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newbie to reloading (and forum), Need help 9mm

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by raddiver, Aug 11, 2010.

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  1. raddiver

    raddiver Member

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    First off, let me say hi and thanks in advance for the advice.

    So as an anniversary gift from the better half, she got me a reloading kit. This is completely new to me and i have ALOT to learn.

    With that said, I'm trying to reload my first batch.
    Here is my equipment . . . .
    Manuals:
    Lyman manual (came with the turret press)
    and a Hornady manual.

    Powder: Alliant Bullseye
    Bullets: 115g Hornady JHP XTP
    Cases: New Winchester 9mm
    Primers: CCI 500
    Dies: Lyman carbide 9mm, RCBS carbide .380 (for the wife and her anniversary present)
    Scales: they Lyman 1000 that came with the kit, and RCBS chargemaster combo (story on this shortly)

    Now the Lyman manual says 3.5g to 4.8 with coal of 1.090
    Hornady states 3.9 to 4.6 with coal of 1.075

    Now where the issues start to come in. Everything ive read states i should start low and work my way up. I get that. So ive created 5 rounds in 4 weights. 3.5, 3.7, 3.9, 4.1
    The oals vary from 1.0985(3.7 load) to 1.107 (throughout the range)
    The cases are 1/2 - 5/8's full (eyeballing) Once the bullet goes in, i dont think this leaves much space.

    The lyman scale drifts like crazy and i cant get a decent read. I used this scale for the first 2 weights. But being anal about not blowing my hand off, i went out today and purchased the rcbs chargemaster. The last 2 weights were charged with the new scale.

    I created a 3.5 charged round with the rcbs, and then weighed that round with the lyman scale round for comparison, but then it hit me that there are differences in case size, and even bullet weight for that matter. So i dont think that's entirely accurate. (but i could be wrong and that's why im here)


    I've read conflicting messages on crimp for the 9mm. I've heard use it, don't use it, somewhere in between. Very confusing.
    So none of the 20 i made have crimps in them. The case mouth measure .377 to .3785

    The other thing that confuses me is NONE of the winchester cases are the same size. The manuals state that the case should be .754 but the majority are in the .745 range +/- .04.


    So with all this scatterbrained information (sorry, again new, and most of this has my brain tripping on itself) do you see anything that jumps out as being glaringly wrong? I plan on taking this out to try tomorrow, but ill be honest, im scared to death to take that first trigger pull.


    Any and all thoughts, advice, warnings, ridicule, etc is welcome.

    Thanks
    Raddiver.
     
  2. evan price

    evan price Member

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    First, I have never, ever, trimmed or even measured pistol brass for length. In general, it does not stretch like rifle brass does. I would not worry about the case length, and just worry about loaded round OAL.

    Second- crimp. In 9mm (and most auto pistols) the cartridge headspaces on the case mouth. That means you don't want a strong crimp like a revolver. In general you want to only remove the flare you put in the case in the expander die to make the "funnel" shape to seat the bullet without scraping the sides.
    Typically a 9mm bullet is .356" OD. Then add the brass wall thickness (generally .010") x2 for two sides, that gives you .376" nominal OD at the case mouth. A couple thousandths more than that is fine. Too much crimp can cause headspace issues. So a good 9mm crimp will be .376"-.378" OR around there.

    Third- OAL is important but the manual you will note uses a specific style and type of bullet, for example, a Winchester 115-grain round nose or a Speer 124-grain Gold Dot HP.
    That's because the OAL tested with the powder charge is for THAT bullet. I know that Hodgdon tests a variety of similar bullets and only publishes the "worst case" data, so that you will never be dangerous following their lead, but by substituting a different bullet at same OAL you will be better off.

    Fourth- Weights- you CAN NOT accurately determine powder amount by weighing loaded rounds. It is common to have a grain or two variance in case or bullet weights. Let's say you have a heavy bullet & case and no powder in one round, and a light bullet and case with a double charge of powder in another. The two might be pretty much the same weight, but with the relatively small powder weight of pistol ammo, you have no idea what's right.

    Typically you want to start 10% under the max weight listed. You will probably find the starting low-charges will be too low to reliably cycle most "service" grade semi-auto pistols. They have strong recoil springs to deal with NATO-spec ammo which is towards the hot end of the loading. The minimum weight in a manual is usually a "Do not go less than that or you will stick a bullet in the barrel" figure.

    My personal experience with 9mm and fast powders like B/E is they like to be loaded up towards the high end to get best results. I am willing to bet you will find happiness around 4.2-4.5 grains of B/E with the 115gr bullets.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2010
  3. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    You should crimp all pistol ammo that has been flared with the expanding die. Not to secure the bullet, but to remove the flare. Actually the word "Crimp" is misleading when it comes to pistol cartridges that headspace on the case mouth. The crimp die should really be called the "flare Removal" die. Failure to remove the flare can result in feeding issues, always remove the flare.
     
  4. raddiver

    raddiver Member

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    Thanks for the detailed replies.
    Much appreciated and it gives me some insight there.

    Nothing jumping out as a red flag in my loads though?
     
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep. Here is a pic of a .38 Super with a light taper crimp. 9MM should look the same.

    Pick an O.A.L. and use it for all the test loads. If it does not fed well, tweak the O.A.L. and the charge weight if needed.

    You want to find an O.A.L. that works in your gun. Don't worry what O.A.L. some manual says. Someone here should be able to tell you what O.A.L. factory loaded 115 Gr XTP's are loaded at. Use that.

    No. Looks like you are on the right track. Going by data on Alliant's website, it looks like you are well under max.

    A simple RCBS 505 or Redding R2 scale is all you need, and will last forever (or until you drop it)

    Lots of happy Chargemaster owners out there though. Having two scales is as bad as having two watches.
     
  6. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

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    Be sure that you do not have a fan or an AC blowing on or near your scale. Those scales are so sensitive that just breathing heavily on them will change your readings. And it sounds like you have read your manuals which is a great way to start. Also, if in doubt just stop and ask one of the guys. They're always happy to help someone new.
    Welcome to a great hobby. Have fun, go slow and be safe.
    Qajaq59
     
  7. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    Welcome aboard !!

    Some thoughts for you....
    • 9mm and 380 use a "taper crimp" as said before to remove the belling. Apply just enough to get the cartridge to drop all the way into a naked barrel and no more.

    [​IMG]

    • Revolvers mainly use a "roll crimp", autos mostly use the "tamper crimp", as per above

    • Clean the mechanical scale's pivot points with alcohol and reassemble. I think with zero air drafts and no vibration you'll find that you have an accurate scale.

    • Weight ONLY the powder by its lonesome, then dump it into the case.

    • The object is to create chamber pressure. Amount of powder and the space (volume) inside the case are the main contributors to chamber pressure. Notice that the loads with longer OALs are calling for more powder. That's the difference in the 2 loads you quoted.

    [​IMG]

    Given the same bullet, a longer OAL creates more volume under the bullet.

    • It's most always safer to go with a longer OAL since you'll be lowering the chamber pressure.

    • The .754 dimension is the maximum case length. Most all 9mm cases are shorter than that. Lengths of .745 are very common and Winchester brass is excellent stuff.

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010
  8. raddiver

    raddiver Member

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    Glad i found this forum. You guys rock.

    RFW - Thanks. Im a visual person and that is a huge help. Now if i could get headspace figured out . . . Hint Hint. :)

    I just got back from the range.
    Out of the 20 rounds i had:
    0 Failure to feeds
    0 failure to ejects
    1 failure to fire.

    I suspect the failure to fire might have had something to do with previous round possibly not pushing the slide back far enough to properly engage the firing pin. But there was a dent in the primer so it did strike.

    I waited a few minutes put the round back in the magazine chambered it with a slingshot. Fired just fine after that.

    Now that the initial nervousness has subsided a bit. I really think im going to enjoy this. That's a good feeling when you hit the target with something you made.

    :)

    Thanks for the help all. Im sure ill be back with more later.
     
  9. noylj

    noylj Member

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    First reloaded rounds

    COL (OAL) is determined by you for your gun. The COL (OAL) in the reloading manuals is a guideline and is frequently a minimum that works. Idea is that the farther you seat the bullet into the case, the higher the pressure will be for a given powder charge.
    Before you ever load a round, disassemble your gun and take the barrel (or cylinder) with you to the bench. This is your loaded round gauge.
    You want to load one or two dummy rounds (no powder or primer) to verify die settings and that reloaded rounds will function in your gun.
    Seat the bullet to the max COL (OAL) for the cartridge (1.169" for 9x19) and apply just enough "taper" crimp so the case slides into your barrel.
    The long seated bullet will probably not fully chamber. Keep seating the bullet in small increments until the dummy round fully seats in the barrel and the head of the case is just below the hood of the barrel (or until the round chambers in the cylinder easily and the bullet does not stick out beyond the cylinder).
    Now, see if the dummy rounds fit the magazine. If not, continue seating the bullet until it fits in the magazine.
    Now, apply a taper crimp to the round. This will give you a case diameter of 0.380-0.377". Press the dummy rounds against the edge of your workbench and apply thumb pressure in an attempt to push the bullet into the case. There should be no movement with moderate pressure.
    Measure the COL (OAL) for each dummy.
    Now, reassemble your pistol, load your dummy round(s) in your magazine, and cycle your gun to be sure that the rounds cycle and chamber. Verify that the COL (OAL) has not changed
    That is your COL (OAL) for your gun with that bullet. Label your dummy rounds (bullet specification, COL, crimp).
    Now, Load 10 rounds with the starting load and take them to the range to check functioning before you load up a bunch. Now, you may decide to load up a series (use 0.3gn or so—0.2 gn is too close) and go to the range, but you may have to return home and pull a lot of bullets if they don't load in you gun (granted, using the dummy rounds should eliminate this possibility, but you know how things go).
    With the ChargeMaster, you have the perfect piece of equipment for working up loads. Recommendation would be to NOT turn the unit off so it is always thermally stable and ready to go.
    Do not ever shake the balance to drain the powder. Use the drain with the unit off (remove the hopper when the powder stops draining out and brush out the insides) and then turn unit on and dispense say 99gn of powder to empty the trickler tube. Turn off and brush out any remaining powder in the unit. Close the drain hole, place unit back in position, and turn on.
    I would love to build a shelf unit so I could drain without moving the unit.
    For the 9x19, resized cases that are 0.750-0.754" in length (if you can even find any) will almost certainly be the most accurate. I know some shooters who separate these out for their match ammunition and use the rest for practice.
     
  10. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    When an FTF fires on a 2nd shot, be sure to check the seating depth of the primer.
    If your primer isn't fully seated the first strike will push it into place, the 2nd strike will fire it.

    A properly seated primer will be a couple of thousands below flush.
     
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep. Failure to fire was probably a high primer. If it fired on the second try, no doubt it was a high primer.

    Link to a thread with pics showing what noylj explained in his post concerning O.A.L.. Pics are always helpful to me.
     
  12. bds

    bds Member

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    +1. If you have a case gauge, even better. If you have several pistols of same caliber, measure and use the tightest chamber as your gauge (Glocks will have looser chamber than most).
     
  13. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    Yup, nothing wrong with the action or slide, just a primer that wasn't seated deep enough.
     
  14. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    The guys above covered the bases.

    re:
    Add your case length + bullet length (to the nearest thousandth). Then subtract your OAL. This number is your seating depth.

    You can use your dig caliper to measure the 'empty' space above the powder after you charge the case. Make sure the seating depth is LESS than this number (the empty space above your powder.) You DO NOT want to compress the powder.

    It is a good feeling isn't it!!!
     
  15. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    "Head space" involves several things, but to the 9x19 cartridge in this thread it is simply the means to locate the position of the cartridge case. When the 9x19 round goes into the chamber it's forward movement is stopped by the end of the chamber. Then when the slide closes from the rear, the firing pin is able to make an indent in the primer rather than knock the cartridge further into the chamber. So the distance between the locked-up slide face and the end of the chamber calls for a cartridge case that is only a few thousandths of an inch shorter in order to position the cartridge correctly to allow a deep enough strike on the primer to effect ignition.

    So we say the 9x19 "head spaces" on the end of the chamber because that's what stops its forward movement. That's why we use the "taper crimp", so that the mouth of the case is fully exposed to make that contact. If the case were "roll crimped" the blunt mouth of the case wouldn't be there to hit on the end of the chamber.

    Follow?
     
  16. raddiver

    raddiver Member

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    WOW.
    Ya know. I've learned more from you guys in 2 days than i have in 3 weeks of research.
    When i first got the press home home i was asking myself if this was really a smart idea.
    I consider myself pretty technical. Electronics engineering degree, multiple computer certs, i build and fly rc planes, etc. So all of these have engineering aspects to them. But for some reason, this felt extremely daunting.

    In short order you guys have removed that daunting feeling off the table. So again thank you. /bow


    I will take the primer seating a it more seriously now and double check each one as it comes out.
    As i pulled them off the press i would set them on the table to make sure they were flush, but as i can see now from your posts, this isnt enough.

    As to the headspace deal. . . again im a visual learner so the pics are indeed worth a 1000 words. I get it now.

    So again, i thank you ALL for the welcome, and the words of wisdom. Much appreciated.
    Hopefully i can give back to the community soon.

    -Rad
     
  17. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

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    You already did in a way. You asked a question and gave everyone enough details that they could give you good answers. And I'm sure those answers helped more then just you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  18. TH3180

    TH3180 Member

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    Heck yeah. I want to start reloading this fall. I will be reloading 9mm. I have been watching this thread like a stocker.
     
  19. RustyFN

    RustyFN Member

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    It looks like the others covered things very good as usual. All I can add is welcome to the forum and reloading.
     
  20. Dewey 68

    Dewey 68 Member

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    Getting the primers fully seated was/is my biggest issue I've run across with reloading. I too am a new reloader. I use a Lee Pro 1000. If I keep the press clean and I keep a good rhythm, my bullets are pretty consistent. I still get a few high primers, but I weigh each round on an electronic scale to see how close they are to each other. I place them primer side down and if they aren't sitting flat, I seat the primers a little deeper.

    I think anyone with reasonable intelligence that pays attention to the details shouldn't have any problems producing safe, reliable rounds. It is a rush to shoot those first reloads isn't it?
     
  21. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Welcome to a VERY addictive hobby! We'll move you into casting later.... :D
     
  22. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

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    Yup it sure is. But just wait until you drop an 8 point buck or a 250 lb hog with one of them. Then you'll really have a RUSH!!! LOL
     
  23. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Member

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    It's all part of the service.

    It has a "feel" to it. After a couple of thousand rounds it will come to you, and you'll just be checking the ones that don't "feel right". It's simply about reloading enough to become familiar with your machine. You'll soon realize that the sounds and feel of your press are just as important as any measurement you can make.

    Take it easy. You haven't gotten our bill yet! :D
     
  24. bullseye308

    bullseye308 Member

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    Once you get this all nailed down, we can "convince" you that casting is good for you too. Than you will be up all hours of the night and all your days off hunting wheel weights & tin solder, mining the berms, hunting cool cast iron ingot molds at yard sales, craigslisting turkey fryers, locating bee farmers for beeswax to make your own lube, ....... It goes on & on. :evil: You are on a slippery slope my friend, think twice before you continue.

    Your "anniversary gift from the better half" could well end up costing her more then she initilally thought, but it will definitely pay off, especially in the .380. Oh, yeah, you will get to shoot a lot more for the same money, and if you can buy bullets in bulk, pick up range brass, & get your powders 'n primers locally, you can save even more.

    I started loading 9mm with Bullseye powder, CCI 500's, & Zero 115 FMJ bullets. I fired about 40,000 of those before I started casting. I've only fired about 15,000 cast bullets so far, but it is definitely worth it. I now load cast in all my handgun rounds for ~$40.00/1000.
    Where are you located, maybe someone is close enough to help you in person?
    That is your mission, should you accept it. This message will not self destruct.
     
  25. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    You might check on getting a Lee Autoprime tool. These let you "feel" the primer bottom out. They are inexpensive and alot faster than using the press priming tool.
     
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