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Super heavy 9mm cast loads anyone

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Carbon_15, Nov 5, 2009.

  1. Carbon_15

    Carbon_15 Well-Known Member

    I'm thinking about sizing down some of my cast 158gr .357 bullets for use in 9mm. A friend of mine has been doing this for years using hp-38. The pistol powders I have on hand are American Select, Power Pistol and Trail Boss. Which would be the best suited? If I use .38 Special 158gr data for starting points would that be safe?
  2. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member

    I have loaded 158 grain Speer LSWC HP's and Hornady 158 LSWC's, and they work fine Using Unique and HS-6 driven to just over 900 fps. Obviously OAL is critical where you want to seat as far out as your pistol will allow, and the only propellant I see mentioned that I would use if you can find data is Power Pistol. I would drop Alliant an email, and see what they might recommend.

    Extrapolating .38 Special data could be very dangerous in 9mm, EXTREMELY dangerous... Very similar bore sizes, entirely different animals concerning data!

    FWIW, my old Speer data says 3.3 grains of HP-38 is MAX for a 160 grain lead bullet, getting 792 fps.
  3. MAXM

    MAXM Well-Known Member

    I'm with Galil5.56. Pressure with 9x19/9x21 and 158 grain bullets goes very high often without signes. Be safe!
    I suggest only slow powders as VV N350 - 3N37 - 3N38. Best are the last two, but you'll get more easily leading with lead bullets. Use the longest OAL your magazine and barrel chamber afford.
  4. jfh

    jfh Well-Known Member

    I tried a very similar project some fifteen years ago--but have no specific recommendations now; I simply lost interest in 9mmP and quit loading for it. However, I do remember exactly what Galil5.56 and MAXM have said--the LOA setup will be critical, and attempts to get good velocity--i.e., near max or MAX charges--will make slight variations in case capacity critical. You can go overpressure quickly.

    Personally, I would really wander the Internet and get some powder / bullet manufacturer resources. Even Ammoguide only lists 4 158-gr. recipes--and those were added by a member, using Alliant products. The current Vihtavuori manual (2009) does list the powders MAXM suggests, but they only go to a 150-gr. bullet. Hodgdon only goes to 147-gr.

    You might also try checking in at handloads.com--in the handgun reloading group. It's a small forum, but with a wealth of knowledge for reloading "at the edges"--and see what their data center has, too.

    Jim H.
  5. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Well-Known Member

    I shot many-many hundreds of plain 148 Grain, Lead semi-Wads, which were not sized, and which were intended for .38 Special...in my Model 1902 'Sporting' Model Autocolt.

    I'd downloded them...they worked beautifully for Paper Targets of 15, 25, and 50 Yards.

    I my have been foolish...it was long ago and I was not as educated as now.

    I used 'Bullseye'...and, merely emulated a light .38 Special target Load.

    6 Inch Barrel, slower Powder probably would be more forgiving and allow higher velocities if one wanted, with less strain...as would sizing the Bullets for the Bore...

    Never saw any pressure issues...Slide was happy...easy recoil...

    I'd like to get an old Ideal or Lyman Mold for the old 'Snowball' Bullet...these were .356, and...ohhhhhh, 135 grain?

    Anyway...9 mm handles higher pressures than .38 Colt Automatic...but with 'Lead', in either, for any given powder loading, there should be less strain than Copper Patch I'd think.

    I wonder how 'Trailboss' would be for for something like this..?

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2009
  6. Landric

    Landric Well-Known Member

    I load my own cast Lyman 358311 in 9x19mm. With my WW alloy it drops at about 164 grains. With 4.2 grains of HS-6 and a Federal SP primer I get about 810 fps from my 4 1/4" Beretta 92 Centurion. Its very soft shooting and has a PF of around 132,000, great for IDPA.
  7. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member

    To give a little perspective concerning these oddballs, here are the loads I make up with their corresponding bullets. My 9mm's have fairly long leades, and I would probably not load these rounds if they didn't. I'm fairly certain some degree of base deformation is going on due to the softness of these swaged bullets and sharp case taper, and that a cast bullet of substantial hardness sized even .356" would greatly expand the case wall well down the case.

    IMO, unless you are willing to work up tested data, be extremely careful with regard to technique, and be on a sharp lookout for pressure signs, you have no business loading this type of ammo. This is NOT the type of ammo a new reloader should try IMO, and I would never try it with any jacketed bullet, or with anything "faster" than WW 231/HP38.

  8. MAXM

    MAXM Well-Known Member

    I've done many tests with 9x21 mm and 158 grain bullets (lead, plated, FMJ) with a pressure gun, and I can tell you that it is very easy to run over 43,500 psi. When you shoot the same ammo in a "real" pistol, often you don't see any apparent sign of overpressure. Be safe!
  9. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member


    Unless it's pressure barrel tested (goes for any ammo rifle/pistol/shotgun) it's speculation for all but the most grossly over-pressure situations. In my situation, even the large unsupported section of the case fired from my pistol showed almost nil expansion. Rudimentary I know, but it along with other observations seem to bear out that all is well. That extra 3mm of the 9x21 sure would be handy in this situation, and makes for interesting testing.

    My best defense is to stick to reasonble published data, diligent procedure, and let my experience guide my hand.
  10. MAXM

    MAXM Well-Known Member

    Hello Galill5.56:), 9x19 and 9x21 use in most pistols the same OAL, so the boiling room is usually the same.

  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    [quote[FWIW, my old Speer data says 3.3 grains of HP-38 is MAX for a 160 grain lead bullet, getting 792 fps.[/quote]

    In MY gun (a 5" 9mm P Springfield 1911A1) with MY lot of HP38 and MY bullets (160 gr Billy Bullet moly coated cast) I got 821 fps with 3.0 gr HP38.
  12. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member

    Howdy MAXM!

    The Speer data used a S&W 39 w/4" barrel, and it would seem looking at the numbers for the variables given between pistols, everything is as expected.

    Now I want to go out back, and chrono some WW231 from my 5" Beretta... :)
  13. ants

    ants Well-Known Member

    158g swc is a long bullet. Be very, very careful.

    My Beretta 92FS wouldn't take Lyman 158 SWC at all. The freebore leade was too short and the bullets jammed into the rifling lands. If I seated the bullets deeper into the case to clear the lands, I had a dangerously compressed load.

    Some pistols may handle it, some won't. You gotta make sure your pistol can handle it.

    If you're a beginner at reloading, 158g swc in 9mm may not be the combination for you.
  14. Galil5.56

    Galil5.56 Well-Known Member

    And why I am on the lookout for a 158 grain LSWC with the most weight to length past the full diamter shoulder/shortest shank for the weight... Maybe somthing like the Lee 158 "Cowboy" bullet:


    But I'm not exactly sure what the diameter is at the base of the ogive/forward of the crimp groove. My M9's leade is pretty long, as is my Walther P1, but just the same I would like as little shank as possible in the case.
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I concur.
  16. MichaelK

    MichaelK Well-Known Member

    I load Lyman's 358477 (150 grain SWC) for my 9mm Ruger with 6.0 grains of Blue Dot. Feeds and fires perfectly. Sure doesn't look like it would feed, but it does!
  17. MAXM

    MAXM Well-Known Member

    Chronoed (ProChrono Digital) yesterday in my 9x21 mm 4" Beretta Px4, with 158 grain LRN bullets, Magtech primers, OAL 1.161", 3.3 grains of Hodgdon HP-38, 17°C.
    Five shots:
    807 - 787 - 814 - 814 - 817 fps, average 808 fps. PF 127,6, soft recoil.
    Quite near to Speer manual 9x19 mm data.

    Galil5.56, do you have run some tests with your 9x19 mm 5" Beretta :)?

  18. jfh

    jfh Well-Known Member

    Jeez, MAXM, if you had posted the cartridge spec and charge powder and weight, I would have guessed it was a 38 Special +P "FBI load."

    Jim H.
  19. Marlin 45 carbine

    Marlin 45 carbine Well-Known Member

    for experimentations sake I guess it's worth the trouble and I appreciate the post but 147 gr TC hard-cast meant for the 9mm are available - it's just 10gr diff.
    I've never loaded these but have +P 147gr JHP Golden Sabre for one of my nephews, a dedicated 9mm+P fan. he owns a Kel-Tec carbine (and S&W 5904) that shoots these loads great, tight groups at 50yds w/irons.
  20. NuJudge

    NuJudge Well-Known Member

    Because of the thickening of the lower web on a 9mm case, can I suggest using some sort of Bevel Base bullet? Otherwise, you may get a case bulge down there.

    It also might be good to use only one lot of cases, or at least from one manufacturer, so you don't get a pressure spike from case with heavier walls.

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