Reloading Sanity Check for 9mm

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  • Last Post 04 November 2016
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zhughes posted this 27 October 2016

Hi all,So I'm just getting into reloading and I'm ready to load my first live round (in 9mm).I've spent the last month to two months in my free time reading about everything and anything I can find online, watched tons of YouTube videos, and read through the Lyman cast bullet and Lee reloading books (the informative beginning chapters). I'm hoping to post the info about my current recipe and measurements to see if I can get some feedback from some seasoned reloaders that can read my info and say “that sounds about right” or “you'll blow yourself up” or “you need to think about/measure/account for X too". I'm not looking for someone to give me a definitive answer of “yes, you'll be 100% safe", just a sanity check from experienced folks that what I've put together seems like I've accounted for everything in a way that doesn't appear like I'll kill myself when I pull the trigger. Ok so here goes:<>To start with, I'm using the load data for the Lyman#356637 147gr that's on the bottom right of page 248 in the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook 4th Edition; My powder of choice is Unique with a starting weight of 3.2gr<>My bullets are cast from wheel weight lead using the Lee 6-cavity .356 124gr LRN mold<>The actual weight of the bullets I've measured (about 20) range from 126.4gr to 131gr (which is why I'm using the 147gr load data)<>The mold advertises bullet widths of .356, but most of the bullets I've casted measure .357<>I'm shooting a S&W Shield, barrel slugs @ .354<>I'm powder coating the bullets<>The OAL of the dummy rounds I've made are 1.158. They cycle through the Shield flawlessly<>After dropping a 3.2gr charge in a case (with a spent primer) and analyzing where the bullet would seat, there is plenty of space between the bullet and powder<*>After creating a dummy round, the width of the case remains under the max allowed by the saami specSo yea...do those parameters sound like I'm on the right track?The one thing I don't have listed that I'm aware of is verifying the new primer is seated correctly....but that's because I haven't primed any rounds yet. Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated!

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 27 October 2016

One thing to note, I have never fired a S&W Shield, but I have owned and fired dozens of 9mm semi-autos. I have also loaded 10s of thousands rounds of 9mm. If you haven't powder coated the bullets as yet, don't. Give yourself some time to concentrate on producing good safe loads, without having so many different techniques to try and master. If you don't have a lube-sizer, tumble lube the bullets with liquid alox or pan lube them with any suitable commercial or homemade lube. You could purchase an inexpensive Lee Sizer kit in .356 which come with liquid alox and you're ready to go. Or if you would like, lube them as cast at .357 and you're ready to shoot them. Remember that powder coating is going to increase the diameter, but the bullets can be sized before and after powder coating, if done properly.

The powder choice is fine, Unique is probably used by more handloaders than any other powder. It has a wide range of uses and is pretty economical to use. It's downfall though is that it burns dirty and is smokey. The charge of 3.2 grains should still give you reliable cycling. In this case although your chosen load is ok, in the future try and find a load that closer approximates your actual components (ie bullet weight) until you gain more experience. Your best investment is more loading manuals such as Speer, Lee, Hornady, Sierra & Lyman & others. As you gain experience and begin to load more calibers, some of the more specialized manuals from Barnes, Berger, Swift and others may be of interest to you.

As far as seating the primers go, by feel is the best way and doing them on hand held priming tools such as Lee & RCBS is in my opinion the best way to seat them. I've had a Lee hand held priming tool since the early 80's and it still serves me well. I also have an RCBS, but I mostly use the Lee.

You are on the right track and keep asking questions so you stay that way. Handloading is not something to learn the hard way when there are so many people out there willing to help. I strongly urge you to join CBA. You will gain knowledge on all aspects of handloading through the bi-monthly publication, The Fouling Shot, put out by CBA. Let me know and I can send you a free digital copy with no commitment.

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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onondaga posted this 27 October 2016

http://www.castbulletassoc.org/view_user.php?id=10460>zhughes

Consider using an alloy strong enough for 9mm loads. The Lyman load you specify uses Lyman #2 alloy as it is BHN15 and strong enough for the load level. Wheelweight is not strong enough for your load level. The Lee book explains this very well too.

If your Wheelweight is close to formula with some Antimony, it can be immediately drop chilled when casting or oven heat treated in batches for improved hardness that is close to BHN 15 if you do it right. If you cast and let wheelweight cool of it's own accord it is ~BHN 10 and too soft for 9mm.  BHN 10 is suitable for light 38 Special loads not high intensity 9mm cast loads in the Lyman book you reference that specifies Lyman #2 for the load.

If your concern about leading is the reason you wish to try powder coating, cast bullets that are the correct fit to your firearm, and correct strength for your load with any standard commercial lube do not lead firearms. The powder coating will be no improvement or anything better than bullets that fit and are the right strength and simply tumble lubed lightly.

The 9mm Lee RN bevel base tumble lube bullets are the best start in 9mm and usually fit without sizing and one light coat of tumble lube. Only size if your as cast bullets are too big to function. Barrel slug size is not relevant for cast bullets, the largest bullet diameter in a dummy load that will feed and chamber has the highest accuracy potential because it has a stable start. Any less bullet diameter than that invites leading, bullets wobbling down the bore and shooting all over the place. Some 9MMs need .359 bullets to fill their chamber, 356 about never works. But, anything smaller than the largest that will function generally shoots horribly and causes people to leave the bullet casting hobby.

If you want to keep it simple, get everything right the first time. Hardball Pistol alloy is also BHN 15. I make a consistent  BHN 15 recreational shooting alloy very close to Hardball with pure lead and Linotype scrap at 1:1 weight ratio.

I get CERTIFIED quality Lyman #2, Hardball, Linotype, Pure Lead and other bullet alloys from RotoMetals and orders over $100 ship free. RotoMetals: https://rotometals.com/bullet-casting-alloys/?aff=9>https://rotometals.com/bullet-casting-alloys/?aff=9 Get on their email list for good sales too.

Gary

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 27 October 2016

I disagree. I have shot wheel weight alloy for 40 years in handguns and find it perfectly satisfactory for 90% of the loads. This load is well within the range of wheel weight alloy. As long as the bullet is sized and lubed properly, there should be no leading and accuracy should be acceptable to very good. 

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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R. Dupraz posted this 27 October 2016

[email protected]

What you said! Only thing I would add is another 10 years and a variety of Handguns.

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giorgio de galleani posted this 27 October 2016

I have the  truncated cone Lee 125 bullets and it  keyholes wildly in the 9 mm, specially in  1-10 twist barrels . A little better in 1-18 barrel at low velocity , but  at low velocity usually has not enough oomph to cycle the auto pistol action.Better success in 38sp Cowboy Action Shooting. 

Much better is to use  a 150 gr or heavier bullet , as large as it will chamber  , as in the military silended loads . Subsonic low speed  and heavy soft  bullet . 

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 27 October 2016

I use two different 9mm TC in 121 gr. & 124 gr.. I shoot them in a High Power, a Canik TP9, a Canik Stingray, Armscor 1911, several Tauruses and several other 9mms with no keyhole issues. The reliability and accuracy has been superb. I would suggest that you try a larger sizing die or as cast before going to a different bullet. When I worked as a firearms instructor we used the 124 gr. cast bullet for training in many cases and only had issues with Beretta 92 and oversized barrels. Once we increased the size of the bullet, keyholing stopped.  

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
-Services: Wars Fought, Uprisings Quelled, Bars Emptied, Revolutions Started, Tigers Tamed, Assassinations Plotted, Women Seduced, Governments Run, Gun Appraisals, Lost Treasure Found.
- Also deal in: Land, Banjos, Nails, Firearms, Manure, Fly Swatters, Used Cars, Whisky, Racing Forms, Rare Antiquities, Lead, Used Keyboard Keys, Good Dogs, Pith Helmets & Zulu Headdresses. .

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 28 October 2016

when starting a new project, i prefer to load no more than 5 cartridges and then try them .... then improve if necessary with the next 5 ... etc.

....and yep, i have loaded 50 and found out they didn't work ....thus my suggestion ...

ken

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noylj posted this 04 November 2016

WW is more than strong enough for 9x19 loads. 8-13BHN is more than adequate for any 9x19 load. It is FIT and LUBE before you ever have to worry about alloy. Only thing about WW was that you often needed to add a little tin to get the alloy to fill the mold. You can shoot up to 0.358” in any 9x19 I have ever used. All I use are as-cast bullets. For the last 20 years I think all I have shot are as-cast and tumbled lightly in LLA.

Just getting into reloading? Then, you should load a few hundred jacketed bullets first. Then, try shooting some as-cast bullets with the start load using some Lee Liquid Alox. Then, you can spend time learning about powder coating while shooting your cast bullets or jacketed bullets. Really, I think you are, like so many, trying to solve every problem before you know you have any and trying to run a marathon before you have taken your first step. Learn the function of each die Learn how to determine the working COL range for your gun and your bullet Learn to work up loads using jacketed bullets first, as they are by far the easiest and give the best results. Learn how to cast, and then try some tumble lubes bullets at the start load. Learn about cast bullets and watching for leading while you play with powder coating or whatever. Don't take such a big bite, but learn to enjoy each step along the way.

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Ed Harris posted this 04 November 2016

Lots of good advice here, but I would second the motion by [email protected] and work up a load which performs acceptably with conventional bullet lubricant before trying powder coating.

Us made pistols conforming to the SAAMI chamber dimensions will usually perform best with .357 bullets, the Euro pistols built to CIP or NATO STANAG 4090 will need .358 or possibly larger, depending upon observed tolerances.

The wall thickness of the brass used also has a bearing on how large a bullet can be loaded without exceeding maximum cartridge dimensions. Some 9mm brass thickens quickly below the location of the bullet base in factory ammunition, to ensure adequate base support for the bullet, to avoid telescoping as the bullet hits the feed ramp. Increased seating depth beyond normal causes dangerous pressure spikes in a small case like the 9x19mm, and when loading heavier bullets the bullet profile and case construction must be selected to avoid the bullet base impinging against the internal body wall taper of the case, which would cause a bulge.

Using a long-nosed, bevel-based bullet of profile similar to factory rounds, which permits maintaining normal seating depth and cartridge OAL is important when using a bullet of over 130 grains.  Dennis Carlini and I have had good success using Accurate 36-155D in the SIG and Beretta 9mm pistols, using 3.0 to 3.2 grains of Bullseye, bullets cast from wheelweight alloy, sized .358” and lubricated with Lee Liquid Alox or LSStuff 45-45-10, taper crimped in the crimp groove.  We adjust the powder charge to attain 870+/-30 fps. in the Beretta 92F or similar pistols.  Otherwise the lightest charge which functions the pistol reliably.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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