Chart for Reloading Costs

Chart for Reloading Costs

This is a discussion on Chart for Reloading Costs within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Seems like a lot of folks are interested in how much it costs to reload vs. buying factory ammunition so I decided to work up ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Chart for Reloading Costs

    Seems like a lot of folks are interested in how much it costs to reload vs. buying factory ammunition so I decided to work up a little spreadsheet with costs and how many rounds are necessary to amortize the equipment purchase. On equipment, I didn't always pick the cheapest or the most expensive. I picked equipment that I actually own or have used and feel comfortable recommending. All prices given, with the exception of the RL550B (price from Dillons) and the Starline brass (price from Starline) were taken from the Midway web site. On components, I picked the ones I did for the following reasons:

    Rainier Ballistics bullets (2000 count) -- I chose the 2000 count box from Midway because at least at this time, Midway gives free shipping on that size. On bullets, freight is a major cost of the component so eliminating it helps. I chose the Rainier because of lower cost compared to name brand jacketed bullets for what I consider mostly to be range / practice ammunition.

    Accurate Arms AA#2 powder -- This is a powder that I've used with good results and the charge weights for a given velocity are lower than some other powders so you get more "bang for your buck". I selected a charge weight of 5 grains. Accurate's data says 5.6 grains as a starting load with a Sierra JHP bullet. Rainier suggest reducing jacketed bullet data by 10%, thus a derived starting load of 5 grains.

    CCI #500 primers -- Again, I've had good results using CCI primers. Also, they are considered one of the "harder" primers and I don't care to use soft primers in a progressive press.

    Starline Brass -- I buy directly from Starline because their prices include shipping (there's that freight savings again) plus they are usually cheaper than most other brands but their brass is very good quality. In the chart, I assumed 5 loadings for the brass as the 40 seems like that it may get fewer reloads on brass life than some other calibers.

    For cost comparison, the Speer Lawman ammo I have listed was priced from AmmoMan. He has fair pricing and, again, his prices include shipping.

    On powder and primers, though I used Midway pricing I would suggest that you make those purchases locally, at least until you've decided on a specific powder and are ready to make a volume purchase. Reason being that powder and primers carry an additional HazMat shipping charge and if you're only buying in a small amount, it's almost always cheaper to buy locally.

    On my choices for equipment & components -- I really don't want to get into a discussion / debate about my choices. You may like something else or be able to buy something cheaper. I built this on prices that I can get immediately (without searching for days) and on equipment that I find reliable. I chose 40 S&W as it seems like a cartridge that a lot of board members currently shoot or looking at buying. It is also less likely to find great buys on (like you can sometimes find on 9mm) so it makes it a good candidate for reloading.

    If anyone would like a copy of the actual spreadsheet, email me at hoss@kansascas.com and I'll send it to you. It's an Excel spreadsheet and if I didn't mess something up, the formulas should be protected so you can change components & costs but not the formulas.

    And finally, if anyone sees where I've made a mis-calculation in my math, please let me know.

    Hoss

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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Very nice, thank you!

    I've been considering reloading .45 ACP. I've never reloaded before so I've been wavering over the cost issue. Now that I've seen your chart, I might fudge together my own for .45 ACP and see if I can get it past my financial department (wife).

  3. #3
    Member Array mousehunter's Avatar
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    Good chart. Cost/benefit can vary quite a lot. I got into reloading for 44/40 ammo. At theat time (this is a bit dated), it sold for about $20/50, but since it could be loaded with cast bullets that ran about $50/k. Just substituting in those two numbers comes up with a $5.70 supplies for reloads v $20 a box new. Break even would be about 2300 rounds. Add to it that I started with a $200 press, that changes the 1600.
    ---
    That said it is a hole lot easier to go out and shoot 4 boxes of $5.70/box ammo than 4 boxes of $20/box ammo.
    ---
    Please realize that these are old prices from memory, I suspect cast lead bullets have increased in price substantially since then.
    ---
    Likewise, you tend to increase your reloading opportunities. I currently have dies for 45/70, 45 acp, 45lc, 44/40, and 30-30. I suspect I am a phone call away from friends that could increase that count by a power of 10.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mousehunter View Post
    Good chart. Cost/benefit can vary quite a lot. I got into reloading for 44/40 ammo. At theat time (this is a bit dated), it sold for about $20/50, but since it could be loaded with cast bullets that ran about $50/k. Just substituting in those two numbers comes up with a $5.70 supplies for reloads v $20 a box new. Break even would be about 2300 rounds. ......
    I know what you mean. I bought my first Dillon 650 when I started CAS and reloading 45 Colt. Current cost for me to load a box of 50 is $6.63 (and that only assumes 10 reloads on the brass -- probably closer to 20). Current cost for factory ammo is right at $29.00. Makes my savings more than $22.00 per box of 50. I wouldn't be able to shoot CAS if I didn't reload.

    Hoss
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  5. #5
    Member Array Dusty Miller's Avatar
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    If you stick with a single stage press your savings start to add up a lot quicker, and there are cheaper presses than the 550B that'd get the same result (quicker savings). Of course, if you shoot a LOT then a progressive press is the way to go.

  6. #6
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    Some questions...

    The Dillon 550b comes with a powder measure. Why buy another?

    The Lee 4 die set is almost as expensive as the Dillon dies. Why not just buy the Dillon dies?

    I've been loading for over 25 years an never used a loading block. I could see it with a single stage press, but with a 550b its not needed.

    Do you really save money, or do you just shoot more?

    Good post btw...
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    Excellent. Thanks a ton for posting it.

    If you'd please email that spreadsheet to petezaria(at)gmail(dot)com, I'd love to run the numbers for .45 ACP.

    Thanks a bunch!

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    Pete Zaria.
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  8. #8
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    Useful comparison - even if a personal one.

    These days with rising costs we can save - IMO that's a given and now even ''common'' cals like we use for practice .. 38, 45acp, 9mm etc benefit from reload savings.

    Biggest savings now tho - instance Hoss' mention of CAS - are the upper cals in particular. 45LC and upwards, plus certain less usual ones like perhaps Mak 9x18.

    My early rounds of Hornady .454 300 grain were close to $1 a pop ------ now they must be more. My reloads cost .25c each with all costs taken in for consumables .. so for 20 rounds I spend $5 instead of now over $20 .. soon pays for equipment if starting off
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  9. #9
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Miller View Post
    If you stick with a single stage press your savings start to add up a lot quicker, and there are cheaper presses than the 550B that'd get the same result (quicker savings). Of course, if you shoot a LOT then a progressive press is the way to go.
    Dusty -- You're right in that if you buy a cheaper press, the savings would manifest themselves sooner. Even though I said I didn't want to debate my selections, I'll give a little reasoning behind my choice. I started with a single stage press and loaded on one for a few years. It works and in fact I still load my accuracy rifle rounds on a single stage press. But in the context of trying to answer the question that I see posed most often about cost of reloading, I took into the equation how much shooting are you going to do before reloading is necessary or beneficial. Quite frankly, if you are shooting only one caliber and are only going to shoot one or two boxes of ammo a month, it's hardly beneficial to start reloading for the savings you will generate. With this in mind, I figured that most who are looking to get into reloading either are shooting 300+ rounds per month or would like to. And also realizing that to most of us, our time is extremely limited by jobs, family, etc., I chose the RL550 press. I could have saved a little money by choosing the Square Deal press and that's fine if you KNOW you're never going to load another caliber. But if you start loading for several calibers and considering the cost of the dies for a Square Deal, you actually save money with the RL550. Throw in that you cannot load rifle rounds on the Square Deal and that's why I chose the RL550. As for the choice of Dillon equipment, I know others have had success with other brands of progressives but Dillon is the ONLY progressive that I will recommend. My current reloading setup consists of (1) Dillon RL550B, (2) Dillon 650s with case feeders and (1) Lyman T-Mag turret press for rifle rounds.

    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Some questions...

    The Dillon 550b comes with a powder measure. Why buy another?

    The Lee 4 die set is almost as expensive as the Dillon dies. Why not just buy the Dillon dies?

    I've been loading for over 25 years an never used a loading block. I could see it with a single stage press, but with a 550b its not needed.

    Do you really save money, or do you just shoot more?

    Good post btw...
    On the powder measure and the loading block, you're absolutely correct. I decided to put this chart together on a whim while reading another post this morning. I was thinking about the progression I made when I first started and wanting to make sure that I didn't miss anything I included those items without really thinking. Since I actually started on a single stage press 30+ years ago, I included a couple of things that aren't really necessary for the use of the Dillon. My mistake.

    As for the dies, I don't use nor will I recommend Dillon dies for reloading auto pistol rounds. Dillon makes a sales point out of the radius on the mouth of their dies helping to feed the case in on a progressive press. By doing that, it means that the case doesn't get sized as far down as it will with other dies like the Lee. Also, I use a Lee FCD for every round I load so the cost for that would have to be added to the cost of a different brand of dies. And here I am debating my choices again when I said I didn't want to do this. I really didn't want to get into a debate about what equipment is better, what bullets are better, why I don't like these primers or this powder. I just wanted to give a little bit of a graphical representation of the costs involved with reloading and how quickly they can pay out. Obviously, any choices that someone makes that lower the costs from my chart will result in a quicker payout and higher savings.

    Hoss
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  10. #10
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    For anyone who wants the spreadsheet, I added a couple of things that you will need to change for your particular situation.

    Times Reloaded -- change this to the number of times you get out of a piece of brass.

    Bullets per box -- change this to the number of bullets represented by the dollar amount you enter for your cost of bullets.

    Charge weight in grains -- just what it says. Your powder weight.

    Again, if you want the spreadsheet, please email me at hoss -at- kansascas.com so that I can click reply without missing any requests posted in this thread.

    Hoss
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  11. #11
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    Hoss - split your email addy up - don't want the spam bots finding that and hassling you!
    Chris - P95
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  12. #12
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P95Carry View Post
    Hoss - split your email addy up - don't want the spam bots finding that and hassling you!
    Because of that email being on my website, they've already found it several times.

    Hoss
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  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    I have set up an email account at my domain too. It is set up with an Auto Responder with a zipped Excel file. It is a reloading cost spreadsheet that also has a reloading label form printer.

    I will not read the emails sent here. I will delete them every day. Just send an email to the address below and it will be sent. Turn OFF your Anti Spam/Anti Virus if you are having problems. I just ran a test email and it worked fine from a Yahoo! account.

    The email is reloadsheet@freakshowbullets.com

    ETA: And don't worry about spam bots. I just go in there click "delete and purge all" and done. This email address is setup for just this purpose, so if I get spam sent there, they will get a reloading cost Excel spreadsheet sent right back.:)
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

  14. #14
    Member Array mousehunter's Avatar
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    I love it, sending spammers reloading data.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array Pitmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tubby45 View Post
    I have set up an email account at my domain too. It is set up with an Auto Responder with a zipped Excel file. It is a reloading cost spreadsheet that also has a reloading label form printer.

    I will not read the emails sent here. I will delete them every day. Just send an email to the address below and it will be sent. Turn OFF your Anti Spam/Anti Virus if you are having problems. I just ran a test email and it worked fine from a Yahoo! account.

    The email is reloadsheet@freakshowbullets.com

    ETA: And don't worry about spam bots. I just go in there click "delete and purge all" and done. This email address is setup for just this purpose, so if I get spam sent there, they will get a reloading cost Excel spreadsheet sent right back.:)
    I downloaded it but when opening with Excel the file is gibberish? Does it need unzipped first? Excel is from Office 2007
    Pitmaster

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