Ruger LC9 Handload problems (primers, light strikes)


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mongoose33
October 8, 2011, 06:21 PM
Bought a Ruger LC9 for CC. I absolutely love this gun, am very accurate with it, feels right, and all the complaints I've heard (loaded chamber indicator, eg) are non-issues for me.

However--however--I'm having ammo problems with my handloads.

The primers show signs of pressure, or something else, I don't know. I'm running reasonably sedate loads through them, for instance, WST at 4.7 grains with Precision Delta 115gr FMJ, velocity of 1012fps average. And I get this:

http://i52.tinypic.com/2mhygsk.jpg

Now, I'd had a problem w/ a case failure with this gun--blew out the extractor, I wasn't hurt--and I sent it back to Ruger, but also told them about the primer issues. They said the firing pin hole was too large, out of spec, so they replaced the slide. The theory was that I was getting flow back into the space where the firing pin was located, and light strikes and so on were a result of brass bits and shavings in the action.

OK, get the gun back--and same thing! I'd been running W231 over those 115gr FMJ bullets, at what in some books would be considered max, but which also never produced more than 1120fps out of my 4" barrel XD-9.

So I shoot Blazer Brass commercial ammo out of the LC9; velocity average of 978. Here are the primers for that ammo:

http://i56.tinypic.com/2096bkz.jpg

No particular problems. Dimples are varied in shape and size, but I think that's just endemic to the gun.

So I try some other rounds, Missouri Bullets (lead) loaded with 4.4gr of WST:

Out of the LC9, average velocity 945fps:

http://i55.tinypic.com/2z9k0wg.jpg

For comparison, same loads out of my XD9 Service, 1050fps average, but the barrel is 1" longer which accounts for that:

http://i51.tinypic.com/1t1sg5.jpg


So, I'm at a complete and total loss here. Is it just that the LC9 can't handle loads other than very light loads? I've never had anything like this problem in my XD, ever.

Blazer brass at essentially the same velocity doesn't have primer problems, but a mild WST load screws up the primers? Even had a FTF when I had the brass crap in the firing pin channel from the first loads.

I like this gun, more than a lot. Remarkably accurate, shockingly so. I want to figure out why I'm having this trouble.

Anyone have any pet loads they're shooting out of this gun? Or anything else you can think of that's causing me to have this weird pattern? TIA!

[PS: This LC9 throws brass further than anything I've ever seen--15 feet or so on average. I don't know why, the tech I spoke to at Ruger said it was typical of the gun. I wonder if that has anything to do with this.]

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rfwobbly
October 8, 2011, 06:43 PM
Most probably primers that weren't seated all the way. How do you seat your primers? In the press or by hand?

Sorry, I don't see any "pressure signs". Here's one of Walkalong's famous photos of primers with pressure signs...

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-KhlVtNowBSA/TLJkiMyUdsI/AAAAAAAACu0/40LNm5cdam8/s640/FiredPrimers.JPG

...............Normal......................Gittin' There...................Say Your Prayers!

mongoose33
October 8, 2011, 06:59 PM
Most probably primers that weren't seated all the way. How do you seat your primers? In the press or by hand?

Sorry, I don't see any "pressure signs". Here's one of Walkalong's famous photos of primers with pressure signs...

That's a great pic. And no, I can't see how it's possible there is any pressure issue at all. I shoot all my loads (when working up) through a chrono, and there's nothing like enough velocity here to suggest a weird pressure issue.

And yet, there's the weird flow w/ the primers.

How do I seat the primers? They're seated on a LNL progressive, generally, though occasionally hand-seated. The light strikes were from crap in the firing pin channel; I don't think I'm getting the effect of the firing pin completing the seating of the primer.

I just bought the RCBS bench primer; I may try seating some with that and see what happens, but I don't think they're incompletely seated; not a bad idea though.

Seedtick
October 8, 2011, 07:18 PM
mongoose33, I really like my LC9 too! I just haven't been able to shoot it very much yet. I ain't had any kind of trouble mine other than getting use to the grip. I wish it was just a little bigger to accommodate my big hands and long fingers.

I've shot 4 or 5 different loads with 115/125 grain pills using a little HP38 but mostly Power Pistol. I've used CCI and Winchester standard primers so far and I have some Tula primers loaded for the next trip.

I have run a box of my carry loads, Winchester T-Series RA9124TP, through it also with no problems.

[PS: This LC9 throws brass further than anything I've ever seen--15 feet or so on average. I don't know why, the tech I spoke to at Ruger said it was typical of the gun. I wonder if that has anything to do with this.]

Yessirreeee Bob! It does send the empties into low orbit. :banghead:

I wish you luck getting yours lined out.

Seedtick

:)

gamestalker
October 8, 2011, 07:42 PM
Using a chrony is great for knowing your velocity, but velocity isn't by any means a relaible indicator of pressures. Fast burning powders are typical of spiking pressures, espoecially when working toward the upper end of the data. I load for several 9mm sub compacts and some full framed models as well.

My advice, and especially since you are using jacketed bullets, would be to switch to a slower burning powder. Velocity goes up, but pressures are very managable even though they are usually in the mid to upper operating range.

Fast burning powder has a very different pressure curve as opposed to slow burning powder, and this is where spiking becomes problematic and temparmental. Two loads producing identical velocities can produce very different pressure curves. Also interesting is two loads producing identical pressures can produce very different velocities because of the pressure curve is so different form one another. This is also why a chrony isn't a effective ,eans of reading pressures.

Here are some really easy to manage powders that I think you'll like much better. HS6, AA#7, and Longshot. AA#7 is a fantastic powder with very managable pressures even when loaded at the upper end.

P-32
October 8, 2011, 08:11 PM
Sorry man, I'm not seening the pressure signs. I look at the edge of the primer and would say the last case in walkalongs pocture is in the danger zone. See how the edges of the prmer is less rounded than the others in yjr pic and even your cases indicate something other than pressure. I agree it looks like the primers are not seated all the way.

My first question would be, which primers are you using? I have a guess but will see what say you.

mongoose33
October 8, 2011, 09:13 PM
Gamestalker posted:

Using a chrony is great for knowing your velocity, but velocity isn't by any means a relaible indicator of pressures. Fast burning powders are typical of spiking pressures, espoecially when working toward the upper end of the data. I load for several 9mm sub compacts and some full framed models as well.

My advice, and especially since you are using jacketed bullets, would be to switch to a slower burning powder. Velocity goes up, but pressures are very managable even though they are usually in the mid to upper operating range.

Fast burning powder has a very different pressure curve as opposed to slow burning powder, and this is where spiking becomes problematic and temparmental. Two loads producing identical velocities can produce very different pressure curves. Also interesting is two loads producing identical pressures can produce very different velocities because of the pressure curve is so different form one another. This is also why a chrony isn't a effective ,eans of reading pressures.

Here are some really easy to manage powders that I think you'll like much better. HS6, AA#7, and Longshot. AA#7 is a fantastic powder with very managable pressures even when loaded at the upper end.

I knew that a chono was only a rough proxy for pressure, but these velocities seemed tame to me.

I see from Hodgdon's relative burn rate chart that the three powders you suggest above are quite a bit slower. I'll give one of them, or something similar (I'll have to see what else I have on the shelf) a try.

A question, though (and I'm searching for answers here not being a smartass): Why would I have this kind of thing in my LC9, but not in my XD9? That's really the odd thing. The same rounds shot from my XD9 don't have the same issues with the primers.

mongoose33
October 8, 2011, 09:16 PM
P-32 posted:

Sorry man, I'm not seening the pressure signs. I look at the edge of the primer and would say the last case in walkalongs pocture is in the danger zone. See how the edges of the prmer is less rounded than the others in yjr pic and even your cases indicate something other than pressure. I agree it looks like the primers are not seated all the way.

My first question would be, which primers are you using? I have a guess but will see what say you.

They're CCI. I bet you were going to guess Federal. :)

No, I don't see pressure signs either. And I don't get anything like this when I shoot the same loads from my XD-9.

P-32
October 8, 2011, 09:34 PM
Dang and you were so right. I've never had a CCI do to me what's happening to you.

cordercorral
October 9, 2011, 10:14 PM
Strange...You have described the problem I am having with my SR9. Light strikes on about 25% of my shots. I put those same rounds in my LC9, all fire no problem same thing with my SR9c. Mouth .380; case length .745. I am loading 125gr lead, 4.2gr Tightgroup, OAL 1.09. A real conundrum!

wmurphy
October 9, 2011, 10:31 PM
I had the same problem (factory ammo). If you look close, you'll probably see some small pieces of brass fused to the primer, and maybe some blown primers. It seems like it blows a primer leaving small pieces of brass behind that gets between the firing pin and the primer on the next shot. After sending it back to Ruger twice without any real success, went back to the dealer and traded for something other than a Ruger.

243winxb
October 10, 2011, 09:36 AM
Blazer primers show "primer wipe" & the firing pin hole is too large or soft primers. Normal. The WST may not be the right powder,Hodgdon does not list it for the 9mm. Burning rate chart shows WST to be a fast powder. Use the W231, stay away from maximum. Remember, Different component = Different pressure. Velocity does not relate to pressure. The first photo looks like a powder measure problem. Dropping light & heavy charges. Bridging maybe?? As for light strikes in the first photo, pressure is making the primer flow into the firing pin hole, pushing the pin backwards. Could be a weak spring or over pressure. I would guess a pressure problem, as its a new firearm.

Honut454
February 12, 2012, 03:53 PM
Here is a copy of my letter to Ruger with my LC-9 after shooting it once.
I purchased a Ruger LC9 from Specialty Sports and Supply on 1/28/12. The pistol is a new firearm.
I went to the range with Winchester white box 115 grain full metal jacket ammo. Initially, the pistol shot reasonably well. It had a few failures to extract and stovepipe type stoppages. I would expect this to happen with almost any new pistol. I then started having failures to fire from light primer hits. At first there would be one or two per magazine. After several magazines, I had about five failures to fire in a row. At that time, I decided to leave the range and seek service. I looked the pistol over and attempted to clean the breech face. I believe the firing pin and hole were filled with metal shavings. I might have been able to get them out by cleaning the breech face; the pistol might fire and might not initially. I looked at the buildup of brass occurring on the breech face, firing pin recess, and firing pin. I have never seen any other firearm collect brass like that on the standing breech. My life will depend on this pistol, so I need it to be reliable. At this time, it cannot be trusted.
I saw a couple of videos on U-tube and have seen others having the same problem. I am hoping this pistol can be made to work and have the reliability your company is known for

snuffy
February 13, 2012, 01:32 AM
Well ahll be! Mongoose, I had the exact same thing happen! The primers on the shells that did finally fire had the same appearance. Here I thought I had a rouge pistol, now I find that it's a problem with the LC-9.

My cure was to take the slide apart, including removing the firing in. Then flushing the FP hole with gun scrubber and some compressed air. The FP hole was chuck full of primer brass chips! They were cushioning the tip of the firing pin!

These were from a mix of factory gold dots, Hornady zombie ammo, and my handloads. I know how to cure it, but what is causing it?:scrutiny::uhoh:

One shell refused to fire after 4 attempts,(in the LC-9), I stuck it in my CZ 75B, BANG on the first try.

snuffy
February 17, 2012, 03:05 AM
UPDATE!
After a range session last night, I can say my faith in the LC-9 is renewed. I put around 30 rounds through it last night with nary a hiccup. Fired and functioned very well. Now to get used to that awful trigger! Surprisingly accurate for such a shorty too.

GooseGestapo
February 17, 2012, 05:39 PM
Congrats and suggestion;
I would leave the WST for shotgun and .38spl wadcutter loads.
I had similar problem with Federal primers and Bullseye in the 9mm. I lost several hundred dollars in prizes due to a primer shearing off in the 1999 NRA PPC Nationals (I would have won the SemiAuto Distinguished match, and S/A aggreagate but lost 50 points in the last stage (6 shots standing @ 25yds in 12 seconds).

I first went to Winchester primers, Hornady or Speer bullets (was using Sierra), and first WSF (Super Field, much slower burning than WST) and later to Hod. LongShot.
You are running high pressures and will eventually get "burned" some how.

You'll also get higher velocities and yet lower pressures and fewer primer issues...

bubbacrabb
February 17, 2012, 08:46 PM
Figures I just bought an lc9 hope it works out for me. I'll let you know how it handles my loads.

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