I won’t pull punches here: the shooting sports can easily become an expensive hobby, depending on how committed or involved one becomes. Between buying firearms, maintenance and upgrades, accessories, feeding them ammo, outfitting yourself with the right gear, and potentially entering competitions, hunting-associated costs or range fees, the bill adds up.
So why would I recommend investing in even more specialized reloading equipment on top of your growing mountain of outdoor paraphernalia?
For starters, reloading ammo can actually save you money over time. Once you’ve covered the upfront costs of your manufacturing equipment, you will begin to experience the cost-savings versus buying new factory ammunition (we’ll exclude shipping costs, as they vary depending on location.)
(Photo courtesy/The Blaze)
For example, visit our friends as MidwayUSA, and you’ll find – at the time of publishing – that 1,000 rounds of Winchester 9mm Luger 115 grain full metal jacket “white box” ammo runs approximately $265.
To reload that amount of ammo shopping at the same store, you can start with 1,000 rounds of brass at $135, 1,000 bullets at around $96, enough powder at about $25, and 1,000 small pistol primers at $33. That’s right around $290.
You’re probably looking at that and saying, ‘looks like reloading costs more!’” Here’s where the savings begin: You can reuse your brass, so for the next 1,000 rounds, you can factor out the cost of the brass, bring the cost down to right around $155 – a little more than half of what you paid initially, and more than $100 less than buying a case of factory ammo.
If you take care to ensure you load your cartridges properly and stick to the data manuals, you could conceivably keep reloading the same brass over and over. More math: let’s look at the cost comparison of 10,000 rounds of 9mm.
If you bought 10 orders of 1,000 rounds of Winchester white box 9mm at $265 for each order, you’re looking at $2,650. To get the same number of rounds reloaded, you’ll spend approximately $1,685 ($290 for the initial order, and $155 for the next nine restocking orders) – that’s almost a whole grand less!
Of course, you can opt for more expensive projectiles or high-end powder, or even need replace your brass occasionally, but in most circumstances, reloading will result in smaller bills for equal amounts of ammo versus buying factory loads.
Another perk of reloading is the ability to customize your ammo and create precision loads. Most professional and competitive shooters carefully reload their own ammunition to create cartridges that result in better groupings and higher velocities. Competitive shooting is a game of inches – make that fractions of inches – and shooters are looking for whatever methods can give them the advantage. Reloading becomes somewhat of an art, as the array of precision reloading equipment allows shooters to make ultra-fine adjustments to their ammunition to produce ideal results.
Reloading also lets innovators, gunsmiths and manufacturers and other “mad scientists” of the shooting sports create custom, one-of-a-kind experimental rounds, referred to as “wildcat” cartridges. While this practice requires advanced training, education and experience to safely perform, reloading is the vehicle by which we create new rounds, opening up endless avenues of ballistic potential.
Reloading takes considerably more work than opening a box of store-bought rounds, but for those looking for a hobby, or those that have the time to commit, it can be a worthwhile investment, whether you’re looking to save more money per round, or build your skill set away from the trigger.
Interested in reloading, but need some help getting started? Select NRA Certified Instructors offer Metallic Cartridge Reloading Courses. Visit http://www.nrainstructors.org/search.aspx, select NRA Instructor Metallic Cartridge Reloading Courses, and search for upcoming courses near you.