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"Should I buy a reloading press?" spreadsheet version 0.1

Discussion in 'Ammunition' started by jrpascucci, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. jrpascucci

    jrpascucci NES Member

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    I'm trying to make a spreadsheet and put some guestimates in some of the fields.

    I went poking around for some middling-high quality values for reload costs, but I'm sure your numbers would be more accurate. (I'm looking more for competition class stuff, 9 and 45 mostly.)
    Obviously, of course, I know many of you can get free brass from your range, and your uncle Smitty in Dot can get you cheap primers that fell off the back of his cousin Vito's rig next week - so you can just go ahead and put 0 in those fields for yourself. I'm not looking for a pollyannish view of the price or what you can get on your best day when someone is doing a sale.
    I am interested in a pistol reloader/competitor's consistent costs are.
    I mean, at this point, I'm happy if I can get to shoot 500 a week, and honestly most of my rounds are around 14.99 a box, but I could probably start buying better stuff. I know some people out there go through thousands.

    But, I think my bigger known unknown is the costs to really kit out a machine for the 4 calibers, for some of them I tried building everything in a shopping cart and then seeing what I got, but I don't know how accurate that is (do I really need a mr bulletbullshit pro? I have no idea.), and gave up and started estimating. Similar with other recurring costs.

    Here is a read-only link to my original (which I will update based on feedback tomorrow night)
    View: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hEE1YmaRIyZQK99AyPPckNc-68ijmBdBw8Pj3N12-W8/edit?usp=sharing

    You should be able to File->Make a Copy and manipulate it yourselves, can share a viewable link back if you have better numbers.​

    I feel like there should be a market for "automated hand"-loader that is unmet. Maybe even a single stage press, single robot hand with a scale on it, and some computer vision for part positioning and qc. You dump a bunch of parts into separate boxes, and let it do what you would do on a single stage press. It would go significantly slower than you could do it, but could run fine by itself for 24 hours at a time (barring anything catching on fire) and churn out, maybe, 1000 rounds a day. That seems like the sort of thing that could be done at a lower cost.
     

  2. Captain Chuck

    Captain Chuck NES Member

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    This is what my costs look like for 9mm. I already have brass which will be reusable once you obtain some. Worth doing in my opinion. The press is a one time investment which will last many years if it's of good quality.

    upload_2018-10-11_2-48-41.png upload_2018-10-11_2-48-41.png upload_2018-10-11_2-48-41.png
     
  3. mac1911

    mac1911 NES Member

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    Are you trying to figure out if its worth setting up to reload than just buy?
    I have friends that make much more than me and have over time available to them if they want it. They can easily afford to just by thier ammo if they just take some over time.

    That said if you have spare time setting up loaders for each cal will pay off after a while as you save time setting up.
    If i had the bench space I would have at least 4 presses set up ready to go.

    Investing in a reloader and supplies is a good thing to do.
    Reloading affords you to load what you want and also what you need. i have a decent amount of down time nights from 9-12 so plunking out ammo is fine.

    Now if some one can come up with a automated brass prep system that you can just dump your brass in and it comes out clean and sorted that would be great.
     
  4. Tackdriver

    Tackdriver NES Member

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    If you are trying to get the absolute best load for a gun, then you are going to have to make it. Recently I started reloading 9mm because I had a ton of powder already that I wasn't going to otherwise use. I absolutely HATE it. I bought 4K heads and once those are gone I will be buying ammo by the case in the future. I find it incredibly time consuming with very little savings in cost. Ammo delivered to my door is $180 for a 1,000. Components for 9mm are about 12-15 cents a round plus dies, press, and time.

    Reloading for rifles is a different story. For me, those are a more accurate, much less expensive, and consume less time than anything made in a factory.

    Dave
     
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  5. andrew1220

    andrew1220 NES Member

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    I'm right in line with Chuck's costs for 9mm:

    Using Vihtavuori N320 powder ($30 per pound), 150 gr round nose blue bullets (6.4 cents each), and CCI primers (3 cents each) it's just about 11 cents per round. I do occasionally buy once fired brass which runs me 2.5-3 cents per case. So on the high end it's costing me 14 cents per round.

    I shoot a lot of 9mm and I don't necessarily reload to save money. I enjoy reloading and most importantly I like having ammo that meets power factor for IDPA/USPSA and isn't super snappy like factory 115 gr ammo.

    If I didn't shoot competetively and just plinked at the range, I wouldn't really bother reloading 9mm. Factory ammo can be had for 17 cents per round shipped which is a good deal.

    **Another important thing with reloading is that you don't need to worry about ordering/finding ammo during a drought**Like after sandy hook for example. It's nice to be able to just go in the basement and make ammo when others are scrambling to find ammo.
     
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  6. Michael J. Spangler

    Michael J. Spangler NES Member

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    With a spreadsheet like you that obvious have too much time on your hands and need a hobby.

    It's all about what it's worth to you. Some people think it's a waste of time and some people like to shoot just so they have more brass to reload.

    Are you shooting competition and losing all of your brass? They cost goes up significantly. Do you only use jacketed bullets and not lubed lead or coated lead? Same deal there.

    DO you have spare time in your life for another hobby? It doesn't take much time and with the right press you could bang out 500 rounds of pistol ammo in an hour

    I would cost out a Dillon 550 with all the conversions and dies you need
    powder scale
    bullet puller
    caliper
    tumbler/media

    figure in less cost for your brass than you currently have (unless you can't find any range pickups and you lose all your brass at matches)
    you're primer cost is pretty high too but your powder cost is a little low.
    then try to figure your ROI

    When it comes down to it even if I broke even I would still reload. It's a fun hobby where you can learn a lot more about firearms and ammo and get better performance or make ammo the ammo companies don't offer.
    Last week i duplicated the sentry load for 45/70. I loaded 3 .457" round balls into one case over a light charge of pistol powder. You won't find that in the store and probably won't find it in anything but the most obscure manual but I can it because I reload.

    Now my normal plug for casting. If you learn to cast you can have another hobby that doesn't take much time and puts your cost way down. I paid about 13 cents a pound for lead this week. That mean about $3 for 1000 cast 158 grain bullets. All it took was my sweet time which I value very highly and when I'm not on the clock I want to be having fun with it not worrying about how I could equate my off time to $50 per hour or what I'm doing isn't worth it.
     
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  7. andrew1220

    andrew1220 NES Member

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    Yes you definitely need to have the time to reload. Like I said earlier, if you're just plinking not competing, reloading 9mm probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Unless of course you enjoy it and it's more of a hobby (like me). But reloading pistol calibers isn't THAT time consuming IMO. Rifle calibers are a giant pain in the ass but the savings and increased accuracy are worth it.

    I can do 450-500 rounds of 9mm per hour if I'm cruising along.

    Pistol calibers like 357 and 44 magnum is where you can save some serious money by reloading.
     
  8. andrew1220

    andrew1220 NES Member

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    [laugh]No offense to the OP but I thought the same. If you have time to make spreadsheets, then I'm sure you can reload...

    I never bothered with spreadsheets but many reloaders do - to each their own of course.

    SOO true regarding the reloading even if broke comment lol. I would too!! You can customize ammo to suit whatever your needs are which is great. Where can you find/buy reduced 30-06 ammo that has the recoil of a 9mm??

    And yes I don't equate my off time for reloading to what I get paid hourly - which is WAAY less than $50 per hour. Your work hiring?? lol
     
  9. andrew1220

    andrew1220 NES Member

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    Your primer and bullet costs are crazy high. Hell, Cabelas sells primers for like $32 or $33 per **1k** You can save by buying in bulk online. I just bought CCI primers for $30 per 1k shipped a couple months ago. Or depending where in MA you live, there's places like shooting supply in westport that sell a lot of reloading components. Or you can drive up to NH to shooters outpost and buy everything you need at good prices. Yes you'll have gas costs associated with the drive...

    Your factory ammo prices are crazy high too. targetsportsusa.com is a good way to price out factory ammo (yes they ship to us folks in MA). You shouldn't be spending more than $9 per box of 9mm. $17 plus tax is beyond insane. Your costs for 5.56 are very high but maybe you're buying match grade 5.56/.223? Again, check targetsportsusa.com for pricing. Cheapest brass cased .223 ammo can be had for $5.60 per 20 rounds.

    Bullet prices vary depending on the type/brand/weight. I buy 150 gr coated 9mm bullets 3k at a time which run me 6.4 cents shipped after my 15% discounts. Your powder prices are good/average. You could save more $ on brass too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  10. daekken

    daekken NES Member

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    I'm about $95 away from amortizing my costs of getting setup and I've been reloading on a single stage for about a year and a half. I'm a spreadsheet junkie so I have it all broken down by how many I've done per caliber, the savings vs. factory, my equipment costs, etc. I track cleaning media and case lube, etc. I try to be detailed.

    For me it was about reloading for milsurp calibers like 303 British and 7.62x54R plus M1 safe loads. I didn't want to be at the mercy of availability. For 303 British in particular it's a huge savings. Last time I bought it at the store it was almost $1/round but I can reload it for about 39 cents each and that's not buying components in bulk. So in about three 20 round boxes I covered the cost of the dies, and I don't need to track down a shop that carries it.

    There is a time cost associated as other have said. I have stopped doing 223 since I only save 2-3 cents per round and the time investment just isn't there for that small of a savings. I only really plink/casually shoot ARs. If I were competing, it could be different. I have a lot of components on hand (over 1k bullets, 800 or so prepped cases, etc.) that I am just going to sit on in case prices change. You can buy Wolf Gold for like 28 cents a round right now.

    I'm debating getting into 9mm. Like said above, through Targetsports you can get brass 9mm for 17 cents or steel cases for 14 cents. Unless you're really cranking, it's tough to justify the time unless you're doing it purely for something to do. I enjoy reloading but for 2-3 cents per round I'd probably do something else with my time unless I am churning out lots and lots of rounds. I'm a slow and steady type so saving $3 for an hour of work isn't worth it to me.

    If I were to do 9mm I'd look seriously for a progressive press to reduce the time component. I've just started getting into USPSA so I have been thinking about loading for it as I think it could be a benefit in terms of accuracy/just making power factor plus some cost savings. The few cents would add up eventually when doing many hundreds of rounds, especially on pistol when you're not lubing/trimming etc. I might use some of next year's tax returns to get a Dillon. To be honest I really don't know how to set one up, though.

    In the end, I am very glad I got into reloading. I feel like it really gives you flexibility and freedom, plus it's fun for me. I think it's all up to your use case and what you want to get out of it. I don't mind putting on the radio and hanging out in the basement on the occasion Friday night and making some nice 30-06 to shoot out of the M1 on Saturday morning.
     
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  11. greencobra

    greencobra NES Member

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    borderline obsessive compulsive if you ask me. [thinking]
     
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  12. daekken

    daekken NES Member

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    I also keep track of the number of rounds fired per firearm I own, how many rounds since last cleaning, the most recent time it was fired.
    I also breakdown how many rounds per caliber I own and type (surplus, JHP, etc.).

    I also have a spreadsheet tracking the shirts I've worn to work each day. I recently culled it, I had it back to April of this year. I just cut it back to early July. This way I make sure I rotate the shirts.

    ETA: I forgot I also have a spreadsheet tracking my paying of monthly bills that goes back to 2007. Just in case :)
     
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  13. Supermoto

    Supermoto NES Member

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    You aren't going to save money by reloading, you just end up shooting more.

    There are plenty of auto loaders out there. They are worth it if you are reloading a lot of rounds all day. But a Dillon 650 with a case loader will crank out 100 rounds in a few minutes, so auto is rarely worth it
     
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  14. drgrant

    drgrant Moderator NES Member

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    For handguns at least, "If you're shooting more than 1-2000 rounds of X per year, the answer is nearly always yes."

    No spreadsheet required.

    Rifle stuff is a whole different ballgame because of the extra processing, etc, involved and whatever your goals or burn rate for that stuff is.

    ETA: Another guideline I use- for most pistol ammo its "Buy two cases, get the third for free" once you start reloading. That's what the cost offset usually is. Obviously it gets dramatic with expensive stuff like .357 magnum on up...

    -Mike
     
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  15. andrew1220

    andrew1220 NES Member

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    Holy shit man! I applaud your effort and attention to detail. But I could never do that (and wouldn't want to lol) with my ADD.[laugh]
     
  16. WanMan99

    WanMan99 NES Life Member NES Member

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    Part of reloading goes beyond simple economics. I like to have the supplies on hand to make thousands of rounds of different caliber ammunition. I like have this ability regardless of the political/economic climate. I also like to build and make things by hand. Reloading to me is another hobby that compliments shooting and I treat it as a second hobby with its own budget. I do buy ammunition for carry/self defense.
     
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  17. EddieZoom

    EddieZoom NES Member

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    Nice !!!

    Seriously, lots of people reload with or without any obvious cost savings. Making your own ammo is very satisfying...give it a try OP.
     
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  18. Tim_McD

    Tim_McD NES Member

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    *snorts derisively*....my spreadsheet of household expenses goes back to 1998. I have it encrypted and backed up to a RAID and CDs

    I may have a problem
     
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  19. daekken

    daekken NES Member

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    You win, I didn't have household expenses in 1998 since I wasn't in high school yet, haha.
     
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  20. Duxprep

    Duxprep NES Member

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    What Mike said -

    Ammo is cheap and widely available now so for plinking ammo for both rifle and pistol it's almost not worth the time invested to roll your own. That's assuming you shoot an average amount and are not blasting thousands and thousands of rounds per year for practice and competition. If you're loading for accuracy then it's still worth it as those rounds continue to be very expensive. Remember that the past 8 years were an entirely different story where cases of 5.56 62 green tip were selling for $1,000 and a brick of CC SV was $80. Those prices will return eventually

    Knowing how to reload and having the means to do so (stockpiled) are always a smart investment and will pay off in spades when the climate changes. That could be a soon as 30 days from now if there is any kind of blue wave. If you have the $$ to invest now I'd say do it, stockpile components and continue to stockpile loaded ammo while the availability and price is good.
     
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  21. Knob Creek

    Knob Creek NES Member

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    Load for accuracy and matching the load to the gun and it’s intended use. Savings is a byproduct.
     
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  22. BrianWilson

    BrianWilson NES Member

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    It takes a metric crap ton of ammo to get to be competitive with a handgun. I don't travel much in "High Society", but I can't think of one person I know who is really handy with a pistol that doesn't reload.
     
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  23. mac1911

    mac1911 NES Member

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    when do you find time to shoot.....
     
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  24. nstassel

    nstassel NES Member

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    11 cents seems to be my total for a 147 plated 9. If I shoot blazer or white box that would cost minimum 20 cents. If I shoot 10K/yr that's a savings of 900 bucks so the payoff is roughly 1-2 years. With .45 the savings is roughly double that.
     
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  25. radioman

    radioman NES Member

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    I didn’t read one thing you wrote except for the first sentence “should I buy a reloading press”.
    The answer is yes.
    I don’t care if you reload one cartridge a month get a reloading press.
    The more people that reload the better.
    The more people that understand how cartridges are put together, how they work, how to manipulate them to get the best accuracy etc.. the better.
    Not to mention if the shit hits the fan your equipment will become priceless.
     
  26. daekken

    daekken NES Member

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    I went twice this week and probably going Sunday too :)
    I have 1 hr for lunch and I work 5 minutes from my MA club. Easy to sneak over, shoot for 50 minutes, and go back to work. Or, go after work in the summer. Often no one there during the day (other than the occasional retiree) so doing ceasefires/grabbing brass is quick and easy.
     
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  27. TrashcanDan

    TrashcanDan NES Member

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    Reloading is a necessary evil.
    Don't worry about initial cost and set up price unless you're going full retard with one of those new Mark7 or camdex automated machines. I think I'm managing 300 an hour on a 550, manually fed, at a slightly faster than snails pace.
    Based on your spread sheet, you'll save 8-9 bucks a box. Which for what you shoot, is around a grand a year if not more.
    Order bulk online (spread out the hazmat fee) and you'll be down to 8 cents a round, if not less.
    Range brass is zero cost (assuming you have access to it) and friends that shoot but don't reload will always provide.
    Your biggest time loss in in prep work. That stuff I'll do in the winter.
    Sorting/ separating cases from aluminum and steel, picking out those pesky maxx tech or mag tech stepped cases, cleaning, depriming, casting (if you get into that) blah blah blah.
    You'll usually end up with a bucket or two of junk casings a year, turn it in for scrap money, off sets the cost.
    I'm also lazy, and hate re-adjusting / re-calibrating things once its set to run, so I have 1 press for .45 acp (which I really haven't used since I got my CZ) and one set up for .38 spl i.s.r. class. Once the house is done I'll start for minor p.f. 9mm, so I'll go semi-retard and get a 650.
     
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  28. Eric H

    Eric H

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    Of course you should! The actuality of the matter is if you shoot any significant volume over a "casual shooter" (who shoots 2 boxes a year if that), if you don't buy a press one of these days you're just going to be being one later on.
     
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  29. MuzzleDiscipline

    MuzzleDiscipline NES Life Member NES Member

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    I want to buy your guns after looking at your records:)
     
  30. wjsmall97

    wjsmall97 NES Member

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    And there are plenty of reloaded for sale here
     
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