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Thread: Lead shot

  1. #1

    Lead shot

    Hi all, My first post here after years of trolling the site.

    My question is a multi parter. I started shooting some sporting clays and then Skeet and last night trap. I plan on, as most everything else I shoot, loading my own. If I wait and catch them on sale I can get a box of Remington gun club for around $5. My question is, is it worth reloading? More to the point, Is it worth making my own shot? BP I shoot soft lead. My pistols I simply load WW the faster stuff I add some lino or GC. Thanks to all you guys for that info. But how hard or soft should the shot be. Who here loads their own? Shoots reclaimed shot? only shoots new shot, or makes their own shot?

    Thanks Mike

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Nov 2011
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    Indian trail NC
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    28 and 410 worth reloading not 12 20

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Apr 2017
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    Minnesota
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    Short answer, not really.

    Lets pretend you have a shotgun shell loader, or got one for free, all of your hulls are free, and your time is worth $0. If you load 1 ounce loads, you need to pay $40 or less per bag of shot, just to break even. If you load 1 1/8 oz loads, you need to pay $35 or less just to break even.

    Just a measly 15 years ago you could get a bag of high quality shot for $25 a bag. Now you won't find the good stuff under $45. Some junk shot can go down to $40 or a touch under. Some people claim they can get reclaimed shot for as low as $30 a bag. I have not seen less than $38 a bag for reclaimed myself, and nobody with the cheap shot was willing to sell to me. Plus you have to factor in shipping if you buy online.

    Dropping your own shot can certainly be worth it provided two things. #1 you are shooting enough to make the time worth it. #2 have a good supply of FREE lead, either wheel weights or recycled bullets. It doesn't have to be super hard, Eagle brand shot is softer than clip on wheel weights. COWW makes good shot. A shot maker and all the stuff to run it will set you back around $500. If you pay for lead, you will never make up that cost. I wouldn't bother to make my own unless you are shooting at least a case a week.

    The time to make your own shot is a factor too. Some people have got better results, but I think 30 pounds an hour is realistic. You could knock out a years supply of shot in 2-3 days, but it would be plenty of work for those days. At that point you can have a progressive loader set up, and you can pump out a couple cases in an hour. It's a lot easier to load shotgun shells as they are needed. When you make shot, you need to get the thing running, and keep it running.

    I load most of my shotgun shells, but I don't load target loads anymore. My time is too valuable. Don't sell your time short.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    If you are creative then you can make your own shot maker.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    rancher1913's Avatar
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    most pistol and rifle calibers are not worth reloading for the same reason. I reload for everything just to know how for down the road, like the ammo shortage of a few years ago. right now the shotgun stuff sits and I buy on sale, next year I could be really glad of being able to make my own wads and shot and the fact that I have some primers and powder stashed.
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


    MrWolf's Avatar
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    When my son and I were trap shooting I started reloading. Back then shot was less than $20 a bag. I was doing well reloading my own. As megasupermagnum said with the cost of components today it is not worth it. I do agree with reloading 410 but have not shot any other calibers.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy


    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Noblesville, Indiana
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    I still reload as it is a way to customize my shells. I shoot a couple hundred shells a week trap shooting and all that recoil starts to add up. I load my shells so they will function my semi-auto 12 gauge and give me less kick. Yeah, from a dollar standpoint my reloads don't save any money but it is a way to tailor my loads to my needs.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Apr 2015
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    I load 3/4 oz for skeet in 12 and 20ga. Costs are quite a bit less than $5 a box and they are much more pleasant to shoot than factory loads. If you feel you NEED 1 1/8 oz loads, then factory loads make sense, but 3/4 does fine for me.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master gpidaho's Avatar
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    May 2014
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    Mike in MD: You'll find a couple of fairly large camps here at Boolits. One side looks at reloading as a chore to be done as quickly and painlessly as possible so they can get to the range and shoot. These are the "manufactures" That have the Nth degree of progressive equipment and just want the chore over and done. The other side enjoys making their own ammunition and will spare no effort in making it themselves. These folks will drive several miles to the range to shoot up the rounds they have carefully prepared so they will have some cases or hulls to reload. "Is it worth it?" It depends what your goals are. Gp

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Caliutopia, for as much longer as I can stand it.
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    +1 to what gpidaho said. If you are loading to shoot, probably not worth it . If you are loading to load, no degree of effort or expense is too much.
    grayscale

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


    MrWolf's Avatar
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    I will say reloading allowed me to adjust our loads for what we were shooting, i.e. handicap vs what could be bought in stores. We ended up with loads that matched how we shot which made a big difference.

  12. #12
    Thanks everyone. I'm the load a few different rifle rounds drive an hour to shoot them. Fire a fowling shot, wait between each shot for the barrel to cool. Shoot something else in the meantime. I'm also one of the few guys shooting during the ammo shortage. I like the Idea of customizing a lighter recoiling load.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

    Winger Ed.'s Avatar
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    The only savings I found for reloading shotgun shells was
    I could load a heavy magnum shell for about the same price as catching cheap stuff on sale.
    It wasn't playing the blame game, finding fault, and complaining about every little thing that made America great.
    It was God, guns, and guts.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy

    Powersgt's Avatar
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    I was lucky and all my shotgun press where free or extremely cheap. I even got a PW 375C for nothing other then a couple small lost parts. Lead is not free but I have a literal ton of it from past business. All that aside I think it’s still not much savings over Wally World shells.

    But..... like it was said before, you can make premium shells (tailored 3/4-7/8) 12 gauge shells and save a bit.

    I royally stink at shotguns so my goal this year is to become a better shot gunner; I’m going to try and do it as much and as cost effective as possible. Best to have loads that will allow me to shoot more without the shoulder torture. Plus I recently purchased a nice older Spanish made 10 gauge and would like to make better use of it with out the $40-50 per box cost.
    USN 86-92
    USAR 96-2013 Retired. (Well maybe, still in IRR)
    CW3 USAR - 919A "Maintenance is our Passion"

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    I reload because I like to customize my ammo and my wife and girls appreciate the milder recoil. They mainly shot paper and skeet off the back deck. In other words just for fun. I doubt any of them has ever shot a magnum load of anything. Most importantly they love to shoot pistols, rifles and shotguns. If nothing else that makes it worth while for me. Truthfully I never liked the recoil of hi power magnum loads either. As for as the cost of reloading versus store bought I shoot for free and have done so for the last 10 plus years. I'm 62 and will probably never shot up all the supplies I have now. To be honest I probably average less than 100 rounds of one thing or the other per week. I don't shoot as much as some of you do. About 15 years ago I bought my first 45 caliber 1911. Before that I had no desire to cast boolits. I realized if I was going to shoot my 1911 I needed to get into casting. One thing led to another and now I cast for everything. When I started I doubt you could find a wheel weight on the place. Now I have over 2 tons of lead ingots smelted up and ready to go. I would go to scrap yards and buy 4-500# on Friday afternoon and melt it down over the weekend. Sell enough on ebay to pay for the purchase and keep the rest. Starting going to auctions and buy any reloading equipment I could find if it was cheap. I'd keep what I wanted and sell the rest. I always sold enough to pay myself back. Within 3 years I had the stash I'm trying to use up. I realize most people would not go to these extremes but I really enjoyed this aspect of the hobby. Plus I got to see and handle equipment I'd never see in the stores. Tons of it is vintage. I agree buying components, especially for 12 ga shotguns isn't really cost effective. I bought a shot maker and made my own shot. Now I've got a shotmaker for sale. When its gone I'll have all the shot I'll ever need made out of my free WW lead. My wads are this and that I've kept from sales. I did my hulls the same way as lead. The wife and I literally drove 150 miles to buy a pickup load of gun clubs from the estate of a deceased trap shooter in TN. I do mean a truck load. I sold hulls for 6 months. Luckily I could ship them through the UPS acct at work which was extremely cheap. I had the cheapest hulls on the internet for those 6 months selling them at 1500 per box. My point to all this is there are ways to do things cheap if you want to. I like messing with this kind of stuff so enjoy it and don't see it as drudgery. 2 years ago we needed a new roof and to me that is drudgery. I hired it done.

    Good luck, Floyd

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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