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Father Kit Cool Gun Garth

Oh Ammo, Where Art Thou?

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I’m now ready to start practicing with my firearms at the range.

 

I’ve read most of the recent threads regarding the advantages of reloading your own ammo, which will be an option I will pursue at a later date, for several reasons, (1) lack of funds to invest in the equipment, (2) acquiring the knowledge to effectively load my own ammo, without hurting myself in the process, and (3) lack of time it will require to do so. Any or all of these reasons can account for newbies to initially decide to purchase their ammo. There is a trust factor involved when shooting firearms for the first time, in relying on tried and true ammunition manufactured by reputable firms.

 

I have also been advised that purchasing re-loads from other cowboys, who are willing and able and have the time to devote to this volunteer, albeit paid, job; however, in an earlier thread I responded to, I asked similar questions, yet received no responses. They are quoted below:

 

1. What is the average cost for 10 rounds for rifle, 10 rounds for revolvers and 4 rounds for shotgun per stage based on six stages, if you purchase the ammo retail online?

2. What is the average cost of the same amount of ammo, if reloads were used?

And more importantly, what would the average cowboy pard charge if you supplied the brass?

 

So with the reloading option off the table for now, and the purchase of fellow cowboy re-loads in limbo, I am seeking the best price that anyone has found, preferably on the Internet (as making a 3,000 mile drive to a local brick and mortar retail store in say Tombstone, Arizona would not be feasible) for .38 caliber 158 grain Lead Round Nose (LRN) or Lead Round Nose Flat/Truncated (LRNF) ammo.

 

A previous thread started by Deadcoyote back on August 16, 2016 entitled “SASS ammo?” had a couple of these options provided. The first option offered by Casey Green was Georgia-arms.com where 1,000 rounds could be had for $250.00. I found the 1,000 rounds; however, they are now listed at $310.00. Then Boggus Deal offered up BoneOrchard.com; however, I did not find a good value there either.

 

I like the $ .25 cost per round figure and would be interested if anyone has found anything close to that figure for 500 rounds. It may be wishful thinking on my part, a kind of cow-pie in the sky thought, but look forward to your input to see who can find the best ammo at the lowest price.

Edited by Father Kit Cool Gun Garth

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When I first tried CAS, I wasn't setup to reload .38. I bought 1000 rounds of ammo from Georgia-Arms. Didn't have a single issue with their ammo. I kept all the brass and then used it when I was tooled up to reload .38. This may be the simple way to start, it was for me.

 

PS. I just checked their website again, 1000 rounds (Canned Heat) is only $250.00.

 

I just looked at some price tags on my bench, I will let you do the math.

 

1 LB bottle of Bullseye - 25.99 (7,000 grn / pound) so depending on your load....

1 Box 1000 Federal SP Primers - 35.99

500 Once Fired .38 brass from gunbroker - 45.00

500 Precision Bullets - Molly coated - 39.00

 

 

Totes

Edited by Totes Magoats

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I doubt you'll find anyone that will load ammo for someone. They may sit with you and help you as you learn, but there are far too many risks and liabilities involved to load for someone else. An insured load service is a different thing.

 

That being said, the cost for me to load a typical round of 38 special ammo for CAS is 10 to 12 cents each. This includes all components except the brass, as it is not a fixed cost. If I give a dime for a piece of brass and load it once, it cost me a dime a round. If I don't lose it, or it doesn't get stepped on, and I get 20 loads out of it, then it cost half a cent. You can get loading with everything you need for not much money. A single stage press, set of dies, handheld primer replacer and set of plastic scoops would set you back no more than $125. You can save more than that on your first 1000 rounds loaded. The first 1000 would run about $250, after that $100 to $125 per thousand. It just is not that difficult to do. I loaded my first 6 years on a single stage press.

 

http://ads.midwayusa.com/product/807734/lee-reloader-single-stage-press?cm_mmc=pf_ci_google-_-Reloading+-+Metallic+Reloading+Presses-_-Lee-_-807734&gclid=CIamzuW2qdECFdFMDQodzsQA-A

 

http://ads.midwayusa.com/product/413473/lee-new-auto-prime-xr-hand-priming-tool?cm_mmc=pf_ci_google-_-Reloading+-+Metallic+Reloading+Equipment+(Not+Presses)-_-Lee-_-413473&gclid=CJ_c7P62qdECFdaKswod63EEQg

 

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/418312/lee-carbide-3-die-set-38-special-357-magnum

 

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/943305/lee-improved-powder-measure-kit

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Mr. Magoats:

 

Thank you for the quick reply and the wonderful loading information for future reference.

If I did my math right, a 1LB bottle at 158see note below grain per round would yield 44 rounds. To load 500 rounds I would need 79,000 grains or 12 1 LB bottles of Bullseye = $312.00. For primers, only 500 would be needed = $18.00. Adding these two figures to the 500 casings and 500 bullets, the total would be $414.00 or $ .83/round.

I am not familiar with reloading, so if I did the grains calculation wrong, please let me know, but this appears to be more expensive based on that calculation and your quote of $250.00 for 1,000 rounds which is $ .25/round.

 

NOTE: My faux pas! (see subsequent posts that help this newbie understand reloading math.

Edited by Father Kit Cool Gun Garth

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Buy in bulk and cut the round cost of 25 cents, to less than a third.

Look HARD at Dillon and they have great customer support/help.

The sooner you start to reload the better.

OLG

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No sir, your math is wrong!!!!!! 158 grian is the weight of the bullet, not the powder. In my figures I thought about 1500 rounds per pound of powder.

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When buying commercially reloaded ammo, there are 2 prices. 1st price is when you buy the initial order... figure 31.99 a box of 50... then there is the 2nd, less expensive price when you send them back the brass and have them reload it...16.00 for that same box of 50 So, you're reloaded ammo gets cheaper after the initial purchase.

 

Here's a link: http://www.tenxammo.com/files/Shooter_Direct_Pricing_100120162.pdf

Edited by McCandless

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Mr. Magoats:

 

Thank you for the quick reply and the wonderful loading information for future reference.

If I did my math right, a 1LB bottle at 158 grain per round would yield 44 rounds. To load 500 rounds I would need 79,000 grains or 12 1 LB bottles of Bullseye = $312.00. For primers, only 500 would be needed = $18.00. Adding these two figures to the 500 casings and 500 bullets, the total would be $414.00 or $ .83/round.

I am not familiar with reloading, so if I did the grains calculation wrong, please let me know, but this appears to be more expensive based on that calculation and your quote of $250.00 for 1,000 rounds which is $ .25/round.

158 is the bullet weight-NOT POWDER. No way could you get 158 gns of powder in a 38 case.

Your math is way off. A 1 pound can of powder = 7000 gns.

I only use 4.0 gns of powder in my wife's :wub: 38 Special SASS ammo.

That equals 1750 rnds of ammo from 1 lb of powder.

 

OLG

Edited by The Original Lumpy Gritz

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Mr. Magoats:

 

Thank you for the quick reply and the wonderful loading information for future reference.

If I did my math right, a 1LB bottle at 158 grain per round would yield 44 rounds. To load 500 rounds I would need 79,000 grains or 12 1 LB bottles of Bullseye = $312.00. For primers, only 500 would be needed = $18.00. Adding these two figures to the 500 casings and 500 bullets, the total would be $414.00 or $ .83/round.

I am not familiar with reloading, so if I did the grains calculation wrong, please let me know, but this appears to be more expensive based on that calculation and your quote of $250.00 for 1,000 rounds which is $ .25/round.

Your math is wrong! You are using the the weight of the bullet for your load weight, Google reload data for .38 spec. And you can get some better data..

 

Spades H. Posting loading data is not permitted here but I think I can safely say yer looking at better than 2k plus rounds out of that much powder depending + or - the type of powder used!

Edited by Spades Hanlin SASS#66204

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The cost of reloading ammo can be made up in just a few matches with something like the Lee Classic Turret kit from Kempf gun shop. There are other Classic kits out there, but with Kemph you get everyting you need for the press. The one extra is to add the upgrade powder measure. You will need a tumbler and media, scales, caliper and Hornady One Shot case lube. And a good reloading manual, I suggest Richard Lee's and Lyman 50th. All of this will run you about $350. Reloading is very easy to learn and will save you a bundle of cash. And if you have time to practice there is time to reload. Good Luck :)

https://kempfgunshop.com/Kempf_Kit_w/_Lee_Classic_Turret_Press_-90064Kit-6575.html

https://kempfgunshop.com/Brass_Cleaning_Polishing-1284/

https://kempfgunshop.com/MTM_Mini_Digital_Scale-mtmmds-6484.html

https://kempfgunshop.com/Books-1307/

 

You can figure out the costs here; http://www.handloads.com/calc/loadingCosts.asp

 

Jefro :ph34r: Relax-Enjoy

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Your grain weight refers to bullet weight not powder load. Two totally different numbers. I would suggest getting a good reloading manual first such as the Lyman (latest edition) that will be available at any good gun store. Read about all aspects of reloading for your own safety. I have been reloading for 40 years without incident. BTW - I can't post specific loads on the wire, but I will tell you my 38's cost right around 10 cents each. I get well in excess of 2000 rounds loaded from a pound of Red Dot.

 

Sorry to repeat some facts and numbers. I don't type too fast on my phone.

Edited by Sixgun Seamus

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Also once you start to reload you may change to 105gr bullet for pistols and 125gr for rifle, or 125 for both to save on bullet cost.

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:blink::blink::blink: See how much I still don't know yet. I guess I should have stayed in school and got learn't more.

 

Listen Pards....this is a lot of information you have provided me, and you can be assured that I will research them all.

Based on what I am hearing, I just may be in reloading mode sooner than I think. I have a Birthday coming up and maybe I can convince my lovely bride to surprise me.

Thanks you everyone....SO FAR... that has responded. Keep the resources coming, especially those that you are familiar with and recommend.

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You still haven't shot at a match yet? What are you waiting for? If you've got the guns and gear, get with someone locally and borrow 100 rounds. You can always pay it back later. But you can never get back the time you're wasting in not shooting. It sounds silly, but you will not think so once you start shooting. I guarantee you will wish you had started sooner.

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1 pound of powder = 7000 grains

Technically If you load:

5 grains of powder you could load approx 1400 cartridges.

7.5 grains of powder = 933 cartridges

10 grains of powder = 700 cartridges and so on.

THESE ARE NOT LOADING SPECS BY ANY MEANS - JUST EXAMPLES

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I agree with Jefro that the Lee Classic Turret (the classic has an iron base as opposed to the other Lee Turret press that I think they now call the "value" press) is an excellent press for a beginner, given the volume of ammo you need to crank out for cowboy action. When I started shooting cowboy seven years ago I used my single stage press which required lots of time at the bench. The LCT is about as simple to use as a single stage but the timesaver is that you are not picking up and putting down the same case four or five times to produce a loaded cartridge.

 

The LCT is often paired with one of Lee's auto Disc powder measures. I recommend that you get the Lee Auto Drum Measure instead. Not much if any price difference. Kemph will have them.

 

If you are shooting .38 Special you will save money over factory ammo. The cases last a long time and you can often find once fired range brass at a good price. Ask other cowboy shooters for a good cast bullet source. If you buy locally you will save on shipping. If you want to order some I recommend www.clarksbullets.com.

 

You won't realize as much savings loading shotshells, in part because of the high cost of lead shot. I'd recommend buying game/target factory shells by the "flat" (ten boxes). I can catch sales and get factory shells for clayshooting in the $60 range which is $6.00 per box of 25, which will usually get you through a local match.

Edited by Abe E.S. Corpus SASS #87667

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In my experience, decent cowboy ammo around here (Black Hills etc) is about $30-32 for a box of 50 rounds, or about $.60-65 per round. You can find reloads (I shoot Georgia Arms (http://www.georgia-arms.com) reloads myself) for $250 per 1000 rounds or $.25 per round. Huge difference.

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:blink::blink::blink: See how much I still don't know yet. I guess I should have stayed in school and got learn't more.

 

Listen Pards....this is a lot of information you have provided me, and you can be assured that I will research them all.

Based on what I am hearing, I just may be in reloading mode sooner than I think. I have a Birthday coming up and maybe I can convince my lovely bride to surprise me.

Thanks you everyone....SO FAR... that has responded. Keep the resources coming, especially those that you are familiar with and recommend.

Reloading equipment is very durable. You can buy used equipment for about half of what new costs. Check gun shows, estate sales and gun stores that sell used guns and equipment. You can get outfitted for less than you think.

 

BTW CAS often involves three separate hobbies: shooting, reloading and RVing. Some add bullet casting to this list.

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I literally paid for my Dillon 550B the first week I owned it. Instant payback. I'm a warn'in ya now. You wont save a dime but you WILL shoot a whole bunch more forthe same dollar!!!!

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For the cost of 2000 rounds of ammo at $0.25 per round ($500.00) You can buy all the equipment plus the components to reload those 2000 rounds and still have money left over.

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Hi Cool Gun,

 

Here is something else to consider. You want to buy and use cartridges that will feed through your lever gun without a jam.

 

When I started CAS I used a Marlin 1894 and the only way I could get it to feed was to make my own ammo using a certain case, a certain kind of bullet and I had to have them at exactly the right length or I couldn't make it through the stage. The rifle would jam and had to be worked on to get the cartridge out. This would happen on every stage.

 

The only rounds I could get to run in my rifle without a hitch were the ones I made myself.

 

If you know what kind of round your rifle likes, you can make them yourself and shoot faster. This is better than buying only what's available and being frustrated time after time because they won't feed through your rifle.

 

I hope this helped. It's just something else to consider.

 

Slow Mo Dern

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If you are loading 38 special's, about 10 cents a round will be your cost, excluding the cases. Case cost will be very little more than nothing, due to the many, many times that they can be reloaded, and can be purchased most times for about $60 per 1000 for once fired range brass. That will last many many months, possibly several years, depending on how much you shoot.

 

You can pay for basic reloading equipment very quickly with the savings over store bought ammo.. If you reload all your ammo, including shot shells, a 6 stage monthly will have an ammo cost of about $16 on average. That's several times less than the cost would be for store bought ammo. Realistically, you cannot afford not to reload. Initial set-up is not necessarily cheap, but pay back is quick. It's the only way to go if you are cost conscious.

 

RBK

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Hey Cool Gun!

There is a lot of good information here that can be difficult to capture all at once. It's easy to see you must handload to do a lot of shooting. Step one; Purchase a Layman or Lee loading manual and read the step by step loading instructions in the front of manual. That will be a great help in understanding the process and choosing the tools you may want to work with or can afford.

For now, you have guns and a place to shoot. Go buy a couple boxes of ammo and shoot a match with your club. Don't forget to save your brass. Yee Ha.

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I Shot Ten-X reloads for a lot of years, sending empty cases back to be refilled. While not cheap it was cheaper than factory new, and the brass I didn't get refilled I saved knowing I would eventually fill it myself.

 

While the point is valid that used reloading equipment can be had cheap I recommend new. Used equipment is great if you know what you're looking at but new in box with all the parts clearly labeled and a clear step-by-step instruction and set-up manual is invaluable for a beginner. I started with a Lee and it was a trial by fire. I echo the poster above who said start with a Dillon. They are very responsive and helpful. At the beginning the learning curve is steep.

 

Conventional wisdom is to start with a mentor. I didn't. I bought multiple reloading manuals and asked a lot of questions of my many cowboy pards and I read the equipment manual very carefully, a number of times. Go slowly and deliberately and don't load a thousand rounds at your first sitting. Load a hundred and make sure they work like they're s'posed too. And remember to have fun. It's a lot of work and there's a lot to learn and remember but I find peace and relaxation in the effort. And there is a great sense of reward in shooting rounds you've loaded yourself.

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To answer your question about the cost per 6 stage match reloading my own ammo

 

120 .38 specials about $14.00 including taxes and shipping on any of the components I buy.

 

26 cents a round was the best price I could find on .38 special 158 gr LRN and 27 cents per round was the best for 125 gr LTC. These prices do not include shipping or taxes.

 

So 120 rounds would cost you $31.20 or $32.40 of factory ammo assuming that you didn't pay shipping or taxes.

 

By reloading your own you would save a minimum of $17.20 per match.

 

If you went the least expensive but still practical path; a Lee Classic turret press kit with everything you need is about $200.00 brand new. So after only 12 matches all your reloading equipment is paid for.

 

Stepping up to a good progressive press with the necessary extras would cost you about $500.00. You can pay that back in only 30 matches or 3600 rounds of factory ammo.

 

BTW you can easily load 3600 rounds of ammo in 12 to 18 hours on a progressive press. Figure 3 to 4 times that long on the Lee Classic turret press.

 

None of the above factors in any practice ammo.

 

Now do you see why reloading for CAS is the only way to go?

Edited by Sedalia Dave

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As for SG ammo, 7/8 oz Federal Top Guns can be had for a little less than $7.00 a box of 25. Winchester LNLR can be be purchased on sale with the rebate for about the same price.

 

If you can get a good deal on lead shot, reloading you own will cost you about $5.50 a box.

 

As you can see payback on reloading shotgun shells is not as fast as rifle ammo.

 

I reload SG shells for the wife so that she gets the load she wants to shoot. Not for the cost savings.

 

I myself shoot the Federal Top guns. The only time I reload SG shells is when I want to shoot Frontier Cartridge because buying factory BP shells is too cost prohibitive.

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Father Kit,

One thing you could try is get yourself a Lee Challenger Press Kit set up. It's a single stage press with all the things that you need to start reloading except for dies, a dial caliper and a way to clean your brass. They run under $150. Get a good reloading manual that explains how to reload. Read the reloading section and then read it again. Follow the instructions in he manual and those that come with the press (which ever one you buy) and start reloading. It isn't brain surgery. Follow the safety recommendations and keep your loads within ALL the specs. Select a powder that works for you and one that is readily available. There are lots of good powders out there that will work for our sport. Unique is a good basic powder to start with. You can load all your match ammo with that and if you ask you will get a dozen other recommendations on powders to try but pick one and stick with it until you learn more and are comfortable with reloading.

 

A single stage takes a lot longer but it's simple and easy to learn on. There is only one process going on at a time and you can concentrate on each step as you do it.

 

I learned on a Lee single stage press and used that for years. Yes, it takes more time to load a batch of ammo but it works and when / if you move up to a progressive press you will still have the single stage for other uses, like developing loads or for small batches of rifle ammo or teaching someone else how to reload.

 

If you shoot only one or two matches a month a single stage may be all you need and they aren't as intimidating as starting off with a progressive press.

 

Once you get the hang of reloading you can update, change or modify your reloading preferences or processes as you go.

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I started with a used $125 Dillon SDB 30 years ago and it is still going strong today. They can still be found on E-Bay for about twice as much. If anything fails on it; A quick call to Dillon has a new part in the mail immediately at no charge. The SDB has it limitations, but has worked out pretty well for me. I couldn't play this game if I had to buy factory rounds and besides it is way cool to know you made your own ammo. Picked up my MEC 600 Jr. for $30 at a yard sale, so that payback was quick also. YMMV

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I've reloaded since the early 90's when I started shooting Bullseye pistol. At that time for the price of a case of match grade .45acp (for 50 yards slow fire cheap ammo wouldn't cut it) I bought used equipment and components to load 1000 rounds so essentially the equipment was free after the first 1000 rounds. As others have said I read the reloading manuals, talked to other folks I trusted that reloaded and was very cautious.

 

When folks ask me how much money I save by reloading I tell them none, I just shoot a whole lot more than I would if I was buying factory ammo.

 

Good Luck

Randy

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Like you, I did not think I had time or knowledge to reload. I bought ammo from Georgia Arms, Ammo to go etc. then figured I would learn how to reload. I bought a Lee Loadmaster progressive. 1/3 the cost of a Dillon, and loads just as good ammo. Its not as hard as you might think. just take your time and read, watch U-Tube videos, and find a mentor. one of your cowboy pards will be glad to help you.

 

I also have a Lee Classic Turrent that I load every except 38sp on. They are cheap, easy to run, and I can easily do 150+/hr on it. I can do about 300/hr on my loadmaster.

 

check out this kit, it has everything your need to get started.

 

http://www.titanreloading.com/kits/lee-classic-cast-turret-press-kit

 

I found I enjoy loading, and there is a lot of satisfaction in shooting your own ammo. My cost for 38sp, excluding case, is around .10/round. most expensive part is the bullet at about .06.

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Howdy,

I read until I found someone with a neg post about buying reloads.

Local pard is retired and reloads some popular calibers with great cowboy bullets.

These are available to our group, he does NOT ship anywhere.

He does buy fired brass as opposed to reloading my brass for me.

Ask around you may be lucky enuf to have a similar pard.

I had a problem with a round and he gave me a whole box in trade

for the box that I had shot about half just fine.

And he only loads to his cowboy spec. He wont load to my spec.

Every group should be so lucky.

Best

CR

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From SG Ammo;

 

50 round box - 38 special 158 grain LRN ammo by Prvi Partizan - $13.95 / 50 (.28 cents ea.), $12.95 if 10 or boxes (,26 cents ea.)

 

50 Round Box - 38 Special 158 grain LRN Magtech Ammo - $13.95/50 (.28 cents ea.)

 

1000 Round Case - 38 Special 158 grain LRN Magtech Ammo - $269.80 (.27 cents ea.)

 

The Internet is your friend when searching for good deals.

 

 

http://www.sgammo.com/catalog/pistol-ammo-sale/38-special-ammo

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