Cost breakdown of reloading with the Lee Loader
I’m the minion that posted before on reloading the .45 long colt. I decided to sit down and crunch some numbers, to get an idea of if it’s really worth reloading or not. For the purposes of this analysis, I’m assuming a comparison of standard pricing, non-bulk ammo purchases. I’m also assuming a low cost Lee Loader (limited caliber selection) cast lead bullets, and cowboy load velocities (under a 1000fps). I recently performed an online search for .45 Colt ammo, and just about fell over in my chair when I saw that a box of 50 was $30, and that was the cheapest that I found. So here’s the breakdown:
Lee Loader (one time cost of $40).
Bullet mould (Lee brand; one time cost of $21, Cabela’s).
Brass (one time cost for multiple reloads; $77 for 300 count, Cabela’s).
Powder ($24 for 1lb of HP-38: 920 reloads assuming 7.6 grain cowboy loads, Cabela’s. For this analysis, I’m basing the number of reloads on a one pound can of powder).
Primers ($28 per 1000, Cabela’s).
Melting pot and dipper ($69 and $21 respectively, one time cost, Cabela’s).
Lead ($22 for a 5lb bar - $22 x 6 bars = $132, assuming 200 grain bullets @ 1050 bullets. link below).
Total cost per 920 reloads on the very first loading, due to the initial cost of the lee loader, brass, lead, mould, melting pot and dipper:
Store bought at $30 a box (I rounded off to 900 rounds here):
2nd time reloading for 920 loads (Roughly guesstimated. We had left over lead and primers from the first loadings, so we only purchased 5 - 5lb bars this time around, another 1lb can of powder, and another 1000 primers).
So while we only saved $128 on the initial loading, due to the upfront costs of the equipment. We saved around $378 on the second loading. If you were somehow able to find the lead for very cheap or free, you could really save some serious money on your reloads.
Now I understand that it’s not quite as simple as I outlined above. I did not include tax in my estimate. You would also have to factor in new brass at some point. And some of the minions may not live close by to a Cabela’s, or like store, in which case, there would be shipping and/or hazardous fees. I also assumed low velocity cast lead cowboy style loads in this equation (which may or may not work for all of the minions) and the Lee Loader, which is only available in the more popular calibers.
Another consideration is the painstakingly slow reloads that result with a low tech system as the Lee Loader. This is where one of the few benefits of having kids comes into play. I started reloading all of my father’s ammo from about the age of 9 on, and have thousands of reloads under my belt. This is probably considered a borderline controversial statement by today’s standards, considering today’s predominantly special snowflake generation. And if the kid in question can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, then it’s probably best to keep them as far away as possible from anything that can cut, shoot, or blow them up. That said. I understand that this is a delicate operation that most modern parents would not wish to entrust to their children, due to safety and liability issues. In consideration of this, you could always let them handle the safer operations such as de-priming/sizing/bullet seating, while you handle the priming (still relatively safe as long as one wears safety glasses, as one always should) and powder charging (the biggest danger being an accidental over charge).
In my case, I do not own any guns that eat a lot of ammo, so 900+ rounds would go a long ways for me.