I was wondering how much it costs to actually start reloading 9mm ammo? How much is the basic start up equipment and the components, is it still cheaper to reload and if so what the general break even point is?
Stat up costs vary greatly depending on whether you start with a single stage machine or a progressive, whether you buy used or new equipment, the brand of machine/equipment, if you go with a kit or buy pieces individually, the price and type of components you chose plus the local prices for them (these can vary greatly depending on you location, quantity you buy at a time with greater amounts typically being discounted, and if the local shop has a yearly sale or not), the number of loading manuals you get (I suggest at least two in order to cross reference each other) and a host of other things. Pick up the manuals first as they will explain what is needed to start and give a much better explaination of what is involved than I can.
Generally, figure $500 to start out if buying a new single stage kit and this includes enough components for about 1000 rounds, not including brass. A progressive will run at least 50% more. You can cut the price in half or more if you can find a used machine. I bought most of my stuff used as it is nearly impossible to wear out a reloader and one often gets a fair bit of extra equipment this way. Some you may use, some you won't but you will typically pick up everything that is basic to reloading.
I have not priced out reloading 9mm in a few years but I can reload my 40 and 45 cartridges for about $6 and $7 per box respectively. I can cut that down a little bit with lead bullets and a little more if I cast my own bullets but then one has to add in the cost of this additional equipment. I would guess I can do 9mm under $5 and probably more in the $4-4.50 range. That is also by buying components in large quantities such as 5000 primers and bullets and 8 pound jugs of powder at a time. That takes a bit of capital to do and if one buys by the 1 pound jar, 100 bullet and primer pack they will not realize nearly as much savings.
If oneis going to only shoot on occasion, it is probably better to buy from the store as it is less cost up front and one does not have to find a place to use and store the equipment. I have a 12'x14' bedroom as my loading room and it is not big enough for what I have. Then again I reload everything: 410-10 ga shotgun, a couple dozen or so rifle cartridges, and over a dozen pistol cartridges which means a bit of space just for dies. At least for the most part one can use the same machine for rifle and pistol but I do have two progressives and two single stage machines I have to make room for. If I were to pair it down to just one cartridge, I could get by with a sturdy desk as a table and a part of a small closet to store everything in.
cost will depend on how much you want to spend. also, how much you want to shoot.
factors to consider:
1. YOUR TIME. Time = $$$$$. How much do YOU value YOUR time?
2. how much do you plan on shooting? 100 rounds per week, weekend or day? or more?
3. You dont "save" any $$ either by reloading. Why? cuz you spend it on other reloading supplies.
4. get a book on reloading like the "ABCs of Reloading". Even if you decide to not reload, it will give you an idea on whats involved and chances are, you will probably reload later especially when you buy more guns like that 45acp. its also give you the vocabulary so you can ask intelligent questions and know the terminology/meaning.
Look at Midwayusa.com. they have alot of reloading supplies and "starter" kits. Most of the kits are single stage presses or turrets. Also, you will need to buy some other tools since most if not all of the starter kits done include everything you will need.
Look also at Dillonprecision.com. he sells some of the more expensive equipment. you can get an idea on the cost of progressive presses. (note the "progressive" terminology)
once you know some of the terminology, you can google for the "reloading" calculator. it will give you an idea on how much each round costs. the catch is, you need to know the prices and what is used for what.
a comment. i can tell you how much i save, but it wont be what you will. why? cuz ive been buying reloading components for 30 years and have stockpiled some of the components. If you havent noticed, that during the last few years, ammo prices have gone up. well, during that time, so did the reloading components.
just an example. I had purchased primers < $ 0.01 each. Now, if you are lucky, they will cost you $ 0.03 each. it all adds up.
a few hints if you choose to venture into reloading.
1. SAVE YOUR BRASS. Even if you dont reload now. Why. Cuz you can sell it. it doesnt have a shelf life or expiration date. just keep them in a clean, dry for storage.
2. BUY IN BULK. dont MO 1 lb of powder. or 100 primers. Think BULK. Why? Cuz if you MO powder and/or primers, there is a HAZMAT fee. Its approx $25.00 per shipping box. Heres another gotcha. They CANT ship Primers & Powder togeather! If you buy in BULK, the cost of the HAZMAT is spreadout over the whole shipment. IF you buy the primers or Powder locally, you wont have to deal with the HAZMAT fee.
3. Bullets can be expensive since they are heavy. If you can find someone that will eat the shipping if you order x amount of bullets, go with them. If you can find them locally, its good to.
4. You will need space to do the reloading. Preferably no carpet under the bench/area! You will need a good sturdy bench to attach the press too.
5. Keep a reloading log. Why? cuz it will allow you to replicate a load long after you fogot the details. It will also keep you from making the same bad load too.