So the other day I cast up 160 gain bullets and reloaded about 600 rounds of .38 Special for my Rossi 92. It kind of got me thinking about some of the strange economics of our current situation. The wheel weights I used for casting the bullets was given to me for free, the primers were from my old stash when they were still $1.79 for a hundred CCI small pistol primers and the charge was 4.0 grains of Unique. No, not a barrel burner by any stretch of the imagination but still a fun plinking load. But it got me thinking about reloading and how cheap it can be. Even without the components or components at modern prices, I've come to believe that this is probably still cheaper than shooting a .22LR, espeically with todays over-inflated prices...if you can even find it! Let's look at this for a minute.
Now I already have the cases both from my old fired stock as well as freebies I got from ranges over the years so I tend to discount that factor but the rest of the components are still quite cheap. Primers are the most expensive part runnign today at about $3.50 here per hundred so that's $0.035 per primer. A 4.0 grain charge of Unique will turn out 1,750 rounds per pound and a pound of Unique is going for roughly $25 per pound so that's what, $0.014 per round. Some tire companies still will give you their old wheel weighs for free if you are on good terms with this while others tend to charge you for them. Last I seen on ebay, there was one guy selling 100 pounds of wheel weight ingots for $120 plus $24 shipping which comes out to around $1.44 per pound of wheel weights. A pound of lead can still cast 43.75, 160 grain bullets so we're looking at what, $0.033 per bullet? Seems to me according to my math (and that is always suspect at best) it comes out to $0.082 per round if you are paying for everything but the brass.
Now compared to the price of a .22LR (using a pre-insanity priced Cabela's catalog here) 2100 round dry box of 525 round bulk box of Federal .22s is $79.99 so that's $0.038 per round, Remington Gold box 525 round bulk pack is listed at $21.99 per box making that $0.040 per round, CCI .22LR Tactical ammo is $94.99 for 1,500 rounds so that's $0.63 per round and if you're really feeling rich, CCI stingers are listed as 500 rounds for $64.99 or $0.129 per round!!! And this is all pre-crazy prices...when you could find it!!! So what's .22 ammo prices going for these days? Just something to think about.