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223 and 308 reloading

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  • 223 and 308 reloading

    How cost effective is it to do your own reloads? Thinking about getting in to it if it makes sense.

  • #2
    It really depends what you hope to gain and the initial investment your willing to make. Buying your equipment correctly the first time can be expensive, but you'll only cry once. Jumping into the game with a bargan price point mentality will leave you banging your head and crying about having to replace the crap you originally purchased. This does not mean you shouldn't be dilligent in your research to purchase the best you can afford.

    Brass: If you have been shooting for any length of time you should have a decent supply. If not $20.00-$30.00 per 50 pcs. is common.

    Primers: Going price today averages $40.00 per thousand.

    Powder: Gander and Cabelas sells it for $25-30 dollars a pound. You can do much better on line. Go in with a couple buddies and you can move your price point below $20.00 lb.
    There are 7,000 grains of powder per pound. A .308 averages 44 grns. per round while a .223 averages 24 grns. per round.

    Bullets: Bullets are all over the place and you will do better on line with them as well. We'll put an average on this of $23.00 per 100.

    Barrels: I include barrels because every round you put through it brings you closer to having to replace it. It has a cost and should be viewed as consumable.
    An average .308 or .223 barrel will last approx 5,000 accurate rounds. Average cost of a custom replacement barrel, $250.00, chamber and installation $250.00, for an approx total of $500.00 This puts an average cost per shot on a barrel at .10 cents.

    .308 Brass: .50 cents
    Powder : .16 cents
    Bullet : .23 cents
    Barrel : .10 cents
    Primer : .04 cents
    $1.03 x 20 which is what comes in a box of .308 = $20.60
    If you remove the barrel factor .93 x 20 = $18.60
    This price drops exponentially every time you reload the same brass

    I did this for .308 since it is the more expensive to shoot calliber that you listed. As you know Federal GMM and Black Hills is sold for $20-$30 dollars a box and will be less accurate than what you will be able to custom load for your rifle with patience and practice.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by GSPKurt; 01-17-2010, 04:36 PM.


    • #3
      I don't save an enormous amount of money, but I produce premium ammo for the cost of surplus ball.

      I will not lay down.
      I WILL, however, assume a prone firing position if necessary!


      • #4
        I think Scout did a good job on relaying prices of reloading. Those prices do not reflect what all reloaders deal with.

        The cost of brass is considered only if you do not use once fired brass pickups from the range. I pick up brass for all of my reloading and have only bought 45-70 and .44 mag. brass. If you buy the brass it can be used more than 5 times(as indicated).

        The barrel wear does not add to the cost of reloading although you may shoot more due to cheaper ammo. If you do not reload, barrel wear is still there when you shoot. My son has a 7mm um barrel that has been "shot out" for a few years and is still quite accurate.

        I use hand me down single stage presses and cheap ones on sale from Lee distributors, and mostly Lee dies. All of the equipment you need can be found reasonably new or used, and has a good lifespan. It will take time to determine what works well and the net is a great resource.

        Reloading is an associated hobby to shooting for me and previous time spent searching has resulted in equipment, powder, primers, lead, bullets and casings enough to be able to thumb my nose at current prices and shortages. Perhaps I will not buy supplies for another year unless that nice sale item comes along.

        Much time has been expended in finding out "what I need" and that is part of the process. The reloading hobby is a great time waster and actually I kinda have more reloads than I really need. It is a good thing they do not go bad in the box.

        I may not shoot as much this year due to the fishing bug my wife and I have caught. That might make my reloading even more of a cost saver later.


        • #5
          Prices (per round) for me were cheap to reload when the quantities/frequency were both high. I threw out the cost of the tools right away because that's just something I knew I would have to have. However, once my usage went down the stockpile of reloading crap that the evil reloading bug made me buy started to weigh in as it wasn't being used. And now I have a few years worth of stuff collecting dust.

          So basically if you shoot a whole lot and want to have good control over your round, and are dedicated to the process, go for it. The cost per round is significant enough compared to buying manufactured rounds.


          • #6
            I load and shoot all the calibers I own.
            Including now smelting lead for my own cast bullets for pistol and lever action.
            The above break down pretty much covers the 308.
            I load 308 as follows.
            Federal Match Brass
            Sierra 168 and 175 grn HPBT Match
            CCI primers
            RL 15 powder
            Rounds work out to approximately $0.54 each.
            To buy the same ammo would be roughly $40.00/20
            So a huge saving.
            But the bigger plus is being able to fine tune your load to your firearm.
            As nice as the saving is this is where hand loads can really come into play.
            Quite amazing working through tiny steps in powder increments and watching your groups close up and then open as you pass through the grains that work best for your particular weapon.
            Dum Vivimus, Vivamus


            • #7
              One aspect to reloading is to create ammo that just is not made commercially.
              For example, light, low recoiling, plinking and small game loads for .308, 30-06 and other hefty calibers.
              Or special target loads, like medium strength semi wadcutters for autoloaders.
              The possibilities are almost limitless.
              It's a fascinating hobby, too.


              • #8
                Have been reloading for years. I sold my original Super Model C Herters press to a neighbor who still uses it! I have found .223 and .308 brass can cause problems if you reload military brass. You can buy brass on line and if there's a local range, you can buy it from the guy who cleans up. The cost per box is close to the imported stuff from Cheaper Than Dirt or Aim Surplus. I'd shoot the imported stuff for plinking and keep your reloads for hunting or target until the prices get reasonable, if ever.

                .223 and .308 have caused me some extraction/sizing problems. I run my cases through in 2 stages, that seems to work best. I don't shoot cast bullets in the .223 or .308. Try Wideners or Midway for blems or bulk sales. It's Ok to buy brass, powder and primers mail order, but the stinking Haz-mat fees will be high. Buy at a show, and shop carefully. Sometimes you get lucky in an estate sale. Read your newspapers and hit yard sales. Don't try ebay, they're in California and will not allow components to be sold, same with Craig's List.


                • #9
                  Boy, I sound like a hardass! I have Parker Hale 1200 which has a very tight chamber, so I only shoot fresh brass or commercial new loads through it (.308). My Rem. 788, Remington 7600, and Rem. 700 are not so fussy. The .223 has given me nightmares. If I change loading into a 4 stage operation I have fewer problems. My. Savage 200, Mak. 90, and Mini-15 don't notice a difference. I have just gotten so tired of military brass problems, that I just leave it for the squirrels. The idea that i was trying to get across is that you reload for your worst (tightest)chamber.


                  • #10
                    Any powder/recipe recommendations for 223rem using milspec 55gr FMJBT....?


                    • #11
                      In a commercial case, 26.0 grains of Varget and a CCI small rifle primer. I just finished loading 400 of that same combo.
                      Proud Supporter Of President Trump


                      • #12
                        23.0 Grains Ramshot X-TERMINATOR with wolf .223 small rilfe primers. Good for plinking/fun.


                        • #13
                          With bulk 55gr projectiles, I use 24.0 grains of Accurate A2230, which meters amazingly well in the Dillon powder measure. This is a reasonable accurate round that never gives me issues. Runs about 2950fps out of a 16" AR. ( I had a chance to shoot a few rounds of this load through someone else's chrono at the range one day)

                          With 68 grain Nosler HPBT bullets I use 24.2 grains of Varget. Varget doesn't drop as accurately in the Dillon, but the stuff is amazing for pulling good groups, even with a .2 variance in powder weight. I haven't had a chance to chrono this load, I don't own one yet.

                          I use mostly military brass and I like the Wolf .223 primers (the box says .223, not small rifle).
                          Last edited by mr. b; 06-24-2011, 10:34 PM.

                          "A golf course is the willful and deliberate misuse of a perfectly good rifle range." - Jeff Cooper


                          • #14
                            With bulk 55gr projectiles, I use 24.0 grains of Accurate A2230, which meters amazingly well in the Dillon powder measure. This is a reasonable accurate round that never gives me issues. Runs about 2950fps out of a 16" AR. ( I had a chance to shoot a few rounds of this load through someone else's chrono at the range one day)
                            Thank you for that info, mr. b! I was just considering giving it a try. I am having issues metering Varget through my Hornady LnL powder measure.
                            Proud Supporter Of President Trump


                            • #15
                              Check your reloading manuals. Personally, I use BLC2, AA2230 and Varget and have loads developed with 52HPBT, 55FMJ and 67HPBT for my ARs. While the 55 is for plinking, the 52 and 67 is for accuracy with .5 MOA groupings. Each rifle will dictate its preferences. Buy a pound of differing powders, a hundred bullets of varying types and start working up some rounds for testing in your specific rifles (bolts or autos). If bolts, determine your max COL for each bullet profile and adjust same after finding your rifle's preferred sweet charges.

                              Take your time, enjoy the work up process and bask in the pride you'll have in your finished products.


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