Two Letters Re: Cost Comparison: Factory Loads and Reloaded Ammunition

Grandpappy isn’t comparing apples to oranges correctly. His reloaded ammo pricing is for premium self defense bullets, which cost $150 or so per thousand. Most people are going to reload cast lead, which would cost $50 or 60 per thousand for a .40 S&W for example. If you price new premium self defense ammo, like Doubletap, it is going for around $700 a case. If you purchased new brass (why?) Hornady or Speer premium SD bullets, you would still be able to build your own (which we supposedly should not due to legal concerns) SD ammo for half the cost. And practice? Much, much cheaper with lead bullets.

Recent online ammo vendors (who have in stock) are trying to charge almost $500 for a case of .45 ACP 230 grain hardball (look at Natchez). You can load 230 grain lead roundnose (LRN) and duplicate the factory load for maybe $130 or so with good hard cast bullets included. Compared to today’s ridiculous ammo prices, you can make up the cost of your reloading setup in a case or two of ammo. Anyone who wants to shoot more than 500 rounds a year should be reloading. Thanks! – M.S.

Grandpappy had a great article on reloading, but what about time? Time is money. Reloading is very time consuming. Between [the time required for] collecting the fired brass, sorting the brass, cleaning [or tumbling] the brass, de-priming the brass, adjusting brass specs to factory (sizing, case length, primer pocket, etc…), this alone is a huge labor and use of time.

This, and my worsening eyesight that keeps me from enjoying precision hand loads, is why I gave up on reloading and sold all my equipment and supplies. BTW, I made a bundle of cash selling my new and used brass and primers. Wow! I quadrupled my money.

No one seems to factor in time. I don’t know about you, but have a long list of to-do projects and brass prep is not one of them.

I’m sure glad I bought hard and heavy in ammo back in the old days. I’m set for my life and probably the life of my kid too. – Robert

JWR Replies: I agree that reloading is time-consuming, but it is a valuable skill. For anyone that makes a six-figure salary, it is probably not worthwhile as a hobby at the present time. But for the rest of us, that don’t make that much money, and a have a bit of time on our hands, it is well worth doing. It is particularly worthwhile for students and retirees. I love listening to music, and find that since it is a relatively quiet activity, reloading is a soothing, almost cathartic experience. But, of course, “your mileage may vary.” Regardless, it is a valuable skill. I recommend that SurvivalBlog readers at least take the time to learn how to do it, and lay in the appropriate tools and supplies. Reloading capability might prove invaluable in a long-term collapse.

OBTW, don’t overlook taking the same humidity precautions for powder and primers that you do for loaded ammunition. On that note, I should mention that I prefer using used Tupperware boxes for storing primer and percussion caps. They are airtight, yet they pose less of an explosion risk than metal ammo cans, in the unlikely event of a house fire. (I look for Tupperware containers whenever I go to garage sales, thrift stores, and farm auctions. Powder cans seal quite well by themselves. Again, for the sake of fire safety, they should be stored in a “blow open” plywood cabinet. Again, resist the temptation to store it in something confining like a 20mm ammo can.