Reloading for 9x18 Mak


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joneb
December 12, 2008, 12:06 AM
Well finally I will soon be reloading for the 9x18 Makarov :) I picked up a set of RCBS TC carbide dies and a bunch of Midway .365 extra hard ? cast .365" 93grain bullets which weigh out closer to 94gr. The suitable powders I have are Bullseye, W231 and AA#5, and I plan on using WSP.
Any experience with this or these, would be appreciated. The weapon is a East German Mak, thanks. jj

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TooTaxed
December 12, 2008, 11:16 AM
You've started out right! The Mak bullet diameter is actually 9.2-mm...considerably larger than the .380 Auto, 9-mm Luger, and .38-Spl/.357 Mag bullets. You have the proper diameter bullet...most people use bullets too small in diameter and then complain about the results.

The Lyman Manual remains the best source for 9-mm Mak reloading data. My favorite load: Hornady HP/XTP .365 95-gr bullets (made specifically for the 9-mm MAK), 3.5-gr Win #231, Win primers, Starline cases. This gives me 3" 25-yd groups rivaling my target .38-spl K-38, and is my concealed carry load. Speer Gold Dot bullers are also excellent. Most major manufacturers produce bullets for the MAK.

Suggest you load several test batches of ten cartridges, 1/2 grain difference, and see which works best...fire from a rest.

rfwobbly
December 12, 2008, 01:09 PM
I helped my son reload some rounds 9x18 Mak and we learned a lot.

Being a blow-back operated gun, the faster powders work better. We've been using W231 with good results. Slow powders (like Unique) would simply still be burning when the breech opens.

His Bulgarian PA-63 (?) Mak did much better after replacing the 3 coil springs with new ones from Wolff Spring. I think the entire kit was about $15. Well worth the price considering that the springs in your gun could be 25 years old and "sagged out". Their lower weight hammer spring really helped the double action too.

His gun did not like FP or conical bullets, so stick with RN until you know what works. His intention was to carry this pistol, but we could NOT get the Hornady conical HP (the only std production self defense load offered) to feed reliably at all. His gun likes Winchester "white box" and any of the Wolfe loads.

He likes reloading using the Berry plated RN Mak bullets.

We also experimented with cutting down 9x19 Luger cases to make 9x18 Mak. You may wish to explore this option. We finally decided against it since I shoot Luger and we could not tell our casings apart at the range. However, our tests looked good.

rondog
December 12, 2008, 01:17 PM
I have a PA-63, and all the stuff to load my own 9x18 ammo. Just haven't started doing it yet. My plan is to cut down 9x19 Luger cases too. To identify the modified cases, I plan to lightly sand the headstamps against my palm sander, just enough to scuff them good, and them paint the scuffed headstamps with a red Sharpie. That's my plan, anyway.

And I bought my bullets from here -
http://www.betterbullets.com/
http://www.betterbullets.com/documents/KSS_Pricing.pdf

TooTaxed
December 12, 2008, 02:01 PM
As with many other cartridges, total cartridge length is critical to consistant feeding. You may need to experiment slightly from the published OAL for your particular flat point bullet, but the manual OAL has worked for me. You should also inspect your magazine feed lips for damage.

A caution on using cut-down 9-mm Luger brass...your cartridge case capacity will be somewhat smaller, meaning you will have to use fast-burning powder, and stay below published max powder loads.

The fastest way to sort out 9-mm Mak (and other shorter similar cases) is to place them base down on a table. The 9-mm Mak is noticibly shorter than the 9-mm Luger.

For range use, I've found that generally the most accurate ammunition is low velocity...for a semi-automatic, just powerful enough to operate the slide reliably (works for my 9-mm Lugers, .40 S&W, and .45 Auto also). I start low, find the lowest powder charge that will operate the slide and cock the pistol every time, then increase that 1/2 grain for my production load.

On the other hand, my carry load focusses on high power...but the trade-off is somewhat less accuracy...not important when you are firing at large, close targets.

rfwobbly
December 12, 2008, 07:30 PM
"....just enough to scuff them good, and them paint the scuffed headstamps with a red Sharpie."

A machinist layout dye, like Starrett or Dykem, (available in blue or red) might be easier and more tenacious.

mavracer
December 12, 2008, 10:08 PM
I just started loading 9X18 myself.I'm a old hand at reloading so I used the SWAG theory and hit paydirt on the first batch.
3.7gr of WW231 behind 95gr XTPs in starline brass with magtech primers OAL~ .965

Shoney
December 12, 2008, 10:30 PM
When I first started loading the 9X18, there were no cases available. We had to cut down 9 Luger, which is easy enough, unless you load for the 9X19. It is very easy to mix them together, even by placing them on a table for length inspection. You will have a few explatives the first time you load a Mak case into a 9mil run.

I strongly advocate getting at least a thousand cases from Starline. Be warned that the Mak is great for flinging spent cases into the Hinterlands, so a brass catcher should be used.

I tried around 12-15 different powders, because there was very little load data on them when I started. I also used 100gr LRN hard cast, which are also almost nonexistent today. Universal, AA#5. W231, and HS-6 were my favorites for strong practice and JHP loads, while Red Dot (even though it's fairly dirty) is my favorite low end plinker.

Good Shooting!

Blind Bat
December 12, 2008, 10:34 PM
^ noob ^

What's the SWAG theory?

rfwobbly
December 12, 2008, 10:41 PM
Scientific Wild A$$ Guess

A presumption, which is only one step ahead of a WAG, mainly because it appears to have some some basis in fact.

:D

joneb
December 13, 2008, 03:15 AM
Thanks all for your input :)
I adjusted the new dies, what a pain :mad: I have 5 RCBS die sets that are 7-22yrs old and I've been happy with them, but the new 9x18 dies are not machined as well as my others. It took some fussing to get the decapper assembly and the expander centered in the die bodies, and I had to return the round nose seater plug as the bullet cup was off-centered to the shaft. I put together a dummy round and fed it to my mak, the bullet set back .002". The expander measured .363" so I took it down to .3615" which solved the set back issue. here's a pick of the dummy;
89164
The COL is set at .972 which puts the end of the driving band flush with the case mouth. for these .365" HC bullets I'll try Bullseye and W-231. I have around 500ct of brass saved so I won't need to trim any 9x19 for awhile, this Makarov is as bad as my SKS for loosing brass :(

Marlin 45 carbine
December 13, 2008, 09:27 AM
I haven't used any 231 to load my Mak, but do use B'eye for cast slugs and Power Pistol for jacketed.
heavy recoil springs are available for the Mak, yours may be weak.
there is a Mak page on 'gunboards' forum.
I've shot my other pistols little since I got my Mak (Russ commercial, adjustable sight model), it really surprised me.

joneb
December 13, 2008, 11:54 AM
heavy recoil springs are available for the Mak, yours may be weak.
I installed a 19 lbs Wolff spring which cut down on the ejected case's hang time, but Fiocchi 9x18 brass still flies about 15-20'

rfwobbly
December 13, 2008, 01:12 PM
"Here's a pick of the dummy..."

Somehow I halfway expected to see my photo there!

rondog
December 13, 2008, 01:30 PM
A machinist layout dye, like Starrett or Dykem, (available in blue or red) might be easier and more tenacious.

Good tip, thanks! I'd forgotten about the Dykem, used to use LOTS of that stuff when I was a machinist. Didn't know it came in red.

TooTaxed
December 13, 2008, 09:12 PM
JIBJAB, you should contact RCBS about returning those bad dies!:fire:

Life is too short to put up with bad equipment...

joneb
December 13, 2008, 09:37 PM
you should contact RCBS about returning those bad dies!
The thought crossed my mind but so did the turnaround time, I'm anxious to start this long awaited project, and I'm aware of RCBS's excellent customer service but I decided to take matters into my own hands :eek: I will second guess another RCBS purchase :(

joneb
December 15, 2008, 05:29 PM
Well I loaded and fired 16rnds of the 93gr .365 hard cast bullets with 3.3gr of Bullseye and WSP my COL was .970" they shot well, but the weather was not agreeable:(three inches of snow and cold temps kept me from shooting more. I hope to try again soon with a chronograph and some targets, I'll try 3.3gr again along with 3.2 and 3.4gr of Be

joneb
December 15, 2008, 05:33 PM
Well I loaded and fired 16rnds of the 93gr .365 hard cast bullets with 3.3gr of Bullseye and WSP my COL was .970" they shot well, but the weather was not agreeable:(three inches of snow and cold temps kept me from shooting more. I hope to try again soon with a chronograph and some targets, I'll try 3.3gr again along with 3.2 and 3.4gr of Be. Any thoughts on the 3.4gr load would appreciated.

Walkalong
December 15, 2008, 05:35 PM
you should contact RCBS about returning those bad dies! They just aren't made as well as they used to be. Still good dies, but....

Blind Bat
December 16, 2008, 02:38 PM
rfwobbly - That's awesome. :)

Does anyone use Titegroup with light Mak loads? In my 9x19 loads TG seemed cleaner than 231 for light to mid loads...

Clark
December 16, 2008, 02:41 PM
I don't own a Mak, but I have shot one.
It seems to me that the Wolf ammo is loaded twice as hot as American load books.

Shoney
December 16, 2008, 04:30 PM
Clark
I shot a lot of the 9X18 Russian 120 gr ammo, when it was available at gun shows for low priices. It would run speeds well in excess of 1100 fps. I have not seen any for 8-10 years.

I talked with an engeer from CCI who had worked on setting the SAAMI specs on the 9X18. He claimed they used a FEG as the standard because it was the weakest weapon that was widely available at that time.

Clark
December 25, 2008, 08:38 PM
Shoney,
I worked with a guy 14 years ago that had issues.
He took his fiance to the range with his "9mm" Mak that blew up and injured her.

I have been overloading handguns to see what gives for 10 years in 25acp, 32acp, 32sw, 32S&W long, 32-20, 7.62x25Tokarev, 30Mauser, 380, 9x19, 9x23, 38sp, 357mag, 38sw, 40sw, 10mm, 45acp, 45auto rim, and 45 Colt.

I have felt allot of recoil.
The 460 Rowland loads in a 20 ounce 45acp with stock springs in May 2000 was the worst:(

But if the recoil in a Mak can leave a memory with me for over 10 years, that was allot of recoil.

I know you are wondering, why I never overload 44 mag.
Because it already has enough power:)

neal7250
December 25, 2008, 08:55 PM
I load the 9X18 Makarov, using the 95 gr Hornady XTP, with 3.5 grains of titegroup. I also use Starline Brass, and WSP primers.

TooTaxed
December 25, 2008, 09:00 PM
CLARK, you have me baffled. I've never heard of a MAK being damaged by firing the proper ammo. There is not even the occasional problem with 9-mm Luger of firing high power ammo designed for submachine guns in some pistols. The 9-mm MAK (9 x 18-mm) is a relatively low power cartridge, energy being roughly half-way between .380 Auto and 9-mm Luger (9 x 19-mm).

I think it's likely that the wrong cartridge was used. I remember that when they first came on the market there was confusion about the ammunition..."9-mm" meant the popular and common "9-mm Luger" to most people.

I have two MAKs, one Russian and one Bulgarian, and have fired thousands of rounds from perhaps a dozen manufacturers (plus some fairly powerful handloads for "business" use) without a problem of any kind. I've found them to be unusually dependable, and it's my favorite concealed carry pistol.

Clark
December 26, 2008, 09:38 AM
John,
I don't think they made 9mm Maks, but I think the guy got at least one round of 9mm ammo to chamber.

The 9x18 Mak is a wider cartridge the the 9x19 Luger.

TooTaxed
December 26, 2008, 09:56 AM
CLARK, you are quite right.

Although both cartridges are designated as "9-mm", the 9-mm Luger bullet is .355 diameter, while the 9-mm Mak is .363, considerably wider than the Luger...as well as the .38 Super (.356), 357 Sig (.3555), 38 S&W (.361), and .38-Spl/.357 Magnum (.358) bullets! "9-mm" is a rather rough designation.

I think they forced the slide shut on a sub-gun (extra high velocity/pressure) 9-mm Luger cartridge. The 9-mm Mak case is a streight-walled .390, while the 9-mm Luger is tapered, .380 at the mouth to .391 just in front of the base groove.

bluetopper
December 26, 2008, 12:23 PM
A Makarov is hell for stout. I'm not talking about the other pistols that shoot the 9x18.
Even shooting a live round behind a squib stuck in the barrel they won't blow up, just bulge the barrel.
Something else had to be in play when the so called Makarov blew up.

Just my opinion.

Galen
December 26, 2008, 02:47 PM
A friend of mine and I did some reloading for the CZ-82. We are using are using Meister Bullets 93gr RNL bullets, and Hodgdon Titegroup powder. We lowered the powder used from what Hodgdon lists due to these being 93gr and hard cast instead of jacketed.

Our results:

We started with a set of bullets loaded to 3.2, 3.4, and 3.6g as well as 2 boxes of S&Bs to use as a baseline. Results as follows:

S&B 95gr JRN Gun #1 Av Vel = 957 Hi=985 Lo 925

S&B 95gr JRN Gun #2 Av Vel= 1017 Hi 1053 Lo=998

Rel#1 93gr RNL 3.2g Titegroup Av Vel 1082 Hi=1110 Lo=1065

Rel#2 93gr RNL 3.4g Titegroup Av Vel 1177 Hi=1204 Lo=1141

We decied against shooting the 3.6gr set. At this point we were in our target of 1100fps.

More details at: http://billllsidlemind.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-07-16T17%3A14%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=15

I would not recommend this load in a FEG. The CZ-82 didn't even burp, but a FEG would probably blowup.

Marlin 45 carbine
December 26, 2008, 04:21 PM
IMO you will do well to best Bullseye powder useing cast slugs for the 9X18 Makarov round. I load about 'medium' power and have good results at 20'.
some of my shoots have been in a 2" circle useing a 2-hand hold at the fireing line.

joneb
December 26, 2008, 04:29 PM
Thanks Galen, :) I believe my Midway bullets are Meister cast, I'm still waiting for better weather. Of the jacketed bullet data I have seen Titegroup seems to be a great 9x18 powder.

Galen
December 29, 2008, 01:14 AM
Your welcome jibjab. We used the 95gr jacketed bullet data as a starting point, and lowered the charge amount by about 20% for a starting load. After our experience, I will start my next load about 30% lower than the jacketed data.

Galen
December 29, 2008, 01:16 AM
Your welcome jibjab. We used the 95gr jacketed bullet data as a starting point, and lowered the charge amount by about 20% for a starting load. After our experience, I will start my next load about 30% lower than the jacketed data.

Galen
December 29, 2008, 01:19 AM
Your welcome jibjab. We used the 95gr jacketed bullet data as a starting point, and lowered the charge amount by about 20% for a starting load. After our experience, I will start my next load about 30% lower than the jacketed data.

Galen
December 29, 2008, 01:22 AM
You are welcome jibjab.

We used the 95gn jacketed bullet data for our starting point and lowered our charges by 20% to start out. After our experience with that, I will be starting out about 30% lower in the future.

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