Will Reloading Your Own Ammo Save Money?


It's often said that reloading your own ammo will save money. According to one author, that probably won't happen, but you'll sure shoot a lot more.

Patrick Sweeney, Master Gunsmith and certified armorer instructor for police departments nationwide, has a different view of that idea. In Reloading for Handgunners, Sweeney says this:

One thing we have to get clear right away: you are not going to save money by reloading. Oh, don’t get me wrong, you will recoup your capital investments (whatever they may be, over whatever period of time you spend) but you will not save money. You will not save any for the simple reason that, if you are like the rest of us, any potential savings will be plowed right into shooting more.

That is, if your “ouch” limit on shooting fun for the weekend is $100 of ammo, you will spend up to the point it begins to hurt. With factory ammo, that could be 100 rounds. With reloads, it could be 1,000 rounds.

So why bother reloading? He goes on to say:

Why reload is simple: control. If you wish to shoot and you depend on factory ammunition, you are dependent on: 1) what the ammo companies make; 2) what the store stocks; and 3) what your budget can afford. If any of those three do not fit your needs or desires, you will have a less pleasurable experience at the range. If two fail, you might well not be shooting at all.

In addition to shooting more, reloading also allows you to shoot some firearms at all. There are firearms for which one cannot purchase ammunition, but for which ammunition can be loaded.

If you are interested in reloading for any of these reasons, Reloading for Handgunners can help you get started. In addition to the basics of brass, bullets, powder, primers and dies, the book includes chapters and reloading data for the following calibers:

Police departments do not reload. If you have an “in” you can quickly acquire a lifetime supply of brass.
  • 9mm Parabellum
  • 10mm
  • .32 Auto
  • .32 Revolvers – Short, Long, Magnum, .327 and .32-20
  • .38 Special
  • .38 Super
  • .40 S&W
  • .41 Magnum
  • .44 Magnum
  • .44 Special
  • .45 ACP
  • .45 Colt
  • .357 Magnum
  • .357 Sig
  • .380 Auto
  • .38-40

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  1. Not save money? Nonsense! If one counts every penny spent on related items and never considers equipment or component purchases written off or amortized, and one is constantly buying new equipment, etc., then yes, that’s probably true.

    But, if like most, equipment purchases are limited to necessary items and a few nice to haves plus reusing cases, etc., reloading saves a lot, especially in todays over priced market.

    Just for example:

    I can reload .223/.556 for between 24 & 29 cents a round depending on components used, primarily bullets. Each time I went to my local outdoor shooting park, I bought (99% once fired) 200 to 300 pieces of fired brass for 3 cents a round until I now have about 1,500 cases. I decided to settle on one powder, CFE 223 and bought 4 lb. each in two separate purchases. Bullets were bought in increments of 500 and 100 to provide a variety for load development and practice ammo. Primers of course one thousand at a time except for some Federal Match 100 packs just for experimentation.

    I load 45ACP, 40 S&W, 10MM, 9MM, 308 Win, 30-06 and recently 32 S&W. With exception of the 32 S&W brass and bullets have been acquired in quantity over the years both new and once fired with bullets the same. Buying in bulk and over time whenever good prices are available has allowed me to skip most of the current price inflation and scarcity. Most knew prices would go up after Nov ’08 and many started buying as soon as the primaries were over and the candidates selected and jumped on every opportunity since. While consumables like primers, powder and bullets are tough to find at any price, many have reached their stockpile and affordability limits and the frenzy is starting to slow. Prices will eventually come down and availability increase as demand slows and price gouging in some cases can’t be sustained.

    When the new normal is realized whatever that is smart reloaders will buy consistently over time understanding that like most things, prices always go up and what you bought today will likely be cheaper than the prices years from now. I have Federal HydraShock 10MM ammo I bought on sale at a gun show when 10MM was falling in popularity for $5.50 a box of 20 and Federal 36 grain .22 rimfire boxes of 550 each when they were on sale at Walmart in 93/94 for $8.88 a box and many more examples.

    The bottom line is prices are relevant to time and place. If one waits to buy until out and in immediate need and then buys only the minimum you will never achieve savings or security. But instead if one waits to buy until conditions are favorable with future developments in mind and buys in bulk, over time a great savings is achieved. I have 45 and 308 cases I’ve had since the 70s when I bought surplus fired range cases from the Marine bases I was stationed at. The 45 are in such quantity that I don’t bother counting how many times they have been fired as they can be fired almost indefinitely if one doesn’t load high pressure loads.

    One of my presses a Dillon SDB I’ve been using since 92 and a Lee single stage since ’04. Can I beat the dollar a round price of much of todays ammo? You bet.

  2. I am a past police officer and use to shoot on a police handgun team but unfortunately today I am totally disabled but I still am able to shoot some and still love too but as we all know ammo is very scarce (at least 9mm is) and so I’m looking into reloading my own ammo so I can continue my only hobby – shooting.

  3. I’m looking to get into reloading handgun as well as rifle rounds. Any advise, books or literature will be a great help.

  4. Want to get into reloading, looking to load 45 acp, 9mm, 5.56 and 308. Any advise, books or literature would be a great help.

  5. We reload .380 auto and 9 mm Luger. All the stores in our area are really low n factory ammo and any extra information is always welcomed in our house.

  6. So far I reload 45acp, 9mm, 38spl, and am in the process of loading 40S&W for the first time. I look forward to loading 5.56×45, 30Carbine, 7.62×39, and 308. Any book and information is always helpful. Never know enough.

  7. I am looking at getting into reloading both .45ACP and .380 Auto due to the increasing prices for pre-manufactured ammo. Winning this book would certainly be nice for helping provide valuable information.

  8. As a LE and private firearms instructor it is most cost effective to reload since I often fire 20-30 rounds in a few seconds during training demonstrations. I usually go through 500-1000 rounds per month for training and competition!

    Reloading also offers calming therapy!



  9. I load for five different pistol calibers. I can’t think of a better book to have on my loading bench. Thanks for all the good info.

  10. .45ACP, .45 Colt, .454 Casull, .50 S&W, .38/.357, 9mm, .380, .32’s. That’s one book that would really be useful

  11. I load for six pistol calibers and one rifle caliber. There are a few more pistol calibers that I’d like to load for and they are in this book.
    I’d like to have this book.

  12. I reload .45ACP to shoot and I have a growing stockpile. Also have reloaded .40S&W. Will soon be reloading .223/5.56.

    Reloading is not only a way to save money, but also learn more about the caliber you shoot.

  13. I’ve been reloading for all my weapons for the last 16+ years. It’s long list of pistol and rifle calibers. I have 5 different reloading manuals. Each one has added to my reloader knowledge base. I would like another reloading maual since all the others actually offered some info that the others did not.

  14. Just purchased a 1911 in 38 super. Ammo is not readily available in my area. Need to reload to insure adequate ammo supply. Also shhot 45 acp and 38 special. Interested in getting into competitive shooting.

  15. More abject ignorance from Sweeny who is too impressed with himself to realize people believe his words without reading into them. The fact is YOU WILL SAVE MONEY RELOADING if you are smart about it, Sweeny IMPLYS you will just shoot more and burn up the savings, but the horses backside has no clue how much shooting you do to begin with so ignore his “witless humor” and reload. it makes sense. The fact that this idior is given a forum for his uber ego which has been proven wrong way too often is why I dont subscripe to the paper version. I wont help add to his undeserved payroll.

  16. I have been thinking about getting started with reloading, and would start with the 9mm and .45acp. So, this book would come in verrrry handy for me to win :-)!

  17. Reloading is informative, rewarding and a great way to get in more shots! However, there are many lessons to be learned and this giveaway book will be most beneficial!!

  18. I reload a long list of rifle,pistol and 12 ga shotgun shells. True I don’t save any money, but I shoot a lot more than if I wasn’t reloading.

  19. Maybe you’ll want to start reloading when the government starts telling you how much you can buy.And I’d like the book.

  20. I load my own .44 magnum. There’s an error in your logic, though… I can only shoot about 50 rounds before the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger starts to bleed from the effects of the recoil and I must quit. So no, reloading didn’t enable me to shoot more – just cheaper and more accurately. Either one alone would’ve been a winner, but both together is a slam dunk.

  21. I reload .22-250, .243, .270 .270 WSM, 7mm Mag. .308, .30-06, .338 Win.Mag., .380, .38/.357, .44/.44 Mag., 20 & 12 gauge shotgun. I would love to get a new book! I didn’t realize I reloaded so many calibers.

  22. I would like to win this book because I reload .32, .380, 9mm, .38, .357, .40, and .45. I use a Dillon 550 press and do it because I enjoy it. It definitely is not a savings as I just keep buying new toys to play with.

  23. I have started reloading several calibers of pistols. This book would be a great learning and growing tool to help me along my way.

  24. I’ve been interested in the idea of reloading ever since I began purchasing firearms. I don’t do it currently, but would love to try it. I’d probably be reloading mostly 9mm & 40 cal.

  25. I’ve been reloading for over 30 years and I think initially I was saving money, even with the low prices of the components years ago compared to factory ammo. But I wasn’t shooting more because I worked a lot. Now that I’m retired, I am shooting more often, but reloading takes up most of my time. It’s a hobby now and allows me to enjoy my retirement. I reload for .380, .38/.357 (pistol/rifle), .45 ACP, and .308.

    Your “Reloading for Handgunners” sure would be a welcome addition to my other books. Keep up the good work!

  26. I reload 9mm, .40 S&W, .45ACP, 5.56×45 and 6×45 because 1) I can load more for less, 2) I’m a control freak 3) make super custom loads like wax bullets. Sign me up for a new reloading book!

  27. I’d really like to reload some S&W 460 Magnum, Federal 327 Magnum and also create some new loads based on the 9mm and 45acp.

  28. Put me for the Reloading Book, if you would. Thanks, it’s time to start reloading again, but it never hurts to brush up on everything aqain.

  29. I disagree!I have loaded thousands of rounds in many calibers. If I didn’t reload, I couldn’t afford to shoot as often as I wish and as accurately. I have taken over 30 big game animals with rifle and handgun, several of which are “Booners” and not a one has been taken with factory ammunition. All taken with my own hand loads excluding shotgun, black powder and archery of course, which makes the harvest even more rewarding! So it would be kewl to win this book and learn even more.

  30. I would like to load some 7.62x25mm Tokarev for my CZ52’s. Other than .22lr, this is the only handgun caliber, for which I own a handgun, that I don’t reload for. And I’d like to win the book too!!!

  31. As a 70 yr old, I am on a fixed income (very limited). The need for reloading stems from my having two revolvers in .327 Magnum caliber. Great for us recoil sensitive old guys, and the use of .32 S&W long allows ease of getting ammo.

    Spare Parts

  32. I reload 9mm/.40 cal/.380/.223.. Because I work in Law Enforcement and don’t mind spending the extra savings to be able to shoot more. You can never shoot enough.

  33. I started reloading several years ago but haven’t done any for quite a while. A new book would sure help get me back into it.

  34. When I bought my first .44, my friend Jerry said, “Oh, you’re gong to have to handload to shoot that thing.” Why? “Because it’s spendy.” Hmmmm. 76 cents a shot? He was right.

  35. I would like to win, it would be my first book on reloading. I understand though it won’t be my last. Thank you for the article.

    Ramon “Oso”

  36. I followed the link to argue with you about whether reloading saves money.

    OK, given your premise that any savings just goes into shooting more; then I agree with you. Then again, anyone who only reloads to save money is really reloading for the wrong reasons. Reloading is really all about making the loads I want to shoot and getting more satisfaction out of my guns superior performance.

    I’d love to win the book!

    I’ve loaded 9mm, 38 special, 357 Mag and .45 auto. My son has picked up the sport enthusiastically and is now reloading his own 357 Mag shells (and getting to shoot more that I do too, the bum)

  37. I am currently nearing the completion of a saving plan so that I can buy reloading equipment. Most of my handguns are 9mm, but I also enjoy shooting 10mm, 357SIG, .45ACP and .44Mag.

  38. I’d like to win the book. I used to reload all the time but I haven’t reloaded for some time now. I need to get back into it. I have bought several guns and alot of ammo in the last three years.

  39. I don’t reload as I don’t think I have the time to put into it. If I did, I’d like to learn how to reload 300 Blackout. In addition, I’d like to win the book so I can see what’s involved in reloading.


  40. I use to shoot all the time in 9mm, 40S&W, 45acp, .223.

    I got hurt at work and became disabled. I no longeer am able to afford more than one 50 round box of ammo for a range trip which isn’t very often anymore.

    Now if reloading would allow me to shoot more I’m all for it because I have nothing but time to reload.

    45acp and 40S&W are what I carry for my CCW weapons. (Yes I carry 2 guns)

  41. I would like to win the book. I have reloaded multiple calibers, rifle and handgun, but have whittled it down to 40S&W, 45, 223, and 308 at the moment, might start 300 Win Mag sometime. I don’t reload to save money, I do it because I enjoy it and I get to shoot my work. It is a good way to spend a quiet evening listening to the radio or a CD.

  42. I notice these are all pistol rounds. Does the same thinking apply to rifle ammunition? To my mind it does not.

  43. I work in law enforcement and have always wanted to learn to reload
    but just never got started…….there is no time like the present to start

  44. I used to load 9mm, 40 S&W, 357&38 SPL, 38 Super and 45ACP on a Dillon 650. Sold all the complete heads and only load 45 ACP. It is all I shoot, it is all I carry, it is all I need.

  45. I have several hand guns in and rifle’s in diff. cal. My wife give me Lee single stage loading press for Christmas. I have bought a couple of sets of dies. My Cousin showed me how to load my .45 ACP on his multi-stage press. I would love to win the book so I can learn how to safely reload for my guns so I can get better at shooting.

  46. I reload .223 and 9mm on my Dillon press. As mention in this article. I don’t save money, I just get more bullets to shoot. 😉

  47. I’d like to win the book, because I used to help my uncle reload as a kid, but my uncle willed his reloading gear to my older cousin, and when HE passed on, Lord knows what happened to the press, dies, books, powder measure, etc., and now I have to start from scratch (before it’s too late!).

  48. I currently reload the 9×18 Makarov, .32 H&R Magnum and have recently bought supplies to to begin loading .45 ACP, 38-40 WCF, and 7.62×25 Tokarev. This book would help me out a lot! Consider me entered as I want to win the book!

  49. I reload 10mm, .40s&w, 45acp, 5.56/.223, 7.62/.308, .450Bushmaster at present and that’s enough to keep me busy. I often think about getting another caliber or two to add to my addiction, but the ones above cover the basics and are always in good supply (no rarity’s when shortages arise). I firmly believe in researching your loads and never having too much information; that’s why I would love to have/win the book! Please make me the winner!

  50. I reload .45 ACP, 460 Rowland, 44 Rem Mag, 9mm’s Luger & Mak, .380 plus a variety of bottleneck cartridges: 7mm08, 7mmTCU, 7mmIMSHA. I’ve saved money on the .45 and 460 Rowland because I shoot a lot of .45 and the 460 Rowland is hard to find retail in the bullets I want to shoot (It’s also high pressure so I carefully weigh each charge). The rest, not so much.

    Have a number of Patricks books…..they’re great!

  51. Used to reload .45 ACP (hotted them up a little) but then got a new .40 S&W carry so I don’t reload the .45s anymore.

  52. I bought all my equipment years ago w/ 5 lbs. of powder and primers, and never got them out of the boxes. I don’t know where to start. We go fishing a couple times a year at a gun club and my children have been collecting brass for me so i am set there. I am now disabled (no really-1 major brain surgery down and more to go LORD willing). I would enjoy being able to reload and shoot my .45, .40, and .38/.357. All of which I got when I was working.

  53. I started reloading when I got my .40 XD. I bought my first reloading equipment from a former Marine WWII Corsair pilot for 50 cents on the dollar including some powder that had a Walgreens label on it. Since then I been reloading everything I shoot! I love it!!! Very therapeutic.

  54. Normally I load lots of 40 S&W but I also reload 223, 30-30,7.62 x39, 308, 30-06, 38, 357, 44 spec and magnum and 45.
    I enjoy adjusting the load to my preferences and I do a lot of shooting.

  55. I would LOVE to learn how to reload .40 S&W!!! Especially since the government’s gonna be buying up 4 MILLION ROUNDS!!!

  56. Great article and I completely agree with it, I currently load .44 special, .44 magnum, .45auto, .223, .243, 7-08, 30-06, and .300WSM. This book would be a great addition to my library.

    Thank you for the oppurtunity to win it and keep up the great work!

  57. With the exception of the .22, if I can’t reload it I don’t shoot it. .45acp is the caliber of choice. And I’d love to win the book.

  58. I have been reloading for many years, in fact I started out reloading for my 222 Remington with a Lee hand reloading outfit called “The Classic Lee Loader” it contained everything you needed except a plastic or hard rubber hammer, powder, primer and bullets. Now I have both a single stage and turret press and reload for the same 222 Rem. 357mag, 380acp, 45acp, 44mag, 308win, 8mm mauser, and 300sav
    The reason I would like to win Mr Sweeney’s “Reloading for Handgunners” is: I am always willing to learn new and safer ways to reload from people with a lot more expertize and real world (practical and not all theoretical) experience than I have.


    • I started reloading 9mm and 380. When I moved on to 40 and 45 I thought I was in heaven. The larger opening allows the powder to flow more consistently.

  59. I haven’t reload anything in the last 30 years and would like to start again, this book looks like it would give me a new start with updated material. Reload 9mm and 45 cal. Looking for dies to reload 25 gibbs.

  60. I would like to win this book.
    If I don’t win I’ll probably buy it anyway.
    I want to start reloading 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP.

  61. I first started reloading for the 223 Remington. Now I reload for all of my centerfire guns. There’s 13 different rounds I reload. From the 223 to the 45-70. The 3 that I reload for the most are the 44 Magnum, the 32 Special, and the 45-70 Govt, with the 32 Special being the most. I have close to 1000 rounds just for this cartridge, and about half are 30-30 brass. With the jump in prices of factory ammunition, it has been paying off a great deal to reload, especially for the 7.62 X 54R Russian round. A box of 20 is about $20 around here. I can reload this one for about $3.50 reusing the boxer primed brass. And when I cast my own bullets for this round, it’s even lower. I have saved enough to have all of my reloading equipment pay for itself twice over.

  62. Nice little article. I would love to win this book and reload my own 40 S&W and 30-30 ammo. Thanks for the oppertunity!

  63. Just reading the ‘can’t save $$’ headline reminded me that 30+ years ago I was working for a sporting good store, selling guns and reloading equipment. I was telling folks then that, once you add up the components, equipment time etc. You won’t be ‘saving money’. Do it for fun or control or something to do instead of watching TV, but, not to save the dough.

  64. I started reloading .45Colt over a year ago, partly out of necessity (lack of availability) and partly so I could develop my own hunting load – took a white tail with it the first year out! I have all the components to load 9mm and .45 Schofield but haven’t started yet. I want to eventually load .38 special and .357

    So many projects, so little time!

  65. Love to learn to reload 9mm, .45acp and .44 magnum.
    (Now, can we get someone to donate the reloading equipment?..haa haa)
    I spend a lot of time surfing the net trying to find “on sale” ammo to facilitate training and self defense stockpile.

  66. Currently reloading 9mm, 45acp, 223rem and, 380. Looking to also do 40s&w and 38sp. would also like to look more into reloading shotgun shells 12ga and 410.

  67. Just getting restarted into the shooting sports. I hope to soon acquire a few more firearms and then I will start to reload. The calibers I am looking at are 9mm, .357 magnum, .45 acp, .223, .308, and who knows after that……This book would be a great help starting up.

  68. I have been reloading since I was a teenager. Currently I reload .45ACP for pistols, .223 and .50Beowulf for rifles and 12ga for shotguns. The title of the article got me because I know I can reload for less but after reading it I agree with his premise because I couldn’t afford to go out to the range and shoot off 200 rounds of .45 every week if I was buying ammo, though the Russian stuff comes close. And yes, I want the book

  69. I would like to start reloading 9mm cartridges, and shotshells. I have done some using others equipment, but never invested in it on my own. I do agree with Sweeney on not actually saving money, because one would tend to shoot more, and still spend the same up to the ‘ouch’ point.

    However, by reloading, one can control the quality of the loads themselves, and wildcat somewhat, along with making cartridges that are unavailable to buy off the shelf.

  70. I reload several sizes already, but mainly .45 ACP.

    I would really like a copy of the book because it is one I don’t have in my library, and I find every reference resource has some interesting info in it.

  71. I would like to have a copy of the book. I reload most common handgun calibers and the more information I have, the better my loads are.

  72. I reload 45 ACP, 45 Colt, 9MM, 7.62 Tokarev, 30-30, 30-06 and 308. The latter 3 allow me to shoot enough to maintain long range accuracy and the 7.62 Tokarev allow me to carry Horaday hollow points in this weapon that are not available commercially. I use 3 different lee presses depending on what I am reloading and how much in a given session.

  73. Love to have the book.
    I need to add .38 special to my equipment and get carbide dies for my .44 magnum instead of the steel ones I currently have.

  74. I’m a long time shooter and reloaded with my father when I was young.
    I would like to get back into reloading and this book would be a great way to start!

  75. I have reloaded, 9mm, 357 mag, 38 spec and I am currently looking into reloading 5.56mm and 44 mag. Another good reason to reload, especially for hunters, is to fine tune the load to the gun(s) you normally use. This deer season I plan to go hunting with a Ruger SBH 44 magnum I just bought, hence the interest in loading the 44 mag ammo. 🙂

  76. Maybe I’m a special case (I’m certainly a “hard” case!). I’ve recouped my capital costs long ago. My ongoing costs are for primers and powder as I cast for .38, .45 and 9mm, primarily. That’s just a few cents per round because I get the lead for free from my buddy at the tire store.

    I certainly shoot more than I would if I was dependent upon retail ammo, but nowhere near the amount that would put me close to the break even point of retail. I figure that each .45 round costs about 7 cents. That’s $3.50 for a box of 50 rounds. I don’t shoot five times more .45 than I did when I was buying retail.

    I guess that for me, it’s a win-win situation. But, like I said, maybe I’m a special case.

    Oh, I reload with a Lee turret press.

  77. I currently reload the following:

    7.62×25 .223
    9×18 .30
    .380 5.56×45
    9mm 7.62×39
    .38 special 7.62x54R
    .40 .30-06
    .45acp 8mm

    And I would really like to have another book to read!!!

  78. Reload .44, .45, .454 , .45-70, on my RCBS. I may not be saving money, but I always will have ammo to shoot when I go to the range. I started reloading when I went to the store and they had nothing. Never again.

    • I’m 65yrs. young, my 1st reloader was a gift at the age of 14. Since then I’ve owned many some I’ve discarded some I own and all have been replaced. Still today I seek to upgrade. It’s my contention that reloading has become a lost art. My goal is to teach at least one of my grand children reloading and pass on this art. Why you might say. Well it IS cheaper to reload and you can develop a more accurate load for your weapons than you can purchase off the shelf. I’ve yet to try reloading with a Lee Pro 1000 but if selected it would be a pleasure to set up and begin reloading any caliber.


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