9mm in P38 magazine problem


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Jesse Heywood
February 15, 2013, 04:44 PM
I finally got to where I was ready to start working up loads for 9mm to use in a P-38. After some research I ordered some MBC SmallBall!, 124 gr RN.

Following advice in a recent Handloader article, I decided to use an OAL of 1.05". My actual OAL was 1.055 with a taper crimp. Powders for my first trip were SR-7625, Green dot and Red dot. My trip to the range was a failure.

I was getting failures to feed, with the second round standing up in the end of the magazine. Needless to say, I left the range frustrated.

What I finally determined the problem to be was the cartridges were sticking in the guides in the front of the magazine.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=179781&stc=1&d=1360963738

Under recoil, the cartridges were moving forward and sticking in the guides. From this I assumed that I needed to somehow reduce the diameter of the case, but that wouldn't be easy. First I would try seating the bullet as shallow as possible, using less bell and possibly reducing the case diameter.

I ended up with an OAL of 1.140, which is just past the single lube groove in the bullet. I made some dummies and tested the chambering and magazine fit. To my amazement, the rounds didn't stick in the magazine.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=179782&stc=1&d=1360964583

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Jesse Heywood
February 15, 2013, 04:51 PM
Looking things over, I had stumbled into the solution. If the distance from the bullet end to the front of the magazine is small, the cartridge cannot move forward where the case can stick in the guides.

These photos show the gap left with the short OAL.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=179784&stc=1&d=1360965034
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=179783&stc=1&d=1360965024

Jesse Heywood
February 15, 2013, 04:56 PM
My last photo shows the length difference of the cartridges.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=179785&stc=1&d=1360965308

mokin
February 15, 2013, 05:00 PM
Nice work. I had a P-38 years before I got into handloading. It was a fun pistol but I remember it was a little picky about what I fed it.

1KPerDay
February 15, 2013, 09:39 PM
Interesting. I have a P-38 and I load smallball to 1.09 or so.... I haven't tried them in that pistol yet.

Ozarkian
February 15, 2013, 09:47 PM
Your solution is the correct one. Experienced same problem with reloads using 115 fr RN and PRN. Started loading at 1.15" OAL and problem went away. Not a single Failure to feed since.

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