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Reloading 9mm Ammo: Taking the First Steps

Lee Pro 1000 Reloading Press with Bench and Accessories

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Taking the First Steps in Reloading 9mm Ammo

Reloading 9mm ammo tray with bullets

MTM Case-Gard 9mm Storage Box

I have recently started reloading 9mm ammo, and it has been a very rewarding experience. Reloading can be a bit confusing at first, with all the load data to sift through, the reloading components, and many products needed to reload properly. It has been an adventure, and I have learned a great deal.

Reloading can be confusing and expensive at first, no matter how much you prepare. To keep within a small budget, I purchased a pre-configured Lee Pro 1000 Reloading Kit For 9MM Luger. This is not an expensive reloading kit, and their are more expensive progressive presses on the market, but it does the trick starting out.

The reloading press came with the carbide dies, shell plate, case tubes, and primer tray to reload the 9mm cartridge. You can purchase this reloading kit configured for the caliber of your choice, for under $200.00 online. It took some adjusting to get the dies and powder measure configured and set for the proper OAL and Powder Charge, but once it was done, I was off reloading in no time.



Lee Pro 1000 Reloading Press with Bench and Accessories

Lee Pro 1000 Reloading Press with Bench and Accessories

What is Involved in Reloading 9mm Ammo?

A reloading press is just one component to reloading operation. I had to consider the reloading components like smokeless powder, small pistol primers, projectiles, and brass. I also needed a way to clean the brass and store it properly. There are also reloading manuals, additional dies, a safe way to store materials, reloading trays, and much more. It comes with a price tag at first, but after the initial investment things become more reasonable to maintain.

One helpful tip is to always keep your once fired brass, and any that you can find from other shooters. Many shooting ranges will not allow people to pick up others brass, but if you happen to be in a popular outdoors shooting location such as a piece of private property or state land, always have a look around for what others may have left. I have collected thousands of brass casings of all different calibers by picking up what other have left behind. Be careful though, always make sure to check for case neck separation, cracks, dents, and other signs of wear. You want to throw out any cases that are unfit for reloading. Also, you may want to reconsider recycling brass for really high pressure or rifle cartridges, as you don’t how they were loaded originally and may be weakened.

Does Reloading 9mm Ammo Save Money?

After years of buying factory 9mm loads, I can appreciate the extreme savings I get from reloading 9mm ammo. Even with a reasonably priced caliber like the 9mm Parabellum, I save about 50% of the cost per 1000 rounds loaded. Going above the 9mm, there is a lot of room for additional savings when you start considering larger pistol calibers or reloading rifle cartridges. I have recently invested in the equipment to start reloading the 10mm Auto to use in my Glock 29, which is sure to save me a lot of cash in the long run.

I highly recommend purchasing a reloading press. A basic kit like the Lee Pro 1000, when properly configured, can be extremely beneficial to the avid shooter. It is exciting to work up a load for your favorite caliber and test it on the range! If you enjoy the science of tearing something apart and putting it back together again, this is the hobby for you.

8 Comments

  1. I too use a Lee Pro 1000 for both 9mm and 380. I originally purchased the press for roughly $185 configured in 9mm. Overall, I am very happy with the press. It’s a bit quirky at first but, once you get past the initial set-up, you can flat crank out quality ammunition. I calculated the payback for 9mm at about 1100 rounds and the upgrade to 380 to be about a 220 round payback.

  2. ive been planning on reloading 9mm luger. i want to know if it is worth doing with the cost of supplies like bullets primers and powder. i dont need the brass casings and i dont need the machine. Right now i can buy remington umc 115gr 50 ct box for $12.49 and sometimes i catch it on sale for $10.00 and i dont have to take the time to reload. what are some cheap places online that sell primers,powder,bullets.ect just the cheapest costs

    • In terms of cost, the benefit sort of fluctuates with the market. Essentially, I reload 9mm for about $100-125 per 1000 rounds if I reuse my brass. In my area, the Remington UMC runs close to the high end of what you are quoting + tax, which comes out to about $250-270 per 1000 rounds, or $0.25-0.27 per round. At $10.00 a box + tax, you are still looking at about $215 per 1000 rounds. This gives me a pretty substantial savings, especially in the summer/fall when I am out shooting a lot. I also reload a minimum of 500-1000 rounds at a time for 9mm, because I like having it available.

      As far as primers and powder, looking online is still next to impossible and usually requires a lengthy waiting list still. There are lots of sites out there, don’t get me wrong, and even ones who will tell you they have it in stock, but usually you will get an email notification days after saying the item is on back-order.

      I find just hitting the local shops frequently has given me better results. Also, you have to pay a Haz-Mat fee on top of shipping cost when ordering Primers/Powder online as they are considered explosive devices, drastically increasing the cost and reducing the monetary savings from reloading your own. Generally speaking, primers can be had locally for about $32 per 1000 and powder varies from about $19-32 per LB, depending on what your needs are. I would say, have a shop around and frequent your local shops and big box stores, ask the sales associate what day they receive their shipments, and try to be there early on that day if possible.

      Also, make sure to check sites like Northwestfirearms.com and Armslist.com for locals in your area willing to sell or trade their stock. Hope this helps!

  3. My other problem is shooting without flying backwards so I think for now I will buy the cartridges and concentrate on keeping my feet on the ground!

  4. Okay thank you for the response. I guess finding ones that have no dents on them are a mission all of its own. I would feel safer buying them rather than making it unless you really know what you are doing, which I don’t.

  5. A good idea and it does sound costly at first but I guess it saves money in the long run. Obviously you can’t use damaged cases but is there a way to use them if there is a slight dent?

    • Generally speaking, no. They are basically scrap metal at that point. A crack or small dent could cause a weakness in the brass cartridge. With pressure’s that high, you would run a pretty good risk of injuring yourself if the cartridge were to explode.

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