Reloading 9mm on a single-stage press


January 28, 2010, 05:17 PM
Anybody do it?

I bought my first 9mm a year ago, pretty much just to have one, and I got a good deal on a Stoeger Cougar. It now is the gfs favorite range gun.

Picked up a set of dies for kicks and giggles, and I finally ran out of the 500rd box of Rem UMC I was using, so I reloaded my first 50 rounds of 9mm today.

I've got to say, even though I enjoy reloading, it totally isn't worth it. I reload many calibers and enjoy the cost savings and accuracy benefits, but it seriously is just not worth taking a few hours to load up 50 rounds that I could go buy at Wally World for 11 bucks. Hell, I'm not even sure if I'm getting any cost savings. Reloading .45 is well worth it, but 9mm seems to be a colossal waste of time.

Anyone else reload 9mm, or even .40 for that matter on a single stage press? If so, why?

If you enjoyed reading about "Reloading 9mm on a single-stage press" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
January 28, 2010, 05:23 PM
I do reload 9mm on a single-stage, but I don't consider my time worth much since I retired.

Unlike most other calibers, it is getting harder and harder to justify on cost savings alone when you can buy it for $11.99 at Cabala's.

Still, if it takes you "a few hours to load up 50 rounds", you must be doing several things wrong.

I'd bet I can go to the basement right now and come back with a box of 9mm reloads in way less then an hour.


January 28, 2010, 05:25 PM
I reload for my 9mm on my single stage press and have had no problems. For me, it's not about the savings over purchasing ammo, but about the pleasure I enjoy in loading my own and storing/shooting it. If you purchase your supplies in bulk, the savings do add up. You will see even more savings if you purchase your components locally and/or buy lead bullets online. Missouri Bullet Company seems to be a good way to save money.

Buying in bulk and enjoying loading is the biggest key.

January 28, 2010, 05:26 PM
I reload on a Rock Chucker. Time consuming but I do it for hobby, little cost savings and most important accuracy. I get better groups with my reloads than a cheap box of Wins or RPs. For me I'd rather hit something every time than every other.

January 28, 2010, 05:29 PM
Yes, I used to. (I usually load it on a progressive press now.) I saved a little bit of money, and I had fun tinkering with the loads. I still use the single-stage press for experimenting.

January 28, 2010, 05:37 PM
I handloaded everything I shot (including a lot of 9x19mm) on a single stage press for years. I could do 100 rounds an hour, provided I didn't dilly dally. I have since switched to loading 9x19 on a Lee Classic Turret, mostly because I wanted to go slightly faster when I did load it and I don't shoot it enough to justify a progressive. The only thing I load on a progressive is .45 ACP.

As for savings, I shoot all lead bullets that I cast myself, and I end up with about $2.25 in component cost per 50 rounds. Not only is that a significant savings over Wal-Mart, but it also means I don't have to set foot in Wal-Mart, which would be worth it to me even if I wasn't saving any money.

January 28, 2010, 05:40 PM
I just started reloading 9mm on a RCBS Rock Chucker. I wanted to save as much as possible so I went with some lead bullets from Missouri Bullet. The local Wal-Mart has Winchester White box 9mm 100 round boxes for $20.97 ($22.41 or so w/ tax). But they are almost -never- in stock. I can make 100 rounds of 9mm for $11.76, and that's after all shipping fees and taxes have been added in. That's about 47.5% savings. That's me getting to shoot 2x as much for the same money, not to mention I'm not at the mercy of Wal-mart having it in stock.

I enjoy the process of reloading. I knew going into it that it would be low volume on a single-stage. Is it worth it to me? Absolutely. But only you can decide if it's worth it to you.

January 28, 2010, 05:47 PM
The whole secret to production with a single-stage is do it in large batches.
Case prep, sizing & and priming in at least 250 round batchs, if not more.

I make my own loading blocks to hold 100 at a time, and powder charge a block full and set bullets in place before seating them all at one setting.


January 28, 2010, 05:48 PM
single stage 9mm?!, ick!

buy a turret press at least. yes it costs money to buy a new press, but if you figure your spare time is worth $10/hour you only need to save 10 hours to afford a new lee turret press. I'm slow and I can do 100 9mm in an hour 20 or so. if it took you say, 2 hours to load 50, you only have to load what, 400 rounds to pay off the turret press? and progressive presses are much faster and more expensive.

another option is to make her load her own. :)

January 28, 2010, 05:52 PM
I use an RCBS single stage press. It's all I have. I do it for enjoyment, as the cost savings for 9mm are not as high as rifle ammo.

Still, if it took me a few hours to turn out 50 rounds, I would buy exclusively.

I can turn out 50 rounds in just over 30 minutes. Maybe it's because I do some things in stages.

I will tumble lots of rounds and put them in pails. Then I will deprime and resize 200 or so rounds.

Then when I want 50 rounds, I only need to prime, expand, fill and seat.

When the 200 are gone, I start over.

David Wile
January 28, 2010, 06:09 PM
Hey Essay,

If you have to ask why someone would reload any cartridge on any press, I am afraid you will never "get it" about the whole reloading thing. If you have to ask the question, I am afraid your whole personality make up is such that you would never be able to look at reloading as a craft as well as a form or recreation. I do not say these things to put you down in any way; reloading is not for everyone just as golf or anything else you might mention is not going to be for everyone.

On the chance that you might have some of the reloading fever rub off on you, I would suggest first that you re-read what RC said above. I could have written the same words.

I would add that I now reload my 9MM on a Hornady LNL progressive press, but I would guess that I still have reloaded more 9MM on my single stage presses in the many years before I got the progressive press. I wasn't out shooting hundreds of rounds every week, but I often shot 100 rounds a week, and it was no problem to load them on an RCBS RockChucker or RCBS Junior press. I was also casting the bullets I reloaded for my 9MM as well as other calibers. Oh, and by the way, I was working for a living back then when I was reloading on single stage presses.

If you do develop the interest (or fever as some of us have contracted), good luck to you and have fun. If it isn't for you, don't worry about it. There are lots of things in life to interest us all.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile

January 28, 2010, 06:12 PM
It should not take over an hour per 50 rounds of ammo. Something doesn't make sense. If you prime and size 100, then bell the cases and charge them, then set the bullet and crimp it on a separate step shouldn't take much over 2 hours.
You may want to consider the Lee Classic Turret. This thing will do 150-200 rounds per hour without much effort and is only a 100 dollars, it's well worth it. You'd want the Classic Turret not the old style. Loading for handgun even doing 75 rounds an hour like I used to takes too long. I shoot them in less time than that.

January 28, 2010, 06:12 PM
Get a turret or progressive press and have your wife load them for you.

I can change the position of the lever from right to left on my Lee Pro 1000 so she gets resistance workout at the same time - sweet! :D

BTW, she enjoys shooting them too.

January 28, 2010, 07:35 PM
I have not even loaded my first 9mm but I can tell you that a) I am having a great time researching the load, b) I will be casting my own bullets too so I am sure that the cost savings will be something (I live an hour from the nearest ammo.. when they have it... and c) my free time is FREE...

I do not put a price tag on it. My life would suck if I had to worry about wasting time. All of my passions are done on my free time... coaching, volunteer fire, EMS, shooting, hunting, fishing... none of these things are worth worrying about $10 an hour.... as a matter of fact, I am pretty sure in the end... they ALL COST ME money... :)

January 28, 2010, 09:07 PM
I reload 9mm ... but mainly so that I can -have- it, not as much for the cost savings (although there are some).

I'll generally work off, oh, 1000 rounds in batches by stage. 1000 rounds -really really- clean in the tumbler. 1000 rounds deprime and re-size. 1000 rounds reprime and flare.

Now I've got 1000 rounds ready for powder and bullet, which is a pretty quick process when I want them.

But ... the BIG savings for me are in reloading 45 Colt and 30 Cal carbine.

January 28, 2010, 09:14 PM
I have a 50 year old 'Lyman Tru-Line Jr'...a Manually rotated, four Station Turret Press.

With modest practice, all stages of process from de-prime to finished Cartridge, for a Box-o-Fifty Handgun Cartridges, takes about 45 minutes...without feeling rushed.

The Press takes up less room than many Single Stage Single Die Presses.

I am very happy with it.

If for Rifle, sure, a Single Stage Single Die Press is probably ideal...but, if I had to load on a Single Die, Single Stage Press for Pistol or Revolver, unless I were at an Arctic Weather Station or Lighthouse Keeper or at Sea, or in some bad Science-fiction-Future frought with privations, I would feel pouty or depressed with it quite soon.

There are many honest good quality, practical Turret Presses of various makes and vintage.

One longish day, or a few stolen-hours a week, and a basic Turret Press, and you can lay up a 1000 rounds and coast a while.

January 28, 2010, 09:45 PM
What takes the time is the prep work. I load ALL my ammo on a single stage press. If you do all the case prep work ahead of time it will go faster . I keep a bunch of sized, cleaned, flared, and primed brass ready to go. Use a hand primer like the Lee or RCBS and that will go fast also. And do as RC said and do batches I like to fill 100 or so at a time then set bullet on them all then run them through the press all at the same time, inspecting finished product and dropping into an empty ammo can as done. 350 or more an hour is easy as long as brass is cleaned and flared already. Add primed and up that to 400 or so easy. That's if you have all the time saving tools and it helps to have double the brass you regularly use.:cool:
Happy reloadin' Rick

January 28, 2010, 09:54 PM
Get a Lee hand Press and do all your case prep work in the La-Z-Boy with a glass of Delicious Beverage while watching TV.

January 28, 2010, 10:04 PM
FROGO207 said it... prep work.

I ultrasonic clean my brass, then dry in the oven. That step takes an hour. As I said, this was my first time reloading 9mm, so I ran a small batch. I also had to set up all the dies. And the powder measure. I also don't have an auto-prime shellholder for 9mm, so I was priming while belling on the press. Yes, I could probably churn out 100 an hour if everything was set up, and I was running large batches. I do this with .45, .38, and .223 all the time. Even then, I'm not sure its worth it to save $10 an hour.

I do enjoy reloading, almost as much as shooting. I will spend all day making 20 30-06, 308, or .223 rounds to shoot 1/4" groups. I guess I see time spent running off 9mm as not worth it, because I'd rather spend that time loading a caliber with more challenges. Also, I can save $30 bucks everytime I load 20 rounds of match-grade 30-06, versus $10 bucks on 9mm.

Best suggestion in this thread: Make the GF do it :D

She already knows how to load, and will occasionally load .45 or .223 for me. Now that the dies and powder measure is set up, time to put her to work.

January 28, 2010, 10:09 PM
If your in it to save money the answer is Casting your own bullets. If I reload purchased bullets I pay around 7-$8 per 50 if I cast my own around $2. With a 2 cavity mold I can cast 500 bullets in a couple hours if you get a 6 cavity obviously it wouldn't take long.

January 28, 2010, 10:11 PM
Unfortunately casting isn't an option for me, living in a condo in the city. I can't move out fast enough, and I would love to get into casting boolits at that time.

January 28, 2010, 10:15 PM
Put her to work.:D Tell her that she needs to get into the total firearms operation mode. Also remind her who is paying for the components etc. and how she has superior motor skills for precision assembly.

January 28, 2010, 10:24 PM
I reload everything on single stage presses. Got rid of the Dillon and others - too many problems, especially primer feeds. Not that big of a deal - I do it in batches - de[rime/resize/reprime in one stage, then later flare/charge/seat/crimp in the next

January 28, 2010, 10:35 PM
I use progressives for my pistol ammo but if I had more time (retired), I would probably just use a single stage.
I like single stage and I enjoy handloading with one. Handgun or rifle. Doesn't matter. I just don't always have the time.
With the blue presses, I can crank out some some serious volume quickly, but I really enjoy using a single stage. And 9mm is really easy to do with a single stage too.


January 28, 2010, 11:14 PM
Put her to work. Tell her that she needs to get into the total firearms operation mode. Also remind her who is paying for the components etc. and how she has superior motor skills for precision assembly.

I tell her she is my SHTF plan B - so she needs to learn all aspects of shooting, especially keeping firearms clean ;):D

Although, I noticed she is getting bigger arms ...:eek:

Bass Ackwardz
January 28, 2010, 11:38 PM
I use a single stage for 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP, and .223. I do want to eventually get a Dillon 550, but for now, if I prep 1000 pcs one night, the next night I can charge, seat and crimp them all in a couple hours. My wife and daughter go to bed at 8:30 every night, and I dont go to bed until at least 11, I can get a whole lot of finished rounds done. The only thing holding me back is components...I dont have enough of all of


January 29, 2010, 12:41 AM
I live in a condo(townhouse) in a city with 250,000+ and no problems here. The smoke/smell is a minimum/non existant.

January 29, 2010, 02:09 AM
I have figured my loading cost for 9mm to be about $6 per 50 (.12 per round/$115 per 1000) for 115gr FMJ. That is half the cost of the cheapest store bought I can find. I have spare time here and there and I enjoy reloading, so to me its worth it.

I use a Lee single stage. I'm not a high volume shooter though, maybe 300 a month.

January 29, 2010, 11:46 AM
WB, where do you set up your casting operation?

I have 2 bedrooms, and a kitchen/living room that is all one big room. My reloading setup is basically in the living room opposite of the kitchen. No garage or basement. GFs cat is also an issue as she can get in/on everything. I'd really like to start casting, but molten lead in such a small area with relatively poor ventilation worries me.

January 29, 2010, 12:28 PM
WB, where do you set up your casting operation?

I have 2 bedrooms, and a kitchen/living room that is all one big room. My reloading setup is basically in the living room opposite of the kitchen. No garage or basement. GFs cat is also an issue as she can get in/on everything. I'd really like to start casting, but molten lead in such a small area with relatively poor ventilation worries me.

I would never cast indoors just seems to dangerous to me with bad fumes and molten lead(people do it). I cast on my porch outside. If I had to I would get a bottom pour pot and cast by a window with a fan pulling the fumes outside.

Heres a simple solution if you dont have a porch. Get a folding table and an inverter that hooks to the battery of your car/truck and cast somewhere away from people.

January 29, 2010, 10:49 PM
I do like some others with regards to pistol. I first deprime/resize in batches of 1000. Next I run them back through and flare them. After that they get hand primed. About every 5th round goes in a gauge. Whenever I get around to loading them they are ready to go. For 9mm I try to keep 5000 ready to load at any given time. For 38 & 357 only around 1000 ready. I do keep at least 1000 loaded at all times though. :)

I do occasionally get in a mood and fire up the Loadmonster and run a bunch, but I prefer to use the Lee Reloader presses I have.

January 29, 2010, 11:39 PM
I use a single stage RCBS Rs press. Case prep of decapping/resizing/priming is all done before hand. I can crank out 100 in about an hour or less. Fun times.

January 30, 2010, 12:17 AM
I once loaded 100 9mm's in less than half an hour on a single stage press with no prep ahead of time other than setting the powder measure. Just to see if I could do it. I don't like to move that fast. Usually I do about half that rate, so I can briefly inspect each cartridge.

It's not an ordinary single-stage press though; it's an "H" style press that holds 3 dies and 3 shellholders on a single stage, and a really nice priming post. I also have an old musclebound "C" style press; I tried using it once and it was painfully slow, but probably OK for loading big rifle cartridges.

January 30, 2010, 11:50 AM
I use my single stage press for load development and purchased a Dillon Square Deal B press [about $350 new, also available used on Ebay, others] for volume production work. I save about 50% by loading versus buying. But I also buy components in volumes to obtain cost reductions. For example, Montana Bullets sells 9mm 115 grain FMJ for about $300 for 4000 bullets. Bullet cost about 7.2 cents, primers @ 3.5 cents, powder @ 2 cents per shot. A 50 round box costs about $6.35. I also use this same equipment [with different dies] to load for my son in law's .38 spl/.357. We can enjoy shooting at a fairly reasonable cost; although dad made the capital investment in the equipment, but that is another story; I 'm just glad to be able to help out.

January 30, 2010, 12:01 PM
I hope I never have to equate reloading to values other than enjoyment. I like reloading 9mm's. Yes it's not much more to buy Wally World ammo, but there is just something about knowing I did the rounds. We wouldn't do half the things we do for enjoyment if we had to put alternate values on them. Nobody would fish because it's cheaper to get it at the local market. Nobody would golf because we can walk around our own lawns and swear at small objects. There are cheaper ways to do things, but sometimes the result is more important than the cost or time spent.

January 30, 2010, 03:40 PM

Good post.


January 30, 2010, 11:13 PM
Just finished loading 3000 on a single stage press over the past two weeks. Now I have enough to last for a while.


January 30, 2010, 11:48 PM
I started reloading 9mm 20 years ago with a Lee Classic [sometimes called the whack-a mole] and could bang out better than 100 per hour. I moved up to a press and then added an automater. Still sometimes I'll wack out a box or two if for no other reason than to destress, for back to basics nothing beats a Lee Clasic.

January 31, 2010, 09:10 AM
You will start like the rest of us (honey it will save us some money) yeh,right.Then you will load for another gun (found one yet?),then you will need to start casting.Do ya see where this is going yet?Just have fun!Shoot lots more!:cool:

Marlin 45 carbine
January 31, 2010, 10:11 AM
keep an eye peeled for a deal on another press and set it up in tandem.
after all the prep is done I flare/powder charge useing Lee expander then if a nephew or shooting buddy is here have them run the 2nd press (Lee) to seat/crimp. have to have another shell holder for this.
be surprised how many rounds you can churn out. I much prefer the Lee hand primer for primeing. I pulled the RCBS primer feed off mine (chucker jr.) it just didn't do to suit me.

January 31, 2010, 11:10 AM
I enjoy reloading as a relaxing hobby.

Reloading allows me to shoot for less than 1/3-1/2 the cost of retail.

I also enjoy the fact that I am supporting US vendors and manufacturers and keeping US taxpayers employed (With primer shortage coming to a close, I will be back to 100% US made primers soon).

What I have noticed at the range is that those shooting factory ammunition often get flyers, but I do not get flyers with my reloads. I also find that I get smaller shot groups with reloads than factory.

If you enjoyed reading about "Reloading 9mm on a single-stage press" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!