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Thread: How many Really count costs?

  1. #41
    Boolit Master Moleman-'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    SW Michigan next to a winter wheat field
    I got into reloading after buying my first box of 44mag shells. My buddies dad showed me the basics and it was all down hill after that. I doubt overall I save anything, but it allows me to shoot more for the same amount of money that would get allocated for ammo. Even convinced a few people along the way to try it. I used to go shooting with one guy I worked with pretty often. He only used factory ammo and I reload everything I shoot except rimfire and lead shot shotgun shells. When we got done one day I asked him how much the ammo cost he shot that day. He said about $120 and asked me how much the ammo I'd shot off cost. I'd probably given him 200rnds to shoot after he shot his ammo and I shot more than he did. At the time I was getting lead for free so it was pretty much powder, primers and lube I was paying for so 45acp cost around at worst $3.25-$3.50 a box to reload. He was shocked when I told him at best I'd spent $50 including the 200rnds I'd given him. A couple days later he said his late uncle had a bunch of reloading stuff that his aunt said he could have and asked if I'd show him how to reload. He ended up bringing over a treasure trove of reloading supplies including about #15 of green dot alone. He had a Lyman turret press and an all American turret press, scales, measures, dies, everything except books. I bolted his Lyman press to my bench and had him set it up and walked him through how everything worked. Then watched him for a while turning out 45acp ammo. I had an extra Lee auto disk measure that I'd been given and gave it to him. He wasn't into casting, so he bought cast bullets and still saved quite a bit over buying factory ammo. Shot with him a few more years until he moved, but he was still reloading last time I spoke with him.

  2. #42
    Boolit Master Harter66's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Walker Lake Nv. or just about 5 miles west of the exact middle of nowhere.
    The most expensive cartridge I load for with cast as of now costs me 40 a round the best buy on factory ammo for it today is $1.34 /round . I'll have to buy a new mould for it probably eventually so I'll have to add another dime to that . Even then it's 2.5 to 1 for shooting . The second most expensive cartridge to load comes in at about 38 each but bargain basement clearance sale ammo is north of $1.90 per shot .
    Most of the tools are long since paid for so for a new cartridge I only have to count dies and and moulds as tools . I figure if I pay cash money for brass it's free after 5 cycles if I bought it as loaded ammo 1x is as good as pick up .

    Costs how do you really count that when you buy a press the has an Amazon price $200 a new price pushing $300 and the seller throws in 200 brass for $125 ......
    If I had to replace it all at one time at current market value I'd be very sad . Another $125 A Max will never happen the RockChuckers are 235 last I looked and Ohause M5 scales ........ There's $1200 that cost me less than $300 . I think I have something like 29 die sets . I know some of those sets were pig in a poke grab bags and a couple I paid full retail for but they were only $22-25 . I don't have a single set that is under $30 now and several that are over $50 , 1 set that is 75 + . So die sets go north of $1200 pretty easy . 4 MECs and a Pacific shot shell press ...... Ok I'd replace them with just 4 MECs but that's still $1000 . Moulds , there's a bucket of snakes . $300 in 6C Lee , 10 NOEs probably 18 Lyman , RCBS , LBT , MM and Cramer moulds plus that many 2C Lee's . $3000 seems like a fair number there except that all but 5 of the NOEs were on sale ,second hand or came with something else so spent is more like $2000 . Let's not even start into the little tools .

    In spite of the above coming in something like $14,000 if I had to count all of the brass, primers, powders , caps , sizing dies ,tumblers etc etc , it's still paid for .
    1000s of 9mm,38 and 357 at $10/100 vs $13-18 /50 . Cheap 45 ACP is $20/50 vs 11/100 , Colts is over $35/50 vs $11/100 . Most any rifle ammo from the big 3 is $1/round vs 14-18/100 .
    The last 3 range trips saw me run off
    20 45-70
    50 45 Colts
    50 357
    50 45 ACP
    40 45 Raptor
    30 222
    50 30-30
    50 380
    Unk number of 06' in 3 different rifles
    $275 vs $70 maybe . Let's call it $200 on just these 3 trips . 12 trips per yr plus 2-3 social shoots over the last 25 yr come to a safe low number $100/yr that I didn't spend on factory ammo . I think of the weekends that I shot 60 rounds of 32 Rem and a couple of boxes of 264 WM that was $20-25 to load but would have cost at least $200 to have bought and the savings out strips the expense by some $11,000 .
    If I throw in the steel shot I loaded every season at $5.60/ box in 12 ga vs 12-15/box let's call it a $6/savings from 92-02 at a box per field day comes out 32 boxes/yr or 320 boxes . $1920 now that I know is a soft number because I had 4 kids that hunted ducks and geese with me during that time also . 97-02' there were at least 2 on almost any day and my work schedule changed from 5/8 to 4/10 so in 96 I gained a day every weekend .
    The shotgun gear is paid for twice over at today's money with steel shot 90s prices . That almost makes the safe and it's contents free .

    Ms knows what it is all worth and has an idea of the value .
    Now that there is a price on it ,in the words of Beowolf ," they can only count what they can see ,now we must give them a glimpse of what they cannot". I have no way to place a value on the days spent in the field or at the range with the kids ,friends and family . There is no way to place a value on the kids and adults introduced to shooting or the friendships made through those trips .

    Whether or not every dime is tracked doesn't matter , I mean really the dime is gone after the sear break , it is the immeasurable value that comes from casting ,loading and shooting that is the real reward . You can't buy 100 days freezing in a duck blind with your kids or that 3 generation afternoon skining deer or the cool evening around a Rondy fire passing a bottle of rye for any price .
    In the time of darkest defeat,our victory may be nearest. Wm. McKinley.

    I was young and stupid then I'm older now. Me 1992

    About that rally point, the soap and mail boxes fall on blind eyes and deaf ears,the ballot box is manipulated,it would seem we are fast running out options....

  3. #43
    Boolit Master

    Kraschenbirn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    East Central IL
    I don't maintain a spreadsheet but do have a fairly cost of my 'cost-per-round' for most of the calibers I reload and shoot. In terms of 'disposable income', I'm not saving a single nickle by casting/reloading because I simply wouldn't shoot as much if I was limited to factory ammo. Actually, casting/reloading is probably costing me considerable extra 'cause I wouldn't own most of the obsolete military and antique caliber guns that take up most of the space in my safe(s) if I couldn't shoot them.

    "I'm not often right but I've never been wrong."

    Jimmy Buffett
    "Scarlet Begonias"

  4. #44
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    I started reloading to save money. I started casting shortly after that. At one time I was in the "black". I slowly added equipment and it slowly paid for itself. Then I got into long range shooting and started buying more precise, more expensive equipment. Some of those tools cost more than my whole original set-up! So who knows? And I really don't care. But I'm probably still in the "black".

    I load for a few things that you can't buy. A tight neck 6.5-284. A tight neck 22-250 AI. A few expensive and scarce or obsolete calibers that I can reload as cheap as more common ones like 44's, 45's, 10mm's, 38 Super's, ect ect. My ammo is more accurate than anything that I can buy. Even Federal Gold Metal Match, Black Hills Match, or LC Match can't out shoot my handloads. The only thing that I can't beat is Weatherby ammo. That kinda hurt my feelings, but I don't have a Weatherby anymore.

    I cast nearly 1000 44 bullets last week. That would have gone a long way towards paying on a piece of equipment. I cast about the same number of 45's 2 weeks ago. Yesterday, I cast several hundred 38's. All with free or very cheap lead. But no, I don't keep precise records on the cost. I may buy $500 or $1000 worth of primers, powder or J-bullets at a time and shoot for months or even years.

    As far as cost goes, a box of 300 Weatherby ammo or a box of 7mm STW sells for between $50 and $80. I can load 100 for that cost. A friend bought 700+ factory rounds of 220 Swift for a Prairie Dog hunt a few years ago. That would have paid for a reloading set-up and possibly the cost of components. If you shoot nearly any form of competition you almost have to reload in order to afford it.
    Last edited by lightman; 03-17-2017 at 10:59 AM.

  5. #45

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    soda springs Id.
    if we are just looking at tooling costs it can be a pretty good outlay of funds.
    I could look at just my brass cleaning/annealing bench, the 2 casting benches, the sizing bench, and look in their various drawers and shelves and see well over 10,000$ [American money]

    we don't even want to turn around to the other side of the shop where the swaging stuff and most of the shot gun reloading presses are bolted down.
    or go into the metallic reloading room in the house.
    'that's just the stuff I got now.
    never mind the tools I started with and threw or gave away over the years.

    I just threw away over 50 empty shot bags because I found another box with even more bags in it.
    just the shot I have put down range over the years would easily pay to double my house size at 1$ a pound.
    but it's all gone and I don't regret any of it.

  6. #46
    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    I do count the cost but then I shoot quite a bit. If I didn't reload I wouldn't shoot as much or I wouldn;t have gotten into some calibers I have because of cost. Rounds like the 44mag are expensive to feed unless you handload. Just for IDPA alone I am shooting about 8k rounds a year between 9mm, 40 & 45. I like being able to customize my ammo, but certainly cost comes into play for most of us. Right now, casting my own, I am shooting 45acp for what you can shoot 22lr today.
    Yes & probably have $5-6000 in total reloading/casting gear. That is a spit in the bucket compared to factory ammo cost. 8000 rds of 45acp a year is about $2400 alone. Over just 3yrs, shoot it up, all you have is dirty gun. I could sell all my gear for more than I paid for most of it 15-20yrs ago.
    NRA Cert. Inst. Met. Reloading & Basic Pistol

  7. #47
    Boolit Master
    rintinglen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    I started reloading for the economy, but it eventually became an end in and of itself. I spend more time loading than shooting. However, the major benefit for me today is that I can shoot guns that I can not buy ammunition for, at least not easily. I seldom see 44 Special on the shelf, to say nothing of 32 S&W long, 9 mm Largo, 32-20 or 45 Auto Rim. But I have managed to accumulate brass for all of these, and once you own a press, dies are cheap.

    My first reloading set up cost me about two day's pay in the seventies. A used Pacific press for $5.00, a set of dies from the Commissary on base for 12.50, a pound of powder and box of 500 b cast boolits ran another 20 and 1000 primers cost exactly $10.00, tax included, altogether it was under 45.00. I reloaded 500 38 specials, in brass I had already scrounged and payed for my setup that weekend. in fact I was 5 bucks ahead, because those 500 rounds bought as reloads from the range would have run me 50.00. Once the press and dies were paid for, my cost per round dropped to about $3.60 a hundred. I managed to acquire a trash can full of wheel weights, and then got into casting.

    Now I have "saved" about 5,000 dollars in reloading gear over the years.
    Last edited by rintinglen; 03-18-2017 at 03:41 PM.
    _________________________________________________It's not that I can't spell: it is that I can't type.

  8. #48
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    MI (summer) - AZ (winter)
    I already posted but it has sure been interesting reading this thread! It sort of got me to thinking . . . when we get back to MI in a couple weeks from spending the winter in AZ, we are moving from the house we've lived in for 40 some years in to a condo. We've already "thinned things out" for the move but i still have to pack up my reloading stuff. The condo we are moving to has a nice full basement so I will be starting from scratch, building a new bench and storage etc.

    It will be interesting I'm sure, as I pack and move as I KNOW I have accumulated way too much stuff - dies for calibers I don't reload but "might someday", brass for calibers I don't have guns for but "might some day" and let's not even talk about the accumulation of molds! At my age, a lot of those things will probably never get used. I'm even thinking of culling out the "pistol herd" and maybe a long gun or two. Will I get out of it what I put into it? Maybe yes, maybe no . . but it's sure been fun.

  9. #49
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Northern Michigan
    Quote Originally Posted by bedbugbilly View Post
    I already posted but it has sure been interesting reading this thread! It sort of got me to thinking . . . when we get back to MI in a couple weeks from spending the winter in AZ, we are moving from the house we've lived in for 40 some years in to a condo. We've already "thinned things out" for the move but i still have to pack up my reloading stuff. The condo we are moving to has a nice full basement so I will be starting from scratch, building a new bench and storage etc.

    It will be interesting I'm sure, as I pack and move as I KNOW I have accumulated way too much stuff - dies for calibers I don't reload but "might someday", brass for calibers I don't have guns for but "might some day" and let's not even talk about the accumulation of molds! At my age, a lot of those things will probably never get used. I'm even thinking of culling out the "pistol herd" and maybe a long gun or two. Will I get out of it what I put into it? Maybe yes, maybe no . . but it's sure been fun.
    When I moved, i had an 8' Supercab dually. It took more than three trips to move the loading and casting equipment, the supplies, and the ammunition. And it is heavy work. Three tons alone of casting lead and shot.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  10. #50
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    SE Michigan
    I know about what cost me but this is my hobby. I don't bowl, hang out at the bar, go to overpriced sports events or other nonsense,
    If the wife wants to find me some night, I am casting, loading or gone to the club. Church on Sunday.
    Keep it simple and enjoy it while you can. No gun chests on a hearse.

  11. #51
    Boolit Master Garyshome's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    South of the Mason Dixon line
    If I add my labor, i'm not saving any money. But it's a hobby, so i'm saving all kinds of $$$$$$$$.

    Yea Right!

  12. #52
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Morganton, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by 308Jeff View Post
    Unfortunately, I keep a spreadsheet for everything.

    -A complete handloading log.
    -Tracking sheet for pewter. Where I bought it, how much I paid, weight, cost/lb, etc
    -Wheelweight sheet. Where they came from, total weight, cost, percentage of yields, total yields.
    -Inventory of every reloading component I have (comes in handy when you think you have something, but not sure)
    -Complete log on every firearm. Dates fired, rounds fired, total rounds fired, what ammo was fired.

    Yeah, I know what all of it costs. And I can see that I have a lot of components I need to put together into live rounds. LOL.
    Just curious, what do you do for a living?

    I keep a quite few rough figures in my head, but my paper trail consists of only a few post it notes...
    To Thomas Jefferson: It's America! We can have our plows AND our guns!


  13. #53
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Mentone, Alabama
    I don't think about it and I don't wanna know.

  14. #54
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    If someone were to ask me if I saved money reloading my first thought would be to say yes I save a hell of a lot of money. That is until I start figuring what I have invested in my little hobby. Lets see A Dillon 650, a Lyman T-Mag, Ballisti-cast Mark IV, A Star sizer, Magma sizer, two dozen or better Magma molds, sizing dies for the star and Magma, Magma bullet feeders, Diy PID heater control systems, Dillon's largest tumbler, chop saw to make 300 blkouts, Hornady case sizing prep station, and I haven't mentioned everything else. Yup, really saving money here.

  15. #55
    Boolit Master
    ghh3rd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Tampa FL
    I love to use Excel ... so of course I've made a few quick n dirty spreadsheets with if lead costs this much, and tin that, and brass cost this and lasts this many times, etc.... I have surprised some folks who doubted that one could save a substantial amount by reloading... that is if you didn't spend your savings more shooting
    Five out of six doctors agree that Russian Roulette is completely safe.

  16. #56
    Boolit Man
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    North of 49th
    Good evening,
    This is a topic that gets talked about every 3 weeks after our club night. All the bullseye shooters reload and those that don't cast trade with those that do. We all "know" reloading saves $$. In my case. If I only shot my 32 S&W Long pistol. A box of 50 Sellior&Belliot wadcutters are right around $35.00 they are the least expensive, the most expensive are Fiocchi at over $40.00. Makes for an expensive night!!
    So....8lbs Bullseye powder is $250.00, 35K in primers are $245.00, Brass more than we know what to do with, so free. For those unfamiliar with low power bullseye loads. The brass is a lifetime item. I have 38 and 45 ACP cases that are 35 years old and 32 brass that was gifted to me that's 50+years old, reloaded LOTS....I would make a very educated guess at 12 times a year so somewhere close to 600 times. I did a quick cost of the lead I have/use and for 35K in boolits say $100.00. Long story longer $595.00 for 35,000 rounds or 700 boxes of S&W Long ammo that consistently shoots better than factory. I didn't add anything for equipment, my time casting or reloading....BECAUSE....factory loads would be $24,500.00. When I relate this to the younger guys just starting out they can't believe the numbers. I just take them over to the bagged bullets on the shelf point out that 500 bullets is about the same as 3 boxes of ammo, do the same with primers and explain that a pound of powder will load over 2000 rounds, they start to get it. I have had a couple of them come over and used my equipment for a couple of bags of bullets. Only one hasn't started reloading!
    Save money....ABSOLUTELY....Love doing it for the hobby....ABSOLUTELY....Do it because I can't walk past a WW or used brass lying on the ground...ABSOLUTELY....Could I stop tomorrow....ABSOLUTELY....NOT!!!!

  17. #57

    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Land of 10,000 Lakes
    I can't remember exactly what year? 1997? or maybe 2002? somewhere in there I started reloading 44 Mag, because Factory ammo was just too spendy. I was counting the potential costs before I geared up, as well as, after I started loading...for maybe 3 or 4 years, then things $$$ just started getting out of control. Then, when I started casting in 2010, the $$$ really started flying around, I'd need a CPA license to keep track now.

  18. #58
    Boolit Master armoredman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Arizona City
    I roll pennies for gas sometimes, because being a state slave doesn't pay what it could. So, if I didn't reload I'd be able to afford to go to the range about once a month, for less than an hour. With casting and reloading, I can go whenever the state gives me a day off....

  19. #59
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    NE Kansas
    It is interesting to see how others think of their hobby expenses. I got into reloading because I was in a profession that I felt demanded proficiency. I could not afford to buy factory ammo in those days so reloading was necessary. Through the years, I have always tried to shop wise and buy what I could when the prices were favorable. And as with many, there have been rather thin years that had the money not already been spent wisely, there would have been nothing to reload with. When I go shooting, or take a friend shooting, I am not thinking how much I might have spent on the components. Rather I am thinking this is going to be fun because I know I have made the best bullets I can, I have used care in assembly and I have not gone cheap by cutting down a quarter grain or whatever trying to save a penny or two. That money was spent months or years ago so is not even in the thought process as I just have a good time and shoot the best ammo I can make. I refuse to waste a good afternoon shooting wondering if this is the powder I bought at $10.00 a pound from another reloader, or the newer stiff that was $26.00 or more.

    So many other things to worry about, but just forget them all and enjoy the range time.

  20. #60
    Boolit Master
    mdi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    So. Orygun
    Hmmm. Presses and dies and assorted tooling, paid for. Lead, molds, lube components paid for. Brass, bullets and powder, paid for. Didn't happen all at once.

    Maker's Mark about $40.00 per bottle, next morning a headache. All reloading stuff paid for, next morning a huge sense of satisfaction..
    My Anchor is holding fast!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check