Is buying reloaded ammo worth it?

Marlin .45-70

A Marlin .45-70 that blew up after some bad reloads. (Photo credit:

Spirit Airlines is an ultra cheap, budget airline making headway in the travel industry. The premise behind Spirit is to provide no-frills transportation in order to capture portions of the market that are hard-pressed for cash. Customer service is subpar and all amenities — except using the bathroom — cost extra. The French call it a la carte, I call it bare-bones.

Most Spirit Airlines passengers said they hate the experience and would never use them again. Funny thing is, statistically, many of them are lying. People are always looking to save a buck, but often times they cut corners in places they never should. I’m sure Spirit is probably just as safe as any other major airline, but saving $60 isn’t enough for me to endure the painfully uncomfortable flight.

While listening to a radio piece about Spirit Airlines, I was struck with the similarities between them and a niche group of the gun industry. Namely, shooters who buy other people’s reloads at gun shows. I’m sure there are plenty of good reloaders out there whose handloads put the best ammo maker to shame. The problem is, unless you’re knowledgeable enough to roll your own, you can’t check to see if the guy knows his stuff.

Ammunition, a controlled explosion inside of an expensive fragmentable steel object, is not a good place to take risks, especially when that explosion takes place inches away from a shooter’s face. In every piece of firearms safety literature I could find there is a section explicitly warning folks to avoid other’s reloads. Yet, I know guys with guns worth several thousand dollars who, despite having bad experiences with unknown reloads, continue to buy them!

Another example is one of my regular shooting buddies. He has an AR-15 chambered in 5.45 that he has dropped $2,000 on. He feeds it a steady diet of 7N6 — corrosive surplus ammo. Then proceeds to complains about accuracy and the additional cleaning required. He has the money to buy commercial 5.45 ammo, but he wants to save money!

I am a frugal guy and I recognize the importance of saving money. I understand where both the Spirit Airlines passengers and the ammo guys are coming from, but you have to cut corners in the right places. I’m a gambling man, but I only gamble things I can afford to lose. An eye, via reloads, not being one of those items.

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