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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Trying to figure out if purchasing a reloader is worth it.

Let's say I have an unlimited supply of Remington Gun Club hulls. Let's say I have nothing else besides the hulls, the reloader, and time.

If I wanted to shoot a 1 1/8 oz load of #8 shot... Can you guys tell me what wad, what kind of shot, what kind of powder, and what kind of primers? I know that I can just look up the charts, but knowing that I have to use downrange wads with red dot powder with cheddite primers means very little to me since I don't know if these are premium brands or budget brands.

Like I said, i'm trying to justify purchasing a reloader. Can you help me fill in the blanks for costs?
 

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DEl. If you attempt to shoot the cheapest shell you can make, you can get you cost down to about 3 bucks a box. Mine figure out to about 4 bucks because I use premium components. But you have asked a good question humbly, and you should get some good results.

Your first loader should be a MEC progressive. Grabber or a 9000G. You can buy used, and hopefully you are mechanically inclined. Or new. A 600 is too slow and you will tire of the process.

My winter load is:

Rem STS hull

1-1/8 oz hard shot

16.5 grs of Titewad powder

AA wad

Rem primer
 

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If you are just starting out there is no need to use top dollar reloaders or components until you know if you even like reloading. I am still using the MEC 650 from the 1960's. Find a good older used lightly MEC 650. Second you already have great hulls, only problem is they like to be resized so find a MEC 77 resizer. Then 15.8 grains of Solo 1000 and Claybuster Figure "8" wads and what ever primer you want to use. I use AA but you can find cheaper ones, I am just using them until they are gone. Then 1 1/8 shot and you have a nice easy on the shoulder load that will grind targets. I am sure there will be comments on here about how slow these loads are, but they work great for me.
 

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<I>Reloading Cost Calculators on this Web Site</i> (Click this!)

For your purposes, start by going to your local retail reloading supplies dealer. You're not going to save if you have to mail order supplies. The shipping on weight is expensive and the Hazardous Materials addon just adds to it. Take a loading data manual with you. Compare what your dealer sells to a published component set in the manual and see what you can buy and for how much.

Worrying about premium performance is unnecessary when you're trying to learn the mechanics of reloading. A 1 oz load @ 1180 fps is a 1 oz load @ 1180 fps and a 1 1/8 oz load... Forget this drivel about this load or that load "shooting softer" than the other one. Learn to assemble a safe load properly then worry about using pricey components.

MK
 

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DelarockX,

Using the cost calculator, you will come out around $3.xx per box. So let's say you can save $1.50 or so per box, your reloader will be paid for rather soon. Two other good things to note are: you can now customize your loads, plus you just gained another new hobby than many people find interesting.

Good luck.

Jon Reitz
 

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Another approach is to see if your club or a neighboring club does club buys of components. In my area, SE Michigan, the club buy saves considerable over purchasing in the retail stores. If you can find good, cleaned and graphite coated reclaimed shot, you can save a fair amount over new shot without affecting performance from the 16 yd line.

I use a Hornady 366 progressive reloader and highly recommend it. There are a lot of used ones available at reasonable prices and you can’t wear one out. Makes a great reload and has a resizing station, which I use on every shell.

You can save money reloading and it is a lot of fun and very rewarding.

….Paul
 

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One other thing. BUY A SCALE!!!! Do not trust powder bushing charts.

If you are shooting only a few boxes a week the MEC Sizemaster is worth looking at. It is slow but it will resize your Gun Clubs. Used ones are about $100-$125.

Do not buy cheap components. You should start with the attitude that this is not rocket science and you will make ammo as good or better than factory. The savings on cheap components is not significant.

Get the Lyman manual and used any published recipe that suits your wants/needs. Do no substitute components regardless what the gun club and forum "experts" tell you. I have never shot a published load that performed poorly.

Don Verna
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you all for the replies. I love posting a question before I go to sleep and waking up with a bunch of answers.

Okay... I know that I won't make out if I pay full retail for components plus shipping.

I plugged completely random numbers into a calculator last night taking a rough estimate at power grains (17gn?) and using full retail including shipping from Gamaliel. Bases on having hulls and paying $6.50 a box, it said I'd only be saving about $.70 a box.

I understand if I buy in bulk I'll save... But would you all mind sharing what you pay for powder? Same for wads, shot, and primers? Maybe where you get it from? No need to share any secrets, but if I knew where to get started that would help.

If I reload at a cost of $4 a box, I'd gladly put that time in.
 

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Keep in mind that all reloading supplies go up and down with the market. I paid $95 for 8lbs of Green Dot at the Grand in August. My supplier has it listed at just under $110 now. Always buy your powder in 4 or 8lb kegs unless just experimenting with new powders in which case i'll buy a 1lb bottle. Shot was $28/25lb bag in August and i just paid $34/25lb bag last week. You need to find a place where you can drive and pick-up your supplies. I get mine at Wholesale cost but nothing wrong with retail if you find good prices. Wads depending on the brand usually don't price vary as much with the market. I use mostly all DownRange wads and can get them around $7/500. The last Primers i bought were around $30/1000 for Winchester W209.

P.S. If you want to know where to buy supplies, list your location and someone is likely to list suggestions on walk in suppliers near you.

Matt
 

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Using the retail prices from cabelas.com as "normal" prices, I just ran my handicap load through the calculator and got $5.08 per box.....compared to $8.49 per box for loaded ammo.

The secret is to buy locally (no shipping charges), watch for sales, and buy in bulk when you can. Buy wads and primers by the case, never buy powder in less than a 4 lb container (8 lbs is better), and watch for cheap shot.

I feel that for a person new to reloading a single stage machine like a Mec Sizemaster is the best choice. This will get you into reloading for the lowest initial investment (buy a scale!!) and keep things simple at the beginning. If you decide that you don't like it you're not out a big pile of money....if you do like it, you'll upgrade to a progressive machine eventually and either keep the single stage for experimentation with new loads or sell/trade it to another person new to reloading.

Go slowly, make sure everything in done correctly, and enjoy shooting shells that you loaded yourself.

By the way....you won't actually save any money. You'll just shoot more. <big smile>

Len in PHoenix
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Questions for you reloaders...

Taking time out of the equation... If you weren't SAVING any money, would you still reload?
 

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Yes I would,As stated above if you can buy locally at a good price you will save on the shipping and hazmat fee.If you need to go thru the mail it depends on which supplier is closet to you because the S&H goes up up and up.
For me Powder Valley is my best bet but you need to order 6 eight lb kegs of powder at a time.If I don't need all 6 keg's I get an order together with other member's at my club and go from there.We split the S&H and HZMT 6 ways and add it to each keg to make it fair and it is delivered to your door!

Good luck PJ
 

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I enjoy the crap out of reloading so yes i'd reload. Its relaxing and rewarding to me. nothing better than going out and winning an event with shells i loaded. I still say my reloads are better than factory. There is alot of pride in looking at a 25 gallon barrel full of reloads ready to be boxed.

Matt
 

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YN, when you want my input , come to Mallard and I will fill you in with all you need to know . I also told you I had a nice Mec Grabber for sale . Most of us buy components from Gene or at the large shoots if the price is right. I load my 12 ga shells with a 366 and 20ga shells with a Mec 650 . I buy in bulk also when I have the money or split with guys in the club . If I broke even with reloading I still would reload as it gives me pleasure doing it and also having my grandkids , a boy and a girl, sit on my lap doing the job all by themselves with me watching over them -- they are 7 and 10, soon to be 8 and 11, so there is no reason why you can`t be doing it . I had bought my 366 over 25 years ago with some components for $200 and haven`t bought a box of shells since .
 

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If I could buy new shells for $ 3.60 I would not reload. Cheapest I can find is $ 6 OTD so that is a huge savings. I shoot factory for registered targets so reloading is just practice for me but I practice a lot so it adds up.
 

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Going forward your biggest headache will be the price of lead. Go to the Graf and Son site for wads and powder (free shipping). Shop around for Cheddite primers ( cheapest and best). And my reloader of choice as has already been mentioned is a 366. Personally I use 1oz Claybuster wads with Promo powder (19.5grns). I break 100 straight at times with this load from 16 yds. And that's with reclaimed shot. It's a good load out to about 25yds when the wind isn't blowing. Jim P.S., And to Matt and his 25 gallon loading sessions; I bow and say " I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy". lol
 

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I'm voting with michshooter look for a used Pacific--Hornady--Bair 350 or 366 from somebody at the club where you shoot,(they're all basically the same) & just about bullet proof, if you should EVER need a part they are excellent in customer service. Buy a good scale, DON'T trust bushings.-- Another PLUS is whoever you buy it from can get you started with hands on teaching of machine operation--components--suppliers--costs--etc. the 366s do have a resizer which is a separate station but once you get the routine established you will be able to load 350 to 400 per hour easily. If you don't need that volume look for a 266 they are a single stage that resizes & deprimes at the same station very efficiently & will load 100 per hour without hurrying. My costs are about $3.75 a box for a 7\8 oz. load which is just about all I shoot, if I want 1&1\8 I usually just buy new STSs or Gun Clubs & save the hulls for reloading. I do buy in case lots to save a buck or two. Ross Puls
 
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