The 9mm caliber’s light recoil and overall performance makes it extremely popular and sometimes hard to find. So instead of scouring local and online gun shops, why not reload your own ammo? But how much does it really cost to reload 9mm ammunition? We’ll get into the why’s and how’s, dissect the factors that drive the cost, compare it with buying new ammo, and even share a few cool tips to keep your wallet happy. By the time we’re done, you’ll feel like you’ve been handed the keys to the reloading kingdom. Let’s get started!
Why Reload 9mm Ammo?
Alright, before we get into the cost analysis, let’s address the elephant in the room. Why would anyone prefer to reload their own ammunition when you could just as easily buy them off the shelf?
What else? The most obvious motivation – the potential for savings. Yes, it’s true that reloading can be more cost-effective than purchasing new ammunition, especially if you’re an avid shooter who goes through a lot of rounds. This is where our ‘economies of scale’ come in. The more ammo you reload, the more you stand to save!
Then, there’s the issue of quality. When you reload your own ammo, you know exactly what goes into it. This allows you to control every aspect of the process and, consequently, the quality of the end product. You get to decide on the type and quantity of powder, the type of bullet, the casing, and primer. No more relying on factory rounds and hoping for the best.
This brings us to the third point – customization. Every gun is unique and might prefer slightly different ammunition. Reloading allows you to tailor your rounds to your specific firearm, improving accuracy and performance. You can experiment with different combinations of components until you find the perfect match for your gun.
Finally, there’s the question of availability. We’ve all been through periods where certain types of ammunition become scarce due to high demand or production issues. By reloading your own, you never have to worry about your favorite rounds being out of stock.
Factors that Affect the Cost to Reload Ammo
Now that we’ve established why we might want to dive into this reloading business, let’s talk about the main ingredients of our cost recipe.
The machinery and tools you use can play a huge role in the overall cost. Quality reloading equipment may require a substantial upfront investment. However, the good news is that this is a one-time cost, and if you take good care of your gear, it can last you a very long time.
How often you reload also affects your cost. The more frequently you reload, the quicker you’re going to burn through your supplies like primers, powder, and bullets. This means you’ll need to restock more often, which adds up over time. However, the increased production can also lead to efficiencies and cost savings in the long run.
The number of bullets you’re reloading at once can impact the cost as well. Larger volumes can offer economies of scale, as buying components in bulk often reduces the cost per unit. Plus, you’ll be maximizing the use of your equipment.
The prices of the individual components – primer, powder, bullet, and casing – can significantly influence the overall cost. Factors like brand, quality, and market conditions can cause these costs to fluctuate. Not to worry, though, we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of these costs in the next section.
How Much Does It Cost to Reload 9mm?
This is your bullet’s ignition system. Tiny and innocuous, but the show can’t go on without it. Depending on the brand and where you buy, the price can vary significantly. On average, you’re looking at a ballpark figure of around $0.08 – $0.1 per primer. These have been really hard to find in recent years, so stock up when you find a good price!
The powder is the propellant for your ammo. You don’t need a lot per bullet (generally around 5 to 6 grains for 9mm), but remember: both the weight of the bullet and the amount of powder you use influence how your finished bullet behaves. The speed the bullet leaves the gun (called muzzle velocity) is also something you can change depending on how much powder you put in.
To make sure you’re loading your bullets safely, a manual or guidebook is your best friend. It’s just like following a recipe when cooking – it’s really important to stick to the instructions, especially when you’re just starting out. So make sure you double-check everything as you go along.
Powder prices can fluctuate based on market demand, but you’re typically looking at somewhere around $28.99 to $47.99 for a one-pound bottle.
This is your main act, the part that meets the target. Depending on the type (lead, plated, jacketed) and weight, bullet prices can vary quite a bit. However, an average cost might be around $0.10 – $0.15 per bullet depending on the weight. Most of the time, buying in bulk will reduce the cost per bullet.
The casing houses your bullet components, and it’s reusable. If you’re diligent in collecting your spent casings at the range (hello, pistol brass catcher), this could potentially cost you nothing. However, if you need to buy new, brass casings generally run about $0.18 – $0.35 each, depending on the brand.
Now, let’s talk about the toolkit:
The reloading press is your workshop, where all the components come together. Depending on the type (single stage, turret, or progressive), a good press can cost anywhere from $100 to $500, maybe even more for high-end models.
This ensures your bullets are properly sized and seated. A good 9mm set might run you around $30 to $50.
Crucial for accurately measuring your powder. A reliable scale could cost anywhere from $36 to $150+. Price varies based on the scale’s capacity.
You’ll need these to measure your overall cartridge length. Expect to spend about $20 to $80 on a decent pair.
Nice to Haves
And finally, the luxury items:
- RELIABLE: Unique bowl design to increase brass agitation for fast, aggressive cleaning that reduces wear on reloading dies and extends brass life
- SPECS: This tumbler holds up to 600 9mm or 350 .223 cases
A brass tumbler keeps your casings shiny and clean. Not absolutely necessary, but definitely helpful. That’s especially true if you’re picking up old brass at a range.
A good tumbler could cost around $80, while a premium model can cost up to $230.
- EASE OF USE: Trimmer indexes cases on the shoulder for speed and precision
- Accurate, Consistent Case Lengths - this Hornady Cam Lock Case Trimmer 050140 is a unique instrument that use standard Hornady removable shell holder heads and accurately restores fired cases to the...
A brass case trimmer ensures your casings are the right length. Over multiple firings, the neck will elongated and will need to be trimmed back down to spec. Prices vary depending on manual or automatic, but budget around $24 to $160.
Primer Insertion Tool
- SPECS: Comes with 12 shell holders to cover the most popular cases and the self-righting primer tray holds 100 plus primers
- Triangular Tray that accept all brand of primer boxes
This can save you a lot of time and potential frustration, but may not be needed depending on your press. You might spend anywhere from $30 to $100+.
As you can see, the upfront costs for equipment can add up. But remember, these are one-time investments. The ongoing costs for materials can be quite low, especially if you’re reusing your casings and buying in bulk.
Cost Comparison: Reloading vs Buying New 9mm Ammo
On average, a box of 50 new 9mm rounds can range from $10 to $20, depending on brand, type, and current market conditions. That’s around $0.20 – $0.40 per round.
On the other hand, let’s say you’ve reloaded your own ammo. With the cost of the primer, powder, and bullet (assuming you’ve picked up your own brass), your total cost per round might hover somewhere between $0.15 – $0.25. Quite a bit cheaper, right?
But hold up, we haven’t factored in the initial cost of the equipment yet. If we spread this cost over the first thousand rounds you make, depending on your setup, this could add anywhere from $0.20 – $0.70 per round.
Suddenly, the cost of reloading looks a lot closer to buying new. But remember, equipment cost is a one-time expense. The more you reload, the more you spread out that initial cost, and the cheaper each round becomes.
Now, if you factor in the value of your time, you may be way in the hole!
But reloading is a lot like prepping, some prefer to be able to do more things on our own and not rely on getting the things we need from a store in case there’s a supply crunch.
Tips for Reducing the Cost of Reloading 9mm
Source cheaper materials and/or tools
Look for deals, discounts, and second-hand equipment that are still in mint condition. A penny saved is a penny earned!
Proper equipment maintenance
Keep your gear in tip-top shape. It’ll last longer and perform better, saving you money in the long run.
Our Key Takeaways
Ultimately, whether or not reloading is cost-effective for you will depend on your shooting habits, how much you value customization, and the joy you might find in the reloading process itself. So while the numbers are important, they’re not the only part of the story.
Last update on 2023-09-17 / Images from Amazon Product API