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Is reloding ecnomical?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Seth Bagwell, Dec 2, 2009.

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  1. Seth Bagwell

    Seth Bagwell TS Member

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    I need some information/advice. Some friends and I have just started shooting skeet at a local club. We've been thinking about getting some equipment to start loading our own shells. Just looking at powders and recipes, I can't see how it's any cheaper than buying the cheap shells from wal-mart?? I'm paying 22.95 for 100 shells now, about $.23 per shell. Is it possible to reload cheaper than this? I've been reading a lot of the threads on this site and it sounds like you guys know what's happening. Any advice would be appreicated.
     
  2. Trap2

    Trap2 Well-Known Member

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    Seth... Yes, reloading is definately a money saver. I am currently reloading 11/8oz. 3dr. handicap loads for about .13 per shell. Actual costs vary depending on cost of components, however, my reloads are running from 3.10 to 3.50 per box.... Just my experience.... Dan Thome (Trap2)
     
  3. dannyw68

    dannyw68 Member

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    With 1 oz reclaimed shot in STS hulls, XL1 wads, Red Dot powder and Cheddite primers, I load for approx. $2.90 per box. New shot bumps this up to about $3.40 a box.
     
  4. short shucker

    short shucker TS Member

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    Seth,

    As you'll soon find out, 1 1/8 oz is total overkill for skeet. 7/8 oz is more than plenty for that game.

    That being said, you can really save some money reloading. I generally load shells for 1200-1225 fps pushing 7/8 oz of 8.5's for skeet. I use the same payload/speed for both my 20ga and my 12ga.

    If it's going to be several of you going together on this, get a progressive loader. Then have plenty of the same hulls so you don't have a bunch of different componets lying around. Stay with published data and have some fun breaking targets with shells you reloaded.

    ss
     
  5. OGC Director

    OGC Director TS Member

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    My reloads cost $3.26 a box. 1 oz eagle shot, clay buster wad, cheddite primer and claydot powder.
     
  6. bakergun

    bakergun TS Member

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    Seth
    Reloading is cheaper. Here is a way to see for your self. Have fun and what ever you do just enjoy yourself
    Pete
    http://www.mecreloaders.com/CostComparison.html
     
  7. School Teacher

    School Teacher Well-Known Member

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    Seth:

    With reloading, you can make the kind of shells you want. In particular, you can make lighter loads and loads with premium components. With the cheap Wal-Mart shells, you are often limited in 12 gauge to 3 dram (1200 fps) 1 1/8 oz of shot loads which have significant recoil.

    By reloading, you can lower your cost per box and/or load with premium components.

    I like to make my own stuff including metallic and shot shell ammunition, fishing rods, fishing lures and golf clubs. Making your own stuff really helps you understanding the nature of the items you are using.

    Warning, if you are impatient, fumble fingered, careless or clueless about following directions, stick with factory ammo.

    If I was more into clothes, I would like to try and be a tailor. My mom used to make draperies in her basement and once had four commercial sewing machines. I helped maintain and thread these machines including some that used one, two or four different threads at the same time. In drapery making, sewing was the skill item but calculating measurements, cutting material from 48" bolts of cloth and ironing were all very important.

    A downside is that while a skilled seamstress does all the work, the interior decorator make most of the money. I never tried to make clothes but I thought about it often. It would be nice to simply buy the cloth you liked and make your own suit. A long time ago, a mom made the clothes for the family but alas, those days are long gone. My first suit was made out of one of my dad's old Army uniforms. Boy, did that wool itch in church.

    If you get into reloading, I recommend that you start with a simple loader, like a MEC Sizemaster (new or used) and a single load. Start with STS hulls, Remington TGT12S wads (they load smooth in a MEC) and a one ounce load of shot.

    Once you have developed a basic skill, you can explore other load combinations. Always use a scale to weigh your powder charges.

    Alliant Red Dot powder is what most shooters start with and many stay with. Right now, Remington primers are pricy and hard to find. I suggest Cheddie primers and send an e-mail to Alliant Powder for a 1150 fps 1 oz. load.

    You can visit the MEC and Alliant web sites (see the links section of TS.com) and you can view some descriptions of shot shell loading.

    Ed Ward
     
  8. RobertT

    RobertT Well-Known Member

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    For practice shooting I use the cheap $4.67 Federal game loads from Wally World. Slightly more expensive than reloads but the cost makes up for the time involved in reloading. For everything but practice I reload, you simply can't buy a new factory load that can compete with a good reload for the money.

    Robert
     
  9. Seth Bagwell

    Seth Bagwell TS Member

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    Thanks for all the great responses! Would anybody mind sharing some recpies for some light, cheap loads? Also, where is a good place to get supplies? I live in north ms, about an hour from Memphis. Bass pro in Memphis is the only place I can think of. Can you buy powder and primers online w/o a FFL? If so, would it not cost a lot to ship?

    Also, I've found some MEC sizemasters on eBay? Anybody reccommend these for starters?
     
  10. warren

    warren Member

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    When I was reloading I was using 1 1/8 oz of new shot and very good clean powder and the best I could do was save about 30 cents a box, that did not include any waste which happens to everyone I ever knew and that somehow you never see mentioned. It's very expensive when you spill shot and very difficult to clean up, you also have many more misfires because of primers not installed which also is wastefull especially at 25 cents per shell. Just my opinion.

    warren
     
  11. grnberetcj

    grnberetcj Active Member

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    I'm a simplistic reloader whereas I only reload 2 types of shotshells for trapshooting.

    In the past I used only Federal Gold Medal hulls, however within the last few years, I have reloaded the Federal Top Gun and Estate hulls with very good success.

    My 2 loads are:

    1 oz. of quality 7-1/2 shot, 209A primer, 12S0 (or clone) wad, 17 grs. of IMR 700X. I use this load for singles and both shots of doubles. 1200 fps. Cost per flat: approx. $30.00

    1-1/8 oz. of quality 7-1/2 shot, 209A primer, 12S3 wad, 20 grs. of IMR 700X. I use this load for handicap. 1250 fps. Cost per flat: approx. $32.00

    Curt
     
  12. colonel klink

    colonel klink Active Member

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    Seth, I would recommend talking to some of the regular shooters at the skeet club you say you are shooting at. Find out where they get their supplies because I doubt they are paying Bass Pro prices. You might also see if you could find a used loader to borrow or buy in your area. I see used single stage MEC around my area commonly for $50 - $65. Reloading is the way to go for sure & as stated 1 oz or even 7/8 oz is all that is needed on skeet. Most times shooters are more than happy to help a newbie get started. Colonel
     
  13. Seth Bagwell

    Seth Bagwell TS Member

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    Some guys at the club said they found it was cheaper to use steel shot rather than lead. Anybody know anything about this? They were using a like 1/2 oz of shot. Does this sound right? Also how many shells are in a flat?
     
  14. zzt

    zzt Well-Known Member

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    Seth, even paying sky high current prices for premium components, and buying hulls, it would be hard to spend more than $15/100.

    I don't agree you should start with a simple or cheap loader. You can shoot way faster than you reload, so do your homework and buy a good progressive reloader. MEC is a very popular brand. I happen to like the RCBS Grand.

    I'd also recommend you start with Remington hulls. You can buy STS hulls for 3 cents each. You can pick up Gun Club (same loading as STS) hulls for free. Stick with published recipes and use original components. Since you are just starting, you don't want fit problems and the like.

    I would suggest STS or Gun Club hull, STS209 primer, somewhere between 16 and 17gr Red Dot or Promo (1150-1200fps, you don't need speed for skeet), TGT-12 wad, and 1oz of the cheapest #9 shot you can find. Use good, magnum shot for trap or sporting. Everything will fit together perfectly, so you'll have no worries on that score.

    This will make you a shell considerably better than the cheapies you have been buying.

    Use lead shot.

    There are 250 shells in a flat (10 boxes), and 2 flats in a case.

    Good luck.
     
  15. jhoward

    jhoward Member

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    A flat is 10 boxes, or 250 shells.

    I don't have any idea about using steel shot, but I doubt that it is cheaper than lead.
     
  16. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    Seth, you asked the most important question relative to the cost of loading your own - where to get components. The big retail stores have what you want but their prices make reloading just as expensive as buying loaded ammo. Buying powder, primers and wads on-line is the way to save money. Graf's, Connies, Powder Valley are just a few of the companies that you should check with.

    There is no special restriction with you buying components in this manner other than you will pay a haz mat fee on powder and primers. To get the unit cost down on your components you will want to buy in bulk. Powder is best bought in 8 pound jugs and primers by the 5000 count sleeve. Wads should be bought by the 5000 unit case. Be prepared for sticker shock on your first order.

    Shot is more difficult because it is heavy and has high shipping charges. You will want to find a local source for your shot. Check with the guys at the club you shoot at, you may be able to go in on a large buy with them.
     
  17. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    From a business position, reloading might not actually be cheaper, but you can easily produce better shells than the discount shells. If I were doing an accurate cost analysis or reloading, I would depreciate the cost of the reloading machine over 7 years. I would also calculate the area used to reload and pro rate the cost of the room, heating, utilities, taxes and insurance for that space. I would then add the cost of the components and a small amount for cleaning up the mess I make.

    I like to reload.

    Pat Ireland
     
  18. SeldomShoots

    SeldomShoots Active Member

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    Seth, I have been loading 7/8 oz loads for sporting clays. 18 grains of Nitro 100, 7/8 ounce of 8s or 9s, a claybuster lightning wad and chedite or fiochi 616 primer give a nice soft 1200+ feet persecond load.

    I have also loaded 18.9 grains of Nitro 100, in a straight wall hull like federal, a 12SO wad 7/8 ounce of shot with a cherio on top and the same primers. Not in the books and I would say approach that load with caution 1300 fps + and it doesn't kick to bad either. My experience has been that you need about a 1/2 of grain more of Nitro 100 with the new formulation to acheive the same velocities as the old formula espescially in straigt walled hulls.

    Promo is probably your cheapest powder out there right now and should work fine. Go to alliant powders website and you should be able to find some recipes.

    Good luck. John E.
     
  19. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    The most expensive component in reloading is the shot. At $20 a bag using 1 oz loads it costs you $1.25 a box just for the lead. If you shoot the 410 guage in skeet and reload it will only cost you $.62 a box for the shot. Add in the primers, powder and wads, your total cost will be about $2.00 a box. Much better than the $10 a box store price for factory 410 shells or the $6.00 a box for 12 guage. HMB
     
  20. mrskeet410

    mrskeet410 TS Member

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    It depends on which gauge, how much you shoot, and if you already have your reloader and scale.

    For 410 and 28 gauge it's a definite yes. For 20 gauge you get a probably. For 12 gauge, a maybe. If you shoot a lot, you can buy in the quantities that make it economical. Also, do you have good local prices on componets? If you are mail-ordering, that eats up a lot of the margin. Use the calculator posted above, and factor in shipping if required into the componet costs.

    This probably isn't a problem right now, but consider if you have a source of empty hulls. If you are buying hulls, there goes more of your savings.

    If you are using a pump or O/U, consider using 7/8 ounce loads for your cost calculations. That's a great non-competitive skeet load. It will treat you well, it will save you money, and it may give you a break-even point that makes reloading make sense for you. Sorry, 7/8 ounce reloads may not work all automatics, so check on that before you invest.

    Please let us know what you decide after you crunch the numbers.
     
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