Budgeting for ammunition

Pud

Active Member
Good morning

I may have found a way to take my shooting forward, as apparently a new indoor range has opened close to home. A rare stroke of luck. I've been meaning to do this for literally 10 years but work and kids got in the way. Now theres a range around the corner, it's time to crack on.

They have options for indoor and outdoor, so all calibres are on the table and as this will be my first FAC, I'm thinking ahead in terms of what I might be likely to use and the costs of doing so.

What I've been struggling with is finding the cost of ammunition in the UK and if shooting on a range, I feel its quite important to know what you're getting yourself into financially. I can see that .22lr is cheap as expected, but I've seen some alarming figures for rifle centerfire. £40 a box might not be too bad for casual stalking, but for range use, you'd need very deep pockets!

My shortlist is:
Range: .22lr
Gallery Rifle: .357
Range/Fox: .222/.223
Range/Deer: 6.5 CM

Am I correct in thinking that the most popular calibres are the cheapest to shoot, so perhaps .223 and .308, with the rest carrying a premium of some kind? If I wanted to go for a 6.5mm of some sort, is that likely to be significantly more expensive than .308?

My second question is, is milsurp cheap and available in this country and would there be a cost advantage to having a slot for a rifle chambered in 5.56/7.62x51 over .223/.308 allowing ball ammo for range use and (rarely) nato expanders for fox/muntjac/CWD?

The reason I chose Creedmoor as a deer calibre is because by all accounts it has a little less felt recoil than .308. I've not shot with it before, so its a stab in the dark although it seems to have a lot of fans. I've had a brief go with the similar 6.5 swede and thought it was quite comfy compared to a 308. Also, when I last spoke to my FEO, he said they didn't really like granting .30 calibre on a first FAC....thats a whole other debate I guess.

Is there a price list published by anyone which would give an idea of the above and would there likely be a worthwhile saving if I wanted to look into reloading and buying all the associated gubbins?

I'll continue to scour the forum for information, it's been great reading thus far.

Thanks very much
 

springbok787

Well-Known Member
Not really local to you but it’s a good selection of ammo and enough to give you an idea of factory ammo costs:-


I am pretty sure the next post after mine will tell you to start home loading your own. I don’t as I don’t shoot enough so I will just answer your question with the above link and let others help you with home loading.
 
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Pud

Active Member
I home load.





Home loading is the 7th Circle of Hell...
I did manage to find some reloading presses and it looks like I'd have to be shooting quite a bit to justify the kit, but I suppose once you have the press then its just a question of the dies for each calibre, which seem to be about £100 each.
 

Pud

Active Member
Not really local to you but it’s a good selection of ammo and enough to give you an idea of factory ammo costs:-


I am pretty sure the next post after mine will tell you to start home loading your own. I don’t as I don’t shoot enough so I will just answer your question with the above link and let other help you will home loading.
Thank you that will help a lot.
 

Apthorpe

Well-Known Member
I did manage to find some reloading presses and it looks like I'd have to be shooting quite a bit to justify the kit, but I suppose once you have the press then its just a question of the dies for each calibre, which seem to be about £100 each.
£100 sounds high for normal reloading dies. I paid £47(new) and £28 (used).
Reloading equipment is an area where kit is available to lighten the pockets of the rich and obsessive as well as those hoping to save money. Also, nothing wrong with second hand kit.

I'd think you can reload at under a quid a round.
 

Stalker1962

Well-Known Member
I did manage to find some reloading presses and it looks like I'd have to be shooting quite a bit to justify the kit, but I suppose once you have the press then its just a question of the dies for each calibre, which seem to be about £100 each.
Home loading can be fun.
It is not a "cheap option". I would hate to sit down and think about what each round has cost me to produce, but for me it is almost another "sport" in itself. There are one or two SD members whose knowledge is formidable and I am sure they will help you along the way.

I got into home loading because I had some obsolete calibres I wanted to shoot and making the rounds is the only option.

Fast forward a couple of years and I am reloading the .308 AI for accuracy and although I have not yet used them in anger, .243 for deer.

I found it very useful when I started out to sit down with an "old hand" and walk me through the process - again there will be someone on here who is local to you willing to help you out - I have no doubt.
 
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wcog106

Well-Known Member
Have a look at kirklees guns website, they have a good list of ammo. Also kranks sell PPU which is not too bad for range work and if you are lucky your rifles might shoot ok with them.
 

Yorric

Well-Known Member
To the OP, If you only get two calibres (22lr & 6.5 Creedmoor) you will save money on two rifles and if you reload, two sets of tooling and two sets of consumables/components.
You can shoot targets, foxes and deer with the 6.5, target and rabbits with the 22.
The 357 is a "plinking" calibre and the club culture encourages shooting large numbers of rounds, generally not with high precision and high cost.
A 223 would be nice but not essential.
As you are a beginner, it will be easier to become fully competent on only two rifles, rather than four.
Ian
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
To the OP, If you only get two calibres (22lr & 6.5 Creedmoor) you will save money on two rifles and if you reload, two sets of tooling and two sets of consumables/components.
You can shoot targets, foxes and deer with the 6.5, target and rabbits with the 22.
The 357 is a "plinking" calibre and the club culture encourages shooting large numbers of rounds, generally not with high precision and high cost.
A 223 would be nice but not essential.
As you are a beginner, it will be easier to become fully competent on only two rifles, rather than four.
Ian
Only in the UK do they consider a 243 a big game cartridge and the 357 Magnum a plinking round. :) ~Muir
 

njc110381

Well-Known Member
Only in the UK do they consider a 243 a big game cartridge and the 357 Magnum a plinking round. :) ~Muir
I asked for a .357 for small deer and they said no. Worried it may not be humane apparently. So I asked for a .35 Whelen. I'll use the same bullets at the same velocity. They were worried that one might be a bit big... Most of our licensing authorities just aren't clued up about anything other than fast bottleneck cartridges of .30 calibre or below. A .444 or .45-70 throws them enough let alone a pistol calibre carbine. 99% of UK deer stalkers use something between .243 and a .300 magnum. Probably over 50% use a .243.

On the subject of range shooting on a budget I'd read up on home loading. Forget the press and dies at first. Get a Lee Loader, a powder funnel, a set of scales and a case trimming kit. Your data and learning can be found online for free. I won a club competition a few years back shooting my friends .222 which he reloaded for with a Lee Loader. That's not how most shooters do things, but it works and more importantly is cheap! I'd get a .22lr and .308. Barrel life on the .308 will be considerably longer than a like for like 6.5 Creedmoor and ammunition will be a lot cheaper too.
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Cheap Centrefire for practice = 223 or 308. But however you do it including reloading it still comes in at c75p per round. PPU ammo is pretty much the cheapest available, and Federal Blue Box is c£20 a box of 20.

You don't see a lot of Mil Surp ammo in the UK these days.

My advice is use the .22rf for most of your practice. It really does teach you trigger control, position etc etc. Get it on sticks and into field positions and practice that way. Use reactive targets like a clay pigeon sized gong - a 22rf is great for shooting out to c100m, indeed once you have worked the holdovers, quite a bit further. No issue in shooting 50 or 100 rounds of 22rf.

Once you have got comfortable with the 22rf, then a couple of three shots with the stalking rifle, and then back to the 22rf.
 

Muir

Well-Known Member
I asked for a .357 for small deer and they said no. Worried it may not be humane apparently. So I asked for a .35 Whelen. I'll use the same bullets at the same velocity. They were worried that one might be a bit big... Most of our licensing authorities just aren't clued up about anything other than fast bottleneck cartridges of .30 calibre or below. A .444 or .45-70 throws them enough let alone a pistol calibre carbine. 99% of UK deer stalkers use something between .243 and a .300 magnum. Probably over 50% use a .243.

On the subject of range shooting on a budget I'd read up on home loading. Forget the press and dies at first. Get a Lee Loader, a powder funnel, a set of scales and a case trimming kit. Your data and learning can be found online for free. I won a club competition a few years back shooting my friends .222 which he reloaded for with a Lee Loader. That's not how most shooters do things, but it works and more importantly is cheap! I'd get a .22lr and .308. Barrel life on the .308 will be considerably longer than a like for like 6.5 Creedmoor and ammunition will be a lot cheaper too.
That 308/22LR combination would be good. As you pointed out, you can get a Lee Classic Loader for 308, a Lee trimmer, and be happy.

Funny about your licensing authorities. I have killed deer cleanly with a .357 Handgun in barrel lengths from 4.625 to 10 inches. Major Wesson took it around the world killing the largest game using an 8 3/8" heavy framed revolver. Obviously desk jockeys.~Muir
 

Sonicdmb73

Well-Known Member
Oh. You are.... ;) ~Muir
You just cannot apply common sense to our firearms Law. It doesn’t help that most of the FEO’s I have come across get no formal training or qualifications that I know of. Not to say that they don’t know what they are doing (some do).
But at times policy defies logic. Ballistics don’t lie, but be it lack of knowledge, or stubbornness who knows. Sometimes they just won’t budge.
 

Pud

Active Member
After extensive reading on the subject including about the experiences of others, I've taken the view that UK firearms licencing is a bit like its driving test. You learn to pass a driving test not necessarily how to drive. You go by the book they give you or it'll be a fail.

Correct me if I'm wrong but 357 makes quite a bang and at short ranges with appropriate bullets and shot placement would probably take any UK deer and larger animals elsewhere, but it's just not in the "highway code"? The same with bows, which I'm sure take thousands of deer every year in other countries. I can imagine a UK stalker reading the preceding sentence and cringing, as it's just not the way we play cricket. The difficulty is, that "highway code" seems to vary a bit depending on police force, which creates a bit of a headache for people like me looking at a first grants. I'm reading about people having .416 conditioned for deer, whilst others struggle to get approval for .243. Very confusing at first glance.

My crappy analogy aside, after reading about the very unfortunate situation surrounding a proposed ban on lead, I am left considering whether or not I want to go for .22lr at all. I don't want to take this thread off at a tangent, but I feel as though the .22lr might get the chop. It certainly seemed to be a very serious situation but the shooting orgs must have considered this surely? What could replace it if there was a ban?

I'm digesting all your responses, which I appreciate and I'll have a look around. The idea was that the 6.5 wouldn't get the majority of range time and would be more of a stalking rifle, the .223 being my main range squeeze. The 357 was just for fun competitions indoors (my wife enjoys gallery rifle and might look into an FAC too). I'll have a detailed look into costs for 6.5 vs 308 although I would prefer the 6.5 I think, especially if using factory loads initially, just for the recoil aspect, which I suppose I could fine tune if reloading?

Prices for budget stuff seem to be about 50p for .223, 50p for 357 and around £1 for 6.5. I saw a 150 box of Hornady Frontier .223 for £70. Seemed reasonable if its any good.

Without getting into match or high end hunting rounds, whats the general outlook for ammunition quality in terms of brand? Any to avoid these days? I recall Wolf being extremely dirty for example, but maybe thats changed. It would help to narrow down the costs a little more.

One other question if I may. On the FAC I have to stipulate buy/hold figures for ammunition. Are there any typical RFD price break/discount levels which could inform the figures I ask for and is expanding ammunition still section 5 and accounted for separately?

Thank you again for the responses, it's all very helpful.
 

banus

Well-Known Member
before you spend any money go to the club, talk to members, some will reload and may be will to help you load your ammo ,you buy components etc you go to them they instruct you in the correct procedure/show you what to do ,you buy them a beer/box of biscuits etc you will know you ammo costs and compare to factory.or if it frightens you go fishing or stick with the 22lr at the club/farm.and buy factory for your deer stalking. shooting in the uk of any form is not cheap!.good luck to you.
 

Heym SR20

Well-Known Member
Read the Home Office guidance notes - they are on a sticky at top of the Forum - this is what the Police FEO's should be working to.

For Deer Stalking you need a Deer Legal Calibre - slights differences between Scotland and England, but fundamentally a 243 with a 100gn bullet at c 2,900 fps is the minimum for all deer in the UK. Yes there are lots and lots of deer legal calibres, but the vast majority of stalkers use a 243, a 308 or a 270 for the simple reason that ammo is cheap and readily available in just about any gunshop. 243 tends to be the first choice for smaller deer, 270 win is preferred on Scottish Hill for Red, and 308 is now the standard issue for Forestry Commission Rangers and seems to be first choice for many. it used to be £1 a bang for deer cartridges. It's getting closer to £2 a bang.

Gallery rifles are a whole different ballgame, which I have no experience, but have little to do with Deer Stalking, and certainly for Scotland with min Muzzle Velocity requirements of 2,450 fps are not deer legal.

To get an FAC, it's not, thankfully, just a question of ticking the boxes, it's much much more a question of attitude and responsibility. To get an FAC and the authorisation to use a deer legal calibre on your own is even harder.

The best advice for somebody who wants to go deer stalking, is to find somebody who is a guide and who will take you out and you can use their rifle and get experience. If you want to shoot Gallery Rifles - then join a shooting club and get experience that way. But being in a target club is not automatic right to get a stalking rifle.

Shooting of any form can be expensive unless you are being paid to do it, in which case it then becomes your livelihood. The Target Boys can shoot thousands of rounds a year and that's a significant expense in terms of not only ammo, but barrels as well. With Deer Stalking - ammo is the least of your costs.

Any hobby, pastime costs money. Any hobby using expensive equipment, access to land etc etc - even more. But if you stalk regularly you don't a subscription to Satellite TV, Gym, Golf Club etc etc etc. Keep some spare for bribes or a divorce lawyer though:)
 
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