I get a lot of people asking me about reloading handgun ammunition, so I thought I would try and answer some of the most frequent questions. Reloading isn’t for everyone. If you only shoot a couple hundred rounds a year, it probably isn’t worth it. You will need a dedicated area to work and store your supplies, not accessibly to children, if you have them.
Is it hard to do?
As with most things, there is a learning curve, but is not difficult at all. Get the required manuals, pay attention, and you will have it down in no time at all.
How much will it cost me to get started?
You will need a press, dies, powder, primers, scales, and caliper to get started.An entry level press can be had for as little as 35 dollars. Dies run 40-50 dollars per caliber. Scales start at 30-40 dollars and a caliper probably 20 dollars.Powder runs about 25 dollars a pound, and primers 4-5 dollars per 100.
I didn’t include brass, because it is reusable for a fairly long time, and is available ( used ) usually 30- 40 dollars per 1000
You should be able to get started for under 200 dollars. If you decide to continue, I would strongly suggest a chronograph. About 100 dollars.
How much will I save?
With premium ammo costing close to a dollar a round, and cheap target ammo running15-20 dollars for a box of fifty, you can save quite a bit.
For example, loading premium 155 XTP ammo for a .40 S&W
- Bullets- 20 dollars per 100
- Primers 4 dollars
- Powder 2 dollars
So we can load 100 premium bullets for 26 dollars a hundred, just over what you would pay for 20 factory rounds. Loading practice ammo is even cheaper. Most of my practice ammo for the .40,.38, and 9mm runs 10 to 12 dollars per 100. You will realize the biggest saving if you buy the components, especially bullets, in bulk.
Is it reliable?
Cheryl and I shoot close to 20,000 rounds a year. All of it our reloads, except for a few hundred a year of factory ammo for testing purposes. We have had more failures with factory ammo than we have our reloads.
Is it safe?
Much like anything to do with firearms, it is exactly as safe as you make it. Can you blow your gun up? Sure, but if you pay attention, and follow published load data, it is no more likely than with factory ammo.