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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My brother and I are toying with the idea of reloading but don't think it would be cost affective for the amount of shooting that we do. Considering the initial investment for equipment, supplies, etc.
Sooo! We would like to find a cheaper place or way to buy ammo. (Especially 30.06 .308 .223) The thought of buying reloads from someone else came to mind.
Does anyone have any thoughts, advice or recommendations?
 

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Maybe it's just me, but I trust no handloads but my own. I'd keep an eye on Craigslist or E-Bay. You can get started into reloading for a pretty small investment, especially if you are buying used...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
SGV...point well taken as far as trusting someone else's work! I thought about that and would only consider buying from someone I know or trust. Hadn't thought about ebay for the used equipment idea...thanks!
 

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I would not buy reloads from someone else unless I know them very well. In fact, I can only think of one person that I would do that from - he has been my gunsmith for over 30 years and when I started loading my own, he taught me.

I feel the idea behind loading your own is not to save money - you won't. It is to taylor ammunition to your gun and shooting ability. For what I can purchase Winchester grey box or Remington green/yellow box I can load custom ammo, but I end up sooting more of it and there goes the savings - darn! Then I have all that empty brass laying around so I have to do something with it, so I fill it back up again and unload it again - and the cycle continues!

"Rolling your own" is a hobby in and of itself! I have range ammo for the 30-06 that is light enough to shoot all day long in either the Garand or 1903. I have hot loads for hunting that will push a 165 gr bullet with a muzzle vel of around 3100 fps - those will wake you up, but they show no signs of over pressure - they work great in a bolt gun but are too much for an auto loader. It is all in how you choose the components. I have found reloading to be as much fun as shooting!

If you want cheep ammo, there are options such as Winchester white box, Remington UMC or Black Hills Remanufactured. If you want great ammo, spend the money for the equipment and learn how to "roll your own", you won't regret it. If you buy someone elses reloads, are you saving enough to buy and new gun and face transplant?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Iggy! Thanks for your thoughts. Especially those points about the benefits of loading your own and not to expect a big savings factor! The "hobby" aspect is appealing. Boring winter day...load some ammo! Maybe I haven't done enough research into cost of getting started also. I may have to admit that there may be a trust problem of my own loads (at the beginning)!
 

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The best thing I did was to get a mentor to teach me. I have in return done the same for a couple of others over the years. Find someone in your area that is willing to help you out, read some books, get some reloading manuals. I bought my reloading kit second had from someone getting out of reloading - it came with manuals from Speer, Hornady, Nosler and Lee. I have since purchased the updated Speer and Hornady plus Lymann and Sierra. They all have a section on how to reload, but I would still recommend a mentor to start out. If I lived closer I would offer to help, but Michigan to California is a long trip. Once you get started, you will love it!

Iggy
 

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Don't buy reloads from someone. Shoot factory and save the cases until you start reloading your own.


I think a person needs some type of license to manufacture ammo for sale.

edit: Rileyo63, reloading is a wonderful pastime. Follow the data (neither too much powder nor too little powder) and don't get bold with your loads until you have lots of experience. I have been loading about 45 years and still am not very bold. The only problem I have ever had with one of my reloads was the one and only time I went outside the published data and did not put enough powder in some .357 Magnum loads.
 

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Unfortunately, the days of stockpiling mounds of mil-surp plinking ammo and blasting away carelessly on the weekend are about over..... unless you have deep pockets. Reloading components aren't cheap either. So a day at the range usually means (for me) shooting lots of 22 ammo followed by a few rounds of center fire that I have carefully reloaded with Sierra Match Kings. (and I have about 60K rds of centerfire stashed in the basement, bought when it was 15 cents a pop....but I'm not wasting it cause I can't afford, at today's prices, to replace it).

Match Kings are 25 cents ea....plus powder and primers... and now we are in the 45 cent per trigger pull neighborhood....not counting labor. So I want my M-1A and bolt gun shooting to be the best, most satisfying part of my day at the range...and that requires careful reloading on my part.

You will get more satisfaction, fun and enjoyment shooting rounds you carefully put together yourself than blasting with someone elses reloads....even if they are safe. If you want to blast, get a good 22 and fire away....then save your pennies to set up your re-loading operation. You may...or may not save money rolling your own, but you will switch from being a blaster to a 1 shot, 1 kill type of rifleman.

Just my thinking on the direction you should head.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
As usual some very good advice from knowledgeable members of this forum. Thank you all......next question???

Any brand reloading system/equipment better than another? Any risk in buying used equipment?
 

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Lee is usually considered a lower class than the other "big" reloading companies, Hornady, RCBS, Dillon, Lyman, with Redding usually considered premium.

I love my lee stuff. All of the big makers have well-deserved reps for excellent customer service. I only started reloading a few months ago (though I've been gathering brass/components for years) and have loaded a couple thousand handgun rounds and a few hundred rifle rounds thus far.

Used presses, particularly single stage or turret presses, are hard to break and hard to wear out. Progressives frames are just as sturdy but the fiddly bits can wear out. However, most makers will fix them up for little or no money (Dillon has a no-questions-asked lifetime warranty for example, even if you're not the original owner).

To start out, making rifle rounds, I'd recommend a sturdy single stage press. I started on my Lee Classic Turret and absolutely love it. But I load primarily handgun. I wouldn't do a LOT of resizing rifle rounds on it. I have another old single stage press (Bair) that I use for heavy-effort stuff.
 

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The equipment manufactures all seem to stand behind their equipment. RCBS is probably the most pleantiful and easiest to find, single stage press is the way to get started. Look on Craig's list, eBay, local papers and such for used. When I got started I bought a used kit with two presses, 10 dies, 5,000 primers and 1,000 once fired 357 cases for less than the cost of a new starter kit. It also came with 5#'s of unopend powder and a couple thousand bullets! For me the best brand was RCBS because that what I found.

You want a single stage "O" press that can handle the forces needed to size cases - "C" presses are too flimsy if you are resizing military cases that were shot in a generous chamber, brand is not as important as construction of the press. I have used Lee, Hornady and RCBS dies - they all work fine for me, I do not shoot for competition - just to be good enough to hit a target @ 300 yards and be within about 4" of bullseye - with my 50+ eyes I think it is more luck than skill. In my 20's that was a different story.
 

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I use mainly RCBS stuff but do like the Lee factory crimp dies and the Lee case trimming system. I do have some Redding dies and a Dillon Super Swager that are of very good quality. Buy good stuff and you will only have to buy it once.
 

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absolutely stay away from other peoples reloads, and money has nothing to do with it, its all about safety!!!! if you just have to shoot someone elses reloads, but them from black hills.
 

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I have bought "factory" reloaded ammo in the past with okay results. My weapons still function, and I still have my digits.. I prefer sealed surplus military ammo when possible though.

That said, I only reload for close friends, and immediate family, and that's it. Other people have asked me to reload ammo for them, and I politely decline their offer. I'll offer to help someone out, or answer questions to the best of my abilities if they want to start doing it for themselves, but that's about it when it comes to people outside immediate family or close friends. Typically for close friends we're reloading to troubleshoot an accuracy issue or some other issue with their weapon (like feeding) - not necessarily for any cost saving benefit, because in my experience it is generally more expensive to reload than to buy new ammo.

I seem to have a lot of the same equipment that Pomeroy has, mainly RCBS stuff, we have Lee factory crimp dies and a couple of redding dies as well. Most of my stuff is RCBS though. He said it though, buy quality once and don't look back. I like the idea of a progressive press, and it would save me a ton of time when reloading handgun ammo, but for me, I'd have to re-tool to go to one of those setups. It's easier for me to just get another single stage RCBS "rock chucker" and go about it that way.

I personally enjoy reloading ammo, the only tedious part for me is case trimming. That isn't my most favorite part, but you gotta take the good with the bad.. A friend of mine has a Dillon electric case trimmer that's mounted on the top of a single stage press that looks pretty nifty. I just don't usually have the $ for Dillon stuff..
 

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I would pretty much repeat what has already been said, except that I still find some decent surplus ammo at gun shows. Sometimes it helps to have cash. Green dollar bills at a slow show make a difference. I think anything under $.45 is a good buy if it is non corrosive decent ammo. It cost about half that to reload it.(plus your labor)Most surplus is not reloadable for me because of the primers. (something else to consider)
I am not an expert reloader, but I can tell a huge positve difference in my loads and everything else as far as getting tighter groups. That said I don't load all I shoot, just because I find it boring and time consuming. I got all my reloading stuff at yard sales, estate sales, ebay and gun shows. If you can be patient and research the cost of new you can do very well. RCBS has a lifetime transferable warranty much like craftsman tools used to have. Some of the others may as well, but I like my rockchucker frame.
I have had some good luck with "factory' reloads, but lately haven't seen any.
 

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You will save some money reloading, for example:

1 box (100) of Hornady 168gr Match= $27
1 sleeve of (100) primers= $4
Half lb of H4895= $12

So, for $43 +/- you have 100 rounds of match grade ammunition. Of course, this is provided you already have the brass.

If you were to buy 100 rds of Federal Match you'd be looking at around $150+/-. It gets even better for pistol, especially if you cast your own bullets. I cast .45, .44, .40, and .357. Most of my lead I got for free or nearly free, so 100 rounds of .357's, for example, costs me $5 or 6 bucks...
 

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You will save some money reloading, for example:

1 box (100) of Hornady 168gr Match= $27
1 sleeve of (100) primers= $4
Half lb of H4895= $12

So, for $43 +/- you have 100 rounds of match grade ammunition. Of course, this is provided you already have the brass.

If you were to buy 100 rds of Federal Match you'd be looking at around $150+/-. It gets even better for pistol, especially if you cast your own bullets. I cast .45, .44, .40, and .357. Most of my lead I got for free or nearly free, so 100 rounds of .357's, for example, costs me $5 or 6 bucks...


Yes I agree SGV, when I read posts about not saving any money; I kind of questioned the comments. Of course this is after you have reloaded/shot enough to pay for the Press/components. My numbers come out close to yours. If you are a casual shooter (once or twice a year), it'll take forever before you break even on the press/components. dozier
 

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As everyone said above Do not trust reloads
I as a lot in Here Have Mil Surp stashed away. very very seldom do I shoot it.It is for a Rainy Day or my children.
When my friend and I go Shooting we will go through 500-1000 rounds on one outing. mainly Ar's and pistol
the AR reloads are about .11-13 cents a pop. when you buy bulk,pills ,powder, and primers.
One thing Everyone has yet to tell you. You do not save money reloading Period.
You just shoot a whole lot more for the same price
 
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As everyone said above Do not trust reloads
I as a lot in Here Have Mil Surp stashed away. very very seldom do I shoot it.It is for a Rainy Day or my children.
When my friend and I go Shooting we will go through 500-1000 rounds on one outing. mainly Ar's and pistol
the AR reloads are about .11-13 cents a pop. when you buy bulk,pills ,powder, and primers.
One thing Everyone has yet to tell you. You do not save money reloading Period.
You just shoot a whole lot more for the same price
THAT Sir is a true statement! Before I started loading, a box or two of .45's or a couple boxes of .223 was about all I could afford. Once I started reloading, I was spending the same amount of money to shoot, but I was shooting 2-3 times as many rounds.

When I was shooting IPSC I couldn't believe the number of guys that didn't reload. One guy that shot the matches regularly would go through 1K+ rounds of factory .40 a month, and didn't blink an eye. I would go through 500+ rds of .45's a WEEK and I still spent a bit less than he did in a months shooting.

Now that I cast my own boolits, I blaze away and don't even think about how much money is going downrange. Life is good...
 
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