10 May 2012


Now that I have the hunting course under my belt I'd like to see if I can go slay Bambi or maybe one of his lesser cousins. (On a side note, it always amuses me to hear girls called Bambi when Bambi was a buck. Maybe it's the huge rack? But I digress...)

I have two bolt-action rifles that would be suitable for hunting, the Mosin and the Arisaka. I can buy soft-point rounds suitable for hunting for either rifle, but for the sake of discussion let's go with the Arisaka. I didn't run the numbers for the Mosin but I figure they will probably end out about the same. I have enough FMJ for the Mosin to supply the average Russian peasant through the next world war, but no rounds suitable for hunting so I'd either have to buy or load rounds for it as well.

A box of Hornady 140gr soft-point 6.5x50 Japanese will run about $1.40/round from Grafs, that's about as low as it gets for hunting rounds. Hornady 129gr SST's run about $1.45 and the Norma Alaska 156gr runs about $1.60 per round.  I can get target rounds (FMJ), not suitable for hunting, for about $1.15 per round. Any way you slice it, that's over a buck a round (which, along with its tendency to shoot high, explains why I don't shoot it much).

Reloading with the cheapest brass (PRVI) and 139gr soft-point bullets (also PRVI), along with the primer and 6 lbs of powder, which should load 1000 rounds at 40 grains per round with enough left over to cause serious damage if it isn't stored properly, will average out to about 47.5 cents per round for 4000 rounds (using the brass 4x), a savings of about 92 cents a round, over $3600 for all 4000 rounds. (All prices from the Grafs catalog, which is the one I have on hand. I'm sure if I scour the interwebs I can find prices higher and lower than what I have here.)

Likelihood of me shooting 4000 rounds through a pre-WW1 Japanese rifle approaches null, so if I only purchase 500 rounds of the brass and reload it 4x each it will still average to about 48 cents per round and save me a bit over $1800 for 2000 rounds. If I only reload it twice it ends up being about 60.5 cents per round, saving me $790 for 1000 rounds. Worst case scenario, if I get all new brass for 1000 rounds and only reload it once it averages out to around 83 cents per round, which still saves me $570 for the first thousand rounds.

How much is a reloading setup again?

UPDATE: I can get 150 grain SPBT PRVI ammo for the Mosin at $15.59/box of 20 which is about $0.78/round. The cheapest reload ends up being 59.7 cents/round for 4000 rounds - again, not likely that I'm going to put 4000 rounds through the Mosin, so if I buy 1000 brass and reload once it ends up being 91 cents per round - cheaper to buy than reload. If I buy 500 brass and reload twice it is 71 cents a round for 1000 rounds for a total savings of $70, and if I reload it four times it is 59.3 cents per round for 2000 rounds for a total savings of $374. The only way I do better than break even is to reload more ammo than I will likely ever use.

I think I'll just buy the Mosin's ammo.


Robert Fowler said...

The RCBS rockchucker kit is around 250.00. If you are going to load a lot of rifle rounds this is what I would go with. I've got a Chucker that I've had for years and I load all my larger rifle rounds with it. check the price on both Graf's and Midway. And be sure to price the kit. That will include a decent scale. One more thing, if you are going to load pistol cartridges, get the carbide dies. They need no lube and you end up with cleaner cartridges.

The only progressive I have experience with is the lee Pro1000. I use it for pistol rounds plus 223.

As long as you don't push the pressure limits on your brass, 4 loadings shouldn't be a problem.

Personally, I would go with the Nagant. But that's only because that's what I have experience with. Good luck.

Larry said...

Buying the ammo for the Nagant would be cheaper than buying it for the Arisaka, but reloading for the Arisaka would be cheaper than buying or reloading a like number for the Nagant. I think I'll probably buy some rounds for the Nagant and use it, at least for this year, but I certainly want to reload some for the Arisaka in any case.

Thanks for dropping by Robert!