Blackfoot - When I'm shooting, I really don't pay attention to the type of shells being used by other shooters. I just simply try to focus on my own shooting techniques.
After shooting, I do notice alot of so called "cheapie" new hulls in the trash. I know of a couple of excellent shooters who shoot nothing but "premium" factory loads, while others are shooting their reloads.
Due to cost restraints, my participation in registered shoots is very limited. However, I do believe that the reloads that I make are just as good as factory loads.
I think as we became more prosperous fewer people reload. They don't think it is worth the little savings you get. I reload because I like it. I like experimenting with different loads. I also reload because I can save quite a bit when comparing the cost of the best factory loads to my best reloads. Reloading lets me dream about hunting or shooting when I can't do it. I reloaded last night while watching shows about hunting and shooting. That is right after I fed and ran my hunting dogs. I also cleaned one of my shotguns after reloading. Life is good. I do think this whole hunting and shooting thing has become an obsession with me. It is my escape from a world run by insane people.
Until the price of components came down recently, it didn't pay to reload unless you had a stockpile that you bought years back. If you can get a bag of shot under $25.00 it pays to reload - at $40.00 I will shoot Gun Clubs and throw away the hulls.
OK blackfoot you deserve a serious answer. If you are competing at a level that does not allow you to miss targets and expect to win, you have to have shell that fire EVERY time.
I get to shoot with a lot of good shooters who are also what I consider to be competent and careful reloaders using top of the line equipment and good components. I would not hesitate to shoot their reloads in my gun. However, I can also say that I have seen the majority of these same shooters experience boopers that often have cost them a target. However, some of these guys will buy new AAs or STSs for the real important shoots.
Just like it is hard to shoot 100 targets in a row without a physical error, it is hard to load thousands of shells without an error.
If you read the comments on here, people don't reload just to save money because if they included the value their time, they don't. But, I'm sure they also get an extra level of enjoyment out of winning or shooting well with their own shells. That is a good thing for them.
I have just settled in to useing my reloads for every thing. Even ATA. Been loading for 2 years settled in on a load recipe for the past year and like it. Only when I start to gain some yardage will I play with a different load.