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Reminding Myself - Reloading

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by GrandpasArms, Jun 15, 2012.

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  1. GrandpasArms

    GrandpasArms Active Member

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    I am certainly not trying to convince anyone but myself. Reloading is an important part of the shotgun experience, but not for me. Here's why.

    I often get the urge to join my friends by reloading shotgun shells. I did it for a couple of years and found that the repeated pulls (6 per hull) were causing my shoulder pain. It will cost about $1,000 to switch to a progressive MEC reloader with an electric device, the Automate. This combination reportedly loads 300 to 400 shells per hour.

    I used the reloading calculator found at trapshooters.com. I used the following costs and input figures;
    Primers: $128/5,000; Wads: $78/5,000; Promo powder: $105/8 pounds and 18 grains per shell; Shot: $38.00/25 pounds and 1 ounce per shell; Hulls scavenged.

    The calculator showed payoff at 19,166 shells (76.7 flats). I round up to 77 flats because of losses. The current cost of shells is $52 per flat, or $4,004 for 77 flats.

    My break even of 77 flats is about 2.6 years of shooting (a flat per week, 30 weeks per year). Reloading 77 flats will take me about 56 hours. At $10 per hour, I add $560 to the $4,004, arriving at $4,564 - to break even
    $4,564 will buy me 87 flats of Estate shells, which is 2.9 years worth for me. I'll be almost 69 years old when I use all those shells and break even on today's purchase.

    When I do the same analysis with an automated Spolar, the break even is 251 flats ($13,052 at $52 per flat) and 8.4 years, at which time I'd be 74 years old. That's when the profits will begin.

    If I don't buy everything NOW, the break even date gets pushed farther out. For me, the decision to reload must be based on something other than mere economics.

    ** Reloading is another hobby.

    ** It is something to give a person time away from work and family activities (unless the fam damily joins in).

    ** It allows for loads that are not available commercially.

    ** It is something to do when there's nothing to do.

    There other valid reasons, of course, but these come first to mind. So, why have I done this analysis and why have I reduced it to writing? Because I forget, especially when the "other guys" are chatting about this or that and scavenging empties. I fall into their snare and begin again to think about getting back into reloading - even though it caused pain and doesn't save anything for me. Those are the time when I can haul out this little report to gfet myself back on track. However, all of this changes, don't you know, when shot drops to $5 per bag.

    Recob's is delivering my current order of factory shells to St. Charles Sportsmens Club tomorrow morning.

    Larry
     
  2. Didreckson

    Didreckson Active Member

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    Reminding Myself Why I Don

    I have never tried to justify reloading via any financial measurement, you either enjoy it or you don't.

    I am still working off 22.90 lead, not that it matters much. I will buy a couple of more pallets when it drops down again to around $25 for Westcoast product.

    Reloading to me is putting together the very best shell for me, and a natural extension to a sport I really enjoy. It is 2nd only to the process of providing myself with empties to load.
     
  3. ken1okie

    ken1okie Active Member

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    If your trying to justify any hobby including shooting....your all ready behind the eight ball!
     
  4. Dr.Longshot

    Dr.Longshot Banned Banned

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    Reminding Myself Why I Don

    GrandpArms: Try these figures Promo Powder $72.00 Wads Windjammer $62.00 per 5,000, Primers Rio or Cheddiets $99.00 per 5,000, Shot $34.50.

    355 shells @ 1 1/8th per bag, 18.5 Grs Promo, Add cost of Automate adapted to present loader.

    What do you come up with?

    Gary Bryant
    Dr.longshot
     
  5. GrandpasArms

    GrandpasArms Active Member

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    Hi Gary;

    Those are better prices, but they don't alter the final numbers much. I find that I'm still leaning away from loading.

    I no longer have a loader, so my cost is about $950 - PLUS supplies. The calculation works out to about 69 flats (17310 shell). It drops the break even point to 2.3 years and $3588 for factory loads. Adding in the labor component stretches the numbers out further, fairly close to the original calculations (2.6 to 2.9 years).

    I am not trying to impugn anyone on this, just demonstrating to myself why it is better for me to buy factory rather than getting back into reloading. Without the cost of a reloader, your figures would save me about $1.40 per box of cheap factory ammo) to about $3.70 for AAs or Nitros.

    If I compare the reload values WITH reloader and automate to AAs, the break even is under a year. However, I don't usually shoot premium loads, so that comparison is moot for me. That puts me back to the 2.5+ years for break even.

    If I was shooting sub-gauge, the payback would be even swifter. Using a half ounce of shot would SAVE over $7.50 per box (around $10 retail). Again, that wouldn't reflect my reality because I don't shoot $10 a box sub gauge loads. If I did go that route (skeet stuff), I think I would certainly be rolling my own.

    I like doing these calculations to reinforce my decisions about my time. Sure, when the weather is against me, I could retire to a loading bench to crank out a few hundred (thousand?)rounds or I could...................... This is where I have to evaluate what I want to do with the free time that pops up when I can't get away to really blow up shells.
     
  6. BD457

    BD457 Member

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    Well Thanks a lot.......

    after reading this, I'm weighing selling my guns and investing in a good set marbles to use at the playground with the little kiddies. I think my losses on marbles (those kids can really shoot those cats eyes and steelies) would be covered by gun sales and the return on investment would be nothing, but my losses wouldn't appear evident for 12.9 years at the current cost of marbles assuming I don't lose more than 2 per game and I invest 2.5 hours a day playing which (depending on how many kids are at the playground on a given day) should yield about 4 games per day. This of course doesn't account for kids graduating 6th grade, kids having detention, or ringers moving to my town from the inner city.


    all kidding aside, Thanks for posting this. Every once in a while I need to be reminded of costs. I'm on the fence as to continuing my reloading after I use up the 48 pounds of powder I have.

    Mike
     
  7. 870

    870 Well-Known Member

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    The point is that if you can buy shells you like for $52/flat, you are probably better off. Some don't like the cheap shells, and they cost more than that around here. Reloading looks much better when you compare to the cost of premium shells.
     
  8. yakimaman

    yakimaman Well-Known Member

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    I can buy Top Guns all day long for $49.99 a flat - but...... I don't like the way they shoot. What I want is a 7/8 oz load at 1,300 fps. I load that one myself for less than $40.00 a flat. Try to buy the same load at that cost. Plus I like pulling the handle and going through the reloading process, all part of the sport for me.

    rm
     
  9. BigM-Perazzi

    BigM-Perazzi Well-Known Member

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    Rio 7/8 1300 fps ... $51/flat...
     
  10. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    Boy, I'm glad I still have 40-odd flats of new STS & Nitro shells at $52.00 per flat and 47 bags of $15.50 per bag shot left. But that isn't going to last forever...

    Ed
     
  11. chuckie68

    chuckie68 Active Member

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    GrandpasArms,

    Try removing the cost of a progressive loader (MEC 9000) from your equation. Heree is the reason. I have seen many on this site over the last few years in the $300-$350 range plus ($30 shipping) So I bought one a couple years ago, after several years of reloading and use of the machine, it is still worth 300-350 dollars. Thusly if you were to purchase a loader and load your 77 flats, you would still have a loader worth what you paid for it.

    So if I calculate right and use 350 for the puchase price;
    77 flats = 10 boses of 25 shells per flat = 250 shells
    250 shells times 77flats = 19,250 shells

    $350 divided by 19,250 = .01818 cents saving per shell

    that reduces your cost per flat another $4.54 per flat

    Chuck
     
  12. WJN

    WJN TS Member

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    I have two people shooting each weekend and we can run through a couple of cases each week. I prefer to shoot the higher end hulls and I can get a ton of rounds from 1,000 hulls. I also load 7/8 ounce with E3. I bought a MEC 9000GN used and it is considerably less in the short term. I can also upgrade to the automate if I ever desire.

    Comparisons are also important in your financial analysis. For people that shoot high end shells they can run 70-80-90 per flat. I am loading for less than half of that. So by comparison if I were shooting those rounds I could be saving up to around $80 per week. Other comparisons will vary. If I shot Federal Wounded Warrior I would still be saving about $20 per week. I have more than paid for my machine and I have only been reloading 3 months.

    I would never try to compute a labor cost to reloading. Do you think about the time you spend fishing, hunting, playing golf or tennis as a labor drain? If you think reloading isn't something you like than I understand completely calling it labor.

    I have no issue with you deciding not to reload and if shells like the ones I shoot were available at all and at $40 per flat I might not either.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Jim
     
  13. Hill topper

    Hill topper Member

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    You either like reloading or you don't.
    For me it is a part of the game.

    You don't need a premium loader to load premium shells.A used Mec 650 can be bought for less than $200.00. Saw one on at a gun club for $125.00, older version, all metal parts. Wish I needed it. One pull of the handle gets you a finished shell in the load you want.

    I load on mecs and a a 366, all bought used and less than $200.00 tweny years ago. If you prorate that over 20 plus years they have depreciated out and now cost me nothing.

    I mow my own yard and see no reason to figure my labor at $10.00 per hour
    I currently am using a Lawnboy lawn mower that i bought over twenty five years ago. I guess it is depreciated out also. Looks like it may outlast me!

    my .03 cents.

    ed
     
  14. BDodd

    BDodd TS Member

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    I've advised many times here and at clubs that if you don't specifically enjoy the making of your own shells or reload to specifically satisfy your wish to have the exact load that is for you for whatever reason, then DON'T even get started in the process. I see little reason to explain at length why anyone would decide to not reload shells.......breakemall
     
  15. fishguts

    fishguts Member

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    Too much thinking....put the calculator down, get a reloader and start loading.

    Wayne
     
  16. Rebel Sympathy

    Rebel Sympathy Well-Known Member

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    Larry:

    By all means, if you don't like it, don't do it. I see where you're coming from. But, I like it and I think I am loading shells that are better than what I can buy for the same cost.

    All the best to you.

    Mike
     
  17. slide action

    slide action Well-Known Member

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    There may be a point to where it gets prohibitive in cost,but that hasn't happened to me yet. I've had 2 loaders given to me and I have 4 very old Mecs with lots of spare parts which are humming along just FINE! I'm still working off of $18.00 a bag shot I bought 5 years ago for the most part.Also Primers from then, plus about 5,000 given to me by a friend who quit loading. Alliant Promo works for me. Last shot I bought was reclaimed @ about $19.00 per bag(two years ago),Plus somebody gave me about 6,000 old style AA Hulls and 2,000 wads. I've been on the temp. diability list for 3 out of the last 4 months due to an injury and two surgerys and unable to climb(which is a necessity in my job). I can't "walk" very well, but, I can sit and pull a handle though, so I have been catching up on my reloading. What I like about loading is being able to taylor my ammo to what I like to shoot. Besides Most "DEALS" I see are on 1-1/8 oz. loads and I only shoot 1 oz. I cleaned out the local Wally World on Black Friday and have several 4 packs of Federals on standy by. When loading gets to where I don't save ANY money I'll quit, but, for now it still helps a lttle, besides being a hobby I enjoy!
     
  18. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

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    Even if I could only load my own shells for the same cost as new ones, I would still do it because I enjoy the hobby.

    Ed
     
  19. citadel

    citadel Active Member

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    Above are a number of interesting arguments to what really is a hobby and not a business. The flaw I find in the detailed economic analysis is that Larry assumes that it is necessary to fully depreciate the cost of the loading equipment when computing the cost of his shells. That may be what you do if you were accounting for tax savings purposes. In real life you need to decuct the residual value of the equipment at the end of the project from your overall cost.

    I paid about 1,000 for my entire loading setup with two used PW's and a bunch of other stuff. If I was to quit now I could sell everything for what I paid for it so in the end the capital cost is zero and the only cost attributable to the capital would be the lost opportunity cost or some reasonable interest rate. Given what the banks give you today I would rather that the 1,000 invested in loading gear than in the bank getting a near zero rate of return.

    I am sure if the original calculations above were re-done recognizing a close to zero true cost of the equipment even a CPA would want to reload if he enjoyed the activity and the wanted to save money especially on custom loads that are either not available or if available very expensive.

    Thankfully it is not all about money but more about having a good time with great people.

    Doug
     
  20. N2deep

    N2deep Member

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    IMHO, Reloading is fun and I like that it provides the ability to changing loads, components and adjust shot characteristics. I experiment with different powders/charges/weight of shot/wads/shells and can change any of the constituents in a heart beat..

    If you are reloading to save cash I believe you are peeing in the wind,, if you reload because you want to build the best shell for your sport and gun,, great stuff

    Art
     
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