Letter Re: Reloading Ammo


I was a little surprised at your comment “It is tough to reload cheaper than bulk ammo for pistol though” in your reply to CR’s letter. As an example, I reload .45ACP under 15 cents a round using 200 grain lead bullets from Missouri Bullet Company. The bullets are under 10 cents each, add a primer for 3 cents and 2 cents of powder, and there you are. I crank these out at 300-400 per hour on my progressive, at a leisurely pace.

I checked on ammo prices at the local farm store this afternoon and .45ACP is running 50 cents a round. Perhaps some can find it cheaper in bulk, but my prices for reloading are well under anything I’ve seen for .45ACP in bulk or otherwise.

I get a kick out of others watching me shoot my XD’s at the range, peeling off 10 rounds at a crack; they clearly think I’m independently wealthy to be able to shoot that much .45, but I always end up telling them how I can afford it– I reload.

To get the price down you have to buy in bulk– no 100-bullet orders, no 1-pound powder orders, no buying primers 100 at a time. I buy bullets in the thousands, powder by the 8# keg, and primers 5000 at a time. But Hugh, if you do it right, you can save a lot of money reloading or, as I do, shoot more than I otherwise could.

Of course, your mileage will vary; if you have Glocks with octagonal rifling, lead bullets aren’t advisable, and thus you may, if you like Glock, be forced to reload more expensive plated or FMJ bullets. But if you can reload lead, and use quality lubed bullets, you can save a ton, or shoot more.

Love the blog. Keep it up. – M.D.

HJL Replies: For your practice and fun ammo, you can reload on the cheap. However, the actual questions was about prepping ammo, which I understood to be ammo used primarily for the possible protection of your preps. For that ammo, you cannot run the brass into failure, nor can you spend time during the firefight collecting your brass so you can reload for the next assault. In those cases, your reloading costs are significantly higher because you generally need to use jacketed bullets, and you must have brass for every round you count. When reloading once-fired or new brass, your cost per round will only be slightly lower than domestically produced bulk ammo and may be higher than many imported ammo (in the standard 9mm or 45acp offerings). With other cartridges, YMMV. Handloaded rifle ammo is almost always less expensive, even when buying virgin brass.

Of course, once you have the investment in the reloading hardware, it’s difficult to let it sit idle when you need rounds, no matter what the cost.