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Old 08-04-2017, 02:58 PM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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Default 156 gr Reloads for 9mm

I did a brief search without success, so let me toss it out and see what I can find from you guys...

I've loaded straight wall revolver cases and various rifle cases for years, but the only significant loading of semi-auto pistols I've done was for the 45 ACP. I recently inherited a Model 39-2 from my Dad and am wondering about reloading for it. Specifically, I am wondering whether I could use my longtime favorite bullet for 38/357, the Ideal 357156 GC (sized properly of course) as the projectile for these reloads? Has anyone here used this particular bullet to make rounds for this pistol? Any and all personal experiences with it welcomed.

TIA ~ Froggie
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Old 08-04-2017, 03:33 PM
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I've used a SWC in a Beretta, but it was a H&G design, #12B (I think), a 140 grain plainbase. Surprisingly, the bullet fed just fine as I recall and accuracy was decent. However, I've found a Beretta will feed almost anything, where other 9mms won't. I regularly shoot a 150 grain roundnose cast from Lyman's #358212 in three pistols and this bullet is about as heavy as I want to go.

I'll assume the mould design you mention is the same as Lyman #358156. I think this would be at the outermost limit for bullet weight in the 9mm. If you can get it to feed okay by playing with seating depth, it might be worth pursuing. If it feeds, size the bullet to the largest diameter that will chamber without difficulty, probably .358", but S&W bores are often on the tight side and .357" might be fine. I would also try the bullet with and without the gas check and shoot what's most accurate.

You're pretty much on you own as to load data. There's little room for error with a bullet this heavy that takes up a lot of powder space in the 9mm. Be very cautious using Internet data with such bullets.

Others on this forum with greater experience can probably provide better advice. Good luck-
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Old 08-04-2017, 03:39 PM
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Personally I think a 156 bullet is to heavy for a 9mm. The 9mm relies on speed to perform optimally. I'm not that fond of a 147gr and consider the 124gr to the best weight in the 9mm. Can you do what you are suggesting possibly but I don't think you'll find much load data and do be careful if you experiment.

Last edited by andy52; 08-04-2017 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 08-04-2017, 04:16 PM
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andy52- You mention a good point, however my primary concern is accuracy. I've used many different cast bullet designs in 9mm pistols since the late '80s. Weights have ranged from just over 100 grains to around 160 grains. Often (not always), the heavier bullets are a little more accurate. Additionally, with my Beretta, heavier bullets bring the point of impact to where it should be rather than shooting low with 125 grain bullets.

I guess there's a difference between a 150 grain bullet at 900 fps and a 125 grain bullet moving a couple of hundred fps faster, but I'm not sure how many of us can realize that difference. For those that can, the lighter bullet might be the best choice.
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Old 08-04-2017, 04:20 PM
Green Frog Green Frog is offline
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Thanks rockquarry and andy52, this was exactly the information I needed (although I'll admit it wasn't what I wanted. ) I had just about decided not to reload for this pistol anyway, but then I was starting to weaken. There is a bullet mould in Dad's basement labeled 9mm, so I may look into it sometime, but I've just about decided it will be more productive to just go to Wally World and buy bulk packs of Winchester ball ammo that feeds and functions well. Thanks again for your input guys!

Froggie
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Old 08-04-2017, 05:04 PM
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I think if you are thinking 156 gain you are getting fin to 38 super loading territory.

Remember that when the model 39 came out, it was designed around the 115 grain round, the common 9mm load for the time.

If you are thinking on a heavy bullet, you might consider the 147 grain. With the model 39, the magazine is going to limit the length of you loads along with a heavy, long bullettaking up more case volume and driving up pressures.
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Old 08-04-2017, 05:24 PM
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I've run 160gr TC & 165gr Xtreme RN in the 9mm. Super soft shooting at 9mm minor. I just didn't care for the recoil impulse, almost too slow a slide speed for gun games, so I have moved off & gone to 147gr.
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Old 08-04-2017, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy52 View Post
Personally I think a 156 bullet is to heavy for a 9mm. The 9mm relies on speed to perform optimally. I'm not that fond of a 147gr and consider the 124gr to the best weight in the 9mm. Can you do what you are suggesting possibly but I don't think you'll find much load data and do be careful if you experiment.
For target work, nothing wrong with the 147-150gr. They are stable, accurate & soft shooting @ 875fps, about like a 38sp. I prefer 124gr +P for a SD load but would also be fine with 147gr+P, like 38sp +P.
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Old 08-04-2017, 07:14 PM
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For my 9mms I'm more concerned with terminal ballistics and minute of bad guy accuracy, now for my revolvers different story. Almost all my serious target shooting is with revolvers and I expect close to one ragged hole off the bench at 20 yds.
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Old 08-04-2017, 07:40 PM
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I was able to find a decent amount of data online for the Lyman 358311 in 9mm. It's a round nose 158 grain bullet. I could get reasonable accuracy but not great. I pulled a couple of bullets and the case was swaging down the bullets to .354 or less. The 9mm case isn't designed for bullets that long. They can work but I prefer to stick closer to 140 to 147.
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Old 08-04-2017, 07:49 PM
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I've used oversize (.358") bullets in Winchester brass and never had a problem with long bullets being sized down when seated. I sure wouldn't use mixed brass when loading long, heavy bullets.

I've never tried #358311 in the 9mm, but it may be the most popular heavy 9mm bullet.
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Old 08-04-2017, 10:56 PM
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Default I've got an experiment ongoing.....

....to get to where I can ballistic test 158 gr SWC and have tried bullets as heavy as 165 grains. It's problematic, as you have predicted, but my biggest problem is lack of data.
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Old 08-04-2017, 11:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
....to get to where I can ballistic test 158 gr SWC and have tried bullets as heavy as 165 grains. It's problematic, as you have predicted, but my biggest problem is lack of data.
When i started testing 160-165gr in the 9mm, i took my starting data for 147gr & dropped that 5% & worked up. Only looking for 790fps, easily done. Still, didnt give me the feel i wanted shooting fast so back to 147gr @ 875fps.
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Old 08-05-2017, 01:30 AM
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I reload the small 9mm case........
did the 115 and 124gr bullets then tried the 135gr and then moved
up to the large Speer 147 gr. TMJ that really filled the case up
and left minimum room for all my powders.

I was thinking of maybe going to the 165 gr bullet for giggles but
I picked up some Berry 147 gr RN bullets and had a rude awakening.
I was no longer able to use Unique or Red Dot due to the lost case volume.
I have yet to load this bullet for test but it looks like only a ball
type powder is going to work with this super long bullet for high fps.

I was able to get 4.5 grs of Unique in the TMJ at 1.13" OAL but with the longer
Berry RN bullet that amount shrunk down to 3.8 C grains, with a OAL of 1.13".

Good luck with your loading ideas.

Last edited by Nevada Ed; 08-05-2017 at 01:35 AM.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
I reload the small 9mm case........
did the 115 and 124gr bullets then tried the 135gr and then moved
up to the large Speer 147 gr. TMJ that really filled the case up
and left minimum room for all my powders.

I was thinking of maybe going to the 165 gr bullet for giggles but
I picked up some Berry 147 gr RN bullets and had a rude awakening.
I was no longer able to use Unique or Red Dot due to the lost case volume.
I have yet to load this bullet for test but it looks like only a ball
type powder is going to work with this super long bullet for high fps.

I was able to get 4.5 grs of Unique in the TMJ at 1.13" OAL but with the longer
Berry RN bullet that amount shrunk down to 3.8 C grains, with a OAL of 1.13".

Good luck with your loading ideas.
Don't fear powder compression. In minor loads it isnt scary. I have run RD with 147gr even 165gr, loaded out to 1.150". The new imr Red is a bit slower & not quite as fluffy, so maybe a better fit w/ longer bullets. Unique will actually do fine under mild compression too.
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:25 AM
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Default I used the

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
I reload the small 9mm case........
did the 115 and 124gr bullets then tried the 135gr and then moved
up to the large Speer 147 gr. TMJ that really filled the case up
and left minimum room for all my powders.

I was thinking of maybe going to the 165 gr bullet for giggles but
I picked up some Berry 147 gr RN bullets and had a rude awakening.
I was no longer able to use Unique or Red Dot due to the lost case volume.
I have yet to load this bullet for test but it looks like only a ball
type powder is going to work with this super long bullet for high fps.

I was able to get 4.5 grs of Unique in the TMJ at 1.13" OAL but with the longer
Berry RN bullet that amount shrunk down to 3.8 C grains, with a OAL of 1.13".

Good luck with your loading ideas.
I used the Zero 165 gr. RN. Excellent quality bullet, but it didn't suit my purposes. They were way too hard and data is almost nonexistent. When I find data, it usually doesn't indicate anywhere near max load and velocity, and I need that edge to get the performance that I 'theorized' that I was need. Someone chided me for turning a 9mm into a .38 special, but I believe with good data I can top that easily.

I used Unique, Acc #7 and Power Pistol. Vihtavuori has a powder that does great, but it's pricey. All of these powders do well, but again, without good data, not good enough. I eventually went down to a 158 gr SWCHP but I'm having some seating problems with those.
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:18 PM
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Thanks for the info guys....

rwsmith;
that 158gr lead swc/hp should be .358 dia. +/- but soft lead.

Maybe you can squeeze it down to .356 for it to fit the 9mm cases a little better ?

Good luck.
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Old 08-06-2017, 05:52 PM
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I certainly can be done but what makes me nervous is that the usefull powerband of the 9 is quite narrow and will spike rapidly.Only thing I can say is if it'd be me I'd start way low and increase charges very little at a time;certainly not more than 0.2gr at a time.
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Old 08-06-2017, 07:36 PM
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Default I'll check that.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
Thanks for the info guys....

rwsmith;
that 158gr lead swc/hp should be .358 dia. +/- but soft lead.

Maybe you can squeeze it down to .356 for it to fit the 9mm cases a little better ?

Good luck.
Thanks, I'll check that. It was ordered as a 9mm bullet so I assumed (big mistake) that it was .356' dia. You may have solved my problem. See what you can learn here just from interaction?
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Old 08-06-2017, 07:39 PM
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Default True, very true.....

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I certainly can be done but what makes me nervous is that the usefull powerband of the 9 is quite narrow and will spike rapidly.Only thing I can say is if it'd be me I'd start way low and increase charges very little at a time;certainly not more than 0.2gr at a time.
Qc
Yeah, getting a kaboom is the biggest danger. If they don't perform as well as I thought, no problem, but I don't want to blow up a gun trying to MAKE it work.
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Old 08-06-2017, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
Personally I think a 156 bullet is to heavy for a 9mm. The 9mm relies on speed to perform optimally. I'm not that fond of a 147gr and consider the 124gr to the best weight in the 9mm.
I agree completely and only load 124/125 grain bullets. Currently working on a couple 1000 free NOS Speer 125 Gr JSP bullets so I am sort of 'forced' to use them but they shoot great out of my CZ.

Last edited by Mistered; 08-06-2017 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 08-07-2017, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
I used the Zero 165 gr. RN. Excellent quality bullet, but it didn't suit my purposes. They were way too hard and data is almost nonexistent. When I find data, it usually doesn't indicate anywhere near max load and velocity, and I need that edge to get the performance that I 'theorized' that I was need. Someone chided me for turning a 9mm into a .38 special, but I believe with good data I can top that easily.

I used Unique, Acc #7 and Power Pistol. Vihtavuori has a powder that does great, but it's pricey. All of these powders do well, but again, without good data, not good enough. I eventually went down to a 158 gr SWCHP but I'm having some seating problems with those.
You can get 160gr bulles to 900fps pretty easily in 5" guns. Making it the equal of any 38sp heavy bullet load. For SD loads, i think a good 147gr jhp at 1000fps is slightly better than a 38sp running 158gr lswchp & 900fps, but just a bit, better bullet tech.
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Old 08-07-2017, 01:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qc Pistolero View Post
I certainly can be done but what makes me nervous is that the usefull powerband of the 9 is quite narrow and will spike rapidly.Only thing I can say is if it'd be me I'd start way low and increase charges very little at a time;certainly not more than 0.2gr at a time.
Qc
If working 147gr & up with fast powders in 9mm, you better be working in 1/10gr increments.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:53 AM
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+1 on post #22 on bullet speeds.

A 147gr TMJ out of my C9 3.5" with Unique maxed out at 971fps
and the factory Federal 147 HST did only 962fps.

In my 5", the 147gr TMJ with Unique did 1020fps.
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Old 08-07-2017, 01:59 PM
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Actually I have loaded the 357156 GC in 9 mm and shot it in a WWII German war surplus P-38. Sized .357. Years ago 1970's
I experimented with seating depth until it would feed , fire and function. Taper crimped on the top band and worked up a load of 4.5 grains of Unique. It would work in the P-38's war time manufacture tolerance chamber and generous throat.
Heavy bullets weren't the rage then....it's recoil was stouter but accuracy wasn't bad. The 357156 was for a 357 magnum , I purchased another mould for the 9 mm , a Lyman #356402 , 121 grain truncated cone design that was popular back then.
Gary
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