Bit the bullet on reloading

I tried buying ammo this weekend and I was told a price of 50 of 9mm box of 50. So I figured I would start reloading. So far I purchased RCBS reloading kit and bought the Frankford intellidropper. I ordered some 9mm brass for $72 for 1000. What bullet should I buy. What primers and what bullet. Where should I buy from and tips would be great

1 Like

Welcome to reloading. First things first get a good reloading manual. Read through all the how to’s and information on reloading. Ok components, you are probably going to be limited on what is available. So, for 9mm practice loads, a good place to start is either a 115 or 124 grain plated bullet such as a frontier or a Barry’s. I am also partial to Speer for practice loads. I have been using CFE pistol with a 124 grain plated lately and have had great luck with it. A manual will steer you in the direction you need based on the bullet you choose. Other good choices are sport pistol, power pistol, unique is good and very versatile.

Also, the only load data I trust on the internet is the data on the powder manufacturer’s sites. With plated bullets you start with lead bullet data if you are struggling to find an exact match. Check the box of bullets and it will give you a max velocity and your load manual will list the velocity the load gives. On load data, the best load data is from the bullet manufacturers manual. Even within the same bullet weight, things like bullet shape and profile, even within the same general description, will have differences such as bearing surface which can directly impact pressures. Start low and work your way up.

Also, make sure you get yourself a set of calipers. I know I just threw a lot of general info, but I can go on and on. Start with getting a manual, bullets, and powder, read up, and as you get set, come back with questions as they come up and myself or many others here can give much better answers with more specific questions.


The grain or weight of a bullet dictates the amount of gun powder but the type of gun powder also dictates how much you use. All gun powders are not a like. Some gun powders burn faster than others, this will change the amounts used. Brian139 covered it well. Get reloading manuals. About the Calipers, make sure they read to the thousandth for more accurate readings. Accuracy comes from being accurate. I use the Wilson pistol max tool gage for the sizing of the shell and after reloading to check and see if it was done properly. It should slide into the gauge in the same manner it goes into your chamber.


If you can, find a copy of Lyman’s ABCs of Reloading and read it cover to cover.
Find out what powders and primers are locally available to you (paying for hazardous shipping is expensive)
Then get a good loading manual–Lyman lists powders and bullets from different manufacturers while other manuals often limit recipes to those with powders/bullets from partner manufacturers. Also the Lyman Manual lists some factory equivalent loads in common calibers.
Hodgdon’s manual comes out yearly in magazine form.
Lee has a huge manual which I’d also recommend especially if you’re loading an esoteric caliber—the Lee lists darned near everything.
Pick a bullet you think you’d like to try and see which recipes are available for that bullet and powders available to you. Having an experienced hand loader show you how to set up your press and dies is very helpful, if not, go slow and assemble a dummy round (no powder or primer) first and see if it passes the plunk test (drops freely into your pistol’s barrel and head spaces with a plunk) If not, readjust your dies. Depending on your loading data, load a few rounds with the minimum load of powder listed (Alliant powder the minimum load is generally 10% LESS powder than listed) and take it to the range----is it accurate? Does it work the action on your pistol?
Load gradually heavier loads and keep track of your progress until you find your sweet spot at the range without exceeding the maximum load listed in your manual.
This is a very rough explanation but Lyman’s The ABCs of Reloading does a much better job!


I agree with all the other comments. Just make sure you log and label EVERYTHING when you’re trying out recipes. Make a few different batches and see how they group. You may want to get a chrono to log velocities as well. I can go ahead and tell you to steer clear of IMR hi-skor 700-x for 9mm… never could get it to perform correctly for my 9mm. It’s probably better used for shotgun loads.


Glad to see you have made the jump into total comment to the shooting sport.
It appears you have made a good equipment choice. Now, which reloading manuals have you bought?
As far as bullet weight, I like 124, your weapon will let you know when you have found the right load.
Go slow, document each load fully. This is not a cake recipe if you get it wrong you can be hurt.
You find that you enjoy reloading so much you just go shooting so that you can reload.

Good Luck


9 x 19 Parabellum is not a forgiving caliber to learn on. Pay VERY CLOSE attention to all elements of the recipe, ESPECIALLY to the seating depth of bullets (usually expressed as finished cartridge overall length). This will be specific to each bullet weight/design/maker.

There is (or was in the past) a blurb in Speer’s 9mm reloading data sheet that mentions how chamber pressure that was recorded at 32K PSI went suddenly to 62K PSI when the bullet was seated .030" more deeply. That is the “unforgiving” part I spoke of.

Have fun, I have reloaded shotshells since 1970 and started with metallic cartridges in 1976. When you TOTALLY lose your mind like I have and start casting bullets, you’ll know you have become an addict.


The only manual I hav come with the kit. What’s manuals do you suggest. I’m actually have a carpenter build a work station for me, can’t wait. Also I know the Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper works via Bluetooth and all I do is input all specifications and it’s good to go. Wel that what I gather from the videos I watch

However some powders give you a bit more leeway than others. Your loading manual will indicate which depending on the spread between minimum and maximum loads for a given bullet.


Darth, I like bound manuals, but you can get a lot of information from the net. Hodgon has a great site put in the powder, calber and bullet weight and it will give you several, proven loads. I also use Ammoguide for information on loads and powders.
I think the automatic scales are good, but I still have 2 balance beams and 2 digital scales, it just pays to be correct.
Just play by the rules and you will expand your shooting experience manytimes over.
If I can be of help, do not hesistate to ask.


If that “Manual” that came with the Kit is the RCBS/Speer Reloading Manual, it is IMO one of the absolute BEST first manuals to obtain. Its plain-language text won’t have you running to Google every 3 minutes to look up a technical term. When it uses techie-speak, it defines it and explains it within a sentence or two.

Its text is a GODSEND for new folks in that regard. Its data is also VERY SPECIFIC about overall loaded lengths for each Speer bullet it describes. Not all data provides that, and in 9mm/40 S&W/10mm/45 ACP that info is critical for feeding reliability and for pressure gradients.


Get a QUALITY powder scale and use it frequently to “check/verify” charge weights. A few tenths of a grain in 9 mm makes a huge difference performance wise. Berry’s bullets or Lasercast are both good paperpunch rounds. I’d get a small bunch of several different weight slugs, load and shoot to find what you and your piece like, then buy a bulk purchase of what you like, set your press for that powder charge/bullet and leave it be.


What power do you suggest

You need a GOOD loading manual, and a VERY accurate powder scale. Start with light loads and work up slowly. Follow the noted “recipes” to the letter. There are 7000 grains of powder to the pound. In a 9 mm a few 1/10’s of ONE grain can make the difference between a safe load and a catastrophic failure (ie blown up weapon). PAY Attention ALL the time, and save the adult beverages until after you’ve finished.


I’m going to Second EVERYTHING that @Dwayne said about powder scales and go a bit further due to my own experiences with digital scales. I don’t trust them. Some are affected by fluorescent lights (I dunno why but a buddy had one that would be OFF if he used it at his reloading bench (8’ shop light 48" over his bench). Most of them are affected by air currents to included opening an closing of doors, AC & Heat.

That said I have a Lyman DPS-2000 that I use for rifle charges I will usually throw a scoop of powder in (cut’s down on motor time) and hit the GO button and let it do it’s thing while I weigh and trickle the previous charge on a beam scale. It can be from a few kernels of powder to a couple grains or even over charged each time. I have it set to be 0.5gr less than my charge.

On Beam Scales: Get one with a metal body static is a real thing. Magnetic dampening is a good thing otherwise it takes for ever for the beam to settle down. Wipe you powder pan down with a “Anti-Static Dryer Sheet” like Cling or something. If you go with a powder thrower like say a Lee Powder Disk kit, wipe down the hopper and disks with the same. Again static is a real thing. It’s not about and explosion it is more about removing a PITA. You trickle in a perfect powder charge and dump it in only to find 18 kernels of powder “magnetically” stuck to the pan.

On reloading manuals: Buy as many as you can afford, if you find “old” ones at a used book store/garage sale etc. BUY THEM! they contain powder an boolit combo’s not in vogue today. Boolit manufacturers only list their boolits. Powder manufacturers on list their powders, Reloading Companies will list many boolit types and many powder combos but perhaps not the one you wish to use.

Reloading is a great hobby and quite frankly good mental floss when you get it down. That said, out of the gate go slow and methodical. Know WHY you are doing each step of the process and WHY you are doing it in that order. When you know the What’s Wherefor’s and Why’s life gets easier. I’ve been reloading for 30+ years I still run a single stage “O” press for my rifle rounds and still run a Lee Turret Press for pistol and small cartridge rattle battle rifle ammo. I have a Dillon 650XL sitting on the floor in the corner that is just a PITA to use and I’m just not willing to pay Dillon prices to make it easier to use.

Powder: I like Winchester 231 as it uses more than some and less than others in pistol, enough that a double charge is visually obvious and it burns clean.

Enjoy the adventure and ALWAYS TAKE GOOD NOTES!!!




My preference is for a good beam scale over an uber sensitive digital. Air currents from your HVAC system, and even fluorescent light fixtures can have an effect on the digital readout.


My reloading tools are building up. I jusdded this


I have been reloading for over 30 years. Rifle as well as pistol, and revolver. I separate pistol and revolver because as a reloader they are two different levels of difficulty with two differing sets of concerns to watch for.

The can be one of the most finicky, ( difficult ) rounds to load. It runs at very high pressure to start with so mistakes are quick to happen. And then there is the gun they are to be shot out of. With automatics you often can not separate the load from the gun due to the need for the loaded round, among all the other criteria that must be met, needing to reliably cycle through the gun.

If you only ever load one caliber, for one gun, with one bullet, primer, and powder, you may well find a good load and never have to sweat another thing. However if finding a good load is a bit of a challenge , or you begin to load multiple things, to include loads, there are a host of things, big and small, you can end up running into.

I would suggest, if possible, finding a mentor or experienced loading buddy who could be there for the hundreds of little questions you may run into. It’s a fun and fascinating, often rewarding thing, but it can get as expensive and complicated as anything else!

Edit: Oh, and, pay attention to lot numbers of everything, and keep them in your records. Things can, and do, change from lot to lot, and by more than one might ever imagine. It has happened to me more than once where a change to a new lot of the exact same component came with a huge change in pressure or even, bullet shape!
Best of luck !


Would be fun to do.


I’m still reloading with my first reloading kit, purchased sometime in the 80s, (and a few extra things I picked up along the way :rofl::joy::rofl::joy:)