"Why should I reload my ammo?” A question I get asked often. What I would like to definitively say is that it saves money. However, reloading only saves money in the long-term. Initially, there is an investment in the equipment and supplies to get started.
So for those new to the trade, here are some solid reasons...MY reasons for reloading:
1. Improved accuracy. Each gun 'prefers' a slightly different load, and generic ammunition doesn't fit the bill. For example, I own one, full size .45 from Kimber, and it does better with an extra grain of powder than the compact version I also own (and carry).
2. Reuse. It's green!
3. Cost savings. Yes, eventually it saves money. Normally I shoot 1,000 rounds a month--357, 44, 10mm, but mostly 45. As you can imagine, full cartridge retail prices could get quite expensive (about $750 at "WallyWorld"). Since I began reloading (about 5 decades), my equipment has more than paid itself off...many times over. Since I buy in bulk, I only spend about $100 a month, so you can see the savings mount up.
4. Personal satisfaction. I enjoy the quiet time and the detail of the process. After a rough day at the office, it's a nice way to finish up the day. To me, it's no different than completing a remodeling project or restoring an antique.
Some other question I receive are:
How fast can you load? Well, it's not really how fast I can load, but how fast I want to load. The faster you load, the more chances of making a mistake and the less accurate you will probably be. Personally, I use a Dillon 650 and load about 700 rounds an hour.
Can you load faster? Sure. Some use the same press as I do, loading 1,000+ an hour. If you are using a Lee HandLoader, and doing it one shell at a time, you may only be loading 50 an hour, however, your loading accuracy would probably be higher than someone using a progressive press.
What does it cost to get started? If you have more time to load and don't need a big press, you could probably get started for under $300. The press is your biggest expense. After that, unless you add more equipment (which many of us do), then you would only need more bullets, powder and primers.
How many times can you reload brass? If you don’t load your shells ‘hot,’ and you take care of them, you could get from 5 to 20 loads out of them. Much depends upon the caliber. For .45 ACP, I usually get about a dozen loads out of them. I have friends, however, who only get 6 or 7 loads out of them. The key is to inspect each lot and ensure they are still in specs, and don’t show issues where they should be discarded. This could be unsafe, and remember, safety is always key to reloading!
How long does the press and dies last? I don’t know. I’ve never had one go bad and have never heard of it happening either. Normally, a reloader wants a new press before the old one is ‘exhausted.’ And, most veterans of the trade have more than one press (both a progress press AND a single stage).