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To reload or not...

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Endoz, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. Endoz

    Endoz Nw Portland New Member

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    First time poster, long time lurker. I would like to get into reloading for idpa and uspsa, speed steel etc. but is it possible to find all the supplies for 9 mm and .45 these days? It's a big initial investment to get the progressive I want and all the peripherals, would hate to not be able to use it once i got set up. I don't have time to troll shops for supplies regularly which i suspect might be required?

    Any advice appreciated.
     
  2. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner You'll Never Know Well-Known Member

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    I've had issues finding powder and primers. Things start to get better, then; nothing. You, however; live in a real city and might have better sources!!

    Oh.....Welcome to NWF!!
     
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  3. Classic

    Classic Federal Way WA Well-Known Member

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    There are many gun sites (I know of 3 in WA) of which supplies are pretty easy to obtain...
    Xtreme Bullets are reasonable and they will ship to your door.
    9mm cases/brass is available for 40-45 per thousand resized, deprimed, tumbled/polished to a high shine - 45 is a little more 60-80 ready to load so all ya gotta worry about is powder and primers. I cant speak for OR but I can fins them locally in western WA.
    Now that ya know, do it! Ya won't regret it
     
  4. techiej

    techiej vancouver, wa Active Member

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    Even during the periods when things are hard to find they are out there...just takes more looking and buying in larger quantities to offset hazmat/shipping fees.

    I generally try to have at least 9 months of supplies on hand.
     
  5. Endoz

    Endoz Nw Portland New Member

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    That's good to hear thanks, I'll get busy!
     
  6. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    No, definitely not.....Someone has to keep the ammo makers busy, and keep us reloaders in relatively inexpensive brass, and NOT be the one to take that last jug of powder from Powder Valley, or the last 1000 primers from Sportsman's Warehouse, or, or.......

    Thank You!

    Mike
     
  7. nwbobber

    nwbobber Longview, Wa. Active Member

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    The last few years have taught me not to be so picky. There are several powders that will work for you, just identify several that will do the job and go shopping. I have always stuck to the major brands of primers, can't talk about tula, except it seemed at the low point they were more available than the others. I have friends that use 'em, but tolerate a misfire now and then. I have been able to get CCI and winchester fairly regularly lately. I have seen good powders fairly regular lately. Montana gold bullets seem to be in stock more often, and I use them for punching holes in paper, or ringing gongs. All is not available "what you want when you want it", but there is enough to get going.
     
  8. Bxc53

    Bxc53 Arlington Wa Member

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    Hate to say it, but that seems to be the case lately. I do troll the shops to support my reloading habit. I can't recall anywhere in the last year or so that had all the needed components on hand at the same time.

    But, lets say you do find enough bullets powder and primers to make a few thousand rounds.
    If you are mostly looking for good pricing on range ammo, do the numbers: A progressive loading setup from scratch, figure $700 - $1000 depending on equipment.

    Components: 9mm plated bullets at ~ .09 ea. Primer .04 ea (.03 if you catch a deal). Powder- .03. Brass- assume 'free' range pick up. Labor, also 'free'. So 9mm reloads at .16 ea or $16.00 per 100. Compare that to bulk commercial ammo at $25-30 when you can find it.

    So, lets say you save $10 per 100, or a dime a piece by reloading, assuming free brass and labor.. You will only need to shoot 7000-10,000 rounds to break even..

    Now, if you want to tweak rounds to best match your gun(s) and enjoy shooting ammo you made yourself, reloading is a great hobby. As a short term money saver, not so much..

    Have fun whichever way you decide to go.
     
  9. SinisterSouthpaw

    SinisterSouthpaw SW WA Active Member

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    If you are looking to save $$$ and have little or no patience or do not see a potential great improvement in ammunition you tailor to fit you, your gun, and your application--then you should just buy lots of bulk loaded factory ammo when you can find a sale. A lot less improvement is seen by handgun only shooters than by rifle or 3 gun shooters when using handloads.
     
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  10. 1990Turbo

    1990Turbo St.Helens Active Member

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    I am wanting to get into reloading also but for my 30.06 with the lack of supplies and the prices shops and or private party want for components its almost not worth it. I am going to slowly collect what i need because i want to try it out as a hobby. So far i have 1000 primers and thats it. Still have a ways to go.
     
  11. gunfreak

    gunfreak Boise Well-Known Member

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    It's a fun addiction, your family will wonder where you are. I disappear in my shop for hours...
     
  12. PX4WA

    PX4WA Tacoma, WA Active Member

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    I agree... we need fewer competition for the limited resources...

    on a serious note, I don't know of anybody who competes seriously who does not reload... yes it can be done, but if you go through a thousand rounds or more a month, it's a no brainer...

    and no serious reloader, gets supplies locally other than brass (that I know of anyway), you get it cheaper and in bulk online... a thousand dollars or so at a time... from primers to jugs of powder to bullets...
     
  13. bellarum

    bellarum beaverton Well-Known Member

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    I started hand loading out of curiosity and when I stopped smoking cigarettes I doubled down on the reloading to help take my mind off of not smoking. Luckily I smashed out a few thousand rounds of each before everything dried up. I have plenty to shoot for a year or two as I sit. I will pay a little extra for components here and there just to fill out some prepped brass when I'm bored but, If prices wanted for components keep getting higher I'll just go back to buying factory ammo when I see it. Hand loading ammo becomes expensive when you are driving around and or paying hazmat fees. If I could afford to buy bulk everything I'd be thrilled. I'll never shoot up all of my ammo. I always maintain a quantity for each firearm I eventually hand down to my kids. I will always own re loading dies for every firearm just so the option is there. .22 is a bit of an issue:) if the rim fire really dries up all .22s become clubs.
     
  14. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    There's some great advice in these posts. I've been reloading for well over 20 years. If I was in the position to be making your decision, even in this time of hit and miss supply, I would start reloading. Yes, you'll spend some money getting started with good equipment, especially if you buy a good progressive, but you will save in the long run.
    I really agree with the person who said to not be too picky about powder selection. This is very true if you want to shoot a fair amount with less trouble. Besides, you might just find a new favorite powder that you would not have thought to try! This thought also follows suit when selecting bullets. Besides, what are you shooting at most of the time anyway? Probably just targets.
    You're gonna spend the money on something, might as well be on equipment that will pay you back thru the years.
     
  15. evltwn

    evltwn Gold Hill Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    This thread reminds me of people asking me why I ride a Harley. If you have to ask, you will likely never understand. Sure, its nice if reloading "pencils out", but is that a compelling argument? Do I REALLY need a one ton safe crammed with guns and ammo? Probably not. But thats what I want to do. So jump in, or agonize...makes no nevermind to me...oops, only 1500 9mm's in the safe...gotta fire up the Dillon.
     
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  16. IheartGUNS

    IheartGUNS WaCo Well-Known Member

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  17. springfield0612

    springfield0612 Poulsbo Member

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    How deep down the rabbit hole do you want to go? Right now, the only hunt I have is powder and primers. I have litterally a lifetime supply of brass and bullets. Granted I don't shoot competition so I reclaim 100% of my brass. But between me and my wife we shoot about 2000 rounds a month and right now I'm reloading for the cost of powder and primers. So our .45's are going down range at the cost of $.05/round. If you want additional cost savings(looking at it as it is a hobby and time IS NOT money). You may want to consider casting your own bullets as well. Cast in .45 ACP is simple and worry free, 9mm can be a bit of a bug with leading issues. I just solved mine by powder coating(PC) the bullets. No leading and they look cool too! I can cast almost 1000 bullets in an hour with my Lee 6 cavity molds.

    One Lee 6 cavity mold with handles= ~$60
    Lee Pro 4-20 Lead furnace (Holds 20# of alloy)= ~ $60
    PID Temp controller for furnace= $120-$200 to buy one made ~$50 to make your own
    Lead= ~$1.00-$1.50/pound you can find it cheaper trust me! (.45 acp 230 gr lead bullets @ 1000 = 33 pounds @$1.25/pound = $41.25) (9mm 125 gr lead bullets @ 1000 = 18 pounds @$1.25/pound = $22.50) Compared to xtreme plated bullets 9mm is about $50/500 and .45 acp is about $65/500.
    Bullet lube: Many people have been successful with tumble lubing bullets using a 45-45-10 mixture. Its fast, easy, and cheap. I bought the supplies to make enough lube for 10's of thousands of bullets for about $20. As I said earlier for 9mm I've started powder coating and can coat probably 300 bullets/hour at an easy pace. If you have an air compressor you can buy the powder coat machine from Harbor freight for ~$65 and a pound of powder paint is $5. Many people PC'ing bullets are pushing them to pretty high FPS without issue. Powder Coating 101 - Electrostatic Method

    So lets say that you cast, lube, resize (if needed) 1000 .45 acp bullets. Lets say you round up the time to two hours per 1000 casted and reloaded. In two hours you've made 1000 shootable rounds. Compare that time invested to the monetary value of 1000 plated $142 with shipping (not including the cost of powder, primers, and then add the value of the time to assemble them). How many hours do you have to work based off of your hourly wage to pay for those commercial bullets? I don't know a lot of people that make $72/hour. It ties in with the post #14 above. Why spend the money on jacketed, plated, or hollow points? Your shooting them into targets and berms never to see them again. Why not shoot something that is very cheap, afordable, and reliable? People are paying outrageous cost for Jacketd hollow points, I just bought two hollow point molds, one for .45 and one for 9mm with shipping it cost me $184. Those molds will last a lifetime if not more. Hollow Point Bullet Mold Service: Specializing in multi-cavity hollow point bullet mold modifications and repairs. Custom speciality screws, machine shop services including micro TIG welding.

    The things I told myself and my wife when I started reloading then casting:
    1) "I just need a single stage press. I don't have the need for anything else." I now own 2 SS presses, 2 turret presses, and 1 progressive press.
    2) "Plated bullets are cheaper than jacketed and easier to use than reloading lead bullets." I now own a mold for every caliber I own and multiple molds for .30 cal rifles, 9mm, and .45 ACP.
    3) "I'm just going to reload, that casting stuff looks too complicated and will take too much time." Read #2 above.

    If you've got the means to reload ammo now and want some samples to try PM and I'll hook you up with some. Try the Kool-Aid its delicious!
     
  18. nastybynature

    nastybynature ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Active Member

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    I bought a dillon 550 set up for .45ACP used back in June. I figured that I would just load that caliber since it is what I shoot most. I was also thinking that 9mm would get cheap and plentiful again so there is no good reason to justify setting up for 9mm. I also had in the back of my head that someday maybe I would look into doing some .223 but I would never shoot enough of any other caliber to justify the cost.

    Fast forward to this last week.

    It all started a couple weeks ago when I got my dies in for the .223. I decided I needed a Single Stage press to set up as a re-size/decap station so I could do that before cleaning the brass that way the pockets get nice and clean and my dillon doesn't get all oily. Oh and I had just bought a new remington 700 SS in 30-06 for my birthday so I can go hunting next year and it would be nice to work up some really accurate loads on the single stage. Luckily, I found an old RCBS RC-II with a powder measure for $100 from a friend of the wife's family. Ordered up my 30-06 dies Sunday night. Install second press last monday since I had the day off. Monday Night I decide I am going to do a bulk order for powder and projectiles to spread the hazmat and shipping cost out a little. I am tired of not finding any powder or reasonably priced bulk projectiles. Hey while I am at it I may as well start loading 9mm too since my wife has started carrying a 9mm instead of her .380 we have been shooting more and my stash of 9mm is getting low. I mean the dies are only $50 for carbide lee dies and they will fit into this big order and I have a ton of once fired brass that I had saved for the last 6 months.

    So I went from one press and loading one handgun caliber to loading 2 hand gun calibers and 2 rifle calibers and 2 presses in less than 6 months. And I am think of adding .38 special and .380 auto since it seems the cost of adding calibers gets cheaper and cheaper with each one you add. I would love to have another dillon so one could be set up for lg primers and one could be set up for small.... maybe i should look in the classifieds.... :cool:

    Honestly, I think i currently am enjoying handloading more than the actual shooting.
     
  19. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    I agree with Nasty...I enjoy the hand loading just as much as the shooting.
     
  20. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    The best part is going to shows or gun shops and not even knowing what a good price for, 9mm or .38 etc. You just chuckle to yourself and think "Boy, I'm glad I'm not needing 9mm to go shooting tomorrow". You load your own now!! Now the problem will be finding the powder you use in 9mm or .38 etc....Primers...