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Discussion Starter #1
so a simple question for you reloaders...I hope?

Is it worth the money and effort to reload 9mm

Here locally, at the moment, I can buy Monarch steel for $9.99 a box so $.20 per round. Granted this is crap ammo but plenty fine for range work.

So, call all the gear needed to actually reload a wash, imagine I was given that...what would you all say is the lowest per round cost when reloading based on raw materials only.
 

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Is it WORTH IT? Worth it, is up to you alone, as you have different sensabilities than I.

Here are your ROUGH numbers, YMMV.

Primers = $0.03 - 0.04 ea
Powder = $24/# So $0.003 per grain. ASSume 5gr ave load = $0.017/round
Bullets = $16/C(which is premium pricing) = $0.16

Roughly - $0.217/round = $10.85 per 50 rounds.
 

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The cost is an advantage but there is also the satisfaction of loading your own. I also fly fish so I tie my own flies and build my own rods.... I like knowing I can do it all myself.
 

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Skeptical of Everything
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Here's a calculator that helps you determine your reloading costs.

Reloading Costs Calculator « Ultimate Reloader

If you are ordering from an Internet dealer, don't forget to add the hazmat fee somewhere in the calc. You can always plug in numbers from your local source as a worse case scenario.

With careful shopping on the Internet (discounts, rebates, combined hazmat, and free shipping) I can load for about $8.11 per box of 50 ... and that is with Hornday FMJ ... there are less expensive bullets. Also, I shoot quite a bit ... so for me, it is definitely worth it.
 

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. . . Is it worth the money and effort to reload 9mm . . .
I can buy Monarch steel for $9.99 a box so $.20 per round. Granted this is crap ammo . . .
First benefit, at $0.20/round you won't be loading crap ammo. Beyond that, after a single quick look-up you can get 1k Rainier clad 115gr for <$0.10ea or 500 lead 115gr for <$0.06ea. At $0.05 for powder/primer, you're now at <$0.15 and <$0.11 respectively.

You trade time and capital investment for savings and/or better, more accurate ammo for your firearm.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Here's a calculator that helps you determine your reloading costs.

Reloading Costs Calculator « Ultimate Reloader

If you are ordering from an Internet dealer, don't forget to add the hazmat fee somewhere in the calc. You can always plug in numbers from your local source as a worse case scenario.

With careful shopping on the Internet (discounts, rebates, combined hazmat, and free shipping) I can load for about $8.11 per box of 50 ... and that is with Hornday FMJ ... there are less expensive bullets. Also, I shoot quite a bit ... so for me, it is definitely worth it.
That calculator is just what I needed...for me this is purely objective and economic, at least at this point.

I brew my own beer, build my own guitars and change my own oil so I am a gear slut and DIY junkie. There is seems to be that appeal to reloading but it is not quite the same kind of rewarding feeling as gazing at fine piece of lumber and making it sing. For me it would be purely cheaper trips to the range. My time would also be a factor but not as much so...I could call it a wash with the sense of satisfaction of not feeding a cooperate beast as much. The material cost is my primary concern.

Thanks for the input, I figured I would get just what I needed.

Two more question...gear and brass. What all would I NEED to get started? About how many reloads on average can I get on the brass? Assuming I cant reload steal?
 

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Well, I just went over what it cost me to load 500 rounds. I calculated that each copper-plated, TiteGroup charged round cost me 15 cents. Similar jacketed rounds cost 29 cents.

I bought used stuff for my bench for the most part. I bought new dies, but a used powder throw, used press, and used scale. My cost for the bench was $211.

500 factory rounds would have cost me $160. My 500 rounds cost me $73. I saved $86.

If I make another 750 rounds, I will have saved the cost of my bench so it will be fully amortized, but still viable. So my real cost after that will go to 15 cents per round. At that point, I will actually save the $73, and will continue to save that amount for each 500 rounds I reload.

I am using used brass, obviously, that I pick up at the local range after I'm done shooting. My goal is to pick up the 500 rounds that I shoot and another 500 rounds extra to ensure that I have a ready supply of good brass. So far this plan has worked well. I have several thousand casings awaiting reloading.

But, to me, even if the cost had been nearly the same, I would not have missed the fun/entertainment that I have had learning how to do this, and then actually doing it. I met some great people in the search for used equipment, and gathered a wealth of information and advice from people with experience. My wife is glad to have me at home sitting in the garage playing with my tools, and I can listen to music while I'm cranking the press. I'm having fun with the technical details. I thoroughly enjoy making a box of rounds where I have trickled each grain into the bullet to ensure that they are dead flat accurate, and I'm enjoying plotting the differences in the various recipes.

I now have recipes to ensure accuracy, recipes to ensure that my little LC9 doesn't wear my wrist out with recoil, and recipes that I use exclusively in my SR9c and M&P9c (yes, I have one of each, don'r know why).

I'm just having a blast at this -- pun INTENDED.

BTW -- I load only 9mm so far. I use all copper plated bullets in 115, 124, and 147 grain. So far I like the 124s the best. There is about a penny difference in the cost from low to high. The 147s cost more for the bullet but use less powder, etc. All of my bullets use CCI 500 primers that I buy locally as I do the Titegroup. The bullets come from the big brown truck. I find that used "FC" brass shines up the best, followed by "Speer". I don't pick up foreign brass because I find it is hard to clean. I find more "Win" brass that is damaged than any other type. And every once in awhile, I make a box of shells that are fully polished using a polishing wheel. It looks wonderful, but shoots the same as the unpolished stuff. But then, I was always impressed by "silver bullets" when I was a kid.
 

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I'm reloading for about a third of the cost of bought ammo.
I am now shooting three times as much.....
 

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Two more question...gear and brass. What all would I NEED to get started?
Gear wise to get started you would need a press and a set of dies, some way to measure the powder charge (scales), and some way to dispense each powder load into each case during the process (powder measure or dippers). And safety glasses are never a bad idea - particularly when working with powders and primers.

Here are the basic steps and what gear you would need for each step:
Remove old primer (press and a depriming die)
Install new primer (see discussion below)
Resize case (press and resizing die)
"Bell" the cartridge mouth to accept new bullet (press and expander die)
Measure powder charge (dipper / powder measure (volume set by using scales))
Dispense powder charge (dipper / powder measure)
Place new bullet just inside "bell" (your fingers)
Seat and crimp new bullet (press and seat / crimp die)

Primer installation can be done several ways depending on what "camp" you come from. Some folks like to install the new primer using the press's facilities to do so. Others, chose to use a separate priming tool of some sort to seat new primers. They choice is yours - both ways work.

You will also need some reloading info to help you decide on "how much powder" to use - every reloader needs a manual or two to refer to. You can get started by using the load data from a powder manufacturer's website (check out "http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp"), but eventually you will need (want) a manual or two.

Hickok45 has some good basic reloading information videos - try "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irC3NuIKDm4" to help you get started on the decision of what to buy.

As to reloading steel cases - the answer is NO, steel cases are not reloadeable.

As to how many times brass can be reloaded - it depends on how much stress you put on brass each time: hotter loads = shorter brass life. Assuming you start with duplicating factory load levels (a good place to start), brass can be reload dozens of times.

You may find (as many others have over the years) that you get started in reloading to save some money, but end up spending the same amount of money as before, but getting to shoot more for that same amount of money.

You may also find that reloading becomes an enjoyable part of the shooting process, allowing you access to loads that you just cannot purchase elsewhere.

Take care and enjoy.
 

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I make mine for .14 a round.

3-4 cent primer
1-2 cents of powder
9 cents for berry plated bullet.

You don't save as much on 9mm as some other calibers, but you still save. You can save even more if you go lead.

I do 45s for .19 which is less than half the cost of WWB at wally world.

Like others have said, reloading is it's own hobby.

My setup cost me around $300 initial for one caliber, then add about $50 a caliber to add to that for me as I buy new dies and a separate turret so I don't have to constantly take my dies apart.

I too got into it for the money savings, but stick with it because I enjoy making my own.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I am sure its only a matter of time. Once I get an idea in my head it rarely leaves.
 

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I think it really boils down to "how much do you shoot?"
The calculations of $$ per bullet sounds great but you have to factor in the initial cost of a press, dies, scale, caliper, etc...
If your willing to plunk down the $$ for startup, then down the road you can consider the cost factor of factory vs home rolled. As others have said, there is the satisfaction of doing it yourself too.

I started loading .45 acp, and because of that, I am able shoot a lot more now than I did before.
I was able to justify the investment. With my press in place, I've now purchased .40, 9mm and 38spl dies and grab as much brass as I can when the opportunity arises.
 

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Since I don't know the aptitude and attention span - let alone budget - of new reloaders I like to recommend the Lee Classic Turret. It is low cost, does the job well, operates as a single stage press, or auto-indexes to give you some speed. The nature of the press allows you to see and feel the operation, and learn. Lee carbide dies, too, where available. The Lee on-press powder measure works well, too.

The Lee on-press safety primer works well for large primers, can get flaky for some folks with small primers. I now do all rifle and much pistol priming off-press using an RCBS Universal Hand Primer. Takes some time to learn how to get the cover on keeping the primers face-up, but it feeds large and small primers extremely well (better than others) and handles all calibers without needing shell holders.

You will need a scale, and a beam-scale is nearly a fail-safe device. Unless you are on a tight budget and can put up with some ergonomic difficulties, any beam scale except the Lee is a good choice. I don't recommend starting with an electronic scale, because you may not detect if/when it gets flaky. YMMV.

Go to reloading manufacturer's web sites, watch their videos, read their primers, check youtube also for lots of videos. These are great tools to see what's involved and help you make choices good for you.
 

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The cost is an advantage but there is also the satisfaction of loading your own. I also fly fish so I tie my own flies and build my own rods.... I like knowing I can do it all myself.

I can also tailor the ammo to my gun.
Is better accuracy "worth it"?
 

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I have no idea what my reloads cost, I quit trying to save money by reloading in 1986. I understand why someone would base a hobby on costs, but rarely do I see it in practice except for reloading (do you count costs for snow sking? Bass fishing?). Many times when someone wants to reload solely for money saving, I'll suggest they just buy factory ammo in bulk or surplus ammo. I can't help but doubt a person's sincerity (researching/attempting to reload) when they only want a bunch of ammo that goes bang the cheapest way possible.

I reload because I enjoy it and I customize the ammo for specific guns (I have 5, .44 Magnums and each has their pet loads). I also cast bullets for my guns and that would really be hard to calculate bullet cost as I bought some lead, found some, and was given some, so I have no idea what the alloy cost per bullet would be. Component costs have changed over the past 25 years and keeping track of 1987 prices of Unique, 1992 prices of Starline brass, and 1998 prices of Wolf primers and using those figures to determine cost per round is way too much trouble for me (last month I used some old Unique and some Wolf primers with some of my mystery alloy bullets to reload some .44 Mag. ammo for my Dan Wesson. Cost per round?). There's way too much satisfaction assembling custom ammunition, which prolly can't be purchased, to worry about pennys.

jes an old guy's .02 after reading, for the 127th time "how much will I save by reloading?"
 

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I bought a classic lee hand loader in 9mm for $30. You don't need to spend a bunch on a big setup. Granted, the larger setups are more efficient but you can cut your teeth using a Lee Loader. Just my opinion.
 
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