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Reloading components modern pricing

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Hey all. Long time off and on member of Northwest and Southwest Firearms forums. Life gets crazy and i shut off online comms for a while sometimes, sorry.

Had a question though that answers to may help others as well. I've searched other forums and this one and can't seem to find much more recrnt info than early 2018.

I'm finally in a place after over a year where i can set up my reloading station and start learning and reloading. I'm looking for what components (brass, i only care about what you avoid. But bullets, powder and primers i know enough to know how much i don't know about what to get, if ya follow me) ya'll use, and what pricing (general) ya'll see.
I'm building a spreadsheet of common brands and types i buy of factory ammo, stores i've bought from, and pricing for each caliber i shoot, and wanting to compare that with an idea of reloaded costs for each caliber depending what components ya'll fine folks might recommend.
I have a Hornady LnL i bought from a fella on NorthwestFirearms, and a Lee single stage i picked up local here in Tucson. I have dies so far for some of my calibers, but not all.
Calibers i shoot that i might reload for:
.380 (yes, if it's significantly less expensive, i will reload for it. I believe in practicing extensively with a carry gun, even if it's a BUG)
9mm, .38spl, .357, .40, .45acp, .45colt, 7.62x38R, 5.56, .300blk, .30-30, .6.5CM, 7.5x55swiss, 7.62x54R and .30-06.

The rimfire of course, and 7.62x39 i won't bother.

I know i don't post much, but wanna make sure I say I appreciate ya'll. Not just for helping me, but for helping all the folks you'll never know read your info and benefit from it

-Mike
 
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I preferred Winchester Large Rifle Magnum primers when I had the rifles that used them. I will buy any manufacturer's powders if they will do what I want in the cases intended for them. I like Hornady bullets. My mildcat rifles required .375 Ruger brass; is the only case that can be formed-down to make the brass. I gave the rifles away, so I have no further need for .375 Ruger brass. I will use any Boxer-primed .223 case that can be cleaned-up and resized to shoot one more round.
 
OP
mikemenzie
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Haha yeah, .223 and 5.56 and many of the others, i'll use whatever brass i've got that is useable, no big.
.45 colt, 7.62x38r nagant and 7.5x55swiss are the only ones i may have to look into buying brass for, although it appears to be much cheaper to buy factory ammo for the 7.62nagant and reload the brass, than to just buy empty brass.

For powders - i just don't really know anything. From what i read, some are considered dirtier, some burn faster which can be better for lighter bullets vs some burning slower which can be better for heavier bullets vs some general purpose powders that can span a lot of calibers and weights, then enter temp sensitivity, etc.
So i mean...i can go to a website and see how much hogdon's something other other costs...but i have no clue if that would be a recommended powder to even get, so no point in me looking. Haha.
That's why i was hoping for ideas from folks like you who actually use thing and have formed real world preferences based on these calibers might have input that i can use as a basis.

What do you make from .375 ruger brass, by the way?

Thanks for the response!
-Mike
 
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I think you may be over-thinking it.

Pick a single caliber and start reloading it to get a better understanding of the process before buying every component and die and trimmer for every caliber. You may very well say “forget” this crap. Too much time and too much work.
 
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You will save a lot of money reloading - especially if you use cast bullets in the pistols instead of jacketed bullets. Typical savings are around 1/3 the cost of factory ammo though that depends on the bullet you choose. Wax coated hardcast bullets will give you the biggest savings but powder-coated bullets are all the rage right now and some people like them better (must the the colors you can choose because the performance is only marginally better). Neither will lead your barrel if the bullet diameter is sufficient that there is no gas cutting up past the bullet (NRA magazine American Rifleman had a great article on this a couple months ago). Gas checks will be necessary for higher pressure loads such as for the 357Mag, but not necessary for 38 spl, 45acp, 380, 45 colt, and other low-med pressure loads. Hardcast lead bullets are 1/3 to 1/2 the price of jacketed bullets and you can get into making your own if you have the time to get into that. Some people also like the powder-coated bullets in rifle as well (though there is some debate about pushing powder-coated bullets beyond 2600fps). Lots of places to buy hardcast bullets. I have been exclusively shooting hardcast lead bullets in my handguns for the past 30 years. www.robsbullets.com
 
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mikemenzie
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I think you may be over-thinking it.

Pick a single caliber and start reloading it to get a better understanding of the process before buying every component and die and trimmer for every caliber. You may very well say “forget” this crap. Too much time and too much work.
Not a chance I'm a project oriented person. I already made the decision to reload, that won't change. But typically yeah i agree, going all out at the beginning isn't something i'd do. But in this case, i have a bit of saved money and it's a question of budgeting. If i buy a bunch and buy in bulk, soon, take advantage of sales this month, etc., i can afford a lot more than buying piecemeal down the road.
 
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mikemenzie
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@robsbullets thanks, that's definitely some of the kind of info I'm looking for. For full power rounds that are meant to be for a purpose, i would lean toward maybe more "premium" components - likely sticking with factory ammo for now until i get comfortable reloading. But for target rounds and practice, i only care about mimicking recoil, feel, and close shot placement to where my purpose built rounds hit. I've seen other recommendations for wax coated hard cast lead. I appreciate hearing it directly from someone.
 
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mikemenzie
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@11Charlie i will be wanting to load precision rounds at some point, but initially plan on loading for just reasonable accuracy practice rounds to be close to on par with functional loads, so that practice rounds aren't wildly off target. If i can afford to, along with buying in bulk for practice loads for the various calibers, i'll purchase components for precision loads now too, even though i won't be loading for precision, defensive, etc., until i'm more comfortable with reloading, if that makes sense.
 
My suggestion would be to not buy precision components until you know what bullet and weight your rifles like. For instance with my Tikka in 308 it really really likes the Sierra match kings in 175 grain. Use your plinking loads to find out what they like and then dial it in for precision.

When I started reloading I started with 9mm just to get the hang of it. Then @v0lcom13sn0w came over for the day and we worked up a load for my Tikka but at that point I knew it liked the 175 match kings.
 
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For Me I picked the most expensive ammo that I shot a lot of and started loading those first. I started loading 45 colt. I could buy 45 acp for $15 a box[ at that time] but 45 colt was double that! By reloading I could make 45 colt for about $6 a box. Or a savings of $24 a box. At that time my reloading setup cost less than$200. OR about 8 boxes of ammo. So after loading that first 8 boxes my tools were paid for! Every caliber after that was just an add on set of dies.
Now over the next 40 years I have added tools to make my reloading more fun and easier but I still load on that first press, And its paid for many times over! Good Luck. DR
 
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Hey all. Long time off and on member of Northwest and Southwest Firearms forums. Life gets crazy and i shut off online comms for a while sometimes, sorry.

Had a question though that answers to may help others as well. I've searched other forums and this one and can't seem to find much more recrnt info than early 2018.

I'm finally in a place after over a year where i can set up my reloading station and start learning and reloading. I'm looking for what components (brass, i only care about what you avoid. But bullets, powder and primers i know enough to know how much i don't know about what to get, if ya follow me) ya'll use, and what pricing (general) ya'll see.
I'm building a spreadsheet of common brands and types i buy of factory ammo, stores i've bought from, and pricing for each caliber i shoot, and wanting to compare that with an idea of reloaded costs for each caliber depending what components ya'll fine folks might recommend.
I have a Hornady LnL i bought from a fella on NorthwestFirearms, and a Lee single stage i picked up local here in Tucson. I have dies so far for some of my calibers, but not all.
Calibers i shoot that i might reload for:
.380 (yes, if it's significantly less expensive, i will reload for it. I believe in practicing extensively with a carry gun, even if it's a BUG)
9mm, .38spl, .357, .40, .45acp, .45colt, 7.62x38R, 5.56, .300blk, .30-30, .6.5CM, 7.5x55swiss, 7.62x54R and .30-06.

The rimfire of course, and 7.62x39 i won't bother.

I know i don't post much, but wanna make sure I say I appreciate ya'll. Not just for helping me, but for helping all the folks you'll never know read your info and benefit from it

-Mike
Mike- I am an FFL licensed ammunition manufacturer in Prescott Valley . Please feel free to call and I'll do my best to assist you with your quest for knowledge ...
Phil- MP Veteran Custom Firearms @928-237-0073
 
OP
mikemenzie
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My suggestion would be to not buy precision components until you know what bullet and weight your rifles like.
Absolutely solid advice. That is advice I'd heard before, but forgot about, like a noob, haha. Thanks.

For Me I picked the most expensive ammo that I shot a lot of and started loading those first. I started loading 45 colt.
Hahahaha. I was thinking about that originally. Was researching current offerings for factory ammo for .45colt the other day and between cowboy, full power, full power defensive, hunting, and Ruger only loads...jeezie pete:s0112:
 
OP
mikemenzie
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My current plan:
Buy a good "general" powder or two in bulk that should cover most, if not all, of my practice loadings for pistol calibers, if such a powder exists.
Do the same for all my rifle calibers - from the research i'd done so far, it seemed here I may be better off buying a couple different powders for the spread from 5.56 to .30-06.
I have a small amount of my own once fired brass for every caliber I own, so would start with these.
From what folks have been telling me, was thinking of starting with buying hardcast bullets in bulk for each caliber, one to three different weights for each caliber, for testing.
Primers i'm super unfamiliar with, but was figuring on just buying whatever is not the hardest, but not the most expensive, and hope for the best, i suppose.

I already have a progressive and a single stage press, two types of case trimmers, a few digital scales and one mechanical scale, 7 or 8 die sets, a couple tumblers and ultrasonic cleaners (I do lapidary work too, so already had those...and yes. for everyone not asking because it's a random idea...I plan to make bullets out of semi-precious gemstones, and load them in un-primed brass for decoration. Because awesome). and i have a few caliper sets from woodworking, and...yeah. can't remember what else I have or would need.
 
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For what it's worth, right now, don't even bother reloading. The ammunition market is so soft prices are almost at fire-sale levels. Also, it's barely worth reloading if you're paying retail for components, what you save in cost, you lose in labor by several multiples. The only stuff I'm reloading right now is my equivalent to federal GMM for my .308.

In general, if you're going to use any kind of semi-automated equipment, harder primers are better, CCI/Winchester are my favorites. Some people like federal, I tend to find the primers get smashed or marred too easily and generally don't look good. I'm not running light firing springs in a revolver so I don't care.

Also, the "one powder for all my rifle calibers" is just a series of bad compromises. I run a lot of H335 and CFE223 in 5.56 and other calibers. These typically don't perform very well in .308 where an IMR type powder works better. Also, since for a long time I loaded more 5.56 ammo than .308, it made more sense to just buy a better powder (Varget, IMR3031) for that application, and run the cheaper ball type powder in 5.56.

Lemme break down your cartridges:

9mm, .38spl, .45acp, .45colt - Titegroup, is pretty much the go-to, you could probably use Win231/HP38. Depending how light you go on the .38's HP38 would be a better powder.

.357, .40 - HS6 the 40 wants to be loaded hotter than any of the above cartridges, and just running a heavier load of titegroup won't get you to the same place. Honestly, .40 is such garbage, and unless you're a cowboy shooter .357 is probably cheaper just to buy

7.62x38R - I don't think you can actually reload nagant ammo. I don't think the brass lasts very long. Just buy a few boxes which should theoretically be a lifetime supply and put it away.

5.56 - CFE223 or H335, these are typically going to be the cheapest and best performing powders in this caliber. At this moment, buy rather than load.

.300blk - They have a CFE specific for the 300BLK I haven't tried. For the most part you're going to want a magnum pistol powder or a fast rifle powder. IMR4198 is probably going to be your go-to. Alternatively, Alliant 2400 might be a performer with subsonic loads.

.30-30 - Good news, it's a lever gun, so powder doesn't matter as much. You can probably re-use the 4198 in this gun. I wouldn't load super heavy, and you might be able to use some of the 5.56 powders.

.6.5CM, .30-06 - Similar burn characteristics. Varget - IMR4350 are going to be your go tos. You want slower burning powders, so IMR3031 probably won't perform that well.

7.5x55swiss - I sold my 8mm rifle after the ammo got expensive. I think the K31 is a cooler rifle, but probably one I wouldn't shoot that much. Given the difficulty in obtaining reloadable brass (IIRC PRVI makes it) I would probably just stock up a bunch of PRVI ammo, and maybe reload it at some undefined point in the future.

7.62x54R - Again, why?
 
OP
mikemenzie
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For what it's worth, right now, don't even bother reloading. The ammunition market is so soft prices are almost at fire-sale levels. Also, it's barely worth reloading if you're paying retail for components, what you save in cost, you lose in labor by several multiples. The only stuff I'm reloading right now is my equivalent to federal GMM for my .308.

In general, if you're going to use any kind of semi-automated equipment, harder primers are better, CCI/Winchester are my favorites. Some people like federal, I tend to find the primers get smashed or marred too easily and generally don't look good. I'm not running light firing springs in a revolver so I don't care.

Also, the "one powder for all my rifle calibers" is just a series of bad compromises. I run a lot of H335 and CFE223 in 5.56 and other calibers. These typically don't perform very well in .308 where an IMR type powder works better. Also, since for a long time I loaded more 5.56 ammo than .308, it made more sense to just buy a better powder (Varget, IMR3031) for that application, and run the cheaper ball type powder in 5.56.

Lemme break down your cartridges:

9mm, .38spl, .45acp, .45colt - Titegroup, is pretty much the go-to, you could probably use Win231/HP38. Depending how light you go on the .38's HP38 would be a better powder.

.357, .40 - HS6 the 40 wants to be loaded hotter than any of the above cartridges, and just running a heavier load of titegroup won't get you to the same place. Honestly, .40 is such garbage, and unless you're a cowboy shooter .357 is probably cheaper just to buy

7.62x38R - I don't think you can actually reload nagant ammo. I don't think the brass lasts very long. Just buy a few boxes which should theoretically be a lifetime supply and put it away.

5.56 - CFE223 or H335, these are typically going to be the cheapest and best performing powders in this caliber. At this moment, buy rather than load.

.300blk - They have a CFE specific for the 300BLK I haven't tried. For the most part you're going to want a magnum pistol powder or a fast rifle powder. IMR4198 is probably going to be your go-to. Alternatively, Alliant 2400 might be a performer with subsonic loads.

.30-30 - Good news, it's a lever gun, so powder doesn't matter as much. You can probably re-use the 4198 in this gun. I wouldn't load super heavy, and you might be able to use some of the 5.56 powders.

.6.5CM, .30-06 - Similar burn characteristics. Varget - IMR4350 are going to be your go tos. You want slower burning powders, so IMR3031 probably won't perform that well.

7.5x55swiss - I sold my 8mm rifle after the ammo got expensive. I think the K31 is a cooler rifle, but probably one I wouldn't shoot that much. Given the difficulty in obtaining reloadable brass (IIRC PRVI makes it) I would probably just stock up a bunch of PRVI ammo, and maybe reload it at some undefined point in the future.

7.62x54R - Again, why?
Appreciate the input, buddy! I've been getting alot of different feedback on recommended powders for different calibers with some folks definitely going the one powder for all route and i didn't want to do that.
I do plan to reload 7.62x38r. For the project of it, if nothing else, and i actually shoot it a decent amount. Up to 50 yards, it's not bad for accuracy, and i enjoy shooting it. Well, them. I have two, both unmodified, so full spring tension. I love it.
7.62x54r, i set up a rifle for my momma in this caliber. She really wanted it. And i recently finally got a Vepr in x54r which was one gun she always wanted but never got a chance to get. She passed away early this year, so you can bet I'll be shooting those often for her.

x38r, x54r and x55swiss i have saved a little and plan to save more brass from factory loads. A couple companies at least make each. Then I'll reload until the brass is toast, then buy factory until i have some brass again.

For a lot of this, i'm not a typical shooter, one weekend a month at the range, plink a bit, sight in before hunting season type of thing. I take new shooters and inexperienced shooters out as often as i can to teach them safety and help them get comfortable with firearms. I'm not a licensed trainer, so i don't charge anything, just like to teach. And they rarely pay for ammo, so i run out somewhat often, haha.

Anyway, thanks again for the powder recommendations. That helps a lot. For 6.5cm particularly, i'd been hearing a lot about a couple other powders. I'll have to remember what they were. I want to say r17 and win760?
-Mike
 
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If you're insistent on nagant, I think fiocchi makes new stuff. I would be extremely surprised if you get more than 1 reload out of the brass.

I usually stick to SMP powders (Hodgdon is the brand you'll find) and occasionally the IMR powders from Expro (hodgdon again) I deal a bit with western powder, however most of what I stick to from them has been Ramshot TAC. I don't think this would be a great match for what you're looking to load. It's a performer in 5.56, but it's too expensive for blaster ammo, I usually use it for Barnes 55gr TSX-FB's for hunting, and 69gr SMK's for long range in my bolt gun or SPR. In looking at it, 4064 might be another one worth looking at, but I think 4350 is probably going to be a better go-to for 6.5 and 30-06 unless you're shooting very light bullets.

I've loaded a ton of 4350 in my Enfield, and it's been a pretty solid performer. I really only use that gun for oddball events and as a loaner.
 
OP
mikemenzie
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Gotcha. I'm still pretty lost with the powders discussion, but every bit of info i get helps put pieces together and help me understand things better, so i appreciate that.
I did recently pick up a craigslist lot of old brass and lead for 9mm and .45acp, and it came with a few pounds of old powders. Still sealed and were stored properly so should be good. I haven't gotten a chance to look through and see what kinds they were, yet.
I believe at least one of them was hodgdon 4350? I'd heard that, R17 and Win760 most, for 6.5cm. 4350 seemed to be most standard, but a lot of folks seem to like win760. R17, from what i understand, is pretty good, easier to reach high velocity, but very temp sensitive.

Yeah fiocchi and prvi both make x38r. And i've come across a few ways of making x38r brass out of other things - most without the gas seal, so pointless, but a few that achieve gas seal. Like i said, that'll mostly be for the project amusement. For often shooting, i'll likely just stick with milsurp, prvi, or screwing around with various .32 non-gas seal rounds that fit in the stock cylinder or the .32acp cylinder i got with one of them.

For most things, i'd mainly wanted to load every cartridge i own a gun for, just for the experience. I really want to understand and learn loading, not just skim the topic, ya know? Dive in with both feet, basically. Then some i'll load for more especially, for high accuracy, defensive rounds, hunting, specialized use loads. But that'll only be in certain calibers, of course. No need to go through all that for my .300blk, i only got that gun for plinking, etc.

And for some, after learning and getting into it more, i'll keep up on ammo pricing research and reload in bulk for a few calibers that i shoot most, if it ends up being cheaper enough than factory, for plinking and practice. Time isn't really an issue. I'm on disability and sometimes can't do my bigger projects, but still need something to do.
 
OP
mikemenzie
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Oh - i do plan to get into cowboy shooting. Wanted to for years, just never hooked up with folks to learn the tips and tricks and all. So i do plan to load for .45colt - absolutely no way reloading can be more expensive than the ridiculous factory pricing, haha. And for one of my wheelguns, i do want to load some Ruger only loads up - after i get a decent amount of reloading experience to feel comfortable with it - for that experience.
 

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