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Cast bullets in 9mm

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Dithsoer, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. Dithsoer

    Dithsoer Well-Known Member

    Anyone have much experience with lead bullets in 9mm semi-auto's? From what I've read and from personal experience it's an iffy proposition but I have found a few suitable loads (using commercially cast bullets) using a couple of the faster powders. Anyone else have such luck? I've just started casting 124gr. T.C. bullets and so far I have had dreadful results.
  2. NuJudge

    NuJudge Well-Known Member

    Describe load, results you are getting & slug bore

    There is a lot of variation in 9mm Parabellum chambers, throats and barrels. Some barrels are not supposed to be compatible with cast bullets (eg polygonal rifled). The 9mm is less forgiving than lower pressure cartridges.

    As with any other barrel, I use a bullet at least as large as the groove diameter, and preferably .001 or .002" larger. If your chamber will not allow a cartridge with a large enough bullet to chamber, don't use cast bullets in that barrel. Use of too small a bullet will give you incredible Leading. I use a .356" or .357" lube die for 9mm.

    The 9mm is not demanding as to lubricant. I've always preferred 50% Alox/50% Beeswax.

    I've used two truncated cone bullets of about that weight over the years. The first was the Lyman design, and I used Unique powder with it. If I measured bullet weights so they were consistent, and weighed every charge of Unique, results were excellent.

    Of late, I've also been using a shorter commercially cast truncated cone bullet from Meister. I'd rather cast my own, but I was offered them for $29 per thousand, delivered, by Brassmanbrass, which is about the value of the Lead. I've been loading them with a moderate charge of 231.

  3. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Well-Known Member

    darned good point on brassmanbrass.com I didn't even think of him for bullets. That's the cheapest I've seen.
  4. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    121 grain truncated cone cast bullets work just fine with Bullseye out of my Inglis HP. 3.5 to 4.8 is given in my Lyman manual with 3.5 grains being the accuracy load. It's not exactly target accuracy, but an Inglis HP isn't a target pistol either.
    Just remember that cast bullets can't be driven as fast as jacketed bullets.
  5. kellyj00

    kellyj00 Well-Known Member

    " so far I have had dreadful results"
    what does this mean exactly?
  6. ilbob

    ilbob Well-Known Member

    I have had good luck with all kinds of different 9mm lead reloads. My Ruger will shoot just about anything, and I ma not looking for extreme accuracy.
  7. jwr_747

    jwr_747 Well-Known Member

    I've shot several thousand 124gr lead 3D 9mm reloads ( not the best in the world) in my P89 and my S&W 3914,never a problem.every one has gone bang and went where pointed.never had any leading problems. jwr
  8. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Well-Known Member

    i've had solid luck with some 135gr LRN in 9mm. whats your alloy? whats your lube? whats your gun?
  9. armoredman

    armoredman Well-Known Member

    I just ordered a tumble-lube Lee mold .356 dia 124gr for my CZ. We'll see how well it does when I am all unpacked and ready to start casting.
  10. layusn1

    layusn1 Well-Known Member

    I have a CZ75 and I am JUST getting ready to start casting. I wanted to try lead bullets because of the price but tried Speer's commercial offering which was horrible since they were soft swagged lead. I have now bartered and traded my way to having 3 molds:


    I am looking forward to trying the second one the most. I bought the Lyman book because it has some great information and they actually list load data for the bullets their molds produce...really cool! Also, the guy I worked the trade for that mold with included 350 non-lubed bullets from that mold so I can play with it and see how they will work in my barrel with different powders/charges/lubes. A lot of people seem to really like this guys lubes:


    Great guy and I sent him an e-mail to ask him a question and he offered to send me a free sample of whichever lubes I wanted to try...good deal.

    From what I understand so far...casting is an art/science. You really have so many variables you can play around with that can impact what happens with that bullet as it makes its way down your barrel that there are countless ways to try to improve or fix whatever might be causing specific problems for you.

    I didn't see anyone mention it yet and you have probably already been there if you are already casting your own but these guys are full of knowledge and experience:


    Good luck.
  11. mugsie

    mugsie Well-Known Member

    I shoot Berrys plated 115g RNn or 125g RN in my S&W 9mm. I have excellent results. Barrel is clean and the groupings at 25 yards are decent (it's me - not the bullets). I tried cast and spent too much time cleaning afterwards. The Berrys seemed to be the answer. They're used for target shooting and paper and they do all I ask of them.

    Good luck, stay safe and have fun....
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I used to shoot lead in the nine. As long as the bullet is fairly hard and you don't try to make it scream it will not lead the barrel. Soft swaged bullets will lead it severely.
    I shoot Raniers 115 Gr. RN. When I run out of those and the 3000 Hornady's I bought before bullets started skyrocketing I may try Berry's. Probably whatever is cheaper.
  13. Dithsoer

    Dithsoer Well-Known Member

    By dreadful results I mean half-foot groups at 15 yards. I'm going to try measuring a fired bullet to get the bore size and go from there. I'm shooting an XD-9, using Universal and HP-38 powders. This Lee 124gr. 9mm bullet is actually pretty accurate in my .38's, which might be an indication that they're a little oversized. Usually 9mm bullets are quite inaccurate in my .38's. It's a tumble lube bullet and from past experience these usually shoot good as cast. The only lead bullet that I've ever had any luck with was a .356 Meister. Everything else, .355, .356, .357 gave poor results. I'm glad to hear that others are having luck with cast bullets, though. I've heard and read for years that most 9mm's just won't shoot cast bullets worth a hoot.
  14. layusn1

    layusn1 Well-Known Member

    Instead of doing that could I suggest trying this. This is what I did with my 9mm:
    I know it says Mosin but don't worry...it will work for you.
  15. Dave R

    Dave R Well-Known Member

    I shot 500 Laser-Cast 115gr. 9mm's and was pleased. IIRC, I used 5.6gr. of Unique. Unique is sooty, but no leading problems.
  16. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member


    I've actually had poor luck (about like what you're having) with my Lee 124gr TC-TL. I've also got the 124gr RN-TL and results are about the same.

    Both of these bullets have a rather narrow rear driving band. Couple this with the Tumble Lube itself, and results are poor at pressures over about 25K-psi.

    You didn't specify what lead alloy you're using. I presume that its probably scrap, or wheel-weight or similar. I've found it very helpful to add a bit of 95/5% lead-free solder (Tin/antimony). Usually 2oz or so to 10lbs will considerably improve the fill and hardness of the metal.

    This bullet design is very sensitive to propellant and charge level. I've gotten good results with HP-38, Bullseye, Win SuperField, and Hod. LongShot. The first two require only enough to cycle the action reliably. The latter two will work to a bit higher velocities due to lower pressures.

    I had outstanding results from the 124gr TC (Lee) however (NOT tumble lube design). This bullet has considerably longer bearing surface's and the substantial lube groove allows for a greater amount of lube. Even if you tumble lube, it works better than the TL designs. (not a slam against all the TL designs, just the ones for 9mm's and 10mm's) I've gotten good results from the .311-150gr GC intended for the 7.62x39.

    My pet load for the 9mm is the Lee 124gr TC sized to .356 and lubed with SPG over 5.2gr of Hod. LongShot. This gets 1,100fps from my 4" S&W 5906-PC, and 1,200fps from my S&W PPC-9. Both shoot to about 1" 6-shot groups at 25yds. Considerably better than your 6" at 15yds. 4.7gr of Win SuperField does almost as well. (loaded to 1.080"oal)
  17. peterotte

    peterotte Well-Known Member

    I have had good results in my 9mm Star Model B using Lee 90gr RN cast with wheel weights and driven hard. RCBS 115gr round nose conical bullets yawed badly in my gun. 124gr RN seemed OK even though they were badly formed.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2007
  18. hawkeye1

    hawkeye1 Well-Known Member

    I have been using a Lee 124 grain round nose, home cast with wheel weights and tumble lube. They are amazingly accurate and reliable. Also I use 4.2 grains of W231. No leading, just works great. I use this in a pair of Beretta 92F.
  19. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Well-Known Member

  20. Dithsoer

    Dithsoer Well-Known Member

    I can't find a Lee 124 gr. non-T.L. T.C. mould. None of my reloading catalogues list this bullet. They do have a 120 gr. T.C. that isn't a tumble lube design but no 124. Could this be the bullet that you are referring to or is it a discontinued design? If I can find it, based on your information I think I'll switch to this bullet.

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