Thursday, June 30, 2016


Sometimes we make trade-offs when we're reloading.

Yesterday, after my bullet-casting post, I went outside to the bench and realized that I had no liquid Alox.  So, I went inside and made an order to the White Label Lube Company.  They're a great outfit and make wonderful lube, but they're a small outfit, so I don't expect it in the next week.  I couldn't lube the bullets, so I cast about for alternatives.

Luckily, today, I had to cross the river into Alexandria, and they've got a big-box store there that sells a limited amount of reloading supplies.  I stopped in there to see what was available.  I wasn't looking for premium jacketed hollow point bullets and they had a goodly supply of those, but I noticed a box, forlorn at the end of the shelf.  Hornady's magnificent Frontier lead bullets.  They're swaged from dead-soft lead and lubed with something that looks like talcum, but if you don't push them too hard, they do just fine.  They're good looking bullets.  I've shot a bunch of them over the years.

I've used them before and they do just fine, but a 300 count box comes in the door at about $30.00, so they're a dime apiece.  And there's the benefit to bullet casting.

That bag of bullets on the left cost me 0 cents apiece.  The ones on the right cost me 10 cents apiece.  Believe me, after amortizing that casting pot and that bullet mold, I'm well into zero cost.  The lead was scrounged.  So, let's look at the cost effectiveness of reloading.  Realize I've been doing this for 20 years, so my equipment amortization cost is well past the full depreciation stage, even if you're a CPA, there is really no cost left to amortize.  It's fully depreciated.

So, let's do some math.  For my reloads with cast bullets, I figure I'm using 2 cents worth of powder and four cents worth of primers. My lube might cost me a penny, so my reloads come in at 7 cents each.  A box of 50 cost me $3.50.

If I use Mr. Hornady's bullets (and they're really good bullets), then I still have that 2 cents worth of powder, and that four cent primer, but the bullet costs me a full dime.  That's 16 cents apiece, or $8.00 for a box of 50.

If I want to buy ammo, about the cheapest I can find is UltraMax ammo, which comes in the door at about 32 cents a round, or $16.00 for a box of 50, if you can find it.

There is no telling how much money my reloading bench has saved me over the years.  I recommend it to every serious shooter.  Next week, I'll load those Hornady's into .38 special brass and put them in the stock until my lube comes in.

Now, I see that it's happy hour, so Milady wants an apertif.  If you'll excuse me.


M. Silvius said...

I have been picking up Sellier and Bellot primers at Cabelas for 20 @ a box of 1000. That's 2 cents a piece, It don't get much better than that.

Old NFO said...

If I remember correctly, the 'break even' on reloading is somewhere around 5000 rounds... FWIW...