When components were really cheap, this was an easy answer.

But at today's prices, is it really worthwhile to reload ammunition?

I noticed that I was getting a little low in my .38 Special reloads.

I had ordered some cast bullets and was ready to load them, so I went to the shop and looked at my Dillon.


It was set up for 9mm, and I remembered that I had loaded 500 frangible 9mm loads a while back and left the Dillon set up for them.

I found the other 500, 9mm bullets and went ahead and loaded them up while the machine was set up for the 9mm loads.

It is easy to change the plate out and switch to .38 Special, so that's what I did.

I load 148 grain double ended full wadcutters for my standard .38 Special loads, with 3.0 grains of WW-231 powder.

I adjusted the powder measure to that setting and then it was a simple matter of putting a clean, empty case in station #1, placing a wadcutter bullet on station #3, and pulling the handle.

Do that 1,000 times and you have 1,000 cartridges.

Nothing to it.


I usually set things up and go to the shop each day and pull the handle a couple of hundred times and quit for the day. Do that for 5 days and you have a thousand cartridges.

But I wondered how much money I was saving at today's prices?

I looked on-line for some .38 Special target loads, but, as you might expect, they were "backordered". But the price seemed to be about $25 for a box of 50 rounds, if they were ever in stock. That works out to 50 cents a round. That comes out to $500 for a thousand rounds.

But how about my reloads?

I ordered my bullets from Missouri Bullet Company.

The 148 grain double ended wadcutters were $70, with $14 shipping, for a total of $84 per 1,000 bullets.

The primers were bought long ago, but I have found them recently for $40 per thousand.


The WW-231 powder goes a long way at 3 grains per round, about half a pound of powder for 1,000 rounds.

If the powder was $30 a pound, that would be about $15 for the powder.


I saved my brass from previous loadings, so it is free.

I shine it up and have a few large cans ready to go at any time.

So, here are the numbers:

$84 + $40 + $15 = $139 per thousand.

That beats $500 all day long.


In addition, my handloads are tuned exactly like I like them, and I actually would prefer them to factory loads, even if factory loads were available.

Here's what a thousand loaded .38 Special wadcutters look like.



If you don't handload, you ought to look into it. There is a reasonable investment to get started, but after that, you are good to go.

And, believe it or not, I actually enjoy loading the ammo. I find it therapeutic and relaxing to do.

But before anyone asks, no, that doesn't mean I want to load yours for you.