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Discussion Starter #1
I just purchased my first 1911 and I am shooting 200-300 rounds a week. Also, I would like to shoot IDPA, therefore, my rounds shot per week will probably go up. I am thinking about buying some reloading equipment, but want to make sure it will be cost effective. What kind of ammo should I use for IDPA and what is the cost per round if I reload?
 

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I too started reloading to save a little money. 45 ammo is not exactly cheap around here. Even if I purchase reloads I'm spending about $13 per 50. That's about 26 cents per round. When I reload it's costing me about 8.5 cents per round not including the brass. I was given most of my brass and since you will reuse most of the brass, it isn't a regular reoccuring cost. Eventually you lose brass or it becomes damaged so you will need to replenish your supply. If I factor in 1000 pieces once fired brass then maybe I'm up to 11 cents per round but again the brass is reused so it is not a regular reoccuring cost.

There are some problems associated with reloading that can actually cause you to spend more money. I now find that I shoot a lot more than before. Any savings that I realized from reloading is now spent on making more ammo to shoot. This is definitely a good thing.

I just started shooting IDPA. In fact I had my first match last Friday. I was a bit nervous, but I did well. I let everyone know that I was new and they were more than willing to guide me along. I shoot a 200 grain LSWC bullet from Precision Bullets with 5.3 grains of Winchester 231 powder and Winchester primers. It does well in my Kimber Pro Carry. Be sure and search the archives. That's where I found a lot of very good info that helped me get started reloading.
 

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It's not about saving money. It's about having custom ammo.

I starte loading 44 mag with a Lee hand press and some "dippers." Now I have three presses, two scales, trimmers, calipers, deburring tools . . . Loading match grade ammo fire-formed for bench-rest rifle. I have a large "bench" and plenty of shelf space set up. To do it well, you need a "shop" for reloading. It's a space intensive hobby.

You can invest in a progressive press and turn out the mass quantities of ammo if that's the way you want to go. I tend to spend 5 hrs loading 50 rds or 100 rds of match grade stuff and then go after the .37x MOA on a good day.

But I turn out some cheap, plinko stuff for the handguns. Lead bullet, range pickup brass. Cheaper and more fun than spending $$$ on the store stuff. And the ammo is better.

Reloading is fun if you enjoy it. It's a lot of work if you're doing it just to save money.


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What they said. Probably spend just as much but shoot much more. Plus reloading is relaxing and plain fun which has to be worth something.
 

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Won't save a dime. Probably spend more. Some guys shoot to reload and others reload to shoot. I think I'm a half-breed.

Good luck,

Eddie
 

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You'll save almost enough to pay for the Dillon, scale, bench, reloading room...


Actually, it IS cheaper per round to reload, enough so that you CAN eventually (sooner for some of us) pay for all the stuff and REALLY start saving.

Problem is, I don't know anyone who's actually spending any less. I know lots of folks who are shooting more, though. The common adage around here is that you'll spend the same amount on ammmo, but you'll shoot more of it, so it evens out. Progressive reloaders in particular can really rock through the components (I run right at 1krds/hr in .45 ACP, press time) and then you've gotta shoot it all.

It's better than great to tbe able to adjust what you are shooting. My wife has decided to start shooting pistols so that she doesn't have to sit around and spectate at matches, but it turns out that she's REALLY recoil sensitive. What to do? If you're not a reloader, this is a huge problem, especially in a smal town like ours. Reloading, we just whipped up some 300 fps wadcutters for the .38, and she's about ready to graduate to reduced .45s--lighter recoil spring, and we're there!

When considering reloading equipment, keep in mind not only volume but how much time you have to reload. I don't do enough volume to really justify my 650, but I have so little time that being able to crank out a LOT of rounds quickly is the only way I'll get to shoot.

Good luck!

Steve

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"Formerly we suffered from crimes; now we suffer from laws." --- Publius Cornelius Tacitus
 

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You can probably wind up "rolling your own" for 50-75% of the cost of typical factory ammo, depending on what loads we're talking about. Most of the dollar saving is in the cost of brass, which you can recycle and/or buy in "once-fired" condition. The big manufacturers use new brass, of course.

You will have to put the pencil to it: how much are you saving per 100 rounds, how much did you spend on your reloading equipment, and therefore, how long will it be before the savings offset the cost of getting set up. Be sure to factor in a budget for the "Gotta have one of those!" gizmos that you will encounter.


Just a really rough approximation: you will recoup the cost of a fairly nice reloading setup in 10,000 rounds.

One thing no one mentions is your time. I reload for fun, and I don't count the cost of my time. If I did, reloaded ammo would be more expensive than factory ammo.


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If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
 

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Oh, yeah...

I use 230 gr plated rainiers exclusively in the .45, and my cost per round is right at $.10/round, including brass (figuring an average of 5 reloads before I lose it--I actually get more than this, since most of it gets shot in the revolver a few times, and moonclips mean I get ALL of my brass back).
Federal primers bump the price some, and I have no cheap local source for components (OK, we order 35k rainiers at a time, and that helps!)

Still, $100/1000 rounds ain;t bad.

Steve


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"Formerly we suffered from crimes; now we suffer from laws." --- Publius Cornelius Tacitus
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks to all who replied!

Now I must decide which press to buy. Dillion or RCBS? Single or progressive?
 

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SKG, it depends a lot on how much you enjoy the mechanics of reloading and how much ammo you need to produce.

I still use a single-stage RCBS press because I enjoy reloading, and I enjoy being "in on" every step in the process. And I don't shoot as much as some, so I can turn out the ammo I need in a couple of evenings a week. But if you foresee shooting the better part of 500 rounds a week, you should at least consider some automation.
You can do that much loading on a single-stage press, but it'll take a lot of your free time.

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If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
 

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.45 ACP, Unit Costing, Batch of 50:

WalMart UMC factory ammo $13 plus tax

$4.2000 Montana Gold bullets, $84 per 1,000
4.6500 Starline Brass, $93 per 1,000
.4732 Winchester 231 powder, 5.3 grains
.6000 Winchester primers
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$9.8232 All New Components

$5.1732 Reusing brass

You could save additional money by using lead bullets or cheaper jacketed bullets.

Definitely go with a progressive press from Dillon, either the 550B or the 650. Do the math of store bought ammo versus the full cost of the Dillon & all its components and you will determine when you break even time wise. With my level of shooting it was 4 months.

At a level of 200 rounds per week, saving $8 per box of 50 & a total Dillon cost of $800 for all the do-dads you would break even in:

6 months

Cost of self satisfaction of producing winning, high quality loads - Priceless.
 

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Savings depends on your component choices and shopping options.

My cost:
1000 match grade cast bullets $29
1000 Win primers $14
Win 231 powder $90/8 pounds (5.5 grain load)
cases procured by various means over the years; no replacement necessary

cost $2.59 per box

Ammoman .45 $10.45 per box

savings $7.86 per box
 

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Do get a progressive,(dillon) shooting as much as you are a single stage won't get it,get a 550 or 650, you won't be sorry
 

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My reloading costs mirror those posted by KLN, maybe a little less. I get some other good ole boys together that reload and we buy in bulk to cut costs. I can get an 8lb keg of WW231 for &64, and primers are about $12.50/1000 when we buy 25K, the 200gr LSWC H&G 68's can be had for about $11/1000 if we order 25K. Brass is free for the most part. I dont mind bending over and picking up range brass and if I teach a class I get it all, seems none of the younger ones reload. I will never be able to use all of the once fired brass that I have now. I figure I'm paying just over two bucks for a box of 50 loaded 45's.

So yeah, reloading does save money. But like others have noted the initial set up cost is a little steep but the long term returns really add up.

[This message has been edited by Ken Neal (edited 08-18-2001).]
 

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A 200 grain SWC cast at home out of wheel weights will cost something like $5 per 1000 after spending roughly $150 to get started.

Casting your own will pay for itself very quickly and will also pay for the rest of your reloading equipment at a faster rate than buying bullets. Your available time is the only issue.

You're shooting just enough ammo per week to make a single stage press a little too slow. The Lee turret press would do a good job with the auto-index feature and auto-disk powder measure. A Dillon 550 would also be worth the effort and will comfortably handle more ammo per week than the Lee, but the Lee will handle 500 rounds fairly well unless you want to load more than 1 day per week. It's something like half the speed of the Dillon, but much cheaper if that's a concern.

The good thing about reloading is there are lots of options availale these days to all wallet capacities.

If you like to reload, then even hand weighed charges and a single stage press can be fun.
 
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