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Old 07-28-2020, 11:05 AM
fordson fordson is offline
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Default Reloaders: how many are there?

Iíve seen estimates on the numbers of gun owners and the number of guns in general circulation but havenít come across any estimates on the number of us reloaders. Anyone got a source for or data of the estimated number of reloaders out there?
Are there 1M, 5M, 10M of us?
Thanks.
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Old 07-28-2020, 11:54 AM
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Hard to tell what the actual numbers are, but with the current situation, along with the last, I'd bet the number has doubled over the last ten years.
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:32 PM
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I thought I once heard the number 5 million
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Dieseltech56 View Post
I thought I once heard the number 5 million
I think you are close

According to a 2019 Gallup poll, 30% of Americans responded that they own a firearm.

America has 328 Million residents.

So that gives us over 98 Million Firearms Owners.

I am going to guesstimate that only 5% - 10% of Firearms owners reload

So that gives us between 4.9 and 9.8 million reloaders in America

While the number of new Firearms owners has dramatically increased in the last 4-5 months, I doubt that they represent a measurable increase in reloaders
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:52 PM
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I once tried to estimate the number of reloaders by looking at the serial numbers on the different mainstream presses lol. No joy!

But some conclusions I quickly came to are:

By and large, the folks whose name is on the powder jugs we buy do not manufacture any powder. They are customers of the few companies who actually do, ie, they are merely distributors.

The "reloading market" has got to be an extremely tiny part of the overall ammunition market. Yes, we are important customers to distributors like Hodgdon and manufacturers like Hornady, Berger, etc, But to powder makers and others we are a minor segment whose "needs" are secondary to the bulk of their business.
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Old 07-28-2020, 12:55 PM
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Thanks for your guesses. The reason I asked, I was on Midwayusa this morning shopping for some reloading supplies. They were out of just about everything. Powders, primers, bullets and brass. Even loading dies and some equipment. Loaded factory ammo has been unavailable for months but loading supplies to roll your own? There’s more of us out there then I thought.
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Old 07-28-2020, 01:24 PM
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How could there be a realistic figure on the number of handloaders? In comparison with gun owners, it would seem the number of handloaders would have to be very small.
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Old 07-28-2020, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by fordson View Post
Thanks for your guesses. The reason I asked, I was on Midwayusa this morning shopping for some reloading supplies. They were out of just about everything. Powders, primers, bullets and brass. Even loading dies and some equipment. Loaded factory ammo has been unavailable for months but loading supplies to roll your own? Thereís more of us out there then I thought.

It doesnít take much to scare some people into stockpiling ammo or components. Every time thereís a mass shooting event, Presidential election, etc. there are runs on ďhigh capacityĒ mags, ammo, primers, and powder. Today, we have the BLM and other protests going on + an upcoming Presidential election, so it should be no surprise that everything firearms is in short supply. Youíve got people buying because theyíre afraid a new administration will make firearms laws stricter, people buying because they worry theyíll have to defend themselves or their property, etc.
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:09 PM
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Reloading is a hobby that supports Firearms and shooting. You can enjoy shooting without reloading but the other way round is not logical. People panic because they may feel overwhelmed by their situation: a worldwide pandemic, rioting in our nation (and to a lesser extent, overseas) and an upcoming election, none of these help to create a stabilized environment. All of these can contribute to buying guns and ammo. Reloading is another commitment on its own. Equipment and supplies cost money and your time to reload. And one needs to know what they are doing. After all, you are handling a potential explosive; it’s not to be taken lightly.
As I said, there must be more reloaders out there then I thought. I was curious as to what our members here thought our population was.
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:25 PM
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A poll is worthless. Polls can very easily be skewed to get any results wanted by the pollster by simply asking the people that agree with them. As far as gun owners if you poll residents of LA, or San Francisco or New York, the percentage and numbers of gun owners will be low. If you polled the residents of Idaho or Texas or any rural community the numbers of gun owners per population would be much higher. Same with all the political polls, Trump will loose the next election when liberal, democrats are polled, but a landslide win if Republican, sane people are polled...
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Funflyer View Post
Hard to tell what the actual numbers are, but with the current situation, along with the last, I'd bet the number has doubled over the last ten years.
Or the last five months....

This is the first time I've ever seen any supplier out of Dillon conversion kits.

In fact, go to Dillon's site and read the immediate pop up that consumes the whole screen.

Dillon Precision: Reloaders, Reloading Equipment, Bullet Reloading, Bullet Reloaders
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Twoboxer View Post
I once tried to estimate the number of reloaders by looking at the serial numbers on the different mainstream presses lol. No joy!

But some conclusions I quickly came to are:

By and large, the folks whose name is on the powder jugs we buy do not manufacture any powder. They are customers of the few companies who actually do, ie, they are merely distributors.

The "reloading market" has got to be an extremely tiny part of the overall ammunition market. Yes, we are important customers to distributors like Hodgdon and manufacturers like Hornady, Berger, etc, But to powder makers and others we are a minor segment whose "needs" are secondary to the bulk of their business.
Yep, that is true.

Sometimes numbers pop up as a percent of shooters, and that number is usually small. Like 3%-5%. While that doesn't seem like many, the suppliers are geared to keeping them in components. And a 1% increase in percent of shooters is a 20% + increase in the number of people buying stuff. Plus, when the ammo shelves empty, guess who gets the dwindling supply of components to catch up with the surge in demand.

Lesson 1: buy lots, and maintain a standing inventory of everything you need. Don't plan on availability when you run out, keep enough on hand so when things run out, you have a supply to get to the next "good times".

Or buy snap caps and practice pulling the trigger until things get better.
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:31 PM
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🙋🏻‍♂️ Hi. Iím one of them. Hope that helped 🙂
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:36 PM
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I would hate to be a new practitioner of reloading today. The cost of reloading equipment is almost as expensive as firearms. I did a rough projection of what it would cost to replace the reloading equipment that I have, and it came close to $3000, exclusive of my casting equipment. In reflection, I don't think that I have spent a thousand dollars to put together my reloads over the past forty years.
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:06 AM
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For years I have heard the guesstimate that 10% of gun owners are reloaders. I have no idea where that number comes from, could be somebody removed it from his anal orifice and liked the sound of it. I am always dubious of convenient round numbers but it is one of those things that would be very difficult to track scientifically. that being said, based on my interactions with gun owners and modest to heavy shooters, it sounds pretty close to me.
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:10 AM
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Default Maybe in a few years....

I'll find a Dillon on the used market from all those people that 'planned' to reload, but didn't.
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Old 07-29-2020, 12:15 AM
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Having been a rifle and pistol competitive shooter for over 50 years, I can say that except for fellow military rifle team members and some police shooting team members, almost all the competitors that I shot with or against were reloaders, and avid reloaders at that.

I might also add that most of the rifle shooters and at least half of the pistol shooters at my club, are reloaders. And at least half of the shooters at my shotgun club all reload for trap, skeet and five stand.

How many does that make? Beats me, but the majority of my shooting comrades spend time at the loading press and often the lead pot for casting bullets as well.

That said, I'll admit that the men in my extended family, all of whom are into shooting and hunting, do not reload at all other than my son. That makes it two out of seven shooters. Perhaps that's a good average.
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Old 07-29-2020, 01:13 AM
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I would hate to be a new practitioner of reloading today. The cost of reloading equipment is almost as expensive as firearms. I did a rough projection of what it would cost to replace the reloading equipment that I have, and it came close to $3000, exclusive of my casting equipment. In reflection, I don't think that I have spent a thousand dollars to put together my reloads over the past forty years.
A new RCBS Rockchucker single-stage reloading kit and I'm just about even with what I have now, only updated. The Herter's gear is getting pretty old in the tooth.
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Old 07-29-2020, 10:36 AM
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I started reloading in the early 80's when I started competing in Metallic Silhouette, then Bullseye, then CF rifle, then IPSC & USPSA, then Prairie dot shooting, then Trap & Skeet. Once you start reloading there is no end to what you might try. I started with a old used Texan Loadmaster vintage about the 50's. I still have it and still use it for low volume loading. But, I added a Dillon 550, and a MEC 9000.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:29 PM
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I think the number is quite small compared to the number of gun owners. Even among avid shooters, it might only be 50%. Most gun owners dont shoot much, they just have a gun, in case. So 100rds of ammo last them years.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:58 PM
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I'll find a Dillon on the used market from all those people that 'planned' to reload, but didn't.

Someday......but for now my progressive is an old RCBS Piggyback 2 that I purchased when Gander Mt. was a mail order shop. Itís a finicky little *** but Iíve loaded thousands of pistol and revolver rounds on it. Itís paid for itself many times over. Especially during these ammo Ďdroughtsí.

Oh and a few rifle rounds-223, 30 Carbine and 7.62x39.
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Old 07-29-2020, 09:04 PM
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I reload 38, 357, 44spl, can load 44mag but don't want to, about to start loading 45ACP and 223. Years ago, loaded all but 223, but did load 308. Getting back into the fun of it.
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Old 07-29-2020, 09:27 PM
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43 + years !

Never stopped, never gave up and still enjoy it!

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Old 07-29-2020, 09:33 PM
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Started in 1972.If I need ammo I make it.
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Old 07-29-2020, 09:39 PM
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Started reloading in 1973 when I bought an RCBS Rock Crusher and this is what I still use. I'm old school.
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Old 07-29-2020, 09:50 PM
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Of all the guys I know that own guns, only a handful reload. Even with current/past ammo shortages, they have no intention of reloading. I'm confused as hell at this logic!
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Old 07-30-2020, 01:26 AM
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Started in 1979 reload every thing I shoot. Except 22 long rifle.


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Old 07-30-2020, 03:19 AM
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I am 67 and have reloaded since my middle 20s so 40 some years. I enjoy casting and reloading almost as much as hunting and shooting. I also take pride when I shoot a nice group or a deer with ammo I made myself.
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Old 07-30-2020, 06:15 AM
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I bought an RCBS RockChucker, Lyman 450 Bullet sizer, Lee 2 cavity 160 grain bullet mold and accessories. I was all set to reload 30-06 in 1974 after I got out of the air force. Getting started cost about $250.

According to https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/ , that is $1,307 today.

The upgrades over the years include 30+ die sets, bullet molds, Lee press, Dillon 450, and Dillon 550 presses. Because of reloading I've always had ammo to shoot, once I was out of pistol primers (2 months), and once I ran out of castable lead (3 weeks).

Competitive shooters usually reload whatever their sport is except for shotgunners. Doctors and lawyers make too much money per hour to waste time reloading. At the present time, I picked up a serious surplus of handgun brass at the ranges where I shoot, but ignore the rifle brass.
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Old 07-30-2020, 07:24 AM
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Looks to me from reading on the forums that there's been an uptick in new reloaders as of late. Adds complexity to trying to factor that in to a % of reloaders statistic.
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Old 07-30-2020, 09:34 AM
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🙋🏻‍♂️ Hi. Iím one of them. Hope that helped 🙂
I'm number two ...sound off !
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Old 07-30-2020, 09:49 AM
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I would assume the number of people who do casting is 15 to 25% the total number of reloaders?
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Old 07-30-2020, 10:59 AM
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I would assume the number of people who do casting is 15 to 25% the total number of reloaders?
I bet less than that, maybe 10%. Unless you have cheap or free alloy, makes little sense to put the time in. I know a dozens of guys that reload. I know less than a small handful that cast.
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Old 07-30-2020, 12:02 PM
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In all my 50 years of reloading, casting and shooting , I can think of 8 other fellows who reloaded ... in 50 years ...that's not a lot
I've offered to teach casting and reloading to every shooter , friend or relative I have ... not one person has ever taken me up on my offer .

When I asked my son if he would like to learn how to reload for his new 9mm Beretta his reply ... " Why would I want to do that ."

Thank goodness for the internet and gun sites or I wouldn't have anyone to talk reloading with .
I honestly have no idea how many actually reload .
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Old 07-30-2020, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by 1775usmarine View Post
I would assume the number of people who do casting is 15 to 25% the total number of reloaders?
I'll bet it's fewer than that. I run across handloaders frequently at a private gun club, gun shows, etc. Seems very, very few actually cast bullets, even if a lot of folks buy them from commercial sources.
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Old 07-30-2020, 03:14 PM
MyDads38 MyDads38 is offline
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I taught myself to reload in 1980, Only instructions I had came with the Lee loader kit. In 40 years, I can count on one hand how many reloaders I've met. One of them I taught/mentored to reload. He now reloads handgun and rifle ammo. Sadly, I can only remember one person who also casts bullets. I haven't cast for several years, but do have a new melter and several new molds. Maybe one day I'll put them to use. :-)
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Old 07-30-2020, 08:48 PM
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If the 5 million number is accurate, and I think it is low, then bullet casters must be 50,000 or 1/100th of the total. I would believe 12 million and 120,000 as I believe the ratio of casters to reloaders is 1 in 100. Reloaders would include the preppers with a Lee whack a load set up and many more shotgunners than riflemen.
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Old 07-30-2020, 09:24 PM
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That is headed to how many casters drink beer and watch TV at the same. Casting can be fun.
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Old 07-30-2020, 10:32 PM
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No way 5 to 10 million people reload... 10 million reloaders would be over be over 3% of the population. That would mean 3 out of every 100 men, women and children reload. No way! If you assume few woman or children reload, that mean close to 10% of men reload. Not even close to 10% of men are regular shooters.

I'd be surprised if 3% of the population visits a shooting range or goes shooting more than once a year. Most gun owners don't even go shooting more than once a year.

I have no idea how many active reloaders are out there but I'd be surprised if it was over one million. Maybe one to two million if you include people who own a press but never use it.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:57 AM
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No idea on total reloaders. Most of the guys I hang with do, at least 50%, but that’s not a good sample of the USA.
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Old 08-01-2020, 01:07 PM
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Anyone who intends on shooting a lot or has some odd calibers can benefit greatly by reloading. Competitive shooters can save a substantial amount of money by reloading, as well as, tailor loads to their firearms. The vast majority of competitive shooters would be financially unable to compete if they couldn't assemble their own ammo. By in large, I believe that those who reload shoot quite a bit, i.e. competitive shooters already mentioned. These folks utilize a lot of powder, primers and to a lesser extent brass, which fuels the production of these items. Reloading equipment can be amortized over time (pay for itself). Even many years after it has paid its way, it still retains a lot of its initial cost. I've never had a job that paid so much that my time was too valuable to reload. I have seen a big increase in people taking up reloading in the past 10 years or so. How many reload is anyone's guess.

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Old 08-01-2020, 03:10 PM
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All I know is there is at least one reloader--me! How much shooting I do varies with my shooting mood. I can go from not shooting for months to going through a 100 rounds of rifle every week for a while. Sometimes I have other irons in the fire that require more attention.
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Old 08-01-2020, 04:30 PM
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Reloading is a hobby that supports Firearms and shooting. You can enjoy shooting without reloading but the other way round is not logical. People panic because they may feel overwhelmed by their situation: a worldwide pandemic, rioting in our nation (and to a lesser extent, overseas) and an upcoming election, none of these help to create a stabilized environment. All of these can contribute to buying guns and ammo. Reloading is another commitment on its own. Equipment and supplies cost money and your time to reload. And one needs to know what they are doing. After all, you are handling a potential explosive; itís not to be taken lightly.
As I said, there must be more reloaders out there then I thought. I was curious as to what our members here thought our population was.
I agree. I started reloading in 1974 as a means of saving on ammo. I could not afford to shoot the amount of ammo that I shot without reloading so I started with .38 spec and .357 magnum both lead and jacketed bullets and gradually migrated to other calibers as my interest developed. I now reload .38 spec, .357 magnum, 9mm, 44 magnum, .45 colt, .45 acp, .223rem .308win and 30-06. Since the pandemic started in march, it has been difficult to get all the components especially powder. Before the pandemic started, everyone doubted the validity of reloading 9mm, .223 and .45 acp because there was so much cheap ammo available. With the pandemic, there is very little ammo available. Since I was already prepared with all my reloading equipment, all i needed was the components. I got those and now, Since I am not going anywhere with the pandemic, I have plenty of time to reload and I have done so. I am pretty well set to go shooting whenever it is safe to go to the ranges. I am a happy camper, but even components are hard to come by now. I try to use brownells almost exclusively since I am a member of their "edge" club which cost $50 a year but you get free 2 day shipping on all orders with no sales interstate sales tax. Midway has been relagated to 2nd place.
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:08 PM
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Started with a Lee Loader in 30-30 in 1974. Went through a wildcatting phase in the 80s before .35 Whelen was legitimized. (Remember the 7mmTCU?) Then a mass-production revolver commitment when shooting Cowboy Action in the 90s. I accumulated enough .45 Colt and .44 Special brass and bullets to keep me going until the Apocalypse. Nearly all since about '75 has been on an RCBS Rockchucker, supplemented from time to time by a Lyman turret. I started using electric scales and calipers a few years ago but keep the balance scales and dial calipers just in case.

Being a fan of odd-ball calibers (still shoot .35 Whelen, along with .280, 7.65X53 Argentine and .38 Super) reloading has been financially advantageous up to now when, in the midst of this drought, I keep stumbling on deeply discounted factory ammo for each of these rarities except the Argentine.

At my age it should be unnecessary to ever buy any ammo again except rimfire and 9mm. I have primers left from one of the ammo scares in the 90s (almost messed up and made this political by naming the guy in office at the time), but still take advantage of sales (such as Gander's close-out) to add to the stock.
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:52 PM
M29since14 M29since14 is offline
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I have no proof but if I were to guess, Iíd think 5% of the gun owners would be high. Iíd be surprised if the actual number was more than one or two in a hundred. And I would guess that as a percentage the number is smaller now than it was 30-40 years ago, but who knows?
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by M29since14 View Post
I have no proof but if I were to guess, Iíd think 5% of the gun owners would be high. Iíd be surprised if the actual number was more than one or two in a hundred. And I would guess that as a percentage the number is smaller now than it was 30-40 years ago, but who knows?
I doubt that the percentage of reloaders has decreased over the years. I base this on the fact that new reloading equipment companies have entered the market and the companies which have been in business for a long time are coming out with new equipment. Some of the long lasting companies like Lyman, RCBS and Lee seem to have done very well in recent years. The shortage of powder and primers only involves panicked reloaders. There are new reloaders on forums that are presently crying that they got the basic equipment, but can't find components.
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:49 PM
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My dad and two uncles reloaded. The other uncle was a jeweler and would make molds for casting. He would use everybody else's presses to do his reloading. I started by sorting and cleaning brass then graduating to single stage sizing and decapping. It was the mid 70's when I was about 15 or 16 when dad walked me through the steps to load hot 38 Special SWC loads with Blue Dot for the Ruger 357 truck gun.

For about a year he watched me run that single stage before he let use the progressive press. After a few months of supervision he gave me free reign with the understanding it would only be 38Spl with Blue Dot for the Speed Six. When I was 18 I graduated to 9mm where I got a used Hi-Power and as long as I stuck by his recipes I could load pretty much what I wanted.

I learned you can wear out a gun pre-maturely with a constant diet of +P loads (sometimes higher). Up until the 90's the only people I knew that reloaded was family. I helped teach my brother-in-law, 2 co-workers, and a range buddy how to reload. I have met about two dozen re-loaders in the past 20 years mostly on the range.

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Old 08-01-2020, 11:32 PM
Mike, SC Hunter Mike, SC Hunter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reddog81 View Post
No way 5 to 10 million people reload... 10 million reloaders would be over be over 3% of the population. That would mean 3 out of every 100 men, women and children reload. No way! If you assume few woman or children reload, that mean close to 10% of men reload. Not even close to 10% of men are regular shooters.

I'd be surprised if 3% of the population visits a shooting range or goes shooting more than once a year. Most gun owners don't even go shooting more than once a year.

I have no idea how many active reloaders are out there but I'd be surprised if it was over one million. Maybe one to two million if you include people who own a press but never use it.
You are leaving out the shot gunners. Many shoot year round and many reloads too.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:50 PM
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I started casting in 1972 with a single cavity Lee 9mm mold for my Browning HP. Now I have dozens of molds for many calibers. I like shooting skeet( have own field) and quail and doves. When 25 lb. bags of shot went to $45-$55 a bag I couldn't/wouldn't pay that price. So I started making my own shot. A box of 12's/410 cost me about $3.00. A box of cast .44 mag cost me about $4.20.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:50 AM
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I did it the ďwrongĒ way - started with a Dillon progressive in the 90ís then added a single stage and a turret later for small batches. Iíve never really shot enough to justify the Dillon, I suppose, but itís fun and Iím never out of ammo. Itís an enjoyable and relaxing hobby. Iím all self taught - never met another reloader.

Just bought a Lyman Mag 25 on sale from Midway, so casting is next on the agenda.


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