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Price Comparison Of Bought v Reloaded Ammunition Part 1: PPU 308 Winchester

Price Comparison Of Bought v Reloaded Ammunition Part 1: PPU 308 Winchester
By Tom Metcalf-Jackson 2 months ago 2727 Views 3 comments

Loading your own ammunition, versus buying it, is a debate as old as the hills. There are countless sources arguing one side or the other, but most focus around ifs and buts, so here is a direct comparison for cost and convenience based on how much money you could save.

I’ll stick with one calibre (308 Winchester), and all the reloading equipment needed to load that one calibre and compare it to an equivalent factory loaded round from Prvi Partizan. PPU Ammunition is very reasonably priced in comparison to other brands, so it’s a good price baseline for factory ammunition across the board in comparison to handloaded ammunition.

Getting the equipment

First, a discussion on the kit you will need. The equipment listed below is, in my humble opinion, the most comprehensive loading set up for the least amount of money. It is not the cheapest method of loading ammunition on the market, nor is it the most advanced, but it fills the requirements nicely for 99% of shooters. This is the finished article to prime, load, resize, trim, clean brass, deburr, and all those little jobs you might need to do. It is also made to my personal preference and is by no means the definitive set up for reloading, but I find it works.

Equipment you’ll need

Lee 50th Anniversary Kit

This is the bulk of it really. With a single stage press, powder handling equipment, primer feed and case trimmer, this and a die set is a good place to start.

308 Ultimate Die Set

This die set will do both full length resizing and neck resizing, and is the most comprehensive die set Lee offer. It also contains load data for popular powders.

308 Quick Trim Die

You’ll need to trim your cases eventually, this die and the trimmer included in the 50th Anniversary kit, mentioned previously, is all you need.

Reloadr Digital Marksman Scale

This one’s a personal preference, I prefer an electronic scale over manual, though it’s good to check one against the other just to make sure everything’s as it should be.

Berrys 400 Tumbler/Pan Sifter Kit

An excellent starter tumbler set. Comes with everything you need; including media, sifter and even polish.

Components you’ll need

308 Winchester PPU Brass Cases (pack 100)

Does what it says on the tin really, they’re excellent quality brand new brass cases from PPU.

.30 (308) SP 150gr PPU Bullets (pack 100)

Regular flat base soft point 150gr bullets, the same bullet used in the PPU factory ammunition we’re comparing.

Ramshot X-Terminator Powder (454g)

An excellent high-quality powder suitable for .308, amongst other calibres.

CCI No.200 Large Rifle Primers

CCI primers are good, easily available, all round primers.


Cost of loading 100 rounds

This chart breaks down everything listed previously to show the cost of loading 100 rounds. Cases, bullets and primers are in packs of 100, prices accurate as of January 2021.

Equipment

Lee 50th Anniversary Kit

£164.50

Lee 308 Ultimate Die set

£56.30

Lee 308 Quick Trim Die

£12.20

Reloadr Scale

£35.00

Berry’s 400 Tumbler/Sifter Kit

£101.50

Total Equipment Cost

£369.50


Components – 100 Rounds

308 PPU brass cases (100 of)

£45.00

308 150gr SP PPU bullets (100 of)

£29.00

Ramshot X-Terminator Powder (1lb of)

£42.50

CCI No.200 Large Rifle Primers (100 of)

£5.40

Total Component Cost

£121.9

Total Cost of 100 reloaded rounds

£491.40

Total cost to purchase 100 rounds of 308 150gr SP PPU Ammunition

£81.00

So, it is expensive if you’re only ever going to load 100 rounds, but being the enterprising shooter you are, you know there’s cost savings to be made the more you load.

Cost of loading 500 rounds

This is how much 500 rounds will cost, on top of what you’ve already spent, with a comparison against factory ammunition. This chart assumes you’ve taken care of your brass cases and are able to get 5 loads out of them.

308 150gr SP PPU Bullets (500 of)

£145.00

308 PPU Brass Cases (100 of)*

£45.00

Ramshot X-Terminator Powder (3lb of)

£127.50

CCI No.200 Large Rifle Primers (500 of)

£25.60

Cost of equipment

£369.50

Cost of components

£343.10

Total Cost of 500 reloaded rounds

£712.60

Total cost to purchase 500 rounds of 308 150gr SP PPU Ammunition

£405.00

*5 uses per 100 brass cases.

With 500 rounds loaded, you’ve still not quite made your money back, so where does the break-even point come? Let us see the cost of 1000 rounds.

Cost of loading 1000 rounds

308 150gr SP PPU Bullets (1000 of)

£290.00

CCI No.200 Large Rifle Primers (1000 of)

£54.00

Ramshot X-Terminator Powder (6lb of)

£255.00

308 PPU Brass Cases (200 of)*

£90.00

Cost of equipment

£369.50

Cost of components

£689.00

Total Cost of 1000 reloaded rounds

£1058.50

Total cost to purchase 1000 rounds of 308 150gr SP PPU Ammunition

£810.00

*5 uses per 100 brass cases.

The benefits of reloading are starting to catch up, and with shooters expending on average 1200 rounds a year anyway, it is not too long before you recoup the costs and start saving money. Let’s see what the difference is with 2000 rounds of ammunition.



Cost of loading 2000 rounds

308 150gr SP PPU Bullets (2000 of)

£580.00

CCI No.200 Large Rifle Primers (2000 of)

£102.60

Ramshot X-Terminator Powder (12lb of)

£510.00

308 PPU Brass Cases (4 of)*

£180.00

Cost of equipment

£369.50

Cost of components

£1372.60

Total Cost of 2000 reloaded rounds

£1742.10

Total cost to purchase 2000 rounds of 308 150gr SP PPU Ammunition

£1620.00

*5 uses per 100 brass cases.

With 2000 rounds, the cost benefit is starting to show, with the cost of ammunition creeping up to the cost of reloading.

Cost of loading 5000 rounds

308 150gr SP PPU Bullets (5000)

£1450.00

CCI No.200 Large Rifle Primers (5000)

£267.00

Ramshot X-Terminator Powder (30lb of)

£1275.00

308 PPU Brass Cases (10 of)*

£450.00

Cost of equipment

£369.50

Cost of components

£3442.00

Total Cost of 5000 reloaded rounds

£3811.50

Total cost to purchase 5000 rounds of 308 150gr SP PPU Ammunition

£4050.00

*5 uses per 100 brass cases.


In short

After 5000 rounds, a saving has been made. Bear in mind, however, that the equipment used here can be applied to any calibre, and it would only require investment again in calibre specific dies and components to easily load anything else. Here is a quick break down of the costs of reloading or buying factory ammunition.

Number of rounds

Cost to buy ammunition

Cost to reload ammunition

100

£81

£491.50

500

£405

£666.10

1000

£810

£1058.60

2000

£1620

£1742.10

5000

£4050

£3811.50


All equipment and components listed above can be purchased from Henry Krank.

Take a look at part 2:

Price Comparison Of Bought v Reloaded Ammunition Part 2: PPU 45/70


Other blogs of interest:

Where Can I Find Reloading Data?

Guide To PPU Rifle Bullets

Henry Krank Primer Sizing Chart

Henry Krank Newsletter Signup Banner

David Gillard 2 months ago at 18:44
By reloading your own you can trim the load to suit your rifle. Consequently you can make a much more consistent and accurate round.
Martin Kay 2 months ago at 19:35
Interesting exercise. What is not considered however is the consistency and accuracy of the relative ammunition. I have used PPU ammunition in .308, .243, .303, 6.5 X 55 and have never found it to be as consistent or accurate as my own loads. The 6.5 X 55 140gr SP did not achieve UK deer legal velocity in my Sako 75. So...an interesting study but I will continue to load my own, thanks.
Colin 2 months ago at 23:03
I disagree with the costings, in the real world it is cheaper than you suggest with the component cost being on the high side and as the PPU importer for the UK why don't you bring in the the 62 gn .224 heads, we currently have to import them from elsewhere in Europe.