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John Van Gelder
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Posted: November 14 2017 at 5:07pm | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

No matter how long we have been "rolling our own" 60 years for me, there is always something new to learn. It has been about a year now since I started loading for the 9mm, with the exception of some ammo I loaded for a Master Chief I use to work for back in my Navy instructor days, back in the 60s.

I have put thousands of rounds of cast bullet reloads down the pipe in the .45ACP, so I thought that loading the "9" would be a "snap".. Not so..! My first attempts were dismal to say the least, I was doing good to keep a magazine full on a 8 1/2 x 11" sheet of paper at 10 yards.

I tend to cast bullets a bit soft for hand guns, because I have a lot of lead but not a lot of hardener. I get good results with soft alloy in all of my other hand guns, but was getting "keyholes" at five yards with the 9mm. As long as I used really hard alloy, my cast bullet results were good, really good, hitting a "bread box" size piece of basalt out in the meadow at 100+ yards.

I was convinced that the reason for the soft alloy "failure" was the 1-10 twist of the 9mm, almost every other hand gun has a much slower twist.

I was commiserating with a good friend of mine in BC who shoots IDPA,he probably goes through more rounds in a month than I do in five years. I told him about the exceedingly poor results I was getting with the 9mm and soft alloy bullets. He said something that I should have thought of.. He said "why don't you pull some of the loaded soft alloy bullets, and "mike" them.

Can you see where this is going..?

The firearm in question was my Ruger 9E, I have slugged the barrel and it is .356. I size all of my cast bullets to .358. When I miked the soft alloy bullets they were .354. The full length sized cases, were swedgeing the soft alloy bullets down below bore diameter.

To test this hypothesis, I loaded a magazine full of rounds that were unsized, and taper crimped the bullets in place.. They shot just as well as either jacketed or hard cast alloy bullets.

Since most of the 9mm bullets have no crimping channelure the cases are sized way down to insure a good tight fit on jacketed bullets.

This may be the answer to a question no one asked, but I am well pleased that I can get good results with cheaper scrounged lead.       
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richhodg66
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Posted: November 14 2017 at 7:25pm | IP Logged Quote richhodg66

I have always wondered why the old Lyman manuals always say "size your bullets to groove diameter" all through the manual. Oversized always shoots better with less probability of leading. I haven't loaded 9mm in years but did so with bullets sized to .358 and it worked well. It wasn't that I was smart, I had a .358 sizer for .357, so I used what I had.

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John Van Gelder
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Posted: November 14 2017 at 8:08pm | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

richhodg66

Some of the old manuals suggest .358 for 9mm.
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Rex
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Posted: November 14 2017 at 8:19pm | IP Logged Quote Rex

John, I don't shoot a 9 but it is sure good to see you back.
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John Van Gelder
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Posted: November 15 2017 at 5:57am | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

Rex

I tend to loose track of time up here in the mountains, and it seems like I spend all summer getting ready for winter.

I have enjoyed the 9 it is cheaper to shoot than a .22 when you can find .22 ammunition.
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Rex
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Posted: November 15 2017 at 3:02pm | IP Logged Quote Rex

There seems to be plenty of .22 rimfire around here now but they aren't cheap like they used to be.
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joed
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Posted: November 15 2017 at 4:24pm | IP Logged Quote joed

When I was doing casting I ran into the same problem using softer
lead, it sometimes comes out under size.   When I talked to Ballisti
Cast they told me that was why they asked me what mix I was going
to use when they made molds for me.   

The problem mold was a Lyman but I loved the Ballisti Cast molds
and never had a problem with them.

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John Van Gelder
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Posted: November 16 2017 at 6:36am | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

joed

The softer lead bullets tend to shrink when they come out of the mold, I "bump" them up to .358 in my sizing die.

Rex

I did find some .22s at wall mart the bulk stuff was only a couple of dollars more for 500 than back before the shortage. It is pretty hit or miss finding .22 locally still. That mess in Las Vegas did not help anything.
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STCM(SW)
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Posted: November 21 2017 at 10:14pm | IP Logged Quote STCM(SW)

9mm are so cheap now if I do reload them its with FMJ ones I buy.

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joed
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Posted: November 22 2017 at 4:38am | IP Logged Quote joed

I quit reloading 9mm a few years ago.   The factory ammo is so
cheap that I just buy what I need.

One thing I did was quit using 115 gr ammo and now buy or load 147
gr for the 9mm.   For me the 115 gr always seemed to lack accuracy.

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John Van Gelder
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Posted: November 22 2017 at 6:44am | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

I can load 9mm for about $3.00 a box/50. Still a lot cheaper than factory loads.

Most of the factory ammo is .355, a lot of guns are .356, the 115 gr loads are not engraved by the rifling as deeply as the 147 gr. bullets of the same diameter, the 147s due to their mass tend to obturate (sp?) just enough more for better accuracy.

When I first got my nine and hadn't started loading yet, I bought a box of ammunition loaded with hard cast lead bullets, Those shot every where but where the gun was pointed. I recovered some of those out of the snow after it melted that none of them had a single rifling mark on them.   

The average weight of my bullets is 125-130.

The 9 has grown on me, it is convenient to carry, lots of ammunition in one place, cheap to shoot and now that I have learned some things probably shoots as well as any of my revolvers.
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