please critique first 9mm round


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-Gadsden-
June 9, 2013, 12:17 AM
Hello,

any advice or critique is appreciated.

-124 grain lead ZCast bullet
- 4 grains Unique powder
- 1.063-1.065 OAL (Lyman recommendation is 1.065)

I've taken a shot of the primer seating depth. From using the ruler gauge on my caliper, I found the depth to be about .006 deeper than the case head.

Also included are a picture of the round's headspacing. Based on this diagram: http://img651.imageshack.us/img651/3109/45seatingpossibilitiesx.jpg

the headspacing appears to be adequate.

The bullet shaved a little. Next time I will expand the case mouth a bit more. Is there anything detrimental about small shavings, just out of curiosity?

I ran the round through my Sig SP2022 -- the gun I'm building these reloads for. Cycled fine and there was no bullet setback.

thanks for your time! Please let me know if I need to include better pictures or provide more info

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Mike 27
June 9, 2013, 12:22 AM
Looks fine. Your primer looks good. Just make sure it is slightly below flush, I have never actually measured them though. You can try to play with the belling but a little bit of shaving is not going to hurt anything. Are you seating and crimping at the same time? That can give you a little shaving.

rcmodel
June 9, 2013, 12:26 AM
Sounds fine for a starting load.

But I doubt 4.0 Unique is going to cycle very many guns.

And it certainly won't burn clean at the low pressure.

I think you will end up at 4.5 or more before you get a 100% cycling load out of it.

rc

-Gadsden-
June 9, 2013, 12:32 AM
thanks for the quick replies. Just for more info, I am using a Lee Single Stage.

Mike,

I am seating and crimping as two different stages. The shaving occurs when I seat it. Crimping took a little while to adjust till I got the edges smoothed out.

rc,

would you recommend I load up a progressive batch? maybe 5 rounds with 4.0, 5 rounds with 4.1, 5 with 4.2, 5 with 4.3, 5 with 4.4 and a final 5 with 4.5, as opposed to dedicating one session to each different load? I ask this because it might save me a bit of money since a lane at the range is $14. But if it's best to work up slowly, that's what I'll do.

ArchAngelCD
June 9, 2013, 12:35 AM
I ran the round through my Sig SP2022 -- the gun I'm building these reloads for. Cycled fine and there was no bullet setback.
I think you're saying you made only 1 round and fired it. If that is a fact how is it possible for you to know there was no bullet setback when you had no other rounds in magazine to check for setback?

Everything else looks good from the pictures you posted. I agree with RC, way too light a charge weight. where did you get that load data? Lyman 4th Edition Cast Manual lists a starting charge of Unique with a 124gr lead bullet @4.4gr so your charge weight is very low. Where did you get that data???

-Gadsden-
June 9, 2013, 12:41 AM
I think you're saying you made only 1 round and fired it. If that is a fact how is it possible for you to know there was no bullet setback when you had no other rounds in magazine to check for setback?

Everything else looks good from the pictures you posted. I agree with RC, way too light a charge weight. where did you get that load data? Lyman 4th Edition Cast Manual lists a starting charge of Unique with a 124gr lead bullet @4.4gr so your charge weight is very low. Where did you get that data???

hi - sorry if that was unclear. I have not fired a round. By "cycling" I mean I ran the round through the mag and racked it into the chamber and out. Measured the same after several times. You're right, I don't have any indication on how this one will react under recoil, so maybe I should have left that part out.

I'm referencing Lyman's 49th manual -- I don't have the Cast Manual. The 49th's load data for a 120 grain "#2 alloy" RN bullet is 4.0 grains, max is 5.0. Is this data not appropriate for what I'm using?

ArchAngelCD
June 9, 2013, 12:46 AM
You can try that load but like mentioned above, that light a load might not cycle your slide and Unique will for sure be very dirty at those low pressures.

I would suggest making up 10 or so @ increasing charge weights and trying them at the range.

cja245
June 9, 2013, 12:51 AM
You wont really know until you shoot them, but it sounds like they will fire just fine.

4.0 grains of unique is the bare minimum I've had reliable function with my 9's. You probably could safely just jump to 4.5 and see if you want it hotter than that. I've always used the Lyman 120 gn data, but I start in the middle of the range because I know from experience that 4.0 of Unique is just too low.

Most of the problems I've had with leading in pistols were user error, by making the bullets undersized during the loading process. With lead bullets you have to be careful with shaving lead and how much of a crimp you put on it. You really should not crimp, but only remove the bell. Also if you are not belling the cases enough, the case tension can actually swage the bullet smaller. You can pull a loaded round and measure the bullet diameter to see if its smaller than before loading.

If your load works without leading than stick with what you are doing, but those are just some tips in case you need them.

rcmodel
June 9, 2013, 12:52 AM
and a final 5 with 4.5, Personally?

I would have started there in the first place.

But that's based on 50 years reloading experience, not todays published data.

And I would never recommend you do that!

rc

rondog
June 9, 2013, 12:54 AM
How's the overall length? Hard to tell with no side-on shot, but that bullet looks seated just a tad deep to me.

Oh, and welcome to the reloading addiction! Have another hit on the pipe.....

GLOOB
June 9, 2013, 01:06 AM
Most commercial casters make 'em fairly hard. Might be ok. But with softer bullets, the case can swage down the bullet while you seat. Esp with 9mm, cuz some of the cases are really thick, and some of the expander plugs are really short. If you already make "coke bottles" with jacketed bullets, just think what's happening to your poor cast bullets. If you end up with any accuracy issues, I'd pull one of those bullets and measure the diameter of the base.

I've swapped a bigger 38SW expander plug into my Lee 9mm expander die to get it to work with softer cast bullets.

I'm at 4.7 UN for my 124gr cast SWC, personally.

rondog
June 9, 2013, 01:10 AM
Glad to see you have ZCast bullets, BTW! I've bought a lot of bullets from James, I'm glad he's doing good and making it. Gotta support the small businessman!

-Gadsden-
June 9, 2013, 10:57 AM
excellent info guys. I will load some up today and shoot them at some point this week

Rule3
June 9, 2013, 02:59 PM
You took great pictures:) You did the plunk test which is good, that is what determines your OAL. So if it drops in and out you are good to go.

When making test or dummy rounds, don't load them with primer or powder. Then you can safely test for fit in your barrel and magazine. Manually cycling the round does not really duplicate firing, but is OK to do with an inert round just to see if it fits and cycles.

If you are going to shoot cast bullets try and get the Lyman Cast Manual. it is the best.

Flaring the case, the bullet should just barely start, to much and you weaken the case, not enough and it shaves.

Sigs have strong springs and will not "run" well on real light loads so I also agree on moving on up to 4.5grs Unique to start.

How are you measuring your powder, weighing it, powder measure? Unique can vary in some powder measures

You are on your way and good to see that you have great pictures and asked before loading a bunch!:)

au_prospector
June 9, 2013, 04:04 PM
You can work up loads like that in increments of .2 grains I think. 4.0, 4.2, 4.4, 4.6, etc. Up to you, I believe it will be nearly impossible to notice the difference at .1 grain. Might find your load a bit quicker that way.

-Gadsden-
June 9, 2013, 06:44 PM
hi Rule3 -- I'm using the Lee Powder Measure that I mounted to the 2x4 I have mounted to a coffee table in our living room :p Not the best set up but it's working so far!

I ran a full hopper through the measure per Lee recommendations and it meters out a pretty consistent charge. Within half a tenth of a grain. I'm using the Lee scale to verify the charge.

FM12
June 9, 2013, 07:28 PM
Try ~ 4.5. to 5.0 Bullseye. Always worked for me in any 9MM load, except the 147 gr.

Rule3
June 9, 2013, 07:47 PM
hi Rule3 -- I'm using the Lee Powder Measure that I mounted to the 2x4 I have mounted to a coffee table in our living room :p Not the best set up but it's working so far!

I ran a full hopper through the measure per Lee recommendations and it meters out a pretty consistent charge. Within half a tenth of a grain. I'm using the Lee scale to verify the charge.

You are doing it all the right way!

I started on the kitchen table.:)

The Lee PPM actually is a very accurate measure with most powders. It is kind of iffy on the flakes. I was having problems with some stick rifle powder in my RCBS and then tried my old LPPM and it worked better! I guess I am just not a Unique fan. I use it for 45 Colt is about all. I prefer HP38/W231 (meters better) for 9mm and 40 I like Power Pistol. But Unique works for everything:)

-Gadsden-
June 9, 2013, 07:58 PM
loaded up 10 today after I got the powder measure figured out.

They are all coming in at about 4.25 grains at 1.065-1.070" OAL. I figured starting around 4.2 would be fine, per everyone's advice.

A few question about OAL - at what point is the OAL too short? I seated and crimped one that came to 1.060. I decided to move that one aside so I didn't count it with the rest of the group. Would something .005 shorter lead to an unsafe spike in pressure? The shorter round head spaced fine though.

Probably not a problem with small powder charges, but I figured I'd ask.

thanks!

rcmodel
June 9, 2013, 08:41 PM
Would something .005 shorter lead to an unsafe spike in pressure?Gosh, I sure hope not!

Measure a box of factory loaded ammo sometime!

.005" will seem like ultra-high precision!

rc

Rule3
June 9, 2013, 10:10 PM
loaded up 10 today after I got the powder measure figured out.

They are all coming in at about 4.25 grains at 1.065-1.070" OAL. I figured starting around 4.2 would be fine, per everyone's advice.



It was more like 4.5 to 5.0;)

I would not load anymore until you see that those cycle the gun or you are going to be shooting a single shot;) But if so, do not feel bad I did it once with 50 rounds,:o

-Gadsden-
June 9, 2013, 10:16 PM
my mother always said I was very cautious! :p

I'll make some 4.5s tomorrow

oldreloader
June 9, 2013, 11:00 PM
If you are using this bullet:

http://www.zcastbulletz.com/images/products/9MM124GRAIN-Big.JPG

I seat it to where just a whisker of the shoulder on the bullet is above the case mouth @1.125. I can't help you with the powder. I use Bullseye, HP38, and AA #5.

Springfield0612
June 10, 2013, 02:55 PM
Crimping cases when using lead bullets is not really required. If you are using the Lee bullet seat/crimp die to remove the bell and add neck tension to the bullet you really don't need to add any extra crimp or roll crimp. Doing so you can cause the neck to bite into the lead a little too much and cause the bullet to not obturate and seal in the barrel correctly. I load cast lead exclusively and sold all of my Lee crimp dies, once the round comes out of the bullet seat/crimp die, I check the neck tension and ensure no bullet set back occurs and good to go.

Just trying to save you a step on your single stage. I loaded on one (Lee single stage) for my first 5 years of reloading.

ArchAngelCD
June 10, 2013, 03:33 PM
Crimping cases when using lead bullets is not really required. If you are using the Lee bullet seat/crimp die to remove the bell and add neck tension to the bullet you really don't need to add any extra crimp or roll crimp. Doing so you can cause the neck to bite into the lead a little too much and cause the bullet to not obturate and seal in the barrel correctly. I load cast lead exclusively and sold all of my Lee crimp dies, once the round comes out of the bullet seat/crimp die, I check the neck tension and ensure no bullet set back occurs and good to go.

Just trying to save you a step on your single stage. I loaded on one (Lee single stage) for my first 5 years of reloading.
I can not agree. Ammo meant for a semi-auto needs a taper crimp so the bullets don't set-back and revolver ammo needs a roll crimp so the bullets don't pull. Sure neck tension is the most important and you can get away with not crimping with rifle ammo but not handgun ammo unless it's shot from a single shot gun.

Of course you should never over-crimp but a correctly applied crimp is needed with handgun ammo.

GLOOB
June 11, 2013, 01:51 AM
I don't think a properly done taper crimp does much against setback, personally. When done properly, it will do barely more than remove the flare. If you wanted to actually crimp precisely enough to just prevent setback without destroying your accuracy, you'd need to trim all your brass. I'd go back to jacketed, if that were necessary!

For an autoloading rifle, a good roll crimp into the groove is near essential for cast bullets, IMO. Most cast rifle bullets are way shorter and more blunt than jacketed, so they can hang up, easiily. Also, a rifle neck is expanded all the way through; the base of the bullet may even be sitting at or below the shoulder. So a cast rifle bullet that starts to setback has nothing to stop it. I've had more than a few cast rifle bullets setback all the way into the case, rolling around with the powder, before I wised up.

For straight wall pistol ammo that is sized properly, the case becomes wasp-waisted/coke-bottled. The case, itself, does a pretty good job of preventing, or at least limiting, setback. And the bullet shape is more or less the same as for jacketed alternatives. I suppose the worst case would be a bottle neck semiauto pistol case with a cast bullet, say 357 SIG. What do you do with that?

Of my semiauto pistol rounds, I only crimp my 45ACP. That's because my gun's chamber demands it. The rest don't get any crimp.

blarby
June 11, 2013, 04:58 PM
Crimping cases when using lead bullets is not really required.

HALT !

ArchAngel nailed this one, I'll just put in my 2 cents that he's right.

One thing I noted, OP- is that in the photo provided, you are shaving lead during your seating step.

A little wider flare during your belling step will ensure that your bullets aren't deformed during the seating step- and the brass can be bent right back into shape using your crimp step..... which is another good use for the crimping step.

About the only time I can think of that I don't use a crimp is in 44, using .429 jacketed bullets ... a tip I picked up from gamestalker. But, I'm not expanding the case significantly either- and the neck tension is TIGHT.

GLOOB
June 11, 2013, 06:13 PM
Since taper crimp is applied to the outside of the case, the depth of the crimp is a factor of both brass length and brass thickness. If you're relying on a taper crimp to prevent setback, good luck with that and your pile of thousands of mixed 9mm cases.

OTOH, because the crimp is applied to the outside of the case, a taper crimp is an excellent tool to ensure proper fit/feeding into the chamber. This is most all what it's good for, IMO.

About the only time I can think of that I don't use a crimp is in 44, using .429 jacketed bullets ... a tip I picked up from gamestalker. But, I'm not expanding the case significantly either- and the neck tension is TIGHT.
Well, ideally, you will always flare and expand just enough to do the job. And you should always get "TIGHT" neck tension. There's actually a max neck tension you can get with any particular piece of brass. Add any "more" and the bullet might be harder to seat, but the end tension will be the same. Cuz the brass will undergo plastic deformation to make up the difference of where the limit of elastic deformation is maxed out.

ArchAngelCD
June 11, 2013, 07:04 PM
I never said a taper crimp was the only step preventing setback and mentioned it alone because that's what we were talking about. I thought there was no need to mention proper neck tension because I thought everyone already knew that. Of course proper neck tension is necessary but so are all the other steps too.

balderclev
June 11, 2013, 09:40 PM
As far as seating primers, I manually seat them and just run my finger over them. I can feel if one is not seated deep enough.

-Gadsden-
June 12, 2013, 11:03 PM
headed to the range tomorrow.

I cooked up a batch of 50 this evening. 4.4-4.5 grains of Unique at about 1.090-1.010 OAL. Spent a good amount of time checking, rechecking and remeasuring everything I did, so I'm pretty confident in how to use the scale and powder measure now.

These seated fine in my Sig's barrel, so I'm looking forward to having some fun after work!

Now to apply a light crimp to these bad boys :p

ArchAngelCD
June 13, 2013, 06:37 AM
From the picture it doesn't look like you removed the flare from the case mouths. Did you crimp at all? Also, I highly doubt you will be able to notice the difference between a 4.4gr load and a 4.5gr load. I usually make .2gr jumps with handgun ammo but I'm more concerned about the crimp. Did you check if those rounds will "plunk" into your barrel?

-Gadsden-
June 13, 2013, 07:51 AM
those are uncrimped at that stage, but I crimped them after I posted the picture. I listed 4.4-4.5 because that was the amount the measure was throwing.

Rule3
June 13, 2013, 05:44 PM
headed to the range tomorrow.

I cooked up a batch of 50 this evening. 4.4-4.5 grains of Unique at about 1.090-1.010 OAL. Spent a good amount of time checking, rechecking and remeasuring everything I did, so I'm pretty confident in how to use the scale and powder measure now.

These seated fine in my Sig's barrel, so I'm looking forward to having some fun after work!

Now to apply a light crimp to these bad boys :p

You stated they seated or dropped in the barrel fine, did they also fall out when you turned the barrel over?? A lot of times the round will not seat properly if the flair is not removed or a light taper crimp. It makes the brass to wide or fat at the mouth.

I can not tell from the picture but does the bullet have a driving band which ends right before the curve (ogive)of the round nose?
Generally if you seat to just leave a hair or fingernail with of the driving band you are good as to seating

I have to say again, that is great to see you taking so much time, research and making sure things are correct. So often folks just want to wam bam, load something without understanding all the little things.:)

Potatohead
June 13, 2013, 08:08 PM
is crimping necessary for all straight walled cartridges?

Potatohead
June 13, 2013, 08:35 PM
off topic i know but didnt think that question deserved its own thread ya know?

-Gadsden-
June 13, 2013, 10:04 PM
Thanks Rule3! The finished rounds dropped in and out without a hiccup. The bullet was seated with the driving band just a hair below the case mouth line, or maybe dead even in some cases. I think they worked nicely.

Had a good time at the range today after I calmed down and took my time.

4.0, like everyone predicted, was not enough charge and stovepiped.

4.25 was barely enough to cycle the action, but it was a weak ejection and at least one of the casings managed to wedge itself between my face and my glasses. That was pretty hot!

4.4-4.5 were fine and cycled the action as normal. However, they were still a bit more smokey than I'd like. I assume moving up a few tenths will cut down on the smoke a bit?

Unfortunately I'm not a very good shot, so the good thing is I can get more practice in now that the ammo is so much cheaper. I have STRONG tendency to group in a straight line on the left hand side of the bullseye. If I consciously bias myself a bit to the right, it is usually right on target. Not sure if that's ideal, but that's what's working so far!

the attached is the 2nd target I shot at 5 yards. I'm not going to show the 1st one because I have at least some dignity :p

Springfield0612
June 14, 2013, 03:31 PM
Please allow me to explain as I did not do so in the above post. As I was assuming most people were familiar with the Lee dies and the proper function and useage, I was attemping to explain to the OP that he does not need to re-crimp cases that are all ready crimped if his dies are setup correctly.

I was attempting to articulate that the Bullet seating/CRIMP die all ready applies enough crimp that additional crimping is not really needed.
The Lee Bullet seating/Crimp die applies a crimp to the case. Here is the verbage from the die instructions, "If a crimp is desired,
screw the die in slightly and test until the proper crimp is formed.
Cases must be trimmed to the same length to provide a uniform crimp.
Excessive crimp causes the bullet seater to deform soft nose bullets."

Now here is the verbage from the Lee Factory Crimp Die: Screw the Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die in, until it just
touches the shell holder and back out the adjusting screw.
With the loaded round in the die, turn the adjusting screw
in until you can feel it just touch the case mouth. Then
move the cartridge out of the die slightly and screw the
adjusting screw in 1/2 turn for a light crimp and one full
turn for a heavy crimp. You can adjust for even greater
crimp and never have to worry about buckling the case
as with conventional crimpers. The case is sized as it
enters the die and again as it is pulled out of the die. This
assures you every case will freely chamber in any standard
gun. Donít expect the carbide sizer to touch every
case. It is a fail safe tool for the occasional bad round that
could ruin your day.

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