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So by the time I have shot the reloaded equivalent of about $2K of factory ammo, I would have covered the cost of a reloading setup for pistol and rifle. After that, ammo will cost me half of retail plus my time and shop space.

 

Sounds cool. I will probably get into it at some point. However, I also drive a diesel but I don’t make my own fuel in the backyard, even though I know how and it would save money.

 

I do look for good prices on consumables like fuel and ammo, which is really what this topic is about after all.

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15 hours ago, xtian999 said:

So by the time I have shot the reloaded equivalent of about $2K of factory ammo, I would have covered the cost of a reloading setup for pistol and rifle. After that, ammo will cost me half of retail plus my time and shop space.

 

Sounds cool. I will probably get into it at some point. However, I also drive a diesel but I don’t make my own fuel in the backyard, even though I know how and it would save money.

 

I do look for good prices on consumables like fuel and ammo, which is really what this topic is about after all.

 

The break even point for me was about 2500 rounds.

I shoot alot.  Where I am, I can shoot a USPSA match every weekend and I often do.  I reached the breakeven point in little more than 1/2 a season.

 

YMMV

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38 minutes ago, mccurdy53 said:

 

The break even point for me was about 2500 rounds.

I shoot alot.  Where I am, I can shoot a USPSA match every weekend and I often do.  I reached the breakeven point in little more than 1/2 a season.

 

YMMV

I realize that you are asking about cheap ammo prices. I use Gun Bot. Even when they show good prices (supposedly updated every 15 min) you will find that some listings are not available.

2 thoughts:

1. You don't have to spend $800 or whatever. You can get into something like a Lee Turret press for around $200. Changing calibers is quick and easy and an hr will give you around 200 rounds. Way less expensive, but more time...

2. Do you have a friend with a reloading setup? Perhaps a little load testing and a rainy day loading session here and there and go shoot. I have friends that load with me for their rifles. Good way to cut costs.

It has been said, but, you can load  common pistol rounds for something like $110/k or thereabouts. Half or less.

Not being a wise guy or anything here. Just trying to give you options...

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That is a good idea. I wonder if I can spend some time on someone else’s machine before jumping in with both feet. I will ask around. Maybe someone has a reloading workshop to rent by the hour. 

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I have friends that buy the components and use another friend's hardware. It might be great to have a setup you could use. Might take some of the "learning curve" out of the picture.

If somebody is selling reloads they would need a license. (technically speaking) Don't know about renting the equipment...  If you are loading with a friend, etc, that doesn't come into play.

Hope that avenue can save you some time and money.

Then you can shoot more!!

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Posted (edited)
On ‎5‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 9:47 PM, xtian999 said:

As long as you brought it up, how much initial investment? I shoot 9mm, 45 acp, 223, 300 blk, and 308 mostly, with a little 30-06. Also  some 12 ga and lots of 22lr. 

 

If you are interested in learning to handload ammo and purchase the tackle to get started may I suggest that take a long hard look at you actual ammo needs and then make a decision?

 

So, for example, you state that you shoot 2 handgun calibers and 4 rifle calibers. That is a total of 6 calibers. And to complicate matters there is a mix of rifle and pistol. So, in my not so very humble opinion, make a realistic survey of the actual number of rounds you shoot in each caliber per month. Forget for now 30-06 because by your own admission you do little there.

 

So say you shoot 100 rounds/ month of .223 and 300 BLK and 500 rounds of 9mm and 400 rounds 45 ACP then concentrate on either 9mm or 45 and gear up for handgun reloading. If the opposite is true gear up for rifle reloading. The reason for this is with rifle you can use a single stage press but will need case prep tools, for handgun the only case prep is case cleaning which you will also need for rifle. For handgun a progressive press is nice to have.

 

It will take some time before you know exactly what you are doing so I think it wise to narrow down the calibers and put off buying things like 5 or 6 sets of dies from the get-go and put that money into good tools that will stay with you for the duration. You will also need a suitable place to make your ammos and store your stuff. Many start by mounting their press to an existing work bench, this is what I did, but didn't take long before things changed as this was for me not conducive to an enjoyable handloading experience. 

 

Having said all of this the needs of a competitive shooter are not needs of a casual plinker. Without knowing you or your wants/needs/desires it is difficult to put a price tag on starting handloading but thinking in terms of $800.00-$1,000.00 start-up cost is in my opinion prudent. It is possible to do it on a very limited budget of course and some do and do well but many handloaders end up with the hardware you could buy with my budget so why not cut to the chase? $1,000.00 may seem like a lot of money to spend here and it is but for all we know you step up to the firing line with a $2,500.00 gun supported with $600.00 belt/holster all stored in a $200.00 range bag. If you shoot a 400 round match with 9mm you might need $100.00 for ammo plus the entry fee, food and travel. Firearms hobbies are not inexpensive!

 

You might ask around your fellow shooters or competitors and see if maybe there would be someone willing to show you how they handload and get a first hand look at things.

Edited by firewood

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“Firearm hobbies are not inexpensive.” Aho! True that. Thank you for that nice post, Firewood. Thinking of buying a book or two first, then maybe sitting in on a buddy’s reloading session, then asking Santa for a small workbench setup. Or watching Craigslist for same.

 

Going to keep shooting 9mm and 223 for 3-gun, .308 and .45 for heavy metal. 300 blk for hunting, 12 ga. for all three.

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I see a Dillon RL550B for $5-ish. Will go and see...

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There are certainly less expensive options out there.

The Dillon 650 was my first choice and I built up my press gradually.  I am very happy with it.  I have broken parts and Dillon came through with warrantied parts in a couple of days.

I will point out that the 550 must be indexed manually, the 650 indexes automatically, reducing the chances of double powder charging.

I also like the 5 stations on the 650 toolhead vs. 4 stations on the 550.

But that is fodder for another thread.  This thread is about inexpensive ammo, and I get mine from my basement. You can also get yours from your basement/garage/spare room, and it will be cheaper than any you can buy.  The tools you can use vary, but they all get the job done.

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Posted (edited)

I bought 250 rds of Remington 220gr UMC at Cabela’s today for 92.99 plus 8.25% tax. That is $.40 per rd., not great, but I’m shooting tomorrow...

 

I also picked up the Lyman Reloading Handbook 50th edition. Passed on the Dillon machine for now.

Edited by xtian999
more info

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Posted (edited)
On ‎5‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 8:17 PM, xtian999 said:

join“Firearm hobbies are not inexpensive.” Aho! True that. Thank you for that nice post, Firewood. Thinking of buying a book or two first, then maybe sitting in on a buddy’s reloading session, then asking Santa for a small workbench setup. Or watching Craigslist for same.

 

Going to keep shooting 9mm and 223 for 3-gun, .308 and .45 for heavy metal. 300 blk for hunting, 12 ga. for all three.

 

 

Good idea getting a book. There are two or three basic "kinds" of books. One is the "How To" variety, another is the "Load Data" manual. Then there are variations of the same.

 

Most Load Data manuals have a section, generally in the front, that go over the basic How To that the newcomer needs to know. If you decide to join the ranks of handloaderdumb then you will need several load manuals anyway so if your procure one it will not go to waste. My personal collection of books on the subject numbers about 75 books. I say this to give you an idea of my attitude towards these things. My advice is get a used manual off Amazon. Everyone has their favorite manual and most are good but in my opinion get the Hornady Manual then the Lyman. Used is the way to go but I've bought new on sale at (believe it or not ) WalMart.

 

Of course there are some awful youtubes out there but a lot of good vids also. I wouldn't suggest using loads from anything other than published sources but if you watch a few youtubes it will give you a great idea of what you are getting into.

 

I had been wanting to start handloading for many years, my Dad reloaded when I was a kid and I have some of his stuff but not enough to get going without putting some money on the counter. We (my better half) and me have two kids and of course that makes it difficult time and money wise to spend shooting and reloading. Finally when my youngest got into high school and my wife started making more money than me I had run out of excuses so a while back I started shooting more and getting more guns.

 

Now my youngest is out of college (and making some bux of her own), I have more time and so I've been handloading about 6 years now. When I started I did what your are thinking about, I asked Santa for the stuff I needed. Santa knew just exactly what I wanted! I didn't have the foresight to ask enough questions or find someone to show me what they do or use so I think I can say I made a few mistakes along the way. I thought, for example, that a bench is a bench. If you are planning on making  1000 rounds per month even 500 with a progressive your bench needs to put the press and associated gizmos in just the right place. The bench needs to be rock solid and at the correct height. 

 

As far as my actual bench is concerned, I have a small (8' long) but nice bench. I have found that while some like to sit when they work, I prefer to stand. My bench is about 4" too low for handloading perfection so next week I'm going to make new legs and reconfigure things using my existing bench top. While I'm at it I will make a few changes and repaint everything and add new lighting and shelving. To improve on an existing and fully functional bench to make it better will cost me about $200.00 and eat up a long weekend of my time. 

 

So in addition to making hardware buying decisions it is wise to give some time planning on where you will do the work and store the materials you will be buying to support the effort.

 

There are many ways to skin a cat as they say. Same with handloading ammo. The main thing is good safety habits and good record keeping. What works for me may not work for you. Most handloaders that have a passion for quality ammo are in a constant search for improvement. Not just loads and components but their work flow and procedures as well as an efficient workspace. I laugh at myself when I look at pictures of my first handloading bench. I could have stored everything in a cardboard box. Today I take up 1/4 of a two car garage.

 

ON EDIT: I see you now have the Lyman book. Good choice! But disregard the thing about measuring and trimming handgun brass. 

Edited by firewood

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Good advice on used books. The copy of Lyman’s was not very well bound and has some loose, wrinkled, or ripped pages. That was new and shrink-wrapped from Cabela’s.  Will get the Hornady manual next.

Work bench is no problem. I have always favored a standing/draftsman height workspace and am used to building my own counters/tables/benches to fit. Have a spare room in the house with a whole wall ready to be purposed for reloading. Looking for a reloading class locally and scoping out deals for used reloading equipment on cl. 

Looks like a single press is the way to go for staters. I like nice tools and wish I could get my hands on a few to see how they feel before buying. Good bearings, smooth operation, quality materials, good design, usually American. I’ll gladly spend a few extra bucks on a nice tool that will last and has a upgrade path for long-term use. Used is fine with me if it fits the bill. 

 

Ammo storage looks important as I already have  50 cal. ammo boxes for various calibers stacking up around the house and I haven’t even started reloading yet. I have saved almost every pkg. from factory ammo incl. the foam or plastic holders from the last 6 months and intend on using them for reloads. Sturdy shelving is def. in the future plans. 

 

Anyhoo, back to factory ammo prices: I justify the high prices that I pay for spot purchases by telling myself that I will save the brass and reload it later. Thing is I do not always feel like scrounging around in the dirt for hot 9mm brass with a sore back. 

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There was a fathers day special about a year ago... got UMC for 12.3c a round. I bought 6k rounds worth since it was just a few cents over what I can reload for. It was gone about 6-7 months ago. If I don't have time to reload ill pick stuff up from SG or a local shop ~18c a round.

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Brownell’s has Browning 9mm 5 boxes of 100 for $89.95 with code and another 20% off mfg coupon. That’s $71.96 and possibly free shipping, depending on your order. Works out to about 14 1/2 cents per rd. Saw the ad on gun dot deals.

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I was shooting ammo from a local  manufacturer last year but they closed down.  I've since been reloading and highly recommend it for anyone shooting seriously.  Economically it's the only way to go.

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I picked up a Dillon RL550B and started putting a reloading bench together, so now I am looking at brass prices too. Lol.

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14 hours ago, xtian999 said:

I picked up a Dillon RL550B and started putting a reloading bench together, so now I am looking at brass prices too. Lol.

 

Police up all the brass in one of the stages/ bays at every match you participate.

Sort it at home and give away the brass you don't want or use.

 

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Sounds good but I have a bad back. Once fired is fine for pistol and a brass catcher on my rifles. Still going to buy factory ammo once in a while. Have a class coming up that only allows new factory ammo, certain meets, rimfire, hunting, subsonics, etc.

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And back to ammo deals... Post your latest purchase and price here.

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https://www.targetsportsusa.com has been very good to me, especially since I live in NY State. 

 

http://www.outdoorlimited.com has been good as well. Both of these for burner Federal or Fiocchi 9mm, 223, and Hornady 6.5 CM. They will also deliver to residences in NYS without any BS. 

 

Finding good prices on 12g is tougher especially if you don't like the big box stores or want anything a step better than the cheapest. But there is LGS that serves a lot of sporting clays shooters and half of the times I visit there are usually $55/flats of decent Federal clay loads. I tend to avoid Rio, Estate or Remington Game Loads but for no particular reason other than snobbishness. 

Edited by Frankly

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