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Discussion Starter #1
How cost efficient is to reload 9mm? I’m kicking around the idea of getting into reloading to keep the cost of my new addiction to a minimum. At the moment I don’t own any larger calibers and most of my range time is spent with the 9mm. However, when I compare the cost of new ammo, around $8 for 50, I don’t see the savings. Where did my math go wrong? Lets say I don’t cast my own rounds (prefer FMJ) and have to buy my brass. Anyone have an idea of what the average cost per round would be if I did it myself?
 

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I also do not reload, nor my son. But if we could see the cost effectiveness of it, we might start. I know personally we already have about 1000 empty 9 mm,another 1000 or better of unfired commercial 9 mm, a couple hundred 38/357, and the same of 45LC.

We had figured with the cost of the equipment to start, and the bullets being bought not made, added to the primers and powder it might be pretty expensive to start.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Robby said:
I also do not reload, nor my son. But if we could see the cost effectiveness of it, we might start. I know personally we already have about 1000 empty 9 mm,another 1000 or better of unfired commercial 9 mm, a couple hundred 38/357, and the same of 45LC.

We had figured with the cost of the equipment to start, and the bullets being bought not made, added to the primers and powder it might be pretty expensive to start.
Robby, I though maybe I was missing something but it sounds like your math is the same as mine. If you figure a primer at 3 cents, powder at 2 cents, a FMJ bullet at 8 cents the cost is 13 cents per round if you already have the brass. As you mentioned in another post today, you can buy new 9mm for around $8 per box or 16 cents a round. Seems to me, like you said, it takes a whole bunch of reloading to make up the 3 cent difference to pay off the cost of the equipment.
 

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How cost efficient is to reload 9mm?
rainman
It is not overly cost efficient unless you do a lot of shooting. I reload everything I shoot except self defense. If you shoot alot and recover your brass you will end up saving a few coins. The advantage to reloading is trying different loads and bullets with a particular gun. What runs sweet in my 24/7 does not run as nice in my pt92. You get to load for the situation. Longer target shooting as apposed to close quarters practice. If you shoot any competition reloading can be a great advantage. I was fortunate enough to have a friend who has been into reloading for a while and is teaching me the finer points. We also share some of the expense of tooling and supplies.
 

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I know someone should be able to show us, how the price break works to reload effectively, and cheaply. That price you saw from my post was a current web site price. I have not paid over $6.98 per 50 for my 9mm, and $13 for 38's, and now just at $22 for 45LC for hollow points. $18 for fmj 45LC.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
airwrench said:
rainman
It is not overly cost efficient unless you do a lot of shooting. I reload everything I shoot except self defense. If you shoot alot and recover your brass you will end up saving a few coins. The advantage to reloading is trying different loads and bullets with a particular gun. What runs sweet in my 24/7 does not run as nice in my pt92. You get to load for the situation. Longer target shooting as apposed to close quarters practice. If you shoot any competition reloading can be a great advantage. I was fortunate enough to have a friend who has been into reloading for a while and is teaching me the finer points. We also share some of the expense of tooling and supplies.
Airwrench, Good point. I can see where a savings could be incured if a person were shooting competition or reloading for different applications. I can also see the savings for the larger calibers, 357 mag 44Mag, 454 Casull, 480's and so on. However my shooting needs basically boil down to going mano e' mano with tin cans and paper targets. Like I said maybe my math is all screwed up.

Robby said:
I know someone should be able to show us, how the price break works to reload effectively, and cheaply.
Great question! Anybody out there who has a table on what the actual savings might be? Just for the fun of it, say 9mm 124gr FMJ if you already owned your own brass.
 

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I basically pay for primer and a few grains of bullseye in my 9mm practice loads. The bullet is free, 105 grain .358SWC sized to .357 and loaded in brass I save or pick up at the range. So, figure a buck fifty a box, maybe, under two anyway. Can you buy Blazer or WWB for that? My Dillon Sq Deal is set up for 9x19 and whipping out a few boxes is no real problem.

I load bulk Winchester 115 JHP I get from midwayusa (about 7 dollars a box of 100 IIRC) for hotter loads, costs me around $3.50 more, so figure 5 to 5.50 a box for jacketed stuff. I used to shoot that bullet in IDPA loaded to minimum power factor with bullseye for powder. Those bullets are up to around 10 bucks a hundred now, so loading lead (cheaper if bought bulk) is the option I'd go now. You can still get cast lead bullets cheap as the old JHPs. If I didn't cast, I'd to that, but I do cast and save a BUNDLE doing so.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
NativeTexan said:
I basically pay for primer and a few grains of bullseye in my 9mm practice loads. The bullet is free, 105 grain .358SWC sized to .357 and loaded in brass I save or pick up at the range. So, figure a buck fifty a box, maybe, under two anyway. Can you buy Blazer or WWB for that? My Dillon Sq Deal is set up for 9x19 and whipping out a few boxes is no real problem.

I load bulk Winchester 115 JHP I get from midwayusa (about 7 dollars a box of 100 IIRC) for hotter loads, costs me around $3.50 more, so figure 5 to 5.50 a box for jacketed stuff. I used to shoot that bullet in IDPA loaded to minimum power factor with bullseye for powder.
Thanks for the info. What do you mean "the bullet is free"? Powder and primer, as you mentioned are cheap and free brass doesn't get any cheaper. When I was doing my calculations, the bullet was the most exspensive component.
 

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Sorry. I cast my bullets from range scrap I pick up at the range. So much of it out there, in 30 minutes I can fill a large coffee can with it, 25 or 30 lbs. So, it's free except for the time it takes me to pick it up and cast it. My time is cheap. I'm partially retired.
 

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BTW, I use that same 105 grain SWC for .380 auto and light loads in .38 special. It's a very accurate bullet cast from a Lee double cavity mold, one of my favorite molds for its versatility. My Taurus 85 shoots that bullet into 3" at 25 yards as does my Ruger P85. I don't push it very fast.
 

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Ok, you all have covered the primer, powder, buying lead (because there is no place to salvage for me).
So I need at minimum, something to clean the brass. the tools to seat the primer (if not part of a rotary loader), a powder measure system (manual or powered), Dies for what ever I am going to load, 9mm 38,357,45LC. A tool to seat the bullet properly. Have I missed anything. Or would it be smarter in the long run to buy a multi station loader, seperate or combined powder measure system, and cleaner separate from all the rest.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Robby said:
Ok, you all have covered the primer, powder, buying lead (because there is no place to salvage for me).
So I need at minimum, something to clean the brass. the tools to seat the primer (if not part of a rotary loader), a powder measure system (manual or powered), Dies for what ever I am going to load, 9mm 38,357,45LC. A tool to seat the bullet properly. Have I missed anything. Or would it be smarter in the long run to buy a multi station loader, seperate or combined powder measure system, and cleaner separate from all the rest.
Oh yea......there is that minor little start up cost matter. I think what it all boils down to is how much savings do I get and how long (or how many rounds) does it take to break even on the cost of equipment. For instance, you save big if you cast your own lead but you have to buy a furnace, sizer/luber, molds, etc. For me, I shoot maybe(?) 5,000 rounds of 9mm per year. With the cost of all the equipment that Roby listed it seems like it would take me forever to pay for it in savings.
 

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I tend to agree with airwrench's comments. And it's up to the individual.
If you do a great deal of shooting, & most of us fall into that category, just
to maintain some degree of efficiency, then I'd say by all means, get into
reloading.

And of course, saving your brass after you've bought & shot several boxes
does indeed help out a lot. There are still lots of people who do not reload.
When you go to your local range, you can always pick up extra brass. I myself
am not concerned with any kind of savings with reloading.

To me, it is part of the enjoyable hobby of shooting. After all, most hobbies
do have an expense added to them. As for reloading, granted, you cannot get
past the initial expense to get started. But, that's part of the hobby. And as
before mentioned, there is the pleasure to work up different loads, to compare
one load against another.

If one can find a way to afford it, there's a lot to be gained by doing your own
loads. There's a lot to learn from it; & it's also very gratifying. I started reloading
almost immediately after I got into serious shooting. And I have never looked back.

Just my dos centavos! ;) :)
 

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I been buying by the 500 ct case, several of them at a time. I lowered my costs tremendously that way. Most of my shooting is done on my own range on my farm, and I use a metal detector to get back all my brass, primarily so my horses will not pick it up, or stick it in a hoof. I guess later I could mine the bank I use for a back stop, but the effort might out weigh the amount recovered there.
 

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There are other ways to get lead. Wheel weights from a tire dealer work great and they'll often give 'em away or charge minimal. I've gotten lead from ancient window weights, tire weights, large battery terminals on batteries destined for destruction, even have cast with store bought shot for less than I can buy bullets when I got desperate. Now days, it's pretty easy for me to get 'em from the range and my gun club membership only costs me 30 bucks a year. You COULD look at it as a free membership, especially when you toss in all that free brass, LOL!
 

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Robby
What do you do with your brass? Are you reloading? Because some of us reloaders might want to buy some of your once fired stuff. :)
 

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There are other advantages to reloading. I always have the same load for my various guns, have standardized on certain loads in all calibers that I reload for. I always have a supply of the very same bullets since I cast. All this ammo is known and my guns are regulated for them, spot on. The loads are tailored for my rifles, too. Hard to get 3z4 moa or less with factory rifle ammunition unless you just get lucky. I bought a Lee progressive for 45 bucks off ebay before they got all antigun. I have made other deals. I inherited a bunch of equipment and still have some of it. I've been reloading since my grandpa and uncle were doing it back about age 10, makes it 45 years my count. It's a good hobby for a rainy, cold day like it is right now in fact. WHERE'S MY PRESS? LOL!

Dies, presses, whatever can be done expensive or on the cheap. Lee Precision makes good quality stuff for excellent prices and sometimes with novel ideas that work behind their products. For instance, if you use tumble lube designed bullets and Lee liquid alox to lube (works fantastic), no sizer die or sizing is necessary and lubing is done in a coffee can in a few seconds and in bulk, not one at a time. Cost of a TL double cavity mold about 25 bucks IIRC. Cost of liquid alox about 2 bucks a bottle and it lasts a LONG time. Cost of an empty coffee can about 4 bucks for a little one, 7 bucks for a big one and you can drink the coffee you make if you're a coffee drinker. Of course, it don't have to be a coffee can.

Some of my very best bullets are TL designed. Lee makes sizers for regular bullets and I use Lee sizer dies that screw into any press and the plunger fits in the case head holder slot. That tool is 10 bucks or something. Lee makes a rifle case trimmer system, about 8 dollars for the whole thing, but once you get the part that chucks into an ordinary electric drill, and the trimmer part, you just buy the 4 dollar case holder and sizer gauge for each caliber.

You see, you don't HAVE to use the high dollar RCBS stuff. Lee has stuff that'll do the job as good or even better for much less. You just need to do the research when setting things up. My equipment is a combination of brands. I have Hornady, RCBS, Pacific, Lee dies. I have a Lyman turret press, a single stage Pacific, a Lee Pro 1000 progressive, and a Dillon Square Deal progressive. I have just replaced my old RCBS powder balance (which I still have) with a very nifty electronic single pan balance I got off ebay for 30 bucks. I've heard the Lee balance is okay, but hey, electronic is the best way. My furnace is Lee, very nice set up that poors from the bottom, holds 10 lbs.

You can get into reloading with a Lee Aniversary kit for under a hundred bucks, add a die set and a few things. You can then add things along the way as you want. Cost of set up is really no excuse unless you're just trying to make excuses for not wanting to spend the time to get into it and learn.
 

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TY for that very good bit of information! I think that is what we were looking for originally. I know actual costs can vary, right now my oldest son, who would be my co loader is going thru some tough times. Being a medically retired LEO, whose former department is fighting him, over every dollar that he deserves is really tough. Dad thought maybe this might be a way to get him motivated again.

I will not go into all the reasons, I want to do this but mostly it is for him to have something that will get his mind off the BS, that lawyers, and more lawyers, have been giving him for several years. Heck, I set up the range for me and him on the farm, so I can get him out. I need the range time, and he would be help to me on shooting, if we were not so much alike.

Now I just have to figure out where we could put this stuff to reload with that would be useable and safe.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I echo Robby's thanks. Yes, that's what we were looking for even though Robby has a MUCH better reason for getting into reloading than I do. But I still have a few questions or maybe need some clarification. IF I decided to start reloading but wasn't sure it was something I would stick with, what are the basic no frills necessities that would be needed to get started? I hear you'all taking about furnaces and presses and sizers and god only know what else. Could someone list out the basics for us?
 

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airwrench said:
Robby
What do you do with your brass? Are you reloading? Because some of us reloaders might want to buy some of your once fired stuff. :)
Well we keep it believe it or not, back in the original boxes. If I do not decide to go into reloading, I might them up for resale for those that were interested. Right now we probably have right close to 1000 9mm, Quite a bit of 38, or 357, but I have not got any real count on that. 45 real brass, I have right now a couple hundred, but when the weather breaks all those will go up quickly!!

I probably have close to 3000 unfired factory rounds of 9mm, 38, 357, and 45LC that I bought cheap, or my son has from his days as a LEO. God only knows how much 308, and 7.62 or is that 5.62 rounds we have. I have never been into those that much, but he has several long guns and was buying his ammo by the 1000's, before he got hurt.
 
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