January 09, 2007

Making Ammo?

In my post about buying more ammo, Peter of Shakey Peteís Shootiní Shack made the comment;

For what you spent today you could have bought a Lee turret press and a set of .38/.357 dies and a autodisc powder measure. Then you'd never have to buy .38s and .357 again. And it would only cost about thirty bucks to add a handgun cartridge to your line up.

Factory ammo is a waste of money.

I wonít deny that factory ammo is a waste of money. Itís expensive and the cheaper brands are dirtier and/or are unreliable. There are certain brands I wonít buy because of the way it jams in my firearms and fouls them up horribly.

Iíve thought about getting a reloading press and making my own ammo. The only problem I have is that I donít get to go modern shooting as much as I would like. Is it worth to buy a press to use it maybe 4-6 times a year? Even if it is the other problem is a lack of time to make it. For re-enacting I have a hard time getting all the round ball I need cast up.

So what Iím asking my readers that shoot or have friends that do, is it really worth it for me to look into investing in a press? What are the pros and cons of making your own ammo? I really donít know, and am interested in finding out.

Posted by Contagion in Questions at January 9, 2007 07:23 PM | TrackBack
Comments

You can get a lot of the stuff you need used on ebay. I bet you can put together a kit for $100. You need a scale, a press, and dies. I'll give you a powder measure. If you load 300 rounds a year, you'll pay for it in no time. Plus, you can consider cartridges that are uncommon or expensive, and shoot more.

I lose 1/2" off my muzzleloader groups if i weigh them, too. Makes a difference.

Posted by: og at January 9, 2007 07:43 PM

Okay, Contagion, I've just checked out Midway's website. You can buy a three hole Lee Turret Press for $57.99, a set of carbide dies for $23.99.

A Lee autodisc powder measure is $19.99 and the powder funnel is $2.99. Spring for the more expensive RCBS hand priming tool at $26.99.
This is assuming that nothing is on sale, Midway has sales all the time.

Eventually you would want a powder and bullet scale, you might alread have one being a caster, but you can do fine without one for a while, just stay away from the real hot loads.

Lead has got real high lately so bullets are pricier than they used to be, you can still buy 500 .38/357 lead bullets for thirty bucks, plus shipping.

Once you are set up for one cartridge, a new one is much cheaper. You can buy te die set for the same $23.99 and by buying another turret for $9.99 and not have to worry about adjusting dies.

Now the hard part is time but that is easier than we think. There is no reason to sit down and load a gazillon rounds at once. I come home from shooting and resize and decap my empties.
I toss them into the GRR, the vibratory tumbler for cleaning because I shoot mostly The Holy Black, and run it 'til they're clean.
Then I toss them into ziplock bags or coffee cans and, while watching TeeVee I prime them. Back into the bag or can and then I put the charge in, seat and crimp the bullet. It only takes a few minutes to prime a hundred cases.

Then the powder, Lee die set bells the casemouth and drops the charge at the same time. Fifty cases in about seven minutes, including a look down each to see that each case has a charge and the level is all about the same. This protects me from double charges.
Then I put a bullet into each casemouth, when I run it into the die it seats and crimps, together.

Assuming I have the dies all adjusted and the powder measure set I can put the powder charge and seat and crimp the bullet for fifty rounds in about fifteen minutes. Without hurrying.

Note that I'm touting the lower priced stuff, here. You can buy the Dillon Progessive Square Deal B, set up for one cartridge for $319.95 and get a loaded rund for every pull of the lever. Of course it costs a lot more to add a new cartridge and I prefer doing my loading in stages, or maybe I'm just cheap.

Posted by: Peter at January 9, 2007 08:31 PM

Ok...here is my take on reloading. It does take time, certainly. If you are a frequent shooter certainly worth it. However, if you would rather be shooting, but are spending time reloading...

not fun.

Also fun if you are reloading to shoot, not fun if you are one of those wierdos that keeps a reloading diary etc...

Posted by: armywifetoddlermom at January 9, 2007 08:51 PM

A reloading diary? Is this going to be a reloading blog? :)

Posted by: Bou at January 9, 2007 09:34 PM

For me reloading has always been a matter of economics. Even when I could not afford to by comercial ammo I could always reload. I have been reloading since I was 16, which was a long time ago (46+years. Ihave realoded for a whole host of cartridges, both pistol and rifle. I taught my boys to reload and I am getting ready to teach a grandson. Do it.

Posted by: DE644 at January 11, 2007 02:12 PM

It's worth it.
It's also one of those hobbies where you can start cheap, or spend as much as you want/can with very little trouble.

But definitely worth it.

Posted by: jimmyb at January 11, 2007 08:54 PM

Reloading is a good hobby as well as a way to save money on factory ammo. I suggest not to buy equipment that you will outgrow soon or will not turn out quality rounds. how much shooting will you be doing? learn how to customize the rounds for your firearms and your accuracy will improve.

Posted by: greg at April 12, 2007 04:35 AM