Does it make sense for you to start making your own Ammo?
Updated: Jun 8, 2021
It's hardly a secret that every time you pull the trigger it costs you money. How much money is a function of the free market. How recently has a politician said something that made people feel unsafe or insecure in their ability to source ammo in the future? One way many people have looked to hedge against uncertainty has been to load their own ammunition.
It's called "reloading" because you take spent brass casings, clean them, resize them and put all the components of a round of ammunition in them. The goal - through buying in bulk is that you can drive the cost of a completed round of ammunition way down. The components of a round in descending order of cost - the projectile/bullet, the brass case (if new), the primer, the brass case (if bought once fired, clean), then the gun powder.
While the primary motivator for people to begin reloading is to save money - what you end up getting is a far superior product. For about half the cost of target loads you get premium ammunition that will be more consistent and usually more accurate than what you'd be buying otherwise. Cheap target loads are often dirty and smoky - you can load ammunition cheaply that's more accurate, cleaner burning, and did we discuss cheaper? The other benefit is you can tailor your load to a specific gun - you can control the recoil impulse based on how a gun reacts to it. You can shorten or lengthen rounds to make them feed better in guns so your gun is more reliable.
Using 9mm, the most popular handgun cartridge to make the economic case - I can load my ammunition using coated lead bullets and reusing brass that I pick up on the range for about 11 cents per round (CPR). I can still target loads (Winchester White Box 100 round value packs) buy ammunition locally for about 25 CPR. I can't find the 17-20 CPR rounds from the "good old days" - like 4th quarter 2019 or 1st quarter 2020.
My press (Dillon XL650 with case feeder) I can load about 700-800 rounds an hour comfortably. So in an hour I'm "saving" about $112 - using an average savings of 14CPR x 800. The truth - is you don't save money reloading - you just shoot more. Basically double your current round count in a year and that's what happens to most shooters who start reloading.
As far as time is concerned - for me to load a full case of projectiles - 3600 rounds of my preferred Gallant Bullet 125 LRN projectile - I'm spending about 7-8 hours total - from brass prep, to machine prep, to actual loading time. If I chamber check each round you can add another couple hours to that. The time you spend reloading will usually be "TV time" or social media time - it's not done during the middle of the day when you have other stuff to do - it's a pretty easy trade off to make.
While we're discussing 9 millimeter - the math on .40 S&W and .45 ACP start to rapidly make sense. The cost of a reloaded 40 or 45 round is not a whole lot different from a 9mm. If you're shooting revolvers the case is made even faster!
It certainly isn't something to take lightly - reloading can be dangerous. If you pay attention to what you're doing and use an autoindexing press then you mitigate the risk tremendously. Reloading often takes over as a hobby within a hobby and some people enjoy reloading more than shooting! If the Math interests you I break it down further in my YouTube Video below.
If you're curious on doing math on your own - you can kick tires on components/presses I would recommend for reloading. The following links are affiliate links but I have used all of the following to good success. I use Sport Pistol powder now rather than tight group and load on a Dillon XL650 - which is equivalent of the Lock N Load AP linked below:
A good pistol powder for soft shooting 9mm
A decent place to source once fired brass
A decent progressive press (get a progressive! Don't mess with single stage or turrets if you shoot 5,000 rounds a year or more)
A Case feeder for the press to speed you up
A bullet feeder for the press to speed you up more
Some of the links above are affiliate links and generate a commission at no additional cost to you