Today I Learned: Shotshell Reloading was a mistake

Just bought all the components for reloading, I think, for Federal Top Gun shells.  Went with a MEC 600 Mk. V, a universal charge bar, and some 25$ scale.  Bought 8lbs Alliant Red Dot powder, 3000 Federal 209A primers, 50lbs Federal lead shot (#7 1/2), and 1000 Federal 12S3 wads.

The load data I plan on using (from Federal Provided Reload Data):

Hull Shot Oz Dram Eq FPS PSI Primer Wad Powder Grains
Federal Top Gun 2 ¾ (Gold) 1 ⅛ (31.893214 grams) 2 ¾ 1145 8800 209A 12S3 Red Dot 18 (1.16638 grams)

Worked out the math, and I paid somewhat under full retail for these, at least when I go to Dick’s to pick up shells (box of Federal Top Gun #8 is normally 6.99$).  Here’s the table for buying a box of 25 at 5$, 6$, and 7$ a box-

Quantity (Shell) 5$ Per Box (25) 6$ Per Box (25) 7$ Per Box (25)
1 0.2$ 0.24$ 0.28$
25 5$ 6$ 7$
250 50$ 60$ 70$
1000 200$ 240$ 280$
2000 400$ 480$ 560$
3000 600$ 720$ 840$

Here it is for what I just spent in reloading supplies, hazmat, taxes, and shipping factored in-

Quantity Powder Primer Wad Shot Total
1 0.0473$ 0.0398$ 0.0365$ 0.1442$ 0.2678$
25 1.1825$ 0.995$ 0.9125$ 3.605$ 6.695$
250 11.825$ 9.95$ 9.125$ 36.05$ 66.95$
1000 47.3$ 39.8$ 36.5$ 144.2$ 267.8$
2000 94.6$ 79.6$ 73$ 288.4$ 535.6$
3000 141.9$ 119.4$ 109.5$ 432.6$ 803.4$

Is it worth it? Not really; I could have just waited for sales where they sell for 5.25.  It doesn’t take into account the amount of time taken to load the shells.  And it definitely doesn’t take into account the startup cost of buying a press.  This table assumes 18 grains of Alliant Red Dot, which is what I bought.

Could I beat sale prices if I bought higher quantities to even out the hazmat and shipping fees?  Nope.  Here are the values with the shipping and hazmat costs taken out of the picture.  They’re better, but still come short-

Quantity Powder Primer Wad Shot Total
1 0.0427$ 0.035$ 0.024$ 0.1266$ 0.2283$
25 1.0675$ 0.875$ 0.6$ 3.165$ 5.7075$
250 10.675$ 8.75$ 6$ 31.65$ 57.075$
1000 42.7$ 35$ 24$ 126.6$ 228.3$
2000 85.4$ 70$ 48$ 253.2$ 456.6$
3000 128.1$ 105$ 72$ 379.8$ 684.9$

It’s 5.7$ a box, shipping, taxes, and fees included.  When Dick’s has a sale on Federal shells I think it’s around 5.24$.  Looking at my last Dick’s receipt for 500 shells, I paid 112.01$.  That’s 5.6$ a box.  So, why am I reloading?  I don’t know, I’m not very clever I guess.  Another consideration is that the LGS I also tried buying shells at charged me something like 8$+ for Federal #8 lead shot shells.  So one way to look at it is… I get bad-sale prices all the time?  At least, relative to the places I’ve bought shells from before.  I know there are better deals out there.

To make a significant saving, I’d have to find a great deal on shot.  It’s the shot that really nails me here.  I’ll ask around the club this weekend about reclaimed shot sources.

External factors in this are:
-I have the option to load 7/8 and 1 oz loads, although I probably won’t
-I don’t have to drive to Dick’s
-My chance of seeing the crabby lady at Dick’s goes from 12.5% to 0%
-Someone has to be home to accept powder and primer deliveries
-I have to spend an hour or so reloading
-I feel slightly better about reusing hulls instead of trashing them after one use
-Being able to reload seems like a nice skill to have
-I can make all those joke loads (party streamers, confetti) I keep hearing about
-I have to clean up any powder or shot I spill (Possible dog hazard?)
-Making my entry into reloading is a step towards reloading 223 REM and 308 WIN, which I really don’t like buying at full price
-I can make buckshot rounds for cheap, maybe?  Don’t really have a use for that though.  (Home defense? This isn’t the Bronx.  Deer? I’m okay.)

Definitely looking forward to all this stuff coming in so I can finally
blow up my shotgun barrels
cause myself grievous injury

get lead poisoning
shoot 10s-15s on the field

load up some nice homemade shot shells.  It’s not nothing.


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