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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering what would it cost to reload 38 spl per round if a person has the brass casings? What would it cost ball park for bare essential equipment to start loading?
 

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I was wondering what would it cost to reload 38 spl per round if a person has the brass casings? What would it cost ball park for bare essential equipment to start loading?
Does the cost really matter, Buster? You know that reloaders are required to reload .38 Special. You don't even have to own a S&W Masterpiece for punching neat holes in paper with the wadcutters, Although if you can do that you will be Living the Legend.
 

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When I reload .357 and .38 spl, the cost ends up looking something like this:
Brass: already have
Powder: 2¢
Primer: 4¢
Bullet: 12¢ (Berry's plated bullets)
So it ends up costing about $9 for a box of fifty. When I started reloading, I bought a kit from Lee. Total setup cost was about $250. That was to load
.357/.38spl. I never regretted it. Not only do you start shooting more, but it's a good way to kill a winter afternoon!
And, regardless of what people say, you DO save money. You NEVER see .357 for less than $10 in Washington. The best I've seen was $17. I can make it for $9. Even cheaper if I used cast lead bullets. Then it drops to as low as $5 a box.
 

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This....no press
http://leeprecision.com/lee-loader-38-spl.html

Or this....have a press

http://leeprecision.com/3-die-set-38sp-carbide.html

Per round cost if you have all of the equipment and brass you need, so that all you need is powder, bullet and primer works out to be around 16 cents per round. The major expense is the bullet.
I have the three dies in that second link with the powder measure and the shell holder. Don't have the plastic case, but I'd be willing to let you have it for the shipping cost. Send me a PM if you're interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I didn't think it could be that inexpensive to get into reloading equipment. I can buy factory reload 38 spl steel case @.20 rnd or brass case reloads for .22 rnd. I don't know if it would be worth it reloading to only save .04 to .06 per round. I guess I need get the book on reloading. I have the time to reload that's for sure. I might check You Tube for a video on reloading. LOL No need to read the book if there is a movie on it. Just kidding.
Thanks for the responses.
Update: I did watch a video on reloading steps and I think I will get the book and will probably get into reloading. After watching the video it doesn't seem as technical as I thought it to be. Not saying it's a cake walk but just not as hard to grasp as I mentally thought it would be.
 

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Look for used presses, I personally would buy new dies unless you can inspect them first. I'm slightly obsessed with the whole process and have multiple presses, antique, single stage, multiple stage and progressive. Most bought used. I might, just might, break even on my reloading investment if I make it to 80 years old.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I hear ya on the press paying for itself. I looked some time ago for used presses and I found very few and then they cost almost as much as a new one. Would the basic intro Lee single stage press be okay or as I have heard some say Lees are fix or repair daily? Maybe that wouldn't apply to the most basic Lee press. Most of what I read on forums the agreement was bite the bullet once and get a Dillon. I don't think I need or want but a basic single stage press.
 

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Singles are the way to start. Even if you get a Dillon later you'll still use your single for something where you want a few precisely loaded rounds. I think pretty much all reloaders will agree on that.
 

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Agree 100% with Spikedriver.
As far as paying for itself it depends on many things.
My question I guess would be is that all you would load for caliber wise? How much do you shoot?
The two of us shoot so much that it has long ago paid for itself. Not to mention if you rifle shoot you can customize loads to your guns.
I will suggest you don't count out hornady reloaders. We've been using an AP progressive for 8 years now and it's still going just as strong as the day we got it. Love the features it has. Makes for quick caliber changes with basically no setup. Just swap and go.
We've had Dillion's, Lee's etc in the past. For the money we've made a good choice for us. Keep adding onto it. This Christmas got the ammo plant.
Makes for even faster reloading. (Automatic case feeder)
Still have a few single stages we use on occasion.
Haven't regretted the AP for a second and we reload quite a bit. Pistol and rifle.
To start out though definitely a single stage press. Till you get it all figured out and learn what to do and not to do. Get multiple load books to have on hand. Don't just rely on one book.
 

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Yeah, definitely agree with spikedriver. After 800 rds my initial equipment paid for itself. I'd get that Lyman 49th manual, has load data and explains everything. If you ever have a question, there are quite a few members here who will gladly assist!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I shoot more 38 spl than any other caliber. I seldom shoot my 9mm or my .45. I guess if I could get the cost down on .45 I might shoot it more same as the 38. I guess now my search is on what press is best bang for the buck. Oh bad pun there.
Would you say this is a good kit and price to start out with?
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00162RM3E?tag=reloaderaddict-20
 

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Great beginning kit. I personally have never had a problem with Lee equipment. Btw, my .45 rounds cost me 14 cents to make, not including brass. 9mm costs around 9 cents.
 

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That's the kit I started out with. Never had a problem with it. Do note that it doesn't come with the bolts to mount it. You'll need dies- make sure you always get carbide dies when you can. I personally chose the 4 die set, which has an optional factory crimp die. You'll want a few other nice but not totally necessary things like a loading tray, bullet puller, digital or dail calipers. Those are actually necessary, the calipers. And definitely get that book. Have fun!

BTW that's a good price on the kit. I think I paid 150 +shipping on Amazon
 

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That's the kit I started out with. Never had a problem with it. Do note that it doesn't come with the bolts to mount it. You'll need dies- make sure you always get carbide dies when you can. I personally chose the 4 die set, which has an optional factory crimp die. You'll want a few other nice but not totally necessary things like a loading tray, bullet puller, digital or dail calipers. Those are actually necessary, the calipers. And definitely get that book. Have fun!

BTW that's a good price on the kit. I think I paid 150 +shipping on Amazon
I have some Lee dies, and some RCBS dies, and a couple Lyman M-dies, and one set of Redding dies. All good. I personally prefer OD micrometers over calipers (even have a preference for Brown & Sharpe), but I was a machinist back in the day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well today I removed about a 750-1000 38 spl primer caps using my hand tool. I plan on getting the Lee kit, needed supplies and book next Tuesday.
I am thinking about getting a tumbler and an inexpensive digital scale as well. What are some suggestions for powder just for punching paper?
 

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With 148gr. wadcutters? Bullseye of course.;)
Vihtavouri N320, N330, N340; HP38; Titegroup; Red Dot; Accurate #2, Accurate #5.

And many more.

With any of them, the cotton or Dacron 'stuffing' that was mentioned in a recent thread would be good. Without it, some folks like to tip the gun up between shots to get the powder near the primer. I think there are recipes for using Trail Boss to fill the case better, but that powder has been scarce lately.

BTW if you get Lee dies there will probably be a volume measure 'ladle' in the kit. The Lee manual lists powders that will work with it. Not as fine tuned a load for all the usable powders, but close enough.
 

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To me the most important asset is a good scale, the books recommends checking every tenth load for consistent powder charge. Evan after that I will run a flashlight over the cases before putting the bullets on to make sure they are all at the same level.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I ordered this Lee kit and should have it next Thursday. It can be used as a single stage or the turret. Between the tractor and this press I will not be saving any this month. Oh well money is meant to be spent.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/291730104310
 

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What are some suggestions for powder just for punching paper?
I don't load .38's but,
Win 231 or Hodgdon HP38 (both the same) should work for .38 plinking loads.
Like VT said, Bullseye is a standard powder for the type of loads you're looking to make.

Using hard cast lead bullets in my .357 for practice/plinking:
$8.16 per 100 bullets. (I buy em 1000 at a time).
$2.36 for powder per 100 loads using SR7625. Hodgdon discontinued it in 2015. Too bad, it's a very accurate powder and I'm almost out.....
$3.20 (+/-) per 100 primers.
=
$13.72 for 100 rounds of .357 plinking loads that have about the same recoil as .38 ammo.
You'll use about half as much powder for paper punching 38 loads so that'll save you another buck.

I know you didn't ask about .357 Mag ammo but using jacketed bullets and a magnum powder they cost about twice as much as the plinking loads.
 
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