Ready to load 9mm, been loading ACP. Anything to look out for?


March 21, 2008, 07:02 PM
I have been loading successfully for about 6 months now. The only caliber I have loaded is 45ACP. I am ready to start loading 9mm on Sunday using my Dillon 650, VV320 and 124g JRN. I am planning to use 4.2 grains.

What should I look for as far as bullet length to avoid overpressure situations. How much will the case fill with powder at 4.2grains? Also I have noticed the crimp is different on 9mm, they all have the coke bottle look.

If you have any tips I would greatly appreciate it.

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March 21, 2008, 07:47 PM
I don't crimp any of my 9mm with FMJ.with my CZ 75 B SS.

March 21, 2008, 08:23 PM
I haven't seen the need to crimp my 9mm either.

Maybe someone else can chime in on bullet seating depths? Good question.

March 21, 2008, 08:49 PM
I taper crimp all my 9MM reloads. Just take the bell out and a touch more. It is no harder than loading .45 ACP. You would have to load your rounds to short to function properly before you ran into a pressure problem with that load.

Grandpa Shooter
March 21, 2008, 08:51 PM
According to any of my manuals, the MINIMUM cartridge OAL is 1.095 and the MAXIMUM is 1.169. However, you will need to seat your bullets according to what a. your powder manufacturer recommends and b. what length feeds well in your particular gun.

For instance, Hodgdon recommends for 124g FMJ is 1.169
124g LRN is 1.169
124g LCN is 1.125

The deeper you seat the bullet, the more pressure you will create within the casing when the powder ignites, and will also affect how the round feeds and chambers. Only you can determine how the round will feed and chamber.

What I do is make up a dummy round or two, and stick them in my magazine. I manually cycle the action and check them out. Since the 9mm headspaces on the rim of the brass, you will quickly see if you have removed the bell sufficiently for good feeding and seating in the chamber.

Bell the minimum and squeeze it back. You do not want to actually move the brass into the bullet, just create enough neck tension to hold the bullet firmly in place. If you can move the bullet into the case with thumb pressure it is not crimped enough. Just don't break the plating or jacket on the bullet, it will disintegrate in the air and ruin your accuracy.

March 21, 2008, 08:54 PM
Neck tension is what holds the bullet tight. No amount of crimp will make up for poor neck tension.

From your "coke bottle" description it sounds like you have plenty of neck tension. Is the case the smallest in the middle, between the bullet and the case head?

March 21, 2008, 10:47 PM
9mm Luger is a relatively high pressure cartridge, especially compared to the .45 Auto. And N320 is a relatively fast burner (but very clean burning, and consistent from my powder measures).

VihtaVuori's new 2008 reloading manual lists 4.0gr of N320 as a max load with the Lapua 124gr JRN. My suggestion is to reduce this load to 3.6gr (-10%) for starters and see how it shoots. If you want/need more velocity, you can then slowly bump up your powder amount, always watching for signs of excess pressure.

The free VihtaVuori 2008 reloading manual is available here:

March 22, 2008, 07:30 AM
9mm is quite a bit harder to load. The cases size harder since its a tapered case, a little lube helps. The bullets are harder to handle since their smaller, other than that, loading them is no different than a 45. I like loading long, somewhere close to 1.150 oal, depending on bullet brand. Load safe:)

March 23, 2008, 11:27 PM
Thanks All. It went well. I loaded N-320 at 4.0 but got a few stovepipes and clocked at 1020 FPS. Bumped it up to 4.2 and it was perfect @1120 FPS. By the way, the Blazer ammo with aluminum case shot at 850 FPS and also stovepiped in my CZ75 Shadow. According to the Chrono my stapler shot at 31 FPS. (ran out of ammo and got bored...)

March 23, 2008, 11:41 PM
how many grains was that staple? LOL

I just finished shooting my very first attempt to reload 9mm, and I think I hit the sweet spot on the first try. I used Unique from 4.8 to 5.0 grains. Mostly 5.0. I did not gauge them very close. I was creating plinking ammo. :neener:

This is the target. The flyers were from a Beretta that did not like my loads, and I did not like the gun. I shoot a 2004 XD9.
I loaded the OAL to 1.151


Dumpster Baby
March 23, 2008, 11:43 PM
One thing I would highly recommend is a case cannelure tool to prevent bullet setback and all the problems with crimps. Learned the hard way.,5515.html

April 11, 2008, 10:47 AM
Isn't that for bullets only? Corbin makes a case/bullet cannelure tool for around $130.

April 11, 2008, 11:07 AM
I use the Lee FCD to make sure all finished cartridges are perfect fit chamber wise. 9mm is the first thing I ever loaded, and still do. I like casting bullets for it, too.

April 11, 2008, 03:07 PM
I use the Lee FCD on all my handgun loads

9mm, .40S&W/10mm, .45ACP.

My only advice would be to crimp some rounds and cycle them thru your pistol before you loaded the entire run. Too little crimp and your slide won't go back into battery without an assist from your thumb.

With any new load, and especially a high pressure round like 9mm or .40S&W I don't arbitrarily chose an amount of powder. Start at minimum, load at least 10 rounds, step up, repeat.

I also mark my brass I'm chronographing with a Sharpie, writing the amount of powder on the brass, and check for signs of excess pressure at each level. That way I'm SURE which load it is that might be showing signs of excess pressure.

A also check several manuals to see what they list. I ESPECIALLY try to get the powder manufacturers' data. You may see some wide ranges among manufacturers.

I recently loaded a 180 grain FMJ in .40S&W I shot out of a Smith & Wesson Model 610, using my Sierra manual. The best grouping was with 5 grains of CLAYS, the max load in the Sierra manual. I mentioned this to another shooter and he went :eek:. He said Hodgdon had 3.5 grains of CLAYS as max. Sure enough, that's what it states on their website. I called Hodgdon and the guy said Sierra doesn't pressure test, Hodgdon does, and 33,400psi is the highest pressure they recommend for ammo that might be used in a Glock.

I'm thinking of getting a conversion barrel for my Glock20 down the road. This is good stuff to know!

April 11, 2008, 07:16 PM
I don't think it's any harder to load 9mm than it is 45 auto. I load all my RN at 1.135, FP at 1.12 for my Glock and FP at 1.035 for my CZ, the 1.12 won't chamber in the CZ. I also don't crimp 9mm. I use the Lee FCD and use enough crimp to get rid of the bell the powder/expander die put in.

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