Late last winter I finally got a press set up and started reloading. Being a newb at it I am very careful and conservative; no hot loads for this guy.
I use a single-stage press, examine every cartridge at every stage, look into each casing after dropping powder to insure the charge looks correct (and is actually there.) After seating the bullet I examine it to insure it is seated to the proper depth and wipe off any excess lube. Every 15-20 rounds I weigh a charge even though my powder-measure has never let me down.
It’s not a fast process and I make it a little slower than it needs to be, but I enjoy it. If you factor in my time it’s more expensive than buying ammo- for the more common calibers at least. But a lot of the time it’s easier to make time than it is to make money.
Reloading is necessary for me- I like old guns that fire ammo that is scarce and expensive. I mean $35-40 a box. I’d splurge and only shoot them once a year, but now I can have a box of fifty for half the price of a box of cheap 9mm and an hour of my time. My time isn’t cheap, so that’s actually a lot more expensive than simply buying a box of ammo- but that time isn’t part of the cost; it’s part of the reward. I really enjoy reloading; it’s relaxing, both mindless and mindful. Like meditation in a way.
I also don’t need to do it all at once. Taking a five-minute break? De-prime some .32 S&W long. Or prime it. Or set the powder-measure. Or charge and seat a dozen rounds. You get the idea.
It’s also given me the freedom to indulge myself in terms of which guns I buy. A year ago I passed on a lovely .32-20 at a very good price. This year I wouldn’t need to. 9mm Largo? Why not? I’ll just ‘roll my own.’ Last year I couldn’t afford to shoot .45 Colt; this year I’ve fired over 500 rounds of it- and (original) .44 Colt would have been unthinkable.
Maybe in a strict financial analysis reloading doesn’t make sense, but it’s the intangibles that make it all worthwhile. Cost-benefit is about more than just money, after all.