To reload or not to reload?

Discussion in 'Ammo & Reloading' started by Joer, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. Joer

    Joer New Member

    I'm new and wonder about reloading .40 S&W. The range we go to the LEO's are against it saying it voids the warranty. My G22 was a LEO trade in but I guess that Glock warranties go to the next owner? I can understand LEO being against reloads because they need to use ammo that is very close to their carry ammo because their lives may depend on how their ammo acts in case they are in a bad situation. I wonder how many rounds a year you shoot would make reloading worth the $ ? Some of the bulk places sell 1000 at decent prices so my guess is it all comes down to rounds shot in a years time. Any tips appreciated because like everyone else I want to shoot as much as I can afford and for range work 99% of the time and then practice for defense.

  2. G-23

    G-23 Premium Member

    See what your shooting practice dicates. I have purchased thousands and thousands of rounds thru the last five years. Yea, it ain't near as cheap as reloads.

    I don't shoot lead bullets and I purchase the metal jacketed ones. Learning to reload is a high learning curve and in the long run worth the effort. The wife and I are shooting about two thousand rounds a month right now. Our friends do the same so I figure it is cost effective for us to contribute together and press out some much cheaper rounds. And for the pistols we can and have made up a load we all enjoy shooting at our matches we attend.

  3. Joer

    Joer New Member

    Thanks, I have reloaded thousands of shotgun shells over the year, apples to oranges I'm sure. In my case a thousand rounds or so a year it's probably better to buy bulk ammo because I'm sure .40 cal will never be on sale anywhere anytime. I suspect the startup costs would take years to recoup but you'd never have to worry about shortages etc. Come to think, my neighbor reloads 9mm and .38 so maybe I could see what it would take for him to be able to load .40? Thinking out loud.....appreciate the info I see here on various topics.
  4. I was in the same boat as you are..... Reload or just buy cheaper range ammo? I chose to just buy cheap Walmart ammo. The initial start up cost of reloading can be pricey! Plus I work 55-60 hrs/wk, so time is also a factor. I'm not a comp shooter, just like plinking at the range. So, it's more practical for me to just buy it. I only average 100 rounds of shooting a month, so for me.... Not to reload. IMHO.
  5. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

    For what it's worth, here is my opinion:

    I am an avid reloader and encourage other avid shooters to consider getting into reloading as a separate hobby (supporting the principal hobby of shooting) which is a complete hobby in and of itself.

    That being said, reloading does not make ammo free. It reduces the cost of ammo in bulk over time, but has an initial CapEx of up to a thousand Dollars for complete top-of-the-line equipment.

    Reloading is a hobby that is meticulous and requires attention to detail during the setup and calibration stages, but can certainly turn into mind-numbing work once all is set up....unlike many reloaders I know (and know of), I do each step in large batches. For instance, I accumulate thousands of rounds of spent brass, then inspect them as part of case prep, size and clean them, expand the necks and prime them, and then set them aside for the day I am ready to crank out the finished ammo. When I do the final steps (throwing the powder charge and seating the bullet), I do it in the living room in front of the TV while watching DVD movies, since you set up once and then just crank 'em out, randomly checking powder charge weights and overall cartridge lengths.

    Reloading is not for everyone. Guys who work a full work week and with a family, who basically have only the weekends to spend with the wife and kids, for them I encourage them to spend the time with their families: children grow up too quickly and before you know it they are in college. Time is precious, and I encourage them to weigh the worth of the many many hours they will spend reloading versus the quality time they can be spending with their family.

    Reloading is also a task that requires enormous care and attention to detail, especially when calibrating the powder dispenser. Too little powder and you end up with a squib load (and fire another round after that and you end up with a blown up gun). Less than the minimum amount of powder and you have a gun with unreliable cycling (imagine having to rack the slide after each and every shot). Too much powder and you can have a catastrophic chamber detonation, or the infamous KaBOOM!

    Even the type of powder used is a meticulous requirement: substituting powders for published loads can lead to unpredictable results, most of them bad.

    Wanna talk PITA? Imagine after spending over $1,000 in tools and materials, then your first batch of reloads should be 5 rounds only at a given powder charge, then another 5 at another powder charge, and so on. Then take 'em to the range with a reliable chrony, and test each load to make sure you are achieving the desired velocities. Take notes. Go home. Clean your gun. Set up your reloading rig to the load that performed the best, and then and only then can you crank out the thousand rounds ya got ready. Of course, once you've done this step, repeating the load recipe is simple and does not need the test firing stage. Still, PITA.

    And with .40S&W in Glocks (of which I have none, so I am speaking here based only on what I have read and heard), care must be take to remove the famous "Glock Bulge" from the spent case, as part of case prep. And due to the higher pressures of this caliber, reloaded brass quickly weakens (faster than for say 9mm or 45ACP) and becomes unreloadable. Failure to remove the Glock Bulge can result in a case that will not chamber, a slide that will not return to battery, and a weapon that turns into a fancy and expesive paperweight.

    The only way to justify the investment (in cost of tools and materials plus your own labor) is that:

    1. Reloading allows you to tailor a round whose performance matches your firearm and shooting style. For instance, I prefer using powders that burn fast, at higher pressures, and burn cleanly. Less powder in the case (less powder used per load, more loads per pound of gunpowder), higher pressures to drive the bullets to my target velocities (in the short barrel of the G26 and G30), and less mess on and in my gun afterwards.

    2. Reloading in truly bulk amounts, and storing the finished ammo, can reduce the cost of ammo over time. When I get to reloading 9mm (my favorite caliber) I bring out several thousand prepped and primed cases, and crank out 1-2,000 rounds while watching Star Wars or the Matrix Trilogy on DVD. I still have prepped and primed .45ACP, .38SPL, and 9mm cases that I prepared last year!

    3. Stockpiling reloaded ammo helps when commercial availability of ammunition becomes problematic. There is nothing as frustrating as wanting to shoot but not being able to because no shops in town have the ammo you seek. Of course, stockpiling purchased bulk ammo also accomplishes the same thing.

    The last time I have bought ammo commercially was possibly in 1999. And to date, the only ammo I buy is 12-ga shotshells (don't reload those.....yet!). A couple hundred bucks' worth of materials (primers, powder, bullets) can give me several thousand rounds of ammo, which then allows me to be able to shoot as much as I want any time I want to.

    Sorry for the long-winded post, but this is a valid topic, and I hope that the opinions I share can be of use to someone thinking of getting into reloading.

  6. Very informative advice and info! I'm sure you certainly made up some people's minds for them with that post! I find reloading interesting, but I do not have the time to devote to it. Like you said, kids grow up fast and I am a family man, so I'll just continue to pick up a box or two at Walmart and spend more time shooting with my son! Thanks again for the info!
  7. Joer

    Joer New Member

    Thanks for the great post, very insightful . We're empty nesters so time is on my side ( I like the Rolling Stones and couldn't help that one ) Where I live there is no such thing as a gun shop within a reasonable distance and Wally World may or may not have .40 cal. I need to either simply buy all they have when they have it and stock up or try buying a thousand rounds from one of the bulk places online. The cheapest bulk ammo that I found online is the "factory reloads" and I have seen positive reviews on them, not sure why I am nervous about the professional refurbed ammo. I'd hate to be stuck with 990 rounds of .40 cal that my Glock didn't like.:eek: I have a few hundred on hand now so I'll keep my options open and keep shopping. I liked loading shotgun shells, but it is mind numbingly easy. I know it's very different than centerfire ammo. Thanks again
  8. EvilD

    EvilD New Member

    You won't save any money reloading because you'll just shoot more. As far as voiding the warranty, its a Glock, chances are you wont need it. Also, if you get into competition shooting, you pretty much have to reload.
  9. jonm61

    jonm61 New Member

    You should always be careful when reloading, but if you do get into it and are reloading .40, be very careful when loading 180gr loads. A little overcharge and you'll find out exactly how Glock's warranty works.

    That's true of any handload, but the combo of a .40 case and 180gr bullet needs particular attention.
  10. dwcfastrice

    dwcfastrice Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporting Member

    HappySniper hit it right on the head, especially for .40.

    The other thing to remember IF you do reload and you use a stock glock barrel is not to shoot straight "lead" nose bullets. Reload and shoot the jacketed bullets. I have heard from several folks including my reloader (from what I remember it's in the Glock manual, as well) that plain lead nose bullets do strange things to the rifling in a glock barrel.

  11. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

    Guys above are absolutely correct: use of bare lead bullets in a factory Glock barrel will lead to rapid lead cladding of the barrel (especially when the bullets are pushed near or at max velocities), resulting in accuracy and reliability issues and eventually an undersized bore that can cause a bullet stoppage and barrel distortion from overpressure.

    Good cleaning after every session with a reliable lead remover (with energetic scrubbing with a bore brush) should keep you safe, but why bother with the savings in cost of lead bullets and have the added effort of cleaning and risk of damage to the weapon that goes along with it?

    If shooting bare lead bullets is the choice, an aftermarket barrel is a good thing to invest in. The riflings of Glock barrels differ in geometry from standard barrel riflings, which is why the concern over lead bullets. Drop in an aftermarket and you be good to go!
    (Still gotta clean that baby, though!, and expose yourself to lead vapor with every shot).

    As for living far from ready availability of commercial ammo, purchasing in bulk (or purchasing retail often) would be the only solution, other than reloading.

  12. EvilD

    EvilD New Member

    I think the problem people run into with lead is they are not used to cleaning their Glocks at all and you have to clean when you use lead, but that can be said for any gun. As far as savings, I cast my own, savings is huge. How huge, how about 1000 bullets for $20 if I have to buy lead and can't find scrap.
  13. Joer

    Joer New Member


    EEEEK :eek: I need to clean my G22 %%$##@@ how could I let that slip? I have never let a gun go dirty like this ever. Toss me off the list and now !!!:eek: I deserve it.;)
  14. zipper046

    zipper046 Member Supporter

    I put up a thread elsewhere here...start up for a Dillon 550 with vibratory cleaner, media separator, scale, 8lbs powder, 1,000 bullet heads and used brass will run ya about $1,050 - $1,100.

    Figure its about 1/2 the price to reload a case of .40 you'd save about $150 per 1,000. Load up 10,000 and you paid for it.

    If you compete or even just practice alot you can easily burn through 300 rounds a week which is a little over 15,000 rounds a pays for itself in the first year...

    Hope this helps...
  15. bigtimelarry

    bigtimelarry New Member

    Why do you HAVE to load if you get into competition ?
  16. Happysniper1

    Happysniper1 New Member

    Here is my take on that:

    1. Due to the sheer volume of rounds fired for training and practice, reloading helps save money.

    2. When reloading, you can tailor your loads. For instance, a lighter bullet will travel faster and have a flatter trajectory to punch paper nicely, but may not have the ompf! to knock over a steel plate. So make a batch with a heavier bullet, or push the bullet to a higher velocity by increasing (within safe limits) the chamber pressure.

    3. A hollow-point round will generally perform better (in terms of expansion and weight retention) when pushed at higher velocities, so you can tailor your defensive loads as well.

    4. Some off-the-shelf ammo burn with enough residue to make cleaning a miserable task, and shooting it can create a cloud of smoke. The freedom to choose what gunpowder you use can eliminate these concerns.

    5. A firearm with a shorter barrel (like my G26 and G30) will fail to develop maximum muzzle velocity for factory ammo simply because the bullet will exit the muzzle before all the powder is combusted (also creating a dazzling flash at night!). So I load using fast-burning powders and guess what? Minimal flash, and target velocities achieved! However, in a firearm with a longer barrel (like say a Beretta 92), this may result in unsafe or dangerously high chamber pressures, so again, the reloaded round is tailored to the firearm.

    And then there is the matter of energy transference. When a bullet at warp speed punches a neat hole in paper, the bullet transfers little to no energy to the paper, and keeps going until it hits the berm and buries itself in the ground. For full transference of energy, as in a bullet hitting a steel plate, the bullet hits the target, transfers its energy to the target, and stops there, knocking the target down.

    Most 115grain 9x19mm bullets may have problems knocking down steel plates, so when I shoot IDPA I actually use 147grain bullets at higher velocities.

    Impact energy is roughly gauged as equivalent to the bullet weight (in grains) multiplied by the bullet's speed (i.e. actually, the bullet's velocity at a point usually 10 feet from the muzzle, in feet per second). Strangely enough, Einstein's expression for Energy is almost the same: Energy = mass multiplied by speed (E=mc2 means Energy = mass times the speed of light, squared).

    In competition, there is something called the Power Factor, that is used as an aid in classifying certain firearm calibers. Power Factor (or PF) is computed as the bullet weight multiplied by the bullet speed, divided by 1,000.

    Both IDPA and IPSC/USPSA require that participants use firearms with a minium PF of 125,000 (for IDPA) and 125 for IPSC (the same number, one is divided by 1,000 and the other is not). In IPSC, there are two power classes, Minor PF (anything over 125 and under 165) and Major PF (anything over 165) so if one had a fancy 9mm and wanted to compete in Major, he would need to load heavier bullets flying out of the barrel faster.

    In practical terms, look at it this way: an 88grain 9mm bullet travelling at 1,300fps has a PF of 114, can't compete. A 115grain bullet at 1,300fps has a PF of 150, and the same bullet travelling at 1,500fps has a PF of 172. A 147grain bullet zooming at 1,800fps has a PF of 265.

    So in practical and mathematical terms, the ability of the reloader to customize his loads (for plinking and for competition), as well as to tailor his loads to a specific firearm and target combination, as well as preferred shooting style, are flexibilities afforded to him by reloading and not open to him when using off-the-shelf ammo.

    And how does the reloader determine the combination that works for him? Lots and lots of reloading and testing sessions. And when he finds a combination that works well for competition, he will wisely load up and stockpile that ammo, both for practice and for actual competition.

    At least, that's my logic on it.

  17. darthraven0

    darthraven0 New Member

    That is a lot of math. Math is my nemesis.
  18. Yep, found that to be about right, paid $22 bucks for the last wheel weights I bought, should get just over 1000 bullets out of em', that's $11 bucks/500 not counting my labor and time.
    I personally would not have the ammo on hand that I do if I had to buy it from the factory. Reloading cuts costs do about 1/4th to 1/3rd of what factory ammo would cost.
    As far as warranty being voided, I still don't understand why, I've seen factory WWB and UMC stuff that was total crap that I'd not shoot through a $100 buck Hi-Point let along a Glock, if I shot crap factory stuff it won't void the warranty but if I shoot my quality handloads it does, that's just crazy IMHO.
    I'd say risk it, long as you follow the book you'll turn out ammo as good if not better then factory so you'll have zero problems IMHO.
  19. darthraven0

    darthraven0 New Member

    How much do the primers, powder, and cases add to that total?
  20. bigtimelarry

    bigtimelarry New Member

    I agree you can tailor your load and save money..
    I buy Federal AE 147gr. Flat Nose for .23 a bullet. I shoot about 20,000 rounds a year.
    My buddy calculated it out to around .15 a bullet if I do my own Reloading. So I save a total
    of 1600 bucks a year. For that 1600 bucks I have to pick up all that brass, lug it home, clean it,
    and how many hours will it take me to reload 20,000 rounds. By the time I factor in my time and
    headaches and learning curve I'm saving a few hundred bucks if not losing money.
    I have Dawson Adjustables on my Glocks, I benchrested the Federal and sighted in my Gun to
    that Ammo and it's pretty damn accurate. The PF is around 141 so it pops a little more
    than say Atlanta Arms 130 PF. I saw a guy a few weeks ago where a case split and cut into
    his finger pretty bad(He's been reloading for years). I like working on my guns but sitting in the garage
    making ammo to save a few hundred bucks isn't something I wanna do..