Ol' Tex is right -- with deals like those available on many loads (esp. Remington's 'Game Loads' or 'Gun Club' loads from places like Dick's Sporting World -- often as low as $2.50 / box of 25) you almost cannot relaod 'em as cheap as you can buy 'em -- certainly not when I factor in my time.
I'm actually losing money (big time!) by sitting in front of a bench with my ol' single stages for an hour or two each night.
But, $ isn't the reason I reload. I do so for several reasons:
a) only ready source of *very* light 7/8 & 1 oz loads for wife and I (my cervical problems are pretty bad and getting worse!);
b) it forces me to 'de-compress' after stressful days at work;
c) very rewarding and exceptionally relaxing hobby (at least with resources like the members of this and several other lists, that is!)
Getting away from "bringing the job home with me" has to Reason Numero Uno, however.
Here is what I got in my first order from / through a FFL dealer at my home club who orders in bulk for several members (or more) at a time:
Powder: Alliant e-3 8 lb 101.85 (very clean, super economical powder [see notes below reference Win duplicating Win factory loads with 'WST'])
E-3 4 lb 58.05 (due to some ATF or other reg., my guy can't get the 8lb cannisters, anymore)
Wads 5000 69.95 = 13.99 Per bag of 500 (Claybuster CB-1100, they clone the Winchester 1oz wads, only less expensively)
12 bags #8 Magnum shot: 189.00 =15.75 per 25lb bag
5000 primers 87.50 17.50 per (These were PMC primers -- I refuse to buy or use 'em anymore until loading data is published using them. Besides, had TOO MANY mis-fires with them!)
SUB-TOTAL: $448.30 + Tax TOTAL: $471.00
5M rounds = 200 boxes (= 20 flats)
$471.00 ~ 200 = $2.40 @ box (= $24.00 per flat)
There're a slew of places you can order direct from such as Midsouth, Natchez, Cabela's, Gamaliel (too pricey for me) and there're more in any of the shotgun-oriented magazines.
Now, my wife (and I) absolutely LOVE Winchester's "X-tra Lite" 1 oz loads and the members here were kind enough to direct me to Winchester's website where they have data pages that show you exactly how to duplicate the ballistics of their four most popular target loads ("Lite" included)
Winchester “X-tra – Lite” Simulation Load:
1oz. WIN 209 WST 19.5 Win WAA12SL 1180fps 7400psi
Winchester “Light” Simulation Load:
1 1/8oz. WIN 209 WST 18.5 Win WAA12SL 1145fps 8600psi
However, we're into 7/8 oz loads which brings us to Winchester's "International" Simulation Load:
7/8oz. WIN 209 WST 22.0 Win WAAL (grey or silver wad) 1325fps 7900psi
I was kinda shocked to see how much 'WST' the 7/8 oz wads require. But, shooting primarily skeet, we don't have any real "need for speed" and I have to do some research as to just how far I can back that powder charge off, using all the same components (Heck, 1,150 fps OR LESS is fine for us!)
This is where Alliant's relatvely new e-3 powder comes in. A lot of other powders that call for 17.5 to 21.0 grains of powder, Alliant's e3 only calls for 16.0 and we get the same results (at least we certainly feel so!).
I'm not finding e3 quite as clean as 'Clays' but, that may be something I'm doing. It is certainly a LOT cleaner than most of the other powders we have tried, thus far -- we're pretty new to this hobby. (I reached a certain point and thought, "Geez, how can I expect to burn anything and not have ANY traces of it?)
I'm glad I didn't rush out and buy a progressive, too. Just me but, the single stages have allowed me to do more "learning" as (I find) it is much easier to change loads "on the fly" whereas my experience with progressives (all former pistol shooting) was that they shined when I finally settled on "just one" (and only one) load for the rest of my career.
Oh yeah -- DO BUY A QUALITY SCALE (either a triple beam balance or high quality electronic).
There you have it: NOT factoring in my time, etc. I'm loading a box for right about what Tex said and, I always keep a couple of flats of the factory Remington "less expensive" Game or Gun Club loads on hand in case I get behind in my nightly reloading chores!