In Price Comparison Of Bought v Reloaded Ammunition Part 1: PP 308 Winchester, we discussed the merits of reloading ammunition, or simply just buying it. The round chosen for the comparison was a 308 SP 150gr load, with its Prvi Partizan factory equivalent. In other words, one of the most common calibres on the planet. Savings started to show after around 4500 rounds had been reloaded.

But what about a more unusual calibre, which isn't readily available, but still popular with sporting shooters? For this comparison, I'll compare the costs of 45/70 ammunition with a hand loaded counterpart. 45/70 is a fairly expensive calibre to shoot, simply due to the volume of material that is required to load it. It is a large calibre, shooting a heavy bullet, using a large case and comparatively hefty powder charge. Prices are correct as of January 2021.

Equipment

45/70 has been a popular calibre since its invention, though has fallen slightly out of favour since the Second World War, when more modern hunting calibres took over. 45/70 still enjoys a strong following amongst all types of shooters but is by no means as ubiquitous as it was.

Reloading Equipment you'll need

Below is a list of all the additional equipment you'll need, in addition to the bits bought in the previous instalment.

Lee 45/70 Die Set

A 3-die set, this will do pretty much everything you need.

Lee Quick Trim Die 45/70

For trimming cases after they've been fired a few times. A must have, works with the Lee case trimmer included in the previously bought 50th Anniversary kit.

Components you'll need

45/70 Government PPU Brass Cases (pack 100)

405gr SJFP PPU Bullets (pack 100)

Vihtavuori N133 Powder (1kg)

CCI Large Rifle Primers (pack 100)

Cost of loading 100 rounds

Equipment
Lee 45/70 Die Set £36.40
Lee Quick Trim Die 45/70 £12.20
Cost of equipment already acquired (see part 1) £301.00
Total equipment cost £349.60
Components
45/70 Government PPU Brass Cases (pack 100) £73.00
405gr SJFP PPU Bullets (pack 100) £51.00
Vihtavuori N133 Powder (1kg) £88.00
CCI Large Rifle Primers (pack 100) £5.40
Total component cost £217.40
Total cost of 100 reloaded rounds £567.00
Total cost to purchase 100 rounds of 45/70 Government 405gr SJFP PPU Ammunition £194.00

All prices are accurate at the time of writing. To see the current prices, click on the product link in the table above.

No savings yet, but then you didn't expect any really.

Cost of loading 500 rounds

Equipment
Lee 45/70 Die Set £36.40
Lee Quick Trim Die 45/70 £12.20
Cost of equipment already acquired (see part 1) £301.00
Total equipment cost £349.60
Components
45/70 Government PPU Brass Cases (pack 100)* £73.00
405gr SJFP PPU Bullets (pack 500) £255.00
Vihtavuori N133 Powder (2kg) £176.00
CCI Large Rifle Primers (pack 500) £27.00
Total component cost £531.00
Total cost of 500 reloaded rounds £880.60
Total cost to purchase 500 rounds of 45/70 Government 405gr SJFP PPU Ammunition £970.00

All prices are accurate at the time of writing. To see the current prices, click on the product link in the table above.

*Each brass case is used 5 times

After 500 rounds, a saving of £110 has already been made on factory ammunition.

Cost of loading 1000 rounds

Equipment
Lee 45/70 Die Set £36.40
Lee Quick Trim Die 45/70 £12.20
Cost of equipment already acquired (see part 1) £301.00
Total equipment cost £349.60
Components
45/70 Government PPU Brass Cases (pack 200)* £146.00
405gr SJFP PPU Bullets (pack 1000) £510.00
Vihtavuori N133 Powder (4kg) £352.00
CCI Large Rifle Primers (pack 1000) £54.00
Total component cost £1062.00
Total cost of 1000 reloaded rounds £1411.60
Total cost to purchase 1000 rounds of 45/70 Government 405gr SJFP PPU Ammunition £1940.00

All prices are accurate at the time of writing. To see the current prices, click on the product link in the table above.

*Each brass case is used 5 times

We're already seeing a significant saving on factory ammunition, with over £500 saved. This initial saving has therefore already paid for the total equipment cost and covered the cost of some of the components.

Cost of loading 2000 rounds

Equipment
Lee 45/70 Die Set £36.40
Lee Quick Trim Die 45/70 £12.20
Cost of equipment already acquired (see part 1) £301.00
Total equipment cost £349.60
Components
45/70 Government PPU Brass Cases (pack 200)* £292.00
405gr SJFP PPU Bullets (pack 2000) £1020.00
Vihtavuori N133 Powder (8kg) £704.00
CCI Large Rifle Primers (pack 2000) £108.00
Total component cost £2124.00
Total cost of 2000 reloaded rounds £2473.00
Total cost to purchase 2000 rounds of 45/70 Government 405gr SJFP PPU Ammunition £3880.00

All prices are accurate at the time of writing. To see the current prices, click on the product link in the table above.

*Each brass case is used 5 times

I won't labor the point any further, with over £1500 saved at the 1000 round mark, if you're shooting a big, expensive calibre like 45/70, reloading really is a no-brainer.

In context

As previously mentioned, the average shooter will shoot around 1200 rounds a year. As we've seen, significant savings are not made until a considerable volume of 308 ammunition has been loaded, but for 45/70, the savings are almost immediate. Assuming we shoot an equal amount of 308 and 45/70, let's see if the cost benefits of one can easily cancel out the other.

1200 Mixed Rounds Comparison

Cost of 308 loading equipment (dies etc.) £68.50
Cost of 45/70 loading equipment (dies etc.) £48.60
Cost of generic loading equipment (press etc.) £301.00
Cost of 308 handloaded rounds (600 of) £418.50
Cost of 45/70 handloaded rounds (600 of) £748.40
Total cost of 1200 reloaded rounds £1584.90
Total cost to purchase 600 rounds of 308 150gr SP PPU Ammunition £486.00
Total cost to purchase 600 rounds of 45/70 Government 405gr SJFP PPU Ammunition £1164.00
Total cost of factory bought PPU ammunition £1650.00

All prices are accurate at the time of writing. To see the current prices, click on the product link in the table above.

As you're loading for two different calibres simultaneously, the cost per round comes down significantly, as the initial spend on equipment is spread equally per calibre. I appreciate that 45/70 ammunition is horrendously expensive in comparison to other calibres, but this illuminates the point rather well, that the more calibres you shoot and rounds you load, the better cost savings you can make. When reloading, you will shoot more and possibly this might cost you more than if you simply bought the ammunition, but is that really such a bad thing?

Part 1 of this review can be viewed here:

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

 

Other blogs of interest:

Where Can I Find Reloading Data?

Guide To PPU Rifle Bullets

Henry Krank Primer Sizing Chart