Have Things Changed?

To learn and introduce new loaders. Tips and tricks from old timers.

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Have Things Changed?

Postby 513resident » Mon May 09, 2022 6:44 am

I am a handloader and have been for a good 20 years now. I was taught by my Dad that loading your own was substantially cheaper than buying factory loaded stuff. That has pretty much been my experience over the years. Admittedly, I have been out of the game for a long time and haven't done much loading or shooting for the last 5 years or so. Have things changed in the wake of the ammo shortages/panic buying/hoarding of 2012 and 2020? I was at Cabela's the other day looking at components and came to the unpleasant realization that handloading using new components isn't really any cheaper than buying bulk ammo. I'm new to the 5.56 cartridge and saw a 1000 round bag of reconditioned ONCE-FIRED brass for $239. Just for fun I looked at projectiles and found some 55 grain FMJ Hornady for $18 a box of 100. If I wanted to load 1000 rounds I would need ten boxes of the Hornady's so that equals $180. I did the math in my head and $239 + 180 = over $400. Already over $400 and that's not even counting the powder and primers ASSUMING YOU CAN FIND ANY AT ALL! I know from browsing the net that 1000 round cases of 5.56 from manufacturers like Prvi Partizan, IMI, Igman etc. can be found in the $500 to $600 range - and I'm asking myself "Where's the savings?" I'm beginning to feel like the best and only way to buy bulk brass is NOT to order expensive 1000 round lots from places like Starline, but rather to buy your brass already loaded and then save and reload it after you shoot it. That might be more cost effective...but only if you already have components on hand which you bought a few years back at reasonable prices. TBH after I bought my first Black Rifle I ordered a couple cases of 5.56 and they showed up on my doorstep a few days later. To me, that experience was much less work, much less painful and not much more expensive than chasing down and buying all the components then spending the time and energy loading two or three thousand rounds one at a time. Like I said, I'm a long time loader who is now having an identity crisis if that is the correct term. Is anyone else running into this same conflict regarding reloading vs buying bulk?
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Re: Have Things Changed?

Postby JustaShooter » Mon May 09, 2022 6:57 am

With prices for components where they are today, I agree it's difficult to save money making bulk/plinking ammo. Now, if you already have brass then you can load it less expensively than bulk, but for me the real benefit of handloading is to produce precision rounds tuned to my rifle so even with component prices it's worthwhile.

By the way, you should be able to find once-fired .223/5.56 brass for less than $0.10 each online, so for sure I'd start there. (Keep in mind that mixed .223/5.56 brass likely includes crimped 5.56 brass that will need more prep than just sizing.)

Take a few deep breaths, do some more searching, especially online, and you'll be fine! LOL
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Re: Have Things Changed?

Postby cpg » Mon May 09, 2022 8:24 am

I feel your pain, powder & primer prices are crazy.
Do you have any friends that belong to local gun ranges or clubs? They might be able to shag some free brass for you.
Or, go here viewforum.php?f=32 and post up a classified listing that you are looking to buy or trade for brass. I can't remember how many posts you need for access to the trading section & private messages but if you're not already there I think you are very close.
Good luck
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Re: Have Things Changed?

Postby Dave Shooter » Mon May 09, 2022 9:26 am

Honestly, primers are the only component stupidly overpriced right now, if you know where to look.

Multiple places selling 55 FMJ projectiles for ~10 cents a piece, delivered to your door. Try RMR bullets.

Hi Tek coated pistol bullets can be even cheaper.

As stated above brass is available reasonably, if you have to buy. Try the MeWe reloading groups.

I've seen powder on the shelves in several locations in Ohio.

Current factory ammo versus current components it's still possible to load significantly cheaper than buying factory ammo, especially when re-using brass. It's not as easy to find deals, but it can be done.
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Re: Have Things Changed?

Postby 513resident » Mon May 09, 2022 11:45 am

Thanks for the replies everyone. I guess I'm not imagining things! JustaShooter you are correct there is accuracy tweaking issue with loading which transcends economics. No other way to custom tailor ammo to a particular rifle or whatever. CPG I am already able to view the trading post and, TBH, rather than buy, I may be more likely to sell components I already have on hand and use that $$ towards bulk purchases of my newer chamberings 5.56 and 9mm. I'm pretty sure I have a few hundred cases of .45-70 both new and once fired which I will never need now or in the future as I no longer own a .45-70. Same goes for powder as I have a few unopened cans of powders which aren't the right burn rates for any loading I might do in the future. DaveShooter I have a ton of primers around here but, unfortunately, IIRC they are not what I will be needing if I start trying to reload 5.56 and 9mm. My biggest problem is taking on two all new calibers (I broke my own rules about not adding new chamberings :?)
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Re: Have Things Changed?

Postby Sevens » Mon May 09, 2022 2:26 pm

Anyone who is buying their bullets in extremely fancy 100-count boxes is always going to be on a tough side of the "cost savings" argument. Further, and I can't imagine that this is news... but strolling in to a Cabela's is not, nor has it ever been the ultimate ticket to lowering costs in handloading. If it's all about the cost and cost-savings then you must already know that it's all about buying in bulk -- buying in the largest possible quantities that you can deem sane.

I'll put that another way... if you've been a handloader for a long time and you've always sourced your components from Cabela's (even before Bass Pro bludgeoned them) then I fear you've never truly realized the cost savings that most of the rest of us have.

Brass is an odd discussion, especially a discussion opened by a 20-year handloader. (Hint! You should have 20+ years of piled up brass and if you don't, you're atypical for a 20-year handloader)

Powder is absolutely jacked up in price right now and primers are a complete a total sideways poopshow. Time will tell what happens with the primer discussion, but even at the heart-stopping prices of primers right now, yes, it's still cheaper to handload.

The cost savings is a huge part of handloading for almost anyone/everyone, and for a select few, it may be the only reason they do it.

For many of us, it's just one of the reasons we handload.
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: Have Things Changed?

Postby 513resident » Mon May 09, 2022 5:20 pm

Sevens wrote:Anyone who is buying their bullets in extremely fancy 100-count boxes is always going to be on a tough side of the "cost savings" argument. Further, and I can't imagine that this is news... but strolling in to a Cabela's is not, nor has it ever been the ultimate ticket to lowering costs in handloading.


No, I wouldn't buy it in small lots at a place like Cabela's, it is just that my recent visit to the store was a surprise and it got me thinking about the economics of reloading in the post-pandemic world of 2022. I'm trying to get back into it after a several years long hiatus and am finding its a different world from back in the early 2000's. I haven't bought any reloading stuff for a few years now - mainly because I have so much old stuff on hand already. Most of the stuff I bought in bulk from places like Powder Valley, Midway USA and direct from Starline. I haven't priced anything lately, but I do imagine prices are high no matter where one goes. In the case of Starline...most everything I've looked at lately says "Out of Stock, No Backorders"

P.S. Sevens you must have missed the part about me taking on two new cartridges. Yes I've got tons of the stuff I've traditionally loaded and shot...a lifetime supply even...but I have zilch when it comes to 5.56 and 9mm. Bought my first Black Rifle last year, so I have no dies bullets or brass for loading that.
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Re: Have Things Changed?

Postby Sevens » Tue May 10, 2022 1:02 pm

Well the good news is that the two you added are the two most plentiful brass on the planet and it should be extremely easy to find brass for both of those.
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: Have Things Changed?

Postby Brian D. » Wed May 11, 2022 7:53 am

Sevens wrote:Well the good news is that the two you added are the two most plentiful brass on the planet and it should be extremely easy to find brass for both of those.


Yeah, you can acquire plenty of once fired cases in both those calibers, for free, just by going to the right ranges. I have so much 9mm parabellum brass already that I usually leave it behind now.
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Re: Have Things Changed?

Postby 513resident » Wed May 11, 2022 2:38 pm

Brian D. wrote:
Sevens wrote:Well the good news is that the two you added are the two most plentiful brass on the planet and it should be extremely easy to find brass for both of those.


Yeah, you can acquire plenty of once fired cases in both those calibers, for free, just by going to the right ranges. I have so much 9mm parabellum brass already that I usually leave it behind now.


Yeah, picking up brass is addictive. I'm the type of guy who could do it all day as long as I kept finding it. :lol:
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Re: Have Things Changed?

Postby Brian D. » Wed May 11, 2022 4:54 pm

Not sure I've ever bought .45 acp cases. Just after purchasing a reloading press years ago, visited the state owned range at Spring Valley. Back then only area police used the place on Mondays. So on Tuesday I showed up and found close to a thousand once discarded cases. Figured out later they had been fired in Thompson submachine guns, because about 10% were too dinged up to reuse. But the rest were fine, and since the .45 is a low pressure round, they were suitable for me to work with. Many many times.
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Re: Have Things Changed?

Postby Sevens » Sun May 15, 2022 12:27 am

Funny tale now that you bring up .45 brass.

Guy on another forum offered a pretty fat pile of once-fired .45 for a great price so I grabbed 2k of it. I contact him to send payment and he is in Louisiana… and his last name is Miculek. Haha, no, I’m not making that up.

Turns out the guy selling me the brass is Jerry’s younger brother. :D

I’m hoping this particular .45 brass makes me a better shooter. :)
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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