9mm lead help


January 7, 2012, 01:14 AM
Today, I tested my lead loads of win 231 3.9 and 4.1 grains, 115 hard cast lead bullets with a 1.07 OAL. When i shot them, two hit the target erratically but most wen't way low of the target. I did notice that the case was still slightly flared open, but the bullet was still solid; i wasn't able to push it in further by hand. Did it hit low because my bullet wasn't crimped enough? I had a few difficulties chambering (obviously need more crimp). So with lead 9mm, do you just wanna crimp enough to take the bell out of the case? Or would I do a roll crimp as with a revolver bullet? Thanks

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January 7, 2012, 01:21 AM
I crimp enough to take the bell out of the case and turn it in a little. It's less than a revolver roll crimp.
Is your load too light? I use more Bullseye than that with 135 grain cast bullets -- but my OAL is also longer.

January 7, 2012, 01:45 AM
As far as the OAL goes, the bullet has a shoulder and that's what im seating to. you can see it in the attatchment. If I seated it less than the end of the shoulder, would that affect accuracy adversely?

January 7, 2012, 09:32 AM
9mm is a high pressure round; so the deeper you seat the bullet pressure will increase. I crimp just enough to remove the bell since the 9mm headspaces on the case mouth. You don't say if this load is leading your barrel or not. That can have a lot to do with accuracy. Fit is very important for cast. Lighter fast rounds will usually impact low as they are not in the barrel long enough to cause much barrel rise. If you are going to use cast bullets you may want to go to this here and do some reading.
http://castboolits.gunloads.com/forumdisplay.php?f=8 Another good source of info is this site. http://www.lasc.us/. 9mm is probably the hardest caliber to shoot cast from. Good luck.

January 7, 2012, 11:13 AM
Ditto on castboolits.gunloads.com, fantastic resource. I cast my own 9mm bullets and have great results with Accurate Arms powder, Lee dies and Lee 9mm molds.

Warning, blackest of heresies coming up....I use my FCD on lead bullets. Works,too.

January 7, 2012, 11:49 AM
I had a few difficulties chambering (obviously need more crimp). So with lead 9mm, do you just wanna crimp enough to take the bell out of the case? Or would I do a roll crimp as with a revolver bullet?
With any new bullet, you want to determine the Max OAL (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=506678) and Ideal OAL (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=7717654#post7717654) that works in your pistol/barrel/magazine before conducting your powder work up. For semi-auto cases that head space on the case neck, you want to use taper crimp. I typically add .020" to the diameter of the bullet (which is the average combined thickness of case walls), so if you are using .356" sized bullet, I would use .376" taper crimp.

I used to use "stepped" 9mm lead bullet nose design and that shoulder is the start of the bearing surface which will engage the rifling. For the stepped RN bullet, I would start at 1.145" OAL and incrementally decrease the OAL until the dummy round (no powder/primer) dropped in the chamber freely with a "plonk" and the shoulder did not hit the rifling when you spin the chambered round. Then I would function test for reliable feeding/chambering from the magazine (see Max/Ideal OAL links).

Once you determined the OAL that works for your pistol/barrel/magazine, then you want to conduct a full powder work up from the start charge by loading 10 rounds of each .1-.2 gr incremental charges and range test them to see at which powder charge you get reliable slide cycling and watch for accuracy trends (I use 1"-2"-3" at 7-10-15 yards off hand as reference for most semi-auto pistols and 1"-1.5" at 15 yards for accurate pistol/load combination).

I cast my own 9mm bullets and ... use my FCD on lead bullets. Works,too.
I do not recommend the use of Lee Factory Crimp Die (FCD) for lead semi-auto pistol rounds as the carbide sizer ring may post-size/reduce the diameter of the lead bullet, decreasing the bullet-to-barrel fit that is crucial for the bullet to seal with the barrel.

armoredman, the reason why FCD may be working for your lead bullets (even though it maybe post-sizing) is due to you casting your bullets and the BHN of your bullet may be softer than the commercial bullet the OP is using. Use of FCD with harder commercial bullet that post-sizes the diameter will probably increase leading, especially if the factory barrel is oversized (larger than .355").

I used to use 20-24 BHN commercial lead bullets and even with near max load data, I could not get proper deformation of the bullet base (obturation) to stop the leading of the barrel in all of my factory barrels. Now with "softer" 18 BHN Missouri Bullet, even with mid-to-high range load data, I do not get leading and accuracy improved.

More information on leading - http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chapter_7_Leading.htm

January 8, 2012, 09:54 PM
As far as crimp goes, I just add 0.020" to my bullet diameter and that is what I crimp to. For example: if using a 0.356" bullet, I would set my crimp to 0.376". Hasn't failed me yet.

Lee Factory Crimp Die = Blasphemy! LoL

January 10, 2012, 08:54 PM
BDS, I do believe I said I cast my own, I don't usually buy commercial cast bullets. I use wheel weight lead ingots, usually lubed with LLA or a home made brew of beeswax and alox a friend made, and I have very, very minimal leading. Of course, many swear my results are atypical with an FCD...being so repeatable in all the guns I shoot cast through. :) The OP did not state whether he was using commercial or home cast, BTW.
Whichever you use, jrkfantom, try your own way until you find one that works.

January 10, 2012, 10:30 PM
armoredman, you could be correct and I may have assumed. I saw the blue lube ring on the stepped 9mm bullet and just thought commercial "hard cast" bullet. OP could have applied the blue lube ... perhaps OP could give us an update. :D

As to you not having issues with using FCD for your cast bullets, if they are sized larger than .355", then my guess is that you could be post-sizing the bullet but if you are using wheel weights, your BHN would be soft enough around 11-12? to deform back out to seal with the barrel - http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletAlloy.htm


January 10, 2012, 11:34 PM
For about the last 20 years, I've loaded 4.7 grains of 231 with an FMJ 115 grain bullet. OAL is 1.07 for the best reliability in a Browning HP. All my other 9mms seem to like 1.09 the best.

Of course my bullets are jacketed vice lead, but I don't crimp at all. I merely take the bell out of the case. I've never had a problem doing it that way. If I were loading lead bullets, I'd try it with no crimp first, but definitely take the bell out of it. I can't imagine that your lack of crimp cause one or two low shots, but if those were the only 2 cartridges you didn't crimp, I might think differently! Consistency is the name of the game in reloading... it's the only way you will isolate problems.

January 11, 2012, 02:03 AM
armoredman, this is from Precision Bullets FAQ page (http://www.precisionbullets.com/) (scroll down to Reloading Tips and Troubleshooting):
Do not use a roll crimp or Lee Factory Taper Crimp Dies.
The roll crimp will cut through the coating. You must use a taper crimp die.
The Lee Factory Taper Crimp Die will undersize the bullets causing accuracy and fouling problems.

If you are using the Lee Factory Taper Crimp Die, try switching to a standard taper crimp die ... Slug your bore, oversized bores will foul heavily and be inaccurate.

January 11, 2012, 04:34 PM
So these results are bad...


Same load, 50 yards, taped two hand standing, untaped two hand braced.


This bullet gives me fits over feeding,


This one doesn't.


I hold out to you that every expert is not always right, or I am just luckier than snot.

Edit to add, I do not mean that in an insulting or confrontational way at all, realized that could sound bad that way. I just say it works for me, even in other calibers, this target shot with my Smith Model 10 38 Special.


Others may have different results, and the manuals are written by people with far more years experience than i have...but it does work for me.

January 11, 2012, 07:31 PM
nice shooting and whatever your doing seems to working very well for you.

January 11, 2012, 07:33 PM
Thank you, and enough about me, sorry about the thread hijack - back to the OP!

January 11, 2012, 09:22 PM
armoredman, actually your targets make a good point in that even though you maybe post-sizing your lead bullets, they are soft enough to deform/enlarge the bullet base to seal the high pressure gases to produce consistent enough chamber pressures. Otherwise, how else would you get those tight shot groups? :D

I think for lead bullet accuracy, the following applies:

- Bullet-to-barrel fit (at least .001" over the groove diameter)
- Softness of the bullet (BHN)
- Sufficient powder charge to deform the bullet base/accurate charges/consistent chamber pressures
- Quality of lube to liquefy to lubricate the surface forward of the lube ring and seal the high pressure gas
- OAL (how fast the bearing surface of the bullet engages the rifling)

Although I think bullet-to-barrel fit trumps other factors, as you demonstrated, if you lack proper fit, bullet softness/powder charge/lube/OAL CAN compensate to produce accurate loads.

My PT145 has oversized factory barrel (.455"+) and I still get accurate loads using .452" sized bullets. How is this possible with such poor bullet-to-barrel fit? I use softer 12 BHN bullets (http://www.missouribullet.com/details.php?prodId=56&category=5&secondary=13&keywords=). Even with mid-range load data of W231/HP-38 (5.0 gr) and low charge of Promo/Red Dot (4.0 gr), I get accurate shot groups (Sub 2" at 10 yards off hand). I do not believe this is possible if the bullet base was not deforming enough to seal with the oversized barrel. Yes, accuracy was not as good with harder 18 BHN bullet (http://www.missouribullet.com/details.php?prodId=57&category=5&secondary=13&keywords=) loaded with same powders/charges but the 18 BHN loads with same powders/charges are very accurate shot from .451" barrels of Sig 1911 and M&P45.

OK, back to OP +1 :D

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