Making Reloads On A Press

Reloading Ammunition
 By Mike Coviello (Tanner)

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Why Reload Your Own Ammunition?


For most people the answer is to save money, but how much money are you really saving and how much work are you willing to do to save it. Please consider the following when you are deciding whether to reload your own ammunition or continue to buy it at the gun store.

Ammunition Reloading Equipment
 Ammunition Reloading Equipment

Laser Bullet for Gun Training

Reloading Components

Reloading Books & Equipment

Why Reload?

  • To save money.

  • To get a new hobby and pass the time.

  • To shoot more.

  • To improve the accuracy of your ammunition.

  • Because your friends do.

  • To gain knowledge.

How Much Will It Cost to Start?

The costs vary to widely to provide a cost estimate for reloading equipment and supplies. It all depends on your circumstances, what you are reloading and how much you are willing to spend. You have to do your homework and shop around.

- Basic reloading equipment
- Optional equipment
- Cost of books and videos
- Cost of supplies
- Cost of miscellaneous equipment (reloading bench, lights, fans, ect.)

Do You Know the Dangers Involved with Reloading or Shooting Reloaded Ammunition?

See Reloading Dangers.

Do You Have the Discipline?

Reloading is not for everyone. Are you capable of total concentration without distractions such as the radio, television, conversation or other? Are you capable of not making any mistakes while reloading?

Do You Have A Safe Room?

A safe room for reloading is a secure room separate from your household with no distractions where you can work in peace and privacy. Good lighting and ventilation is required. The room and/or equipment and supplies in the room must have the capability of being locked.

How Do You Learn to Reload Ammunition?

If you don't have a knowledgeable friend to teach you and show you exactly how to reload, be prepared to buy some books and do a lot of reading up on the subject. Also, spend time viewing ammunition reloading videos on the internet to get a feel of what it's all about.

Is It Easy to Get Supplies?

Friends that do a lot of reloading tell me that have to do a lot of online shopping to find their reloading supplies and that it is not always easy to find what they need. Also, the price varies greatly as well as the shipping costs. Buying in bulk is cheaper but having large quantities of gun power around isn't always safe. You also have to wait for the deliveries.

Wives or Roommates May Not Like The Idea of Reloading In Their Home

The person living with you may not appreciate the equipment and the dangers that come with it, especially the bulk gun power laying around.

How Long Does It Take To Reload Ammunition?

The time it takes to reload your own ammunition depends on many factors including the equipment that you have, the condition of your casings, whether your casings are clean or dirty as well as the workspace that you are in. If you are experienced and have a multi-stage press, a rough estimate is that you can reload about 100 rounds per hour.

Is Reloading Your Own Ammunition Worth The Hassle?

You have to decide for yourself. If you enjoy being alone and like peaceful and quiet activities then reloading might be for you. My friend equates it to his "Zen Time". I prefer lots of noise and the television blaring.

How Much Does It Cost to Reload 9mm Luger Ammunition?

Component Costs as of January 2010 - Jacketed bullet $ .10, Powder $ .02, Primer $ .04
Total $ .16 per round of 9mm Luger Reloaded Ammo. Compare to $.32 per round of equivalent factory ammo retail price. Conclusion: Reloaded ammunition costs about half the price of store bought ammo.

Is It Worth Reloading 9mm Luger?
(As of January 2010)

- With a good turret press a practiced loader can conceivable load a 100 rounds an hour.
- For a beginner lets assume that he can load 50 rounds per hour (1 Box of 50)
- Current Cost of 50 rounds of 9mm Luger is $16 (including 7% tax as of 1/13/2010)
- Reloading your own ammunition saves you 50% of the cost of new ammo.

Therefore for the work that you are doing to reload your own ammo you are saving (or making), depending on your point of view, $8 per hour. This does not include the many hours of learning how to reload or the costs of the equipment and supplies needed.

If you assume $250 for reloading equipment costs, then $250 / $8 per hour = 31 hours. Therefore, the number of hours you would have to work reloading 9mm cartridges to recoup your initial investment in
equipment would be 31 hours (just to break even). That equates to producing 1,550 rounds of 9mm luger ammunition.

Note: Cost savings for most other calibers would most likely be higher because 9mm is about the cheapest commercial ammo
available. So there is a cost saving, depending on the caliber of ammo that you reload. Availability of commercial
ammunition is another consideration.


Why is reloaded ammo bad?

Reloaded ammo can be bad if you don't know who made the ammo or how it was made. It could be dangerous to shoot. Reloaded ammo doesn't have the same level of quality control as factory ammo does. Maybe the reloader made a mistake and used too much powder which could cause an explosion when fired. Maybe he used too little powder which could cause a squib which could be equally disastrous. Maybe he used the wrong primer or bullet or used casings with cracks or imperfections. There is a whole lot of things that can go wrong with reloaded ammo if you don't know what you are doing or are careless during the reloading process.

What if primers are not fully seated?

Typically primers that are not fully seated do not impose an increased danger level, they probably just won't go off when you shoot them. This is due to the firing pin not have sufficient "travel" distance to gain the required force to set off the primer. In such cases you can try firing the round again (if often shoots the second time) or break the round apart and reuse the components.

What is I use incorrect gunpowder?

Using incorrect gunpowder for reloading could be disastrous. Reloaded ammunition uses specific components with exact quantities of gunpowder for safe shooting. Different gun powders have different energy levels and burn rates and are made for specific purposes. Using the wrong gunpowder or using the right gunpowder but not the right amount can lead to all sorts of problems including damage to the firearm or injury or death to you or those nearby.

Is reloading ammo worth it?

Yes and no. A friend once told me "It doesn't save him a lot of money, it just lets him shoot more."

NO - If you have lots of money and there is no shortage of ammunition at the retailers, it probably isn't worth the cost and effort.

Yes - If there is a shortage of ammunition in the market, if you want an enjoyable hobby or if you want to learn about guns and ammo, if you want to save some money or if you want to make sure you have custom and accurate ammunition.


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Mike Coviello is a former aerospace engineer, now Web Designer/SEO Consultant. Hobbies include shooting zombies & reloading ammunition.






Reloading Equipment
1. Equipment
The Components Of Ammunition
2. Components
Cleaning Brass Cases For Reloading
3. Brass Cases
Making Reloads On A Press
4. Know How