From time to time, people suggest that I get into reloading. I periodically look at it, and I just don’t see any advantage. Let me explain:
Cost of equipment
First, I would have to buy reloading equipment. In order to make bulk ammo, it doesn’t make sense to buy a single stage press. It would just take too long. So, progressive it is. A Dillon progressive in a decent configuration will coast about $700. There are other things that you need as well, but I won’t even list them. Suffice it to say that you are already looking at at least $800 before you load a single round.
Cost of ammo
Second, the cost of expendable supplies. Let’s say that you want to load the ammo I go through the most of (besides .22LR): the 9mm FMJ. Using the cost calculator here, and prices from Midway USA, here is what I get:
115 gr 9mm FMJ: $88 for 1,000
Brass I will even consider as free
1,000 pistol Primers for $51
1 pound of Blue Dot powder $24
This brings us to a cost of $170 for 1,000 rounds, or if you prefer, $8.50 for a 50 round box- and that is assuming that you don’t need to get brass. If you have to buy brass, you can add another $100 for that, and assuming that you use each case 10 times on average before it is lost or damaged, still increases your cost to $180 for 1,000 rounds- again also ignoring the costs of buying your reloading equipment.
When it is in stock, I can catch 9mm on sale for between $7 and $9 a box for either Federal FMJ or Winchester. (I don’t shoot that Tulammo or Bear junk) If I buy bulk pack from Georgia Arms, I can get 1,000 round cans of 115gr FMJ for $230 even now, with the shortage.
Third, my time. How long does it take to reload 1,000 rounds? I will admit that I am not sure. It sure seems that standing in front of that press, pulling that handle for hours would get tedious. Tedium leads to carelessness, which leads me to my next point:
Four: Mistakes. A mistake when reloading can cost you a gun, a finger, an eye. There is always that consideration.
Yes, right now ammo is expensive and hard to get. So are reloading supplies. Many places that I looked were out of powder, low on primers, and out of projectiles. Who cares? I buy large stocks when I can get it cheap. A case here, a case there on sale will cost you less in the long term, and isn’t more of an investment than all that reloading equipment.
I have, not counting .22LR, nearly 10,000 rounds here in the house. I could tell you exactly how much, but all of my records (including inventories) were lost in my recent data breach. I know that I have at least 2000 rounds of 9mm, 700 or so of .380, as well as .40S&W, .357Sig, .45ACP, and that is just pistol ammo. I have about 25 ammo cans full of every caliber that I own, except .38 spl and .357 magnum.
The only reason I had to buy that expensive .38 the other day is that I just didn’t keep that caliber around for range ammo because up until last week the only revolver I had was the J frame, and I don’t practice with it as much as the others. Now that I have another, that will change, but not until prices come down.
Reloading can save money when ammo is expensive, but actually costs more under normal conditions. When factory ammo becomes scarce and expensive (as it does periodically) reloading supplies also tend to become scarce and expensive.
There is no real benefit to reloading for me. Your conditions may be different.