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Thread: Reloading 9mm - is it worth it?

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    Reloading 9mm - is it worth it?

    So I really think the activity of reloading would be fun for me, even if time can be a real problem sometimes. I'm looking at a lot of presses/kits, and trying to figure up start-up cost. However, I'm also looking at the components and that's what I'm really wondering about. Now, I was looking at one site specifically, which has really decent prices overall and I assume the same holds true for their reloading components.

    What I came up with is, using lead instead of jacketed bullets, the price per 1000 in 9mm is about $150. To me, that doesn't seem like a really big savings, unless I get to start shooting a LOT more. That puts 100 rounds at $15, but I can pick up commercial, jacketed ammo for about $20; sometimes even less. Am I looking in the wrong place for components, or maybe mathing wrong? What does 1000 rounds of 9mm cost for some of you guys to reload? Ballpark, at least?
    Remember, your first and best safety is the one between your ears.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BorisTheSpider View Post
    What I came up with is, using lead instead of jacketed bullets, the price per 1000 in 9mm is about $150. To me, that doesn't seem like a really big savings, unless I get to start shooting a LOT more. That puts 100 rounds at $15, but I can pick up commercial, jacketed ammo for about $20; sometimes even less. Am I looking in the wrong place for components, or maybe mathing wrong? What does 1000 rounds of 9mm cost for some of you guys to reload? Ballpark, at least?
    Check out Grandmaster bullets, lead bullets are $54.00 per thousand plus flat rate shipping. My last order was 2000 9mm, 2000 45acp, and 250 .32cal shipping was all in a med. size flat rate box for around $11.50. I am reloading 9mm for around $9.00 per 100 rounds using my own brass.
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    I'm thinking about the same question right now.

    Capital Cost
    This is the main barrier to entry (for me, at least): it's about $180 for a new Lee Pro 1000 press, or $400+ for a used Dillon 550B that many recommend (lifetime warranty). Let's add another $50-100 for initial set up costs (dies, shell holders, etc.), and we'll have $300-500 total.

    Running Cost
    Over the weekend, I found one gun store in town that sells primer and powder for ~ $40/1000 primers and $20+/lb powder. At 5 grains of powder per round, that works out to about 1400 rounds per pound of powder. It's a little more expensive, but it's cheaper than paying for hazmat and shipping.

    Copper-plated bullets should cost $80 or so with shipping (e.g. 9mm plated pistol bullets). This satisfies most ranges' requirements for no bare lead. Brass can be scrounged, or you can buy it for ~$30/1000.

    Excluding the cost of brass, you're paying $80 + 20 + 40 = $140/1000 rounds. That's the basic running cost.

    You can put a value on your time: a progressive press is supposed to churn out 200 rounds or so per hour, assuming competence, so 5 hours labor for 1000 rounds. At $7.25 minimum wage, that's about $40/1000 for a total of $180 per case of 9 mm. (Yes, ... I know...)

    Savings
    I currently buy Freedom Munitions Blaster at $180/1000. Walmart WWB is $227 with tax, the last time I checked. Neglecting time, I save $40/1000 and $87/100 over commercial reloaded and new ammo respectively.

    We've been shooting maybe 400 rounds of 9 mm per week until recently, when we shot a case in a month (spring break, wife's SR-22 being serviced...). Assuming we reach a steady state of 1 case/2 months, I might break even in 8 cases or 16 months.

    In short, that's how the figures look for my case. I'm looking around Craigslist for some used equipment, perhaps a Lee Pro 1000 as an experiment to see if it works out.
    Last edited by andreew; 03-25-2012 at 09:21 PM.

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    Comes down to "time is money". How much is your time worth? For 9mm I don't much see the point. I have been told the cut off point is .45 rounds. I shoot both lc and acp 45 and am seriously considering making my own. Would love to shoot more but the cost is a killer.
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    I have heard that viewing reloading as a hobby rather than a chore helps. For example, if you were to consider the time wasted at minimum wage, it would hurt. However, you don't think about paying yourself when you read a book, visit the range, or do other things like that.

    I do see at least one flaw in my logic. When I shop for ammo, I search around and find the best deal I can. When I was looking at components, I checked only one place. If I catch sales, and keep an eye out, from what I've read on another forum, I can potentially get the price down to about half of what I was looking at. Of course, casting my own bullets would really help that as well (though that seems very unlikely).

    Finally, I will add on that, although I omitted it from my OP, I will likely reload for 9X18 as well, which could actually save even more money. There are some fine offerings in that caliber for a fair price, but I really could save more. Also, I may consider going into other calibers as well. I mean, my collection keeps changing in size, so who knows what I'll end up with next. It seems to me that almost any caliber other than 9mm is easily worth it, with .45 being a ludicrous bargain. And with 9mm, you've just got to work harder and buy in bigger packages to beat factory prices.

    Of course, I'm still researching it, and 9mm will probably be the most oft-reloaded caliber I use for the foreseeable future, so I really would love more input - especially from the guys who do it.
    Remember, your first and best safety is the one between your ears.

    And if that one fails, we're all doomed.

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    Reloading is something I will do eventually, but as a college student and working part time, my time is valuable.

    My estimated savings would be ~$20 per 1000 rounds. Considering it could take anywhere from ~3-10 hours to pump out 1000 rounds, my time is worth more than $5 dollars savings per hour.

    That's my take on it, for 9mm anyway.
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    I do it the long and hard way with the Lee Classic Loader for 9mm.
    With powder and primers from Bass Pro, Berry's plated HP bullets, it's working out to $145/1000.
    Although I did score a Lee powder measure from Pay it Forward 2.0.
    Speeds things up a bit, not having to weigh every charge.

    Commercial 124gr. HP ammo runs anywhere from $15-$25 per 20 rounds, call it average $1 each vs. 14.5 cents for me.

    OK. So I checked on the latest 9mm prices for HP, running about 60 to 75 cents a round.
    Last edited by gwk1951; 03-25-2012 at 10:34 PM.
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    Does Bass Pro sell primers? They don't appear on their website.

    I've never visited Bass Pro, but there's a store in Houston (90 miles away). If their prices are good that might be an option too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gwk1951 View Post
    I do it the long and hard way with the Lee Classic Loader for 9mm.
    With powder and primers from Bass Pro, Berry's plated HP bullets, it's working out to $145/1000.
    Although I did score a Lee powder measure from Pay it Forward 2.0.
    Speeds things up a bit, not having to weigh every charge.

    Commercial 124gr. HP ammo runs anywhere from $15-$25 per 20 rounds, call it average $1 each vs. 14.5 cents for me.
    Do you mean the one with the mallet? Wow!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gwk1951 View Post
    I do it the long and hard way with the Lee Classic Loader for 9mm.
    With powder and primers from Bass Pro, Berry's plated HP bullets, it's working out to $145/1000.
    Although I did score a Lee powder measure from Pay it Forward 2.0.
    Speeds things up a bit, not having to weigh every charge.

    Commercial 124gr. HP ammo runs anywhere from $15-$25 per 20 rounds, call it average $1 each vs. 14.5 cents for me.
    HP ammo vs reloaded ammo for practice? That's a little like apples and oranges is it not? Personally I'd never use remanufactured/reloaded of any kind of manufacturer in lieu of purpose built factory hollow points for HD/SD.



    Pretty telling and easy to use table for good cheap practice ammo, which I'm relatively sure was the intent of the OP.
    OEF Veteran and Cornfed Iowa Boy
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