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How many rounds did you go through before you figured that reloading your own would be cost effective?

I'm currently up to 400 rounds, with another 100 in the safe and I need to purchase more. I've been thinking about reloading, but have been trying to figure out how many rounds before seriously thinking about reloading my own.

Would you say 2000/year?

5000/year?
 

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Reloading is not typically a break even proposition. By any measure. You simply shoot more, usually. And spend time making the reloads.

If you are simply looking to equivalence take the cost of the press and chosen accessories and divide by your best guess as to the average price of a box of commercial loads. That many boxes is what a press plus accessories will cost; in some sense a break even point. A closer break-even would require some trial and error. Add in the cost of components until you get some sort of break even--say this many commercial boxes equals the same amount of reloads (round for round) plus the cost of the press and accessories.

My question is why?

I reload to get better ammunition; something more tailored to my gun and needs. I reload to get a lot of the same ammo as for competition. I reload to relax from the other nonsense we call life. I break even as soon as I complete the first round.
 

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I started out very cheep and only spent $150.00 on my first turret reloading setup. I calculated back then that it would take me 1000 rounds to break even. I guess I broke even probably the first two months. Since then I've invested way more, but I am quite sure I've still broke even over the years.

I agree with ^. I didn't start reloading for the cost. I started loading for accuracy and because I needed a lower PF to give me an advantage in pistol competitions.

O, and there is nothing better when you can tell everyone that you can not be disturbed. No neighbors, no kids, no wife, no inlaws. Sometimes a reloading session will take an entire weekend, experientially when the inlaws are staying at the house. And, if you run out of powder, primers, bullets, brass etc, you can always "have" to go to the range to test a new load.
 

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it depends on how much you shoot and what you spend. i bought a single stage press and for everything in needed its was about $250. i dont count the cost of my time because its something i enjoy and if time is that important it prob wont work for you. that being said from what i have seen store ammo is about 40-45(45ACP) cents a round and i can reload for half of that. in about 1500 rounds the equipment will be paid for.
 

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Saving money is just a byproduct of reloading. I don't reload to save money, I do it for fun, relaxation, and pride. The fact that my ammo costs about half of walmart ammo is nice, but not why I do it.
 

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I never considered it as really saving money, just a way to be able to shoot a lot more and have more control over what I shot.
It is either something you enjoy and find worthwhile or you will be happier buying cheap foreign ammo.
 

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Ok, excpet for Boris, reloading is a really good way to save money. Yes you save money on every round. If yo decide to shoot more to get better, then you are saving money per round, period.
How much, it's pretty much been kicked around, you can save 1/2 the cost of ANY ammo, regardless of caliber, over equiv factory ammo. SO what is the break even point on when to reload? That is on you. If all I shot was 9mm & only 2K rd/yr, I may be quite happy w/ WWB or Tula or equiv @ $19+/100. SO that would cost you less than $400/yr, every year & only cost you more w/ inflation & shortages. A top notch reloading setup, one that reduces your time enough so that even the $100/hr guys can't turn their noses up @ reloading, will set you back less than $1000.
So for less than 3 yrs of being a factory ammo slave, you can have a really good reloading setup that allows you to make very high quality ammo in very little time, like on the order of 500rds/hr+. The gear last you your entire life if you buy quality stuff. Shoot other calibers & the "saving" is much, much greater. You will never be a good shot w/ your favorite 44magnum shooting 50rds/yr. Same for the other semi exotic rounds like 357sig or 10mm, reloading allows you to shoot as much or a little as you like & YOU ALWAYS SAVE MONEY PER ROUND, ALWAYS.
 

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Ok, excpet for Boris, reloading is a really good way to save money. Yes you save money on every round. If yo decide to shoot more to get better, then you are saving money per round, period.
How much, it's pretty much been kicked around, you can save 1/2 the cost of ANY ammo, regardless of caliber, over equiv factory ammo. SO what is the break even point on when to reload? That is on you. If all I shot was 9mm & only 2K rd/yr, I may be quite happy w/ WWB or Tula or equiv @ $19+/100. SO that would cost you less than $400/yr, every year & only cost you more w/ inflation & shortages. A top notch reloading setup, one that reduces your time enough so that even the $100/hr guys can't turn their noses up @ reloading, will set you back less than $1000.
So for less than 3 yrs of being a factory ammo slave, you can have a really good reloading setup that allows you to make very high quality ammo in very little time, like on the order of 500rds/hr+. The gear last you your entire life if you buy quality stuff. Shoot other calibers & the "saving" is much, much greater. You will never be a good shot w/ your favorite 44magnum shooting 50rds/yr. Same for the other semi exotic rounds like 357sig or 10mm, reloading allows you to shoot as much or a little as you like & YOU ALWAYS SAVE MONEY PER ROUND, ALWAYS.
I know nothing about reloading other than I hope to learn how to do it one day. How much should one expect to spend on a single press, something easy to learn on? Like maybe a starter's kit or something along the line....any advice is always appreciated.
 

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I have been contemplating getting into reloading, too. What I have been trying to figure out though is what I would need exactly to basic, getting started setup. I have looked a few different sites and they are all different. I have plenty of .40 & .223 brass from Remington, Federal and Winchester.
 

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I agree with Most all not sure if Boris Posted or not but he is a different Character...

reloading i do it to save money and also fun and have a better more consistant round for punching paper. If I can reload a box of 9mm for 6.40 per 50 then why not I do shoot more yes is the cost savings there still yes as if I was to shoot like I did 2 weekends ago 800 rounds and the cost would put me cheapest 9mm rounds 11.50 bucks a box x 16 boxes = 184.00 thats just to buy the cheapest rounds at my local stores or even walmart. I reloaded that many rounds for about 100.00 bucks so a 84.00 savings really almost paid for my single stage set up. the kit I bought was 90 bucks with tax this does not include my Dies just the Basic press and other goodies in the box. so cost will always be there no matter how much you shoot and reloading will always save money as otherwise it would be factory ammo you or I would of shoot that weekend. shoot more and still save is what I like to call it plus I never run out of ammo as I can alway make some in the Man cave I also do not factor in my time as it is something for me to do and like doing!
 

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I know nothing about reloading other than I hope to learn how to do it one day. How much should one expect to spend on a single press, something easy to learn on? Like maybe a starter's kit or something along the line....any advice is always appreciated.
I have been contemplating getting into reloading, too. What I have been trying to figure out though is what I would need exactly to basic, getting started setup. I have looked a few different sites and they are all different. I have plenty of .40 & .223 brass from Remington, Federal and Winchester.
Starting on a single stage is not a bad idea, and will probably run you in the $400 range with all the extras. You need a press, a scale, dies, a caliper, trimmer if doing rifle rounds, accessories like prime pocket cleaners, reamers etc. If you're planning on doing .223 and handgun rounds, I would try to find a buddy to get you experienced and then get a progressive. Loading 1k rounds on a single can be a chore. I started on a Lee single stage for hunting rounds ( which I still use), and went to a progressive when I wanted to do .45. Went from doing 100 rds an hour, maybe, to 600 rds an hour.
 

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You spend how ever much you feel you want to.
Lee makes their little "Reloading Press." It plus Richard Lee's manual run about $35.
If you buy Lee dies, they come with the shell holder.
They also come with a plastic dipper. You look in the Lee manual, find a bullet weight and powder that calls out the dipper supplied.
This load will be a light load that is perfectly safe. You dip the dipper into a cup of powder, let it fill by gravity, raise the dipper and level the powder with a business card, and pour the powder into the primed case.
That is ALL you need to produce usable ammunition.
Now, the press isn't a big heavy press, but it has reloaded .30-06 ammo for me.
Then, you can add a powder measure and a balance beam or digital scale so you can load different powders, bullets, and charge weights then just the few that can use the dipper.
For bottleneck cases (most rifle rounds), you will want to have a Lee Case trimmer to trim the cases--bottleneck cases grow in length.
Over time, you will upgrade what you want, move up to a "better" press, and find what works for you.
The little press, however, will stay around for various little jobs that come up.
Now, if you want to talk about what you would LIKE to have vs. what you NEED to have, we can come up with lots of things that are absolutely "needed" for our reloading pleasure.
 

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I know nothing about reloading other than I hope to learn how to do it one day. How much should one expect to spend on a single press, something easy to learn on? Like maybe a starter's kit or something along the line....any advice is always appreciated.
A SS press is not a bad way to go, it's what I teach on. It's just really slow for high volumn shooting. I load on a 550B & a 650 but still use my SS press a lot for rifle rounds & small batch loading. The better kits, like RCBS RCII or the HRnady will run around $300-$350 w/ pretty much what you need for one caliber. The Lee Classic Turret is another cheaper option & gives you about double the production of a SS press for about the same price. I would NOT buy the Lee in the kit form as the powder scale & measure are just not upto useable stds for me. So buy the stuff separately. You'll spend a bit more, but get better, more user friendly gear. IMO, go for quality vs cost. The gear will stay w/ you forever. Cheap gear breaks or goes out of alignment or is just diff to use. Lee survives on the guys wanting to get in cheap, then most move on to better gear later. I try to steer people to better gear upfornt. Then you will still hang on to it & use it whether you add something else.
 

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Fred, I beg to differ on the Lee scale. I find it very useful. I can use it to hold the page open on the largest loading manuals and not worry about he book closing a single time.:twisted::twisted: Doubles as a pretty good door stop as well.:rolleyes:;)
 

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Fred, I beg to differ on the Lee scale. I find it very useful. I can use it to hold the page open on the largest loading manuals and not worry about he book closing a single time.:twisted::twisted: Doubles as a pretty good door stop as well.:rolleyes:;)
Point taken.;)
 

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I started on a single stage press around 1965. I am still using a single stage press in 2011. I use a RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme. It will load any rifle or pistol caliber there is in the entire world (except 50 cal machine gun). I can load 100 rounds of .45 ACP in 1 hour or less or I can load 20, 300 Win Mag rifle hunting loads in 30 min or less. Why do I use a single stage press? Because with it I can make some of the best ammunition available to any hunter in the World. Why do I like a single stage press? Because as a retired person not shooting competive matches and not shooting several thousand rounds a month, and it is all I need. I get my satisfaction from making quality ammo, not high volume practice ammo. High volume , high speed presses are only for those of you that are shooting in matches that require lots of ammo. If you are a shooter that only practices once a month and does some hunting or target practicing, then a single stage press will do everything you will ever need to keep your shooting skills at 100%.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I started on a single stage press around 1965. I am still using a single stage press in 2011. I use a RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme. It will load any rifle or pistol caliber there is in the entire world (except 50 cal machine gun). I can load 100 rounds of .45 ACP in 1 hour or less or I can load 20, 300 Win Mag rifle hunting loads in 30 min or less. Why do I use a single stage press? Because with it I can make some of the best ammunition available to any hunter in the World. Why do I like a single stage press? Because as a retired person not shooting competive matches and not shooting several thousand rounds a month, and it is all I need. I get my satisfaction from making quality ammo, not high volume practice ammo. High volume , high speed presses are only for those of you that are shooting in matches that require lots of ammo. If you are a shooter that only practices once a month and does some hunting or target practicing, then a single stage press will do everything you will ever need to keep your shooting skills at 100%.

This is what I've been thinking. I've only shot 400 rounds between last month and this month so far. So I'm thinking a single stage would be perfect for me right now.
 

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I own four progressive presses and four single stage presses. I have both analog and digital scales. I have standard and electronic calipers and standard and electronic micrometers. 85% of the stuff is blue. I routinely make 5-10 thousand rounds at a sitting.

Let me tell you how I started.

I bought a Speer load manual and read the preface. I ordered a Dillon Square Deal B and got the smaller Vibrating cleaner, the separator and one of their balance scales over the phone-no internet back then. I got dies in .380, 9mm and 45ACP. I also ordered 2000 bullets. I had cases, primers and powder from a local retailer.

When the press arrived I read the manual while sitting on the toilet. Once I finished with the nature call, I followed the unpacking and inventory guide in the manual. I built a table from a B&D Workmate, a 2X4 and some long bolts. End of day 1.

On day 2, I followed the set-up instructions in the Square Deal manual and installed the 9mm dies. I used about a half dozen cases and the same number of bullets to make dummy rounds. I tested these in my Beretta pistol for feeding and measured and recorded the numbers in a spiral notebook.

On day 3, I poured in powder, did the primer tray flip thing and loaded a couple pick-up tubes. One was dumped into the primer feed tube on the press. With the scale zeroed and after checking all my measurements as outlined in the manual, I made ten rounds with a bottom of the chart powder weight. I made more measurements and ten more rounds and basically continued with this process until I finished 100 rounds.

I emptied unused components back to original containers, packed a range bag and went out and shot all 100 rounds-about 25 over a Shooting Chrony chronograph. They were remarkably uniform but barely of sufficient velocity to cycle the gun.

I left out hand washing, driving time, and a few other things, but that was the whole story. I'm a college educated engineer and at the time I had only a couple years of job experience. The only remarkable thing is that I read the manual and showed some patience. I continued to use the Speer manual and the Square Deal for more than 40000 rounds. i still own the press.


There was no mentor, no other book, no internet. Nothing ever went boom, there were no squibs. When I expanded to load rifle I bought a 550B and followed the manual. I called Dillon for help twice: one broken spring on the primer feed device and one stuck case in a standard 223 die. I had replacement parts in 48 hours.

That's it, the whole story. It ain't rocket science or brain surgery.

Single stage presses are fine for all the myriad of extra steps one can take to make 'special' ammo, but otherwise they are terribly slow and excessively labor intensive. A single stage with a turret-a turret press will speed things a bit as you have only one set-up for the dies, but you need to get extra turret plates to change calibers. The plates ain't cheap. Yes, I got one of those presses too. What would you expect after 30+ years of reloading?


A little tip: don't let the internet make this more complicated than it needs to be.
 
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