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Breaking Even?

3854 Views 125 Replies 38 Participants Last post by  RetiredRod
I have recently added .45 ACP to my collection of firearms and had forgotten how much I really enjoy shooting the 1911. I have also recently retired so I have a little more time on my hands so I was considering the possibilities of reloading. If I venture into reloading I will probable load .45 ACP and 300 Blackout rounds.

I have had a minimal of experience many years ago with my father as a teenager. I know I have a lot of studying and catching up to do.

I know the economy has been rough on all of us and reloading cost has gone up as well.

So My question is: Roughly, At current cost of basic or what you would think needed reloading equipment and supplies. Approximately how many rounds would be needed to be loaded to break even on the cost of equipment and supplies? I known prices vary a lot. I'm just trying to get a rough idea of feasibility?
Thanks.
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Here is a reloading calculator if it helps. I reload for the convenience of having ammo at hand and do not rely on market changes of ammo cost. Reloading Costs Calculator – Ultimate Reloader
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LGS bullets will never really be what you want, just "something"
This is spot on! Aside from clearance sales, bulk internet bullet buys are the way to go. Precision Delta, Roze Distribution, RMR, a billion coated outfits and even plated choices from XTreme are very good and far more economical.
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And as things normalize, your powder and primer buys can also be better online. Watch a few of the online retailers for either free or penny hazmat days and hang onto free shipping codes. We just had a free hazmat day about a week or so ago. (that's a good sign of inventory and demand moving OUR direction)

Once you find a load or 3 that you like you should stock up on the components of it. It's ALWAYS better/cheaper to buy in quantity.
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Good Choices.. "dies" and, believe it or not, the chances are better to order bullets online.

LGS bullets will never really be what you want, just "something". You'll find coated, cast bullets work very well in the 45 - and I suspect gas-checked (GC) cast would work well in the BO as well.

Enjoy 2nd edition - Lee's book is an excellent read and resource.
Yes I didn't look closely but it seemed they mainly had more name brand, higher priced bullets. but lower quantities. Load just a couple hundred rather than buying a 1,000 or so only to find out I don' like the bullet. I didn't want to commit to bulk purchases until I know what works well, or feeds well. ie wad cutters vs round or flat nose.
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You are telling me the 3 motorcycle plan isn't saving me money? Uh oh.
No...! I had 6 in the garage at one time and it didn't save me a dime! :rolleyes:
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Some of you had expressed interest in the progress of my building a loading bench. I decided on the storage room in the garage. The room is 6 feet wide the bench is 5 ' 8" wide. 24 inch deep and I think I settled on 32 inch high. Legs are 4x4 pine, Frame is 2x4 pine, Counter top is made from 2 x 6 treated decking. It was less expensive and flatter than the softer untreated pine. So Lots of sanding , letting it dry for a while. then stained with Gunstock stain. Sanded again to smooth the grain out again. A second coat of Gunstock stain. and another light sanding, then 4 coats of Poly-Urethane with a light sanding between coats starting at 120 grit working up to 400. For Treated decking I think it turned out pretty nice. So nice at this point I could make myself drill holes in it to mount the press until I am absolutely sure where the best location will be for me as I am left handed and the press is set up for right handed people. But I'm used to that.

So, I had some old flooring left over. very hard wood. I mounted the press to a 18 inch plank , counter sunk the carriage bolts on the underside so it sits flat on the table, and attached two 6 inch corner brackets that will be bolted to the front 2x4 giving it a secure mount that is easily movable as needed.

I also mounted my powder measure on another hard wood board that makes it portable and it sets level on the table as well.

I still have to figure out the shelving and cabinets for the small odds and ends parts but its starting to come together.

Oh and I will be adding a 4 foot LED hanging light above the bench. I just haven't picked one up yet.
The pics obviously are not in order.


Wood Flooring Building Floor Hardwood

Property Plumbing fixture Building Bathroom Wood

Wood Rectangle Wood stain Table Tire
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The only criticism I might have, is that I'd have used a lighter color stain on the top itself, to make it easier to see any spilled powder, thus making it easier to keep clean. Beyond that, it looks like a solid set-up.
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I’m a bit curious about the “bracket” idea. If you just bolt it to the face of the bench, you will bend it and the board the press is attached to will lift upward on the down stroke of the press handle. Why not just bolt the press directly to the top? You can use removable bolts if you plan to take it off. I wouldn’t scar up the front of a bench you put so much time into. 🤷‍♂️
I’m a bit curious about the “bracket” idea. If you just bolt it to the face of the bench, you will bend it and the board the press is attached to will lift upward on the down stroke of the press handle. Why not just bolt the press directly to the top? You can use removable bolts if you plan to take it off. I wouldn’t scar up the front of a bench you put so much time into. 🤷‍♂️
The reason I did it this way is so I don't have to drill holes in the top until I am sure of the final location. The hardwood mounting boards are very stiff as are the brackets are very heavy. Not pictured I will have a second hardwood along the front edge to verify a perfect right angle so it is holding the press down flat on the table. At least that is the plan. I thought about the possible flex is why everything is heavy duty. And the front board is just a $3 2x4 with stain and a little bit of polyurethane not sanded or finished just waterproofed/ dirt & grease proofed. If I did my measurements correctly the the bolt hole patterns should line up so I can move it with the minimal # of holes drilled.


The only criticism I might have, is that I'd have used a lighter color stain on the top itself, to make it easier to see any spilled powder, thus making it easier to keep clean. Beyond that, it looks like a solid set-up.
Thanks, I thought as I remember from many years ago when my Dad and I loaded mostly shotgun shells and .308 the powder was gray I thought that would give a decent contrast. Hopefully with the added overhead light will help. I have already thought of this and on the right hand wall not visible in photo is a 4 inch paint brush for dusting and sweeping up spills. I will probable add a backing splashboard along the back side a couple of inches high and maybe a couple of inches along the back half of the sides just to make sure thinks don't slip off the back etc.
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Some folks find it handy to actually screw the bench to the back wall as well. You may not need it for a SS, but a progressive can sure get the pan to fly off the scale if the bench isnt rock solid...especially when you try to ram a large primer into a small hole!! 🤓
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Some folks find it handy to actually screw the bench to the back wall as well. You may not need it for a SS, but a progressive can sure get the pan to fly off the scale if the bench isnt rock solid...especially when you try to ram a large primer into a small hole!! 🤓
LOL Well this thing is heavy as all heck, and I leveled it as I built it so it is pretty solid. But I did make provisions for that just in case. If you notice I put the braces on the outside of the 4x4 so they are closest to the wall. I will just need to fill in the small 1/2 inch off set caused by the floor trim to keep it level then can shoot some long screws straight into the wall studs.
Or I could remove and raise the lower brace above the floor trim so it will back up to the wall but that would be assuming the wall is vertical.
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Play it by ear! Sometimes that sticky new brass has you really riding the press arm! 😆
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Play it by ear! Sometimes that sticky new brass has you really riding the press arm! 😆
You were right , Well we both were. The way I have it bolted to the table does hold it secured to the table, however you are right the leverage of that long stroke does want to lift the back of the table. Fortunately I do have some 6 inch screws that I will use to secure it to the wall studs along the back side today.
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I thought about the possible flex is why everything is heavy duty.
Looks great and sturdy.

The only other thing I might suggest are diagonal supports on the sides, between the legs... the press will exert a lot of force downward and forward when sizing rifle brass... over time it can loosen up your bench.
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You are off to a great start, nice bench.
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You were right....
Now you've done it!! Telling @Nitro.45 that he's right.... 🤦‍♂️
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You are off to a great start, nice bench.
😁 A hilarious visual just came to mind.....someone that will remain "unnamed" with a tipped over bucket of varnish, rags stuck all over the place and a brush glued to his forehead!!
I'll give you two guesses, and no, its NOT Gramps!
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😁 A hilarious visual just came to mind.....someone that will remain "unnamed" with a tipped over bucket of varnish, rags stuck all over the place and a brush glued to his forehead!!
I'll give you two guesses, and no, its NOT Gramps!
I have resembled that remark LOL Soon am going to waterproof my shooting deck, I found a 5 gallon can of it in the shop, maybe I can rig up a brush on my ass and scoot all around it LOL
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I asked a guy at the range who I know reloads a lot. Said Probably anyone saying pistol caliber can be done cheaper is either doing ton of volume (thousands per month) or using pre pandemic stock. He saStarting out today with pistol, the breakeven is too far down the road. He said he’s only doing calibers where there is no ready supply of factory pistol ammunition. (Still burning his pre pandemic stash, so he’s not hit the wall yet)

Also expensive rifle rounds you might see some savings, it’s very individualistic. Also reloading hard to find stuff like 6.5 Grendel can pay off since the other option is nothing.

You can do ok taking say comblock 7.62 and using it in other rounds (didn’t get into details) but he did say he grabs any brass from the range and cuts down 556 casings . (this brass is plentiful) to use with old 30 cal bullets to make 300 blackout economically. I assume that’s the comblock ammo, not sure .
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