Reloading Ammo

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Spartan_Warrior
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Reloading Ammo

Post by Spartan_Warrior » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:28 am

Any of the gun owners here have thoughts or experience on reloading ammunition? For someone looking to regularly practice shooting with at least a hundred rounds a month, is it cost-effective? Is it easy? Is it time-consuming? Are the better presses/kits worth the money? I've seen 9mm presses anywhere from $100-500 retail, haven't checked the second hand market yet.

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BRUTE
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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by BRUTE » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:38 am

9mm ammo is cheap, 100 rounds per month isn't that much. it would probably make more sense for more expensive rounds and somewhat higher frequency. then again, Spartan_Warrior said "at least a hundred rounds a month" - maybe there's room.

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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by jacob » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:49 am

http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/0 ... -part-one/
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/0 ... art-two-2/

Compare to homebrewing beer(*). What do you drink (Budweiser or craft)? How much do you drink? How convenient do you want it to be (mash or kit)?

What do you shoot? Where do you shoot? How often? Do you/can you collect your brass (most of the $$)?

(*) Most of the money is made in selling equipment to the public. In other words, reloading is economically efficient = properly priced. As an individual, you mainly do it for reasons other than cost-effectiveness.

You'll probably find your best answer by asking the people on the range if they reload or just observe how many pick up their brass and bring it home. (They might not reload themselves ... but they probably know someone who does if they do.)

Jean
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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by Jean » Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:40 pm

In switzerland we always collect brass.

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Ego
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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by Ego » Sun Apr 09, 2017 1:53 pm

Here at the police range the retired officers association sells reload at cost but you've got to shoot what you buy that day.

George the original one
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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by George the original one » Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:14 pm

The higher volume of shooting you do, the more time you would be running brass through the press & weighing charges. It doesn't scale well. You also have to consider proper storage of the supplies as powder doesn't age all that well and few thousand primers is "a lot of combustibles".

I reloaded .243 with Nosler partition bullets and a slightly hot load for hunting. Could make 20 to 40 rounds in an evening, but I wasn't shooting more than 100 rounds a year. Shotshells... the press is cheap (or was cheap back in the 80s) and production went a little faster.

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jennypenny
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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by jennypenny » Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:15 pm

+1 to what Jean said. I'm surprised that people don't always collect their brass.

@SW -- You could try to find someone who does the reloading as a hobby and trade your empty brass for some reloaded ones (you'll get a percentage back, not one-to-one). I'm not sure what the rules are in your state though. I'm guessing it's more strict than where I live so maybe it's not allowed.

halfmoon
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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by halfmoon » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:45 pm

jacob wrote:
Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:49 am
Compare to homebrewing beer(*).
Except for the part where an incorrectly-brewed beer has little chance of injuring you. ;) Handloading ammo can be fun and surprisingly math-based if you like that aspect, but I wouldn't really call it cost-effective...more of a hobby. I would never buy handloads privately, because there's no guarantee of precise quality control.

If you want to do it yourself and are confident in your precision, you can generally buy equipment used at a great discount. The cost of powder, primers and brass is another matter. Keep in mind that the brass can't be endlessly reloaded even if you retrieve it.

Having said that: collecting brass from non-commercial shooting sites such as gravel pits is kind of like beachcombing and can provide crazy-great entertainment if you're weird that way. Which we're not. At all. :roll:

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Sclass
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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by Sclass » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:50 pm

jennypenny wrote:
Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:15 pm
+1 to what Jean said. I'm surprised that people don't always collect their brass.
I recall one range that sold reloads that did not allow users to pick up brass...even their own. They also didn't want people shooting Blazers because the cheap casings would,get mixed in with the stuff they picked up.

My dad was really into reloading. He was a prepper of sorts and has a lot of primers, brass and smokeless powder squirreled away in my mom's home. :x

Over his life the price of ammo moved around. It was cheaper to reload both centerfire rifle and pistol cartridges and shot shells in he late 70s and 80s. We would have our reloading nights...it was kind of a bonding experience between us. I think my dad and brother actually enjoyed the hobby. When I see the prices at Walmart I cannot see dusting off those old presses and dies.

Dad would load up light loads for me so I wouldn't be so scared as I transitioned from rimfire to centerfire or from 20ga to 12ga.

Another advantage I've started to appreciate is we could zero our particular gun on a particular bullet and charge combo and get very repeatable results. Swapping brands, charges, bullet weights etc. moves the point of impact around. My dad had his favorite loads.

Me I shoot so little I'll just buy a box of something reliable, zero a couple of shots and store the remaining rounds with the gun. This doesn't work when I find a deal on cheap oddball ammo and want to plink it away all afternoon. So having consistent reloads is nice. One of my old friends who competes not only reloads, he spin balances his bullets in an air fixture to look for casting voids. So hand loading is a must for his long range rifle competition.

A decade ago I started seriously shooting and hunting with air rifles. I stopped using my firearms. Too much fuss. Reloading just adds to the hassle factor. Unless you like that aspect...,

enigmaT120
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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by enigmaT120 » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:21 am

I think reloading has to be a really boring way to pass the time. No worse than knitting or embroidery I guess, which I also don't do. My SKS ammo is all steel casings anyway so I don't have to worry about it. And the .17 ammo is so cheap I wouldn't bother.

I do pick up brass where people have been target shooting, to include with some other scrap stuff I sell to the recyclers. Brass is worth decent money.

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BRUTE
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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by BRUTE » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:21 pm

halfmoon wrote:
Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:45 pm
Except for the part where an incorrectly-brewed beer has little chance of injuring you. ;)
not true. great stories of beer kettles (?) exploding in basements and bathtubs abound among hobby brewers.

MZMpac
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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by MZMpac » Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:16 pm

I reload my own ammo. I only reload for rifles, and I do it mainly for accuracy.

In terms of cost savings, it makes the most sense for pistol shooter, AR shooter, or other high-volume shooting. I am definitely not saving any money yet and probably wont recoup my costs for 2-3 years. I have only been reloading for about 6 months though.

When you get into reloading for precision and accuracy, the costs go way up because you need higher-end equipment manufactured to tighter tolerances. On a per-round basis, for consumables only (brass, primer, powder, bullet), I do save about 30-40% compared to top-shelf factory ammo. But again I spent somewhere around $1200 in equipment.

It's all about how far you want to take it. A frugal reloader could get a decent set-up for about $500 if they piece out what they need and look for deals.

Avoid the temptation, however, to buy value lower-end equipment. You will end up buying twice in the long run, trust me.

Reloading is an extremely deep topic with endless technical minutia to learn and obsess over. What makes it fun is both the craftsmanship aspect of it and the satisfaction you get from a really accurate, consistent load. You wont get that with factory ammo.

halfmoon
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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by halfmoon » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:57 pm

BRUTE wrote:
Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:21 pm
halfmoon wrote:
Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:45 pm
Except for the part where an incorrectly-brewed beer has little chance of injuring you. ;)
not true. great stories of beer kettles (?) exploding in basements and bathtubs abound among hobby brewers.
WOW. :o Somehow we missed the excitement by making wine all these years.

enigmaT120
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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by enigmaT120 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:23 am

I think it's beer bottles that sometimes explode, if the beer is bottled too soon or too much priming sugar is used at bottling. Not kettles.

Wine could do it too if you made it sparkling.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Reloading Ammo

Post by Riggerjack » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:32 pm

Depends on what you shoot. I have a friend who shoots an original 1871 Martini rifle. You can't get factory ammo for it.

Me, I'm too busy, but it is on my retirement projects list.

I host a shooting party on my property every few years, and it's good to have reloaders to pass the brass off to. At some point I intend to build a bullet catcher, just to recycle the lead. That may have to wait for the retirement home, though.

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