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Thread: Is reloading a viable option for new low volume shooters?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master



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    Is reloading a viable option for new low volume shooters?

    In my work crew I have several shooters that I would consider low volume. Mostly because they have kids and other more important things to consider. I've been reloading for almost 40 years, so my equipment is long paid for and needless to say I have free time. They want me to show them how to reload, no problem there, but what do you think, would they maybe be better off buying ammo and enjoying their range time or probably cutting their range time to zero in order to buy components, that are pretty much not available, and equipment? I will say it has been an enjoyable hobby for me and at this stage with the amount of shooting I have done, casting and reloading have made shooting a hobby I could afford that if I had to buy all of the ammo I have shot I probably would have never gotten to this stage. What do ya think?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    Where is the breakeven pointy? good question. I never loaded shotgun slugs as 5 at 50 cent to a dollar each would last a season or two. same with shot loads. I think you can calculate how many you shoot in a year, the cost difference and use that as a base line. I would certainly show them how to use a concentricity gage in either case as it can be used to selct good/bad factory rounds. I would show them and see what happens.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master


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    Reloading components and equipment are are scarce at the present time so it , IMHO is not the best time to jump into the game.
    If they can find components or if you are willing to part with some other your stash it would be a good time to teach them so in the future if things become available for reasonable prices they will know how and what to do.
    Unfortunately there is always a reloader they quits because of many reasons and the equipment becomes available usually at reduced prices.
    If they know how to use it it can be what they need to get started with a reasonable investment.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Well, each person has their own ideas as to how much they will shoot,, OR,, how much they want to shoot.

    I started in 1977,, and like you,, have recovered my investments by the volume I've enjoyed shooting long ago.

    And,, maybe by teaching them to handload,, you may help them become more than a low volume shooter. And by showing them things,, as well as helping them find "deals" in equipment,, that their budgets can afford, you may well lead them down the path of being better shooters.

    I have a young man, (26) that is currently getting started in handloading. I'm helping him find equipment,, AND within his budget. Used,, but good stuff can go a long way. Heck, just today,, I went & purchased a complete reloading set-up from an older gentleman,, who wanted to sell it all at one time. He knows he's not going to shoot a larger volume anymore,, and wanted to move all his stuff. Well, I bought it all, and my young friend will be reaping the benefits of reduced expenses & getting good equipment. What he doesn't need,, I'll have for the next person who wants to get into it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Estate sales and retiring from reloading are about the only sources for some components these days. That can also be a great source of equipment for the first time reloader getting started. And it will also perhaps have some equipment that might be useful later.

    For the low use shooter, there are various on line sources that might be a good source for the guys to group order for a good price. If nothing else, it will produce a source of once fired brass. Be sure to tell these guys to save their brass, someone can use it.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    This has to be the worst time to start in my lifetime. The only people I know that are still shooting as much as they want are shooting supplies that they acquired years ago.
    ”We know they are lying, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, yet they are still lying.” –Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

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  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    To me I think you'd need to define what they/you consider low volume. When my family of five goes to the range and we shoot 75 rds each of mixed centerfire, that amounts to 375 rds. Figure a minimum of $0.60 per rd at today's prices and $100 in range fees and that puts me at $325 per trip to the range, at a minimum. For me, a single stage and the basic necessities would pay themselves off fairly quickly.

    It also would depend on calibers they're using. Rifle ammo is still very limited in variety and amounts in my area. Also, other than .223 it's all $1.00+ per rd.
    Last edited by Cargo; 08-07-2022 at 11:30 PM.
    Cargo

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    The shortages of components should make used reloading equipment easier to find.

    The greatest shortfall in components lately is primers.

    As bad as things are, I would buy what is half way reasonable and as few primers to just get by until things moderate.

    Learn the craft and be ready to pounce by acquiring the tooling when the opportunity presents itself to stock up on components.

    Three44s
    Quote Originally Posted by Bret4207

    “There is more to this than dumping lead in a hole.”

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    if I could start over again.....having now got one to use and seen just how good it is...I would get LEE whackamole loaders for all cartridges...if your buddies are only really a single calibre type of guy...this would be a VERY good way for them to get into it...... the other way to do it..they buy the components,and hold onto them...and come over to your place and load rounds under your watchful eye..... they use your press and dies if you have right calibre.... and the initial investment isnt a lot.... they get to see how things work...they get good loads at a good price..and you get to pass on some knowledge and skills.....

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Not a one size fits all answer. Every person is different. Different needs. Different attitude about the work, or for some fun, of reloading.

    Teach them how to reload. They can determine for themselves if it is something they want to do.

    Lastly, if a person cannot calculate the cost per round to reload, and determine if it makes economic sense, they should not be reloading. It is not a "nice" thing to say, but this is not an activity for foolish people.
    Don Verna


  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy 414gates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    Not a one size fits all answer. Every person is different. Different needs. Different attitude about the work, or for some fun, of reloading.

    Teach them how to reload. They can determine for themselves if it is something they want to do. .

    +1

    Let them decide if they consider it worthwhile or not.

    Some people reload to shoot, others shoot to reload, and some don't want to reload.

    Years ago, I offered some youngsters my sons' ages the opportunity to join a shooting club, as they claimed to be avid shooters. They were mostly volunteer members of the local community security group. I had arranged to form a club with them, with a dedicated range. I expected that would naturally progress to reloading for some of them.

    These few friends created a social media group, and soon there were nearly thirty of them ready to participate.

    They thought they were going to attend range-blasting sessions, with ammo provided. Interest faded fast when they realised they had to bring their own ammo. Out of that entire group, not one was interested in reloading.

    In fairness, during their community firearm training sessions, range ammo was provided for them, they probably expected the same.

    The point is that wanting to shoot doesn't necessarily mean wanting to reload.
    Last edited by 414gates; 08-08-2022 at 03:53 AM. Reason: addendum

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    the other reason to reload is to tailor loads to meet a need...EG why I got whackamole loader for the .12ga to make light and fast steel loads for our son to use when progressing up from the .410
    did same with the .308 for him... dropped projectile weight to 125-130grn Jword and dropped a couple of grains of powder charge..they killed very well,as did the 150grn loads that followed again 2grs lower load..... less recoil but still killed well and lad didnt start to develop that dreaded "starts with F and rhymes with grinch"...
    this site is living proof folks like to tinker with loads....the many light loads using "the load" proove this beyond all doubt....
    Grandpas .30/06 can be tamed down to 30/30 levels with careful reloading..perfect for youth.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master





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    For the average shooter... Absolutely not. If they are shooting 9mm and .223 rounds, then reloading is not for them. Even shooting .40 S&W and 10mm loads, it is not viable unless they are accuracy hounds and capable of really wringing out the accuracy of custom loads.
    "Luck don't live out here. Wolves don't kill the unlucky deer; they kill the weak ones..." Jeremy Renner in Wind River

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Here are some thoughts and considerations:
    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...=1#post5432100

    Nobody has to break their bank to get into reloading or casting. It is a life-long journey. Start slow - a few hundred bucks. Build a solid foundation. If they like to shoot now, and who doesn't(?), if they would like to shoot more accurately - beyond and including "blamo" ammo, if they hunt or want to hunt, they should consider becoming a small arms ammo manufacturer themselves.

    As others and I have often said, a Lee Loader is about as complete, inexpensive, and easy as it gets - except for expendable components. If a Lee Loader doesn't cure their itch, the SKY's THE LIMIT.

    In the end, every piece of reloading equipment can be sold for its initial investment and in times like these, for MORE - unless it has been bludgeoned into uselessness, and then along the way the manufacturer will replace it with a new one, no questions asked. In general, a reloader does not abuse his equipment. Stuff happens. As you know, most reloading equipment is robust and will outlast a human lifetime of use.
    Last edited by Land Owner; 08-08-2022 at 05:29 AM.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    A very interesting question and many great comments above. I have been reloading for decades so my equipment is long ago bought and paid for. I shoot many rare or semi obsolete calibers so for me reloading is a must. I agree that good used equipment is the way to go and I still buy it when I see a good deal. The Lee whacka mole is a good option and how I started. Another option is if you have a friend that will let you use their equipment and mentor you to get started. For me, time is still an issue, especially in the good weather, even though I am retired. I agree the biggest bottleneck, for all reloaders, old and new right now is primers.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    If only basic equipment is used, and with a little looking around the equipment can usually be found used in good condition, the investment can be saved in ammunition cost very soon. If like most of use they enjoy loading as much as shooting they will be both loading and shooting more. If they start casting it will increase even more.
    NRA Benefactor Member NRA Golden Eagle

  17. #17
    Boolit Master bedbugbilly's Avatar
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    Shortage of supplies coupled with inflation = a poor time to get started IMHO. We all supposedly got started to "save money" - well, how did that pan out for everyone, including myself? Looking back in time, there were a lot of folks who were "once in a while shooters" who probably did save $$ by using a Lee "whack a mole" loading set or a set of Lyman 310 dies and tongs - unfortunately, we have several generations of young people who have to have "instant gratification" and the "best" who go into deep debt with charge cards at the sake of their young families - if not reloading, then other "toys".

    If an established reloader can help teach a young person how to reload, I think it's great - especially if they have components they can share. But for young'uns who have a wife and family to feed, clothe, put overpriced gas in the car to get back and forth to work and then still have enough to make house payments, property taxes and have any extra for medical care and unforeseen expenses - this is not the time to "add" a hobby where just the components, let alone the needed equipment, can quickly add up dollar wise.

    If U had the equipment and components to share, then yea, teach on . . . but personally, I would not try to influence an individual to pursue it right now, knowing that they have other responsibilities where their money is needed and better served. Just my humble thoughts.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    if your thinking about teaching someone else to reload it might be prudent to be sure they are first interested in buying their own reloading book and reading the instructional parts first. The last thing this sport needs is a new breed of irresponsible reloaders. the gear needed to reload its availble today , sure there are some products out of stock but if you mix and match brands you can get what you need to reload most all the common calibers. of course there are people who want to go to range and shoot a bunch every so often that can't or dont want to justify the expense of reloading gear and components just as there are some who have no problem cranking out a few hundred rounds for each of their buddies. but whichever range of the spectrum it might be I think of reloading gear like tools or a PC, "personal computer". never loan tools unless you dont care if they come home or not.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master


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    There are people that love them but, if I had to start off with a Lee Loader I would never have gotten in to reloading. They might be great to take to a cabin or hunt camp but there is no way I would recommend them to a new reloader to produce their main ammo supply.

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    A single stage press, or even the Lee Hand press. A couple of sets of dies, I'd have them start out with jacketed bullets. But as pointed out above, you could source all of that for about the cost of ammo for one range trip. Don't encourage them to jump in with both feet. Start by saving brass. Then watch for sales of jacketed bullets in their primary calibers. Then if they decide to try it, a pound or 2 of powder and a sleeve of primers. If you panic buy you could easily spend 175$ to over 200$ for a thousand primers. But if you shop around, do some due diligence. And strike when the primers are on sale at a reasonable price.

    You could end up with significant savings.
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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