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Reloading 9mm ... not just the cost BUT

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Starship, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. Starship

    Starship NE Portland Active Member

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    Fairly new to handguns after shooting shotguns for years.
    Have never done the reloading thing for either. I have found not enough savings on shotgun shells when you can buy them on sale pretty regular.

    BUT, how about 9mm?? I have read some posts that suggest savings could be substantial. I know nothing about it. Some of the post are rather intimdiating with talk about issues I don't even begin to understand.

    Just how hard is it to learn to reload 9mm. Is it cost effective.
    Most important ... What the heck do I need to do it??

    I don't mean just the componets but the equipment.

    Any and all help or suggestions greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Lloyd Braun

    Lloyd Braun Vancouver Active Member

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    its a pretty easy caliber to re load and yes, savings can be anywhere from minor to substantial depending on your ablity to wait for sales and and what you want to shoot.

    I recommend getting the lee breech kit to start and then adding on if you enjoy it. it comes with just about everything you need to get started. then get a set of lee carbide dies and a caliper and your off. load data can be obtained for free on all the major websites but its nice to have a few quick reference books handy
     
  3. elsie

    elsie Way over there on the left Well-Known Member

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    As far as what I would consider basic equipment, excluding components:

    Press
    Dies
    Reloading Manual(s) or load reference(s)
    Powder dispenser (can be dipper, trickler or charger)
    Scale
    Calipers or gauge
    Tumbler or vibrator for case cleaning

    Optionally you can get a case trimmer for over length cases. If not, you should set aside cases that are stretched to trim length or longer, which happens when you resize the case.

    Beyond that, the options are endless. If you plan on loading a lot of 9mm, then you may want to look at one of the progressive presses.


    elsie
     
  4. GRUNDEL

    GRUNDEL Washougal Area Active Member

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    I think I stole this link from someone else on this forum but it is a huge help in justifying the investment of purchasing reloading equipment and the components to reload. You may also find yourself enjoying the reloading process as much as the shooting. Okay maybe not, but I do find I can never have enough money to feed my reloading addiction.

    Handgun Cartridge Reloading Cost Calculator
     
  5. 2gr8dgs

    2gr8dgs oregon Active Member

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    I choose to not reload 9mm.
    I am all set up, with dies & a single stage press, buckets of brass, plenty of suitable powder.
    but i would rather work the hours on my job, to create the revenue , to purchase 9mm, than toil away at a single stage press, in my free time.
    If I owned a progressive, or were unemployed/retired & had a lot of spare time on my hands, that might be a different story,
     
  6. Starship

    Starship NE Portland Active Member

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    Hmmm, good point 2gr8dgs and something I've given thought to. Just how much time is involved vs the return?

    Anyone have an idea, using a single stage press, how long it takes to make 50 9mm bullets? I won't consider set-up time at this stage but just how long does it take to reload a box of 50??
     
  7. Thule

    Thule Monroe, WA Member

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    One nice things about reloading is that you usually make better ammo than you can buy off if the shelf. As far as cost goes, a lot of your money is tied up in the brass. Assuming you're buying new brass, the first time you make your ammo it will likely cost about the same or even a little more than store bought ammo. Once you've got the brass though, the cost goes down significantly.

    It also depends what bullet you're shooting. If you're loading Hornady XTP's, then your ammo will never be cheap :) If you buy some lead or plated bullets then you can get by pretty cheap. I load Montana Golds and I'm probably spending about $.15 a round not including the brass. You can do it for less than that though.

    On my progressive press I can bust out 50 rounds in around 10-15 minutes.

    Check out the book The ABC's of Reloading for a lot of good info to get you started. You can find it at most book stores and I've seen it at outdoors stores like Warehouse Sports (or whatever it's called now).
     
  8. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    Does anyone factor in the cost of the equipment as well?
     
  9. PhysicsGuy

    PhysicsGuy Corvallis, OR Resident Science Nut

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    I do, but it pays itself off very quickly, and its still keeps its value pretty good in the end.
     
  10. tac

    tac UK, Oregon and Ontario. Well-Known Member

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    Over here in the yUK, if I didn't reload, I just couldn't afford to shoot my .308s or my 7mms, or even my .357Mag LBR. To get the same performance for my .308 long-range ammunition I'd need to fork out almost $3 a shot. 7x57 I don't even think about.... On the other hand, for shooting my Swiss collection, Swiss GP11 is actually a whole lot cheaper than trying to replicate the near-perfection of the surplus stuff.

    Anyhow, reloading isn't meant to be a chore, it's meant to be part and parcel of the whole shooting experience and if you don't enjoy the odd bit of repetition work involved in actually doing it, then it's best to stick to Wal-Mart white box and be done with it.

    tac
    Supporter of the Cape Meares Lighthouse Restoration Fund
     
  11. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

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    I can do it in a little under an hour, but I'm a rookie and really have to pay attention to seating the bullet strait so I pull and rotate three times on every one. I'm getting better. Practice makes perfect.
     
  12. Point356

    Point356 Southern Oregon New Member

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    Reloading for any caliber is very rewarding and should not be looked at as a chore, thats simply the wrong attitude. For what you need, I strongly recommend you get this book first "Modern Reloading 2nd edition" by Richard Lee. It covers ALL aspects of reloading. I found it to be an essential learning tool for me! Visit your local gun shops and ask about reloading classes, that will get you started off with the basic fundamentals of reloading and maybe some hands on experience.

    The equipment you will need;

    A press kit - Lee Challenger ($81.99) - Lyman Crusher 2 ($326.99) A kit will offer all of the necessary tools to assemble a cartridge.
    Beyond what a kit offers; you will need Dies and shell holder, Lee dies will come with a shell holder ($25.00 - $60.00) for the caliber you want to reload, A loading tray ($8.00), a good digital caliper ($30.00 - $50.00), and plastic ammo boxes to store loaded ammo ($4.00). A case tumbler and media ($40.00 - $80.00 for the kit (tumbler,media, separator)


    These prices are from MidwayUSA.com
     
  13. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Northern Idaho Member

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    I started with the Lee anniversary kit and upgraded single components as I could afford. For pistol the basic Lee press will be fine. Make sure you mount it to a solid bench! I would recommend upgrading your scale to a basic digital scale A.S.A.P. I picked my little one up through Midway for under $40 and it has made a difference for me. I also bought one of the Lyman electronic scale powder funnel pans. Saves a lot of spilled powder granules on your bench.

    Find the Lyman funnel here:
    Lyman Electronic Scale Powder Funnel Pan - MidwayUSA

    Inexpensive digital scale here:
    Frankford Arsenal Micro Reloading Electronic Powder Scale 750 Grain Capacity - MidwayUSA

    There are a number of lesser expensive powder scales on Midway for under $40.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
  14. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    With a system established and a little prep work 150 - 200 in a evening is easy - an evening being 7 - 10 PM.
     
  15. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

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    I wanted to reload 357 (and 38spl). I got the Lee Challenger Breech (anniversary kit), deluxe 4 die set and some components. I have $140 into the fixes costs (press kit + dies). When I divide out the cost per round ($0.04 primer + $0.04 powder + $0.12 bullet) with re-used brass, the break even point was just over 200 rounds.

    I've only been at it a couple weeks, but doing things in batches. When I get 20-30 minutes to myself in the evening I'll complete a stage on 50 rounds. Next time I'll do the next stage. Powder metering and bullet seating/crimping is the only thing I've found requiring much concentration once your dies are setup.

    Aside from cutting my ammo costs by more than 1/2, the logistic advantages are huge. As long as I have components I can make more, configured as I want, when I want. That might be at 7am on a holiday.

    How many times have you gone to Wally World, 3 gun shops and no one has the ammo you want?
     
  16. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely essential when loading single stage - another way of saying prep work. Also try to pick a bullet/powder combination you like and always have supplies on hand and you will never encounter:
     
  17. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Even as an advanced reloader, it still takes forever to do things single stage.

    I highly recommend starting out single stage. The best thing I can recommend is one of the old lee hand presses. Get all your 9mm brass, put in the sizing die, and while you're sitting there watching TV get it all sized and then go ahead and bell it. Get an RCBS hand primer too (the lee one is total junk) and prime all your brass.

    When it comes time to load 50 rounds, it goes a lot faster when you did all the prep-work before hand. This is how I used to load for years when I was in High school and couldn't afford to shoot much unless I went this way.

    Also, I highly recommend RCBS for buying your reloading tools. Lee makes a few things that are worth while, but for the most part, their stuff is garbage. RCBS has lifetime warranties on everything, so when you smash a decapping rod, they will send you a fresh one for free. Even if you buy a used set. It makes dillons "no BS warranty" look laughable
     
  18. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Auburn, WA Active Member

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    re: priming

    My Lee Anniversary Kit came with the auto-prime (swinging arm that drops the primer).

    Since I like to clean the primer pockets immediately after resizing, I've found combining case expanding with the auto primer makes a lot of sense and saves time.

    I had heard mixed reviews about this primer method, but out of 200 I had only1 that did not seat correctly. That was likely a brass or operator error :)

    Maybe I should/could be more anal about my powder measure (weigh every 5 or 10), but I can now crank out 25 .357 rounds in under 20 minutes on my single stage setup. I might monkey around getting the bullet seat depth and/or crimp dialed in when I first put the dies in, but seem to crank there after.
     
  19. tcs#1

    tcs#1 oregon Member

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    RELOADER or HANDLOADER?

    This guy has a process that might help, I personally wouldn't do it on a single stage unless I was 20 and unemployed
    As far as cost goes?

    I'd probably save more and shoot less if I depended on factory loaded ammo

    Any money I save(?) goes towards more powder, bullets, component upgrades, beer, gas, primers, cleaning supplies, guns, optics, etc. etc.

    Handloading is a hobby

    Some handload to shoot more some shoot to handload more

    I get a great deal of pleasure sitting in my shop playing with brass knowing I control all the variables and have no one to blame for poor groups

    Keeps me calm
     
  20. Point356

    Point356 Southern Oregon New Member

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    No, Lee products are not garbage, they're just as good as any other brand of reloading tools. I have and use two Lee presses, an O frame Challenger and a Pro 1000. The Challenger I use to seat and crimp my 223 and 7.62x25. My Pro 1000 does EVERYTHING else, 9mm, 10mm, size and Decap 223, 7.62x25. In 10mm and 9mm my Pro 1000 is FULLY progressive. I have loaded over 10,000 rounds between both presses and both still function perfectly. There is no other company that gives you a fully progressive press for less than $300.00 that will load thousands of rounds. My presses have already paid for themselves twice over!