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Is it really cost effective to do your own reloading? How much would you have to shoot for it to be cost effective enough to make i worth while?
 

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Depends on your equipment. Reloading can be time consuming if you're using rudimentary gear. A lot of guys do it as a hobby, and don't mind spending the time. I don't have that much time right now, maybe when I retire! Its much easier to pick it up at Wally World, since their ammo prices are still reasonable.
 

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If you buy bullets instead of casting your own it will cost about $4.50 a box for reloaded ammo, excluding the brass. The cheapest new 45 auto ammo I can find around here is about $11 a box. So 20 boxes of ammo would save you $130 and that would more than pay for a decent Lee setup and some primers and powder. It looks like good economics to me. It does take some time, but remember you don't pay taxes on money saved, just money earned. That is to buy a new box of 45 ammo takes not just the $11, but the money to pay the sales tax and the amount of taxes you had to pay to net the $11.
Reloading can be a hobby in and of itself, it is fun to try different loads. You can tailor a load just to fit your gun.
 

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I was not aware one could get into it that cheaply. How safe is it to reload?
 

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I started my reloading experience with one of the Lee units that does not require a press of any kind. I think it costs leaa than $20.00 as I bought it used. I loaded several hundred rounds of 41 magnum with it before buying a RCBS Rock Chucker Single Stage Press, also slightly used, with a set of dies for the 41 magnum for $75.00. Even though I have a progressive for my 45acp, I still use the single stage press for everything else. I have reloaded literally thousands of rounds of ammunition over the years. When I was competing, informally of course, it was nothing to reload 500 rounds the day before the competition. I think the last time I checked, I was reloading for somewhere around .10-.20 per round by reusing brass I find at the range, buying powder in larger containers cheaper per pound, and buying primers in bulk.

I am always looking in the "sale" bins at gunstores and at gunshows. THe other day I found some Speer 210 gr semi-jacketed HP in one of those bins. I walked out the door paying $4.00 for 100 bullets. Just look around and you can find all kinds of deals that bring down the cost of reloading.

tex
 

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michaelfm said:
Reloading can be time consuming if you're using rudimentary gear.
Ahh, but what a way to relive stress after a bad day!!

michaelfm said:
Its much easier to pick it up at Wally World, since their ammo prices are still reasonable.
I've found that Sportsman's Warehouse by me has a much better selection and is just as reasonable as Wally World.
 

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Flyer said:
I was not aware one could get into it that cheaply. How safe is it to reload?
Like anything else, if you take your time and following instructions, it's very safe. Don't reload if you're tired, drunk, hungover, under sedation... Seriously, if you're careful with the loads, look at your brass each time, handle the primers correctly, etc. it's fun and saves lots of money so that you can shoot more.
 

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Flyer,

I just started reloading my 45acp with a Dillon Square Deal. Its a small progressive, that once setup is almost boringly repetitive. Pull the handle and out pops a finished round. I have yet to look at the cost since I bought the Dillon new. I still think it will be cheaper that store bought. I love shooting the ammo I assemble.....it gives me a real sense of accomplishment to see them work.

tex45acp
 

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One of the real reasons for reloading is flexibility. I enjoy shooting milder loads in the .45 and the .40 S&W. I've found that 5 grains of Bullseye under a 146 gr .40 LRN and a 185 gr LSWC allow you to shoot tin cans at a very economical manner. At $20 for 500 bullets and about a penny a piece for both the primer and powder it makes shooting just a bit more than good .22s.

Plus, it is a very rexlaxing way to spend a winter evening. I've got about a 1000 rounds of .45 and .40's for weather that allows!
 

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I cast range scrap bullets and reload .45 ACP for about $1.50 a box of 50, under 2 bucks anyway. I started many years ago as a kid watching my uncle and grandpa load on a Pacific single stage press and now I have a couple of progressive machines, a Lyman turret, and my Grandpa's old Pacific that must be nearly as old as I am, they bought it in the late 50s.

I can sit down at my press once I've got the caliber set up, primers loaded, and powder in the hopper and crank out 50 rounds of .45ACP easily in 10 minutes just going slow and taking my time. I have two progressives, a Lee Pro 1000 and a Dillon Square Deal. Each machine has its ins and outs and strengths and weaknesses. I'd advise you to start on a single stage press and really learn the procedures first before diving off into the progressives or automatic turrets like the Lee. You need to have a good handle on the process before you go trying a progressive IMHO.

Regarding safety, main thing above all else is to watch your powder charge. Get a routine to your procedures and always verify powder levels in your cases after the charging step. NEVER load a case that doesn't look right. An uncharged case isn't good, but it's painfully easy to get a double charge of a dense powder like Bullseye in, a .45 or .38 case and that can ruin your day at the range. But, I've been reloading a long, long time and never had a double charge. It's all in a safe routine. Avoiding distractions helps.

Check out http://www.midwayusa.com for equipment. I've been dealing with those guys for about 20 years and am a very satisfied customer.
 

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Native Tex....So if a guy were interested into getting in to reloading, what would be the minimum set up and cost for say, just doing .45. What kind of rig would you recommend, and what are the other accessories you would need. I've thought about this, but haven't seriously considered it because I shoot a lot of 9mm, which is still relatively cheap, and a lot of .22 which is very cheap (and not reloadable). I'm looking at getting a .45 now so it might make more sense than it did in the past. Any info is greatly appreciated.
 

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Well, I'll put this post in a series of links. This is the kit I just bought my daughter's boy friend to get into reloading for a Christmas present.

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=820810

You will then need a set of dies. I would suggest Lee pistol dies, though I like Hornady's selection of rifle dies. Lee carbide dies offer the "powder through" expander die which will allow you to use a Lee auto disc powder measure (which you can get extra and will want) and it comes with a shell holder. I would get the four die set with the taper crimp die in an auto loader caliber. I have the 3 die set and it works, but in auto calibers, taper crimping is a good thing, especially with jacketed bullets.

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=242098

Here's a link to the auto disc powder measure. The kit comes with a variable set measure that works fine, but the auto disc is faster asit lets you auto charge (without weighing) the powder and combines that step with the case flaring step which saves a lot of time. It screws into the top of the powder through expander die. It also helps avoid double charges by eliminating having to weigh each powder charge. It is far more accurate than any dipper. I have the pro auto disc powder measure. The cheap one has a rather mickey mouse hopper that you will be replacing. However, if you move from this set up to an auto turret or a progressive rapidly, you may decide you'd rather dip light charges and using the measure that comes with the kit for hot stuff or you might decide the cheaper auto disc is the way to go, up to you. If you're going to move up soon, probably will, you might not wanna spend the money, but I like that auto disc thing a lot. ;D

http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=348753

Add to this list primers, powder, cases, and bullets and you're ready to get started. I'd also buy another reloading manual. I like the Speer or Sierra manuals. I have several here and attain reloading data from magazines and all sorts of sources, but a good manual is a must.

You will probably get tired of changing those dies out and the slow process of a single stage press, but this will teach you the ropes. You will want to keep the press, though, as most progressives won't do rifle ammunition and this press will. Anyway, you can't have too much equipment. Oh, yeah, you'll have to have a work bench. I used to use my old shop, but it's hot in the summer and can't easily be air conditioned, so I mounted my presses on 2x10s and clamp them with a C clamp to a cheap Black and Decker Workmate type table I got from Harbor Freight. It works great and I wanted one of those things anyway. When done, I fold it against the wall on the back porch.

This reloading thing is a hobby and as such I always seem to be buying something. I talk about how much I save, but I really don't know, I'm always getting something like the electronic scale I bought the other day. But, I NEEDED it.... ::) ;D It does pay off, though, and you have a lot more versatility when you handload. All of a sudden, calibers like 10mm, .45 Colt, .32 H&R magnum, become practical. I even load one round that can't be store bought, a true wildcat, 7mm TCU. When you get into it and really wanna save money, think about bullet casting.
 

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I have reloaded for well over 20 years now, with the same Rock-Chucker press I first started with. The only things I've changed is to use separate Die sets for .38 spec. and .357mag. (no more adjusting the dies all the time), and I have a hand-held Primer tool now (it's amazing how much brass you can prime watching a Nascar race) It is definitely more economic to reload, it does give you flexability in your loads, and it is a relaxing way to spend some free time. For new brass I shoot the Win. target packs from Wally World and reload them.
 

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Native Texan--Thanks for the excellent report. Anybody wanting to get into this should be able to follow your guidelines to get started. I'd probably shoot my .357 more if it we're a bit more cost effective, as well.
 

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Anyone in the Houston area have some free time to let me watch you re-load and maybe learn a little bit from you? I'm not good at reading and learning, I'm a hands on kinda person ya know. I have read alot on re-loading and its all still kind of a mistery lol I sure would like to be able to take a class or find someone with the patients to show me how its done :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wow ... that was a very good write up. I'm impressed and almost convinced to start reloading! If only I had more free time ...
 

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MPanova said:
Anyone in the Houston area have some free time to let me watch you re-load and maybe learn a little bit from you? I'm not good at reading and learning, I'm a hands on kinda person ya know. I have read alot on re-loading and its all still kind of a mistery lol I sure would like to be able to take a class or find someone with the patients to show me how its done :)
I'm afraid I'm a little far, about 2.5 hours out of Houston, near Victoria.
 
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