Is reloading worth it?

Discussion in 'Shooting - Reloading Forum' started by shell waster, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. shell waster

    shell waster Senior Refuge Member

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    I am a complete reloading green horn and have no real idea of cost. I like to shoot the higher density shot like hevi shot. I always bought on sale with mail in rebates, but the last couple of years its just to pricey for me. I have used my stock sparingly mixed in with el cheap o steel. I tried the better steel s and wasn't overly impressed. Shoot a sbe1 usually 3.5 or 3 inch. What would recommend. I shot close to 200 rounds last season on ducks and about the same on skeet on the back forty. My wife and daughter s use 20 gauges and shot a combined 200 rounds last year. My brother would also want to use as well.

    What are your recommendations? Loader , hulls supplier, etc or ..just keep buying
     
  2. PaulinKansas

    PaulinKansas Elite Refuge Member

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    600 shells a year combined. Just keep buying factory.

    I shoot probably 2000-3000 shells a year on back yard skeet, doves and waterfowl. They are all reloads.

    If you go in with the approach of saving money, you aren't going to. If you go in with the approach that reloading in itself is a hobby, and provides you with a benefit of shells better than factory for a little less cost, then go for it.
     
  3. bang you'r dead

    bang you'r dead Canada Forum Mod. Eh! Moderator Flyway Manager

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    You probably don't shoot enough to justify it. I got into reloading steel, because the factory loads at the time were crap. 11-1200 fps loads with terrible powder and wads, made for 30 yd crippling loads. I reloaded to make better quality shotshells that would kill consistently at distance. Reloading was the only way to do it back then. Things have changed over the last 20 years, however. With the advent of slower burning powders, such as Alliant STEEL, and improved wad and hull designs, you now have a myriad of loads and styles to choose from. I am of the lightning load camp, and I like "fast" steel, which is from 1550 fps to 1800+ fps, with lighter loads, from 3/4 to 1 1/16 oz, usually in a 2.75" hull. With the guidance of several from this site, including the just-deceased Ned, and others, there was a lot of experimentation and success with these loads.

    If you want to load the 70+ yd HD stuff, you are looking at the TSS or ITX shot, or equivalent, and you are looking at $2-4 per shell once the dust settles.

    For 90% of the guys out there, factory steel is just fine. I try to limit my shooting to under 30 yds most of the time, and I will buy whatever is cheapest, and most of the time it is Winchester XPERT in the 2.75" , 1550 fps, 1 1/16 oz. loading. I have easily shot 6,000+ rounds of this stuff at ducks and geese, and it works just fine.

    It's the plumber, not the tools that makes the difference.

    If you really want to get into it, check the classifieds and pick up a MEC reloader, and supplies can be had at Precision Reloading. I would think a copy of the Lightning Loads II book, as well as the RSI loading book are a good start. For powder, stick with STEEL to start, and check the forums for favorite hull and wad types. I would recommend the Federal GM hulls and the B&P wads and try some fast steel. Check the Ballistic Products Inc website as well for a good selection of wads, manuals, supplies etc. Make sure you read over the posts in the reloading forums, and PM the active reloading members for their advice specifically.
     
    JP and bill cooksey like this.
  4. Dave in AZ

    Dave in AZ Senior Refuge Member

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    Reply by BangYourDead is a good one. Here's a few more points.
    Cost calculator for reloading shells:
    http://www.ewrg.org/sscalc.html

    You really don't shoot enough to reload, certainly not skeet/practice. 400 rounds or so, that's only 16 boxes. So don't waste your time loading for that.
    HOWEVER, since you did say that you like to use HW or high density shot, you CAN save $$ reloading that, AND produce better shells than you can buy. The Heavy Shot products are quite poor as high density loads vs. what you can build, due to non-uniformity of shot and a lot of the pellets not meeting size/weight spec for what you paid for. Here's how to do that better and cheaply:

    1. You need to be able to deprime some hulls and resize them.
    2. You need to be able to re-prime the hulls.
    3. For steel and high density shot loading, you essentially weigh all the powder and shot charges and load by hand anyways. You need to be able to weight it.
    4. You press the wad in on top of the powder by hand with a dowel or such.
    5. You can "roll crimp" 12 and 20ga shells very easily with a drill or drill-press, and a roll-crimping tool.

    Cheapest option to do all the above would be to get on Craigslist or ebay and buy a 12ga MEC 600jr. and use it for resize, deprime, priming, and fold-crimping if you want. You can get one for $50 pretty easily. I wasn't even looking and have acquired one in 12 and one in 16ga from random folks for $45 each. You CAN buy a "Lee Load All" for $20 used or $65 or so new that will also do all the above, but it's nowhere near as nice as the 600jr. I've got one of them too, it works fine really.

    To reload HW loads, here is what I'd do if I was you:
    1. purchase HeavyWeight13 #6 shot from RSI via their outlet "Bucks Run", via the phone. That's 13 grams/cubic centimeter density, much better than the 11.8 g/cc of HS or the 11.2g/cc of lead or the 9.8g/cc that HeavyShot uses in their "HeviMetal" product along with normal steel (which is 7.8g/cc.). You can get 10lbs for $235, so about $23.5/lb.
    1b. Purchase Federal Gold Medal Tgt plastic hull loads for your skeet, about $8/box, use the hulls for your reloads.
    2. Load up 7/8oz payload 12 and 20ga HW loads from BPI, MV of 1400fps or so, you can get those from their "Load of the Week" for free. This will give you 166 pellets. That is plenty to achieve "CONSEP" pellet counts in a 30" pattern that exceed what's required for clean kills (55 for geese, 90 for large ducks, 140 for small teal sized ducks). At 1000'msl, 32F, these will penetrate 1.5" ballistic gel to "kill" a large duck to 71 yards, and 2.2" gel (number usually used for a valid penetration to kill geese) to 46 yards. Plenty of punch for both and better than most anything you can buy.
    3. For comparison with steel, a 1-1/8 load of #2 going 1550fps has 139 pellets and achieves 49 yds and 28 yds for same penetrations.
    4. The cost of the shot for these loads is $1.28/shell; all added up using the reload calculator I linked you to above, with prices for wads powder etc. it costs $1.48/shell INCLUDING the cost of the Fed Gold Medal shells you used for skeet, or $37/box of 25. For comparison, in order to get the same performance load from HeviShot, you'd need to purchase their HeviDuck or HeviGoose at $44/10 or $110/25, or Kent Tungsten Matrix at $90/25.
    5. You'd save $72 per 25 shells and pay for the loader in the first 15 shells. And have a better shell with likely better patterns and less kick.

    I actually load steel/HW mixes, using steel pellets of similar penetration ability to the HW I'm loading, instead of spacers, to "fill up" the hulls. This lets me make an even more cost effective load while still achieving consep required pellet counts. All these loads are of course tested special loads I've sent to Precision Reloading for pressure testing and patterned first, no "winging it", but I can drop price down to $0.65 per shell with 140 pellets all achieving penetration of #B steel. Lot more study and testing for this, and everyone plus their brother will tell you "it won't work!" despite great patterns and scientific penetration results and field results... the proof is in the pattern though, so I just routinely ignore such naysayers. My philosophy really is the same as paulinkansas though-- reloading is my hobby, shooting ducks is what I do to justify reloading ;)

    Good luck.
     
    grnhd likes this.
  5. M F

    M F Banned

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    I tend to reload for everything even if there is cheap factory ammo about, if you reload you get what you want not what you are given.
    I do not look upon it as pure cost reduction although it is more economical generally, it is reliable availability and convenience i like plus the performance advantages a tailored load can bring about.
    You do not have to go crackers on a new PW or Spoler , you can buy a lee load all for under 100 dollars, they are basic loaders but they do work and for low dollars brand new, or personalty i would look for a old mec a 600 or 650 or a lyman or texan something along those lines, they turn up on craigslist and ebay all the time i just got a 600 for 78 dollars off ebay, with 78 pound shipping its a cheap press and its all complete and little used.
    So you should be able to beat that price easy being over there.
    You don't need to spend a lot of money just do your research work out what you want to load and for what and set out your stall from there, Reclaimed lead shot can save you a lot of money for your clay loads and you might just find you are all actually doing more shooting , due to the savings you make.
    I would take up reloading i think its underrated myself , i will always reload.
     
  6. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Sponsor Flyway Manager

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    To add a bit here, all good replies, as was stated your not going to save lots of money like you used to loading 12 or 20 ga. I load for 10 and 16 ga and you save a small fortune not to mention get 100% better performance. Pretty much all a performance and hobby thing anymore for most including myself for 12/ 20 ga.
    If you like Hevi or Tungsten shot it can be easily reloaded, however don't look for much in the way of cost savings there either Environ Metal , BPI and RSI all have the prices jacked up so high on the shot it will cost you about the same as buying it, you save there by making lighter or mixed loadings.

    Think the first thing I would find out is do you have some local sources that can give you competitive prices on powder, primers and wads, that makes a big difference in your cost vs. having to ship and pay Haz Mat fees on everything, that alone will break you today.
    I'm not to far from a major components supplier here in Missouri and it helps out with pricing, Schanz Supply in Ostego MI would be a good place to start for you.
     
    JP likes this.
  7. shell waster

    shell waster Senior Refuge Member

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    Thanks for the great responses. I realize now how reloading stupid I am, time to start reading. Thanks for the supplier tip 10gag
     
  8. bang you'r dead

    bang you'r dead Canada Forum Mod. Eh! Moderator Flyway Manager

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    Check the classified ads and gun shows as well. You may be able to pick up supplies from people who are giving it up. Some local guys up here are actually looking at bringing in their TSS shot from China, as an option as well.
     
  9. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Sponsor Flyway Manager

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    Your not stupid, just haven't done it and seen what many have in the past 10 years. The price of everything associated with reloading and ammunition has doubled or tripled in not to short a time.
    10 years ago you could get presses for half what they cost today, lead shot was around $18 -$20 for 25 lbs and Hevi shot was $99 for 7 lbs, now Hevi shot is around $240 for 7lbs and lead shot will run you $40 for 25 lbs, and presses cost double what they did. Welcome to the modern world.:sp
     
  10. GUNNERX2

    GUNNERX2 Elite Refuge Member

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    I have not attempted reloading non-toxic loads but have usually loaded skeet and dove loads. All I ever shoot nowadays is a 28 ga O/U (except waterfowl) and 28 ga factory shells are outrageous. I am fortunate enough to have a good stock of shot, powder and primers left over from my competitive skeet shooting days but if I had to purchase those now, I'd dang near have a heart attack. For as few duck and goose loads I shoot, I'll continue to buy factory.
     

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