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Am I correct in my calculations that reloading only makes sense for the sub gauges? If I can buy 12 and 20 ga. shells for about $5.50, It doesn't seem that I can reload for that, giving minimal value to my time. .410 and 28 ga. on the other hand, at about $8 a box, make more sense. It puzzles me that the 12 and 20 ga. shells that I buy are made in Italy and France, shipped over here, and still sell for comparable, or less than American made shells.
Peter.


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Posts: 10248 | Location: Jacksonville, Florida | Registered: 09 January 2004Reply With Quote
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the smaller gauges will save you money.

ask yourself why the STS and AA shells cost 8$ a box and why imports cost less.
the same answer is why gun clubs cost 5$ a box.
it's the quality of the shot and consistency of the components.
the wads they all [mostly except the real cheap crap] use are a pretty good design.

the powder, hull, shot roundness and antimony content is where your extra money is going.

reloading 12 and 20ga shells gives you an advantage over chasing deals all over the place in that you know your shot, wads, powder, and hull designs are not going to change from box to box or from year to year.

you know there is a full ounce or 1-1/8 oz's in there.
you know they will work your semi-auto.
etc.
 
Posts: 3195 | Location: soda springs,id | Registered: 02 April 2008Reply With Quote
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12 and 20 are basically a wash, except if you want more quality, or for most hunting loads.

If your spare time has other uses and you are not pushing for your best performance, buying the economy loads makes more sense.
 
Posts: 5802 | Location: Minnesota USA | Registered: 15 June 2007Reply With Quote
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Here in my country, if you buy new 12 gauge shell, sporting or hunting one (lead shot), it will cost you the same as lead shot only for the same OZ load.

But I can buy slugs and reload em much cheaper than factory ammo. So if anybody reload shotgun rounds here, it is because of slugs. This will cost you less than 1/2 of factory slug round.

Also some people buy factory ammo with shots, remove shots and put slug in it and close again. This will cost you about 1/2 to 2/3 of similar factory slug rounds here.

I started shotgun reloading because of TSS. Or precisely, I started shotgun loading, using only unfired factory primed hulls.

Jiri
 
Posts: 1697 | Location: Czech Republic | Registered: 22 May 2002Reply With Quote
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I no longer load shotgun. In a big bore post about the 400 Whelen someone posted a 1922 American Rifleman story written by the Col. I found the sidebar story quite interesting: shotshells could be bought for 75 cents...those were the days, I thought. Then I when to an inflation website and found 75 cents in 1922 had the same value as $11.48 today - you can buy AA shells for a lot less than that. The bottom line is that mass produced shells have never been more affordable.

I try and bust 25 clays a week; I use shells I pay about $64/case. For quail I use AA for the higher antimony content.


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Posts: 7285 | Location: Arizona | Registered: 28 July 2004Reply With Quote
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I actually enjoy handloading, and MN in the winter isn’t exactly conducive to shooting outside...

I inherited a lot of the equipment, which took a lot of the sting out of things. Coming from the metallic side, the 10% margin allowed seemed huge in shotgun (I actually started in shotgun, which probably explained why I had some stiff reloads in rifle and pistol at first...)

With shotgun reloading, you can do all kinds of experimenting with what works for you. Fast loads, slow loads, light loads, etc.

With formal competition you have some hard limits - 24G of shot at 1350 FPS (or less) for international trap, as an example.

My biggest issue as far as savings was no one made the nontox loads for hunting that I wanted except for some specialty outfits and they wanted over $30 for 10 shells(this was in the 90’s). Even with bismuth or tungsten, you can do substantially better than this.

Target loads can be made for specialty situations like #9 soft shot with a spreader wad for really close shots, or 1 1/4 Oz nickel plated #7 for pigeons or Annie Oakley games.

Again, if you enjoy the tinkering, and don’t think of the time at the bench when you can’t shoot as work or something you would rather not do, it can be very rewarding.

But from a direct financial comparison, it’s pretty much a minimal savings for the 12 and 20, if you are trying to duplicate standard target shells.
 
Posts: 5802 | Location: Minnesota USA | Registered: 15 June 2007Reply With Quote
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quote:
Originally posted by crbutler:
I actually enjoy handloading, and MN in the winter isn’t exactly conducive to shooting outside...

I inherited a lot of the equipment, which took a lot of the sting out of things. Coming from the metallic side, the 10% margin allowed seemed huge in shotgun (I actually started in shotgun, which probably explained why I had some stiff reloads in rifle and pistol at first...)

With shotgun reloading, you can do all kinds of experimenting with what works for you. Fast loads, slow loads, light loads, etc.

With formal competition you have some hard limits - 24G of shot at 1350 FPS (or less) for international trap, as an example.

My biggest issue as far as savings was no one made the nontox loads for hunting that I wanted except for some specialty outfits and they wanted over $30 for 10 shells(this was in the 90’s). Even with bismuth or tungsten, you can do substantially better than this.

Target loads can be made for specialty situations like #9 soft shot with a spreader wad for really close shots, or 1 1/4 Oz nickel plated #7 for pigeons or Annie Oakley games.

Again, if you enjoy the tinkering, and don’t think of the time at the bench when you can’t shoot as work or something you would rather not do, it can be very rewarding.

But from a direct financial comparison, it’s pretty much a minimal savings for the 12 and 20, if you are trying to duplicate standard target shells.


You are correct, but I am too busy busy tinkering with my rifles to even think of optimal shotgun loads.

Prime shooting weather here in AZ right now! Going out this afternoon for long range practice at 800 and 1200. Last week I shot those ranges three different days. Also shot two rifles at 500 two different days, 10 rounds of .223 offhand at 100 on two different days, 25 clays, 24 .38 Special out of my Blackhawk, and 24 .45 ACP.


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Posts: 7285 | Location: Arizona | Registered: 28 July 2004Reply With Quote
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I won't even bother putting the stuff in the truck to go shoot 25 birds.

I burn up about 10-K 12ga. shot shells a year.
plus dove, chukars, ducks, and grouse, which in a good year might be another 3-400 shells or until the wife says that's enough I'm tired of eating birds.


I load every single one of them.
probably takes me 7-8 weekends at most if I also load a couple of flats of 20ga.
the sorting and boxing takes up about a third of that time.
 
Posts: 3195 | Location: soda springs,id | Registered: 02 April 2008Reply With Quote
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When the cost of buying them broke even of became less then reloading them I do not.

High end hunting loads are a saver.

I have presses for 12 16 and 20 progressives in 12 and 20.

Just a year ago I brought close outs at wally world for 3 bucks a box.

I brought close out turkey loads for 5 bucks a box of ten.

I have enough for a life time.

If it pays to reload I reload if it doesn't I will buy.
 
Posts: 16034 | Location: wis | Registered: 21 April 2001Reply With Quote
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I have 12 gauge (2-3/4" and 2-1/2", 16 gauge (2-3/4" and 2-1/2") and 20 gauge guns. I reload for all of them because I can custom tunes loads and at a cost that is less than or equal to retail for 'regular' commercial loads.

For instance, I can load 1 ounce with #7 shot for my 16 ga. with an MV of 1160 fps. Perfect for my hunting and impossible to buy off the shelf. Or I can load 2-1/2" with 1-1/16 oz. of #7-1/2 shot loads for my H Atkin 2-1/2" 12 gauge at a cost MUCH lower than the commercial 2-1/2" loads.

So the advantage is loading BETTER ammunition in many more configurations than can be purchased. PLUS, if you live in California you have to have a license to purchase ammunition AND it must be shipped to a dealer who is licensed to sell ammunition. You think maybe other states will require the same?

In other words it saves a lot of aggravation to load your own.
 
Posts: 482 | Location: S. E. Arizona | Registered: 01 February 2019Reply With Quote
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i don't load 12or 20 anymore but but but have you seen the pricetag on a box of 28's??
 
Posts: 13091 | Location: faribault mn | Registered: 16 November 2004Reply With Quote
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Originally posted by butchloc:
i don't load 12or 20 anymore but but but have you seen the pricetag on a box of 28's??

Yup same here.....si I sold my 28s....there was no need for them in the first place.

I have about 40 pounds of shot suitable for skeet and doves and trap.....all I shoot anymore is a 20 ga.….love em. When my inventory of lead shot is gone.....I'll go to Wally World and buy ammo for my 20s

It's the cost of lead shot that is killing reloading....the big ammo makers are now making their own but not selling it as a reloading component.....


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Posts: 28805 | Location: western Nebraska | Registered: 27 May 2003Reply With Quote
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It certainly is the cost of lead shot that makes reloading shells so expensive. I suppose the lead itself is not the problem as much as the cost in transporting/ shipping it. I will start making my own soon there are a number of great ideas on Youtube for making a shot maker....
 
Posts: 884 | Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa | Registered: 08 January 2010Reply With Quote
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For 1 oz target loads the brake even point is about 5.15$ a box. I load for 10 ga.-28 ga. and I can load exactly what I want. The world market price for lead is the killer. The Chinese are making too many car batteries. And, as I understand it, there are now no lead smelters in the U.S., the EPA ran them all off. Maybe it they would go to Lithium ion batteries for cars?? Oh, and lead does cause cancer in California.
C.G.B.
 
Posts: 940 | Registered: 25 January 2005Reply With Quote
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I have been reloading shotshells since I bought my first shotgun in 1971.

My first shotshell reloading press was a single stage 12 gauge Honey Bair. I still have that press, but only use it for hunting loads.

In the early 80s I began shooting in a Trap League and then ATA registered Trap shoots where I was shooting around 10,000 shotshells per year. So to reduce my reloading time, I bought a progressive Pacific DL 366 12 gauge reloader.

In the late 80s I switched from Trap shooting to Skeet shooting which included 20, 28, and .410 competitions so I bought 3 more Hornady 366 reloaders in those gauges. Again, I was shooting abut 10,000 shells per year.

Also in the early 80s, with the price of lead shot going up, I bought a shot maker, and I still use it to make my own size 7 1/2 and 8 shot. I originally used wheel weights to make my shot, but since the EPA banned lead wheel weights, I now make my shot from reclaimed lead that I dig out of the berms at our pistol range.

I sell the copper bullet jackets at our local recycling center and that more than pays for the propane that I use to melt the reclaimed bullets.

Our gun club buys reloading components in bulk quantities then we sell them to members at a price that is usually below retail. I then buy most of my reloading components from the club -- wads and primers in lots of 5,000 and powder in 8 pound kegs. Our club also sells members reclaimed, re-dropped, and new shot.

I have been reloading for so many years that I amortized the cost of my reloading equipment many years ago.

I no longer shoot in registered competitions, but I still shoot about 5,000 shotshells per year. Most of my shooting now is at Skeet with 3/4 oz. 12 gauge shells. I have more than a life time supply of once fired Win AA shotshell cases (in all 4 gauges) that were given to me by other competitors when I was shooting registered Skeet.

For this discussion, I calculated my cost of reloading 3/4 oz and 1 oz 12 gauge shotshells. I did not calculate a cost of my time because I am now retired, and I consider reloading a better use of my time than sitting in front of a TV or computer screen.

So my cost of reloading a box of 25 ea 12 gauge 3/4 oz shells is $1.88 using my homemade shot or $3.00 using reclaimed shot from our range.

My cost of a box of 1 oz 12 gauge shells is $2.05 with my homemade shot or $3.55 with reclaimed shot, or $3.95 using the re-dropped shot (its like new) bought at our gun club.

A box of 1 1/8 oz 12 gauge shells would increase my loading costs to $3.73 with reclaimed shot and to $4.18 with re-dropped shot.


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Posts: 1483 | Location: Bozangeles, MT | Registered: 14 February 2006Reply With Quote
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buffybr

That is good prices. I calculated $5.50 a box without accounting for hazmat or shipping for primers, powder or shot.

Walmart is less than $5.00 a box when available.
 
Posts: 4877 | Location: NY, NY | Registered: 28 November 2005Reply With Quote
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I buy pretty much everything local, or in bulk.
a group buy of shot gets it to me right now for 22$ a bag.
I can't hardly justify making my own for that price.
but sucking up the check book to buy into that much shot at once takes the air out of me when the time comes around.
I just counted today and I'm down to 30 bags of shot so I know the time is coming again real soon.
 
Posts: 3195 | Location: soda springs,id | Registered: 02 April 2008Reply With Quote
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As boys we lived on farms a long ways from anywhere to buy shells. But my buddy’s Grandpa was a gun collector/trunk of a car gun dealer. We begged a box of shells and proceeded to shoot it 5 times that day between 3 of us. His reload setup was on his desk with a few Playboy magazines in a droor. Needless to say we a had grand day of shooting, picking up empty’s and running back for reload. We were pretty good at it. And nobody had to go to town.
 
Posts: 3050 | Registered: 27 November 2014Reply With Quote
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What about for auto loaders? I have teen shooting autoloaders. I find Winchester Target white box to be filthy. I believe the AA are cleaner, but they are $6.99, including rebate. My hope is I can load clean loads of my own.
 
Posts: 163 | Registered: 21 July 2005Reply With Quote
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Filthy how?

In my experience, the cheap loads will either work or not, based on pressure. I've never had issues with 1 day's shooting regardless of ammo as long as it had enough pressure to work the gun.

You need to clean the thing with each day's shooting with an autoloader because the grime gets in the lubricant and then dries out and gums things up. Even clean loads will do this.

Yes, there is less ash and unburned powder in a high pressure reload over the low pressure ones. Some powders are a bit dirtier (old red dot was known to do this, and blue dot and steel leave a fair amount of crud- but I have not had issues if I cleaned it out and relubed the gun after a day's shooting for function... it just looks sooty and dirty.
 
Posts: 5802 | Location: Minnesota USA | Registered: 15 June 2007Reply With Quote
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When I was in America about 49 years ago, I had 4 P/W loading machines, 12, 20, 28 and 410.

I shot birds and practice with my own ammo, but in competition always shot factory ammo.


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Posts: 52214 | Location: Dubai, UAE | Registered: 08 January 1998Reply With Quote
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I load because I like to. Shoot mostly sporting clays and some skeet.
 
Posts: 2018 | Location: Mpls., MN | Registered: 28 June 2014Reply With Quote
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I have enough for a life time.


Yep, me too. Big Grin Over the years I have managed to collect a room full of factory loaded shotgun shells in 12, 16, 20, 28 and quite a few 410. Same with most of my rifle and pistol ammo. I would buy it on sale, or when I had extra cash. Growing up, my dad reloaded everything. But, I have found that factory ammo is as good as I need it to be for me. Big Grin I smile when I see the price tags on some of it. Big Grin I keep it in a cool, dry, dark room with a lock on it-keeps my adult boys at bay as I am the only one with the key. Big Grin
 
Posts: 15265 | Registered: 04 April 2005Reply With Quote
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So you have adult boys that like to shoot too? I also have that affliction. My own fault I suppose as all their lives I was a reloader so it was always there. but I only reload metallic, not shotshells. I saved garbage bags of AA cases over the years + finally decided I didn't need another hobby. Right before dove season you go to Wal-Mart + buy a case of shells for $28.00 + have a lot left over. You do that every year + after a bit you have enough for the duration. Wink


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Posts: 12874 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: 11 March 2013Reply With Quote
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So you have adult boys that like to shoot too? I also have that affliction.


Yes I do. I don't mind them shooting some of my ammo-if they ask first, only take a reasonable amount and maybe offer to replace some of it occasionally. For years they shot my ammo without asking and never replaced anything. I got tired of going into the ammo room and seeing missing ammo, then going out and buying and replenishing, so I finally put a look on the door. They were particularly bad with handgun ammo-9mm, 45acp, etc. But then they were, and continue to be bad with my tools and other shop equipment as well. I have a very large rolling tool cabinet that used to be chock full of tools that I had acquired over the years-with some tools 5-6 deep. Not anymore.
And when I ask them where my stuff went they can't remember. The other day one of them complained about me putting my name in large letters on a couple of new ladders that I had purchased. I just looked at him and shook my head. Pisses me off at times.
 
Posts: 15265 | Registered: 04 April 2005Reply With Quote
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Tell me about it! The tool issue is a real bone of contention. I could never really tell what was missing at the time, just that the level was decreasing + w/ Snap-On tools that gets pricey real fast. As to the ammo, I loaded about 400-500 rounds of 40 cal. (which I cast as well) for my ex-brother in law. No worries, I was glad to do it. Then I found out he needed some more because his grandson + his buddies came over + shot it all up in an afternoon. Sorry, my friend, from here on you're on your own.


Never mistake motion for action.
 
Posts: 12874 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: 11 March 2013Reply With Quote
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Reloading shotshells may not be for everyone but there is a niche for some. Its worth loading for the 410 and 28 ga dollar wise. It is also the only way you can shoot some older guns. I have a minty old LC Smith 10 ga 2 7/8 shotgun. Love to shoot it but where do you find shells ? You pretty much have to load them. Started out getting some parts for an old Mec loader. Called Mec and an old gentleman who had worked there for almost 50 years knew what parts I needed. Give him my address and card # and in about 10 days this box shows up with exactly every part I needed. So I loaded up some low pressure loads with bismuth shot and I have used that old gun on ducks and geese. Helping a friend load 12 ga 2 1/2 in ammo with bismuth so he can use it on ducks. I my opinion there is a real need for shotshell reloading
 
Posts: 2285 | Location: manitoba canada | Registered: 01 March 2001Reply With Quote
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I can certainly understand that. That was always my thoughts on metallic reloading. Really before the resurgence of dbl rifles' popularity in 89, there was little available ammo or components. A scary prospect that when you consider that we assume we can go to Wal-Mart + buy a case of 12G. shells. Just like other ammo availability today, right.


Never mistake motion for action.
 
Posts: 12874 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: 11 March 2013Reply With Quote
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