar
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    Buy factory as long as it's available and of reasonable cost, there will come a time when it's not. Then you will have a boat load (hopefully it doesn't go under) of brass to keep going. I'm gearing up now to reload for when new ammo is out of reach. Also stocking up on bullets and powder before it's no longer available either. I'm looking into a few molds and a lead pot.
    StormRhydr likes this.
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    VIP Member Array StormRhydr's Avatar
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    It fluctuates. Generally speaking I shoot shotgun shells that I reload.

    However, they only have so many times they can be reloaded. So, I load up a big batch of shells, and (when times are normal), don't worry about buying new factory ammo, so long as my hulls have life left in them.

    When they start getting "long in the tooth", I either buy empty hulls, once fired hulls, or new ammo, then use the hulls from those for further reloads.

    So heck yes. Fire off your factory loads, and use the brass as a base for reloading new stock.

    Btw, its expensive and hard to find empty brass to reload. Im honestly amazed at the cost of empty new brass from the factory.

    Which brings me to another point; If you are going to a range, or to training where you cant pick up your empties, consider using cheaper steel cased ammo. Like Wolf. You cant reload it, but you don't lose your investment in the brass, and save in overall costs, as well. A twofer.
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    Member Array sovereignaxe's Avatar
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    I shoot 9mm, .357/.38, .270 and 16 gauge.

    For 9mm 75-80% of my ammo is reloads. The only factory ammo I buy is if I need some FMJ real quick for some target practice.

    For .357/.38 and .270 it's 100% reloads. Both of those are way too expensive from stores, and reloading is way cheaper.

    For 16 gauge it's 100% factory because I don't have the resources to reload shells.

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    VIP Member Array LimaCharlie's Avatar
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    100% factory defensive, target, or hunting ammo.
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    VIP Member Array PAcanis's Avatar
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    Out of the two calibers I reload for I keep both on hand. What I do is accumulate some empty brass and reload the heck out of it, not touching my factory stash much. My reloads are on the light side, so once in a while I'll grab some factory just for comparison's sake.

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    Member Array ETXhiker's Avatar
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    My .380, 9mm, .45 and .38 spl. are all reloads. Except for a couple of magazines worth of 9mm Speer Gold Dots. But as soon as I work up a good load with some 124 gr. Gold Dot bullets I just acquired, it will be all reloads. Rifle ammo is mostly reloads too.
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    VIP Member Array rammerjammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAcanis View Post
    Out of the two calibers I reload for I keep both on hand. What I do is accumulate some empty brass and reload the heck out of it, not touching my factory stash much. My reloads are on the light side, so once in a while I'll grab some factory just for comparison's sake.
    I just started reloading so I am doing something similar. I have a large stash of factory 9mm and a decent supply of 45ACP. I started collecting my brass a few years back before I was ready to reload so I have about 4000 once fired 9mm cases. I keep a few extra boxes of ammo around for my other calibers but have no plans on reloading any calibers other than 9mm and 38SPL.
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    The last time I bought factory, I spent .22/round of 9mm. At that price, I will stay with factory. Shot 200 rounds, a little dirty, but not a single problem
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    "Since reloading is meant to lessen or negate dependence of factory ammo,..."

    There is so much more to reloading than that--or saving money. Reloading is an art and hobby unto itself. I can make reloads do what no factory ammo to date can do, as far as accuracy in my rifles. As far as how much I have on hand, I keep a box or two of factory SD handgun ammo on hand strictly for carry purposes. When I get around to firing some, the cases get recycled. The rest of my handgun/rifle ammo is all reloads.

    Do I save money? Probably, but I stopped looking at aspect long ago.
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    VIP Member Array StormRhydr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sovereignaxe View Post
    I shoot 9mm, .357/.38, .270 and 16 gauge.

    For 9mm 75-80% of my ammo is reloads. The only factory ammo I buy is if I need some FMJ real quick for some target practice.

    For .357/.38 and .270 it's 100% reloads. Both of those are way too expensive from stores, and reloading is way cheaper.

    For 16 gauge it's 100% factory because I don't have the resources to reload shells.

    You really need to get into shotshell reloading. Its a snap compared to metallic cartridge.

    I bought a used MEC single stage loader (all you need, and the single stage shotgun press is much simpler than single stage metallic cartridge), a couple of years ago for $45 or $50. Its 100% functional.

    Now, since sandy hook, its a lot harder to find such things. And of course, 16 GA is pretty uncommon. However, on a MEC press, you can buy the die set for the gauge you need, and swap over easily enough, at not a very high cost.

  16. #15
    Member Array sovereignaxe's Avatar
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    Agreed. I reload not only to save money, but just importantly for consistency of ammo. I've never fired a load of factory ammo that's as consistent as my reloads.
    flintlock62 likes this.

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