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Old November 15, 2014, 11:31 PM   #1
kcmarine
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Feasibility of saving money on 9mm with handloading/reloading

I'm looking for a way to save on 9mm ammunition, and want to know what reloading could do for me in that area. I've got a Ruger SR9c, so anything I'd reload would have to function in that weapon. From what I've seen, 9mm rounds are currently $.25-$.30 a round. Could I expect to save by handloading/casting my own bullets? If so, how much per round? I've got little in the way of financial obligations right now, so I could make some investment in the up-front equipment costs, but I would like to know how long it'd take to recoup.
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Old November 15, 2014, 11:36 PM   #2
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You can still save a significant amount of money reloading for 9mm. If you cast your own bullets, you can save MUCH more.

Even buying bullets (which run, on average, about .10 each) you can reload a box of 9mm for around $8 per box. I cast my own and it runs me about $4 to $5 per box.
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Old November 15, 2014, 11:37 PM   #3
kcmarine
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I assume that a box is 50 rounds?
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Old November 15, 2014, 11:42 PM   #4
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How much do you shoot, what is your time worth, can you get free lead and brass?

Not counting time and equipment and using reclaimed brass and lead (free) my current 9mm reloads cost $ .045 ea, using my cast and coated bullets.

That said, I could likely sell all of my reloading equipment, buy factory ammunition and never run out. At least for the guns that I have that one can buy factory ammunition for. Sell the ones off that I could no longer get ammunition for, dump that into the factory ammo account and would certainly never run out. Wouldn't be able to have as accurate ammo that I can load for many though.
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Old November 15, 2014, 11:53 PM   #5
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Yes, a box is typically 50 rounds. Let me warn you straight up though... You won't save a penny. you will just shoot a lot more
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Old November 15, 2014, 11:59 PM   #6
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There are some calculators around here that will give you the numbers, including the payback period or ROI on you initial setup costs.
A real example - a buddy of mine just started and his equipment costs were around $410. Loading (and shooting) monthly amounts of 9MM (400 rounds), 45 ACP (200 rds), and 38 Special (200) - he will have his setup costs covered in 1.9 months when compared to the cost of factory ammo.
Obviously, if you don't shoot that much, then it will take longer to reach the return, but in most cases you will be there within your second batch of 1000 rounds.
I don't cast (yet) but buying bullets, either plated or lead, I load a box of 50 9MMs for around $5 on average. That's 6.3cents for the bullet (lead MBC), free brass, 2.5 cents for the primer, and around 1cent for the powder.
Now you compare that with the average box of factory ammo at around ~$12/50.
That's $7 savings per box *times* 20 boxes to a case of 1000 = $140 savings or payback of equipment.

Hope this helps.
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Old November 16, 2014, 12:00 AM   #7
maxxhavoc
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9mm costs, last time I reloaded, per 1,000 rounds.

115gr Plated Xtreme, 2x $40
Red Dot, 1 lb $25 (high prices due to market. Makes 1,500+ rounds)
Primers, $32/1000 (also high)

So, 1,000 rounds for $137. Less than $.14 a round, $6.80 per box of 50. And you still have enough powder for half of the next batch.

How much you save depends on how much you shoot. Or more accurately, you will end up spending just as much and shooting more.
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Old November 16, 2014, 12:05 AM   #8
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I reload 9mm for about 12˘ per round using purchased bullets. Cast coated types. This is not including brass because it is easy to get for next to nothing and lasts nearly forever. If I wanna make some rounds with a premium bullet that meet or exceed the velocity of factory +P ammo, I can do it for about what the cheapest plinking ammo cost at WalMart.

If I ever accumulate enough lead to be worthwhile, I will start thinking about casting my own too.
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Old November 16, 2014, 12:13 AM   #9
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I figure I can get the cost per round down to about $0.11 - $0.12. That would be buying coated lead bullets in bulk, primers on sale at $21 per 1000, and powder at pre-scare prices.

As far as cost savings, 9mm is probably the one caliber you will save the least on. Right now, I can buy Federal 9mm at Walmart for less than $0.20 per round (50 round box, $9.97).

I started out with a Dillon 550. I figured I would have it paid for in XXX number of rounds. However, I keep finding cool reloading gadgets to buy, so my ROI keeps getting pushed out further and further.

And you won't save money, you will just shoot more.
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Old November 16, 2014, 12:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Let me warn you straight up though... You won't save a penny. you will just shoot a lot more
Quote:
Or more accurately, you will end up spending just as much and shooting more.
Quote:
And you won't save money, you will just shoot more.
Ain't it the truth... I'm going broke saving all that money!
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Old November 16, 2014, 12:49 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmarine View Post
I'm looking for a way to save on 9mm ammunition,
The cost for components per round reloading will virtually always be less than store bought. (Maybe some garbage surplus might be less but I would not shoot those in my fire arms.)

What you do with the savings is up to you. Many shoot up the savings, others take the significant other out for a nice meal.

Whether you reload or not all depends on how you consider your time. If you cannot reload without figuring a cost for your time, then reloading is not for you.

But, if like me, you enjoy reloading, it is another hobby and a past time to enjoy. The time spent is irrelevant.
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Old November 16, 2014, 01:03 AM   #12
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Well, if loading JHP's, such as Noslers, you can load full tilt self defense for about .18 -.19 per round, or just under $15 per 50 round box, and that's without even trying to get a good deal on the components. With a bit of searching for good deals on components, one could shoot jacketed for about .13 per, or $6.50 per 50 count box.

Although one can save some money by reloading, it's more about having the ability to produce more reliable ammunition, because we can customize the cartridges to function best in our weapons, where as factory is manufactured to a one size fits all standard.

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Old November 16, 2014, 02:13 AM   #13
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Oh yea, come on over to the dark side, you'll save a ton of money. If someone could just let my credit card bill know that...

Honestly though, you can probably save some serious cheese if you don't have the urge to endlessly experiment with new powder/bullet combos, dont fall to far in love with it, or if you can manage to set up some volume parameters and abide by them. Like if you're shooting 1200 rds per month, grab you a (as in one) nice little jug of powder that makes em go bang, and make your 1200 rds, shoot em, and repeat next month.

Ive found that the real joys of handloading for me also happen to be the same ones that can run your costs up if you dont keep it in check.

For one, I just really love pulling the handle, getting the crimp just right, feeling that little bit of resistance as the bullet seats, just the whole process of loading in other words. I'd probably still do it if I wasn't able to keep the finished product at the end...
Also like I mentioned above, I really dig experimenting with different combos. New powders, different bullets, different charge weights, you name it. Getting my little notebook out and taking 6 different ladders to the range to try out and document, ain't nothing like it.

It's gotten expensive lately, but I partly blame that on the fact that it's still a new-to-me hobby, and also because I'm trying to build my "stash" so I don't ever get caught with my pants down.
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Old November 16, 2014, 08:36 AM   #14
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Even though reloading and running your unloading machines will create a constant burn on your wallet, somehow you won't be seeing dollar signs every time you pull the trigger. There is something about being confronted with the price on a box of store ammo that is unpleasantly sobering, taking the motivation and fun out of shooting. With my commitment to reloading, I don't experience those feelings.
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Old November 16, 2014, 08:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
I would like to know how long it'd take to recoup.
It depends, not long or a long time.

I started out with a Lee kit. A great way to start. That press payed for it self many times over.
But after a while I started accumulating stuff I needed. It doesn't take long to become its own hobby.

Any way, my 9mm reloads are running about 15 cents a round.

No great savings for 9mm. But the cost to reload a 9mm and a 380 or 38 spl are about the same. The savings there is pretty good.
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Old November 16, 2014, 08:59 AM   #16
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Yes, you can save money by reloading 9mm and they will be more accurate than factory "white box" target ammo.

You can get RMR 115 gr Thick Plated RN (rated to 1500 fps) for $78/1000 shipped to your door (cheaper for larger quantities) AND 5% THR discount with thehighroad5 promo code and THR ID in the order notes/comment box - http://www.shop.rmrbullets.com/9mm-1...RN-1000-Ct.htm

Reloading the brass, here's the cost break down:

50 bullets - $3.70
50 primers - about $1.30
50 powder charges - under $1.00

So for around $6, you can reload more accurate than factory ammo that you can shoot in any pistol/carbine without leading issue.

Yes, you WILL end up shooting more but I bet you will have a bigger smile on your face.
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Old November 16, 2014, 09:22 AM   #17
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All the 9mm I've purchased in the last few months has been at or very near the $10 mark - box 50 each. Needless to say I have been stocking up.

We can't really ignore all the upfront costs, but for now we will.

So let's say all components come up to $5-$6 if you reload. Now in percentage that is huge. Real dollars, too. BUT it's my opinion that 9mm and .223 are the LEAST return on your investment - mainly because of bulk ammo cost. So it may be a good thing to use them as your baseline.

I'll jump over any number crunching and say most all other calibers are just gravy. Take .45ACP next. Maybe $15-$16 box on a good day. Reload for say $8, maybe $9. 10mm? .44Mag/special? HUGE savings.

At the ripe age of 56, working a "real" job and owning two companies, I made the conscious decision NOT to load my own ammo until I retire. This is based on several personal and stress factors. #1 is time (think safety). #2 is income stream - turn down $100 to save $50? Yes I know it will save money, but if I'm giving up income, what is that tradeoff.

I guess what I'm trying to say, it's a personal decision. If you have the time, money and will, then go for it.
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Old November 16, 2014, 09:38 AM   #18
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You should reload long before you retire.

I have shot over 400,000 rounds not counting rifle rounds the past 20 years. That's over 8000 boxes of 50 rounds. If I average $13 for each box including tax, that's over $100,000! $160,000+ for 45ACP if averaging $20/box. My reloading cost over the years is over $60,000 so far and that's including pistol and rifle rounds.

Yes, reloading DOES save money (at least that's what I tell my wife).
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Old November 16, 2014, 09:39 AM   #19
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IMO if you only load to save money it will just be a chore and you won't do it long.
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Old November 16, 2014, 09:56 AM   #20
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IF you normally shoot a large number of rounds per month, every month? then there will be some savings by reloading regardless of caliber.

IF you are interested in learning a new skill and starting a new hobby? Then reloading can be a very enjoyable passtime. Costs less than golfing too - LOL

Many of us would reload even if we could afford all the factory ammo we wanted without it causing a budget dent. Likewise many of us reload so that we CAN shoot more because we can't really afford to buy factory ammo in the quantities we'd like to shoot.

If you are not realistically a high volume shooter, or you really don't have the free time to dedicate to yet another hobby? Then shop the many sales and stock up on store bought and be happy.

I am a very low volume shooter with lots of free time and reload mostly in colder months or when the weather is crappy. I took up reloading to avoid disappointment shopping for ammo at the stores when supplies were super low. NOW it's hard to find components to reload - especially pistol powder - and the store shelves are pretty well stocked with factory made ammo. I can still shoot more rounds for the same $$ spent, so I still reload.
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Old November 16, 2014, 10:11 AM   #21
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KCMarine -
► Can you save money by reloading... Yes !! And 9mm Luger is one of the easiest calibers to save on. In fact you can pay for your reloading setup using the 9mm, and then be able to reload (and save) additional calibers with very little added costs.

► When you reload you get immediate, positive results...
• The cost is cut by 50-60%.
• The accuracy of your ammo improves because you'll be able to tailor the ammo to your gun. Shot groups typically shrink by 50%.
• The availability improves. No more dependency on spotty local supplies.
• Most people find that reloading is a relaxing and enjoyable hobby. On rainy days you can still enjoy your shooting hobby by reloading.

The actual savings comes from recycling the 9mm brass. Your job is easier simply because there is so much Luger brass laying around. When you buy new ammo approximately 2/3 of the cost is the brass. When you add your own components, you're saving the difference. It's the recycled brass that pays off the equipment, so the more you shoot the faster the payback occurs.

► Therefore, the first step if you even suspect you might want to reload is to start picking up all the 9mm brass you see. When you shoot 50 rounds, you'll want to return home with 300 brass cases. Some 40S&W and 380 Auto will sneak in, but don't worry. There are people on the THR Swap & Sell forum that will gladly trade with you. To begin reloading successfully you'll need to have about 1000 brass cases. This because 300 from the range will be in your car, 400 will be in the tumbler getting cleaned, some will be trashed, leaving about 300 ready to reload. So having ready brass is the key to the entire process.

► Once the need is identified, desire is diagnosed, and spare brass is collected, all you need to do is identify an optimal volume per week. Once that rate is identified then choosing a reloading machine will be very easy. If you correctly choose a reloading machine based on current and foreseeable future volumes, then the entire reloading setup can be completely paid for in less than one year.

All reloading machines are priced according to their utility. That is, their ability to deliver a steady supply of fresh ammo without breakdown. Therefore, even a high-end $4000 reloading setup will be paid off within the first year... IF you have the matching volume. But that's just an example. Most general use, moderate volume, home reloading setups can be purchased for well under $300.

Hope this helps!
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Old November 16, 2014, 10:39 AM   #22
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I find this post to be almost exact how I feel.

I'm a numbers guy and have played all sorts of things through calculators for reloading to see "my savings". The thing discounted by most above though is "time". It seems in the world we live in, time is money. If you jump up to a 1050 and can pump out 100 rounds in less than 4 minutes (as jmorris has showed possible) then maybe time becomes negligible; however, initial costs just jumped on a rocket headed towards the moon.

I consider reloading as a hobby. Most of my other hobbies I can't make/save money on. (i.e. Running once saved me an absurd amount of money by blessing my with a scholarship, however now, it is only the time I put into it.) Golf was a great example above. I have many friends who need "new" clubs every few years hoping it will improve their game. They spend money to try and improve their game.. So why can't a shooter spend some money to actually improve their accuracy. I consider reloading a hobby and a passion. Not a money saver.

1) you will spend a lot of time at your bench.
2) You will (most likely) start shooting a lot more.
3) You will have made an investment, which can be mostly be recouped at a later date.

Similar to firearms, if you treat equipment with respect, you can often get back 80-90% of you investment on initial costs, if you are patient and find the right buyer.

I hope you give reloading a try. Even if you buy a Lee hand press, Lee 9mm dies, priming tool of choice, a scale, and a set of calipers. You could get into reloading for under $80 bucks if you search hard enough and then all you need is components. Additionally, if you go this route, you save time and money by not building an extremely large bench that will soon need to be expanded again. The set up that I listed above is pretty much the method of choice for those looking "to save money". You'll find that you will start to want more equipment though. A Lee hand press here, a Rock Chucker there, a 550B under the tree, a 650 because automated indexing seems a good idea, a 1050 slapped on the newly expanded bench to rid 223 brass of pesky crimps, a Giraud because trimming was the Devil's doing on reloading, a Chargemaster to help ease the time of finding precise powder weights, etc. Ask any (all?) of us and most will say the equipment just keeps adding up!

You can save money reloading 9mm. You can get it down to around $6 a box if you try. But, it will need to become a hobby to enjoy, rather than a task/chore to try to save money. If it becomes a chore, you'll find it not worth your time, which as stated earlier is your money.

Long post, I know, and sort of all over the place, but I hope I got you thinking!
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Old November 16, 2014, 10:49 AM   #23
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I reload 9MM for about $6.00/box of 50. The cheapest I see it in stores (brass cased), or on line is $14 - $15 per box. So, it is really just your time, and yes you will shoot a lot more.
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Old November 16, 2014, 12:13 PM   #24
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All depends on what you can buy components for.

Myself, I have powder I purchased years ago for $8 to $10 bucks a lb. Primers? Sleeve of 5,000 for less than $40. Lead, FREE.

I realize this is not todays prices, just an example of how cheap some can reload for.
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Old November 16, 2014, 12:17 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxxhavoc View Post
115gr Plated Xtreme, 2x $40
Red Dot, 1 lb $25 (high prices due to market. Makes 1,500+ rounds)
Primers, $32/1000 (also high)

So, 1,000 rounds for $137. Less than $.14 a round, $6.80 per box of 50. And you still have enough powder for half of the next batch..
kcmarine, this is pretty much spot on, but as others have said, there are a lot of factors to consider. You need to buy reloading equipment and you'll be buying components in quantity so your costs aren't as spread out as much as buying a box or two of ammo when you need it.

You also have to make a time commitment, both in the learning process before you even begin and then devoting time to the reloading itself.

As to not saving money because you'll shoot more, that may or may not be the case depending on you. I shoot somewhat more but not enough to counter the cost savings. I also load .45acp for about $.17/round which I believe is almost a 2/3 savings over commercial, but on the other hand the cost of .223 has come down so much that I'm only saving $.10 or less per round.

My recommendation to you is not to start reloading if saving money is your only goal, but if you plan to commit to it and plan to develop it into a hobby then by all means jump in. Good luck.
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