Will you save money by reloading ammunition?

You CAN save money by reloading rifle and pistol cartridges. However, the initial investment in good reloading equipment means that the volume of reloaded cartridges that you produce must be sufficient to cover the initial setup costs.

Will you save money by reloading?

The math on this can be pretty simple… or more complex.

Simple:

home reloading press setup

Lee Precision Loadmaster Progressive Reloading Press

Price the cartridge components (cartridge cases, primers, gun powder, bullets /projectiles) and the cost of all the reloading equipment you will need.

Components: The gear-report.com crew averages about $0.17 per round to reload 9mm luger cartridges using lead bullets (you might want copper plated, hollow point or full metal jacket bullets, which cost more).

Equipment: Lets assume that you buy a basic single-stage reloading press kit, like the Lee Precision 50th Anniversary Kit, which includes carbide dies at about $150 + basic, essential accessories at $50 = $200.

Total your cost for however many rounds you think you will produce in a time period… let’s say one year. It might look like this:

$0.17/cartridge x 500 reloaded cartridges = $84.80 + $200 for the reloading press and accessories = about $285, or about $0.57 per cartridge.

A quick internet search shows that on the day this was written one can buy steel cased factory ammo or reloaded 9mm luger ammo online for less that $0.30/cartridge, shipped.

What if you reload higher volumes of cartridges?

Number of reloads                    Cost per reloaded cartridge

500                                  $0.57

1000                                 $0.37

1500                                 $0.30

2000                                 $0.27

2500                                 $0.25

*The above assumes that your component costs stay the same as volume increases. You may be able to reduce component costs by buying in bulk.

 

More complex:

Notice that we have not considered the value of your time, or anything else in these calculations.

You may have expenses for things like:

save money by reloading rifle or pistol cartridges

home reloading press setup – image from internet… not the Gear-Report reloading lab

  • a secure, climate controlled workspace for reloading
  • secure storage for reloading components and finished ammunition
  • additional equipment for case prep, automating operations, etc.
  • a more expensive turret reloading press or progressive reloading press

Also, if you reload multiple calibers of ammunition, then  you can spread the cost of some universal equipment across all cartridges produced. However, different cartridges require different dies and accessories which also add costs.

Keep in mind that the Gear-Report.com crew are not attorneys and no sane person would consider anything that we say to be legal advice, but our understanding is that it is NOT legal in the USA to reload and sell ammunition without special permits. We are unclear on whether it is legal to reload ammunition and barter that reloaded ammo without the special reloading/ammo manufacturing permits. So, if you are thinking that you can recoup some or all of the costs of your personal reloading by selling your reloaded ammo, then you should probably find an attorney with experience in this area and get their advice,

Conclusion:

You CAN save money by reloading rifle and pistol cartridges. However, the initial investment in good reloading equipment means that the volume of reloaded cartridges that you produce must be sufficient to cover the initial setup costs. For most casual shooters the idea that “reloading will save me money” isn’t true, because they don’t shoot enough, and therefore don’t reload enough to make it cheaper than buying factory loaded ammunition.

There are various other reasons why people choose to reload ammo, which we will explore in other articles.

What do you think?

About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits.

A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps http://MGECOM.com acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management.

Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.