Best Reload Setup for 9 MM only

Best Reload Setup for 9 MM only

This is a discussion on Best Reload Setup for 9 MM only within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; What is the best case prep'er, primer remover/set, bullet put'er inner press you can get, for the least cash, yet have a solid, accurate, life ...

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Thread: Best Reload Setup for 9 MM only

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array gmcjetpilot's Avatar
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    Best Reload Setup for 9 MM only

    What is the best case prep'er, primer remover/set, bullet put'er inner press you can get, for the least cash, yet have a solid, accurate, life long tool? Don't need all the bells and whistles auto progressive press or one that can do every round known to mankind...... However if makes sense to get something with more capability, then please advise. I have case cleaning and powder measuring covered. Thanks in advance for suggestions.

    My needs and goals:
    Not a big shooter, 100 to 150 rounds of 9mm a month; Also shoot 22LR.
    Not 100% about cost savings; I'd like to keep prices down (shoot more) & in event of another spike have more control.
    Want to expand my hobby and learn more.
    Collected 300 brass 9mm cases;
    Have 1000 rounds of unfired ammo, some commercial reload some factory new.

    With brass out of equation, cost depends on bullets, primers & bang powder at a good price.
    Right now everything is high or sold out. It will come back. When it does I can shop for deals on gear and reload supplies.

    Ran some numbers, amortizing the cost of equipment is out of the equation; it's a hobby.
    Can always recoup cost by selling the gear, especially when there is panic buying going on.

    Have to (like to) at least be able to make a DIY reload round for $0.25/round (9mm).
    Was paying about $24 for 100 rounds of 9x19mm at Wally word in the good old days (6 months ago).
    Now paying about $15-$16 for 50.... at the range; not figuring in $10-$12 range lane fee.


  2. #2
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    Your ammo requirements are similar to mine in quantity. A simple Lee single-stage press will easily do the job but I feel a little more investment in a higher level press will pay of in the long run. I'm fond of RCBS, but there are many good choices out there, all with supporters. Some presses have priming arms on them, but I prefer to use a hand primer. My old Lee worked fine until I wore it out. I upgraded to the RCBS model with no regrets.

    Get a set of Carbide dies. It's worth a few extra bucks. I do all my pistol reloading with them, and seating/crimping in one step is easy. You just have to take the time to set up the die properly. Otherwise, get the 4-die set; but it adds 33% more work per round.

    Buying components in bulk results in cheaper load costs. I normally don't buy in bulk due to space issues, maybe a box of 500 LRNs, 3-400 primers, a lb of powder and such, and I can load a box of 9mm for under $10. Bulk purchases would lower that significantly.

    I use the el cheapo electronic calipers from Harbor Freight, and for $9.99 they've been great. Be aware they have two model: .01" & .001". You want the .001" model.

    There are many great reloading manuals out there, and I won't reccommend one over the other. I will point out that bullet company manuals give data for on their bullets, while powder company manuals give data for a variety of bullet makes/style but only in their powders. You can see why folks accumulate numerous manuals.
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  3. #3
    MJK
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    Dillon 550. Start out with what you will eventually end up with!
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  4. #4
    Ex Member Array Gearhead's Avatar
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    For that ammo quantity, you can't go wrong with the RCBS Rockchucker single stage. Although I use a progressive setup for most of my reloading, my old Rockchucker has been perking along just fine for more than 35 years with zero issues. I still prefer to use it for .38 spcl target loads. About 1 hours worth of work on a Rockchucker will yield 100 rounds, assuming you're using a quality powder drop and not weighing each individual charge. Incidently, my calculated cost for reloading 9mm is about 11 cents per round. With your ammo burn rate, I think you could justify spending up to $500 for a reloading setup and be saving money in less than 2 years. Oldvets right on the calipers - you need something that will resolve to 0.001" in order to accurately measure cartridge overall length and crimp diameter. Good luck.

  5. #5
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    Not sure about the "best" - but here are a few things to consider.

    The big tradeoff between single stage and progressive machines is in the amount of time you spend making ammo. With a single stage press, every round you make requires a minimum of two strokes on the press handle and you're inserting the cartridge into the shell holder and removing it at least twice. Priming is a separate operation that typically doesn't involve the press. Ditto charging the cases with powder. You have to change dies in the press when you shift from sizing to seating/crimping. With a progressive, every crank of the press handle turns out a finished round.

    The down side of progressive presses is that they're a little fussier about initial adjustments. With a more complex machine, there's more to go wrong, and if you screw up, you can turn out a number of bum rounds before you catch your mistake. Progressive presses require more operator attention. If you can't pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time, a progressive is probably not the right tool for you.

    I'd say your shooting volume is right on the cusp of favoring a progressive. When I went from a case or two of .45 a year to 100+ rounds a week, that pushed me over the edge and into a progressive.

    As you note, the price per finished round is a function of component cost, with bullets being the most expensive part. An intangible cost is what your time is worth. Granted, reloading may be leisure or hobby time, but I prefer not to spend two hours cranking out 200 pistol rounds, even if the operations are spread out. Once I'm set up (powder and primer dispensers full), I can load 500 rounds in about 2 hours without rushing. (Rifle ammo for me goes a lot slower, on purpose.)

    As far as which equipment to get, you can get a pistol-caliber only Dillon Square Deal B complete with dies for under $400. It's a progressive, but you are locked into buying Dillon-only dies (not a bad thing) dues to their thread size. If you have the time, you can shop for used equipment at gun shows and on-line, but the pickings are pretty slim right now. Last weekend at the Phoenix gun show I saw some pretty old presses and dies going for like-new prices. As far as dies are concerned, I would buy new, unless you get to inspect used ones before you buy. For pistol ammo, you want only carbide sizing dies (which probably all new ones are these days, anyway).

    If you go single-stage, a press which offers compound leverage is what you want (i.e., skip the $30 Lee press). Stick with good names like Hornady, RCBS, and Lyman. Besides the press, you'll need a powder measure, and a scale. For the latter, I'd avoid the digital types and get something like a RCBS 5-0-5 beam balance.

    I understand wanting to economize on equipment, but the adage of "buy cheap, buy twice" applies here.
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    I agree with Smitty, if you're gonna' be a bear...be a grizzly! Reloading is a rare hobby that actually saves money. If you're gonna' DO it, then go ahead, spend the coin now to do it fast & well until you don't wanna' do it anymore. You'll forget about what it cost you to begin reloading because you only have to buy quality...once.
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    I am one of the few that is more than happy with the lee pro 1000! Before this year you could find them on sale for 170 at midway. For that few of rounds it would go quickly! Good luck and have fun!

  8. #8
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    Welcome aboard. First, buy a manual or two and read all you can about reloading. A couple of shooting web sites have some outstanding introductory information on reloading in their reloading "stickies" (a couple I would recommend are in GlockTalk and the 1911forum).

    If you are sure about the volume and caliber you will reload for, there is nothing wrong with a single stage press (I used one for 20 or more years before I moved up) to fit your needs. The cheapest Lee you can find will get you there loading 100+ rounds per month. Add carbide dies (almost all of them are now days), a quality powder scale and a powder measure, calipers, and with what you already have you are good to go (after you do your required reading!). You can probably save a little by buying a kit that includes your needed equipment. As for components, even if you aren't a heavy duty shooter, buy everything in bulk to maximize your savings. Figure your cost to reload this way, the first cartridge you reload will cost you $250 (or whatever your equipment costs are) and everything loaded after that is saving you 50% or more.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockinRiley View Post
    I am one of the few that is more than happy with the lee pro 1000! Before this year you could find them on sale for 170 at midway. For that few of rounds it would go quickly! Good luck and have fun!
    Same here to. I got my pro 1000 used for $75 and set up for 9mm and 380. Progressives are finiky on the setup. But mines workin fine now. Knock on wood. When comes time to replace it Ill go with dillon or hornady probably. Good luck and have fun with an enjoyable hobby.

  10. #10
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    The Lee pro 1000 progressive, I just got a Lee classic turret kit from midway. $219. I have 308 and 223 dies already, just cant't get the Lee 9MM 4 die set.
    Everyone is sold out, got a set on backorder.
    But if you find the Lee Pro 1000, it comes with the 9MM dies.

  11. #11
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    If you buy primers by the hundred and bullets by the hundred, you are pi$$ing in the wind. Save your money for awhile and buy 10k worth of primers at one time and 8lb of powder. Buying in bulk is where you save the money.
    If you are only looking to do 9mm, I'd lean toward a Dillon square deal. My Dillon 650 has been trouble free and not hard to use at all like some people say progressives are. I started with a cheap Lee press loaded about 100 rounds and said screw this and bought the 650. But with that said I also have a Redding Big Boss II single stage press as a progressive can't do some things that need done. For a single stage I think Redding makes a better product then the RCBS Rock Chucker.

  12. #12
    Member Array Billspider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJK View Post
    Dillon 550. Start out with what you will eventually end up with!
    Couldn't agree more
    Utah Concealed Firearms Certified Instructor

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Not sure about the "best" - but here are a few things to consider.

    The big tradeoff between single stage and progressive machines is in the amount of time you spend making ammo. With a single stage press, every round you make requires a minimum of two strokes on the press handle and you're inserting the cartridge into the shell holder and removing it at least twice. Priming is a separate operation that typically doesn't involve the press. Ditto charging the cases with powder. You have to change dies in the press when you shift from sizing to seating/crimping. With a progressive, every crank of the press handle turns out a finished round.

    The down side of progressive presses is that they're a little fussier about initial adjustments. With a more complex machine, there's more to go wrong, and if you screw up, you can turn out a number of bum rounds before you catch your mistake. Progressive presses require more operator attention. If you can't pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time, a progressive is probably not the right tool for you.

    I'd say your shooting volume is right on the cusp of favoring a progressive. When I went from a case or two of .45 a year to 100+ rounds a week, that pushed me over the edge and into a progressive.

    As you note, the price per finished round is a function of component cost, with bullets being the most expensive part. An intangible cost is what your time is worth. Granted, reloading may be leisure or hobby time, but I prefer not to spend two hours cranking out 200 pistol rounds, even if the operations are spread out. Once I'm set up (powder and primer dispensers full), I can load 500 rounds in about 2 hours without rushing. (Rifle ammo for me goes a lot slower, on purpose.)

    As far as which equipment to get, you can get a pistol-caliber only Dillon Square Deal B complete with dies for under $400. It's a progressive, but you are locked into buying Dillon-only dies (not a bad thing) dues to their thread size. If you have the time, you can shop for used equipment at gun shows and on-line, but the pickings are pretty slim right now. Last weekend at the Phoenix gun show I saw some pretty old presses and dies going for like-new prices. As far as dies are concerned, I would buy new, unless you get to inspect used ones before you buy. For pistol ammo, you want only carbide sizing dies (which probably all new ones are these days, anyway).

    If you go single-stage, a press which offers compound leverage is what you want (i.e., skip the $30 Lee press). Stick with good names like Hornady, RCBS, and Lyman. Besides the press, you'll need a powder measure, and a scale. For the latter, I'd avoid the digital types and get something like a RCBS 5-0-5 beam balance.

    I understand wanting to economize on equipment, but the adage of "buy cheap, buy twice" applies here.
    +1 to the Square Deal B, dial calipers and a simple beam-balance.
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    The OP is no longer a member. Save your responses for the next new guy that asks the question!
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    We bought him a one way plane ticket to any place else.

    His offensive posts have been deleted and he has also been deleted.
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