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To Reload Or Not To Reload, That Is The Question

LRZ

Operator
I've been on a little of a hiatus from here due to work, but I always look forward to and enjoy getting back to catch up.

Well, as I mentioned earlier, the "To Load or Not to Reload, That Is The Question" has been answered, and I finally have everything but the crimp die. I worked with whatever space I had, built some shelves and created my station. I'm very appreciative of all the insights/inputs/advice I've received, and thought I'd share my set up. The workspace is a little cluttered right now but most of the blue bins will go since they're just holding brass. Just FYI, this doesn't mean my questions are going to stop, because I already have a few :LOL:
20200830_100314.jpg


Now that that's out the way, back to the more important question about reloading. I'm stoked I have a long weekend coming up next week because I hope to get in a lot of "desk" time. But in preparation, I went through the whole process a few times and came up with a little problem. I thought getting my powder correct would be the biggest problem, but that turned out rather easy after a few trial runs. Where I'm having a problem is after seating the bullet, the cartridge does not seat completely in the gauge. Now I don't know if this is because I don't crimp (die to arrive tomorrow), or if that will solve the problem once I have that? The shell seated perfectly right before I ran it through to drop powder and through the expander, which is why I wonder if I crimping will be the solution. (I've read mixed thoughts on whether 9mm need to be crimped or not). Once the bullet is seated, they're measuring right at .381, which I believe is the max for 9mm. It slides in with no issue on my barrel, but any insight/help would be appreciated.
20200830_132502.jpg
 

LRZ

Operator
Y
Are you in Cook County?

I live in IL and I can get ammo shipped to me. I don't live in Cook County though. I've used Target Sports and Buds gun shop. They'll both want a one-time cell phone snap of your FOID card and then you're good to go.

Somewhere on the internet is a comprehensive list of which vendors will ship ammo to Cook County residents.
Yes, live in Orland Park, so right in Cook County! I've been to Buds once, but due to the shortage, would only sell defense ammo since I wasn't using their range. I'll have to look up Target, and for that comprehensive list.
 

LRZ

Operator
I just acquired a Springfield XD-M 4.5" OSP in 10mm. My other pistols are 9mm and .22 cal. I thought about reloading when I started in 9mm but like others noted, the Walmart price for range ammo was so low that I couldn't justify it.

I am used to about $0.19/round for 9 mm FMJ. I just got two 50 round boxes of white box Winchester FMJ for an average of $29 + tax for each box. The $0.56/round has definitely gotten me to thinking about reloading for 10mm, so I really appreciate this particular thread.
Definitely what got me to thinking about reloading. I purchased my first handgun in June, and by August, had already spent close to $1500 on just ammo, and that's searching high and low on the internet, driving to Indiana etc. I thought I was doing pretty good with 53cpr, until I had an epiphany of how much I loved going to the range and how much I was spending on ammo. Just picked up an AR Pistol, so I'll be reloading on .223s as well, so I have no regrets on getting into this new hobby.
 

RangerBill

Operator
First I will say I DO NOT reload for self defense. But second someone needs to explain to me how it would ever come up. You clean and polish your brass, you load your bullet and you shoot it. Now even if your gun is taken into custody there is name brand brass of course. I have never heard of any prosecutor taking apart a cartridge and weighing powder and such to determine if it was a handload. How does anyone know?
Many times a prosecutor will not pursue charges on a justified defensive shoot. That issue is dropped right there. No need to go through the forensic gymnastics. BUT, the family of the injured / dead bad guy may pursue civil charges against you. Then there is a lawyer after you in civil court for damages. Do you have carry insurance? I would chat with the insurance carrier that has you covered for defensive carry (NRA Carry Guard, USCCA, etc.). I spoke with a retired police officer that teaches carry classes, and he said that although he hadn't heard of any cases anywhere that looked at hand loads versus factory stuff, it's best to just use factory ammo for your defensive pistols. The lawyers always go after what they perceive as the "Deep Pockets". My carrier informed me it's best to use factory fodder. I know, it's all legal BS. The Geneva Convention supposedly banned the use of "Hollow point bullets". This is what we have been told. Our military snipers and SF guys have a go around. The loads they use have "Open tip match" projectiles. Hollow point?? What hollow point??

Regards,
Bill
 

LRZ

Operator
Now that that's out the way, back to the more important question about reloading. I'm stoked I have a long weekend coming up next week because I hope to get in a lot of "desk" time. But in preparation, I went through the whole process a few times and came up with a little problem. I thought getting my powder correct would be the biggest problem, but that turned out rather easy after a few trial runs. Where I'm having a problem is after seating the bullet, the cartridge does not seat completely in the gauge. Now I don't know if this is because I don't crimp (die to arrive tomorrow), or if that will solve the problem once I have that? The shell seated perfectly right before I ran it through to drop powder and through the expander, which is why I wonder if I crimping will be the solution. (I've read mixed thoughts on whether 9mm need to be crimped or not). Once the bullet is seated, they're measuring right at .381, which I believe is the max for 9mm. It slides in with no issue on my barrel, but any insight/help would be appreciated.

[/QUOTE]
Update...Was definitely the lack of crimp. Excitedly attached the die, and all measurements came out much more acceptable. Also, shot my very first reloads today, and came home with no incident. Considering how this thread started, must say while a little nervous, I was very proud, and excited to continue my new hobby!
 

jumpinjoe

Custom
Not always easy to tell at a glance...
A valid point Hans, but if it were to reach the 'lawyer' vs 'shooter' or 'shooter' vs 'shootee' phase in court, you can bet they won't rely on just "a glance".

One of the points my lawyer of many years experience told me once as we were just talking 'CC' over lunch was that in any court proceeding involving an SD shooting, they will absolutely look into what ammo was used. His conversation included this statement .... The first question from the 'shootee/shootee's survivor' will be "Just how did you come up with the plan to use this special 'home made' ammo when you planned to kill Mr. XXXXXX"? And then likely continue with ... "Was standard ammo not 'powerful' or 'deadly' enough for you?" His point being that anything other than regular, factory ammo will be played up as advance planning and intent. Not necessarily premeditation, but pre-planning.

He often quoted this little tid-bit as well ..... "In this country, anyone can sue anyone at anytime for any reason." And I assure you they can/will find a reason!

Just a little food for thought and something to ponder.
 

HansGruber

Professional
A valid point Hans, but if it were to reach the 'lawyer' vs 'shooter' or 'shooter' vs 'shootee' phase in court, you can bet they won't rely on just "a glance".

One of the points my lawyer of many years experience told me once as we were just talking 'CC' over lunch was that in any court proceeding involving an SD shooting, they will absolutely look into what ammo was used. His conversation included this statement .... The first question from the 'shootee/shootee's survivor' will be "Just how did you come up with the plan to use this special 'home made' ammo when you planned to kill Mr. XXXXXX"? And then likely continue with ... "Was standard ammo not 'powerful' or 'deadly' enough for you?" His point being that anything other than regular, factory ammo will be played up as advance planning and intent. Not necessarily premeditation, but pre-planning.

He often quoted this little tid-bit as well ..... "In this country, anyone can sue anyone at anytime for any reason." And I assure you they can/will find a reason!

Just a little food for thought and something to ponder.
I agree; I wouldn’t use handloads unless it was the only—and I mean ONLY option.

Nothing but factory in my defensive pistols...about the only way I could see it happening would be if an event occurred when I was hunting...and then I’ve got a pretty good reason for them.
 

jumpinjoe

Custom
I've been on a little of a hiatus from here due to work, but I always look forward to and enjoy getting back to catch up.

Well, as I mentioned earlier, the "To Load or Not to Reload, That Is The Question" has been answered, and I finally have everything but the crimp die. I worked with whatever space I had, built some shelves and created my station. I'm very appreciative of all the insights/inputs/advice I've received, and thought I'd share my set up. The workspace is a little cluttered right now but most of the blue bins will go since they're just holding brass. Just FYI, this doesn't mean my questions are going to stop, because I already have a few :LOL:
View attachment 9527

Now that that's out the way, back to the more important question about reloading. I'm stoked I have a long weekend coming up next week because I hope to get in a lot of "desk" time. But in preparation, I went through the whole process a few times and came up with a little problem. I thought getting my powder correct would be the biggest problem, but that turned out rather easy after a few trial runs. Where I'm having a problem is after seating the bullet, the cartridge does not seat completely in the gauge. Now I don't know if this is because I don't crimp (die to arrive tomorrow), or if that will solve the problem once I have that? The shell seated perfectly right before I ran it through to drop powder and through the expander, which is why I wonder if I crimping will be the solution. (I've read mixed thoughts on whether 9mm need to be crimped or not). Once the bullet is seated, they're measuring right at .381, which I believe is the max for 9mm. It slides in with no issue on my barrel, but any insight/help would be appreciated.
View attachment 9528
Obviously I'm getting to this party just a little late, but wanted to add a few tid-bits to help if I could. When I read your comment .... " Update...Was definitely the lack of crimp." I thought it might help. It might not have been the lack of a crimp being the whole problem, especially if you're using 'X' times fired brass. The crimp may have just covered up another issue.

Here's an observation and recommendation LRZ, but you might ought to double check the length of your cases, and your 'OAL'. That's the Over All Length of the loaded cartridge. From what you're saying and the looks of your loaded 'ammo checker', you might not be trimming your used brass quite enough and/or seating your bullet quite deep enough. The more times a case has been fired, the more important it is they be 'full length resized'. It's a good practice to measure even brand new cases for SAAMI specs. The factory quality anymore is usually right on the money, but occasionally some bad ones will get through.

The downside of this is that the more times the case is resized and/or worked, the fewer re-loadings you'll typically get. That is a result of 'over working' the brass and hardening it. You can oft times save an otherwise over worked brass case by 'annealing' it, but that's getting past the basic operation of reloading/handloading. Let's add this bit of advice here and now .... you'll never save enough money on reloading to make it worth trying to skimp on brass cases. If there's even a smidgen of a concern about a particular case, or box of cases, or a bucket of cases, dispose of them. DO NOT TAKE A CHANCE ON THE RELOADING OF DAMAGED OR SUSPECT BRASS !!!!!!!!!!!!! This advice would also apply to powders and primers !!!!

Often on cartridges that headspace on the case mouth such as the 9mm, and if it is that the brass is a little too long, the extra crimp will allow just enough for it to seat for a few loadings. At some point they will become too long even for the crimp to help. If it's an issue with the bullet not seated deep enough, the firearm's action will sometimes drive the bullet a little deeper into the case when it goes to battery and function alright. Even though some/many competition shooters will oft times load deliberately a long seated bullet in an effort to eliminate any/all 'bullet jump', in most cases this is acceptable, but it's not always wise.

A note here: Typically my general use bolt rifle stuff, and my revolver stuff, I don't always trim my used brass, depending on how many times it's been fired (yes, I can account for the exact number of times any/all of my brass has been fired). Especially if I'm loading it to be used in the same firearm it was originally fired in and/or for some competitions. But if I'm loading for semi-auto loaders of any kind, I'll always trim and resize to SAAMI specs. A habit I developed back when I was at about your current experience level. Typically most auto-loaders simply don't have enough umphhh in their actions to slam home on a non resized or 'too long' load, whereas a typical bolt action will not even notice. Your bullet seating depth is also more critical with the auto-loaders. Both issues are especially important on handloads for semi's.

And as for your question/concern about whether to crimp or not..... my advice for now until you gain some considerable experience is to crimp anything you're loading for a semi-auto, or any firearm that uses a stacked magazine, and especially if the projectile has a cannelure. Because as they typically stack in a magazine, the recoil will oft times pull the bullets in the mag out a little from the recoil with each shot. By the time you get down a few rounds, they will/may be too long to chamber correctly. As you gain experience you'll have a much better feel and understanding of this and in many cases will be able to control that using just the resizer die.

Good luck and welcome to the world of re-loading! And your station looks really efficient. (y) Enjoy!

On edit: Don't ever stop asking those questions. There's always something to learn.
 
Hi all-
I've been searching handgun forums all day, and The Armory Life seems to be the most 'currently active' so I'm hoping to get advice/opinions.

My wife and I purchased our first handguns exactly 6 weeks ago (both 9mm). Since then, I have been to the range at least once a week, if not twice. Other than the simple joy of shooting, I want to be good at it, and can honestly say I am seeing improvement from my sessions. As much as I can, I've been watching and reading everything gun related as well. Which leads me to the big question of reloading.

Ammo is obviously very scarce right now. I live in IL where I can't even get ammo shipped to me (when I find them online), and have to have them shipped to a friends house in IN. The one store that always has ammo by me charges 5c for every round due to the county I live in. In a nutshell, to date (6 weeks), I have spent almost $1500 on ammo (have about 1200 rounds left). When I calculated cost (I included tax, shipping etc), I'm about 34c per round (those include 150 defense ammo, rest are FMJs).

Since I didn't own a gun before COVID hit, I don't know how much folks were able to get 9mm ammo then. I've read many posts saying 9mm are not worth reloading due to how cheap you can get them (doesn't seem too cheap to me, but again, maybe 9mm ammo were cheaper pre-Covid), and/or the start up cost would take a long time to make up. I enjoy learning new things, so I think I would enjoy the process of reloading. And right now, I make sure I go to the range with no more than 150-200 rounds at a time else I'd 'splurge' too much in one visit!

So all that being said, what would your thoughts be on reloading for me? If nay, why? If aye, where/how would I begin? I am brand new to this-saw a guy with a dust pan picking up his shells at the range and wondered why he was doing that. Yes, I'm THAT new to it!!I saw a thread on here for a Hornady kit for under $450 or RCBS kit for under $400. Could kits like that get me started, with minimal additions if I'm only thinking 9mm right now?

I have more questions, but I'll start there. Any and all feedback from those of you much more seasoned at this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Z
I call BS unless you live in the liberal utopia of Chicagoland.
I have had thousands of rounds shipped to myself in Illinois. Right now it seems both my go to places bulkammo.com and ammoman.com are having problems getting enough bulk to satisfy.

As for reloading I'm a big Dillon man here. I've loaded tens of thousands of rounds on my rl550b and anytime I've had a breakage or malfunction problem Dillon has fixed it 100% no BS warranty is 100% fact.
 
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Another reason to not use reloads for SD is that everything will become an issue if you find yourself in court over a SD event. Having to explain why you loaded your own and why you thought you were capable is not something to look forward to!
Yep a very wise lawyer told me the same basically. Your choice of "non standard" ammo could very well be your downfall in a SD situation. They will argue how you made "YOUR" ammo more deadly.
Too much factory ammo out there that shoots great and is very accurate.
Reloading in most instances is more to cut cost and shoot much more. I always buy my bullets through Midway and in the past they had once fired brass in 9mm/45acp very cheap for 1000rds. No that we have a local shooting range I buy my brass from them at 30.00 for 1500 rds. Sure i end up tossing 100+ each time but like the owner says you get your 1000+ shells much cheaper and no shipping cost. I cannot disagree.
 

panamax

Alpha
In the 70s and 80s I was on a budget and saved money reloading revolver and rifle loads. It was a very interesting hobby. It became an obsession and end unto itself to the point I developed different loads and was just interested to get someone to go shoot it and test it out because I didn't have the time to test it all.
Today my finances are improved to the point I don't need to reload or make my own beer any more.
I recommend you pursue it as it can be fun and may expand your interest to reload and shoot different calibers. Being an Elmer Keith fan, I reloaded .44 special to very effective levels of 1000 to 1200 fps ( few of which are available commercially). .38 spl, .357, 30-06 and .338s were also loaded w multiple bullet types.
I dont brew any longer because it's time consuming and the proliferation of brews and brew pubs keep me busy enough.

The fear of our 2nd Amendment rights being withdrawn by certain candidates for office from California would lead me to take up handloading. I was an Illinois resident and could not wait to leave that politically messed up state. Chicago seems to drive your politics and that is bad news for liberty and law abiding citizens. That's a shame you cant get ammo delivered to your door.

If they cant control the criminals in Chicago they sure as hell then are going to control you! They have been closing in on you and your fellow law abiding citizens since 1968.
Makes a lot of sense, right?
 

LRZ

Operator
Obviously I'm getting to this party just a little late, but wanted to add a few tid-bits to help if I could. When I read your comment .... " Update...Was definitely the lack of crimp." I thought it might help. It might not have been the lack of a crimp being the whole problem, especially if you're using 'X' times fired brass. The crimp may have just covered up another issue.

Here's an observation and recommendation LRZ, but you might ought to double check the length of your cases, and your 'OAL'. That's the Over All Length of the loaded cartridge. From what you're saying and the looks of your loaded 'ammo checker', you might not be trimming your used brass quite enough and/or seating your bullet quite deep enough. The more times a case has been fired, the more important it is they be 'full length resized'. It's a good practice to measure even brand new cases for SAAMI specs. The factory quality anymore is usually right on the money, but occasionally some bad ones will get through.

The downside of this is that the more times the case is resized and/or worked, the fewer re-loadings you'll typically get. That is a result of 'over working' the brass and hardening it. You can oft times save an otherwise over worked brass case by 'annealing' it, but that's getting past the basic operation of reloading/handloading. Let's add this bit of advice here and now .... you'll never save enough money on reloading to make it worth trying to skimp on brass cases. If there's even a smidgen of a concern about a particular case, or box of cases, or a bucket of cases, dispose of them. DO NOT TAKE A CHANCE ON THE RELOADING OF DAMAGED OR SUSPECT BRASS !!!!!!!!!!!!! This advice would also apply to powders and primers !!!!

Often on cartridges that headspace on the case mouth such as the 9mm, and if it is that the brass is a little too long, the extra crimp will allow just enough for it to seat for a few loadings. At some point they will become too long even for the crimp to help. If it's an issue with the bullet not seated deep enough, the firearm's action will sometimes drive the bullet a little deeper into the case when it goes to battery and function alright. Even though some/many competition shooters will oft times load deliberately a long seated bullet in an effort to eliminate any/all 'bullet jump', in most cases this is acceptable, but it's not always wise.

A note here: Typically my general use bolt rifle stuff, and my revolver stuff, I don't always trim my used brass, depending on how many times it's been fired (yes, I can account for the exact number of times any/all of my brass has been fired). Especially if I'm loading it to be used in the same firearm it was originally fired in and/or for some competitions. But if I'm loading for semi-auto loaders of any kind, I'll always trim and resize to SAAMI specs. A habit I developed back when I was at about your current experience level. Typically most auto-loaders simply don't have enough umphhh in their actions to slam home on a non resized or 'too long' load, whereas a typical bolt action will not even notice. Your bullet seating depth is also more critical with the auto-loaders. Both issues are especially important on handloads for semi's.

And as for your question/concern about whether to crimp or not..... my advice for now until you gain some considerable experience is to crimp anything you're loading for a semi-auto, or any firearm that uses a stacked magazine, and especially if the projectile has a cannelure. Because as they typically stack in a magazine, the recoil will oft times pull the bullets in the mag out a little from the recoil with each shot. By the time you get down a few rounds, they will/may be too long to chamber correctly. As you gain experience you'll have a much better feel and understanding of this and in many cases will be able to control that using just the resizer die.

Good luck and welcome to the world of re-loading! And your station looks really efficient. (y) Enjoy!

On edit: Don't ever stop asking those questions. There's always something to learn.
@jumpinjoe I tend to go MIA on here every now and then due to work, and then when I do have time, I have to weigh whether getting online or reloading is of more importance! You can probably guess which route I usually go :LOL:

Thank you for your input. The first time I started collecting brass not too long ago, I was picking up whatever I could get my hands at. One time I even started chatting with the fellow in the lane next time mine, and when I found out he didn't collect his brass, asked him if I could have his! While that may work for many, after much reading, I heeded to one of the things you warned about, of not knowing how many times a particular brass has been fired. Being so new, the more I read, the more I started worrying about the what if's. Now I collect what comes out of mine, and even then, I'm inspecting each brass before they go under the knife, so to speak! While I probably have almost 1500 reloads under my belt now (plus still have all my fingers), I still consider myself a novice. I do check OAL, but can't say I do the same with checking case length on 9mm, though I'm always checking on 223 after trimming/chamfering/deburring. I'm sneaking a little forum time at work so don't have my note/cheat sheet, but I have come across a few brass considerably shorter than others. Which brings me to my question about seating depth, and you may have indirectly already answered it above, but I'll ask anyway. If my brass is too long, wouldn't seating the bullet deeper still give the same OAL necessary? Or are we now taking the chance of added pressure due to the bullet seating too deep?

One other hiccup I've run into that I thought I'd ask about is reloading 147gr. Up until recently, I've used Speer 115gr RN, Berry's 124gr Copper RN, and SNS 115gr RN with no issues. I happened to get my hands on some BlackBullets 147gr FN, and am having the most inconsistent seating depths on this group. Based on my initial testing, 1.130 OAL worked really good with the load I was using. I'll have 6-8 seat perfectly, then the next few will drop to 1.123ish. Then I'll have some go the opposite direction to 1.145. I measured a few brass to make sure I had the same length on them, but even then there was no consistency in my OAL. Could it be due to brass not resized to full length consistently? Variance in diameter of the bullet? The most logical explanation I've been able to find so far has to do with the ogive, but I wasn't fully convinced, so your thoughts would be much appreciated.

As many forewarned, I'm really enjoying the process of reloading, and that feeling may have even surpassed my initial reason for getting into it, which was to never run out of ammo! Though I smirk with the comment because now I find myself shooting more BECAUSE I reload! :eek: A never ending cycle!!!
 

LRZ

Operator
I call BS unless you live in the liberal utopia of Chicagoland.
I have had thousands of rounds shipped to myself in Illinois. Right now it seems both my go to places bulkammo.com and ammoman.com are having problems getting enough bulk to satisfy.

As for reloading I'm a big Dillon man here. I've loaded tens of thousands of rounds on my rl550b and anytime I've had a breakage or malfunction problem Dillon has fixed it 100% no BS warranty is 100% fact.
Oooph! A little harsh there with calling my comment a BS! Nah, just kidding...no offence taken. But yes, unfortunately I do live in the liberal utopia of Chicagoland, though I love just close enough to other county's where things are a little more accessible. Finding ammo was definitely nerve wrecking, so reloading has definitely been my saving grace!!!!
 

LRZ

Operator
In the 70s and 80s I was on a budget and saved money reloading revolver and rifle loads. It was a very interesting hobby. It became an obsession and end unto itself to the point I developed different loads and was just interested to get someone to go shoot it and test it out because I didn't have the time to test it all.
Today my finances are improved to the point I don't need to reload or make my own beer any more.
I recommend you pursue it as it can be fun and may expand your interest to reload and shoot different calibers. Being an Elmer Keith fan, I reloaded .44 special to very effective levels of 1000 to 1200 fps ( few of which are available commercially). .38 spl, .357, 30-06 and .338s were also loaded w multiple bullet types.
I dont brew any longer because it's time consuming and the proliferation of brews and brew pubs keep me busy enough.

The fear of our 2nd Amendment rights being withdrawn by certain candidates for office from California would lead me to take up handloading. I was an Illinois resident and could not wait to leave that politically messed up state. Chicago seems to drive your politics and that is bad news for liberty and law abiding citizens. That's a shame you cant get ammo delivered to your door.

If they cant control the criminals in Chicago they sure as hell then are going to control you! They have been closing in on you and your fellow law abiding citizens since 1968.
Makes a lot of sense, right?
@panamax Your comments put a grin on my face! Now that I'm "into this whole gun thing" as some people I know would say, I'm always interested to hear people's perspective/experience of living in Chicago with the same interests. It's also amazing how much more keen my wife and I are into the politician's running for office now. Simply put, I think it was Colion Noir who I heard say that the only thing I need to ask someone running for office is whether they support my 2A rights or not!?
I'm definitely enjoying reloading. In an odd kind of way, it's become my Zen!!!
 
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