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It looks like 9mm and 556 is not worth the money to load

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I haven't seen .20/round 9mm that I would put in my gun.  A friend told me that Academy had Blazer brass for .24 each yesterday. That is about as good as I've seen.  

I've been through these cycles several times now.  Components are cheap>people get complacent and say reloading isn't worthwhile>Democrats win/covid hits etc>people freak out>ammo disappears>I handload for .10/round>people want to get into reloading.

Back in 2018 or 2019 when primers were $22/1k, people on this site were telling me reloading isn't worthwhile.  The same people were scrounging for ammo in 2020/2021 and probably standing in line at Academy every Thursday morning.  I can still load pistol ammo for less than half what it costs if I use components I bought when they told me I was wasting time and money.  With components bought today, it's still worthwhile.  If nothing else, it's there when the next run starts and I don't have to hunt up and down hoping to find some.  

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6 minutes ago, deerslayer said:

This.  I trust my Dillon 550-loaded pistol ammo more than just about any factory ammo nowadays.  

There's lotsa truth in this.  I'm careful what ammo I buy as to brand.  Another plus with reloading is " tailoring " loads...


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Even with using today's prices vs what I paid for the components I bought, I could reload 9mm for 17¢/round, if I shop smart. 

7.0¢ primers
8.5¢ bullets
1.5¢ powder

If you factor in the bonuses that everyone else mentioned, like the enjoyment of reloading, the benefit of controlling the quality, and the ability to tailor loads to my needs, then it's a no-brainer for me.

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I only started reloading 9mm a few years ago. Up until then it wasn't worth the effort. I never did get around to reloading 5.56. for the same reason. But times have changed and both are much more expensive than they once were. 

However, these days I don't reload either and buy in bulk when I can catch them at a reasonable price. Reason being that components, especially powder and primers are hard to find and crazy expensive. I save what powder and primers I have for the other, more expensive cartridges I shoot. 

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The reloader can mimic the round specs and ballistics of the higher tier ammo that most purchase sparingly for hunting or defense at fraction of the cost.  Review 223 ballistics. It can vary 1.5” at 100 yards between manufactures for 55gn ball and 3” for defense bullets to ball. My rifles don’t prefer 55gn but I’ll spray brass with the cheap ball sometimes.  9mm I’m loading pulled down 124gn gold dots with oal and velocity of carry ammo for the cost of that low end 115gn ball to practice with.  Doesn’t matter much at self defense distance. I’m not a great shooter so I need as much consistency as possible. 
then you have equipment for those expensive calibers. I couldn’t afford to shoot even 44mag in joe’s economy if I didn’t reload. 

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Pre December 2012, in my mid 40s, I too use to look through the prism of cost and ROI, then Sandy Hook happened and the ammo dried up really really quick.  Not knowing the future, and Obama was in the office, I immediately made investments to reload all my calibers, basically lifetime reloading supplies.  Outside of 22LR, I have not purchased any new ammo since and don't plan too.  Fast forward a decade later, best choice I have made in regards to ammo.  Now reflecting, if I consider only my variable cost (bullets, powder, primers), I am competitive to the market (2012 economics on my variables).  However, if I consider my total investment, i.e. equipment, dies, and man power + the variables at 2023 economics, no I am not competitive.  But there are other considerations like others have mentioned about quality, consistency, custom, personal pleasure, etc.  BTW, I still single die load for hours and hours.  Maybe someday a Dillon is in my future.

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6 hours ago, gary_boom said:

I hate to offend anyone but I am still using components I bought at Wideners in Johnson City and picked up in person. 
powder 8 lb $130

Cci primers $76 per 5000

Hardcast bullets $36 per 1000

I have an old catalog from 1999/2000.

I'm also sitting on some old components. The last one-pound bottle of powder I used up had $16.95 on the sticker. I didn't get as good a deal on bullets as you did though.

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I have reloaded for 9mm and .223 for years.    Using coated bullets, and going by current powder and primer prices, I can load for about half of the cheapest ammo I can find.    It costs more for .223 but I can still load about 1/3 cheaper than buying.

Another benefit is that you can consistently turn out ammo that you know will function in your guns.  Chasing the cheapest factory ammo can be frustrating at times, especially when it's underpowered or inaccurate.

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On 11/27/2023 at 6:30 AM, Darrell said:

I've been casting for a long time, but have never considered .223.  Are you adding tin to your lead pot? Using gas checks?  

Trying a Lee mold , that I deleted the gas check by using a .225 drill bit , powder coated 

first try at 50 yds optic died but with a dead red dot I had a 3” group .

i have replaced optic now just have to get to the range

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On 11/27/2023 at 6:30 AM, Darrell said:

I've been casting for a long time, but have never considered .223.  Are you adding tin to your lead pot? Using gas checks?  

This is my first attempt at 223 , 57grn sized to .225 

I have had great luck with socom .458 out to 200 yds with out a gas check

so hoping for the same luck with .223


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I'm interested to hear your results. I've not tried cast bullets at high velocities. And even for moderate velocities I use gas checks. I've loaded up some 338 Mag with cast bullets and done fine with reduced loads for plinking. And I really like the Lee Soup Cans for plinking in .308.  

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Just an FYI:

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I primarily shoot 9mm and .38 spl. and increasingly .32 H&R Mag (and .32 S&W).

I don't shoot a lot of 5.56 these days.

I crunched a few numbers this morning as I prepare to go downstairs and load up some more .38 spl for tomorrow.

These numbers are based on current pricing of bullets, primers, and powder. My components are from way before current pricing, but I take into account I'll have to replace them eventually.


For .38 special mid-range target load: (750 fps on my chrono from a K-Frame)

Hoosier 158 gr Hi-Tek coated 158 gr .38 spl      = $104.00/1000 shipped

Winchester 231 powder (7000 grs/pound) 1 pound = $35.00 (obviously there's usually tax. If you order it then HazMat and Shipping. Bulk or combined costs with a friend help mitigate the cost). It's sometimes challenging these days.

Primers: Seeing Small Pistol Primers somewhere around $75.00/1000. Again, it depends on whether or not you purchase local or have to endure HazMat, shipping and taxes.

This particular load would cost me:  $0.198/rd, so right at 20 cents a round.  Ammoseek shows me either stuff I've never heard of, or remanufactured at $0.38/rd (plus Tax and Shipping usually...).

Crunching the numbers for 9mm, even assuming you are paying $50.00/lb for powder. 9mm still runs around $0.20/rd.

(I have never paid $50.00/lb for powder, but this world is getting crazy...).


But most importantly I tailor my handloads to my wants, needs, and any idiosyncrasies of a particular gun.

Please take into account I already own, and have owned all of my reloading equipment for a very long time.

$0.22/rd 9mm or less allows me to use my already owned powder and primers for much more costly rounds like .38 spl, .357 mag, and the aforementioned .32 family.

(BTW there were some decent deals this past Black Friday on 9mm range fodder).

I enjoy handloading. It therapeutic for me! Allows me to get into my "Zen-State" man-cave focus. 🤯

Then I get to go shoot it.

How can things get any better? 🙂  


Just some thoughts.

Gonna go handload some. HAVE A GOOD DAY FOLKS.





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My brother taught me the basics of reloading somewhere around 20 years ago.

Since then, my shooting partner and I have tweaked our load development process for our PRS type rifles quite a bit.

We can develop a load for those rifles very quickly and get great results (6.5cm & 6cm) and do it "cheaper" than match ammo with better results. 

I quoted "cheaper" due to components cost being cheaper but the equipment not factored in (presses, dies, annealer, trimmer, chrono, and more).

We are currently setting up a dillon SDB (that my brother gifted to me) for 9mm.  An early estimate looks like the cost of components at current prices would be $215 for 1k rounds (no brass cost).  We also just bought 1k of blazer brass and I think shipped it was right around $260.  

I am not sure what results we will see but the hope is lower pressure rounds to have fun with at minimum recoil.  The cost of reloading is high when you factor tooling and time especially but the reward (as previously mentioned by others) is a customized round to meet a performance level that may not be as easily found with factory rounds.

As a side note, we have done some 223 for the AR's but we get results we accept with a couple of different bulk factory varieties but keep our expectations reasonable (500 yards and in with 12" target).

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