9mm....how many rounds before it pays to reload?


Redneck with a 40
June 18, 2011, 04:44 PM
I only plan on shooting 1000-1200 rounds/year out of my SR9-C. Is it worth it to reload at this volume of shooting?

I can get a case of Sellier&Bellot 115 grain ball shipped for $200, 1000 rounds.

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June 18, 2011, 05:27 PM
And you save yourself some time
Berry's 115gr RN are $85/1000 (incl shipping)--CAN'T BEAT THAT DMA

June 18, 2011, 05:44 PM
I suppose it depends upon what you requirements are.

If your only requirements are that the stuff go "bang" and be reasonably reliable, you can certainly get by with cheap FMJ stuff.

If you want your practice ammunition to be tailored to YOUR gun, or be anything like your carry ammunition (unless you unwisely carry cheap ball ammo), you're going to either spend a LOT of money or reload. I carry nothing but 147gr JHPs in 9x19mm. I load 147gr. lead bullets for my practice loads.

But if small amounts of FMJ are adequate to your needs, it is indeed probably not economical to reload.

June 18, 2011, 05:45 PM
Honestly, it isn't worth it for one fairly cheap, common handgun round. The exotic calibers and match grade ammo is where it pays for itself fairly quickly, unless you just want a new hobby.

June 18, 2011, 05:48 PM
Well, Berry's 115gr RN are $85/1000 (incl shipping)
CCI small pistol primers are $35/1000 (not incl hazmat fees)
and powder might be around $16/1000 (assuming 6.3gr of Unique = 1111 loads/lb, and no hazmat fees)

So, you're looking at $136 for components to reload 1000 rds of 9mm.

While this can be argued, basic reloading equipment is going to run around $250 (for discussion purposes). So, assuming you shoot 1000 rds/year, you're going to see break-even after 4 years.

Most people just don't save money reloading. Instead, they find out they can shoot 2000 rds/year for what it used to cost to shoot 1000 rds/year. However, if you have a fixed shooting regimen and don't mind spending many hours playing with fussy equipment, it is theoretically possible to spend less if you reload than if you buy factory ammo.

Most economic analyses of reloading assume labor is free. If you think your time has value, on the other hand, reloading to spend less makes even less sense. :)

June 18, 2011, 05:49 PM
The previous poster nailed it.

When I was shooting in competition, notice I didn't say competitively :) , I often bought ammo because I didn't find time to reload before a match. Ammo was cheaper then but still, if you are a wage slave working overtime, buying may still beat reloading since your free time is limited.

I'm about to tweak up my Lee Loadmaster and run off a 1000 rounds of everything in handgun that I shoot. That is the beauty of progressive presses. Settle on a load for each cartridge you shoot, run a bunch off during a weekend or a few evenings after work.

Winters are good for reloading if you live in snow country. Gives you something to do in preparation for the road construction and repair season ;)


June 18, 2011, 05:54 PM
The prices of quality FMJ bullets to reload with almost rival the cost of loaded ammo.

June 18, 2011, 06:08 PM
I do reload 9mm, but only subsonics for my Sub2000, and more as a novelty than a mainstay

(if you have a 9mm carbine, see if it'll cycle with subsonic loads- out of a 16" barrel, it's actually a bit quieter than a .22lr)

June 18, 2011, 06:48 PM
It also requires that you have the time to learn how to reload. Not all due. 1k-2k/year is not a lot. But your getting to the zone where it does come into play. Then if time is short you will want a Progressive to speed things up. Which will require more rounds to hit the break even point. But if you were reloading several years ago when things went through the roof (scarce) it pays for it's self a lot quicker. But you need to stock up on supplies while prices are down as they are now headed backup. But you need to buy your supplies in bulk to get the good price savings.

Redneck with a 40
June 18, 2011, 07:01 PM
I'll add some info here:

I'm a seasoned reloader, been reloading 308 win, 223 rem, 40 S&W, and 357 mag since 2005.

The only components I would need to start reloading 9mm are the bullets and brass. I'm well stocked on powder, primers, and I have a Lee 4 hole turret press.

The only issue I see, is that I probably won't shoot more than 1200 rounds/year, don't have time to shoot but once or twice a month. I don't mind spending $200/year for ammo. Plus, I just need range ammo that will go bang, nothing exotic or super accurate.

Sounds like factory ammo is for me? lol.

Reloading 40S&W, I can save $15/100, with 9mm, it'll only be about $8/100.

June 18, 2011, 07:08 PM
In my mind reloading is as much of a hobby itself. It's fun & relaxing to me. And when you see your creation work perfectly(finding a softer recoiling round with better accuracy than factory ammo) Thats whats its all about.

I can reload 9mm for $5.47/50 & 45ACP for $6.12/50...Saves me alot of $$$ and my ammo shoots 100x's better and i KNOW it will go bang where i want it to

June 18, 2011, 07:15 PM
Loading JHPs, like XTPs, is where you can really save some money. They run about $15 for 100 at Cabela's. Try buying 100 rds of loaded XTPs for under $75.00.

June 18, 2011, 07:16 PM
Most people have already hit it on the head. It will take a few years to break even and if you shooting that much it will be time consuming. For a small round that is easy and cheap to find i might be better to just buy. I love reloading because it is a hobbie for me and gives me something to do instead of waste time in front of a TV. It is relaxing. Buy a few thousand rounds first then keep the brass and reload those for fun and over time you will break even and start saving money. If you reload more calibers it gets more cost effective. More so with rifle bullets.

Old krow
June 18, 2011, 07:25 PM
So, assuming you shoot 1000 rds/year, you're going to see break-even after 4 years.

I agree that it would take longer to break even with 9mm, but this assumes that the prices stay the same. If someone had of bought reloading equipment in the Spring of 08' and enough bulk ammo to shoot 1k rounds per year at those prices, even though it would only be 3k rounds, it would have paid for itself already.

The only components I would need to start reloading 9mm are the bullets and brass.

If that's all I needed, I'd probably get it, buy some bulk components, find a recipe or two, then pack it back up and buy factory until the prices get high.

Redneck with a 40
June 18, 2011, 07:45 PM
After I shoot the factory ammo, then I'll reload the brass. At that point, I might as well.

June 18, 2011, 07:51 PM
I shoot a good bit of 9mm and it is cheaper to load it if you shop around and buy in bulk.

I can load 1000 115g precision deltas with Russian primers for $114. That's using universal clays bought in a 8 lb keg. This price includes all shipping.

I can do lead from Missouri bullet company for $103 per thousand.

You have to buy in bulk and order primers by the 5k to save.

If you carry your reloads like I do for self defense you can load hollow points way cheaper than you can buy them.

Some will say don't carry reloads for SD. Im not going to debate it but watch below I'm sure there will be 100 posts saying it's a bad idea.

Bottom line: you can save if you shoot a lot but you won't save as much as 44 mag, or rifle rounds. I reload 9mm because I like to reload and it saves.

June 18, 2011, 07:56 PM
The prices of quality FMJ bullets to reload with almost rival the cost of loaded ammo.

Not true! I've shot thousands of precision delta 9mm FMJ and they are superb out of my 92f and Ruger sr9c.

The last time I bought some 2 months ago they were $74 per thousand if you bought 2k. $78 per thousand if you bought 1k.

June 18, 2011, 08:02 PM
At 1000 rnds./yr it would be iffy to pay for reloading equipment. You would have 1000 pieces of brass to reload and that cuts down on the over all cost. Most of us find that when we start loading our own, we actually wind up shooting more. More practice means a generally better shot. Reloading can be a second hobby to a lot of people and quite enjoyable too when you shoot ammo you made yourself.

Depending on which level of press you intend to buy will have a lot to do with the cost savings. I bought a Dillon press and loaded 10,000 rounds of .45 ACP and .45 LC the first year and it didn't take long to pay for itself. I have a twin press in 9mm and it took a little longer to pay out but I still did it in the first year of loading. The OP indicated 1000 rnds/yr which means 90 rnds/month. I normally shoot 100 to 200 rnds/week so it pays for me.

Just depends.

June 18, 2011, 08:03 PM
If you already reload, then get the needed items to reload for the 9mm. That will pay for itself very quickly.

June 18, 2011, 08:08 PM
I figured up all of my costs recently shooting lead. I came up with $5.20/box for 9mm (saving $6.00 from the cheapest ammo I can buy locally), $6.00/box for 40S&W (saving $8.43), and $6.49/box for 45ACP (saving $11.69). As you can see, larger calibers seem to save more. If I wasn't reloading the other calibers, I probably wouldn't bother with 9mm.

June 18, 2011, 08:27 PM
Reloading costs more in the long run because you shoot more and start buying more guns in different calibers.

And of course you start reloading for them.

Reloading requires massive inventories of bullets, cases, primers, powders. All sunk cost.

If you have compulsive behaviors, avoid shooting and run away from reloading equipment.

June 18, 2011, 09:45 PM
When I started match shooting 16 years ago, I shot factory ammo (PMC, S&B, etc.). I started reloading because of cost factor and my reloads were much more accurate than factory ammo (about 40% reduction in group size) and that meant higher stage scores. Several of us shooters ordered the case quantities from Montana Gold in group buys.

When I picked up my M&P45 last year, I shot several hundred rounds of PMC/Blazer Brass factory ammo to burnish the barrel (I know, it is probably not necessary anymore for coated factory barrel). When I shot 200 gr SWC (Missouri Bullet IDP #1) loads, my shot group decreased by half compared to smallest factory shot group I got.

Another thing about reloads vs factory ammo is that I hardly get "flyers" with my reloads but get more frequent flyers with factory ammo.

I buy in bulk and stock up when I see good prices/sales at gun shows/online. Even using 9mm FMJ bullets, I can load

$95/1000 - 115 gr FMJ Montana Gold bullets from RMR Reloading (free shipping) (http://www.shop.rmrbullets.com/product.sc?productId=6&categoryId=12)
$22/1000 - Winchester SP primer (Recent gun show price $20/1K + tax)
$12/1000 - Winchester 231 (Recent gun show price $129/8lbs + tax)

Total cost per 1000 = $129 or $6.45/50 for match grade ammo.

Now for lead reloads:
$70/1000 - 125 gr Missouri Bullet (SmallBall) from Powder Valley (http://www.powdervalleyinc.com/) + shipping ($57.64 + shipping)
$17.32/1000 - Tula SP primer from gun show earlier this year ($16 + tax)
$7.30/1000 - Alliant Promo from gun show earlier this year + tax ($95/8lbs)

Total cost per 1000 = $95 or $4.75/50 for lead reloads.

Many reloaders I help setup can usually recoup their reloading cost within a year of shooting even 100-200 rounds of mixed calibers per month.

June 18, 2011, 10:07 PM
I reload 3 calibers. I actually load fewer calibers than I used to, not for any reason other than finances forced me to sell those firearms.
I never compute time or any other costs into reloading, merely two things, availability of loaded ammo and availability of quality components. Why? It's a hobby. Nobody does a cost/benefit analysis for playing World of Warcraft or skiing. So why do that for reloading? I enjoy it, every bit of it, gives me something to do that's more productive than playing Drop Shock online. :)
I will say this - my costs are lower than most because I also enjoy a related hobby, casting bullets.

June 18, 2011, 10:29 PM
One thing to keep in mind, you can save money right off the bat by stocking up on components. Instead of having 1000 rds in stock, you could have 2-3k rounds worth of components on your shelf. With the increasing costs of lead and copper, you'll probably come out way ahead in a few years.

That's kinda how I did it. I purchased enough components up front to where the equipment would eventually pay for itself. But unfortunately, I fell for the "shoot more" pitfall, so I broke even way before I intended to.

June 18, 2011, 10:36 PM
I reload and shoot a lot of 9mm.

Using 100% range brass, 124gr MG CMJ or 125gr Zero JHP bullets, very expensive Vihtavuori powder and Federal SPPs, It costs me less than half the price of Wall-Mart Win 115gr value pak ammo. I can shoot my ammo faster and more accurately than the Win/Rem/Federal Value Pak ammo.

I average about 200+ 9mm rds per week and payed for my equipment with a savings of over $20/week and have ammo 'tuned' to my pistol

As others said, my turret press and reloading equipment was paid for pretty fast, but I do shoot more than I did before I reloaded. I also enjoy shooting more than I did before I started reloading.

I usually stay about 1k rds reloaded "ahead" of my shooting, so I can go shooting on the spur of the moment without worrying about finding/cost/quality of my ammunition. It's loaded to work "best" in "my pistol."

IMHO, All of this increases the value of reloading.

Another side benefit is that I like doing it.

June 18, 2011, 11:04 PM
Here's a link (http://10xshooters.com/calculators/Handgun_Reloading_Cost_Calculator.htm) to a reloading cost calculator at 10shooters.com. It lets you put in the cost of your equipment and will let you know how much you have to load to break even.

I'd rather not add up all I've put into reloading equipment and components...

June 19, 2011, 11:20 AM
I don't know if it's worth it to reload for 9mm once you factor your time in.
However, 9mm was one of the first cartridges I reloaded for and I learned a lot about reloading by practicing on the 9mm. The experience gained from it served me well as I went on to reload other rounds, so I think you should reload for it even if you don't save any money.

June 19, 2011, 11:56 AM
No... buy your ammo.
It is not about money, working up a load for your gun and producing accurate reliable consistent ammo is time consuming and tedious. The machinery is aggravatingly finicky and the number of variables associated with the components and how they go together is mind numbing. If it's just cheap nine your after... buy it.

June 19, 2011, 01:11 PM
Excellent points, all. From personal experience, I shoot more and don't really save money, but enjoy reloading. Most of my reloading is done in the winter months when I can't get out as often as I would like and want to do something gun related. I know I can load more accurate ammo than I can buy. I'd suggest you save your brass and look for deals on bullets. Have a stockpile of 2000 for when/if you decide to reload. Then you can buy a Lee Turret press and accessories for $200 and be ready to take the plunge. You can always sell components for more than you pay for them if you shop wisely. You do have to have the ability and interest. Good luck!

Redneck with a 40
June 19, 2011, 01:57 PM
I went ahead and ordered the case of S&B 115 grain from surplus ammo for $200/shipped. I'll save this brass and reload it once I shoot the ammo. The only thing I need to buy for 9mm is the bullets, I've got the primers, powder, press, scale, dies, all that stuff. I've been reloading 40 S&W, 357 mag, 223 rem, and 308 win, since 2005.

June 19, 2011, 02:00 PM
Keep in mind that S&B cases have very tight primer pockets.

I need an extra "Ooomph" to fully seat the primers on the press or on the hand primer.

Otherwise they are good cases to reload.

June 19, 2011, 02:34 PM
Be aware that S&B makes steel cases that are almost indistinguishable from real brass cases.
All S&B casings need to be tested with a magnet before reloading.

Here's three casings, one is steel the other two are brass. Can you tell which one is steel?


June 19, 2011, 03:01 PM
Simply put if you do not have the time and inclination then reloading is not for you! PERIOD. It is a hobby! Get over the costs! Ever wonder how much that venison really costs? Or burning up fuel going to the lake, using that 30K ski boat/trailer a few times month in warm months? Come on it is a Hobby! So, you have to deal with the costs!

Either you have the time and inclination or you do not! I get sick and tired of people whining about the cost of equipment, components, and shipping costs. They are FACTS and not changeable! Reloading does many things, it decreases your cost per round of ammo. And, there are the side bennies of tailoring the ammo to your gun, increased accruacy, and excuses for more time at the range. There is usually an increased use rate amongst reloaders so they shoot more!

Bet, you do not go to the Super America and piss and whine about fuel costs? They are what they are!

Shotgunners reloaders are worst about whining! Then come the 3 Gun shooters who reload! Jeez!
If you want play you gotta pay! Just like buying live bait!

the count
June 19, 2011, 11:50 PM
Costs around $6 to reload 50 pistol rounds, if you have the brass. You do the rest of the math. Biggest savings with more exotic calibers like 45 LC.

June 20, 2011, 12:07 AM
I agree with Mr. User.

I started reloading 9mm to cut costs of expensive and later, "hard-to-find" ammo. It did that and more. I grew to enjoy the process of shooting 'my' ammo in 'my' pistols.

Additionally, if you don't shoot regularly, all bets are off. Buying K-Mart ammo works fine for ocassional plinking.

If another bullet/primer shortage happens, I'm still good-to-go for a number of months.

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