Loading the 9x18 Makarov


Dec 27, 2002
Callahan, Florida
I load many different calibers but have never loaded the 9x18. The surplus ammo was always cheap enough I did not bother. I was recently asked if I could load the 9x18. Having never loaded them, here lies the question. Will a 9x19 die set work ? Of course using brass and not the steel cases. My thinking is yes as they are both 9mm and the case on the the 9x18 is shorter so it should not be no problem in resizing the case. I'm not one to reinvent the wheel so throwing this out there before even trying. I really don't shoot the Makarov enough to justify buying another set of dies.
I don't think there was ever much actual military surplus ammo imported for the Makarov. The vast majority was military specification (or equivalent) product newly manufactured for the commercial market. This should still be available in the future from Fiocchi, S&B, PPU and other non-Russian euro sources as long as it's all not going to Ukraine.
To elaborate on what Jim Watson said, it is easy to make 9x18 brass from 9x19P brass. Get the Lee 9x18 Makarov case length gauge (LEE 90684), and, placing the gauge in a drill, trim the 1mm from the 9x19 brass. I like to use once-fired 9x19 brass or you will need to open up the case mouth of the 9x19 brass. Lee also makes another way too, the Quick trim die (Lee Precision 90181). I like the 9x19 brass to start with because it's a bit stronger than normal 9x18 Makarov brass, and I like to load the 9x18 somewhere between 380 auto and 9x19 pressures (closer to 380, but still too hot to post). And, make sure you use, 9x18 makarov bullets and dies....
I think you could trim a 9x19 to length & use a 9x19 expander until a .364 projo fit. A 9x19 is tapered, a 9x18 is not. Use 380 acp data.
Thanks for all the reply's . I was just curious and you satisfied my curiosity. I will pass on loading it, just do not shoot it enough for the cost and effort involved. Still have a fair amount of stash for it. :)
There is a certain DUDE from Florida that frequently speaks of this round.....Surprised he hasn't shown up yet.....;)
Been busy. Two weeks of on-call. Besides, y’all got this. :)
Lee dies work great for the Mak and they’re cheap. Cut down 9mmLuger brass works well but it’s a little bit of work. I use plated lead 95gr RFN and 2.8gr of TiteGroup with Remington 1-1/2 primers. Works in all my Maks but you might want to start at 2.5gr and work up until you get reliable function.
Will work but why not use 9mm MAK data? It's not like there is no data out there for 9X18.
Missouri Bullet Company has cast bullets the correct size.
Happy with my Lee dies for 9X18.
When using cut-down 9x19 cases, start at the lowest end of 9x18 or 9x17 data, whichever is lower for the chosen bullet. As has been pointed out, the 9x19 case is considerably thicker and tapered so there's less space and its possible for pressure to build pretty quickly compared to the same loads in a thinner Mak or ACP case. That's not written in stone, just a good rule of thumb. If fudging projectiles and using tables for a bullet other than what's being loaded, definitely start low and work up to reliable function. Then worry about accuracy and velocity. A lot of these little guns are surplus from countries where they didn't get rid of stuff until it was worn out and didn't spend a lot of money building things right to begin with. Be careful.
I've loaded a bunch of 9x18 Mak... first cartridge I reloaded.

1) I tried cutting down 9x19 brass. Not (IMO) worth the trouble. Several thousandths small in diameter, so had to flare the heck out of it, as well as trim off a mm. And, if memory serves, the bottom of the case was ever so slightly different; can't remember for sure, but think it took a different shell holder? Anyways, I gave up on that project quick enough. Bought S&B (my FEG liked it pretty well), and reloaded the brass

2) the standard .380ACP loads *seem* to be a close starting point - but I would look up WELL ESTABLISHED recipes for 9x18 from WELL KNOWN, REPUTABLE sources (such as powder manufacturer websites, and reloading manuals.

I'm not very brave when it comes to using explosive propellents in a mechanism that I'll be operating right near my face...

3) I ran a set of inexpensive Lee dies for Mak - since the cartridges a few thousands different diameter then everything else, I didn't bother trying to make something else work

For what it's worth, I found that my particular gun would work pretty well with a Berry's bullet over as little as 3.2 gr. of Bullseye. Or, that's what I think I remember - as they say, "your mileage may vary; ask your doctor if this reloading advice is right for you; void where prohibited..."

Seriously, do your homework before trying that load, I haven't messed with those for a number of years, and am out of town where I can't check my records
For SD ammunition, I've see some good expansion examples of Hornady XTP online. Maybe you can pull existing surplus bullets and have some nice SD loads. If you resized 9x19 brass in the past but now prefer once-fired commercial 9x18 brass. Attached is load data for information sake.


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Again, cut down 9x19 Luger brass will typically make very usable 9x18 Mak brass.

The problem is sorting the brass when you get home. All of your brass will be marked "Luger", therefore you'll need to convert to a time consuming length-based method of sorting, unless you also combine the trimming process with a color marking step, such as using Dykem machinist dye.
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Again, cut down 9x19 Luger brass will typically make very usable 9x18 Mak brass.

The problem is sorting the brass when you get home. All of your brass will be marked "Luger", therefore you'll need to convert to a time consuming length-based method of sorting, unless you also combine the trimming process with a color marking step, such as using Dykem machinist dye.
I make it real simple in two ways: first, I leave my cut down Luger->Mak brass where it falls. I load it hot enough that I really don’t want it back. Second, I only cut down Luger brass that I would never load as Luger for my guns. That means bothersome head stamps, split rims, belled heads - used up, wore out, would’ve been scrapped if it couldn’t be cut down for just one last use brass. Makes it really easy to leave behind.
It takes me all of an hour for 25 rounds to go from dirty no good 9x19mm Luger to nice and shiny ready to load 9x18mm Makarov. Add 1/2 an hour for 25 more and another hour for 100 more. Once I get in a groove it goes faster. I’m fine with that considering how little I shoot Makarovs.
My son got a great deal on a Makarov pistol because the previous owner had problems with his ".380" pistol. Mostly accuracy. Blah accuracy.

I found it sorta worked with .380 ammo, until I cleared the gun and a .380 cartridge slipped the extractor and stayed in the firing chamber when it shudda been ejected. So nyet on that comrade.
9x18mm Mak ammo in Mak pistol, no .380 unless it's zombie apocalypse and that's all I have or nada.
It’s a fairly easy cartridge to load. I also recommend buying brass cased ammo and keeping the brass. I counted on losing 10-20% each outing until I figured out a brass catcher arrangement. I’ve bought starline brass before and it’s good, I just fret losing it too much. A few months ago there was some Norma brass cased ammo floating around.
I have done the trimming 9x19 thing too. During the recent unpleasantness with supplies, I trimmed up a bunch. I stick to headstamps that I have in Makarov but I don’t load in Luger. Typically S&B, Hornady, GFL. I only load win and blazer 9x19 to keep from mixing them up. Also a big red marker on the head of the trimmed cases. Even then, they stay as a backup supply.

That said, I came into a lot of steel cased Wolf ammo, so I’m on hiatus from Makarov loading for a while. I’d rather use my primers for 38 Special.