It Adds Up

There’s no practical way for an individual to make primers or smokeless powder. With a moderate load of fast-burning powder such as W-W 231, bought in 8-lb. kegs, the powder cost for 9mm or .45 ACP loads can be as little as 1.5 to 1.8 cents per shot. Primers in lots of 5,000 are advertised online at about 3 cents apiece.

New, high-quality cartridge cases from reputable manufacturers such as Starline cost online around $130 to $180 per thousand for cartridges such as 9mm, .38 Spl., .40 S&W and .45 ACP. With standard pressure loads, I have no trouble reloading cases 15 to 20 times, bringing case cost per shot to around a penny.

Casting lead bullets in quantity is hard work and carries health risks. A number of commercial firms are turning out cast bullets of high quality for moderate prices. I especially like plated bullets. I didn’t have those alternatives back in the ’70s, or I probably wouldn’t have taken up bullet casting.