Reloaders quality vs affordability?

ufg8r93

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I would qualify the statement above with an “always” between isn’t and all.

My preparation for a Cape Buffalo hunt would have cost about $7,000 more with factory ammo than it did with my hand loads.

YMMV.

Tim

Your "qualifier" above is completely fair. The more expensive the factory ammo, the more money reloading could save you. Excluding labor and initial set-up costs of course.

$7,000? You must be shooting something pretty special - something bigger than 45 cal from a double I'd guess. And a lot of it! Regardless, something in that category clearly would fail my three rules for factory ammo. Guessing you couldn't get the ammo with the components you wanted for anything approaching reasonable cost.

Another one for comparison - 375 H&H ammo can be had online today for $3.50 to $5 each (MidwayUSA, also assuming you get free shipping). I always shoot the cheaper stuff (Hornady) for practice and then hone in on a hunting load (A-Frame) for the last 50 rounds or so. Even using the more expensive factory stuff, you are saving about $3.50 each. If you shoot 500 rounds of the more expensive 375H&H for practice, you could "save" $1,750 by reloading. But my current reloading set up for a single caliber is about $1,500. Granted, a lot of that is due to my RCBS Chargemaster Combo ($350). And additional calibers are pretty reasonable - just cost of dies, maybe a pilot/etc.
 

Skinnersblade

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Sgt_zim have you tried casting any of your own ? I've never poured bullets I have however poured lead balls (.41 cal) for use in butchering hogs and loaded them in field loads.

I would assume the process for pouring bullets would be the same?

You mentioned using .460 or 459 lead bullets does this cause any swage effect? Act as a gas block to build pressure?
 

Rare Breed

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I am a reloaded due to my having over 7 different calibers. If I only had one I would not reload myself but go to a supplier like copper creek.com and order their 5 different powder loads to find the one your gun likes. Then they will hand load that round for as many bullets as you want. I did this for my first calibar and was very happy with 1/2 inch at 100 yards the result
 

Rob404

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Rob404, for an experienced reloader what you said might be true. However for a newcomer getting a kit (because he doesn't know exactly what he needs) will provide him with everything necessary to produce reloads. I once purchased a "kit" for use at my cabin and have in fact reloaded for my 35 Whelen there. At home I have 5 presses available to me along with all the trimmings. I bought the kit off eBay for about half its' normal value. It seemed like Santa, and Mrs. Clause unknowingly purchased the same kit
I looked at all those kits and maybe would have bought one , But I was lucky I got help from DonT a member here who put me on the right track so I knew exactly what to go shopping for
 

tarbe

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$7,000? You must be shooting something pretty special - something bigger than 45 cal from a double I'd guess. And a lot of it!

470 NE, 450-400 NE, 450 Dakota and 458 Lott. About a thousand rounds total. I bounced around a bit before settling on the 450 Dakota! :)

And I am a component scrounger. I shot a lot of 30 cent Barnes bullets with surplus powder.
 

Ridge Runner

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Contrary to and with respect to other reloaders.

RCBS and Hornady are over rated and over priced! Compared to Lee.

I ended up buying an RCBS turret reloading kit because I couldn't find a Lee reloading kit....until 2 months after I bought the RCBS kit, then the flood gates opened and Lee kits were everywhere I had previously searched.

A couple of months ago I picked up a Lee single stage press only kit at a local gun auction.

Redding and Dillon I would run away from, unless you just like spending more money than what you are getting for your buck!

On a side note: if I'm not mistaken, RCBS and Lee are joint companies, that includes a satellite or cable company. Opened 8-4(??) Mountain time, Monday through Thursday.

Single stage presses are good if you just want to load a few rounds or use to reload a caliber you don't routinely shoot.

The BIG QUESTION:
Once you start reloading will you start shooting more than a hundred rounds a year, to shooting a hundred rounds or more per week?

The biggest down side to single stage presses is the monotony of changing dies/ time consuming of resetting each die stage.

The up side the single stage can be used for pulling stuck cases, your bullet puller and/or powder measure when or if you decide to go to a turret or progressive press.

I also recommend:
Getting Lee carbide dies. Less mess and costs compared with using case spray lube and lube to pads.

Getting a good digital scale to weigh your powder.

Just putting my 2 cents out there for you to think about.
 

perttime

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...

Redding and Dillon I would run away from, unless you just like spending more money than what you are getting for your buck!

....
Dillon is really the go-to, if you want to load several hundreds, or more, in one go. Customer service and warranty is second to none, too - if you EVER have a problem or manage to break something.
 

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The BIG QUESTION:
Once you start reloading will you start shooting more than a hundred rounds a year, to shooting a hundred rounds or more per week?

The biggest down side to single stage presses is the monotony of changing dies/ time consuming of resetting each die stage.

That’s where the (pricey) Forster shines. Swapping dies takes literally a second with no resetting necessary. Hornady’s solution works too, I think Frankford Arsenal also makes a COAX type press with quick change system.

I reload for a number of calibers and do appreciate the quick change option of my Forster press. It is not crucial and uncounted numbers of hand loaders get by without it but once you try it you will love it.

Getting back to the OP’s original question. For shooting 100 rounds per year I would not hand load unless it was impossible to buy factory ammunition. For the cost of the setup you can buy 3 years’ worth of factory ammo with no hassle and muck around of learning how to SAFELY reload and finding the correct load which often necessitates few trips to the range and the use of components which also cost money. If you think you might start shooting more or different calibers that’s a different story.

I would suggest starting with a simple set up and expanding/replacing the kit as you find what else is nice/needed/necessary. Especially for the cartridge and type of shooting you do.

Personally I like gadgets and gear and bought a fair bit of stuff before I actually started reloading. The downfall was that some gear I later sold virtually unused and at a loss. Also, the sheer amount of gear and precision required to set it up was so daunting to the first timer that it took me almost a year to actually start using it. Each time I wanted to start I would pull it all out and get overwhelmed. Reloading is quite complex with a lot of information to process. I wanted to reload to not have to rely on the shops having the ammo type I want as well as to cut down of the cost of the larger bores I shoot and so I wasn’t gonna quit before I started though the idea did in fact cross my mind. I ended up attending a precision reloading course by an accomplished long distance shooter and that got me all pumped up and finally I started and now quite enjoy it.
 

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Dillon is really the go-to, if you want to load several hundreds, or more, in one go. Customer service and warranty is second to none, too - if you EVER have a problem or manage to break something.

Other than their hours of operation, each time I called was on Friday, I have had no problems, other than trying to explain what part or trouble I was having, Lee, RCBS and Hornady customer service have all been able to get me a replacement part or help me trouble shoot a problem.

I haven't yet run across any warranty issues with any of the fore mentioned as they all provide lifetime warranty and service on their reloading equipment. RCBS offers...." at any time you are not happy with their press" return policy.

Progressive presses are not really meant for beginners. Especially if that one press is going to have to be set up to reload a variety of different calibers.

Progressive presses easily costs 2, 3, 4, 5.....10 times more than a single or turret time press kit.
 

Skinnersblade

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Thank you gentleman, if their where a reliable sorce of factory ammunition in my area I would of stayed that route.

There are two buisnesses that deal in ammunition within a two hour drive of me, one is a large box store which only cares the most common of calibers 30-06 270 30-30 ect ( 45-70 isn't a common round in Nova Scotia)
The other orders twice annually, last fall I was forced to settle for 250 monos becouse I'd already bought and used their entire stock of 325ftx (3 boxes ordered in April) and the fall order was not yet in. That change in my rifle goes from holes touching to hoping I can keep her on a disposable pie plate.

Given the monopoly style buisness in my area prices can very for expensive to outrageous. Most times a single box costs me around the 75$ mark , if our dollar happens to be trading pourly I've seen as high as 90$.
 

perttime

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Other than their hours of operation, each time I called was on Friday, I have had no problems, other than trying to explain what part or trouble I was having, Lee, RCBS and Hornady customer service have all been able to get me a replacement part or help me trouble shoot a problem.

...

Progressive presses are not really meant for beginners. Especially if that one press is going to have to be set up to reload a variety of different calibers.

Progressive presses easily costs 2, 3, 4, 5.....10 times more than a single or turret time press kit.
Oh, I haven't tried calling Dillon. Just email because I'm an ocean and a continent away. I needed a spare on an ancient machine. It was in the mail the next day. No charge.

I totally agree that a progressive only makes sense if you load a lot. I make thousands of rounds of pistol ammunition on mine.
 

perttime

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Thank you gentleman, if their where a reliable sorce of factory ammunition in my area I would of stayed that route.

There are two buisnesses that deal in ammunition within a two hour drive of me, one is a large box store which only cares the most common of calibers 30-06 270 30-30 ect ( 45-70 isn't a common round in Nova Scotia)
The other orders twice annually, last fall I was forced to settle for 250 monos becouse I'd already bought and used their entire stock of 325ftx (3 boxes ordered in April) and the fall order was not yet in. That change in my rifle goes from holes touching to hoping I can keep her on a disposable pie plate.

Given the monopoly style buisness in my area prices can very for expensive to outrageous. Most times a single box costs me around the 75$ mark , if our dollar happens to be trading pourly I've seen as high as 90$.
I think making your own makes sense, then.

A Lee kit should do what you need. It is a matter of preference if you want something primitive like the mallet operated Lee Loader, or a press from Lee.
 

Shootist43

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Skinnersblade with your costs of $75.00 for 20 rounds your 100 shots a year amount to $375, if they were $90.00 apiece than $450.00. Since you've been shooting this rifle for a while, you probably have all the brass you need. After your initial outlay for equipment your only ongoing costs are for powder, primers and bullets. Couple that with you casting your own bullets which you seem interested in doing brings your ongoing costs to that of powder and primers. I'm guessing here so please don't chastise me to much if I'm wrong. If you paid $50 for a 1 Lb. can of powder which is 7,000 grains using 60 gr. (for illustration purposes only) per load gives you 116 loaded rounds or $0.43 cents per round. If a brick of primers cost you $50 at 500 primers per brick or $0.10 each. Your cost sans bullets is $0.53 per round. Sir, If I may be so bold as to ask, WHAT IS HOLDING YOU BACK? Just joking. BTW I get almost as much pleasure, relaxation and satisfaction out of reloading as I do shooting and or hunting. They are all parts of the same game.
 

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Knowing now that you plan to only reload for the 45-70 I also would recommend a carbide sizer die.

This will eliminate the need to lubricate the cases when you resize them. Most die manufactures offer them but you may have to special order them to get one.
 

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Skinnersblade

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Thank you all for you thoughtful advice, I ordered a lee single stage press kit , as well as the dies and two reloading manuals. Lyman and hornady.

To answer your question @Shootist43
The only thing left holding me back is waiting for manuals so I can research which components to order.
 

Forrest Halley

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Thank you all for you thoughtful advice, I ordered a lee single stage press kit , as well as the dies and two reloading manuals. Lyman and hornady.

To answer your question @Shootist43
The only thing left holding me back is waiting for manuals so I can research which components to order.
Manuals? There internet and this forum is literally all you need to research what components and which loads work best. Once you find a suitable powder, stockpile it and bullets and primers.
I started loading with a Lee loader kit and made all the cases I needed for competition each week. I loved it. I've loaded some rifle calibers too and have one particular that has used the same cases for forty years. I'd say not to over look the loader kit as you can make your loads in camp if need be.

Tell me you have a Ruger No. 1 in .45-70...the man with one gun in the Great White North!

Have you considered casting your own bullets? Now that you have a press coming the sizing would be very easy.
 
 

 

 

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