My new rules for target shooting

Traget ShootingA few months ago I got the chance to go shooting on a Saturday with some friends. I love going shooting, so I was really looking forward to it. It was OK, but not as much fun as usual. The high price of ammo weighed heavily on my mind. I did get to shoot an AR15 (not mine) chambered in 450 Bushmaster, so at least it wasn’t a total bust. I also went shooting the next day, Sunday. Different group of friends, different place, a little better experience. Since then, ammo has gotten even harder to find and even more expensive. Based on that, I’ve made some personal rules for target shooting. More like suggestions I guess, because they’re just to help make target shooting more enjoyable for me. Maybe they’ll work for you too…

My personal rules for target shooting

I know, rules… part of the reason I go shooting is to get AWAY from all the rules we have to put up with every day. So wtf??? Like I said, these are personal rules that I’ve decided to follow to make my own shooting more enjoyable. Well, at least more affordable… The days when I can just go out and blast in the desert are gone – for a few reasons. If you watch the news at all, you can probably guess at some of those reasons. Others are more localized, like an extremely dry climate with lots of dead grass in the desert and high winds every afternoon. Add to that the places I go shooting are getting more crowded all the time it seems, so I’m thinking I need to make some changes to my shooting routine.

Rule 1 – don’t go alone

Of all the rules, I hate this one the most. For me, a lot of times going shooting is a way to get away from everything. Sometimes I don’t even shoot – I just walk around and take in the scenery. Or envision new training scenarios. Or just hunt for brass that others have left behind. In today’s world, going alone might not be such a great idea.

The area where I live has seen a huge influx of urban people moving to the suburbs and rural areas. Unfortunately, a lot of them bring their city attitudes with them. They’ll set up right next to where you’re shooting, their gun handling sucks (as in unsafe), and a lot of them have gang-style tats. A lot of them act like “respect” is something owed solely to them, and you’d better not “dis” them.

Around the time I went shooting with my friends, three men in Florida were beaten, shot, and murdered in Florida while they were fishing. In my neck of the desert, I stumbled across a group of John Brown Gun Club members out “practicing.” (If you don’t know why that’s concerning, try Googling JBGC or Redneck Revolt)

Rule 2 – make your shots count

I love plinking. Blasting dirt clods and plastic jugs is one of my favorite things to do. Heck, I even like doing mag dumps once in awhile. Not now though – ammo is too expensive and too hard to find. I pretty much always took targets with me before. Now I always do, and also I plan the kind of shooting I’m going to do.

Rule 3 – Pick up your brass

Even if you don’t reload, it’s a good idea to pick up your brass. Who knows, maybe some day you’ll start reloading. Even if you don’t, you can give it to a friend that does or recycle it and use the money to buy more ammo.

Rule 4 – Shoot something different

Before the current ammo shortage, I shot mostly 9mm and 5.56, with a little 308 thrown in the mix. Not any more – can’t afford it. I used to only shoot 22 long rifle for small game, but now it’s about all I shoot. It’s overpriced right now (about the same as I was paying for 9mm and 5.56 six months ago), but at least I can afford to shoot it. To keep my training as realistic as possible, I bought a 22 LR conversion kit for my AR-15 and a Glock 44 (same size as my G19). I’ve also rekindles my love affair with revolvers and bolt action rifles.

Rule 5 – Be ready to buy

Even today, you can occasionally find decently priced ammo (and reloading components) but you have to be ready to buy fast. A couple weeks ago, I found small rifle primers for sale. Just when I was getting ready to order, my wife asked me to look at something in the other room. When I got back to the PC a few minutes later, they were already sold out. Same thing happened the other day with a case of 5.56 ammo.

Rule 6 – Practice dry firing

If you’re into training, you can do a lot with dry firing. I know… when I was a kid we were taught that dry firing was harmful to the gun. That’s still true for 22’s, but most modern centerfire guns (both rifle and pistol) are perfectly safe to dryfire, with no risk to the gun. You can also do it in your house (double and triple check to make SURE it’s empty), so you also save on gas since you’re not driving to your shooting range.

Rule 7 – Don’t go shooting

This was a hard pill for me to swallow, but it is doable. I’ve taken up other outdoor hobbies. I found some nice walking routes around my house that mostly keep me out of the urban sprawl (that’s a whole nother post…). I bought a predador call and I’m learning how to call in coyotes. We have racoons in the area so I bought some traps. I’m in the process of cleaning and dying them. I also bought some snares that I’ve been trying to catch rabbits with (so far unsuccessfully).

Home Built AR-15 On a Budget

home built ar-15 budgetA couple days ago I talked about cheap guns and why they’re not as good as more expensive guns – at least if you’re betting your life on one. That doesn’t mean you need to spend $1500 on a Daniel Defense or $2500 on a KAC SR-15 to have a reliable weapon. I decided to try my hand at a home built AR-15 on a budget. Building your own has a few advantages. For one thing, you can get exactly the parts you want. For another, you can spread the cost out over time. The best reason for me is for learning how to do it. If you build your own AR-15, you’ll be able to maintain, repair, and upgrade it yourself. With that in mind, I decided to build a budget AR-15.

Budget, not cheap…

This is a budget gun, not a cheap gun. I did use some cheap parts, but the important ones are high quality. I used Aero Presision upper and lower receivers. The lower parts kit (lpk) is CMMG, and a friend gave me a Sionics enhanced mil spec trigger. The buffer tube assembly is BCM. Barrel is 16″ M4 profile with 1:7 twist, carbine gas, F marked FSB and chrome lined bore. Except for the barrel, all are solid choices based on past experience and mfg. reputation. Since the rest of the parts don’t affect reliability, I used the cheapest ones I could find: generic M4 butt stock, A2 grip, cheap no-name charging handle, and Magpul MOE trigger guard and fore end. I already had the buttstock and charging handle. All in, I’m at about $570 in parts. If I’d had to buy a trigger, butt stock , and charging handle it would be about $100 more.

Just cheap…

By comparison, I could have built my AR using Palmetto State Armory’s (PSA) rifle build kit. For only $399.95 (including shipping) it comes with everything you need to build an AR-15 except the lower receiver. Add $70 or so for a lower and you have a complete AR-15 for less than $500. Not bad for a range toy, but not as good as my $570 (or $670) build.

With the PSA kit, you don’t get a chrome lined barrel. The bolt isn’t 158 carpenter steel. I don’t know who makes their buffer tube, but I do know the BCM tube I used is duty grade – not likely to blow up in my face. The parts in the CMMG lpk (esp. pins and springs) are known quality parts. I don’t know what PSA puts in their lpks. For a plinker or range toy it probably doesn’t matter. For a gun that’s going to be used for self defense, it does – at least to me.

The gory details…

I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but I wanted parts that would work good and last a long time. That can be a tricky with the AR-15 because there are so many choices for parts. AR parts companies seem to come and go on a daily basis. I decided to spend where I needed and go cheap everywhere else. The important parts are the receiver set, LPK, BCG, and barrel. Everything else is easy to replace or upgrade later.

My lower receiver is an Aero Precision A15 for $70. Fit, finish, and function is great and it’s only $20 more than a Poverty Pony lower. I used a CMMG lpk ($40). Again, this is a known good quality piece of kit. For the trigger I cheated – one of my friends let me have a Sionics Enhanced mil spec trigger. If I had to buy it, it would have added $55 to the cost of my rifle. It looks exactly like an ALG ACT I own, down to the casting (forging?) marks on the trigger and hammer. No creep and crisp break. The buffer tube assembly is BCM. For around $60 I like the peace of mind knowing it’s strong enough to not break on recoil and put my eye out.

The upper receiver is an Aero M4. It houses a Toolcraft bcg with an MPI’d and HPT’d Carpenter 158 steel bolt. I used a BCM Gunfighter charging handle because they work well and seem to be break-proof. Gas tube is a Spike’s Tactical melonite piece and my muzzle device is just a standard A2 flash hider. Barrel specs are mentioned above. I did cheap out on the furniture – the stock is a generic M4 and the hand guard is a used Magpul MOE. I still need to get the sight post, pin, and spring for the FSB and a rear sight.

A work in progress…

Even though I haven’t finished this rifle, I already have some upgrades in mind. I know for sure I’m going to replace the butt stock. The M4 I have on it now sucks. My second upgrade will probably be to free float the barrel. In the mean time I just want to finish it and run it hard. Let’s see what breaks and what doesn’t…

Peace out,

“As good as…”

I’m not a gun snob. I own my share of cheap guns. Heck, I even wrote a post extolling the virtues of cheap guns. But if you think your cheap gun (or whatever) is just as good as more expensive (dare I say better?) guns, you’re probably wrong. What really got me thinking about this was the Wuhan virus crap. Before, I always figured if my gun broke I could get it fixed under warranty or fix it myself. But what if the company went out of business? What if I can’t get parts? Then I started finding forum posts about bad ammo, poor metallurgy, and cheap parts breaking. So it is an issue to address…

As good as what?

Even though it should be obvious that higher quality guns are better than <ahem> cheaper guns, I see tons of people claiming their HiPoint is just as good as a Glock, or their PSA AR-15 is just as good as a BCM. Some even go so far as to say their cheap gun is BETTER than the more expensive one. So lets look at that… I do have some cheap guns, so I’m not just talking out my butt…

Is a HiPoint as good as a Glock?

People like to bash Glocks for some reason. It seems like HiPoint owners especially like to talk smack about Glocks. So let’s look at that. I own a HiPoint JHP 45 and a Glock 30. Comparing the two… well, they both have polymer frames, they’re both black, and they both shoot 45 ACP. Beyond that, they really aren’t comparable. The HiPoint weighs 35 oz. empty. The Glock weighs 24 oz. empty and 34 oz. fully loaded. That’s correct, the Glock weighs less fully loaded than the HiPoint weighs empty. The G30 is also narrower and shorter than the JHP 45, making it a lot easier to CCW.

The G30 holds 11 rounds, vs 10 for the JHP 45. The sights are easier to see on the Glock, and easy to change if you don’t like the factory sights. The front sight on the JHP is molded into the slide, so you couldn’t change it even if you wanted to. The trigger on the Glock is also better, and again if you don’t like the factory trigger it’s easy to change. The HiPoint has a heavier, grittier trigger pull and there is no aftermarket alternative – you’re stuck with what came from the factory.

There are many other issues as well, enough that I could do a whole post on just the difference between the Glock and the HiPoint. In fact I think I will. But is the HiPoint “just as good as” the Glock? I would have to say… no.

Is a PSA AR-15 as good as a (S&W, Ruger, Windham Weaponry) BCM, etc?

The AR-15 is a little more complicated. PSA themselves offers the AR in several grades, and their “Premium” line is actually pretty good. For this discussion I’m talking about their base and “Freedom” lines. For cheap guns they’re OK, but not as good as more expensive guns. What makes one AR-15 better than another AR-15? Well, lots of things…

What materials are used to make the parts? How were they made (machined from billet, forged, cast, MIM)? How were the parts finished? For hardened parts, were they surface hardened or through hardened? How accurate are the parts’ dimensions? What about hole sizes and location? What testing does the manufacturer use on the individual parts and the gun as a whole? How is their reputation for customer service?

What drives me crazy is people claiming expensive guns are the result of some conspiracy by certain manufactures to “jack up prices.” Here’s a reality check. Better materials cost more money. Better finishes cost more money. Highly accurate parts production costs more than less accurate parts production. THAT is what you’re paying for with a more expensive gun – not “just a fancy roll mark.” At least it usually works that way if you buy from a reputable manufacturer with a good reputation. The idea that a cheaper gun is just as good as a gun made with better materials, to tighter tolerances, and with a better finish???

So what about cheap guns?

I like cheap guns. If my life depends on a gun though, a cheap gun isn’t going to be my first choice. I want quality and especially reliability. That usually means a more expensive gun. Is your cheap gun as good as my expensive gun? Heck, are my cheap guns “as good as”? Most likely not. Until next time…

Peace out,

Related links:

Palmetto State Armory vs. Everyone
Junk, Budget Builds, and Gear Reviews

Polymer80 P940Cv1 first impressions

Polymer80 P940Cv1 kitI’ve had my Polymer 80 P940Cv1 frame quit for quite awhile – a couple years in fact. I’ve had it so long I forgot where I got some of the parts. Anyway, some friends have been wanting to go shooting yesterday and I had some spare time. Last week I bought a cordless Dremel so I could finally finish this thing. This won’t be a complete review of the P940Cv1, just my initial impressions. After I have a chance to shoot it more and gather my notes I’ll do a complete review and shooting report.

The instructions suck…

The  P940Cv1 doesn’t come with instructions, which is kind of weird considering it’s not obvious how it goes together. Polymer80 has instructions in PDF format on their web site, but these instructions are much better IMO. Polymer80 recommends using a slide vise and drill press for the milling operations on the frame. My drill press wasn’t deep enough to fit the slide vise, so I tried holding the block by hand. BIG mistake – the bit grabbed the frame and marred it pretty good before I got it away from the bit. My bad…

Looking for solutions, I found a video from Marine Gun Builder that shows how to finish a Polymer80 frame without a drill press. I couldn’t afford the fancy fret snips he recommends so I got the closest snips I could find at Home Depot. They worked OK, but my frame didn’t turn out nearly as pretty as Marine Gun Builder’s. No worries – I’d already marred it anyway. The important thing was – would it shoot? More on that later…

Other parts you’ll need

The Polymer80 kits only come with the parts needed for the frame itself.  Besides the frame kit, you’ll need a Frame Parts Kit (not sold by Polymer80) and a complete slide assembly. The Polymer 80 frames need Glock Gen 3 compatible parts. If you use Gen 4 or later parts you might damage the frame and will definitely void your warranty. Polymer80 specifically mentions that Lone Wolf Distributors uses some Gen 4 parts in their kits, in spite of labeling them as “Gen 3 compatible.” Simple – don’t use a Lone Wolf Distributor kit in your P80 frame kit. I prefer OEM Glock parts that I get from Glockmeister. For my slide, I bought a no-name Gen 3 compatible G19 slide assembly on eBay.

One thing to watch for is to make sure you put the right parts in the right hole. The 2 pins that come with the frame kit are for the front and back holes in the frame. The middle (small) hole is for the locking block pin that will come with your Frame Parts Kit. You’ll need to install this pin before installing the slide release assembly but after putting the trigger assembly in place. This part was a little confusing to me so I had to call Polymer80 for guidance. I can let you know they DO answer the phone and were able to help me. GREAT customer service.

P940Cv1 - 2 types of pins
The top pin with the bulged ends is the rear pin for the slide locking block

Problems? What problems?

The only problem I had putting together the P940Cv1 kit was the slide block spring. For some reason I can’t get it to seat correctly. It’s in the front groove far enough to not fall out, but barely. This might be due to the fact that I started way back when with a Lone Wolf Distributors kit, and the spring might have come from them – which could mean it’s a Gen 4 part (for some reason, Glock changed this spring from Gen 3 to Gen 4). I have known Gen 3 springs on the way from Glockmeister, so we’ll see. The one I put in held well enough for test firing.

Other than that, no problems that weren’t self induced. The pins were really tight, but that might actually be a good thing. For those familiar with Glocks, this won’t come apart easily with the Glock tool. Hammer and punch will definitely be needed. Once I got it put together, it function checked fine so off to the range…

Complete P940Cv1 ready to go shooting


But does it shoot?

I didn’t have any Gen 3 G19 magazines, so I borrowed one from my Gen 4. Fit was fine. I had some reservations about shooting it because of the slide lock spring issue, but life is short so… I loaded 2 rounds into the mag and inserted. Seated fine, so far so good. Time to pull the trigger. Took aim, pulled the trigger, and… it went bang just like it’s supposed to. Second round fed OK, pulled the trigger again, went bang again, and the slide locked back on the empty magazine just like it’s supposed to.

Inserted a full magazine. Bang… bang… and ftf. Drop magazine, clear round, insert magazine, rack slide, and… ftf. Lather, rinse, repeat and… another ftf. On the 3rd try I used the slide release instead of racking the slide and the round fed. (I SWEAR I wasn’t “riding the slide”…) I shot the remaining rounds in the magazine with no issues. Shot through two more full mags with no issues and called it a day. A successful day.

I didn’t do any formal accuracy testing, but it seemed as accurate as my Glock 22 that I brought for comparison. So far, I’m happy. In fact, happy enough that I ordered a P940Cv1 second frame kit, along with their subcompact (P940SC). Hopefully the next one will turn out as nice as the ones Marine Gun Builder turns out. Until next time…

Peace out,

Glock G44 – finally, a 22LR Glock

Glock G44Early this week Glock announced their newest pistol – the Glock 44 in 22LR. If you CCW a Glock 19 this is great news. I’m a firm believer in the saying “train how you fight.” If you carry a Glock, the G44 lets you do just that with cheap 22 LR ammo. The Glock 44 uses the same operating system and holsters as the Glock 19. Unlike other companies’ training pistols, the G44 looks, feels, and works almost exactly like all other Glock pistols.

Haters still gonna hate…

I was really surprised to see so many negative comments on some of the message boards I read. Should have been a long slide. Why only 10 round magazines? Not as innovative as Taurus (WTF???). Glocks are over rated(???). The .world doesn’t need another 22LR semi auto pistol. Ruger Mk4 is more accurate (probably right, but how do they know if they haven’t shot the G44?). I guess haters gonna hate no matter what. I think they’re all missing the point…

Actually the G44 really is innovative, in spite of the haters. It’s probably the first striker fired 22LR pistol on the market and it’s definitely the first “defensive” pistol offered by a firearms maker that functions exactly the same as their center fire version. That means the G44 trigger feels just like the G19 trigger. It means you can use your G19 carry holster to train with your G44. The sights and sight radius are the same (that’s why it’s not a long slide). And the 10 round magazines? Who cares? It’s a training gun, not a carry gun. Besides, the 10 round mags are 50 state legal.

Since I CCW a Glock 19, I know my next pistol is going to be the G44. It should be available on January 20, 2020. I’m already saving my money. Can’t wait to try it, and I’ll post a full review when I get it. Until next time…

Peace out,

Get ’em while you can…

Well that was quick. Just after posting my thoughts on an affordable scope, I found out Nikon is getting out of the scope business. No more Nikon scopes will be made after this year. That kind of sucks because their Prostaff and Monarch lines at least were decent quality and affordable. And discontinuing it just when I’m ready to buy??? The good news is they’re still available. Ordered my Prostaff today for $327. Also ordered a Warne rail for my Remington 700. Decided not to go with the LaRue QD mount though. Not really sure what I’ll use yet.

I guess the take away is get things you like while you can. The market is very fluid and what’s there today could be gone and then you’re stuck with a lesser option (still kicking myself for not buying a Leupold Mk4 MR/T 2.5-10 when they were available).

The good news is they’re still easy to find for now. If you want one, get it while you can. Only question is how will the lifetime warranty work if Nikon is no longer making scopes? For me, taking that chance is worth it. Hope to have this mounted by Christmas, load some rounds, and do range testing over New Years.

Peace out,

Mule Scope

In drag racing, a test mule is a car used for testing engines. It lets racers do engine development and testing without sidelining their main race car. It’s a great concept, and I’m thinking of using it for testing rifles. I like trying new rifles. Good, meh, or junk rifles, they’re all fun to mess around with. For accuracy testing you need a scope, and scopes can get expensive. So I’m thinking about getting a “test mule” scope and using it for accuracy testing. Instead of buying a dedicated scope every time I get a new rifle, just get one scope and move it from rifle to rifle…

What makes a good test mule scope?

I’m looking for a few things in a testing scope. First, it needs to be a decent quality scope. Maybe not Leupold or Night Force quality, but also not a cheap piece of junk. It needs to be able to hold zero and withstand lots of use, sometimes with hard recoiling magnums. Second, it needs to have a good reticle. I’m testing for accuracy, shooting at a fixed (measured) range. A bullet drop compensating (BDC) reticle is great for a hunting rifle, but not so much for accuracy work. A plain reticle is just OK in my opinion. I kind of like reticles with hash marks, like the Nikon MK1-MOA reticle (other scope makers offer similar).

Third, I want decent magnification. I’m shooting between 100 and 600 yards, so 4-16x is OK, 5-20x or 6-24x would be better. Finally, the scope needs to be affordable. I know that’s open to interpretation. To me, affordable is $500 or less – hopefully less.

What I don’t need are frills. I’m shooting in a controlled environment during daylight hours. No need for an illuminated reticle. I also don’t care whether the reticle is first focal plane (FFP) or second focal plane (SFP). For my use, it doesn’t matter.

Nikon Prostaff P5 4-16x42SF Matte MK1-MOA

My first thought was the Nikon Monarch M5 5-20x50SF. Really nice scope, but about $120 more than I can afford right now. Even the 4-16x model is $90 over budget. After doing more looking, I’m leaning towards the Prostaff P5 4-16x42SF Matte MK1-MOA. It’s probably not quite as nice as the Monarch, but I think it will meet my needs. Besides, it’s about $240 cheaper than the Monarch – money I can use for ammo or reloading stuff.

For a dedicated scope, I’d just go with rings. For a test mule scope, I’m going with a picatinny scope base on the rifles and a LaRue QD Cantilever mount on the scope. The picatinny base is almost as cheap as traditional rings (depending on brand) and make swapping scopes really easy. The LaRue mount is kind of pricey, but I only need one and the convenience is worth the cost – at least to me.

I hope to get everything ordered by the end of this month and test between Christmas and New Years. I’m reworking some 7mm Mag loads that a friend gave me and I’m really looking forward to trying them out. If you test multiple guns, i hope you consider  putting together a test mule scope setup. In the long run, it can save a lot of money and a ton of hassle. Until next time…

Peace out,

Glock 22 Police Trade In

Lately a lot of online vendors have Glock 22 Police Trade In pistols for only $299.95. If you like Glocks, that’s a smoking hot deal. I usually like to buy new, but I also appreciate a good deal. I’ve been on a pretty tight budget lately so I decided to try this cheap gun. Like I said they’re all over right now, I bought mine from Recoil Gunworks. It’s a Glock, what could go wrong? As it turned out, so far so good. Besides the gun, I added a 3-pack of G22 magazines for an extra $34.95.

Out of the box…

My police trade in came with factory night sights, factory case, and 4 magazines (1 included plus the add-on 3 pack). Except for holster wear on the slide release and rear sight, the gun looked like new on the outside. Same on the inside. Either someone did a stellar cleaning job or it was fired very little. The night sights are dim, but then they’re probably at least 10 years old. Still better than the junk plastic sights that Glock puts on most of their pistols.

I was really happy with the finish. Sometime during the Gen 3 run, Glock changed from their Tennifer finish to something different. Most think the earlier finish is better, and this gun has the early Tennifer. Very nice…

The magazines were a mixed bag. One was a Gen 3 mag and the others were all Gen 4. The Gen 3 mag was easy to load with a full 15 rounds so I guess it was kept loaded all the time. The Gen 4 mags had stiffer springs so I’m guessing they weren’t used much. Some of them had department markings on them. For $34.95 I’m not complaining…

But it’s a 40…

So what? The 40 S&W is an interesting cartridge… Less power than 45 ACP or 10mm and less capacity than 9mm. That’s if you’re a “glass half empty” type. I’m more “glass half full” so I look at it as having more power than 9mm and more capacity than 45 ACP. That and more controllable and easier to conceal than a 10mm pistol. YMMV but to me that looks pretty good.

Ammo is cheap too. You can find premium self defense ammo (Winchester Ranger 165 gr) just as cheap as  9mm and cheaper than 45 ACP. I just got 500 rounds for $400, shipped. For plinking ammo, 9mm is cheaper but not by a lot.

The 40 S&W is snappier than 9mm, but the Glock design helps tame the recoil. It’s also harder on guns than 9mm or 45 ACP, so if you get one of these I’d recommend getting a new recoil spring assembly. They’re cheap insurance, mine should be here next week. Then I can do a range test.

Get ’em while they’re hot…

Right now, these are easy to find because lots of police departments are switching from 40 S&W back to 9mm. I think they’ll be harder to find as time goes on. I got mine from Recoil Gunworks but I saw at least 3 other online vendors with the same price. I even found one seller with G22 Gen 4 pistols for $329. If you like Glocks, that is a smoking hot deal. Whether Gen 3 or Gen 4, I don’t think you can go wrong with one of these G22 police trade in guns.

They’re perfect for a truck gun, nightstand gun, plinker, IDPA, or even CCW if you can comfortably conceal a full size pistol.

Peace out,

Is reloading worth it?

Is reloading worth it? I saw an interesting question about reloading the other day:

So here we go. First off, if this offends you, you’re reading it wrong because it’s not my intent. Secondly, if you load for the enjoyment of it, I totally get that and this isn’t a question towards you. This is ONLY for the people that are loading for the sole purpose of saving money over buying retail. I’ve seen a bunch of guys lately(not in this group) bragging about loading 9mm for 3-5 cents per round. Then they list everything they’re getting and do all the math to show me that it’s actually 3-5 cents per.

My issue is, that’s 3-5 cents per round for materials only. Why does nobody figure in the time it takes to actually put the materials together into actual ammunition? The manufacturers don’t charge you for materials only. But people all the time compare their 3-5 cents per round for materials to the manufacturers 16-20 cents per round for finished ammunition. This is only cheating yourself if you don’t count your time spent actually loading the ammo. Again THIS IS NOT for people that load to pass the time or for enjoyment.

It’s actually a common question, but not usually put so bluntly. So… is reloading worth the time and effort? Here’s the best answer I saw:

That’s kind of a hard question to answer because everyone values their time differently. It also depends on how fast you reload. If my time is worth 20 per hour and I can crank out 50 rounds per hour on my single stage press, that adds .40 per round for my labor. If I think my time is only worth 10 per hour but I’m cruising through 500 rounds per hour on a progressive then I’m only adding .02 per round for labor, for a total of .07 per round.

In the first case, reloading is more expensive than just buying brand new ammo in 9mm or 223 if you’re talking plinking ammo. In the second case, I’d be saving about .12 per round over the cheapest 9mm plinking ammo I can find. A progressive press and dies is about 5 bills, so I’d have to reload about 4200 rounds before I break even.

That’s also assuming I can get the components for .05 per round. A more realistic figure where I live is .03 for primer, .02 powder, .08 bullet, plus my .02 labor and I’m at .15 and only saving .02 per round. That’s 25000 rounds before I break even, 50 hours doing something I don’t enjoy (according to parameter by OP).

If you don’t like reloading and the only reason you’re doing it is to save money I’m not sure it’s worth it.

So is reloading worth it?

If you’re only reloading plinking ammo, I agree with the answer given above. If all you care about is saving money, it’s probably not worth doing. It would take me at 5 – 7 years to shoot through 25,000 rounds of 9mm, so that’s at least 5 – 7 years until I break even if saving money is all I care about.

What about reloading more expensive ammo? I like shooting 44 Special so we’ll look at that. Factory ammo (cheapest I can find) is about $0.45 (.45) per round. To reload, it would cost about .03 for the primer, .03 for powder, .15 for the bullet (240 gr LSWC), and .02 for my time (assuming 500 rounds per hour on a progressive). Now I’m saving .22 per round. That’s a lot better than .02 per round for the 9mm, so I only need to shoot about 2300 rounds to break even. 44 Special isn’t a high volume round for me though (maybe 500 rounds per year), so it would still take me over 4 years to “break even.”

How do you value your time?

I value my time at $20 per hour. How much do you value your time? Putting a money value on my reloading time doesn’t make much sense to me though, even if I hated reloading. It’s kind of like “charging myself” for working out. I hate working out, but I do it any way. Not because it saves money over going to a gym, but because it improves my health.

Really, adding the “cost” of your time to the cost per reloaded round only makes sense if you’re selling the ammo you produce. If you’re doing that, you’s also better add in the cost of an FFL, liability insurance, and other costs you’ll incur from making and selling ammunition.

The true value of reloading

So… is reloading worth it? Sure you can save money reloading, but not as much as some people tell you. If saving money is your only reason for reloading, then no, it’s probably not worth it. That’s not the true value of reloading though…

The true value of reloading comes from learning a useful skill. It comes from being able to make custom ammo that’s optimized for your gun. If you shoot competition, making custom loads for accuracy is probably a necessity. It’s a more productive way to spend time than staring at the TV for hours. Sure, you might save some money in the long run too. That’s not really the point though. Is reloading worth it? It is for me, what about you?

Peace out,