Why Reload .338 Lapua?

VooDooSeed

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Feb 25, 2015
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1
First of all, thanks to LRH and this blog and all of the threads I have read and advice I have gleaned here. After weeding out the clueless know-it-alls and biased extremists, there is a lot of good info.

On to my quandary...

I have both the Savage 111 LRH and 110BA in .338 Lapua. (Birthday gift/timing mishap :) )

I have put 100 rounds through the LRH and 500 rounds through the 110BA. Sellier and Bellot, 250gr. They both settled in after about 75 rounds to where I get consistent < 1" groupings at 300 yds (max distance on my property) with each.

Prior to, and ever since, I got the guns, everywhere and every blog reads, "if you have a .338 Lapua, the rounds are sooooooooo 'spensive, you MUST reload."

Even today, immediately prior to posting this (one of the reasons I am posting this), I read some others who are asking, basically, the same thing. Every response is one of two things - it is cheaper, or you get more consistency/accuracy.

I am calling BS on that, yet, can't help but wonder what I am missing. I don't see it as being cheaper, at all. On top of that, in every post I have read regarding the topic, seems the hard data has reloading as being MORE inconsistent (an HVAC, climate/pressure/humidity-controlled, industrial machine-laden, factory is much more consistent than Joe-Bob's basement using hand-tools).

Finally, I ran the numbers and wonder WHY anyone would even think to reload? Seems like a suggestion to cobble your own shoes or sew your own shirts.

Materials for 1,000 Rounds:
$ 1,619.50 casings (once fired - about twice as much for never-fired Lapua-brand casings)
$ 715.00 bullets
$ 35.00 primers
$ 350.00 powder (actually, with a 79 grain load @ 7000gr/lb, you are only getting 886 loads, not 1000)

That's $ 2,719.50 for 886 usable cartridges. That doesn't include the reloading set-up (dies, scales, presses, etc.). That's more than the average price of factory S&B's. ($ 3.07/per v. $ 2.67/per from Manventure Outpost)

OK, so, you are thinking - you will be re-using the cartridges. Let's say we get 10 re-uses out of each one. That drops the casings price per 886 to $ 1,261.95. Making the total for 8,860 rounds realized to be $12,619.50 (still, not including the reloading hardware).

That, at best, is a diminishing rate of return from $ 3.07 per round, initially, to $ 1.42 per round - AFTER 8,860 rounds!!! That's near 30 rounds, every single day for a year, or 100 rounds every single weekend for 2 solid years.

...averaging $ 2.25, realized, per round, after 2 years of shooting 100 rounds every weekend, not including the reloading hardware, nor your personal time spent doing the actual reloading, nor the replacement barrel after so many rounds.

Will reloading take my < 1" grouping @ 300yds down to < .8"?

Seems like I would be spending too much time looking for a purple grain of sand on the beach because it is softer than the other sand, instead of just sitting back and enjoying the beach. Is this an 'art' thing? Is there some Chakra, zen, or other personally soothing karma I might realize that I, simply, am not grasping?

I know this post is riddled with sarcasm, yet, seriously - why reload? We already know, based on real numbers, that it isn't cheaper - with the .338 Lapua, anyway.

Enlighten me - please.
 

pods8

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Aug 25, 2014
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326
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Colorado
Typically a reloader would not buy 1000casings. The average plinker may run a set of 100, if you're needing a supply a 200 or 300 to feed shooting that much each weekend okay but still no need for 1000casings.

Per your numbers it takes $.715+$.0035+$.39 (note though if reloading en mass you'd buy 8lb jugs NOT $35 individual pound jars so really your power price would be more like $.20 after shipping fees). So $1.1 per your numbers or $0.92 in reality to RELOAD (not fresh load) a brass.

If you like shooting commercial ammo do so and stock pile up your own once fired, per you that will take all of 3weeks to have a nice 300rd pile of brass and every 2weeks you can sit down to reload IF you want to. At that point the brass was free in comparison to any new commercial rounds going forward. So from there on out each commercial round fired is a $1.75 premium over a reload ($2.67-$0.92).

If you have more money than time and are happy with the commercial stuff then carry on no one is forcing you.


Most of us reload for a combo of reasons:
1) It does save money once the brass is acquired
2) a particular bullet may not be available in loaded ammo or is very expensive in loaded ammo or the way that manufacturer loads it doesn't work in your gun
3) you can tailor a round to complement your gun, sometimes commerical rounds will do so, sometimes they won't. In seeing how seating depth/powder charge, etc. can vary performance its easy to see some guns really may have a hard time finding a good commercial match, luckily you did.
4) Some folks like being connected to processes in life, be it hunting (vs buying meat), etc. hard to quantify if that doesn't click with an individual.
 

MudRunner2005

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Oct 13, 2008
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14,708
Location
Alabama
Typically a reloader would not buy 1000casings. The average plinker may run a set of 100, if you're needing a supply a 200 or 300 to feed shooting that much each weekend okay but still no need for 1000casings.

Per your numbers it takes $.715+$.0035+$.39 (note though if reloading en mass you'd buy 8lb jugs NOT $35 individual pound jars so really your power price would be more like $.20 after shipping fees). So $1.1 per your numbers or $0.92 in reality to RELOAD (not fresh load) a brass.

If you like shooting commercial ammo do so and stock pile up your own once fired, per you that will take all of 3weeks to have a nice 300rd pile of brass and every 2weeks you can sit down to reload IF you want to. At that point the brass was free in comparison to any new commercial rounds going forward. So from there on out each commercial round fired is a $1.75 premium over a reload ($2.67-$0.92).

If you have more money than time and are happy with the commercial stuff then carry on no one is forcing you.


Most of us reload for a combo of reasons:
1) It does save money once the brass is acquired
2) a particular bullet may not be available in loaded ammo or is very expensive in loaded ammo or the way that manufacturer loads it doesn't work in your gun
3) you can tailor a round to complement your gun, sometimes commerical rounds will do so, sometimes they won't. In seeing how seating depth/powder charge, etc. can vary performance its easy to see some guns really may have a hard time finding a good commercial match, luckily you did.
4) Some folks like being connected to processes in life, be it hunting (vs buying meat), etc. hard to quantify if that doesn't click with an individual.
Very well stated.

Everything above is all of the reasons I started reloading. Not to mention the fact of being self-sufficient for making your own ammo for hunting and protection if the SHTF. Also, since reloading, I have built several wildcat calibers, and you can't simply walk into a store and purchase ammo for those. Without reloading, I wouldn't have been able to enjoy the world of wildcatting.
 

bigngreen

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Nov 24, 2008
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SW Montana
The brass, powder, primers and bullets to fire a 338 Lapua 1000 times will cost me $1.18 per round. Using 100 NEW Lapua cases, Berger bullets and R33 powder.

Most people aren't judging 338 Lapua ammo at 300 yards, more interested in how it groups at a mile and there is the first reason most reload with cost being secondary. Rolling my own ensure every component comes from one lot, neck tension is controlled every round, run out is controlled every round, it's handled like precision ammo after loading and it all shows up on target. There is some great stuff out there but not as good as my tuned hand load.
 

Wedgy

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Feb 9, 2013
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What was the ES on the Sellier and Bellot ?
What was it at different temp and conditions ?
 

jrock

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The brass, powder, primers and bullets to fire a 338 Lapua 1000 times will cost me $1.18 per round. Using 100 NEW Lapua cases, Berger bullets and R33 powder.

Most people aren't judging 338 Lapua ammo at 300 yards, more interested in how it groups at a mile and there is the first reason most reload with cost being secondary. Rolling my own ensure every component comes from one lot, neck tension is controlled every round, run out is controlled every round, it's handled like precision ammo after loading and it all shows up on target. There is some great stuff out there but not as good as my tuned hand load.

I've come up with similar numbers. If you reload for more than one caliber, the savings across the board will more than pay for the equipment especially if you take advantages of seasonal sales and rebates. Yes, I think reloading has a high start up cost and when you by components you are basically buying 100 rounds at a time instead of a box of 20 so more up front costs there. At gun shows and the like you can often find bulk ammo cheaper than reloading but the QC is not there.
 

bdpayne2000

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Dec 9, 2012
Messages
79
For most that reload I think they do it because they enjoy it and find it very rewarding to develop and load accurate ammunition. It's much more than just about the numbers for most us and until you do it you will most likely not understand that. I started reloading to make shooting P dogs affordable but quickly found out that I just really enjoy it. It can be more cost effective or not depending on a lot of variables.
 

86alaskan

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Jan 8, 2014
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Why not? I can't speak from Lapua standpoint, but I can speak from 284 Winchester. You literally can't buy loaded ammo, and if you could it would be standard Winchester silver box with deer hunting soft points loaded to semi auto standards. I'm on the precision controlled round ground. I know when I load my 284 ammo that the powder was precisely measured, primers carefully chosen through testing and bullets matched to the specific task of long range target/hunting. I also feel a sense of accomplishment when everything comes together and the groups are tight. I load my own 338WM and those very rounds brought down a nice Alaskan Brown bear in October. That feeling can't be topped by any factory ammo.
 

MMERSS

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Feb 5, 2013
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912
Reloading chews up $1.12 per shot out of my 338 Lapua using quality components. I don't know if I could afford to shoot if I had to purchase store bought quality ammo even at a discounted price.
 

MudRunner2005

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Well...I'm still on the fence as to whether it's cheaper or not to buy the equipment.........But it **** sure is cheaper to reload the ammo, and the level of precision I get is unmatched by ANY factory loads. It's nice to mix and match too, since most of my calibers nobody loads Berger bullets in them, and I use Berger exclusively. :D:D:D

Then again I have to reload for several of my calibers, as they don't even make factory ammo for them.

6FF50B8B-B173-4B57-9822-3C5E4868CF47_zpskfjmz0by.jpg
 

Dr. Vette

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Holland, MI
My 7mm Weatherby, 7mm Remington, 340 Weatherby and even 35 Remingtons all get reloaded as either a) the factory ammo cost is high, or b) factory ammo is difficult to find. It's where I concentrate my reloading efforts as I get the most benefit out of it. Try and find 35 Rem ammo - it's scarce! And at $60-120/box for Weatherby ammo it doesn't take long to recoup costs. The 338 Lapua is similar, and I would think that there are combinations that aren't factory loaded.

I've put off reloading for my 270 Winchesters, as they shoot factory ammo at $22/box at about 1.4 inches at 200 yards. I'm not going to use them beyond 400 yards, and it doesn't really pay to reload them. As a result I bought a case of factory ammo a couple of months ago that just happens to be the favorite load of both rifles.

The one that gets me is my 257 Weatherby. 0.47 inch groups at 200 yards with factory ammo and an ES of 4 (yes, 4), and I can't get close trying to duplicate that with handloads. It's painful to pay $70/box but I with performance like that I just swallow hard and pay. If this is what your 338 Lapua is like as well then I understand why you wouldn't reload it.
 

Garycrow

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Jan 30, 2011
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503
On top of that, in every post I have read regarding the topic, seems the hard data has reloading as being MORE inconsistent (an HVAC, climate/pressure/humidity-controlled, industrial machine-laden, factory is much more consistent than Joe-Bob's basement using hand-tools).

That's categorically not true. No competitive benchrest shooters use factory ammo, that tells you all you need to know. Do factories weigh their powder charges or throw them? Do they inspect their rounds for runout and reject those with less than .003"? Are their rounds tuned for seating depth to your particular rifle?
 

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