Reloading: A New Hobby

Written by Sierra Bullets Customer Joseph Latino 

Joseph Latino is a retired USAF Master Sergeant and a teacher and avid hunter, shooter and fisherman.  He has been reloading for 27 years, and is a huge fan of Sierra Bullets

Attention hunters and shooting enthusiasts! Are you tired of paying over $2.00 per round for accurate factory rifle ammunition? Are hundreds of rounds of pistol ammunition and flats of shotgun shells draining your wallet? If you spend a lot of time at the range getting to know your guns, or enjoy keeping up your shooting skills during off-seasons, perhaps you should consider reloading your own ammunition. Reloading has saved me a ton of money over the past 27 years, adding dimension to my trips to the shooting range and hunting.

The average price for premium rifle ammunition, even for common calibers such as 30-06 Springfield, 270 Winchester, and 308 Winchester is around $40 for a box of 20 pieces. A box of 50 pieces of 45 ACP 230 grain full metal jacket ammo is $20.99, and a box of 12 gage target shotgun shells costs $57.99-$99.99, depending on the brand name selected on Cabela’s website.

Let’s consider the cost of components: There are approximately 7,000 grains of powder in a pound. The cost for one pound of powder, depending on brand name, averages about $30. It costs about $40 for 1,000 primers, and about $30 for 100 Sierra jacketed bullets. You can save your brass, or purchase new unfired brass, though some calibers are hard to get these days. Shotgun hulls are also reloadable. For a shotgun, 25 pounds of shot is in the $50 range and wads cost $10.29 per bag of 500 from Midway USA. My 30-06 load takes 58 grains of powder in one round, my .45 ACP takes only 5.7 grains of my choice powder, according to alliantpowder.com. My preferred shot shell load for 12 gauge contains 17.2 grains of powder, and 1 1/8 ounces of shot. If you do the math, the cost per round is very low. Although the components cost by the bulk, they save the shooter money in the long run.

RCBS Reloading KitI have been reloading ammunition now for 27 years. My equipment has paid for itself, however, cost of reloading equipment is a big concern. To help, most companies such as Lee and RCBS offer comprehensive kits. Cabela’s prices the RCBS Explorer Plus reloading kit at $399.99. It includes a lot of tools for rifle and pistol loaders, plus the Nosler reloading manual. Sierra also offers a Rifle and Handgun Reloading Manual that you can purchase for around $30.  Rifle reloading dies cost an average of $35 and up and pistol dies cost around $50 (you need a set for each caliber). For serious pistol shooters, you may want to consider the progressive style press that is made to load ammunition by the bulk. A shot shell reloading press for a 12 gauge again depends on how much shooting is done. The most inexpensive single stage press is about $60, and progressive one that is fully automatic with all the bells and whistles is over $1100. Used equipment can also be purchased on line or at gun shops, or gun shows. All this being said, what needs to be considered is how much use is going to be made of the equipment.

Hog

I used a 300 Weatherby Mag with my reloads. I had 81 grains of H4831SC powder, Nosler brass, Federal Large Rifle Magnum Match primers and Sierra’s 180 grain Spitzer Pro-Hunter #2150 bullets.

Both my father and my grandfather reloaded their ammunition. I began reloading on my ammunition in 1988. I bought my initial equipment used at gun shows and pawn shops. I still have my RCBS press I bought used in 1988 as well as other tools when I was in my 20s, and going to the range often. I have also participated in rifle and pistol shooting competition. Furthermore, I love bird hunting as well as shooting skeet, trap, and sporting clays. I love it all. Reloading for my hunting rifles added a dimension to the hunt. I know what my guns like. I have loads developed that shoot great in my guns, and seeing them perform on paper and game gives me a lot of self satisfaction. The same goes for my shotgun loads. It’s great seeing clays turn to dust, as well as a game bird fall out of the sky from one of my reloads on the occasion that I actually hit one.

My time that is spent reloading is much to me like curling up with a good book. I take my time with it all. I enjoy the processes involved and it is relaxing and fun for me. As safety is always a concern, I implore you to please read your reloading manuals. Pay careful attention to the steps involved in reloading all types of ammunition and do not exceed recommended maximum loads. For 27 years, reloading has been one of my favorite hobbies that I hope to continue for at least 27 more. Perhaps you should give it a try.

image3

My daughter, Victoria who was shooting my Sig Sauer 1911 45 ACP, and my S&W Model 29-2 44 Magnum.

Sources Cited

http://www.cabelas.com, July 20, 2015

http://www.midwayusa.com, July 20, 2015

http://www.alliantpowder.com, July 20, 2015

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4 Responses to Reloading: A New Hobby

  1. Very good article! Sounds much like the same reasoning I started back in the early 70’s with a Lee Loader for my .303 British. Painfully slow to use, however it/I made some very accurate ammunition for the day with that loader, still have it too. First bullets I reloaded were Sierra, still my favorite for .303 British.
    Now we have so much reloading equipment, presses, etc… I some times have trouble finding enough room for me to fit in and use it!! 🙂
    One thing is certain, reloading is a wonderful hobby, easy to learn and a lot of game has come home with me from my reloaded ammo!

    Like

  2. DAVID RUPPEL says:

    I started reloading the first time back in my 20’s but didn’t stay with it long. Then again in my mid 30’s. But I didn’t really get way into it until my late 50’s. I am now 60 and I enjoy it more now and I understand alot more about it and what makes an accurate shot out of a certain rifle or handgun. You can reload just to save money or you can work up the best loads for your favorite target or hunting rifle and not think about the savings. That is where I am now. I can not see me not reloading anymore, it is to much fun and very exciting to hit your mark, whether an Elk or a piece of steel at 1000 yards. Reloading is a Blast!
    Good article!
    Rupe

    Like

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