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John Van Gelder
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Posted: 14 November 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: 14 November 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: 14 November 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: 14 November 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: 15 November 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: 15 November 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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Posted: 15 November 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: 16 November 2017 at 6:36am | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

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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: 21 November 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: 22 November 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: 22 November 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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Posted: 26 November 2017 at 6:27am | IP Logged Quote joed

I have only one 9mm, a GLOCK 26 that I bought for CCW.   For
what I bought the gun for it works.   The accuracy leaves a little to
be desired but it isn't bad.   

Never really looked at the recovered bullets but that could explain
a lot.   My friend that owned the store advised me not to fool with
anything on the gun saying it would hurt the reliability so I
listened to him.

The worst 9mm I owned was a Beretta 92 that I never really liked.
That gun was a shotgun.   

I don't mind the GLOCK though.   Maybe I should look at the
barrel and see what size it really is.       



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John Van Gelder
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Posted: 26 November 2017 at 6:56am | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

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The Glocks will shot very well with the right bullets. The manufacturer does not recommend cast bullets because they do not perform well in the the Glock's polygonal rifling. Most folks that reload for the Glock usually buy and after market barrel with standard rifling.

As far as the Baretta 92, I have a friend up in BC that shoots IDPA and he tells me that his 92 is the most accurate gun he owns and he has a few.
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Posted: 26 November 2017 at 1:46pm | IP Logged Quote joed

John, I do have an aftermarket barrel for the GLOCK that I use to
shoot lead.    But, I've gone back to factory ammo for now.   I used a
Lyman 147 gr mold and that is what told me to go for the 147 gr
ammo.    The 147 gr jacketed shoots just as well as the cast from my
gun.



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John Van Gelder
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Posted: 27 November 2017 at 6:10am | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

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A lot of folks think that the 147 grain load is the best choice for the 9mm.

The two bullets I use the most are 120 gr. TC bullet that casts out in my alloy at 124 gr. and a 125 RNFP bullet that comes out to be 128 gr. I have had very good results with both.
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Posted: 27 November 2017 at 6:34am | IP Logged Quote joed

John, I always wondered about the 115 gr bullet, seems to light for
9mm to me.   But, when you look around that's what most places
sell.

When I looked for defensive ammo for my GLOCK they were trying to
sell me 95 gr Federal, what the heck is that good for.

My thinking on the 9mm was always that it's close to .357 so why
are the bullets so light?

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John Van Gelder
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Posted: 27 November 2017 at 9:41am | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

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Back when I first started reading about the 9mm, that was in 50s, I seem to recall that the standard weight bullet was 130 gr.

As far as the preference for the 115 gr, bullet that is an idea that originated here in the US. The standard in Europe is pretty much the 124gr. loading.

Some folks are impressed with the velocity issue, and feel that faster is always better. There are 9mm loads utilizing a 50 gr, bullet that will exceed 2000 fps in the standard 4" barrel.

The very best you can do with a 9mm as far as energy values is right around 500 ft/#. The old standard loadings for the .357 magnum would produce 800 ft/#.

The 9mm significantly "better" a relative term than the .38 spl. +P it is a long way from the effectiveness of the .357.

One of the most effective self defense loads is the Remington 125 gr. JHP in the .357, these generate 1400+ fps and right around 700 ft/# of energy, they have a 96% probability of one shot stops in gun fights based n actual shooting incidents.

As soon as you get into the heavier bullets in the 9mm you are getting back into .38 spl, ballistics.

There is load data available for 150-160 gr, bullets for the nine, but upper end velocities are in the 850 fps range. One caveat here is... if you look in the Lyman 44th edition manual they have loads for the 9mm with a 158 gr, bullet at over 1000 fps. I am not sure I would try those in any of my 9s.

The 147 grain bullet is the one the FBI seems to like, and there is a nice article on the Buffalo Bore site, about an Alaskan guide that killed a charging grizzly with the Buffalo Bore 147 gr. hard cast bullets out of his 9mm S&W M&P pistol.

For my applications, and I have a lot of interaction with black bears and mountain lions, my bullet of choice is the Lee 125 gr. RNFP a .38/.357 bullet in very hard alloy these still weight around 128 gr, You can push this bullet up to 1200 fps, without having to get into the +P range. The penetration is pretty impressive. That load will shoot through 5" of green Red Fir.

I like the 9 because it is cheap to shoot, it is a very efficient round, and you can find ammo almost anyplace on the planet.

   
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Posted: 27 November 2017 at 4:54pm | IP Logged Quote joed

Interesting that you mention weights of 124 gr in Europe because
that is what I remember from a friend with a 9mm.   Where I live
anything other then 115 gr is somewhat rare.

I haven't tried the 124 gr but I have no doubt it is better then the
115 gr.   Back in the summer last year I ordered a ton of the 147 gr
stuff on sale at Midway I believe. My thoughts on the 147 gr go
back to before the FBI even adopted it.

There are 2 thoughts on defensive loads, some feel a light bullet
at high velocity is best, the other side likes heavy and slow.   Both
work depending on the target.

You are sure right on the price of 9mm ammo, you can buy it by
the pallet cheaply.   I never even considered loading it till I
couldn't find it.


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John Van Gelder
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Posted: 28 November 2017 at 6:40am | IP Logged Quote John Van Gelder

Here is an article on loading cast bullets in the 9mm..

http://www.grantcunningham.com/2014/05/ed-harris-loading-cas t-bullets-in-the-9mm-lugerparabellum/
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Posted: 28 November 2017 at 10:21am | IP Logged Quote M700

Local shop is selling 50 round boxes of Blazer Brass, 115 gr ammo for $8.99 right now.

I don't shoot a lot of 9mm, but my oldest son does. We bought a fair bit of it at that price!

In comparison, if I buy 50 rounds of .45 ammo, it's about $20 - $25/box. So, I handload most of my .45 ammo.

Guy
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