For those of you that reload shotgun shells, is it a good deal cheaper to reload or buy shotgun shells by the case?
I just recently paid $55 a case for Remington shells which worked out to be $5.50 a box for 12 gauge #8 shot.
It depends on what kind of a shell you are looking for. If you are competition shooting and are using Remington Nitro's or STS's, then yes, it would be cheaper to load your own if you want similar performance.
If you are just shooting for fun and are buying cheap shells to shoot, then no, it is not worth reloading. On sale, you can actually buy shells cheaper than what you can reload for currently. 5.50 is about the cheapest you could load for with current prices of materials. To buy Nitro's they are usually around $9 a box and I can load a similar shell for around 6 a box. So I am saving $30 a case.
I shoot trap, and shoot cheap shells at 16 yards, and my reloads at Handicap. The winter league I am currently in is all 16 yards, so I am shooting all cheap factory shells. We started in early January so my supply of factory shells is pretty much gone. It looks like I may have to start loading some cheap ones. Shooting 2-3 cases a week gets pretty expensive!
I agree that reloading particularly when duplicating premium loads are cheaper but if you can buy for $55 and under it becomes a question of what your time is worth. Another consideration is how many rounds you plan to shoot and if you have the reloading components. I have found that if you watch Dick's sporting goods for their sales you can play their games with $10 off $50 coupons and their reward programs and pick up some cases for under $50. A coworker and myself managed to pick up about 10 cases each back in December working the "system" and I think I averaged about $45 per case.
What do you differently with your handicap loads vs the cheaper loads used at 16 yds?
I am relatively new to trap shooting and just started shooting yardage in the winter league that I am shooting in and after Sundays scores I need all the help I can get. Lol!!!!
30 years ago, when I first started reloading 12 gauge shotgun shells, shells were cheap. You paid $3.50 a box for high brass Duck n Pheasant loads. Then again, I was working a construction job and was only making $3.50 an hour!
The Lee Load All press was about $50 and a box of primers was $8.50 and a can of IMR Hi Skor 700X was $3.50 a can.
I balked when the price of powder went to $7.50 a lbs.
Lead was about $12.00 for a 20 lbs bag...
At first the powder was hard to get, later the lead became harder to get than the powder or the primers.
I drove 100 miles and paid $50 for 40 lbs of lead last year and was lucky to get it! I paid $150 for a 1 gallon jug of powder ( 8 lbs. ) about 2 years ago.
Figuring that I shot 3 boxes of shells a year for 10 years and I reloaded 20 boxes of shells at a time and I have enough powder to last the rest of my life, but I can't afford the lead, I would have been 10 times further ahead of the game had I just bought shells one box at a time, when they were on sale and just paid the asking price.
You never recoup your losses unless you reload specialty shells. 3 inch Nitro magnums I can reload for almost half of what they cost in the store. 3 1/2 inch Turkey loads sold for $3.50 a box of 10 when I first bought them and are now $20.00 a box.
Buying a Mec 500jr. press only increased the cost of reloading shells. I only bought it because some of the premium field loads - Winchester, Federal etc wouldn't crimp with the Lee.
If you are going to shoot skeet, you could probably break even if you raked up your old wads and reused them and conserved your hulls and picked up what others leaves behind.
If you have to buy components, a reloader, reloading supplies and build a bench to reload from, you will never recoop your losses. All you will get is a more powerful load for the same amount of money.
With shotguns, the quality of the crimp and the quality of the wad determines your range, effectiveness, and your pattern. Reloading for competitive shooting is more for performance than for cost effectiveness.
PA Waterfowler hit the nail on the head. And I'm in the same boat he is. The trouble now is the "game loads" that used to have published velocities of less than 1200fps are now starting to get up there. I remember seeing some(don't remember the brand) that were under 1100fps. I saw a box not to long ago that had it marked 1275fps. Used to be if you wanted that kind of velocity you were buying STS's or AA's.
Honestly, with the lack of Hodgdon International Clays I'm thinking of mothballing my loader. The only advantage that I have right now with my reloads is that International is such a clean burning powder that I don't get buildup while shooting. But my velocities are right around 1275 to 1300.
Right now I am not doing anything differently, because handicap loads are (was, I ran out of shot!) all I was loading for trap. They were almost identical to Remington Nitro 27's. Maybe just a few FPS faster, and had a few more pellets than 1 1/8 oz! They really smash the clays and are great for doves too.
Without looking they are
Remington Nitro Hull
17.5 gr 700x
1 1/8 + a few(hehe) of MAGNUM 7 1/2 shot
Claybuster Windjammer Clone
Winchester 209 Primer
They were going just a tad over 1250. No way is something like that needed for 16's. I have shot just about every brand of shell from Rio 1 oz #9's to Federal Promo loads 1 1/8 #8's, and Gun Club 7 1/2's. It really shouldn't matter from the 16 yard line.
If I were to load for 16's I would probably load something in the 1100-1150 fps range. Use the cheapest primers you could buy, and you probably could get away with regular chilled shot instead of magnum, probably 8 shot. But, right now, with the components being up there in price, I don't know how much cheaper than $5-$5.50 a box you could load. So if you can buy factory as cheap as you could load for it would make sense to do so. Save the components for better loads.
Right now I don't have more than 2 cases of Nitro's loaded, and I am all out of 700x and the guy I usually got it from didn't have any more. So now I got an 8lb keg of PROMO and have to work up a handicap load for it. But, I ran out of shot as well, and don't really want to pay the $47.99 local stores are selling it for. So now i have to go to Shyda's to get some shot and who has time for that! Sure would be a lot simpler if everything would go back to normal!
Whatever those Remington shells are you just bought, might want to keep the empties. If you purchased Gun Clubs, definitely keep them as they are some of the, if not the best reloading hulls out there. The guys here almost fight to pick them from the hull buckets!! They load nice and last for MANY loadings.
depends on how much shooting your going to do? I Used to shoot ATA registered targets,some 500 bird marathons... yes reloading was expensive... if you have a partner that shooting competitively, you help each other out... if one runs out of primers or shot, the other can trade wads or powder to make up the difference .... yes some of my load were hot I used mix #7.5 & #8 shot together dump in same shell for handicap back to 27 yard line pushing 1350 FPS, that the only benefit of reloading... you get to tinker around work up a load to pattern your gun better on the range.... but yes it's expensive... start bulking up early on powder & shot... buy few 8lb kegs save them... buy 10 bags of shot... wads are the cheapest... buy 2,000 to 5,000 primers... it all comes down to question "how much are you really going to shoot?"... #1 mistake new trap shooters make is spending all their money on expensive reloader, bulk shot, bulk primers, wads & powder... best advice I have is to start out small, try few different powder brands buy 1 lb cans cheap... buy few different wads... try different shot, then last Primer ... primers can make big difference in performance with different loads....it took me a whole year just find sweat loads that work for me...I trust my reloads more than Factory ammo... some tournaments I'm forced to buy & use factory Ammo it the rules.....but even to this day I still reload for friends I don't shoot much trap anymore, My daughter does a lot shooting she can go through 500 rounds a week, to this day I'm still tinkering around with reloads .. it's enjoyable...