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Choosing a 9mm mold

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Armored farmer, Aug 15, 2021.

  1. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I cast all my bullets for handguns except 9mm and .380. I just never shot them as much. After having trouble finding ammo lately, I'm ready to cast them too.
    All my molds are lee. I want to stick with them.
    I'm about ready to flip a coin to choose between the lee offerings. 124gr TC tumble lube, 125gr round nose, round nose tumble lube.....?
    I do use the tumble lube process on all my bullets. I dont think the tumble lube mold is necessary, but its ok..
    I have a TC (truncated cone) mold for my .45acp. I like it fine.
    I will be using the bullets mostly for practice/ paper/gongs.

    In addition to the 9mm, I will likely get a .380 mold as well.
    What do you guys use?
     
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  2. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    I’ve had terrible luck with the 9mm and 10mm TL molds.
    Great success with the conventional lube groove designs.
    The pressures and heat associated with the 9mm and .40/10mm are too much for the narrow base driving bands, and the TL molds tend to run to the under sized on tolerance so they can be used without sizing.
    The closest I’ve come is powder-coating the bullets and sizing them oversized @0.357”.

    I can vouch for the 120gr TCFN, 125gr RN, and 125gr RFN. All three give excellent accuracy.
    I’ve given away most of my TL molds. Some were so bad, they were given back!!!

    I’ve worn out two 6-cavity 148 TLWC and a 158gr SWC-TL molds, so I’m not biased against Lee (Still using 148 and 158gr for PPC competition in .38spl).

    Be sure to get the 6-cavity molds too. MUCH faster!

    I do like the 90gr RFNTL mold for the .380. It operates at lower pressure and velocities. I size them to .356” after powder coating. Over 3.0gr of HP38 they shoot great from my Beretta M85 and S&W Bodyguard. But, 7yds is a long shot with those pistols. Accuracy is relative. 6” at 25yds with a match 9mm, might as well be shooting a shotgun.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
  3. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

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    like GooseGestapo, I've not had much success with the TL molds. I recently started casting with a Lee 356-125, and it works fine. I just bought some 45-45-10 from White Label, and its much easier to work with than the Alox stuff. Still have leading but its not horrible, and the bullets actually dry. With proper TL bullets it may be better, but I don't get good casting with them either.

    I have used some bullets with the Lee TC/TL 9mm mold, and they work Okay. The downside is that to get them to chamber, you have to load very short OAL. I cant remember exactly, but I think around 1.12 or so. If thats not an issue for you, should be fine. They feed fine in the three firearms I tried: 1911, CZ75, Colt SMG. I like the the round nose more though, and accuracy has been as good as anything else. Slightly better than FMJ in the 1911, but equal in the CZ/SMG.

    Forgot to add. The 125gr truncated cone bullets leaded badly. I got them from a guy who cast them too soft, so I figured I'd try. I loaded them fairly light, probably about 1100fps. Leading was bad after only a few bullets. Maybe the alloy, maybe the small bands, but probably a combination of the two.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
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  4. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I was going to get the double cavity, but I hear good things about the 6hole molds.


    I had a lee 356-125 2R in my cart, but they're sold out now.
     
  5. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    For 380 acp, I have had good luck using the Lee 105 grain SWC. I’ve used them with lube in the grease groove and tumble lubed.

    But, my Beretta M84 feeds anything I load in it. I do not think I have tried the SWC bullets in other 380’s.

    For 9mm, I have a 124 or 125 grain RN from Lee.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2021
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  6. KYregular

    KYregular Member

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    This. I can attest to it, powder coated. MP molds Screenshot (60).png
     
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  7. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    I love casting and do it at least weekly. I buy rmr bullets because they are the best option in my opinion. Know your limits and when something else is a better choice.
     
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  8. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    So far I have only regular lube groove molds. I did pirchase one TL mold to see if I can get it to work well. I like the option of powder coat, wax lube, or tumble lube as I see fit. A standard lube groove bullet will be able to work with all three.

    Removing the lube groove will ultimately make the bullet shorter and thetefore more volume for propellant. Choosing a proper load will negate the need for this extra space though.
     
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  9. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I use the Lee 124gr TL mold and have for many years, on my third mold for that bullet. It works great powder coated for me in all the firearms I've used them in over the years.
     

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  10. Jack Ryan

    Jack Ryan Member

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    Get the 6 hole, tumble lube RN
     
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  11. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    I bought the Lee 95 grain rn. Have yet to try it out but it is identical to the commercial bullets am about out of. It will be for 380. I'm looking for a 124 grain or for 9mm.
     
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  12. mdi

    mdi Member

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    I got away from tumble lubing mainly because I don't like brown bullet noses. I have a Lee 358-125-RF mold and I normally cast with my Mystery Metal (about 12-12 BHN) for my 4, 9mm pistols. Also works quite well in my 3, 38 Specials and my one 357 Mag.. One of my pistols prefers a bit harder alloy, so I use my home made Lyman #2 (15 BHN). I have had no feeding problems in any pistol (Masada, Ruger, FMX, ot Tokerev), is accurate (especially in my 38s), when sized correctly, no leading...
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2021
  13. WeekendReloader

    WeekendReloader Member

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    LEE 356-120-TC shoots great in my 9mm.
    Still working up a load for the 356-125-2R.
    The 380 LEE molds (105 RN and 95 FN) shoot good in 380 and good for a really light powder puff load in 9mm.
    I powder coat all of these and size to 0.357"
     
  14. greyling22

    greyling22 Member

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    I had poor results with lee's truncated cone tumble lube mold. My gun just likes a fat bullet. I too now use the 6 cavity 358-125-RF mold with great success. It drops them in the .359-360 range. I use them as cast in my 357's, and I size them down to .358 for my 9mm.
    I also found that with that fat bullet the case was swaging the bullet down and giving me leading and poor accuracy. I changed out the 9mm expander plug in my 9mm powder die for a 38 s&w long plug and it fixed my issues, and it was a heck of a lot cheaper than a lyman m die. Didn't use up another station too.......
     
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  15. AzShooter1

    AzShooter1 Member

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    When I was casting for my 9 I used the 6 cavity tumble lube 125 grain mold. It lasted me a very long time and I could size them for the 9 and my .38.
     
  16. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    For several years I've using Lee's TL356-124-TC. Recently I tried MBC's Hi-Tek 124 RN and like them a lot. So the next time I go looking for new mold I'm going to get 356-125-2R.
     
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  17. chamokaneman

    chamokaneman Member

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    I have the Lee 124 grain tumble lube mold. The range scrap I use comes out more like 132 grains and bigger, don't remember off hand the diameter but I powder coat them and size down to .357. They make good range blasters with HP38 in a couple different of Taurus G's at around 1.085.
     
  18. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    I have used the Lee TL356-12-TC for years and the TL356-124-2R just in the last few years. The former I have fired about 4 5 gallon buckets of tumble lubed bullets and one bucket of powder coated through 7 9mm’s with 0 issues once I got the sizing right for one oddball pistol. The latter I’ve only fired about 8000 so far through 4 9mm’s and all have been powder coated. Using 2 2 cavity molds and casting a few hundred pounds in the fall and winter keeps me busy then I powder coat once it warms up enough to do it on the porch.

    I have run these through 3 Glock 9mm’s, 2 Rugers, a Baretta 92, 2 Springfield Range Officers, and an 8” AR-9. Sized properly with the correct hardness at around 900-1100 FPS I get no leading and perform minimal cleaning.

    This may or may not be helpful, but a 2 cavity can keep you out of the house longer if you enjoy the alone time, or a 6 cavity can get you done and back in sooner if you have a small bladder.
     
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  19. barnfrog

    barnfrog Member

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    I have four Lee bullet molds in the bin of estate sale loot I picked up. When I get home Sunday night I'll check to see if any are 9mm. I'm selling the stuff cheap, so if price makes any difference perhaps this could factor into your decision.
     
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  20. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I use Magma molds for 9mm but that’s what I built my casting machine around and only hand pour things I don’t shoot in much volume.

    If I can, I always try and find someone that will sell, trade or give me a couple of samples before I buy a new mold. That doesn’t guarantee the mold you get will drop the same bullets but if it’s “way off” what a given firearm will work with, you’ll know to pick something else.

    That said, Lee loads are dirt cheap, in normal times you could add a new one to an order that had free shipping and get it cheaper than I could send you one I no longer use for nothing except shipping.
     
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  21. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  22. blue32

    blue32 Member

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    Lee 356-120TC has worked pretty well for me but I wish I went with the 4 cav. I'm not a fan of the beveled base so used it primarily for PC. As a 120 gr, there's a lot of data for 115 gr and 124 gr that can be tweaked to work within reason. It casts large enough to size to .358"
     
  23. bluejay75

    bluejay75 Member

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    Lee molds work just fine but I would suggest getting the MP mold the gentleman above recommended. In these times where price gouging has driven up the price of a Lee mold, you can get a MP mold for almost the same price and it will serve you a lifetime. I would suggest NOT getting the 8 cavity and going with the 6 cavity brass solid mold in 357 diameter. 38 Special can be shot as cast+powder coat or in 9mm coated and sized.
     
  24. barnfrog

    barnfrog Member

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    All four are .358 diameter.
     
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  25. gnappi

    gnappi Member

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    All of my Lee molds are 6 cavity 40's and I recommend the 6 cavity molds highly. In the long run I doubt they'll be as durable as my .356's which are steel 4 cavity Lyman. I currently only cast 9 (145 gr.) bullets for the .357 Sig and back in the day I did cast a lot for the 9mm (125 gr. RN) but haven't since the late 80's or so. But I think RN's work better in most 9's better than other bullet profiles.

    Since you're tumble lubing I suspect you don't size? If you do size you may want to consider powder coating, there's not enough money to make me go to tumble or wax lube.
     
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