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Hi, all. I dont reload yet but am going to start after the new year. Reason for the post, curiosity.
I was checking prices for loaded ammo and found I could buy 5000 rounds of 9mm 115 gr FMJ for right at $500. Also checking I found that the price of components, surplus military pull down bullets, powder and cases, new primers was $500 including my guess at shipping. How can someone make any money loading the ammo for this low a cost? And is it even worth loading 9MM for blasting ammo? I admit, I have run into some poor quality cheap ammo, but still...
 

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Some people say dollars & cents reloading isn't worth it. I choose to reload because for the same money plus some effort I can shoot ammunition that will compare to anything you can buy and then some. I also shoot .44 special at times which is not commercially available in a variety of bullet styles. I also get the chuckles every time I read about somebody cursing the doggone cheap Russian ammo. If you start reloading follow the manuals and pay attention to what you are doing.
 

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Believe it or not, 10 cents a round is still high for handloading the 9MM. Plated bullets and grade 1 used brass are the key. Plus 1000 rounds per pound of powder.

All this and 450 FPE in place of 350...the 9 is king of bang for the buck.
 

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I am glad you all understood what I was asking. Quality loads are surely important, it seems it would be hard to load commercially for money tho. I would rather pay the same price (less of course is good) and have quality ammo, even if it does cost me a little labor.

Andy
 

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load your own

handloading lets you experiment with componants,and you know exactly which componants work best after a few hundred rounds.you have no idea what componants are contained in the factory stuff.why pay for rounds,then throw away the brass?plus its just an added skill/hobby to keep you busy at 3 am lol.:)
 

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The true savings comes into play in reloading when you want/need to shoot something other than cheap FMJ ammo. I reload almost everything. I probably shoot 500 rounds of factory loaded, non-rimfire, ammo a year. Compare that to 8-20,000 rounds of reloads, depending on how much time I have to shoot during the year and what particular discipline I'm working with the most. Another major factor is being able to determine the power level of your ammo to a T. If you are shooting your 9 in a regulated discipline (IDPA, etc, etc.), you need a particular power level. Nothing more to slow your shooting, nothing less to get you disqualified. The advantages are huge, the $ investment reasonable. If you had more money than time, you probably wouldn't be worried about it one way or the other for pistol shooting. As you take on more weapons, you may find it neccessary to reload in order to attain adequate accuracy levels, suitable projectiles, or to tailor a load to your particular firearm or intended use, or possibly just to have ammunition that is not available elsewhere. If you've got the time, it's a very worthwhile pasttime. If you want to make mass quantities of pistol or rifle ammo, make sure you get a good (BLUE, just to be sure) progressive press after you have mastered the basics on a quality single stage press. The bottom line is that your shooting doesn't improve much when you're pulling the handle on the reloading press, so buy the best, fastest reloader you can afford once you've become familiar with the basics. Handloading is the ultimate in quality control.
 

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To Andy: Where are you getting 5,000 rnds for $500? Is it steel cases?
I'm interested in reloading 9mm just for plinking/target shooting, so I'm not about selecting powders and bullets and optimizing accuracy and velocity. I just want cheap shooting with reloadable cases. Plus, I just enjoy reloading; it's a time of tranquility and relaxation.
So from this point of view, I'm not sure I can reload for 10 cents/rnd.
 

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Andy,
You don't HAVE to buy 9mm cases, you watch the shooters near you at the range and see who is leaving their cases all over the ground. You approach these shooters and ask politely, "Excuse me, but are you going to keep your cases?" Likely, the answer will be "No, do you want them?" If you see the shooters religiously picking up their cases, they are reloaders so look elsewhere for the non-reloaders and free cases. In time, you will gather more than a lifetime suppy of free cases just for the asking. If you must buy cases to get started, buy once-fired cases from a reputable source, e.g. Dillons, MidwayUSA, or other shooter supply stores.

The next thing to understand is 9mm at $5.00 a box is mostly foreign made with steel cases, non-reloadable Berdan primers, and unknown powders. In other words, ammunition meant to be used once. Not the best feed for your expensive handgun.

Finally, yes, 9mm is worth reloading if you intend to produce factory or better than factory ammunition for lower cost. All of my 9mm ammunition is reloaded using all quality components and has been for years.
 

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I once watched a guy throw away like 300-400 pieces of 9mm brass in one of the trash barrels at our range. That is the day I officially became a dumpster diver! I actually found all that 9mm brass as well as 2 boxes of .308 brass, and a lot of other assorted pistol and rifle brass! Those jerks were picking it up off the range floor and throwing it in the trash cans! How rude of them to not just leave it all over the floor!


I didn't really dive into the trash barrel, I tipped it over and dumped it out. It was all just shot up cardboard and targets. Just threw all that in another barrel and picked out all the brass. Worth it. I have no shame.

I've got a 5 gallon bucket full of once fired 9mm brass and I've got one full of .223/5.56. I don't pick up brass anymore.

And this is an old thread. 9mm was cheaper in 2002 than it is today.
 

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Machine gun shoots.

9MM is the easiest to get free. A machine gun shoot at a club is a great place to get brass, if you can be first in line for them. Price of brass is not part of the equation for me. Cast boolits can lower costs even more. Using less powder (mild loads) of a lesser priced powder, may not seem like a huge savings, but over time/volume it adds up.
 

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9 mm has never been more popular than today. The army switching to this cartridge brought LE along with it and the ammunition companies have refined the round to be even more effective. Where .38 Special brass used to be easily found at all ranges, the 9 mm is king today. I have so much 9 mm brass on hand that I'm leaving the brass at my range after 6 reloads and won't be searching for any more until I get some more storage space in my reloading room. I never thought I would be in this situation as my stockpiles of brass built up over the years. I still regret seeing non-reloaders trashing their once-fired handgun brass as that is the second costliest component in a reloaded round using factory jacketed bullets.
 

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. . Just threw all that in another barrel and picked out all the brass. Worth it. I have no shame. . .
I wouldn't consider "dumpster diving" as shameful, I think it's more in line with "judicious recycling". My range picks up all of the trashed cases and sells it to a metals dealer to lower the costs of running the range. What I do is divert some of that brass to be "recycled" in my reloading room. It eventually will be returned to my range after X number of reloads.:D
 

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As was noted this is a 15 YO thread. If 9mm surplus ammo was free I would still handload the 9mm. I enjoy the process and producing the best rounds I can muster. I like accurate rounds even when plinking.
 

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All good points

I reload for 9mm because I want to and like to do it. The brass is once-fired from the local gun club and is free. I cast bullets from wheelweights that were free. Thus, I can reload 9mm ammo for less than ten cents a round and I know what is inside the case and works in my handguns. All the best...
Gil
 

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Nice to see an old pertinent thread revived. Loading for the 9mm Para is one of the more fun parts of this hobby! The tremendous diversity of both 9mm guns and ammo can make finding the best (for me, read: most accurate at the proper power level) load for a particular weapon using factory ammo expensive, time consuming and doesn´t always guarantee the best solution. Being able to reload allows one to tailor the best possible loading for a particular weapon, hopefully for a lower cost than the factory loaded fodder. Re berden primered brass: here in Sweden there is usually a lot of once-fired berdan primed Swedish army m/45B sub machine gun ammo brass lying around on the ranges or discarded (I have collected so much over the years that I measure what I have by the kg.) The brass is of excellent quality and by using the RCBS berdan primer popper I have been able to reloade literally thousands of rounds at an almost zero case cost. I use the long winter nights to pop and clean the primers/pockets while watching the boob tube and I´ve modified my primer seating tools to also seat the berdan primer diameter so when it`s time to reload I have hundreds or more of primer-prepared cases all ready to go-I just remove the decapping pin and load what I need, when I need on my progressive press. I use my Case-Pro 100 on all my 9mm brass, after tumbling, which returns my brass to SAAMI standard and which gives me a reusable case percentage of over 98% allowing me to use brass fired in the Swedish M45b and other sub machine guns which are usually too fat (read: case bulged) to feed through my competition 9mm barrels-even when resized with standard TC resizing dies. Not cheap, but if you do a lot of reloading, or, say, for a club, it`s money well spent. Properly maintained the C-P 100 should last forever. With all the powder and primer and bullet variations on the market today you can have a lot of fun working up a bunch of decent loads for the 9mm.. If you have axcess to a chronograph, go for it; it helps a lot when working up to the proper power levels. Just a little rambling/sharing from me. Good luck and have fun!
 

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I started reloading so I could build my ammo to perform at it's best for a given firearm, it never was and is still not about cost for me. That's not to say that I don't search for a good deal. It's probably been 30 years since I've purchased factory ammo, I'll buy it at garage sale for the brass, but only if it's priced really low, but I don't ever buy it at retail.

However, if one buys components from the right manufacturer or distributor and doesn't mind sorting them, the cost can be effectively diminished. For instance, I buy mixed pull downs for between .06 - .07 each, the quality is guaranteed, so if some should be unusable the company will take very good care of you.

In these mixed bulk bags I get some thick plated bullets, some jacketed hollow points, and some jacketed FMJ's and a few frangible s.

I buy the pull downs from American Reloading, great folks. I got some that were deformed during the pull process I assume, maybe 75 or so, sent them an e-mail and they sent me more than 300 for my trouble and at no charge.

SMOA
 

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Bet prices have changed a lot since this thread was started! I began reloading purely for economic reasons when I got my 44 magnum. The 38 I had before that was not enough of a motivation. I do reload 9mm because I have everything I need to do it, but had the stuff put away for years before the last shortage. Would I start reloading if I only shot 9mm? NO way! Economically, it only pays to reload if you are shooting something more expensive. 9mm costs about the same to reload as .357 magnum, but .357 costs 3 times more to buy.
 
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