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  #1  
Old 12-22-2012, 12:48 PM
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Question To Reload or Not


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Hi All, New to this forum, I used to reload shotgun shells for sporting clays, and now I am getting ready to start CAS shooting. My question is. Has anyone ever figured out the cost of reloading 50 bullets in .357 cal compared to buying new? what is the savings. I have to buy all the reloading equipment and that would be an out lay of $300.00 to $400.00 or more. I sold all my old equipment.. How long would it take to break even? I can buy new on sale here for $18.00 per 50 including tax. Is it worth the time and effort?
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  #2  
Old 12-22-2012, 12:55 PM
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The purely economic argument for reloading is pretty weak. ALL the other arguments in favor of reloading are much stronger. Better ammo; you shoot more; better bullet selection; built specifically for your gun; fascinating hobby. Save money - not so much. Some. But not much.

The more you shoot, the more the economic advantage becomes significant.
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  #3  
Old 12-22-2012, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saskshooter View Post
The purely economic argument for reloading is pretty weak. ALL the other arguments in favor of reloading are much stronger. Better ammo; you shoot more; better bullet selection; built specifically for your gun; fascinating hobby. Save money - not so much. Some. But not much.

The more you shoot, the more the economic advantage becomes significant.
This.

Precision tailored ammo is of more importance to me than cost.

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  #4  
Old 12-22-2012, 01:10 PM
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Break down the costs. For instance, primers will be about 3 cents, powder about 2 cents (around 4 grains), and cast bullets about 10 cents. That's your expendables for a typical CAS load. It may be slightly less. Anyway, thats 15 cents a shot if you reuse your brass, which will last forever. So, $15 per hundred rounds, more or less.
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  #5  
Old 12-22-2012, 01:22 PM
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You can buy top quality brass for $15 per hundred or less. So even if you counted the cost of brand new Starline .38 special brass, you are still at $30 per hundred and saving money over your $18 per 50 price. So buy 500 pieces of brass that you will easily get 10 reloads out of and that amortizes out to 1.5 cents per round. To cover your $300 startup costs, it will take less than a thousand rounds reloaded versus your purchasing at $18 per 50.

And then there is just the fun of "rolling your own" so to speak and having better ammo to boot.
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  #6  
Old 12-22-2012, 01:37 PM
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Back in 1978 when I talked my dad into reloading our own ammo, it was very cost effective to load your own. You also got better quality ammo than you could buy over the counter back then. Now the quality is much better. The cost of equipment is higher than it used to be IMO. It still will save you $$$ if you shoot a lot. For me, I just enjoy doing it and thats a key factor for me. I get a great sense of satisfaction of shooting a product I put together myself. Your mileage may vary.
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  #7  
Old 12-22-2012, 08:16 PM
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You can save money and you will save a bundle over premium ammunition. I can load the best possible ammunition to my exact specification.
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  #8  
Old 12-23-2012, 09:58 AM
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Easiest way to calculate it is to plug your numbers into this:
Handloading Cost Calculator

Use these numbers:
Powder $20/lb
Charge weight: 3.5gr
Primer: $28/1000 (This might be a bit low but, I buy them even cheaper and have a supply from before the last shortage. I paid $13.50/1000!)
Cases: $0 because you have been saving them for a long, long, time!
Bullet: $60/500 (158gr LSWC)
$7.90 for a box of 50 158gr LSWC 38Spl loads.

Now, to me, that isn't too good UNTIL you take one factor into account........... There are too many times when the shelves at the LGS are empty of that said load. What would it cost to have them whenever you want them? Priceless.........

I cast my own bullets and buy the other components in large quantities that drives the cost down even more. Free lead, powder at $10-$12/lb and $13.50/1000 for primers and that cost goes down to: $0.93/50! AND THEN, I can have them whenever I want, in the quantity I want, and in the exact load I want that my firearms are all set up to shoot and have been developed in MY GUNS not a factory test barrel!

So, perspective is something that you cannot put a price on!
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  #9  
Old 12-23-2012, 11:10 AM
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Reloads

Well with all your great thoughts on reloading I think I will start shooting new and start saving the brass. I will not be looking for super accurate load to do speed shooting in CAS. Speed will be of the upmost importance. Who knows I may team up with another cowboy and then share the cost of reloading. Again Guys thanks so much for all of your opinions.
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  #10  
Old 12-23-2012, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papa85 View Post
Well with all your great thoughts on reloading I think I will start shooting new and start saving the brass. I will not be looking for super accurate load to do speed shooting in CAS. Speed will be of the upmost importance. Who knows I may team up with another cowboy and then share the cost of reloading. Again Guys thanks so much for all of your opinions.

Keep your eyes open at the range cuz you may find more than enough brass. I've done that for years. 9mm Luger, 40S&W are plentiful where I shoot if you want to take the time to clean them.
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  #11  
Old 12-23-2012, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by papa85 View Post
Hi All, New to this forum, I used to reload shotgun shells for sporting clays, and now I am getting ready to start CAS shooting. My question is. Has anyone ever figured out the cost of reloading 50 bullets in .357 cal compared to buying new? what is the savings. I have to buy all the reloading equipment and that would be an out lay of $300.00 to $400.00 or more. I sold all my old equipment.. How long would it take to break even? I can buy new on sale here for $18.00 per 50 including tax. Is it worth the time and effort?
Well if it's for CAS then you will probably be using lead bullets. I cast my own and can load 50 rounds for $1.25.
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  #12  
Old 12-23-2012, 06:58 PM
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Wow! that is really cheap where do you get the lead? That is worth looking into Thanks RustyFM.
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  #13  
Old 12-24-2012, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by papa85 View Post
Wow! that is really cheap where do you get the lead? That is worth looking into Thanks RustyFM.
My personal stash of lead has come from wheel weights I've picked up over the years. They might be harder than you need for CAS but the price was right! I melted all mine into ignots then remelt the ingots when I want to make some bullets. I also drop them into cold water to harden them a bit more. Again, you might not need that step. The other "problem" with wheel weights is you don't know what sort of lead mix you're using like you would if you bought it. I've also picked up cast bullets at the range and thrown them into the pot for casting. I'm not that picky I guess.
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  #14  
Old 12-24-2012, 08:41 AM
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When I started, the two obvious reasons were cost and accuracy, but more recently I've found another reason.......the lack of on-the-shelf ammo availability. I've found it much more convenient to stock the components so I'm assured of having cartridges when I need them. I appreciate the components aren't always available either, but when available, I can afford a reasonable supply better than a supply of, for example, the .45 ACP :-(

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  #15  
Old 12-24-2012, 08:48 AM
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"There are too many times when the shelves at the LGS are empty of that said load. What would it cost to have them whenever you want them? Priceless........."

Yes, yes, and yes. Casting makes sense as well as reloading.
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  #16  
Old 12-24-2012, 11:11 AM
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Melting of lead

How do you melt the lead? On the kitchen stove or do you have some kind of torch?
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  #17  
Old 12-24-2012, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by papa85 View Post
How do you melt the lead? On the kitchen stove or do you have some kind of torch?
Camp stove, but I plan to buy a Lee 10lb melting pot to make things safer and keep the heat more consistant. If I were to start over, I would've gotten the dedicated melting pot first. The open flame of a the camp stove and my home grown aluminum melting pot are barely adequate.
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  #18  
Old 12-24-2012, 06:20 PM
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It won't take you long to figure out that you are saving money by reloading. That to be less important after I found out how much fun loading is. It is a wonderful hobby well suited to winter weather. It is also enjoyable to turn another person's cast off brass into your own tailor-made handloads.
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  #19  
Old 12-24-2012, 06:40 PM
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I started 30 yrs ago reloading my Uncles .41 mag, now I cast my own bullets. Just saw at Durhamms and Gander Mtn some .41 mag 210 gr JHP 50 rds for $70! I used to reload out of my rucksack when on trips with the Lee Handloader. You can still pick one of those kits up for under $40 New.

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  #20  
Old 12-25-2012, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by taco650 View Post
. . . If I were to start over, I would've gotten the dedicated melting pot first. The open flame of a the camp stove and my home grown aluminum melting pot are barely adequate.
Seriously recommend that you stop using an aluminum melting pot as the heat needed to melt wheel weights actually weakens aluminum and over time may cause it to fail. You would be much safer using a container made of cast iron.

I smelt my wheel weights out doors on the patio using a propane powered turkey fryer base and a cast iron casserole pot. Find a spot that offers protection from the wind to set up your equipment.
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