Author Topic: Let’s not complain too much!  (Read 211 times)

Alan

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Let’s not complain too much!
« on: October 29, 2018, 05:37:53 PM »
We as air gunners, pay less for our “ammo” than any powder burner, even if they load their own. However, there are a lot of variables we’ll need to look at if we are going to compare the costs between us and them! I don’t wish to get into a whole lot of math to prove my point. However, some math is necessary, so bare with me.

I used to reload. Fact is (was), I reloaded at lot! It was not uncommon to shoot 1,500 rounds of 22-250AI during a weekend prairie dog hunt. Just the bullets alone, cost about $300. While I shot other calibers, let’s just stick with the .22 for a moment.

The power I used was Hodgdon’s Benchmark. An 8 pound keg cost $200, from which you could get about 1,500 rounds. Actually it was a bit less, but I’m rounding off here in favor of the powder burners.

And speaking of round things, larger rifle primers cost about $60 for the same 1,500 rounds. I’m not forgetting about the cost of brass, but I’ll cover that in a minute, as well as the miscellaneous reloading equipment. So forgetting about all of the accessories for a few moments, the cost for 1,500 rounds comes to $560! That’s nearly .38¢ per round! At todays factory retail prices, you’d pay just over $1,700 for the same 1,500 rounds, or $1.14 for each round!

In all fairness, you get to keep the brass! So let’s talk about that. Average price today, is about .40¢ per round (22-250) if you buy a large quantity. So that’s about $600 for the brass. So, rough math says you’ll be able to reduce your cost on the next reloading to just $1,100! Wow! Just think of that?!

If you’re a serious reloader like I once was, you’d have all the accouterments, like dies (about 40 complete calibers), two presses, 3 primer seaters, with about 50 different shoes (shell holders), brass polishers, pounds of Danzac (tungsten disulfide, a bullet lubricant) and coating equipment, 4 power dispensers, brass trays, ammo boxes electronic scales, and the list goes on. I’m guessing I spent upwards of $50,000 (that is NO! exaggeration). At the time, I was shooting and reloading for .22s, .243s, .25s, .308s, and .338 ammunition. And think about 5 different calibers, each with about 3 different loadings, and all of the requisite bullets, powder, ad noisome! It was not, and is not, an inexpensive hobby!

Let’s turn the tables. Lead isn’t all that expensive in its raw state. Regular, bullet grade (≈2% tin) lead, costs about $3 per pound. If you cast your own, it doesn’t take a Cray mainframe to calculate the cost of bullets or pellets. For example, 1 pound or lead will make about 275, 25.4 grain pellets. Or, it will make about 46, 150 grain bullets for your favorite big bore. Whether you pour your own, or buy commercially, the real cost of lead isn’t the raw price! It is the freight to get it to you!

But let’s talk a real world example. If you buy 3 tins of pellets from Pyramid Air, they give you the fourth one free. Buy a bunch, and you can even get the freight (to you!) paid. The freight to them is built in to their wholesale price as we all know. So, using our .25 caliber example, 4 tins (1,400 pellets) cost just $48!

Just think about the differential when shooting a powder burner? Even if we don’t consider the cost of the brass, the difference is over $1,050! Oh! Oh! I forgot something. We have to consider the cost of the air we use. Well, there are a lot of ways to do that, but let’s take one of the more expensive ones. Remember, we’re giving the powder burners an edge.

The Omega Air Charger I bought sells for $1,700 give or take. There are deals, and there are more expensive alternatives (and cheaper ones too!). But compare this to the $600 cost of 1,500 rounds of brass. But there is a hidden issue here. For every caliber you reload, you have to have a supply of brass! But what about that high pressure air supply? It will fill any airgun, regardless of caliber!

At the present time, I’m shooting about 2 tins per month. During the middle of the year, it is 4 tins a month. With that in mind, that’s a measly $50 for 1,400 rounds. Compare that to an adjusted cost of $1,100 for a powder burner?!

Now come on. I know I left out a few things, but I also didn’t consider them either! But there is one item we need to consider—the airgun itself!

I have seen break barrels on sale for as little as $99. This is about the third of the cost of the cheapest Ruger 10/22. But if you really want a decent airgun, capable of shooting sub MOA, you have got to spend big bucks! It is easy to spend $1,200 to upwards of $4,000 for a really good airgun. Most airguns in this price range, will shoot sub MOA. Advertising hype aside, to get true MOA (or better) out of a powder burner, the bottom line is going to be closer to $2,000, perhaps more. My last custom 22-250AI cost almost $4,500!

As for scopes, well that is a matter of choice, but the cost there is about the same, no matter what the propellent is.

So, before you BM&C about the cost of shooting large-quantities of pellets or bullets through your airgun, give a prayer or two, towards our fellow enthusiasts, who still prefer smokeless!
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 04:37:06 AM by Alan »


  • Roswell, New Mexico
Alan

I have an Omega compressor. If you're a fellow Guild member, and you pass through Roswell, NM, I'll fill your portable tank as a courtesy.

steveoh

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Re: Let’s not complain too much!
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2018, 05:56:59 PM »
So true Alan, so true. 

I'm casting all my big bore bullets these days. I get clean scrap lead cheap, and it doesn't make sense to buy store bought bullets when I can cast my own. Even though the bullets can be huge it's still way cheaper casting my own, and I rather enjoy it.

And yah, I want more molds!
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 07:17:47 AM by steveoh »
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Bullfrog

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Re: Let’s not complain too much!
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2018, 07:27:49 PM »
Yes, pellets are still a lot cheaper than firearms. But where I find myself gravitating towards .30 pellets these days, they're still way more expensive than I prefer. That's why I've started casting. I try to have at least one projectile each of my larger caliber airguns can shoot well. In my .25 Condor, its the BBT 65 gn. In the .30s I own, its the BBT Pellets in 59 grains. In my brother's .45 Texan and it seems in my .45 Texan SS, its the Lee collar button bullets.

Steelhead

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Re: Let’s not complain too much!
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2018, 08:28:26 PM »
It's actually the main reason I bought the .308...keeping the cost down. I can buy 500 cast bullets for $60.00. That's a lot of shooting on the cheap for a big bore slug shooter. The .45 cal bullets are pushing a hundred bucks for 500.  I could cast my own and I might someday, but for now I'm thrilled to be able to have hours and hours of fun for not too much dough. Let's face it...cheap or expensive is all relative. The tins of quality .25 pellets are a pittance.

Other big advantages are the lack of shoulder busting recoil. Even the DAQ's that Steveoh has aren't as bad as shooting a .270, .308, or 30.06 powder burners. And as Alan pointed out that ammo is no joke money-wise. I get more enjoyment out of shooting my FX .25 and my Texan .308 than I ever have with any powder burner I've owned. I'm hoping my cherished Sears and Roebuck 12 ga. single shot that I bought (via the trusty catalog) for $69.00 when I was in grade school didn't here that.
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Frank in Fairfield

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Re: Let’s not complain too much!
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2018, 06:43:31 AM »
My air aresenal:
AA TX200 MKIII, .177
Baikal IZH46M w/Steve Corcoran Furniture
Beeman R1, San Rafael, .177
Benjamin Sheridan Blue Streak, Williams Peep
Benjamin Marauder Gen I, .177 w/Boyd's Stock
Benjamin Marauder Gen I, .22   w/Boyd’s Stock
Benjamin Marauder Gen I, .25   w/TEREX Stock
Crosman 1720T, Alchemy AirWerks Grips & Forearm
Crosman 2300S
Daisy Model 25, Variant #7
Daisy Red Ryder
FWB300S
HW35E, .177, Beeman/Williams Peep/12fpe VORTEK
RWS Diana 52, .177
Bug-a-Salt

And..I still load and shoot:
.223 (3)
.22-250 (2)
9mm
.357 Magnum
.44 Magnum
.30-06
12 Gauge
.457 Ruger Old Army
.54 Hawken

Many .22lr of course...

If you have to ask what it cost, than you can’t afford it.
Enjoy your life, regardless of the cost as you will be dead a hell of alot longer than you are alive.

Note to Steve:
I have a small ingot of lead (re-cycled pellets) if you are passing through Fairfield...$.00
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 06:46:48 AM by Frank in Fairfield »
"Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement."

steveoh

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Re: Let’s not complain too much!
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2018, 10:56:56 AM »
My air aresenal:
AA TX200 MKIII, .177
Baikal IZH46M w/Steve Corcoran Furniture
Beeman R1, San Rafael, .177
Benjamin Sheridan Blue Streak, Williams Peep
Benjamin Marauder Gen I, .177 w/Boyd's Stock
Benjamin Marauder Gen I, .22   w/Boyd’s Stock
Benjamin Marauder Gen I, .25   w/TEREX Stock
Crosman 1720T, Alchemy AirWerks Grips & Forearm
Crosman 2300S
Daisy Model 25, Variant #7
Daisy Red Ryder
FWB300S
HW35E, .177, Beeman/Williams Peep/12fpe VORTEK
RWS Diana 52, .177
Bug-a-Salt

And..I still load and shoot:
.223 (3)
.22-250 (2)
9mm
.357 Magnum
.44 Magnum
.30-06
12 Gauge
.457 Ruger Old Army
.54 Hawken

Many .22lr of course...

If you have to ask what it cost, than you can’t afford it.
Enjoy your life, regardless of the cost as you will be dead a hell of alot longer than you are alive.

Note to Steve:
I have a small ingot of lead (re-cycled pellets) if you are passing through Fairfield...$.00

That's very kind, thank you. Not sure when I'll be passing through Fairfield. Not far away though.

How are those Nutria doing? Still seeing them?
  • Benicia, California
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Sam Yang 909s .45
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QB-79 .177
Crosman 1322
Crosman 1377 - HoRodded 10 FPE
Diana Model 27 (childhood airgun)
Tolman Skiff
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rsterne

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Re: Let’s not complain too much!
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2018, 01:05:09 PM »
Even if you use pure tin to cast large bullets the cost is not prohibitive, compared to PBs.... I priced out 150 gr. tin bullets in .357 cal today and the tin costs 42 cents each.... The bullets "look" like a 235 gr. bullet made from lead, but 35% lighter...

Bob
  • Coalmont, BC

steveoh

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Re: Let’s not complain too much!
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2018, 04:14:16 PM »
Funny, I was just looking at alternatives to lead, which lead me to rotometals.  A google search gave me: https://www.rotometals.com/lead-free-bullet-casting-alloy-88-bismuth-12-tin/

And while I was looking at this metal and thinking, their chat kept popping up. So I answered, and told them I cast lead bullets, and was promptly told that no one there casts bullets. (whatttttt?) So, I said thanks, and closed out the chat window.  Back to the page I was looking at shows a couple of images:




I guess they don't want bullet casters as customers? (puzzling).

I might order a couple pounds of this stuff, and see how a long bullet (to get some weight) performs.
  • Benicia, California
Quackenbush .58 Outlaw
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Sam Yang 909s .45
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QB-79 .177
Crosman 1322
Crosman 1377 - HoRodded 10 FPE
Diana Model 27 (childhood airgun)
Tolman Skiff
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Steelhead

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Re: Let’s not complain too much!
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2018, 04:45:21 PM »
$15.59 a pound? OMG. That would be brutal.
  • Petaluma, CA
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steveoh

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Re: Let’s not complain too much!
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2018, 04:49:59 PM »
$15.59 a pound? OMG. That would be brutal.

yah, and I'm getting lead at $1.19 a pound plus shipping. I think it works out to be $1.40 lb. Pretty huge difference.
  • Benicia, California
Quackenbush .58 Outlaw
Shooting Chairs
Vallejo Ferry Schedule
Sam Yang 909s .45
Sam Yang Sumatra .25
RWS Diana 350Magnum Compact Pro .22
QB-79 .177
Crosman 1322
Crosman 1377 - HoRodded 10 FPE
Diana Model 27 (childhood airgun)
Tolman Skiff
Airgun Giveaway

rsterne

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Re: Let’s not complain too much!
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2018, 06:29:19 PM »
That Bismuth/Tin alloy is WAYYYYYYYYY too hard for airgun use, the BHN is 19.3.... Pure tin, which is about $20/lb is BHN 8.... expensive, but soft enough for airgun use, and only 65% the weight of lead.... This results in a much lower SD, and therefore BC, when compared to the same bullet in lead.... However, by using a longer, more streamlined bullet that would be much too heavy in lead, by using pure tin you get a "normal" weight and SD, but a better Form Factor (less drag), and hence a higher BC than you would get with the same WEIGHT bullet in lead....

but it is VERY expensive compared to lead....

Bob
  • Coalmont, BC

steveoh

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Re: Let’s not complain too much!
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2018, 07:27:36 PM »
That Bismuth/Tin alloy is WAYYYYYYYYY too hard for airgun use, the BHN is 19.3.... Pure tin, which is about $20/lb is BHN 8.... expensive, but soft enough for airgun use, and only 65% the weight of lead.... This results in a much lower SD, and therefore BC, when compared to the same bullet in lead.... However, by using a longer, more streamlined bullet that would be much too heavy in lead, by using pure tin you get a "normal" weight and SD, but a better Form Factor (less drag), and hence a higher BC than you would get with the same WEIGHT bullet in lead....

but it is VERY expensive compared to lead....

Bob

Ahhhh thank you for clarification on hardness etc. I neglected to check that.

We are then seriously screwed if lead is outlawed for lead.
  • Benicia, California
Quackenbush .58 Outlaw
Shooting Chairs
Vallejo Ferry Schedule
Sam Yang 909s .45
Sam Yang Sumatra .25
RWS Diana 350Magnum Compact Pro .22
QB-79 .177
Crosman 1322
Crosman 1377 - HoRodded 10 FPE
Diana Model 27 (childhood airgun)
Tolman Skiff
Airgun Giveaway

Alan

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Re: Let’s not complain too much!
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2018, 04:32:26 AM »
And to think of all that depleted uranium just laying around....
  • Roswell, New Mexico
Alan

I have an Omega compressor. If you're a fellow Guild member, and you pass through Roswell, NM, I'll fill your portable tank as a courtesy.

Frank in Fairfield

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Re: Let’s not complain too much!
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2018, 11:48:55 AM »
My air aresenal:
AA TX200 MKIII, .177
Baikal IZH46M w/Steve Corcoran Furniture
Beeman R1, San Rafael, .177
Benjamin Sheridan Blue Streak, Williams Peep
Benjamin Marauder Gen I, .177 w/Boyd's Stock
Benjamin Marauder Gen I, .22   w/Boyd’s Stock
Benjamin Marauder Gen I, .25   w/TEREX Stock
Crosman 1720T, Alchemy AirWerks Grips & Forearm
Crosman 2300S
Daisy Model 25, Variant #7
Daisy Red Ryder
FWB300S
HW35E, .177, Beeman/Williams Peep/12fpe VORTEK
RWS Diana 52, .177
Bug-a-Salt

And..I still load and shoot:
.223 (3)
.22-250 (2)
9mm
.357 Magnum
.44 Magnum
.30-06
12 Gauge
.457 Ruger Old Army
.54 Hawken

Many .22lr of course...

If you have to ask what it cost, than you can’t afford it.
Enjoy your life, regardless of the cost as you will be dead a hell of alot longer than you are alive.

Note to Steve:
I have a small ingot of lead (re-cycled pellets) if you are passing through Fairfield...$.00

That's very kind, thank you. Not sure when I'll be passing through Fairfield. Not far away though.

How are those Nutria doing? Still seeing them?

Steve, yes the Nutria are still there, along with the turkeys, coyotes, rats but, although it is Fairfield City Park, there are no dogs allowed!
"Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement."