Sizing Cases


Logan Kibodeaux
April 26, 2014, 02:11 PM
I have a Hornady titanium Nitride die set that is for 9mm Luger 9x21. I have been reloading 9mm with no problems shooting. Recently, I bought an LE Wilson head space / length gauge. My factory loads fit or fall right through the gauge. However, my reloads do go all the way down flush. In fact they stick up a good ways. They seem to fit in my barrel as good as the factory loads. I am concerned and would like to know why and is this really safe. I thought that it might be that my resizing die is faulty. Any ideas as to what to do to get the casing to resize to fit properly in the gauge. I also thought that it might be the 9x21 dies oppossed to having just the 9x19 dies. I don't know, I'm really a novice loader and was told that I could use either 9mm set to load.

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April 26, 2014, 02:35 PM
Take the barrel OUT OF THE PISTOL and try the cases for fit before resizing, after resizing and after loading. If everything fits to your satisfaction the way you have been doing things then keep doing things the way you have been.

Loaded ammunition that sticks up higher in the pistol's chamber than factory ammunition is BIG Deal - a pistol that does not close should not fire but things like a stuck firing pin can lead to a pistol firing out of battery and that is unfortunate.

Your resized cases do appear to be and almost certainly are larger in diameter than never fired brass and there are almost certainly barrels out there that require smaller case heads than your reloads have. You should also check the empty cases and loaded ammunition for over all length the cases and loaded ammunition should be close to the dimensions given in your loading manual. Slightly short cases are common and not a problem - loaded ammunition that is shorter than the book dimensions will in a handgun be higher pressure than the same load with more space behind the bullet. I n a light load there is a little leeway in a hot load there isn't.

IF you are happy with the current performance of your reloads than keep doing what you are doing until you have problems.

IF you want to be sure your reloads will fit all of the possible barrels then arrange to resize your cases smaller One way to resize your cases smaller is A must for the serious reloader: EGW offers custom designed, carbide sizing dies that are 0.001" smaller in diameter than typical dies. Not only is it smaller in diameter, the bottom corner is radiused which sizes the case further down. This helps prevent feed failures from cases that bulged near the base during reloading- which is typical of brass fired in Glocks and other loose chambered guns. The dies are made out of carbide.
Undersized Reloading Dies will work with a Dillon Press if they are 550, 650, or 1050. They will not work if they are squared.
I'd be reluctant to say your current dies are faulty if they work. Many makers sell the same dies for 9x19 and 9x21 - mostly they work for the whole range from 9x19 to 9x21 to 9x21 and a bit known as .356TSW and all the way to 9x23 or 9mm Largo - sometimes they don't.

Typically the Wilson case gages are( in some ways but not all) designed to catch any case that is larger than a factory case. Your reloads are larger than a factory load but work just the same in your pistol. To repeat myself you can make your reloads smaller or you can decide they work and they won't work any better so.........

April 26, 2014, 02:37 PM
I think you need a 9x19 sizing die.

Both the 9x19 and 9x21 are slightly tapered.

So the shorter case isn't going all the way up in the longer sizing die.

I don't know if the 9x21 seating/crimp die is longer or not.
But if it is, you also can't reach the taper-crimp portion of the die with the shorter cases.

Whip out your measuring instrument and see if you are getting a taper-crimp measuring .376" at the case mouth.


April 26, 2014, 02:39 PM
You are sizing 9x19 in a 9x21 size die ?
9mm head spaces on the case mouth, I'm not sure but I would think that the longer spec of the 9x21 die would not size 9x19 case properly.
Hopefully some one with more experience with this situation will chime in soon.
Good luck , be safe and welcome to THR :)

April 26, 2014, 02:40 PM
It's kind of like checking your blood pressure on the machine at the Wal-Mart pharmacy. Everything is fine, right up until you sit down at that machine...... People have successfully loaded for years without a problem, and then they make the mistake of sitting down in front of that new case gauge...... Then their life changes and it scares them.

Case gauges are normally set for SAAMI minimum, in my experience. Your barrel is what you're loading for, since you're not going to shoot those rounds through the gauge. As long as they drop into your chamber and slide right back out, then you're fine.

I have a complete set of pistol and revolver gauges sitting with some of my dies, but they've collected dust for years, as I no longer use them. My barrels and cylinders are my gauges for the 31 calibers I load for. The rounds are set up for the chamber that will fire them, period.

Hope this helps.


April 26, 2014, 02:40 PM
I type slow ! :D

April 26, 2014, 02:43 PM
Oh, and I also load for both 9x19 and 9x21, and the 9x19 dies work just fine for both. You just set them up like .38 Spl./.357 Mag. dies for the two different lengths.

Hope this helps.


April 26, 2014, 02:51 PM
But would 9x21 dies work for 9x19??

That's kinda like trying to load shorter .38 Spl with longer .357 dies isn't it?

And the case taper further complicates things.


April 26, 2014, 03:08 PM
Hornady lists there dies as "9mm Luger-9 x 21 (.355) 3-Die Set" So they must load both?? 9mm Luger is really 9x19 mm last i looked?? Forget the case gages, use the barrel.

April 26, 2014, 03:17 PM
I am sure, and I've got a wide variety of 9mm dies on hand - enough so that I'm not sure how many including dies for different chambers 9mm Nowlin and other exotica. The major makers sell the same dies for the range.
Hornady says 9mm Luger-9 x 21 (.355) 3-Die Set
SKU: 546515 | 1/EA

RCBS says 20515 - 3-DIE CARB TC SET 9MMLUGER/9X21/9X23

Don't take my word for it - ask Hornady, ask RCBS and other recognized experts. It is true, sadly very true indeed that the 9x19 is very very crimp sensitive but that's an adjustment - obviously don't roll crimp and find the taper crimp your pistol likes with your components. I'd suggest Reloading for Handgunners by Patrick Sweeney ... for a further discussion.

April 26, 2014, 03:23 PM
The 38/357 question works just fine and Dillon only sells one set of dies to be used on both. Straight wall case and uses the rim. I think the problem is the taper and the spacing using the mouth.

April 26, 2014, 03:49 PM
If you were going to shoot those reloads through the gauge, you might have a problem. But as long as they fit and feed through your weapon, you have no problem that needs fixing.

There is no better gauge than the barrel you will be loading for, IMO.


April 26, 2014, 03:58 PM
There are any number of tapered cases used in pistols - by count there are more than 20 differently named all about 9x23 or .900 inch long alone.

A true full length case sizing on an inch long compound tapered case is pain. Doing a full length compound taper on a carbide or nitride die insert is equally a real pain given variations in brass thickness and neck and body and spring back - for perfect results it works out to be a pretty compound cut of a not at all free machining material - not so bad in steel with roughing and final reaming and all the rest of it that goes into making bench rest dies perhaps made with the same reamer as the chamber plus or minus on a straight neck section. A tapered case is fired in a chamber with different spring back in the case neck that holds the bullet (the bullet isn't tapered and the brass flows and the chamber support is varied - notice the new downsized S&W Shield has Glock style issues with support and such this from Starline who know something about brass 9MM+P has no difference from the standard 9mm Luger other than headstamp designation for load segregation. Due to standard case design, it will handle +P pressures with no problems. **NOT RECOMMENDED FOR USE IN S&W SHIELD PISTOLS WITH NEAR-MAX OR +P LOADS, DUE TO POORLY SUPPORTED CHAMBER CONDITIONS**

So greatly oversimplifying but still the carbide/nitride is a ring cemented into the die to restore enough tension to the neck to hold the bullet and relying on what is basically a strong case to hold the case head to a useful limit on case expansion. The EGW small base is still a ring not a taper that is pushed further down the case - furthermore on the general subject
Redding has solved the problem that has plagued ordinary carbide dies since their invention. The little ring in a standard carbide die had to do double duty. It sized the top of the case to properly hold the bullet but then continued to size the whole body of the case as well. Unfortunately, these two areas need to be sized at different diameters, so carbide dies of the past have always been a compromise. Redding's solution to this problem is a unique
(patent pending) design, incorporating two carbide rings within one sizing die. The upper ring is positioned to size only the bullet retention portion of
the case while the other is located to properly size the case body without overworking the brass. Sized cases will not only look and function better but
brass life will increase.

In sum - the only dies folks can buy are a compromise, the only carbide or nitride dies are doubly a compromise and if you want a true chamber matching taper it will be in a full custom steel only die and not worth any extra effort when the existing compromise works well enough although not in fact tending to size the case head all the way - just as most people don't use small base rifle dies to bring the case head of the tapered and bottlenecked case back to original dimensions - so too the strong case head of the 9x19 in a well supported chamber is along for the ride as the neck is sized to hold the bullet and crimped to work.

It works and you can't do any better anyway -unless you want benchrest techniques that aren't going to do any good in a 9x19 chamber - though as noted Nowlin used to sell dies claimed to be a better match to the chamber as Nowlin chambered it or at least so labeled. When it was all the rage to hot rod .356 TSW and 9x23 Winchester it was easy to buy very expensive dies for the tapered case. Nowadays it's hard to find - even on E-Bay and so to repeat myself - it works and you can't do any better - though I do have some very expensive dies if you want to make me an offer I can't refuse. And I repeat read Patrick Sweeney on loading the 9x19 especially for competition.

April 26, 2014, 07:38 PM
The Redding dual ring die does NOT include 9mm, as the quote above implies.

April 26, 2014, 08:08 PM
I think I said you can't buy a tapered die in carbide or nitride and for the following reasons. Even for the rare individual who wants to do the best possible job at any cost and buys a Case-Pro roll sizer with the current 6 month delay the dies are still 9mm (9x19 9x21 9x23) - $164.11 I do use the Redding dual ring dies in the more or less but not actually straight cartridges which was my point including a dual ring .40 S&W as a first stage for doing .357 Sig in stages to avoid lube.

FWIW the .45 ACP carbide die can be used as an additional step small base die for the .30-'06 and for all I know other bottleneck rifle cases with the same head as frex the .243 but I don't know that I'm only vouching for the .30-'06.

I'm saying that to return the case head to original dimensions is tough and mostly that's OK because folks don't have to. There is a nice collet die system that works with belted cases - where again the normal die doesn't quite reach the belt and over time the belted magnum case will be hard to chamber. Unlike non-belted cases, the belt prevents conventional full length dies from traveling far enough down the case. This limits the amount of resizing, and brass is plowed rearward. The brass builds up just above the belt at each reloading, and cases expand. Neck sizing dies don't bump the shoulder back or resize the tapered case wall. The best solution is to full length resize accurately, and use this collet die to reduce case width. Again I'm not saying this applies to 9x19 I'm saying getting all the way down and sizing the case head is a problem with various issues and the OP likely does not have defective dies and likely can't do any better so keep shooting.

April 26, 2014, 08:29 PM
RCBS had a tech tip about sizing pistol brass. Just neck size it. In other words, you can stop sizing just past where the bullets base would sit. Being that 9mm is high pressure, more sizing is needed, but maybe not the full length of the case?? May or may not work, so only load/test a few rounds. My RCBS 45 acp die is about 1/16" from touching the shell holder/plate. Hope this helps.

Logan Kibodeaux
April 27, 2014, 10:33 AM
Wow, a lot of good stuff being thrown my way. Thank you all very much. One more thing to kick around. What about a seperate taper crimp die, do you think that might have some bearing on the finished bullet fitting in my gauge? The crimp die I have now is the regular factory die.

April 27, 2014, 12:30 PM
I crimp in a separate die as a matter of practice for all the calibers I load. I don't like the crimp being applied while the bullet is still being seated, but that's just me.

I'd put the case gauge away and load for your chamber.

Hope this helps.


April 27, 2014, 02:03 PM
Have you marked up the bullet and brass to see where the case gauge is contacting? It could be as simple as not enough taper crimp or the base is over size.

Logan Kibodeaux
April 28, 2014, 12:26 AM
I don't know what is going on. I took out and used an older RCBS steel size die. I lubed a 9mm case and sized it and it still did not go all the way down in the gauge like it is supposed to do.

April 28, 2014, 12:45 AM
Nothing is going on. The rounds fit your chamber, just not the gauge. You're not going to be firing them in the gauge, but rather in the chamber of your pistol. That's what they need to fit, not the gauge. Put the gauge away and go back to happy reloading....

The only mistake you made was buying the gauge!

Hope this helps.


Logan Kibodeaux
April 28, 2014, 12:51 AM
Guage is put up and I'm going shooting tomorrow. I just don't understand why my size dies will not put the cases back where they should be.

Thanks everybody!!!!!!!

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