What is reloading?
Why I reload
One of the main reasons I reload is part of who I am. I am very self sufficient and hands on. I mean shit, I did build my own 1911 out of boredom afterall. Here is a logical list of reasons of why you would take up reloading:
- Reloading gives you the ability to craft ammunition that is more accurate than factory available loadings. You are able to tailor a specific load to your specific rifle.
- If you shoot an odd, or wildcat caliber, you are able to make your own ammunition for much cheaper than buying factory ammunition.
- By reloading you are able to use a variety of different projectiles that are not available in factory loadings.
- In the long run you can save an immense amount of money by loading your own ammo.
Why you maybe shouldn't reload
- Time: Reloading is somewhat time consuming, all depending on what you are loading for, and how committed you are to it. If you have 14 kids, 3 jobs, and no time for anything other than work, kids, eating, and sleeping, reloading is definitely not for you.
- If you are a low volume shooter (as in you fire a box of ammo a year siting in your deer rifle), reloading would not be an economical solution for you. The equipment costs can vary depending on how dedicated you want to get.
- Setting up a proper space for reloading can take up a bit of room. If you live in a shoebox (or your car), this may not workout for you.
- If you are distracted easily, reloading can be downright dangerous to your well being. Accidentally stuffing a 7mm Remington Magnum case with 74 grains of Bullseye could at the least severely maim you, if not kill you. People have lost eyes, hands, and even their lives from reloading mistakes, so you definitely need to take into consideration your attention to detail and level of focus. If you do decide to reload, make sure you are not distracted while doing so. If not, you may end up with a cool nickname like "Stumpy".
- Patience: When you reload you have to have patience and be willing to experiment with several different variations before you find one that will work out good for you. Everyone loves to ask "What load should I use for XXX?", but variations such as barrel length, and weapon manufacturer can yield drastic variances.
Saving Money by Reloading
For comparative purposes, I will list what I have into my two drastically different reloading setups, and what it costs for me to load on them.
To reload for my .338 Lapua I utilize a single stage reloading press. A single stage press performs one operation at a time. This can be Resizing, bullet seating and crimping just to name a few. In Part II I will go more in depth into this. For all intensive purposes, single stage reloaders are the cheapest presses that you can get.
When I reload for my .45's I utilize a progressive press. A progressive press is somewhat automated, performing multiple operations with each pull of the handle. With mine after five pulls of the handle it produces a fully loaded round of ammunition. Progressive presses tend to be more expensive, and complicated in general. In Part II I will go into depth on this.
Reloading .338 Lapua Magnum
- Reloading Press: $199
- Reloading Dies: $150
- Case Holder: $5
- Loading Block: $10
- Total Equipment Cost: $364
- Powder: $21.99 per pound,$.30 per charge
- Primers: $31.99 per thousand, $.03 per round
- Projectiles: $68.99 per hundred, $.69 per round
- Brass: $249 per hundred, $2.49 each, amortized over 10 loadings $.25 per loading
- Total cost to load one round of ammunition: $1.27
To date I have shot 528 rounds out of my .338 Lapua Magnum, creating a total of $670.56 in consumables, with an equipment cost of $364, for a grand total of $1,034.56. If you amortize the equipment cost thus far ($364 into 528 rounds) my current cost per round is $2.72.
If I were to have been shooting factory ammunition (which neither my wallet, nor ass could afford), it would have cost me $3,114.67. Reloading has saved me $2,080.11. Easy to see how it pays off with a caliber such as this.
Reloading .45 Auto
- Reloading Press (including bullet and case feeders):$800
- Reloading Dies: $31
- Shell Plate: $25
- Casefeeder Plate: $30
- Total Equipment Cost: $886
- Powder: $15.99 per pound, $.01 per charge
- Primers: $24 per thousand, $.024 per round
- Projectiles: $96 per thousand, $.096 per round
- Brass: Who in their right mind buys pistol brass???? (range pickup, free)
- Total cost to load one round of ammunition: $.13 per round
To date, on the safe side, I have reloaded 25,000 rounds of .45 Auto (this is an estimate based off of how many primers I have purchased). The total cost for me to reload 25,000 rounds of ammunition is $3,250 in consumables, with $886 in equipment. Amortizing the equipment cost ($886 into 25,000 rounds) my current ammunition cost is $.165 per round.
If I were to have been buying factory ammunition, this would have cost me $9,500. Reloading for the .45 Auto has saved me $6,250.
In Part II we will discuss the different equipment out there, what you need to start up on the cheap, and what I recommend. Stay Tuned!