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Old 06-02-2018, 11:24 AM
cds43016 cds43016 is offline
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Default 9 mm Brass

I just got everything I need to load 9mm. I have LEE dies (including the FCD), coated RN(new) 125 grain bullets from SNS Castings and plenty of W231 and CCI500 primers. Iíve collected brass from factory loads (mostly American Eagle) and range pickups. Itís just as cheap to buy 9 mm factory ammo and shoot it than to buy new brass. I shoot at an indoor range and itís hard to just pick up your own brass. When I shot outdoors at the club everyone had their brass marked and the end of the session the brass was sorted and redistributed. Not much was lost and was easy to keep track of the number of reloads. There is no such process at a public indoor range. It seems everyone is on their own. The only plus is that there is plenty of pickup brass especially 9 mm since most people do not reload.

I shoot a Walter PPQ Q5. This is a very accurate gun with factory ammo.

The first step was to set up my dies. For the 9mm I started loading on a LEE Turret press.

I created some dummies and ran into a surprise. The brand of brass makes a difference. I tested the dummies in a Wilson Case Gauge and depending on the brass brand, the dummies would fail. American Eagle (Federal) and Blazer were OK, but brand like Sellier and Bellow would fail as would some head stamps I didnít recognize. The Sellier and Bellow cases were from factory rounds fired in my gun. Is some brass just thicker and not play well with cast bullets or some of the range pickups fired in a gun that is not kind to the brass? I donít know. My sample set was limited but it was enough to set off a red flag.

I thought the LEE FCD was designed to fix this.

Has anyone seen this before and is there brass brands to avoid? I know steel and aluminum cases are out.

Next week Iíll try a few loads. Iím going to start out with 4 grains of W231, FC Cases, SNS 125 grain coated RN (new) coated bullet with an OAL of 1.125. These passed the Wilson Case Gauge test and the Ďplunkí test in the barrel. Has anyone tried a similar combination?

Thanks
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:44 AM
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I just loaded up a few boxes using 3.8 grains of 700X pushing a 115 grain Xtreme plated round nose. These work great in my Springfield 1911 Loaded. I find this a great combination for punching holes in paper.
As far as brass is concerned, of course stay away from steel and aluminum, I've had good luck with just about anything. Oh, I use a Dillon gauge for all my reloads for semi-autos.
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:50 AM
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I started reloading, for the 9mm, back in the late 60's, when I was in the Air Force.

I worked up loads, using military brass, and had some success with it.

I tried the same load, in commercial brass, and the bullets would actually fall into the cases, after resizing.

I was aware that a bullet seating itself deeper, would drastically increase pressure, so I started restricting my 9mm loads for use in Rem-Win brass, which gave me consistent tight seating, and no unwanted bullet set back. (after proper sizing)

The 9mm is HIGH pressure, and with the tiny case, deep seating can result in very bad things happening.

I would NEVER load mixed brass, in the 9mm. Case thickness can vary tremendously...………………...
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:52 AM
1sailor 1sailor is offline
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I have loaded quite a few of their 115gr and 125gr LRN coated bullets. My preferred powder has been Titegroup but I did use W231 years ago with good results. It measured well from my Lee Auto-disc powder dispenser and I never had any complaints with it. This was before coated bullets became popular and I really don't remember any of my favorite loads. Myself, I have never used a case gauge. I do a plunk test on the first couple if it's a new bullet style and check the OAL with a caliper and call it good. You results may vary from mine as my Beretta is not at all picky and would likely be just as happy to load and fire pinecones. The biggest problem I've had with brass has been with Winchester brass. I don't remember using S&B brass in 9mm but do have some in .357 Magnum. It seems to go through the dies a little harder than some but nowhere nearly as bad as Winchester. I have always been happy with SNS Casting's products and shoot thousands of their bullets in 9mm and .357 every year with excellent results. Just to point out, I will never buy Winchester primers anymore either. Other's results may vary but I have had bad luck with Winchester brass and primers. The brass seems to be hard in the dies and the primers almost seem oversized and can take a lot of extra force to seat them properly. I want to add that my results with mixed brass has been the same as MIKLD's results posted below.

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Old 06-02-2018, 11:53 AM
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I had a case gauge, but I put it up somewhere when I realized I'd be shooting my handloads out of my pistols, not a gauge. For all my semi-auto ammo I use the "Plunk Test". IIRC, case gauges/cartridge gauges are minimal dimensions and ammo that doesn't pass the gauge test can still feed, fire, and eject just fine. All my "Just in Case" handloads, 45 ACP and 9mm, are mixed brass, and processing/loading, feeding, and velocities are so close as to be inconsequential.

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Old 06-02-2018, 12:21 PM
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I use 9mm mixed brass and don't bother to separate it. No gauge other than my 6906 barrel on the first few loads when setting up. Never had a bit of problem other than getting the primer crimp out of WCC crimped brass.

All I load is MBC 124 RNs on HP-38 powder. The brass seems to make no difference.
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:49 PM
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I don't load 9mm to very high pressure so I do not bother to sort my brass except for obvious flaws. I avoid AMERC brass, I crush it and ashcan it when I find it. I find it difficult some times to reload S&B brass as, in my experience, it tends to have slightly tight primer pockets and sharper than average primer pocket shoulders, making it more difficult to insert primers.
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Old 06-02-2018, 01:00 PM
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The typical cast bullet diameter for 9X19 is 0.356", which can certainly vary from different sources and batches. Typical jacketed bullet diameter is 0.355". I suppose that some cases will be encountered with slightly thicker case walls, and if combined with the larger cast bullet diameter the result could be a round that exceeds the minimum dimensions, as measured by your gauge (and your gauge was also produced with certain manufacturing tolerances). Doesn't necessarily mean that the round won't feed, chamber, or function properly in your pistol.

If it passes the "plunk test" in your pistol's chamber it should be good to go.

I have loaded 9X19 with cast bullets of 0.357" diameter; they function just fine in my Browning Hi Power but will not function at all in my Smith & Wesson pistols.

Everything involved (case, bullet, pistol, cartridge gauge) was produced to manufacturers' specifications, each of which included some degree of manufacturing tolerances. Certain combinations may display a cumulative effect due to the combined results involved.
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Old 06-02-2018, 01:45 PM
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"If it passes the "plunk test" in your pistol's chamber it should be good to go"

Like said above, if making ammo for one gun, use that gun to chamber check your rounds.
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Old 06-02-2018, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikld View Post
I had a case gauge, but I put it up somewhere when I realized I'd be shooting my handloads out of my pistols, not a gauge.
This. Just shoot the ammo.
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Old 06-02-2018, 03:33 PM
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In 9mm I haven't found that much difference in brass brands. S&B primer pockets do seem a bit tighter and Winchester primers do seem to take a bit more pressure to seat. Load up a batch of those 9s and have fun. That 231 is a fine powder and no I don't separate my brass, can't tell any difference unless the brass is defective. If it passes the plunk test it more than likely will cycle, shoot and eject just fine.
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Old 06-02-2018, 03:46 PM
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As others have said, check the ammunition in your gun, if they "plunk test" in the gun it makes no difference what a gauge tells you.

Second, different brands of brass tend to vary in neck thickness. For some reason 9mm seems to be more pronounced in this regard.

Third, did you check the diameter of your coated bullets, or just take the manufacturers word for it? Some brands of coated bullets are not sized after coating and can often be .002-.003" larger in diameter than the specified diameter!

Reloading is basically a simple process, but learning all the things you need to pay attention to can be far more complicated and cause problems such as you are experiencing.
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Old 06-02-2018, 04:03 PM
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I'm still using Winchester 9mm brass that I've been loading for more than twenty-five years. I have no idea how many times it's been loaded but still works fine. I haven't run across any Winchester with crimped-in primers.

I've used mixed brass, but generally, use only Winchester. Once-fired 9mm brass with the same headstamp is very cheap, may be the cheapest brass available and a good reason not to use mixed range pickup brass.

I load only cast bullets in my 9mm pistols, usually .358" in diameter. Winchester brass seems to be thinner, though I've never done any measuring to verify this. I don't get a mid-length case bulge with Winchester brass using large diameter bullets. That hasn't been the situation with some other brands. The slight bulge hurts nothing but is unsightly.
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Old 06-02-2018, 05:22 PM
Qc Pistolero Qc Pistolero is offline
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S&B are much tighter.But since I don't load anywhere near max,I shoot them anyway.My CZ seems not to make any difference.Of course,if I wouldn't be so lazy,I'd sort my brass out to gain accuracy but since it puts them all in a 4'' circle at 25(handheld)and it is a plinking gun,I'm satisfied with it.
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Old 06-02-2018, 05:48 PM
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The Wilson Pistol Max Gauge is set for Max SAMMI Specifications. It seems that 9mm is all over the board with chamber size with a lot of them bigger. However, a gun with a minimum chamber can still fail to feed a round that passes the Wilson Test.

When I loaded 45ACP for matches I used one brand of brass and always continued to load the same brass over and over. The same with my 357. I always checked them with the chamber gauge as a final quality check. Mostly the problems I found were split necks that were not discovered in initial inspection that were expanded during belling and seating. You can feel the crack when it enters the gauge. When you are shooting, especially in a match, it is not the time to find out that a round wonít feed. I donít shoot matches much anymore, but old habits are hard to break. I can't recall a checked round fail to chamber in my guns.

Initially I think I will start out with a single brand of brass (FC) and stay with those that were fired in my gun to develop my load. I will continue to collect range brass just because, but getting brass for 9mm is relatively cheap even if you must buy factory ammo.

With such wide variations in brass and chambers, Ďplunkingí each loaded round sounds like a good idea especially if using mixed pickup brass unless, of course, your gun is capable of shooting pinecones 😉.
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Old 06-02-2018, 06:33 PM
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Use your guns barrel as the gauge....fitting some guage does not mean it's going to fit your guns chamber. Ditch the gauge it means nothing.
Another truth....the 9mm luger with cast bullets is a stinker to get it all right. I started reloading and casting in 1967...after 50 years I was pretty good at it. The 9mm gave me fits, bullet size, bullet weight, bullet profile, case length , case sizing, shell holder, OAL / bullet seating depth ...everything has to be just right and tested in your gun so it will load into magazine, feed and eject...manually with dummy rounds , before charging the first case with powder....then powder charge and accuracy have to be worked out...I said more than a few curse words at the stinking 9mm Luger. What works great in one pistol another chokes on ...it's maddening the variances in guns , chambers, throats , reloading components...I was trying to load for 4 different 9mm's and none of them agreed on ammo with cast bullets. I finally did work out one load, but it involved a lot of testing.
Cast bullets sized to .357 worked best for me.
But...once you get everything worked out...then you can reload it without too much frustration.
Don't get discouraged, don't give up and remember with the 9mm everything matters...everything!
Gary

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Old 06-02-2018, 06:36 PM
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I toss "Amerc" and "Perfecta". "R-P" is very thin. "S&B" is good brass but the primer pockets are very tight and need to be swaged on first use.

Even though I use carbide dies, I do lube 9mm cases when resizing because of the tapered case.
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Old 06-02-2018, 06:42 PM
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Default Yeah, especially when picking up...

Range brass has to be checked because there is some really awful brass out there. I have a lot of variance in cases and some won't plunk well even after tweaking.

I'm thinking about trimming my 9mm brass ONCE and seeing if that doesn't help. I trim with a Lee chucked into my drill press so it's fast and easy. It wouldn't hurt because there is SO much variation.

Yeah, it's hardly worth it money wise to load 9mm but if I want to keep shooting, money is the main object. And besides, I enjoy shooing my own ammo. Now when you are talking about Magnum pistols and rifle cartridges, THAT saves money.
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Old 06-02-2018, 06:42 PM
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I am not a reloader, so these are observations on my cast-off brass.

I shoot several 9mm types, but see that the brass from my HK swells more, and mainly in the body of the casing. I had to do some research, and found that the stepped chamber of the HK factory barrel causes that. I was told that the same happens in Glock factory barrels. The reason I make the distinction is that I have a third-party threaded barrel that does not have the stepped chamber, and does not exhibit the swelling.

It may be the firearm used for those pickup casings, not the brass.
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:09 PM
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I don't use a case gauge for 9mm, but it certainly wouldn't hurt anything, particularly if you're new to loading the 9mm. The Lee factory crimp die... this has been cussed and discussed on here many times; you might do a search.

I use only cast bullets in 9mm pistols, but have found these don't always work particularly well in H&K guns and Glocks.

Once-fired 9mm brass with the same headstamp is very cheap; no good reason to use mixed range pickup brass with its potential problems.
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:32 PM
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I’m new to 9mm. I’ve loaded 38,357,40 and 45 for years. What’s the best powder for Accurate 125 coated bullets.
By the way I’m getting the ugly loads talked about above. I’m using a Lyman m die. The bell is awful large to prevent lead shaving.
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Old 06-02-2018, 07:39 PM
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My club rents out the range to Military and police several times a year. They don't reload or pick up the brass. I have literally a lifetime of once fired 9mm brass with every headstamp imaginable. I load them all with 124 gr. Lee TC lead bullets and no sorting. Never had an issue and have seen 100% reliability. I don't even own a gauge.
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Old 06-02-2018, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crankyoldlady View Post
I toss "Amerc" and "Perfecta"

I can't argue about the Amerc, but why Perfecta? Perfecta ammunition is manufactured by Fiocchi and basically only differs in the head stamp and packaging. You're throwing away perfectly good brass (money)!
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Old 06-03-2018, 03:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMSgt View Post
I use 9mm mixed brass and don't bother to separate it. No gauge other than my 6906 barrel on the first few loads when setting up. Never had a bit of problem other than getting the primer crimp out of WCC crimped brass.

All I load is MBC 124 RNs on HP-38 powder. The brass seems to make no difference.
Me too. I use HP38 and Xtreme Bullets 124 grain RN. Donít sort my brass. Never had an issue.
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Old 06-03-2018, 05:30 AM
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lee expanders are made for the shorter/thinner jacketed bullets. A factory lee expander next to a custom expander.


A factory lyman m-die/9mm's


The 2 main reasons for reloaded 9mm ammo to fail:
Bullet started/seated crooked from the expander being too small/not expanding deep enough.
Case springback, different lots of brass have different hardness. Add to that work hardening of the brass from multiple reloads. Springback in the web area of the case is more common.

You might want to run a magnet over that s&b brass.
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Old 06-03-2018, 06:30 AM
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Default 9mm uses a taper crimp.....

All a 9mm needs is a taper crimp to take the flare off the case mouth. The 9mm headspaces on the case mouth, so you don't want to distort it too much. the regular flaring die works fine, but if you feel you need it, there is an 'M' die in 9mm I was making some experimental rounds with big bullets and found it handy.
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Old 06-03-2018, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
All a 9mm needs is a taper crimp to take the flare off the case mouth. The 9mm headspaces on the case mouth, so you don't want to distort it too much. the regular flaring die works fine, but if you feel you need it, there is an 'M' die in 9mm I was making some experimental rounds with big bullets and found it handy.
The 9mm headspaces on the case mouth is 1 of the most mis-understood/mis-quoted statements on the innerweb.

A standard 9mm case is .750" long and is .780" in diameter at the case mouth.

A 9mm case trimmed to .750" and a 6/1000th's crimp/.374" & it still headspaces


A 9mm case trimmed to .750" and a 15/1000th's crimp/.365" & it still headspaces. Note that the oal of the is now .748" because the extreme 15/1000th's crimp shrank the case 2/1000th's.


9mm cases are cheap, anyone that reloads them should take their bbl & case gauge if they have 1 and test just how much crimp it takes until the 9mm case will not headspace anymore. If anyone does this they will quit saying "the 9mm headspaces on the case mouth".

The m-die or other custom expanders are not only there to protect the base of the larger/longer bullets (op is using cast/coated bullets). They keep the cases from getting the coating scrapped off of the case. They also aid in starting the bullet strait in the case.

I do not reload jacketed bullets for the 9mm's. I do reload jacketed bullets for the 45acp. A picture of a factory lee 45acp expander next to a lyman m-die for the 45acp. If you look at the lee expander you can clearly see a line/ring on it. That ring was left from the case mouths of the 45acp cases. It only takes +/- 1/4" of that expander to flare the case mouth enough to accept a jacketed bullet. The 9mm lee expander is no different, +/- 1/4"of the expander is all that's used.
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Old 06-03-2018, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alk8944 View Post
I can't argue about the Amerc, but why Perfecta? Perfecta ammunition is manufactured by Fiocchi and basically only differs in the head stamp and packaging. You're throwing away perfectly good brass (money)!
I would respectfully disagree with the Perfecta brand of brass being of good quality, at least in my experience. I toss all the 223 brass I find, the primer flash holes are so off center sometimes, they can't be deprimed easily. Same with some of the pistol ammo, especially 9mm and 45 auto. Same off center flash holes, just not as bad. I discard the rifle brass and give away the others. I only keep 5 headstamps of 9mm brass-all American companies and the all load/shoot just fine.
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Old 06-03-2018, 11:35 AM
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I have never reloaded any Perfecta in .223 but have had no issues at all with Perfecta brass in 9mm, .45acp, or .357 Magnum. As far as I can tell it's good brass.
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Old 06-03-2018, 04:17 PM
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I have found a world of difference in brass weight between brands. 9mm is not the exception. Since the external dimensions are the same, the difference comes about in internal capacity. Less case volume, results in higher pressure with the same amount of powder. Different pressures result in different bullet impacts in the target. I brand sort my brass to minimize the weight differences and have a closer pressure in each cartridge I fire.
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Old 06-03-2018, 05:39 PM
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Forrest r :

I tested the S&B with a magnet. They are brass.

I also tested two cases fired from my gun; one S&B the other a FC. Both before sizing would hang up in my case gauge. Then I ran both through the sizer only and tested them in the gauge again. The FC case slid in and out easily. The S&B still hung up. Both cases were in spec regarding length.

It looks like the S&B cases spring back and maybe the reason the LEE Factory Crimp Die didnít live up to billing when I created the dummies with S&B brass.

In the past I always stayed with one brand of brass that worked and loaded them until they cracked or were lost. Sounds like a good plan since cost wise Iím not saving much. Itís not worth the headache.
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Old 06-03-2018, 11:53 PM
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cds43016...Check this out:

Undersize Reloading Die, 9mm Luger: EGW Gun Parts

I use the Lee 4 die carbide set for my 9's. I also use range brass. This die by EGW is actually made by Lee. This die replaced my decapping die.
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Old 06-04-2018, 02:40 PM
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I first read about the EGW undersize carbide sizing dies at General Reloading - Brian Enos's Forums... Maku mozo! by competitive shooters using mixed range pickup brass.

The undersize die will compensate for thinner cases or older cases that have more brass spring back.

I use a Lyman type "M" die expander with my Lee undersize die to ensure straight inline bullet seating. Meaning the "M" die expander will keep the bullet from tilting during seating.

The Lee factory crimp die with the carbide ring in its base is a "cheat" for people who do not trim their brass. Meaning the longer cases will bulge below the crimp and the carbide ring will size this bulge.

If you are using cast bullets and the Lee FCD you should measure case diameter after bullet seating and again after using the Lee FCD. This is to check to see if the Lee FCD is reducing the cast bullet diameter that can effect accuracy.

Just remember you will have different thickness cases and its the thicker cases that will reduce the cast bullet diameter when using the Lee FCD.

Below a case wasp waisted case with very good bullet grip, and the reason behind the undersized dies and also showing the proper amount of taper crimp.


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Old 06-04-2018, 03:18 PM
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I went to the range today. Mostly I shot factory ammo that I bought on-line in bulk. This stuff is dirt cheap compared to 357 Mag. However, I did load just 5 rounds with 4 grains of W231, FC brass, CCI 500 primers and 125 grain RN (new) coated bullets from SNS Castings at an OAL of 1.125. I was mainly interested that they would go bang and cycle. They did both. Itís a very mild shooting load and has the potential to be fairly accurate. At 10 yards they shot in a group a little over an inch from a nervous two-handed free-standing hold. Not very scientific, comprehensive, or definitive but certainly encouraging after my initial concerns. I will test more at 25 yards to get a better picture when I get a chance. Right now, Iím building my brass stockpile from the factory loads and getting used to my new gun.

One advantage over loading a 9mm over 357 is that I can see the charge in the case before seating the bullet. With the 357 I must rely on a powder check die. I will, however, continue to use a powder check die with the 9 mm. But it is reassuring to have a second powder check step.
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Old 06-04-2018, 09:17 PM
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9mm brass is just all over the place. I have pretty much abandon fireign brass like s&b, aguila, gfl, etc & just pick up us made brass. I load for 1/2 dozen diff 9mm, from glock to match grade 1911. I have no issues using rcbs dies & no lfcd. I pretty much only run coated lead sized 0.357" in all my guns.
Make sure your sizing die is touching the shell platee, no gap. Make sure your expander is flaring the cases enough to get the bullet started clean. Any lead shaving only adds to the problem of the round fitting correctly.
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Old 06-04-2018, 09:38 PM
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Default The gauge doesn't measure one thing....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikld View Post
I had a case gauge, but I put it up somewhere when I realized I'd be shooting my handloads out of my pistols, not a gauge. For all my semi-auto ammo I use the "Plunk Test". IIRC, case gauges/cartridge gauges are minimal dimensions and ammo that doesn't pass the gauge test can still feed, fire, and eject just fine. All my "Just in Case" handloads, 45 ACP and 9mm, are mixed brass, and processing/loading, feeding, and velocities are so close as to be inconsequential.
For cartridge fit, the gauge works fine. But I've been surprised when the cartridge OAL ran the bullet into the rifling and won't go into battery completely, and maybe even get stuck hard requiring some mallet tapping to get out, and maybe even pulling the bullet.

For being so 'simple', perfecting 9mm reloads gave me a fit, especially considering that I have at least 6 guns that take 9mm ammo. Some are more forgiving than others.

I thought there was something wrong with the chamber on my Shield until I realized that it was the pickiest on cartridge length.

The best I've done is have one reject out of a hundred rounds, but using mixed brass is really looking for problems. I've decided that I'm going to trim all of my 9mm cases ONCE to at least get the length consistent even if I can't do anything about case wall thickness.
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