Newbie help 9mm reloading

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Oct 21, 2015
Hello everyone!
What a great site this is. I have learned so much and confirmed many of my internet related searches and proved others completely bogus.
I have been lurking and learning for a while and have just officially joined the group and I am now making my final decision/purchases.

I am brand new to reloading. And by brand new, I mean zero hands on experience. I am fairly handy and love to tinker and I understand the process and responsibility of reloading. On a handy/tinker scale, I am a solid 7.

After months of research I have decided on a Lee Classic turret kit. I am nowhere near even considering the possibility of a progressive, even though they can be run as a single stage. I want 4 dies because I will be loading mixed brass and want the crimping die The Lee Pro 1000 which is in my price range only has the three dies and according to the Lee website I should use the forth for mixed brass.

I don't know anyone personally who reloads 9mm. People I have talked to at my local range look down their nose at me and say 9 is too cheap to buy, why would I want to reload that? LOL.

I have found a meetup group that is more than an hour away in Colorado Springs and I will be attending the next meeting on Saturday to try and learn from them. It's really the only place I have found so far that I can talk to real people. The local reload supply stores all push for Dillon and I know they make a great product but I am not to the point I can spend two or three times as much to get started and from what I am learning, it will do the same thing. My local Cabelas is absolutely useless as far as advice and in stock availability goes.

The bellow is taken from right here in your "Library of Reloading Wisdom" and is exactly the info I am looking for.
15. Powder -Again, start with the "Ole standby" for your cartridge (if one exists)

What I need the most help with is powder. I am so lost and I am looking for a good starting point.

To start with, I will be loading 1,00 Barrys 115 Gr. round nose 9mm and I shoot a Glock 19 and 34- both bone stock guns.
I shoot IDPA at my local range once to twice a month and usually shoot once or twice in between. About 300 to 400 rounds a month total. I am not looking for high end crazy high performance. I am looking for a good, reliable powder that will feed through the Lee Auto Disk Powder Measure that comes with the Classic kit. I have been saving my brass from the ammo I have been purchasing from Freedom Munitions- it was once fired before I got it and also from the IDPA shoots when people don't want their brass.

I have one other concern that I hope you can address for me. What is the real likelihood of a primer mishap? Is it something to be overly concerned with if I follow all directions and safety precautions? I know utmost attention to detail is necessary, but does this happen anyway?

Sorry this is so long and took so long to get to the point, but I need help! LOL.

Thank you in advance for any help.
Welcome aboard. The LCT is likely the best value in reloading equipment. I would be pretty surprised if no one you shoot IDPA with reloads. Most I competitive shooters I know are more than willing to share info and help out new guys. You can pick out the reloaders pretty easy, they are the ones picking up brass.

Start talking to them and they might even give you some of their rounds to see if you like their load. The best one I have used is 3.1 of N310 with a Berry's 147 @ 1.160" OAL (3.2-3.2 of N320 or tight group would be #2 and 3 pick with same bullet and OAL).

Not sure what you mean by primer mishap but the best rule to follow is never force anything. If something doesn't feel right, that means something is wrong. Correct the problem before you make things worse.
Where are you located? I'm in Castle Rock and reload a lot of 9mm. I'd be more than willing to meet up and talk reloading!
I'm a fairly new reloader, too, and have learned a LOT from this site as well. I load rifle cartridges on a LCT, and also use it for case prep for everything else. As to your question about a "primer mishap", if you referring to detonation while priming on the press, there's always a possibility. jmorris' advice to never force anything is spot on. I've primed thousands of cases - both small and large - with no problems, but always wear safety glasses and take my time. And definitely STOP if something doesn't feel right!
In regards to powder, I load a ton of 9mm Berrys plated 115 gr for my Glock 34. I have used the following powders with great success:

Winchester 231 / HP 38 (my personal favorite for accuracy, etc)
Power Pistol

Good Luck! I recommend finding someone locally who can assist you in the reloading process. There's a bunch of reloaders out there who would likely be willing to show you the ropes
Welcomed to the madness! I've been reloading about a year and remember what it was like getting started. Get a few manuals with load data and go powder shopping. You may have to use what you can find if you have load data for it. I have used AA#2, Unique, and Red Dot. RD is my go-to powder for target loads. Best wishes! (I use a Lee classic turret, too!)
Welcome aboard! I got started a few years ago and THR is where about 90% of my info originated. Either directly from folks here or from folks here pointing me in the right direction.

The LCT is a great press to start out on and, for the $, is a huge bang for your buck. If I had it to do over again, I would probably lean that way although you will likely find it a little tedious after you get up to speed. Having said that, there are lots of re-loaders who never see any need for anything else.

Personally, I originally bought the pro1000 and ran my brass through it twice. I would deprime, size and reprime on the first go and then, after making sure my primer chute was empty, I would dump them back in the hopper and dump powder on station 1, seat on 2 (which it is pretty hard to put the bullet in place because the press is so small) and crimp on 3. I recently upgraded to a 5 station dillon but I have no reservations about recommending the LCT or the Pro1000 for someone starting out.

There are lots of powders that meter very well through the autodisk but, for me, the absolute best has always been bullseye. You have to be really dilligent and make sure you don't double charge a case (kaboom) but it does very well for 9mm and meters like water. One of my most accurate loads of all time is my own cast 125 grain TC bullet with 3 grains of bullseye. This target was at 15 yards with my Beretta 92 (the bottom target) sorry it is kind of rumpled and torn:(


As far as primer problems, if you don't force anything as stated by others, you are very unlikely to have a problem. I have had one primer detonate on me. It was very anticlimactic aside from scaring the piss out of me. I don't even know what I did but it didn't damage anything, me included. I would never reload without safety glasses either.

Welcome, be safe, and have a lot of fun!


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I prefer HP38/W231 but there are many others usable, I found published data for 26 during the Panic when everybody was frantic for SOMETHING that would work at all.
A friend worked from that list and found some CFE Pistol which he really likes, not just an emergency measure.
Welcome to the world of reloading. I have only been reloading about 8 months now but have run about 4500 rounds through Lee Classic Turret. Honestly if you pay attention to what you are doing. Read a lot before you load. Watch some basic videos you will be fine. Get reloading manuals Lynam, Speer etc... The ABC's of reloading is a decent book to get an overview of the process.

I can run 150-175 rounds an hour and I do everything on the press. I prime and load powder with the Pro auto disk. IMHO unless you are shooting 1000+ rounds a month is hard to justify the Dillion or most progressives for that matter. Also if you ever find you are out growing your Lee you can turn it into a secondary press for small batches and load development which is much easier on the Turret than on progressive. The other option is to sell it and you can get at least 65% out of it as long as it has not been abused.

As far as bullets, powders and primers there are a lot of sources online but you have to buy in bulk to make up for the Hazmat charge. There are tons of places and you need to shop around online to get the best prices and get the powder you want. These days powder is the bottle neck. Look at places like Powder Valley, Wiedners, Grafs, etc...

I have settled on HP-38 AKA Win 231 as my go to pistol powder. It meters well in the Pro Disk on the Lee Turret. It is however hard to find. I have heard a lot of postives abotu BE-86. There is a thread here on THR about it.

If I was buying my setup today I would get the new Lee Powder Drum, I still might get one. :eek: It allows for much finer adjustment than the Pro Disk but with 9mm unless you are pushing max loads the Pro Disk works well. IMHO

As others have said if you are not overly aggressive when something is misaligned you will not have any issues with primers seating. I still recommend safety glasses just in case. I would look at S&B primers. Cabela's has been putting them on sale recently for $20 a 1000. That is about the best deal you can find on primers these days. If you can pick up at a store and save the hazmat fee even better. It is my understanding that the stores will match the website price if the price online is lower. :)

Berrys bullets are fine. They are priced inline with a lot of other plated bullets. I prefer 124gr but you can get 115gr from all these vendors. A few others to consider are:

-RMR He gives a 5% forum discount if you mention THR and he posts here often. Good bullets good pricing and fast shipping. I like their Hardcore Match Round and Flat nose bullets. With the free shipping and discount he is hard to beat.

-Xtreme bullets is another one to look at. They run specials and you have already been using their bullets. They are the same bullets that Freedom Muntions loads.

-Finally Precision Delta is a great option for FMJ bullets at a plated bullet price as long as you buy 2000 at a time. $82 per thousand.

Take your time and be safe and enjoy the new hobby.
Cabela's is having a 25% off sale on Berry's bullets right now, free shipping over $99. They still have 124 grain FP's in stock, as well as 147 grain RN and 115 grain RN. I just put in an order for 1000 147 grain 9mm and 500 180 grain HP's for the 40.
Cabela's is having a 25% off sale on Berry's bullets right now, free shipping over $99. They still have 124 grain FP's in stock, as well as 147 grain RN and 115 grain RN. I just put in an order for 1000 147 grain 9mm and 500 180 grain HP's for the 40.

Good Price !
I did take advantage of this sale at my local Cabelas and with tax I got 1,000 rounds of 115 Gr. round nose for $63.74 plus I had $35.00 in club Points to use. So cost per round was AWESOME.
Thanks for the tip.
I'm in Highlands Ranch but I work anywhere from Aurora to Castle Rock. That offer is so appreciated. I would like that very much.

I have been loading for just over one year, and I remember that feeling of uncertainty.

For me I had to overcome a few barriers mentally: 1) The first case I primed 2)The first bullet I seated 3) The first shot I fired. 4)The first live primer I removed 5) The first time I pulled a bullet from a live round.

These are all things you have to do at some point in time. You just have to trust your preparation and process, and then break through the mental barrier.

Before I primed my first case I practiced assembling dummy round multiple times. I sized, flared, seated used primers, seated bullets and practiced using my Lee FCD. I must have practiced for a couple of weeks, before I finally loaded my first live round.

All my reloading is done on a Lee single stage classic cast press.

Good luck an be safe.
What an awesome site!
Thank you everyone for your great help so far. I am reading and taking notes and looking forward to getting started.
I am expecting delivery of my press and dies on Friday and hope to have it set up by Sunday night to begin to dry run through everything until I am completely confident of how it will all work.
I really like the way Vaalpens did it. I will do something similar.
Great stuff! Thanks again everyone.
I would also recommend Lee's 2nd Edition reloading book, he explains the complete process step by step and explains all the principles of pressure, seating depth, powder charges, ect. I read this book cover to cover before I got started. You can find it on-line for around $20.

As stated above, the apprehension of firing your first round is intense, but if all goes well after that, it becomes a complete feeling of pride and satisfaction.
The 9MM case has a gentle taper. Sometimes it's hard
to get the bullet to be crimped and tight in the case. Try
pushing a loaded cartridge against a wood bench or something.
Make sure the bullet doesn't push into the case. Don't use tremendous
force. Just enough so you know they won't do it in the magazine.
I have just got into reloading and started with 9mm. I am reloading for about half what i was buying ammo for. I started with the Loadmaster but was considering the classic turret i dont think u can go wrong with it. My gun shoots by far best with 124gr so thats what i use. For powder i use Tight group... it meters great but be warned u can double charge a case with this powder it dont feel much of the case so u really need to watch what you are doing if u use a low volume powder. I really like Berry"s bullets they are doing great for my and any small pistol primer i can get my hands on. I like federal the best just because there soft and i use a light hammer spring. Pm me for any question i dont mind to help u get started.
First, you can't buy too many reloading books unless you live in a tiny apartment.

A good single stage or turret press will be a good purchase that you will want to keep for life. IF you later purchase a progressive you will have a need for a single stage.

Handgun powders are an enigma. So many are available and useful for 9 mm. Any speed from Bullseye to 800-X. For the novice I recommend making notes from the manuals, paying attention to the ones marked as the best. Then visit the powder store and see what is available. Pick 2 or 3 and test them. Return for more if needed. After you find a good load shoot most of the pound and you will know if you want more, maybe a 4 or 8 pounder. You need to find what works best for you in your gun. People can give you their opinions, and everyone has at least one. :D

Primers, I have mangled, abused, sliced in two, smashed and desecrated. But I have you to ignite one that wasn't seated in a cartridge. You need to be cautious, but they won't ignite if you look at them wrong.
The Lee Classic Turret is an excellent choice for a press, but I would not buy the kit. I recommend getting a Lee auto drum powder measure. The auto drum is a huge improvement over the auto disc.

buy from here for the best prices.

The only things you need are,

lee classic turret
safety prime system
lee auto disc measure
4 die carbide 9mm set
reloading scale (preferably a small digital one. Nothing super precision is needed for auto pistols)

For 9mm you will not need any trimming or chamfering tools.

Powder will depend entirely on what you can find locally. For example, bullseye is often recomended, but I have not seen a bottle of that in 3 years. If your local sources are like mine your choices will be very limited and you may need to settle on what is in stock. There are at least 2 dozen powders that are perfectly suitable for 9mm. See what you can find locally and ask for a recommendation of the available powders at the store.

As for the likelihood of a primer mishap, it is just about impossible to make a modern primer go off short of hitting one with a hammer, they require impact rather than just crushing force. With the excellent on press primer system of the lee turret press, I can't really imagine how you could possibly have a mishap. Federal primers work significantly better than others in the lee press.
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The only things you need are,

lee classic turret
safety prime system
lee auto disc measure
4 die carbide 9mm set
reloading scale (preferably a small digital one. Nothing super precision is needed for auto pistols)

You forgot the riser so you can use the auto prime and the Pro Auto-Disk powder /lee drum.

Just running the numbers quickly without shopping around the items you list plus the riser on Amazon come to $194.65 + tax. The kit cost $204 yes it comes with the older Pro Auto-Disk powder vs the new drum but if you are not worried about the precision of the digital scale why worry about the precision difference with the Pro Auto-Disk powder? If you are loading for rifle or hot load pistol then maybe the Drum is a big improvement but if you are loading middle of the road loads for IDPA, other gun games or range plinking the Pro disk works now like it has been for years.

I see this advice time and time again and I disagree. You get a beam scale, a Lee manual, Cutter, Lock Stud, Chamfer Tool etc... for $10. How is that not a better deal?
Nothing wrong with the LCT at all, that's a great press to work with. i haven't personally ever owned one, but I have friends that use it, and all have had nothing but very good things to say about it.

As for those who look down their nose at you for loading something as inexpensive as 9mm for factory, well, all I can say is they probably don't understand, nor appreciate the advantages of shooting reloads over factory offerings. And on that note, good quality 9mm can't be had for even half the cost of reloading them. I load JHP's for under $8 per 50 rounds box, and I'm not referring to light target loads either, I'm talking full house Longshot loads. And if we start talking about an expensive self defense load, factory Gold Dots will set you back at least a $1 per round, where as reloading a full throttle Gold Dot can done for .30 per round, or $15 per 50 round box.

Let them snicker, but in the end, you'll be the one who can enjoy shooting at an extreme discount over they're factory offerings.

As far as a primer mishap, I'm not absolutely sure what you're referring too. I've only been reloading for a little over 3 decades, and to date, I've never experienced a single mis-fire with my reloads. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for factory ammunition, to which I've had countless mis-fires with.

And if you're referring to a primer detonation while reloading, it happens, but it's certainly a rare occurrence, but also something I've never experienced. I load on a single stage press, and I've always handled my primers one at a time, so I suppose the likelihood of of an incident is greatly reduced. But I also reload shotgun shells, and in that set up I've used a couple of different priming systems over the years, one such was rather prone to mishaps, though I never experienced one, and I've loaded tens of thousands of shotgun shells. In short though, I think that if you pay attention to detail, wear eye protection, and don't get over zealous while running the press, you shouldn't have much at all to be concerned about.

I don't know what Berry's go for, as I don't use plated bullets. But I do know that Montana Gold jacketed bullets and Zero brand jacketed bullets don't cost an arm and a leg, and they can offer better accuracy than a plated bullet. Zero's run about .10 per bullet, and Montana Gold is a couple cents more. But those prices can be a couple cents less too, it just depends on the bulk quantity you purchase in.

Have fun and welcome to The High Road, as well as the wonderful world of reloading.

I don't know what Berry's go for, as I don't use plated bullets. But I do know that Montana Gold jacketed bullets and Zero brand jacketed bullets don't cost an arm and a leg, and they can offer better accuracy than a plated bullet. Zero's run about .10 per bullet, and Montana Gold is a couple cents more. But those prices can be a couple cents less too, it just depends on the bulk quantity you purchase in.

Have fun and welcome to The High Road, as well as the wonderful world of reloading.

Plated bullets will get you in the .065 to .08 range per round. Depending on how you shoot and hoe much you shoot that can be a big difference.
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