Ball park figure from someone who knows...

Ball park figure from someone who knows...

This is a discussion on Ball park figure from someone who knows... within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I am an avid shooter, and am growing very tired of paying high mark ups, no stock to buy and dealing with other buyers to ...

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Thread: Ball park figure from someone who knows...

  1. #1
    New Member Array rightwinger's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Las Vegas

    Ball park figure from someone who knows...

    I am an avid shooter, and am growing very tired of paying high mark ups, no stock to buy and dealing with other buyers to stand in line to buy when a shipment of ammo comes in at the local Wal-Mart.

    I am looking very seriously into buying the equipment neccassary to make my own ammo. I looked at serveral web-sites, and they all make suggestions on what to get, but are never conclusive.

    Bottom line, from start to finish, what am I looking at as far as price (Out the door) for everything I'd need before I saw my first round hand made by yours truley?

    I know it's in the hundreds, if not thousands. But I just need to know how long I'm going to be working overtime before I should stop.

    Any advise, would be greatly appreciated.


  2. #2
    New Member Array GottaCarry's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    New York
    To get started with everything you need for your first pistol cartridge, it cost me around $750. That includes a Dillon 550B press, with dies, tumbler with media, calipers, primer flip tray, load data book etc.
    To do other calibers, I opted to get the Dillon quick change system, additional dies and caliber conversion plates. Each of those setups are an additional $200. You can do it for around $100 without the quick change system.

    Let me tell, you - it is worth it.

  3. #3
    New Member Array GottaCarry's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    New York
    Oh, one thing is for certain, you will become one of the brass hounds at the local range!


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  5. #4
    VIP Member
    Array CopperKnight's Avatar
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    Mar 2006
    Spokane area, WA
    If you want to start off minimal, you can get by with a single stage press (under 100), scale (35), reloading manual (35), die set (30-50 for each different caliber), lube pad if you go with non-carbide dies (10), funnel (5), and shell holder (20 for a set).

    You will also need powder (~15-20/pound), but you will usually want to experiment with a couple different types; primers (3-4 per hundred); and bullets (price varies greatly depending upon the caliber) and again you will want to experiment with different weights and types. This assumes you have been keeping your fired brass and don't need to buy any.

    That would be your absolute minimum. To upgrade, a progressive press that works much faster will be your biggest expense and there are a lot of other doodads that will make it much easier to add on (later if you want).
    eschew obfuscation

    The only thing that stops bad guys with guns is good guys with guns. SgtD

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    How little or how much do you want to spend. You can use a hand press with minimal other tools, powder measure, scale, manual if you don't want to use internet data from powder manufactures, and dies. If your just doing pistol calibers you might not even need calipers, or lube pads, and if your really cheap you can build your own shell holders. On the cheapest end, you might get by with less than 125 or 150 bucks for the equipment.

    If your going to use a single stage press, or a turret press you can bump that price up double what the hand press might run.

    If your going to want lots of rounds fast and go progressive, well yep, your going to get double, triple or even more than the single or turret presses.

    No matter what type of equipment you need, the price of powders, primers and lead are all going to be the same. Hopefully you can reuse brass that you have. Like CK said powder will be 15-20 or even 25 bucks a pound if you buy it locally to save the hazmat fee for getting it shipped. I haven't bought primers in a while, (bought about 10,000 when they started getting scarce), but if they are available again, are in the range he stated, possibly even more.

    Depending how much you shoot and how much free time you have you can recoupe your equipment cost fairly quickly. I opted for a turret press some years ago and got everything equipment wise (manual, press, dies, scale, powder measure, case lube pad/lube, funnel) for about 250 for the first caliber. I later purchased a tumbler and calipers when I got into it a bit more into it.

    Now with about 6 rifle calibers, and 6 pistol calibers, I probably have 700 or so bucks in equipment. But have long since recovered my equipment cost.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  7. #6
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    +1 on GottaCarry's numbers. I got into a Dillon RL-550B for just about a grand, but I splurged on a bunch of the optional accessories, and I am also counting my reloading bench as a start-up cost.

    Using range brass and FMJ bullets, I reload .45 ACP for about $15/100, which puts me at just under half of the best going rate I can find for bulk practice ammo. My estimate is that I will reload at least 7k rounds of .45 ACP this year; I have 7k as my break even point on the initial equipment investment.

    After that, each caliber only needs to make up for the dies and conversion pieces, and that, as said, runs about a hundred bucks (tops). My 9mm runs about $12/100. At this point I have only loaded 600 and that has already saved me about a hundred bucks.

    Since I knew I would be shooting thousands of rounds, I never seriously considered a single-stage press, hence the RL-550B. If I get into loading match grade rifle rounds, I may add a single-stage press later, which will be a much cheaper investment.

    Good luck!
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Array Freedomofchoice's Avatar
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    Jul 2007
    Wesley Chapel, Florida
    The amount of money you spend on reloading equipment is directly proportional to how fast you want to turn out ammo. High output commands the use of good high capacity equipment.

    I have been reloading for about 40 years, and when I was shooting in competition, (mostly .38) I bought a Dillon B-Square which will only producce that one caliber at about 50 rounds in 20 minutes.

    Now, I use a Lee Turret Press for calibers: 9mm, 40S&W, and 45 ACP. While slower than the Dillon, (about a round a minute) and it is fine for my needs. A good scale is an absolute! I also bought extra turret plates, so that changing calibers is just a matter of slipping in a plate with all the dies and you're ready to go.

    Turret press, dies, and a good scale can be had for under $200.

    Too light for heavy work, too heavy for light work!


  9. #8
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    I have a Dillon 550B,I just added a case feeder and that cost me about 430.00 more but almost doubled my production and I can crank out over 500 an hour ,I have a cast master bullet caster and cast my own lead bullets for about .01 each,I also lube them with a Star lubrisizer,I now have about 3500.00 invested in reloading equipment but it has paid for itself,I reload all my pistol calibres including 44 mag for about 3.00 50 rounds.(I buy powder and primers by bulk,and save on shipping and hazmat,last primers I bought were 5000 95.00 and powder was about 12.00 pound
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

  10. #9
    Member Array showmebob's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Salida, Colorado
    I spent somewhere from 700-1000$ for my progressive and all accessorys for 3 calibers including dies, bushings, scales, trimmer, bench, etc, etc, etc. I feel I'm fully equiped to do these 3 calibers and won't have to buy anything more except consumables. In 9 months I've saved $700 by rolling my own.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Kansas City Metro
    Keep in mind that while a progressive system of one kind or another is going to be the fastest option, its not necessary to turn out a nice volume of ammunition in a reasonable amount of time.

    I have four presses mounted on my bench right now, a RCBS Rockchucker, a Lee Classic Cast, a Lee Classic Turret, and a Dillon Square Deal B. While the Square Deal is the fastest press I have, the Lee Classic Turret gets the most use by far. Its much faster than a single stage (given the auto indexing of the turret), and much easier to cartridge swap or primer size change than any progressive. It takes less then 30 seconds, for instance, to change from loading .38 Special to .45 ACP.

    I think the Classic Turret is a fantastic press to start out with. Its reasonably priced and very tough. Plus, its available in a kit from Kempf's that includes much of what you need to get going for less than $200. If you order the kit, get both upgrades, they are both worth it.

    "The Engine could still seemed to scare them" -Felix

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Most sources recommend starting out with a single stage press. There are probably more Rock Chucker Supreme kits sold. It is a fairly complete kit. You will still need dies (Bass Pro Shop has good prices on dies). Down the road you will need a caliber, brass cleaner, case trimer. Be advised primers can be harder to find than ammo, but it is getting better. I would start out by buying a few reloading manuals (be advised when you buy a kit most of the times it comes with a manual). Manuals by bullet manufactors are specific to thier bullet.
    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws. Plato

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array jem102's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    East TN
    The Lee kits are an excellent way to get started. You won't be disappointed and you can up-grade from there if you really get into it.

  14. #13
    New Member Array carstensxd45's Avatar
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    May 2009
    Longview Tx

    reloading costs

    Since I only shoot 45acp, I got a Dillion Square Deal B for about 350.00, the tumbler, media, scale for the powder, all in all about 500.00 total. Had already been saving brass, get my slugs from Stonewall Bullet company. can produce 100 rounds of 45 acp for about $9.00 savings of about 30.00 per hundred. My first year I saved enough to pay for my equipment about 6 times over. Get into reloading and you will save and shoot more!!

  15. #14
    Member Array alnitak's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    I've been using a Lee Handpress for about five years now, and load for 9mm, .38/.357, .44spl/.44mag and .45-70. Shooting only a couple hundred rounds a month, it is perfect for my needs. In other posts, I've described my process, steps and tools required. As has been said earlier, if you reload for handguns, many of the accessories aren't needed (like the case sizer and burr removal tool -- I only use them for the .44mag's). I like the touchiness of the handpress, and can work in 15-20 minute stages. All together, I probably spent less than $120, and maybe less than $100 getting started (not counting the vibratory cleaner and media). Check out ebay for reloading equipment lots. You can generally get everything you need at once for 1/3 to 1/2 the price of it new.

    Basic reloading equipment includes:

    Handpress ($20-$25)
    Dies ($25-$30 per set)
    Dipper set ($12-$15)
    Scale ($25 for an electronic, double that for a balance beam)
    Lee Autoprime and shell holders (about $20)
    Plastic funnel ($3)

    I use empty ammo boxes and the plastic/styrofoam inserts for loading trays and storage.

    Supplies are bullets (lead cast are $60-$80/1000), primers (nowadays, about $40-$60/1000) and powder (about $25/pound). I consider brass free -- either from the factory loads I shoot or picking up range brass.

    Search on my other threads here if you want details on the process or other optional equipment (bullet puller, caliper, etc.)

  16. #15
    Member Array Archie's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Hastings, Nebrasksa - the Heartland!

    One very pertinent question.

    Rightwinger, are you planning on loading

    * mostly rifle,
    * mostly pistol,
    * mostly shotgun, or
    some combination of the above?

    If you load primarily pistol and only one or two calibers, a Dillon Square Deal will suit you very nicely. If you load only rifle calibers, a single stage RCBS or Lee or Hornady or anything will do well for you - unless you blast away three or four hundred rounds an hour.

    I have a Dillon XL650 and I load both pistol (by the bucket) and rifle in some volume as well.

    Bottom level economy set up is going to run in the $400 range, depending on your taste and desire. Be sure to check out the "Equipment and Accessory" columns of all the gun and reloading forums you read. There's lots of used and slightly used stuff that are still very functional.

    Oh. Get a good reloading book - Lyman's 49th is excellent - and read up on the basics. That will give you a better idea of your level of volume and needs. Dillon has an on-line website with prices and all sorts of attractions; I believe most of the other reloading manufacturers do as well - Lee, Hornady, RCBS and so on.

    As you are doing now, do your homework before you get out your checkbook.
    Anyone Worth Shooting Is Worth Shooting Well
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