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Old January 3, 2016, 10:55 PM   #1
Reefinmike
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New to 9mm- oal advice on lee 124 and 105gr boolit

I finally went out and bought a 9mm today(beretta m9). I have had my brass, dies, bullet molds etc for a few months now, just needed the gun to get started loading. Im working up a slew of loads to go out and chrono tomorrow.

Im casting the lee TL124gr truncated cone as well as the lee 105gr swc(38 bullet), both powder coated and sized to .356". Problem is that the 124gr passes the plunk test and fits the mag at a loong 1.170"(left), leaving a couple of the tl groves visible. I have a funny feeling this bullet was not designed to be loaded this long. Im thinking of loading to 1.065" which is basically seated to the top of the last tl grove(right). I havent started tinkering with the 105gr but open to suggestions.

Loading with hp38 and titegroup for what its worth.
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Old January 3, 2016, 11:06 PM   #2
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I've loaded Lee's 356-124-TC from 1.110 to 1.122 with perfect functionality in a TP9 & XDM.
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Old January 4, 2016, 02:34 AM   #3
ewlyon
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As long as the neck tension is good and you are not able to set the bullet back by pressing it against your bench it should be fine. I would test a few at both lengths and see if there is any noticeable difference between them in terms of feeding, accuracy, or velocity and then go from there.

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Old January 4, 2016, 06:26 AM   #4
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I see that you are willing to think outside the box since your powder coating, but I have to ask why size them at .356. Powder coat does not replace sizing and I have yet to see a 9mm shoot bullets sized at .356 trouble free. My thinking is if it is too small with regular lubed lead, then it is also too small powder coated. I suspect that you may want to try .357 to .358 bullets, unless you slugged the bore of that Beretta. I size at .358 for every 9mm and let the barrel do the job of sizing them down further if needed, powder coated or not.
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Old January 4, 2016, 08:41 AM   #5
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Load it shorter to look like the other one. Just because it can plunk that long, doesn't mean it should be loaded that long. Nice looking coating.
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Old January 4, 2016, 01:27 PM   #6
Reefinmike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eam3clm@att.net View Post
I see that you are willing to think outside the box since your powder coating, but I have to ask why size them at .356. Powder coat does not replace sizing and I have yet to see a 9mm shoot bullets sized at .356 trouble free. My thinking is if it is too small with regular lubed lead, then it is also too small powder coated. I suspect that you may want to try .357 to .358 bullets, unless you slugged the bore of that Beretta. I size at .358 for every 9mm and let the barrel do the job of sizing them down further if needed, powder coated or not.
I size them mainly for easy and consistent seating. Between the slightly different mold cavities and variations in pc thickness, they vary up to .003" unsized. If i size them, i dont have to excessively bell the case mouth. They average .360 unsized. A little large. Currently all my 9mm bullets are sized to 356. If im not seeing acceptable accuracy at the range I will try out some at 358.

Thanks everyone for their input.
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Old January 4, 2016, 01:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eam3clm@att.net View Post
I see that you are willing to think outside the box since your powder coating, but I have to ask why size them at .356. Powder coat does not replace sizing and I have yet to see a 9mm shoot bullets sized at .356 trouble free.
I cast / coat my own (356-120 & 356-124, 401, 452 etc). For my particular 9s I found that if I size to .356 then coat, which adds 1-2 thousandths, I have chambering issues.

Cast 11ish BHN / coat / .356 size = perfect functionality, in both a TP9 & XDM. Leading is an absolute non issue, even at 1,500fps out of a 10.

Accuracy is minute of 8" plate at 40yrds (best I can do is 7 or 8 out of 10 free hand).

That's been my experience.
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Old January 4, 2016, 02:06 PM   #8
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A 105 will be a .380 ACP bullet. Might not cycle the action. Heavy on the 'might'. .360" is definitely a .38 S&W bullet though.
1.170" is only .001 longer than the max Hodgdon gives. 1 thou will make no difference to anything.
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Old January 4, 2016, 04:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunray View Post
A 105 will be a .380 ACP bullet. Might not cycle the action. Heavy on the 'might'. .360" is definitely a .38 S&W bullet though.
1.170" is only .001 longer than the max Hodgdon gives. 1 thou will make no difference to anything.
Nope, the lee 105swc is a 38 special bullet. Roll crimp grove and all. They cast at 109gr- a mere 6 grains lighter than the ever so common 115gr 9mm. Hodgdon does not list any data for lee cast bullets. I did a bit more digging and settled on an oal of 1.045" for the 105gr swc with charge weights from 3.1-4.1gr hp-38. I do need to get a new seater stem, with mixed brass(mixed neck tension) causes minor deformation of the nose leading to oal variations up to .008". Not terrible but not ideal.
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Old January 4, 2016, 05:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunray View Post
A 105 will be a .380 ACP bullet. Might not cycle the action. Heavy on the 'might'.
For amusement I've loaded 95gr Win FMJ & Badman lead (that I coated), functioned fine.

Of course they were moving 1,400
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Old January 4, 2016, 07:34 PM   #11
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The Lee 105 makes an excellent 9mm bullet, and a really fun one in 357 Sig. You need to water drop them if you want to load them in the Sig because at that sort of screaming velocity they can't be very soft.
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Old January 4, 2016, 10:29 PM   #12
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Elkins- try out powder coating, i have 164gr 357 loads that get 2,000fps from a 16" barrel. Im using a pretty darn soft alloy consisting of ~60% clip on wheel weights and 40% dead soft xray room lead. Excellent accuracy, no barrel leading ever.

I have 20 different loadings ready to test for accuracy and chrony on wednesday. I will report back any interesting data i find relevant. Loading the two lead bullets mentioned as well as 115gr xtreme rn, 124gr xtreme rn and 124gr xtp. Powders are cfe pistol, hp38 and titegroup. I may also load up some ladder tests with bullseye and 700x.
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Old January 6, 2016, 05:59 PM   #13
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Reporting back with my findings from the range.

Beretta m9- 15 yards off hand

115gr xtreme rn best load- 5.6gr cfe pistol .43cc disk 1.135" max-1196 min-1144 ES:52 this load shot great. 10 shot group at 1.7"- about as good as I can ever shoot to be honest

124gr xtreme rn loaded these with titegroup as I have a random pound to burn up the 1500 bullets I got in trade. Not overly thrilled with the accuracy on any loads but my lightest charge of 3.7gr seemed the best with a 2.25" 9 round group(pulled a flier). Loaded to 1.135" min 936 max 990 ES:54

105gr lswc(109gr actual wt) loaded these with hp38, charges ranging from 3.1-4.5gr with an oal of 1.045. 3.1, 3.3 and 3.5gr were extremely accurate, 1" 10 shot groups. 3.1 failed to cycle the slide, 3.3 had three or 4 stovepipe and feeding issues and 3.5gr had one feeding issue. I settled on 4.1gr which gave me a 1.5" 10 shot group. Min-1110 max-1140 ES:30

124gr ltc(127 actual wt)- loaded them to 1.060" with 3.4, 3.8 and 4.2gr titegroup. They all shot terribly and each load had one keyhole and 2-3 others that looked to hit the target at an angle. Depending on load, velocity was from 980-1095fps. Anyone able to chime in on why these won't stabilize? There was no barrel fouling to cause it either.

Also tried hp38 with the 124gr lead. No clear evidence of key holing but accuracy was crap as well. Velocities were in the same range as the titegroup loads, starting at 973 and going up to 1090.

Overall a pretty good day at the range and boy I sure do love the clean holes the lee 105swc cuts in paper. Looks like a hole punch did it.
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Old January 8, 2016, 10:34 AM   #14
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I have both molds. I use both extensively.
Your 124 TL are too soft and undersized. Add some tin/antimony lead-free solder to the mix and size to .357" .358" may give feeding problems (failure to "plunk").
I shoot them through several S&W performance center 9's. If I tumble lube with soft alloy, I get same bad results you got. (Ditto .40 and 10mm).
I plan on powder coating as I just got starting pc, but have been concentrating on rifle bullets lately.
The 105swc performs outstanding. I use it at .358" in my revolvers, and .357" in autos. I seat to forward edge of crimp groove and lightly taper crimp the 9's.
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Old January 8, 2016, 11:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefinmike
124gr ltc(127 actual wt)- loaded them to 1.060" with 3.4, 3.8 and 4.2gr titegroup. They all shot terribly and each load had one keyhole and 2-3 others that looked to hit the target at an angle. Depending on load, velocity was from 980-1095fps.

Also tried hp38 with the 124gr lead. No clear evidence of key holing but accuracy was crap as well. Velocities were in the same range as the titegroup loads, starting at 973 and going up to 1090.

Anyone able to chime in on why these won't stabilize?
Slug the barrel of M9 to see what the groove diameter is. Many reported Beretta 92 barrels oversized at .357"-.358" instead of more typical .355"-.356". Using .356" sized bullet in oversized barrel may not allow the bullet's bearing surface to engage the rifling properly to provide rotational stability in flight which would explain keyholing and poor accuracy.

If your M9 barrel is oversized, then size your bullet larger but until the finished round still fully chambers freely. .357" sizing may work but .358" may not depending on the dimension of the M9 chamber. Also, using the longest working OAL/COL will help reduce high pressure gas leakage which will increase accuracy - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthrea...41#post8864541
Quote:
There was no barrel fouling to cause it either.
That's the beauty of using coated bullets. Even with oversized barrel, high pressure gas won't blow liquefied lube off leaving the bullet naked to keep the barrel from fouling/leading. But coating won't help with inaccuracy/tumbling of bullet/keyholing.
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Old January 8, 2016, 02:46 PM   #16
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Thanks for the additional ideas guys, i suspected undersized bullets. Looking at a few recovered powder coated bullets, i cant clearly make out rifling marks where i can see rifling on recovered plated and xtp bullets. I will cast up a dead soft bullet tonight to slug the barrel and confirm. I just find it odd that the 105gr bullet stabilized just fine? I certainly dont believe my alloy(2 part clip on ww 1 part soft) is too soft, i have no problem driving 357 magnum bullets of the same alloy to 2000fps.

If the bore is a bit big then ill go do an even more extensive test using 358" sized bullets. also wanting to play around with longer oal's. Would it be expedient to find my most accurate powder charge with current oal and then mess around with OAL(going longer) to find the magic combination?
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Old January 8, 2016, 06:27 PM   #17
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Well, it looks like im one of those with a .358 bore. Good news is that i have 1400 105gr bullets already sised to 358". Bad news is the 900 124gr bullets that i already sized to .356". Looking back at the recovered bullets again, they look really funny, they have been actually squeeed down to the lands diameter of .348ish.
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Old January 8, 2016, 06:51 PM   #18
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But will the finished rounds with .358" sized bullets fully chamber in the barrel?

Also, pull a loaded dummy round apart and measure the bullet diameter to see if the bullet is being squished down in size.
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Old January 8, 2016, 07:19 PM   #19
Reefinmike
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Yup, they chamber and bullets pull the same diameter. Magtech(cbc) and tulammo brass will be removed from my inventory, they are thick and have too much neck tension damaging bullet tips during seating.
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Old January 8, 2016, 07:59 PM   #20
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Good to hear .358" rounds will work. Should improve your accuracy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Reefinmike
Bad news is the 900 124gr bullets that i already sized to .356"
You can squish some 124 gr TC bullets in the vise/size to .358" and see if keyholing/tumbling/accuracy improve.
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Old January 8, 2016, 08:20 PM   #21
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They all shot terribly and each load had one keyhole and 2-3 others that looked to hit the target at an angle.
Yup, the Lee TC was my first cast bullet in my CZ. They all went in sideways. Someone turned me on to the Lee 125-RF 38 Special bullet and most of my problems went away, then I switched to the 124-2r and haven't looked back.

You really need to size .002 over bore size, whatever that may be.
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Old January 8, 2016, 08:48 PM   #22
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OP is limited by what the M9 chamber will allow. .002" over groove diameter may be nice but OP's barrel is .358" and finished round with .360" sized bullet won't likely chamber in the M9 barrel.

At least OP's barrel will chamber rounds with .358" sized bullets. My barrels' chambers won't accept anything loaded with larger than .357" sized bullets.
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Old January 9, 2016, 02:01 AM   #23
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Just cast up some more bullets, they drop at .356-.357" depending on the cavity. A nice heavy tumble coat of pc puts them up to .360-.361". The bullets i loaded and pulled coming out at .358 were my 105gr bullets. Loading these 124gr tl bullets in a few different cases(speer, fc and blazer) they all came out of the cases at .3555"- too small grrr.

My thoery- the tl bullets have significantly less bearing surface both causing cases to swage the bullets as well as them not properly engaging the rifling as the .356 sized 105gr bullets(with what looks to be double the bearing surface) seemed to shoot just fine. The 105gr bullets take a lot more force to size than the 124gr bullets. Im considering a m type powder through expander from noe at this moment but im starting to feel as this mold design is a flop- especially with the larger bore in my beretta. I plan on calling lee monday to chat with them and will certainly be looking into 125gr 38 non tl mold designs.
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Old January 9, 2016, 02:08 AM   #24
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I've had very good luck with Lee's 358-125RF (mine casts to 130gr) coated & sized to .356 (my chamber wont accept any larger).
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Old January 9, 2016, 02:21 AM   #25
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Duvel, im going to play around with my mold for a bit but that very well may be the rout i take. Or i may even just stick with one bullet for the caliber(105 swc). Not an exact number but measuring the two bullets with my calipers, the 105gr swc seems to have about .233" of bearing surface while the 124 tumble lube design has only about .085" of bearing surface. I bet its why the large .361 124gr bullets squeeze down to .3555" once seated...
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