The cheapest 38 specials I've ever loaded

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The cheapest 38 specials I've ever loaded

Postby Flowmaster » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:05 pm

I got a good deal on some components at a gun show a few weeks ago. While I was waiting for my employer to arrive, I helped another vendor at the show unload his van. That guy wound up giving me deal after deal on reloading components (I'm talking dirt cheap) and that made for the cheapest 38 specials I've ever loaded.

The guy recently bought out an estate's reloading components. Over thirty ammo cans full of various bullets, primers, shell casings, everything. I got 550 of the Lyman/Keith #358429 bullets weighing in at 168 grains each. All 550 for $10. Already lubed, ready to go. Of those 550, I was able to use 535 of them as some didn't have lube or were deformed. He told me that was my price since I was nice enough to help him unload his van. Some load manuals list that bullet as being 168 grains, others list it as 170 grain probably depending on the alloy used (#2 or Linotype).

I also got a bunch of shell casings from the same guy for cheap. 800 38 special shell casings clean, sized, and primed along with 300 357 magnum shell casings also clean, sized, and primed. All those for $40. 1,100 primers is worth over $30, so that means I've got next to nothing in the brass.

I loaded a couple of boxes just to try out the 168 grain bullet in 38 special. One box using Unique, another using Bullseye. Total cost per box of 50 rounds was $3.98 for the Unique and $3.99 for the Bullseye. The difference in price was because of the different charge weights and the different cost of the powders. Still, that's CHEAP!

I bet you guys have done cheaper with range scrap you cast yourself, but I was pretty happy with the price of these loaded rounds once I did the math using a reloading calculator online.
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Re: The cheapest 38 specials I've ever loaded

Postby jeffchance » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:24 am

Nothing wrong with being able to reload economically.
I've heard good things about the Keith design bullet.
Congrats.
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Re: The cheapest 38 specials I've ever loaded

Postby Flowmaster » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:41 pm

Thanks Jeff, I'm really having fun with trying to get as cheap as possible with my 38 special loads. The problem is that I used to spend $15 on a box of 38s when I went to the range. Handloading was supposed to save me money but I'm still going to spend $15 worth of components when I go to the range, just now I'll be shooting a whole lot more for that $15.

I wound up selling the 300 primed 357 magnum cases at a gun show for $25. That really offsets the cost of my loads. Now I've got $15 in my 800 primed 38 special shell casings. That's 1.875 cents per primed shell casing!
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Re: The cheapest 38 specials I've ever loaded

Postby jeffchance » Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:31 pm

Yes, we found reloading didn't save any real large amounts of money but we spent a lot more time sending more rounds downrange.
A good day for us is usually about 300 rounds each.
Then picking up all the brass, trying to mine the spent rounds out of the berm for re-casting, makes for a nice day of shooting as well as a scavenger hunt.
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Re: The cheapest 38 specials I've ever loaded

Postby FergusonTO35 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:47 am

I normally spend more on clean range lead ingots than you did on bullets. Good score!
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