Is reloading for my P3AT worth the investment?

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by gilbertfamily2000, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. gilbertfamily2000

    gilbertfamily2000 New Member

    126
    Dec 3, 2007
    Thinking about investing in a reloading kit so I can economically shoot my P3AT more often...

    As it stands now, I don't get to the range much, but if reloading could lessen the cost by about 50%, I might search for a reloading kit.

    Any helpful tips would be appreciated...

    GoVols
     
  2. gpr

    gpr New Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    north palm beach
    for me...p380 is not a range gun.. a couple mags worth once in a while is not enough to justify reloading...gpr
     

  3. gilbertfamily2000

    gilbertfamily2000 New Member

    126
    Dec 3, 2007
    My P3AT is not my range gun, either, but I have a Hi Point CF380 that I would love to shoot more often. Otherwise, I might trade my CF380 for a Hi Point C-9 b/c of ammo prices.

    That being said, I would love to shoot my P3AT a lot more than I do (haven't shot it since Christmas) - @ $30 for WWB (100 ct) @ Wal-Mart, I don't shoot it much.

    GoVols
     
  4. jimwiggs

    jimwiggs Active Member

    Aug 23, 2006
    Cocoa, FL
    I reload 380 and other cal. Here is a cost calculator, plug in your numbers to see your cost to reload.

    http://www.handloads.com/calc/loadingCosts.asp

    Before you make an investment in reloading equipment, buy a reloading manual and study it. Some good ones are Speer, Hornady, Lyman, and Lee and many others.  Midway has a nice selection of reloading equipment, which you can check online.

    Reloading is a way to extend your firearm hobby in addition to maybe saving a $

    Jim
     
  5. ptk

    ptk New Member

    71
    Sep 7, 2004
    Most reloaders do it to more economically support shooting a large number of rounds per year. Personally, I would not want to do that with a P-3AT (or a P-11, I have both). So I see three scenarios that make sense reloading for a P-3AT:

    1) You have a larger, heavier .380 pistol that is pleasant to shoot all day. No question, get an RCBS reloaders kit, a .380 die set, and get going! (Other brands are probably as good).

    2) You already reload large quantities for another caliber, preferably 9mm Luger. I say 9mm, because then you can probably use the 9mm dies for expanding, charging, bullet seating and maybe crimping. You would definitely need a 380 sizing die (bore diameter is the same as 9mm, but the external case dimensions are different), and maybe a crimp die (it depends on whether your 9mm crimp die gets down tight enough, and if the crimp area will reach down that extra 2mm lower, probably not). In this case you get some of the advantage of buying components in volume (primers and many powders are useful for both 9mm and 380). When you buy powder in the multi-pound cannisters, and primers by the tens of thousands at a time, you save quite a bit on the unit cost. This, by the way, is the route I took. This scenario has the additional advantage that you can presumably try several of the powders you have on hand already, and tune a load to the short barrel. I have ended up this way with a favorite .380 load of Power Pistol powder with Remington 102 grain Golden Saber bullets.

    3) You do not reload for another caliber, do not shoot hundreds of .380 rounds per week, do not want to invest in a lot of reloading gear, but are willing to trade your time for inexpensive, quality handloads. In this scenario, I suggest the Lee Classic loader in .380. Here is an example of one in 9mm Luger: http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=553691. It has almost all you need but the components. Lee does not appear to sell this kit in .380 any more, but I have seen them on Ebay. You would also need a soft hammer, a good reloading caliper, and at least the loaned use of a reloading scale to calibrate your powder scoop with the powder you get. I did this for a long time with 9mm Luger, until my situation changed to the point where I could do much more shooting. 10-50 rounds every month or two shot in the woods is not unreasonable to do with this kit. 500 rounds on the weekend would take you all week to load, though.

    In any other scenario, I would not advise investing anything in reloading. Buy bulk practice ammo to save money. Better yet, get a decent .22 target pistol, and do most of your practice with it.

    Be warned, it is hard to stick to #3 above. Once you start reloading, you will always need more equipment, more kinds of components to try, more calibers to reload for, more guns to shoot them, etc.
     
  6. adamsesq

    adamsesq New Member

    Dec 25, 2006
    Might be worth it once ammo is regulated and priced at more than 1$/

    -Scott
     
  7. Checker4Tix

    Checker4Tix Active Member

    Aug 6, 2007
    Wow, you can get into basic reloading for $20 bucks or so!? I had no idea. I may have to get one of these just, well, for no reason. A couple of my buddies reload and they have tons of equipment and lots of $$$ invested. I didn't know you could get into it so inexpensively. Humm...
     
  8. gilbertfamily2000

    gilbertfamily2000 New Member

    126
    Dec 3, 2007
    PTK,
    Wow, thanks for the introductory info! That is what KTOG is famous for! :)

    I appreciate your input, and will "tuck it away" in my "noggin" for future reference.

    GoVols
     
  9. Curt32

    Curt32 New Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    Wow, you can get into basic reloading for $20 bucks or so!? I had no idea. I may have to get one of these just, well, for no reason. A couple of my buddies reload and they have tons of equipment and lots of $$$ invested. I didn't know you could get into it so inexpensively. Humm...
    [/quote]

    I think that would be real basic :D, you need a scale dies press loading manuals, and a few other little necessities, so figure on around at least 100 bucks, Lee has a into package from time to time for under 50 bucks if you're really interested I'll go in to more detail, it's fun and economical but can be dangerous if you don't follow the rules, starting loads ect. But I still highly recommend it been doing it a looooong time and still learning!

    Tom j
     
  10. zeke

    zeke New Member

    Dec 20, 2005

    Just in case you missed the warning. I started out with a good setup I bought from one of the members here. Came with all the basics to reload 9mm and 38. It's now expanded to. 380, 357 sig, 40, 45, 223, 243, 308, 300WSM. Probably add 32 in the future.

    When I started reloading I didn't even have guns in 357 sig, 40, 45, or 223.
     
  11. gilbertfamily2000

    gilbertfamily2000 New Member

    126
    Dec 3, 2007
    Wow, you can get into basic reloading for $20 bucks or so!? I had no idea. I may have to get one of these just, well, for no reason. A couple of my buddies reload and they have tons of equipment and lots of $$$ invested. I didn't know you could get into it so inexpensively. Humm...
    [/quote]

    I think that would be real basic :D, you need a scale dies press loading manuals, and a few other little necessities, so figure on around at least 100 bucks, Lee has a into package from time to time for under 50 bucks if you're really interested I'll go in to more detail, it's fun and economical but can be dangerous if you don't follow the rules, starting loads ect. But I still highly recommend it been doing it a looooong time and still learning!

    Tom j[/quote]

    Tom j,
    Please go into more detail...especially on what I need to look for in a good reloading kit for $100 or less.

    GoVols
     
  12. JimBob

    JimBob New Member

    82
    Dec 6, 2007
    I will throw my .2 into this:

    From when I started researching getting into it it was commonly relayed to me that reloaders usually get into it to "save money", the fact of the matter is most end up spending at the very least the same amount in the long run, and the majority end up spending alot more then they used to. You just end up being able to shoot alot more. Or you end up spending a small fortune on that "one other piece of equipment" or that "great deal on a case of bullets" or trying out that "other powder that alot of other guys are really liking".

    So far that line of thought has held true for me. It's been a downward spiral financially for me hahah but its a very enjoyable hobby that has exponential benefits to a shooter. My biggest personal benefit has been being able to now afford weekly shooting at the local range. Since earning my CCW that has become very important to me, and reloading has allowed me to keep that practice up.

    For a rough comparison from my calculations, to shoot 100rds of .40 S&W (WWB) at the current walmart price of $26, my current batch of components bought in bulk have me spending about $8.00 for 100rds of much cleaner, much more consistant, and WAY more accurate ammo. My records show that my last batch of 250rds of .380 cost me $40.20 total.

    Now keep in mind that cost does NOT reflect the equipment cost or the time involved to make that ammo. I decided I wasn't going to factor in the cost of the equipment as I consider them tools and who really keeps track of how long it took to pay off that skill saw you bought or that nail gun? I have a very detailed spread sheet that allows you to plug every single cost associated into it as well as how much you shoot & plan to load per month vs the current price of the factory ammo you would have shot. It will calculate and give you an estimate of how long it should take you to completely pay off that equipment cost. The last time I updated it I was at 20.6 months for payback!  :eek: I've added other equipment since then and at the time I was at just over $700 worth of stuff! It's best to fork out the money for the equipment and forget about it.

    If your not ready for a complete seperate hobby all on its own, with the potential to turn fairly expensive very quickly, be very cautious. Your treading in dangerous waters! :)
     
  13. AZflyguy

    AZflyguy New Member

    40
    Sep 22, 2007
    I'm not trying to talk you out of reloading for your .380, just sharing my perspective.  I started reloading in the mid-80s, when I owned a Ruger M77 in .280 and a S&W M27 .357 revolver.  I purchased a single-stage RCBS press, perfect for the .280 (which I'd rarely fire more than 20 rounds at the range), but not optimum for the .357.  I shot the pistol a lot, and shoot pistols even more today.  In the years since, I've added a K-T P-11, an H&K USP40c, and a Ruger P-345.  I continued to reload for the .280 rifle, but the pistol dies collected dust.  As ammo prices started to rise, I considered reloading for the pistols again.  The problem is, component prices are rising too, and in my local area are almost as much as loaded ammo (using WallyWorld WWB prices for comparison.)  For example, .45 acp WWB is $29/100 rds. at my WallyWorld; 100 230gr Win. FMJ bullets (the same bullet in the factory WWB ammo) goes for about $19 before taxes or shipping.  If you don't have brass and need to buy it, that's another $18 per 100 (but I've been saving mine, so it's less of a factor.)  Add in the cost of powder, primers, and the value of your time, the savings are not compelling.  Of course, this does not take into account the value of reloading as a hobby; some people find it relaxing to spend a couple of hours in the shop reloading.  It also doesn't take into account the reduced cost of using lead rather than jacketed bullets.  Having said all this, I recently purchased bullets, primers and powder, so my press and I will get a workout.

    Regards, and good luck,
    Mike
     
  14. gpr

    gpr New Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    north palm beach
    one problem here is that you must use range ammo...next closest is bass pro, and no reloads there....hence my collection increasing in the 22 department...shooting federal's at $2.50 a range box....gpr
     
  15. Curt32

    Curt32 New Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    Give me a chance to gather up some more info. What to try to make this as complete as possible, to give you a good sense of what's required. Also forgot to mention that you need a good set of digital calipers, (I prefer the digital now cuz there so cheap now) but you can put those up real cheap at Harbor Freight Tools got one of those in your area?

    tom j
     
  16. RandyP

    RandyP New Member

    606
    Dec 23, 2007
    I too have been on the "do I want try reloading" fence. ESPECIALLY when I want to send a couple hundred rounds downrange from my Springer 1911A1. Them .45s iz pricey! lol

    The more I read the more interesting a hobby it begins to sound like. Whether or not I want to add ANOTHER pricey hobby to my life is more the question. I don't shoot every weekend so I'll probably just continue to buy factory ammo.

    IF, and you didn't say, the P3AT is your sole pistol, considering its designed use - carry much and shoot little - I would suggest you just buy .380 when in goes on sale and shoot a few mags at each range session. A box of 50 rounds should last for two sessions I reckon. If you are of a mind to carry some SD loads then buy a box or two of your hollow point ammo of choice and fire maybe 1 mag each range trip to verify performance. A box 20 HPs will then last 3 range trips.

    if you have a couple 380s, namely more "range" guns, then reloading might make sense financially. I am NOT discounting the very valid "new hobby" reason to reload, but as a money savings venture for an infrequent shooter, not so much. IMHO
     
  17. Curt32

    Curt32 New Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    Both AZflyguy RandyP make EXCELLENT points! but if you're really interested I'll but together a list of what I think is essential, other may differ but I'll give you what I think is necessary to get started. And one thing you might want to do is first start saving your spent brass so if you decide you can eliminate that potion of the expense.

    tom j
     
  18. ptk

    ptk New Member

    71
    Sep 7, 2004
    Wow, you can get into basic reloading for $20 bucks or so!? I had no idea. I may have to get one of these just, well, for no reason. A couple of my buddies reload and they have tons of equipment and lots of $$$ invested. I didn't know you could get into it so inexpensively. Humm...
    [/quote]

    It looks like we have a good discussion going on! I would like to clarify here, though.

    $20 does not include the "good reloading caliper" that I mentioned you "need." How good you want here can range from around $20 to over $100, but a ruler will not cut it :).

    The reason people go with presses and dies (as opposed to the Lee Classic Loader) is that you can not put out more than about a very tedious 20-40 rounds every hour or two with the Lee Loader. A single stage press kit (any of the brand names should be fine) will get you perhaps up to 150/hour for about $100-$200, if I remember correctly. My progressive press cost almost $400 a couple years ago, but I get (sustained) 400-600 rounds per hour out of it for as long as I have components and a working arm at hand.

    I want to be sure you understand the trade-offs between time needed and equipment cost. I still keep my Lee Classic Loader; it is an excellent way to load small amounts away from home. I still have my single-stage press; it is the only one I use for match rifle loads. And my progressive press keeps me in pistol ammo, almost as fast as I can shoot it.

    An explanation of why I was spending so much of my evening time in the garage was effective in getting my wife's support for getting the progressive press. Besides the 4x-6x advantage in instantaneous rate of production over the single stage, setup time for loads is dramatically improved. Now I spend more evenings cooking than reloading, making that "almost $400" worth it to her :)
     
  19. gilbertfamily2000

    gilbertfamily2000 New Member

    126
    Dec 3, 2007
    Tom j,
    Yes...I am really interested in this, but not only the equipment needed, but the risk factor of hand reloaded ammo. I have gotten the impression over the years that reloading your own ammo can be dangerous (maybe explode, or other problems about which I may not be aware). Is this correct, or, is it just a matter of the carefulness (or carelessness) of the person doing the reloading?

    On the other hand, some people say that hand reloaded ammo is safer than factory ammo. Some guidance in this is what I am looking for as well as the equipment needed, start up cost, etc.

    I appreciate all who have chimed in up to this point!

    GoVols

    P.S. Anybody got picks of their reloading equipment/reloading "shop" that you could post?
     
  20. RandyP

    RandyP New Member

    606
    Dec 23, 2007
    FWIW (not much - lol) I have pretty much decided that 'should" I start reloading, I'll buy a Lee Pro 1000 kit and go from there. I know the make gets ragged on by buyers of the much pricier Dillon and RCBS units, but from all the reading I've been doing, Lee makes a very good, economical, utilitarian machine that works. It lacks a lot of the bells and whistles but for about $140 for a complete single caliber progressive reloader, it's worth a look-see. Caliber add-ons are much less.

    I think most fellow KelTec owners can appreciate the notion of buying something economical and utilitarian that works? lol