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Sledgecrowbar
June 22, 2012, 12:27 AM
I've been reading up on reloading for a few months now. I waited until the last possible moment because money's tight (spent it all on the gun), and got a Lee setup from Midway while they were on sale. I won't be doing more than depriming for now until I'm in the black again, but I'm not sure which way to go with powder.

I built a Glock 9mm with a Lone Wolf (fully supported chamber) 6.5" barrel, and I'd like to try to tune my rounds to be as fast as possible without vastly reducing barrel life (I have an assortment of heavier recoil springs should the need arise). Right now I'm shooting S&B 115 gr round nose, and saving my brass. I also picked up some Blazer (brass cased) 115 gr round nose. That's what I'll be reloading, at least initially. I like the idea of nickel-plated cases, but that will wait until I can afford sterling bullets with scrimshaw.

I got the Lee Challenger Kit (50th Anniversary - with the on-press primer, as it was the one on sale), Ergo Prime (on advice that priming off the press is the way to go), Universal Depriming/Decapping Die, Carbide 4-Die Set and Case Length Gauge and Shellholder for 9 mm. I've read that RCBS makes a great mechanical scale (that costs as much as everything I just bought, combined), but that the Lee scale is perfectly accurate, if sensitive, and takes a light hand and some getting used to. As my chamber is fully supported, and I'm shooting all my own brass, I don't know that I'll need to use the full-length case resizing die. I don't plan on running at-the-limit case pressures, at least not until I'm well-experienced at reloading.

I'm a fan of CCI's rimfire ammo, I'm leaning toward their brand for primers, but I'd try a different brand if it was advisable. Powders I see recommended a lot are HP-38, Power Pistol and 3N37. Vihtavouri seems to be a little more expensive than other powder, but it's apparently thought to be worth the difference, and I'd be willing to go the extra few bucks if it gets me to my goal. I just don't want to blow a couple hundred bucks on consumables and find that I made a terrible rookie mistake and cooked up some awful combination that makes rounds turn pink and reverse course into the casing out of fear.

My thought (completely uneducated, mind you) is that my somewhat uncommon situation requires a slightly slower-burning pistol powder for my 6.5" barrel, like 3N38 or N-105. If this is nonsense, please feel free to be blunt. I'd rather learn the easy way than buy ten different powders and the first nine work terribly in any measure for my gun.

As for bullets, seeing as I only shoot paper, I liked the idea of Berry's or Rainier 115 grain round nose. If they have a detrimental effect on accuracy, or the thinner plating of copper causes headaches with cleaning or wear, I'd avoid them. The price is nice, though. Am I crazy to think it's OK to reload cheap bullets over expensive powder?

Thanks in advance for any advice, and just for full disclosure, yes, I am a newbie, and this is my first post. My press hasn't even been shipped yet.

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Centurian22
June 22, 2012, 12:37 AM
Welcome to THR, and welcome to reloading. I'm also hoping to jump in to reloading soon but it will be for .308. I'll be interested to see the feedback you get. Out of curiosity, was it cheaper to get the anniversary set and then a separate off press priming method over just buying the other lee breech lock Challenger set that had the off press priming included?

Kachok
June 22, 2012, 12:48 AM
I also bought a cheap Lee kit when I started, still use it today. I HIGHLY doubt you will be wearing out your 9mm barrel anytime soon, barrel burn is almost always from overbore rifle cartrages, I have never worn one out on a handgun so don't loose any sleep over that one. The fastest and most accurate powder listed in Nosler #6 is 6.5gr of SR4756 hitting 1178fps with 115gr 9mm, though many handloaders are pushing faster then that with their own unpublished loads. Check out reloaders nest for further info, I won't post them because I have never used them myself. Always make sure to work up your loads, never jump straight to max pressure because every gun is different.

cfullgraf
June 22, 2012, 12:54 AM
Welcome to the forum.

At the first, do not over think things. Work up to a safe load to get familiar with reloading before trying to push the envelope.

HP-38/W231 are good powders to start with. The Vihtavouri powders can be difficult to find at times unless you mail order them, Then you have the $25-$30 hazmat fee per order.

CCI primers are good. i use lots of them. Again, it depends on what you have available locally. Again, mail order incurs the hazmat fee so unless you buy alot, i.e. spend lots of money, the fee make the cost of primers expensive.

Gun shows can be a good source of primer and powder brands not carried by your local stores.

I use Winchester, CCI, and Remington primers. I bought a thousand or two TulAmmo large pistol primers and so far they all have gone bang. Lower costs than domestic brands. Some folks have had problems with the small primers from TulAmmo and Wolf.

Many folks have good luck with the Lee scale. Other folks have issues with it. You cannot go wrong with the RCBS scale even though it is more expensive than you would like to spend.

I use lots of plated bullets, but i do not push them to the max velocity. I see no need to. I also use cast and jacketed bullets.

Hope this helps.

BinRat
June 22, 2012, 12:56 AM
I don't reload for 9mm so I can't recommend a powder. But the only primers I've ever used are CCI because they've worked out so well for me. Never had one fail and I like the positive feel when seating them. All my loads have been worked up using them so I just wait until I find them at a reasonable price (so to speak).

Since you're using a Lone Wolf barrel, you might want to consider saving even more money on the bullets you use and load cast bullets. That's all I use and they've given me all the accuracy I could ask for in my semi autos and revolvers. You don't have to be a caster. They're available online, or if you're lucky, there may be a local place that sells them. I'm fortunate in that regard.....there's a local business that casts and sells them by the 500 box. But if they weren't around, I'd still use cast and order online.

Mike 27
June 22, 2012, 02:30 AM
I would start a pound of powder at a time, and the berry's are just fine plinking rounds. I have not used those powders and found both of my pistols like 124gr bullets better than 115's. I have found bullseye works the best for me. I would recommend buying and just trying different bullets until you find what works well for you and your pistol. I tried several types of powder but reloaded for several calibers as well. Cast can produce much more smoke depending what bullet and powder you are using but very accurate and cheap. The priming system on your press works great, I used it exclusively for several years with no issues but won't beat you up for your choice as I do use a hand primer from time to time as well. Welcome to reloading and THR....

Mike

Otto
June 22, 2012, 02:48 AM
If you're just punching paper why do you want the fastest velocity possible?

Some S&B brass is actually made of steel which isn't recommended for reloading. You should check it with a magnet to insure it's all brass.

Any primer will work...I prefer ones made in the US.

Josh45
June 22, 2012, 04:02 AM
The first thing I would like to mention to you is that brass for the 9mm is cheap enough for you to buy about 1k at a time. Rather then spending money on loaded ammo and shooting it, You can get a whole lot more brass a lot faster this way.

As for bullets, Berrys or Rainers are fine.
Just a note, Berrys says to load there bullets with low end to mid range jacketed data while Rainers says to use lead data for theirs.

As for primers, I have used Federal known as the softest primers on the market and they all have gone bang so far. Used CCI and Winchester primers as well and they do their job just fine. Remington ain't bad either! Oh and I have used Wolf to. No problems there.

Powders...Well...Did you get a reloading manual? You can see a lot of powders available for your application. Power Pistol, W-231, Universal, and AutoComp are some of the powders I have used and I prefer W-231 for 115 Gr in the 9mm.

No your not crazy for cheap bullets on expensive powder because really powder isn't expensive to begin with. Also, Your going to want to completely resize your cases to make sure they chamber in your firearm.
The term " Full Length Sizing" is more for rifle than pistol really so no matter what, The cases for pistol are always fully resized.

bds
June 22, 2012, 05:50 AM
As for bullets, seeing as I only shoot paper, I liked the idea of Berry's or Rainier 115 grain round nose. If they have a detrimental effect on accuracy, or the thinner plating of copper causes headaches with cleaning or wear, I'd avoid them. The price is nice, though. Am I crazy to think it's OK to reload cheap bullets over expensive powder?
Welcome to THR.

Berry's makes two types of plated pistol bullets: Regular and Hollow Base (https://www.berrysmfg.com/products-c11-9mm_.356.aspx). The regular plated bullets (https://www.berrysmfg.com/faq-q9-c1-How_do_I_load_Berrys_Preferred_Plated_Bullets.aspx) are rated to ~1200 fps and I use lead load data or start-to-mid range jacketed load data. The Hollow Base Thick Plated (https://www.berrysmfg.com/product-i14844-c11-g8-b0-p0-9mm_124gr_HBRN_TP.aspx) bullets are rated to ~1450 fps and I have used jacketed load data with good results.

I use Winchester 115 gr FMJ as my reference 9mm bullet but Berry's 115/124 gr HBRN-TP bullets have been outshooting my reference load - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=7266869#post7266869

BTW, TJ Conevera's has good prices on Berry's bullets (price includes free shipping) - http://www.tjconevera.com/berrys-bullets.html
115 gr HBRN-TP $84/1000
124 gr HBRN-TP $88/1000

Powder Valley has even better prices but you need to add shipping - http://www.powdervalleyinc.com/
124 gr HBRN-TP $74/1000

Sledgecrowbar
June 22, 2012, 08:48 PM
Centurian: It was a little more to get the Ergo Prime than the kit with a separate hand-priming tool, but it was recommended, or I'd probably have figured that priming on the press would be the best route. I imagine it's very similar to the Lee hand reloading press with a priming die mounted.

Otto: Top velocity is just a yen I had that got me looking into reloading. Hence why I wanted to find the best load for my barrel length without going into +P pressure. I'm satisfied with my improvement in shot group size so far, but I'm not where one needs to be to start looking at handloads for accuracy. My S&B brass is thankfully brass, and thanks for the info on that. I bought both cases of ammo just to get the gun broken in and get used to it and familiar with the caliber.

Josh: I hadn't considered buying empty brass yet, I think the two cases of spent rounds I'll be dealing with initially should last me a while. I built this gun in 9mm so that I could shoot a lot for less, short of 22LR, 9mm seems to be the best value right now. I did get a reloading manual, I don't have it in front of me but I have been looking at loads to gauge how far a pound of powder will go.

I'm sure I read that using once-fired cases made a better seal in the breech because the case had expanded to fit that specific chamber ideally, would I still want to resize the case then? Or is it just unavoidable with pistol cases? I don't think Lee would offer a separate full-length case sizing die with pistol cartridge die sets then. I'm only reloading my own brass, and I'm not offering any hand-loaded ammo to someone else for them to have an accident and sue me, so I'd think it would create an ideal situation for me to use factory-loaded ammo for plinking and then reload it with my carefully prepared handloads. I'm not saving much money by reloading 9mm, it's more for the hobby and the satisfaction. And the fps.

bds: Thanks for the advice, I'll be going with the hollow base rounds as those are my goals, velocity and accuracy.

bds
June 22, 2012, 09:26 PM
I'm sure I read that using once-fired cases made a better seal in the breech because the case had expanded to fit that specific chamber ideally, would I still want to resize the case then? Or is it just unavoidable with pistol cases?
I full-length resize all of my straight walled semi-auto pistol cases to ensure proper neck tension and reliable feeding/chambering from the magazine, especially for tighter chambered pistols.

Sledgecrowbar
June 22, 2012, 10:28 PM
Good point, I had some initial difficulty with feeding and someone mentioned that the Lone Wolf barrel has a snug breech along with being fully supported. Probably better to make sure it'll load a cartridge smoothly should I ever be in a situation of needing, rather than worry about slightly better sealing.

kingmt
June 23, 2012, 10:51 PM
What you read is for bolt action rifles.

You will save money loading same for same but you can load better for just a little less.

Lost Sheep
June 24, 2012, 12:40 AM
I'm sure I read that using once-fired cases made a better seal in the breech because the case had expanded to fit that specific chamber ideally, would I still want to resize the case then? Or is it just unavoidable with pistol cases? I don't think Lee would offer a separate full-length case sizing die with pistol cartridge die sets then.
And also pretty much unavoidable with auto-loaders, pistol or rifle.

Lee offers their so-called Factory Crimp Die which (in addition to applying a crimp separately from the usual seat-crimp die) has a second function: Post-Sizing. It has a sizing ring that will ensure the finished cartridge is SAAMI specs even if seating an oversized bullet (which lead bullets tend to be, but usually not enough to cause problems). This tends to eliminate feeding/chambering problems in semi-auto handguns.

Lost Sheep

Lost Sheep
June 24, 2012, 03:40 AM
I re-read your first post.

I predict two things:

1) You will be reloading sooner than you think. You already have the bulk of the tools. The only costs yet to be incurred are the components and some of your free time. If you look at the cost of components, you will see that you will quickly break even.

Take the money you would buy for 10 boxes of loaded bullets (500 rounds), $120 at most. Buy 500 primers $17), 500 plated bullets ($50) and a pound of powder ($28) and you already have brass. About $105, about the same amount of money and you can re-use the cases at least 10 times, probably (if you don't lose any) and have been able to get the same amount of shooting for the same investment amount of money. You will have some powder left over. If you can beat those prices, you will be ahead. 9mm is the hardest to save money on (at this time). On any other cartridge than 9mm, your savings will be greater.

My advice: Don't wait. Start reloading now.

Second prediction: You will find a single stage press too slow. Sorry to say that, since you got the Challenger kit on sale. Don't despair, though. Almost every loader I know has a single stage in addition to whatever other type of press he has, so it is not money ill-spent.

Lost Sheep

slimfitter
June 24, 2012, 11:25 PM
I have not reloaded for 9mm in years, but when I did I used unique powder and I use CCI primers in everything I reload. Unique and bullseye powder are cheaper powders to use due to the fact that they use so few grains of powder to reload and you will have good loads. However be careful using the two powders because you can easily double load your brass. So pay close attention to your powder charge.

mstreddy
June 27, 2012, 12:30 PM
Good point, I had some initial difficulty with feeding and someone mentioned that the Lone Wolf barrel has a snug breech along with being fully supported. Probably better to make sure it'll load a cartridge smoothly should I ever be in a situation of needing, rather than worry about slightly better sealing.

OP, the Lone Wolf barrels generally have tighter chambers. So, in reloading for that barrel you need to ensure that you fully size the case. I also test each completed round in my Lone Wolf barrel to ensure there will be no issues at the range.
As mentioned by Lost Sheep you can use the Lee FCD for that as well. I don't own an FCD so, have to use my barrel. Every once in a while I encounter a round or 3 that will not drop into the LW but, they drop into my Beretta 92 and my other 9 barrels just fine. Since I don't want to disassemble those and resize again, I just put those aside into a box for NON LW shooting.

Another excellent source of brass is the range -- just clean up after yourself, and if allowed, others for a FREE source of brass. There are some that discourage this practice, but, if you pay attention to the brass you pick up, you'll be fine.

As others, I recommend you ReRead your reloading manual. The sizing is a critical part of the reloading operation and if you don't get that right, then you will have issues -- from neck tension, chamber fit, etc...

Have fun, enjoy, and don't be too quick at jumping into the MAX FPS game. The paper will end up with holes in it whether they got there at 900 or 1200 FPS.

EM

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