Not much. Buying in bulk is the way to go. I reload, and yes, it's saves 20 to 50 %. But reloading is very time consuming even with a good progressive press. I also teach reloading. Do it to acquire a hobby, not to save money. Equipment is not cheap, and you'll need to load 1000 rounds per month to make it worth the savings.
I just reloaded 22-250 for $.11 per round with premium components. Cheap factory ammo is close to $.35 per round. It is absolutely worth the work involved which is actually pretty easy once you get started
I forgot to add that by myself i can load about 150 rounds an hour with my single stage rcbs press and if i enlist the help of a friend it is closer to 250-300 rounds per hour. I am saving 20$ per 100 rounds if you use cheaper primers and bullets you can save alot more
It depends on what, premium defense, target, or hunting loads or plinking, you want to shoot and how much time you have. You can figure it yourself:
There are 7,000 grains to the pound. (Cost per pound of powder/ 7000) * grains/round = cost of powder per shot
Assuming you already have cases:
Cost of bullet + Cost of primer + cost of powder = cost per round
If I want premium hunting ammunition I usually come out with at least a 50% savings and can get more practice. Most of what I shoot for hunting doesn't have an inexpensive option, so I get savings right quick For common defense cartridges my budget for practice shooting is extended by at least 50% by reloading.
You figure what your time is worth for a hobby or training v whatever else you might want to do.
It all depends on what you are reloading. I started reloading 410 shotgun shells with a MEC reloading setup and save well over half the cost of buying new shells, 15 cents vs 45 cents a pop. However it does take money to get started reloading and a good setup is NOT cheap. 356 is correct in that it is more of a hobby, but whatever you reload you will save some. One advantage with reloading is you can make your loadings to suit you, within safety limits of course. But as with most of us these days money is a BIG factor, have you considered a 22 caliber something? A 22 shell costs just 2 or 3 cents a pop making it very economical compared to everything else. I was out Sunday and shot my 303 a few times ($1.50 a pop) but then put over 200 rounds through my 22 and spent only $6. You can still shoot whatever else you have, just not as much.
I currently load 45acp and 380acp. I ordered the dies for 223 last night and will be doing those soon.
On a single round fired:
45acp = 42% savings, and this is with bought plated bullets, you can go much cheaper with lead
380 acp = 40% savings, again with plated bullets
223 rem = I think I calculated that one to be about 48%
I have loaded enough rounds to pay for about half of my equipment. It is not a right away savings. You have to buy equipment, buy powder and bullets to make the rounds. If you don't mind the initial investment go for it. Just be warned you will be saving on rounds but it will take time to pay off that equipment.
I have a sense of comfort shooting my loads. I know I made them and if there is a problem it is my fault, not a company. It gets really fun playing with powders and their weights and bullets figuring out what YOU shoot best with in the respected weapon.
Most of it comes down to what your time is worth. If you spend your spare time watching the tube or reading Playboy, then you will probably come out with some savings.
Conversley, if you could be making money doing something else, it depends on what that something else is and what kind of $$ it yields.
If you have the time, there is a great satisfaction knowing you put your rounds together. You can also develop the right loads for your particular gun which in itself, if you are into accuracy down to the 1/4 inch, is a great feeling of pride.
The larger or more specialized the rounds, the more you will save. And YES you can save significant amount of money. As noted above, this is a HOBBY for the most part.
My .308 can save about 50%. That is almost a $.80 a round. (That is with some very nice bullets.) I won't load 9mm any longer. They are just too common and the savings just isn't there. But, .45 and .223, you bet. I can turn on a John Wayne flick and listen to that or a ball game and knock out a couple hundred rounds and be very happy.
The start up cost can get you, but I have a Lee single stage press. (About $125) I added dies and other incidentals such as a digital scale, case cleaners, trimmers, etc. and have about $500 in my whole set up.
I shoot IDPA, IPSC and some 3 gun. - That is lot of reloading during the summer months. SO... I will be reloading this winter for the summer. You don't have to do it all at once! Ammo will generally not spoil.
I got into reloading to feed my 338 win mag. At $45+ a box it is easy to save some serious coin. Once you have the basic setup it is easy to add different dies, case trimmers, etc for any round that makes sense.