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9mm lead loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by bloominonion, Feb 5, 2011.

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  1. bloominonion

    bloominonion Member

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    I was trying to figure out a little more about loading lead bullets in 9mm.

    I have loaded up some 115gr round nose lead bullets I picked up at the gun show with 4.0,4.2,&4.5 gr of Hodgdon Universal. The 4.0 and 4.2 gr rounds wouldn't recoil the slide, and the 4.5 worked with no real problems...except leading up my barrel....

    Am I just loading too hot for a non-gas checked round or is the lead just too soft? Is there a cheap way to check the hardness of the lead to see if that's the problem?

    Thanks for any input.
     
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Closer to loading to light that too hot. What bullets? Do they list a BHN for them?

    Leading at the chamber or the whole barrel?

    Can you scratch the bullet wiith a finger nail? etc

    Need more data.

    Welcome to THR
     
  3. noylj

    noylj Member

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    1) What is the groove diameter of your barrel? Slug your barrel to find out. Note: 9x19 barrels will be found with groove diameters of 0.3550 to 0.3610". Manufacturers' have not worried about making match barrels.
    2) What is the diameter of the bullets?
    3) Is 2) at least 0.001" larger than 1)?
    4) If the loads won't cycle your slide, pressure is only a problem if it is so low that your bullets, if they are too small in diameter, can't obdurate to fill the bore.
     
  4. murf

    murf Member

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    what type of weapon? how much leading (a little is expected)? where is the leading (in front of the throat or at the end of the barrel)?

    murf
     
  5. bloominonion

    bloominonion Member

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    I checked, and the bullets are all at .356, and i had a lightly deformed fired bullet I measured, and it measures .356 also on the outside of the rifling.

    The gun is a Beretta 92FS, and it is leading throughout the barrel length. After 30 rounds, the rifling became quite indistinct.
     
  6. jcwit

    jcwit member

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    I've always had trouble with 9mm leading, and no problems in other calibers. Maybe we'll both get an answer here. Buddy of mine claims its because 9mm is a high pressure caliber.
     
  7. murf

    murf Member

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    what walkalong said. can you scratch the bullet with your fingernail? if the bullet is too hard, and the velocity too low, the bullet won't fit the barrel and you will get leading. did the 4.0 and 4.2 loads lead up the barrel, too?

    murf
     
  8. cheygriz

    cheygriz member

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    In my experience, lead and the 9MM don't go together very well unless you're loading super light target loads, or casting with something like linotype. :banghead:
     
  9. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    I used to shoot commercial cast bullets (Magnus, Valient, etc.) in 9MM using W-231 or Unique with no appreciable leading. I have a box of 500 Magnus 115 Gr I have been meaning to load.
     
  10. bloominonion

    bloominonion Member

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    Just checked, and the lead can be scratched by fingernail, but it takes some effort to get a visible scratch in it. No real easy deep scratching.

    not sure if the leading was occurring with the lower loads. I was shooting them all in a row, just testing for accuracy, and noticed leading in the barrel afterwards.

    According to Hodgdon's onlie reloading data, the load range for a 115gn LRN is 4.0 to 4.5gn max load.
     
  11. 454PB

    454PB Member

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    Most leading problems with cast bullets are caused by using undersized bullets. Since jacketed bullets are usually .355", the commercial bullets sold for 9mm are usually .356".

    I own four 9mm's, and though they all vary a little in groove diameter, I size my cast bullets to .357 and have no leading problems.
     
  12. ChuckS1

    ChuckS1 Member

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    My 2 cents is that you give the barrel a good cleaning to remove as much copper fouling as you can to reduce leading. Any copper residue will contribute to leading.
     
  13. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I like rcmodel's fingernail hardness testing method. :D I cannot put any nail marks on 18 BHN Missouri Bullets. I can put a very slight mark on 12 BHN Missouri Bullets if I try really hard but still no gouging/indent of the surface. You may have a softer lead bullet than the typical "commercial" hard cast bullets of 21-24 BHN and certainly softer than 18 BHN. My guess is that it is probably closer to 12 BHN.

    I would not recommend that low of hardness for 115 gr 9mm loads as even the starting charge would cause full length leading. In my pistols, I have to load 115 gr bullet high to near max load data to properly cycle the slides. For 9mm lead bullets, I usually recommend the heavier 125 gr bullet as I do not need to push the bullet as fast to reliably cycle the slides.

    When I first tested 18 BHN 125 gr 9mm Missouri Bullets at high-near max loads, I got full length leading in my Lone Wolf barrels. I got very minimal leading of chamber end with start-mid range load data using W231/HP38. Universal is fairly close to the burn rate of W231/HP38.

    As to removing leading, using an old bore brush wrapped with copper scrubber strand (like Chore Boy) does a wonderful job. For my minimal leading/fouling at the chamber end, copper scrubber wrapped bore brush dipped in Hoppes #9 solvent and few strokes will remove all leading/fouling.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2011
  14. jeepmor

    jeepmor Member

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    Missouri bullets website has an excellent explanation of hardness and it's contribution to leading. I suggest you go look it up. I'd comment, but my memory isn't that good and I'd steer you incorrectly.

    Hope this helps.

    jeepmor
     
  15. bloominonion

    bloominonion Member

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    Yeah, I just ended up using my bore snake with Hoppes #9 on it and it pulled majority of the leading out, so I will try that to see if I can get the rest of the lead out.

    So am I just kinda screwed on these bullets? Is there anything I can do with em?
     
  16. 454PB

    454PB Member

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    The few times that I've had severe leading, I "slug" the barrel to remove it. Lube the barrel with some gun oil, drop a soft slug in the chamber, then drive the slug through with a brass rod. Not only does this remove the visible lead, it gives you a slug to measure the barrel groove diameter.

    In your case, since you obviously already have some soft slugs (the bullets you're using), put one of them in a vice and squeeze it a little to expand it for slugging. It doesn't take much, you only want to expand it a few thousandths.

    As for being "kinda screwed", try boosting your velocity and pressure. Sometimes a higher pressure kick in the butt will obturate an undersize bullet enough to seal the bore, prevent leading, and increase accuracy.
     
  17. bloominonion

    bloominonion Member

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    cool, I'll give it a shot in a bit.
     
  18. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Missouri Bullet also sells a neat tool to remove all the barrel leading.
     
  19. bloominonion

    bloominonion Member

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    I was just thinking about it, would trying to put gas checks on these possibly fix them as well? I have a Lyman 450 Lubri-sizer that I could try to get running again.

    If so, does anyone have a good link for learning how to swage/install gas checks on lead bullets? I haven't actually cast any bullets or swaged them yet as I only have the molds for a .357/.38.
     
  20. ustate

    ustate Member

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    If the bullets weren't meant to have gas checks on them you won't be able to put them on what you have. You may have to just play around with powder charge amounts to find what doesn't lead the barrel up for you. You could also coat them with liquid alox or rooster jacket and that will help lower the lead buildup if the bullets are too soft.

    If you still have lead in the barrel you can't get out try using copper ChoreBoys. They're copper scrub pads usually used for cleaning dishes etc. Take some strands from one, wrap it around your barrel brush and a few passes should clear it right out.
     
  21. LightningMan

    LightningMan Member

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    I've had good luck with 125 gr. RNL Sulters Choice bullets using AA#5 & Ramshot Zip. I load them at about the start grains according to manuals, and they function fine in my Sig 226, with good accuracy too. I'm happy with them. LM
     
  22. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    you're bullets are probably too soft. I had similar problem with 124 grn lead bullets (about half wheel weight, half pure lead mix) I was pushing with red dot at about 1000 fps. I had heavy leading in the barrel, bullets were key-holing and accuracy was pitiful. I switched to a slower powder, 3n37, and had a little better results, but problems persisted. I went with straight wheel weights and 3n37 and I got even better results. a 1/3 linotype 2/3 wheel weight mix over 3n37 at 1000fps seems to be working fine.
     
  23. murf

    murf Member

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    if you can scratch the bullet with fingernail, you have a soft bullet. your load is running over 1000fps. sounds like you have the same problem as greyling. suggest a harder bullet. regardless, let us know what you decide and what happens.

    murf
     
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