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Questions?...considering reloading

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by roger8918, Jul 11, 2009.

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  1. roger8918

    roger8918 Member

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    Well I’m at the point were I need to find a way to cut costs. I have three kids who are shooting approximately 80 rounds each a year. That’s 24 flats a year and the best that I can do is about $53 per flat for Gun Clubs. That’s just under $1300 a year. I would like to find a way to keep it under $1000 without limiting the kids shooting.

    I have a few questions:

    Can anyone recommend a good progressive reloader?
    How much can I expect to pay for this reloader used?
    If I’m reloading 24 flats a year, how much can I expect to save considering I’m getting all of my Gun Club hulls for free? (We like to shoot 1oz #8 shot)

    Thanks and if I’m missing something please let me know.

    Roger
     
  2. stokinpls

    stokinpls Well-Known Member

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    Try to find a used Mec Grabber.

    Here's a start. http://shop.ebay.com/items/?_nkw=mec+grabber&_sacat=0&_trksid=p3286.m270.l1313&_odkw=grabber&_osacat=0

    ^Probably too long to just click on so do a cut and paste or go to evilbay and type "mec grabber" in the search box. One other suggestion: Try to round up every "STS" hull you can. Good luck.
     
  3. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    Sure you'll save money ... and probably make as good (or better) quality shells as they are shooting now.

    There are all kinds of reloading cost calculators out there. Google one up, but you'll quickly see that savings come from volume purchase. It is no great chore to get in the $40/flat range for components, only.

    Consider the first year you'll be slightly upside down, amortising the cost of the press, but you'll quickly recover, and the kids may start shooting ¾oz or 24g, saving even more ... read being able to shoot more for the same money.

    Presses ... $150-250 for a used MEC Grabber or 9000 up to $400 for a used PW or RCBS. All of them are worth their respective costs.

    Depending on local access to shot, primarily, you are wasting your time & money if you don't buy powder and primers by the hazmat, meaning 16# of powder and 10k primers, or some other mix to spread the $22.50. The expense of getting setup TO reload IS front-loaded.

    Suggestion ... make sure the kids do their own loading. Knowing the direct nexus between effort and fun is pretty important.

    You won't save much money, in actuality, they'll just shoot more - not a bad thing, on balance.


    Bob
     
  4. Rick Barker

    Rick Barker Well-Known Member

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    If you are not going to load more than 6000 shells a year, then a MEC 8567 (Grabber) will do just fine, as it is sturdy and cost effective. I would suspect however your kids shooting will increase as they get better, then you might want to move up to a MEC 9000 or RCBS Grand. If they were shooting a minimum of one flat, plus 2 boxes a week, like most do, then you need to look at a PW or Spolar. When they get to 2 flats each a week, you may want them to all have jobs.

    You will then be looking at ways to save money on shot, such as reclaimed or cast from a shot-maker, but that is a subject of another topic you can post later. Make sure you watch you kids reload, if you are going to make them do their own. While reloading is a fun hobby, it is a serious one, not to be taken ligthly or for granted.
     
  5. maclellan1911

    maclellan1911 TS Member

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    It might be easier for a part time job or over time for you. You and your kids are shooting aprox 22cases a year.
    buying my stuff in 5k bulk. 5k wads, 5k primers, enought powder for 5k rds aprox 14lbs or 2 8# kegs, enought shot I bought 15 bags. I load mostly 1oz
    so roughly my cost as of current prices was close to 800.00 up front. NOT includeing the loader. so yes you can save money, its the time to reload that I have not.

    If they are shooting 1000 or less per year combined, your kids need to earn about 32.00 week to support thier shooting.
    Redemable cans/bottles
    scrap metal
    sell items on E-bay.....this has afforded me more shooting in the past.

    Good time to teach them to pay debt off. You could set up account that they need to pay into monthly. Especially in the slow shooting months.

    Heck just the cans I pick up in a short walk up and down my street in front of my house pays for about 3 to 5 rounds of trap. I find several hundred a year.
     
  6. roger8918

    roger8918 Member

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    Thanks for the info guys but I was hoping that this would not turn into a debate on whether or not my kids should be paying for their own shooting. My kids know more about money and how to pay off debt then most. We have chosen to homeschool our children and because of that choice we are a single income family and times are tight. Bottom line, I want to keep my kids shooting and I need to cut "MY" costs. People keep telling me I should be reloading so I came here for a few answers.

    How much can I expect to pay for a uses MEC Grabber?
    Are there any extras or options I should make sure it has?
     
  7. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    Roger,

    80 rounds each a year, works out to about 100 shells per week for each kid, for about half the year.

    That's well within the range of what they could achieve with a single-stage 600 Jr. One of those loaders can be had under $100, and all of them could use the same one. You're talking 1 hour of loading a week per kid, max. No muss, no fuss...nothing to go wrong or get out of sync with one of those.

    Some here will advocate a progressive, but I think they'd really be better off understanding each step in the process on a single-stage at first. When I was in college, everybody in our Trap & Skeet club reloaded on one 600Jr. We took turns, and it took us 10~15 minutes per box of shells. With a progressive, even the most experienced operator occasionally gets mix-ups, spilled components, etc...kids don't need that drama. Let them see each step as they do it on a 600, and it will all make sense to them. They'll understand more about the construction of a shotgun shell in 30 minutes with a 600Jr. than they'd ever get any other way.

    Just my $0.02.
     
  8. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    Here, answers to reloading questions and suggestions/observations/experiences on child-rearing come at no additional charge.

    Aside from the reloader, you'll need a scale - an accurate, trusted one. Beam is better for starting off. A Lee Safety Scale for $20-something is sufficient, and better than a cheap digital. And you'll probably need some powder bushings, and an extra charge bar or two, etc.

    Ask around your club for dusty, redundant re-loaders. Especially if kids are involved, they come out of the woodwork.

    A MEC 650 or Grabber is all you need and are automated enough to produce plenty of shells and for them (or you) to learn the process.

    There are MEC 650 and Grabbers for sale here (below) constantly. Condition matters, and I think you're better buying here (or from your club) than from eBay.

    Bob
     
  9. roger8918

    roger8918 Member

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    Buzz, thats about right. Can you do 100 shells in an hour on a 600? If so that may be the ticket and if it can be had for under $100, bonus! I bunch of guys I talked to told me a needed to go progressive. What are that chances I'll grow out of it quickly?

    Fred, thats for the advise but lets stick to the reloader.
     
  10. Pull & Mark

    Pull & Mark Well-Known Member

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    I also agree with Buzzgun above!!! If your kids are young enough to still be in school the single stage of the 600 Jr. or the sizemaster is the way to go. I have very fond memories of reloading with my father and then reloading for him as well. I had to load for the both of us. Homework had to be done before starting to reload, and had to keep up my grades as well. To this day those years are some of the best in my childhood. Like said above the single stage machine is much more simple (less spilled shot and powder) to operate and is fast enough for all to load one hour a week or so. One can be had for $50-$l00 range. That said you still need to buy all your components in bulk to keep your prices down. YOu need to check locally for a shot dealer, or you can forget about reloading. I need to drive half way across my state to get good prices on reloading goods so I order all for the year and make one trip and do some shooting on the way. So about $l000 to get started is a very realistic range. 400 one oz. shells in a bag of shot. You do the math and see how many bags you need for one year. That will tell you how many primers and wads and powder you will need for the shot. You will also need a place to store all this stuff (safe from small kids) and a table area to load on and store empty hulls and finished shell. More space than you think. The kids have the time and can load for you as well if you like. Do your homework on components and shot only then can you work up a price on the reloading calculator at the begining of Trap Shooters and see how much your loads will cost you. Good Luck and Break-em all. Jeff
     
  11. roger8918

    roger8918 Member

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    Thanks Jeff, they will definitely be loading their own. To save money I had to give up my shooting a few years ago.

    If I were to spend $1000 to start would that get me components at a good enough price to make it worth my while?
     
  12. Ljutic111

    Ljutic111 TS Member

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    I would definitely not go with a 600jr because of the amount of shells you will be needing . Takes too long . I`m partial to a 366 progressive and I only load 1 oz 8`s with 15 gr of 700X in Remington hulls and with buying in bulk of 5k or more I can keep my shooting to a bare minimum of $3 per box and with reclaimed it`s even less . You can get a good used 366 for less than $250 . Those who went that route eventually up-graded to a faster machine so I would skip that stage . Enjoy whatever your decision will be .
     
  13. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    Roger, if your kids are doing the loading, get the 600, it will be perfect.

    If you're doing the loading - step up and get the progressive. More money, more complication, more learning curve for you...but if you have to load for multiple kids plus yourself, your arm will get mighty tired with a single stage.

    I do think it's best to have the kids each do their own on the single-stage, but that's your call, not mine.
     
  14. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    Use the cost calulator and plug in your numbers. It will tell you if reloading is worth while, and the payback or ROI for any reloader.
     
  15. BDodd

    BDodd TS Member

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    Ask around your club, those that are encouraging you to reload, to see their setup and watch the process on their machines, even take a few swipes at doing it yourself with their machine learning and understanding the process. If you see several possibilities in that manner, you'll soon decide which equipment to buy and it's likely you'll have a person willing to help you set up at your home. The best part of learning the process is you can see that loading light loads, 1 oz of even 7/8 oz will save some money spent on shot and will be more comfortable for the young'uns. Most of us that reload a lot are quite enamored with our custom loads and with careful buying, you can save money, even over the cheap shells. My recommendations are the MEC Grabber and I'd want 1 oz and 7/8 oz bars for the loader and you'll likely need a handful of different size powder bushings even though you may end up using only 3 or 4, a decent scale, two different wads for the different loads (1 oz and 7/8 oz), and you should have plenty of gun-club hulls to get started......breakemall....Bob Dodd
     
  16. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Roger- Buy a loader. You will quickly begin to understand the difference between loads and what makes a superior shell. My prediction is that you will not save money but you will shoot more. It is difficult to accurately calculate the cost or reloading. You will spill a little shot and powder and put some additional wear on your vacuum cleaner. You will load some bad shells, especially at first and this wasts componets. But, you will have more to talk about between rounds at the club and reloading is a great thing to do with your kids. On cold days, you might not be able to shoot, but you can reload and think about shooting.

    Pat Ireland
     
  17. Pull & Mark

    Pull & Mark Well-Known Member

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    Roger, Yes I think that you will go fine in that area. Now this is what I pay for my components, yours will vary. About $110 for 8 pounds of powder, About $107.50 for primers (5000) (Nobel Sport). $73 for (5000) wads, About $24.50 for 25 pounds of Lawrence brand hard shot. At these prices your loads are about $3.22 a box plus local taxes. My prices above are without tax. You can buy cheaper powder, but I like Clays. You will get about 3,200 loads at 17.5 grains of powder for your loads (in 8 pound jug). You will also need to get a nice scale. So now find a reloader at your club, he can help you get started and save some money. Good Luck and Break-em all. Jeff
     
  18. nailer123

    nailer123 TS Member

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    I have a 366 i load on and my daughter is going to load on a mec jr .She likes to spend time with dad and i think she will like loading shells.I think if the kids do there own shells then they know what is in them and that helps with the head game in shooting.
     
  19. dverna

    dverna Active Member

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    If you can, try different machines first. I hated my MEC9000 - It is not a good machine for a beginner. If you get one (as they are highly recommended by many), place a large cookie sheet under it when you mount it to be bench. You will understand after the first hour.

    You need a sturdy bench to mount whatever machine you buy. Costco has an 8' maple topped bench for $200. Adding a shelf across the bottom struts and 20 bags of shot on the shelves makes it very sturdy.

    Remember, the machine cost is a one time expense unless you need/want to replace it. Used machines can save you a lot of money but if they need work you will not save much. A mentor is useful to evaluate a used machine and get you started.

    Buy components at your State or Satellite Grand if you are near them. The big Skeet shoots will also have component vendors. Some clubs also have component buys. Buy a minimum one year supply, then start shopping again in 6 months so you are never desperate for components. Some call it hoarding - I call it planning.

    Promo is inexpensive and all you need for singles, doubles and mid range HC. It costs under $80 for 8 lbs. It will vary lot to lot but with a scale and a few bushings it is not a big deal. It uses the same recipes as Red Dot.

    I used to use Fiocchi's to save money but I now use only Winchester primers. There is less load data for the Fio's, but if that does not matter to you, they, or another import primer, can save more money. For 1 ox loads the Downrange XL-1 and Green-duster wads are hard to beat. Using 1 oz will save more money and they will surprise you.

    A scale is a necessity. Use ONLY loads from a published source - they are on the web site of the powder manufacturers. DO NOT use ANY loads from your buddies of a forum like this unless published.

    Don Verna
     
  20. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    A 600 Jr. is a great machine to use when learning how to reload. Ask around your club and you will soon find several. It is a useful tool for experienced reloaders to use for testing new loads. But, it is too slow for continued use by active shooters.

    Pat Ireland
     
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