Cheapest is a Lee Loader for about $25. There has been a lot of discussion of the merits (acceptable to good quality ammo) and disadvantages (slow rate) on this site. You also should invest in a good manual (I happen to like the Speer, Hornady and Lyman have good ones too). Read the manual & don't cut corners for safety's sake. If you like reloading you will soon move up to a press & regular dies, powder balance, case trimmer, dial caliper etc. Good luck. Revisit this site with specific questions about favorite loads & powder/bullet preferences. If you are careful you will find that your reloads shoot better than most factory ammo.
Reloading is only cheaper if you buy in bulk quantities when you compare it to surplus ammo. The cost of surplus ammo is so low it would take a long time to recover the cost of the equipment. If you factor in the value of your time you'll come very close to a tie. This pertains to surplus ammo only. Comparisons with factory commercial ammo favor the reloader greatly.
In my case I started reloading for the economy but it has grown into a second hobby on it's own. I get as much satisfaction reloading as I have fun shooting, so one passion became two.
The ROI business end I had to sell to the wife. If doing an ROI take your most expensive ammo into the scenerio. I justified mine with .308 & .45 fodder. After the initial set up, additional dies, toys, etc. can be slipped in at will.
As mentioned above, it's all part of the big picture. More enjoyment, accurate ammo, more options. etc..
Go ahead and get started you'll enjoy it. The biggest thing I like is that you can make the loads up just how you or your gun likes them. You can load bullets that you can buy my example is 200gr 357 mag. can't buy them from anywere local. Hope this helps ya
This months Dillon "Blue Press" has an excellent Return on investment article. Of course, they sell loaders and are basing the stats on premium ammo, not surplus. But, a well done ROI none the less.
I have never seen any advantage of low cost savings of reloading, I reload for the accuracy. But ... I do like to have all the little toys out there, and they can get expensive. Reloaded ammo is cheaper than factory ammo, but the equipment isn't.
I started out on a Lee challenger kit and have been reloading every since. I still use it and their dies too. If i had to do it all over again i would have paid the few extra bucks and got Lee's turret press and would have never traded up to anything else. It is quicker than a single stage press, and i like the removable turrets that you can purchase for like $8-10.00 and leave an entire set of dies already set up in them until you need them again.
I like my Dillon 550b, it's a devil to reconfigure though. The hornady progressives are cheaper and just as good, with auto index too. But if you do decide to reload I would say you had better want to reload or it will be something you will drop (like my scuba diving) after a few reloading sessions. Reloading to me is a big stress buster, and the need to push my bullets to the max for accuracy and consistency. This site is one of my most prized info. centers as well. Good luck either way .
As for corrosive rounds, clean your gun after shooting it.
1) Some military surplus is going to dry up eventually, probably relatively soon. Some of the surplus ammo for Mausers is a good example. The "surplus" .45 out there is mostly lend-lease ammo from Russia, which is about 50 years old. I imagine that .308 and .30-06 will dry up in my lifetime; I am 30.
2) Some mil surp is awfully poor ammunition. I think most people who have bought enough of this have been burnt at least once.
3) If you already have the mentality of scrounging around for the best prices on mil surp ammo, you can transplant this attitude to reloading. The only thing that I buy at "normal" (not on sale) prices are primers.
4) You will be AMAZED at how well Mosin Nagants and Mausers shoot with handloads tailored to the rifle, using fire-formed brass. No question.
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