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  #1  
Old 08-15-2021, 08:07 PM
wvsurgshooter wvsurgshooter is offline
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Default 9 mm reloading and gage

I have reloaded a bunch of 9 mm brass using 231 Winchester powder 4.1 grain, small pistol Remington primers, with 9 mm 124 grain Berry's round nose, OAL 1.162 on average and yet after crimping, many will not fit in the 9 mm Wilson gage. Some do and yet some do not and I do not understand why when I am using the same technique. Is it due to the fact that the brass I pick up is varied and some are Federal, some RC, etc?
The one on the left seems to have a very subtle bulge and the one on the right fits perfectly in the Wilson gage.
Would appreciate any suggestions
Thank you
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Old 08-15-2021, 08:22 PM
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Mixed brass is often a headache and it will never shoot better than brass that is all the same. But it will work. Is your brass fully sized? When you crimp, do a minimal crimp only, just enough so that the bullet won't move and no more. You could be slightly distorting the brass in the crimping step.

These two checks should solve your problem. If you have a micrometer (not a caliper) check the diameter of your loaded cartridge at the base and neck and compare with SAAMI specs.
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Old 08-15-2021, 08:22 PM
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Check your reloading manual, I seem to recall the COL for 9mm being 1.120. I use a Lee factory crimp die, as it seems to size the finished cartridge closer to the bottom of the case.

Last edited by wantmoresmiths; 08-15-2021 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 08-15-2021, 08:25 PM
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Yes. Some fired brass will have a bulge that is too low on the case to be sized out due to the shell holder blocking the sizing die from going down further. Any reason you're leaving them so long?

It may still work fine in your gun. It could have an equally sloppy chamber.

Last edited by glenwolde; 08-15-2021 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 08-15-2021, 08:51 PM
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First you may want to check on the cases and sizing. Take a cross section of the different headstamp cases and size them. Then try the sized cases in the gauge.

If they all gauge at that point, it would seem to eliminate the cases or sizing.

You are nearing the maximum length for the cartridge. You may want to try a COAL length of about 1.150" and see if that fits the gauge.

Check the case mouth diameters of some of the cartridges. Differing case length will have different crimp results, so you may need to adjust the crimp to the shorter cases if you are seeing length differences.
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:00 PM
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A couple of notes from almost 50 years of loading the 9mm.

1. The case is tapered and while a carbide die will generally get the case sized for full functioning. Sometimes not and then a standard hardened steel die is a better choice (case lubed of course). The standard die will be cut to mimic the taper and properly size the case to match the factory made case much better than a carbide die with its straight sides.

2. Always taper crimp as if you try to roll crimp on a bullet you can:

a. Loose your headspace

b. you may end up with a bulge below the neck when crimping into a plated or jacketed bullet without a cannelure. This will quite probably interfere with proper chambering.

3. Between European, Asian, South American and American made 9mm rounds, cases can be all over the map regarding their dimensions. Sort your cases and use only those with proven reloadability.
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:00 PM
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Thank you all. Glenwolde, thank you for pointing out the OAL issue. It is interesting to see from the Lyman's 50th reloading edition that the OAL for the 9 mm Luger is 1.169 but specifically for the 124 gr jacketed HP bullet being placed, it is 1.060. Yet the 1.060 seems very short in terms of seating the bullet so I kept it longer. Perhaps the bullet should be seated deeper?
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:00 PM
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A couple of notes from almost 50 years of loading the 9mm.

1. The case is tapered and while a carbide die will generally get the case sized for full functioning. Sometimes not and then a standard hardened steel die is a better choice (case lubed of course). The standard die will be cut to mimic the taper and properly size the case to match the factory made case much better than a carbide die with its straight sides. This should get rid of any bulge at the base of the case.

2. Always taper crimp as if you try to roll crimp on a bullet you can:

a. Loose your headspace

b. you may end up with a bulge below the neck when crimping into a plated or jacketed bullet without a cannelure. This will quite probably interfere with proper chambering.

3. Between European, Asian, South American and American made 9mm rounds, cases can be all over the map regarding their dimensions. Sort your cases and use only those with proven reloadability.
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Last edited by Scharfschuetzer; 08-15-2021 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:10 PM
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I too used mixed brass when reloading Berry's 124gr RN with 5.5g of PowerPistol, also with an OAL 1.160, which is the OAL specified by Berry's for the 124gr RN. I use the Hornady 3 die set, however, I only seat the bullet with the Hornady seat & crimp die, then I run each round thru a Lee Factory Crimp die, which applies a slight crimp and applies another slight resizing of the case. I also sometimes have completed rounds that show the slight bulge around the upper case area where the bullet is seated, this is most visible on substandard soft brass cases, such as Blazer and several others. After running all rounds thru the Lee Factory Crimp die, they all pass testing thru the 9mm gage.

I haven't had any issues using Berry's OAL of 1.160 with the 124gr RN, which I use in 3 different 9mm handguns.

Berry's does list an OAL of 1.130 for their 115gr RN plated bullets.

I reload 357 mag, 9mm, 44 mag and 45ACP and use the Lee Factory Crimp die for each caliber, I think it works great!
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:11 PM
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Humm. I've never had a problem loading any head-stamp case in my plain old RCBS carbide resizing die. Never used a case gauge, just the barrel chamber. Use a mic or caliper to find out what is wrong.
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:34 PM
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with 9 mm 124 grain Berry's round nose, OAL 1.162 on average and yet after crimping, ..........................

Why do people want to CRIMP the 9mm !!!

Where in the manuals does it say to CRIMP !!

OK.............
Rant over.
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:38 PM
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You said you are using 1.162" as an OAL while as you know the max OAL is 1.169". If you are off just a little you might be loading longer than you should. IMO an OAL of only 1.060 is on the short side, you might want to seat the bullet a little deeper. In your picture the bullet looks too have too much length. Look at the bullet and seat it to the middle of the flat on the side of the bullet, probably 1.100". You will probably be fine there, give it a try and see. Check accuracy and adjust the length if necessary.

I hope I explained where to seat the bullet well enough.
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:43 PM
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To the OP: What are you trying to accomplish in loading your 9mm that long and that light?

Typical OAL for a round-nosed 115-124gr plated or jacketed bullet is more like 1.150". Your powder @ 4.1gr is under the minimum for everything Hodgdons lists for WIN 231 for 115 & 124gr except a LRN @ 1.100".

Cheers!

P.S. As indicated by many the LEE FCD is a real asset loading plated bullets in 9mm. I use them for many calibers including the typical revolver calibers. When it goes through FCD it almost always gauges without a problem.

Last edited by STORMINORMAN; 08-15-2021 at 09:52 PM. Reason: Add a P.S.
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Old 08-15-2021, 10:31 PM
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I agree, you are loading light. For range ammo I usually charge 4.4gr W231 under a 124gr bullet in the 9mm. I think it's a good load and accurate in my pistols.
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Old 08-15-2021, 10:44 PM
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Some observations: First, one poster recommended steel instead of carbide dies. It's true, they are shaped to match the tapered 9mm cartridge. Another poster had no trouble with his old RCBS carbide dies.

Take a close look at the carbide dies. Some dies have a short carbide ring that performs limited sizing. Others have two rings of different diameters. My ancient set of RCBS dies (1985-ish) has a full length carbide ring. It sizes the full tapered 9mm case like steel dies do. The die set cost a fortune back in the day; probably because of the long carbide ring. Same goes for carbide 30 Carbine dies. One would think the carbide is gold. So... Have a look inside the dies.

Another thought: Is that bulge symmetrical all around the case? Or is it bulging out one side? If the latter, you have runout problems. If the bullet is off-axis enough, the cartridge won't chamber. It may be an illusion, but in the picture it seems to me the bullet is in fact off-axis.

Last edited by Krogen; 08-15-2021 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 08-16-2021, 12:12 AM
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The length seems long to me, but hey if it works for you I'm good with it. I've never loaded anything that long. I've also never used that bullet.

I see where Berry's lists that OAL but two lines down they also say taper or roll crimp, I don't think anybody would advocate a roll crimp here. Seems like generic information.

There's no actual loading data. It may just be what they consider max. I don't know. I can't really explain that. Maybe we should ask them. I think with a light load you'd be better served with something shorter. I seat heavy bullets (147 gr) out to 1.15 but most of the rest get 1.10 -1.12. You could experiment with OAL. Have you fired this load? Does it cycle OK?

I can see the bulge in the left cartridge. I think Krogen has a good point. If it's from the bullet seating crooked...that's a problem. When your Lee seating die won't seat bullets straight they will happily sell you another die to solve the problem. The Factory Crimp die should fix it. If you can find one. Or try a different brand seating die. My personal favorite are the Hornady. Might be easier to find than a Lee 9mm Luger FCD.

Bulges at the base are harder to fix. Lee sells a "Bulge Buster" for some cartridges but not the 9mm. Basically it's a FCD with the top plug removed and the cases are pushed all the way through the die, resizing the entire length of the case. But due to the tapered case it's not possible for the 9mm Luger.

Some guys say you can use the 9mm Makarov FCD as a Bulge Buster die for the 9mm Luger. That kind of makes sense to me as I make 9mm Makarov cases from 9mm Luger. The Makarov is more or less a straight case version of the 9mm luger. It uses a slightly large diameter bullet (nominal .365). I've ordered one to find out. Like everything else these days they are hard to find. Mine is back-ordered.

I have a similar problem I'm trying to resolve. I have a Ruger Blackhawk revolver with a 9mm cylinder. This is the mother of all fully supported 9mm chambers. The cartridge falls all the way in to the back edge of the extractor groove. About 60% of unsized clean range brass won't chamber. It's always a bulge at the base that usually won't size out. I get it to work by sorting fired brass that fits. I'd like to be able to use just anything. I get a lot of free 9mm brass.

Again though, even if it doesn't fit the gauge it may still cycle fine in your gun. Remove your barrel and use it as a check gauge. If it fits, it shoots!

Last edited by glenwolde; 08-16-2021 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 08-16-2021, 07:11 AM
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I think you need you need to find out where the reloaded cartridges are binding. Take one that binds in the gauge, paint it with a permanent magic marker, insert it into the gauge and twist it back and forth. This should remove the marker ink from the spot that is binding.

Also, it is quite possible the cartridge gauge is minimum spec, but the majority of 9x19 barrels in production pistols are closer to maximum dimensions, so your rounds may function just fine in a pistol.
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Old 08-16-2021, 08:05 AM
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Plunk test the the rounds that wont fit in the Wilson gauge. Use a "Bulge Buster" from Lee using the 9mm Makarov FCD. It's works very well. There are youtube videos on using the bulge buster on 9mm rounds. I've been using 4.2g of W231 under a 125g LRN home cast bullet for many years without issue.


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Old 08-16-2021, 08:40 AM
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The absolute best gauge ... is your guns barrel .

Rounds can fit the Wilson Gauge all day long ... but there is no guarantee that those rounds will fit your guns barrel .
Before you load up very many ... test them in your barrel .
Don't put all your faith in some gauge ... might end up at the range with a bunch of ammo that doesn't chamber ... Trust Me !

I've learned a few things over the last 50 years of reloading ...
If you put all your faith in case gauges ... pick up a bullet puller !
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Old 08-16-2021, 03:09 PM
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My longest OAL for a 115 gr "Ball" fmj type bullet is set at 1.14".
1.16" is possible with some bullets but there in "Minimal" bullet support with the brass case.

I set the 124 gr FMJ at 1.165" only for light target loads, when using bulky Alliant flake powders that fill the case at least 50% of the volume
otherwise the 124 fmj is set at 1.12" OAL where I get my most accuracy out of my weapons.

JHP bullets that I load for start at 1.13" OAL and get shorter, depending on the
bullet weight and amount of powder used.

Most manuals will get you in the "Ball Park" but you may need to fine tune it for best accuracy or pressures.

Here is a picture to give you an idea of bullet support with OAL's.

Last edited by Nevada Ed; 08-16-2021 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 08-16-2021, 05:13 PM
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I loaded my Barry's 124gn RN at an OAL of 1.159.
I started longer and did a plunk test until I got the desired result.

I don't use a case cage.
I do use mixed brass.
I don't crimp my 9mm either.

I've heard that glock fired case tend to have a fire-formed bulge. I don't own a gloxk so I can't confirm. Could this be the cause of your problem?
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Old 08-16-2021, 05:51 PM
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I went and looked at my 2 sets of RCBS 9 mm dies. Both sets have full length of case carbide inserts. One set bought 1984 the other set around 2005 or so. Don't know what brand you're using, but you might double check the directions to make sure they're adjusted properly. I've never owned a steel sizer in 9 mm, so I've no idea if they'll size further down the case than a carbide die.

Now then, chamber sizes aren't the same in all handguns. Some brands are famous for generous chambers, others aren't. Some support the case better than others to prevent expansion near the case web. If you've got range pickup brass that's been fired in one of those barrels, you may/may not be able to size the brass down far enough on the case to chamber in your gun. There are drive through bulge buster dies for .40-due to Glock chambers/feed ramps-I've never seen one for 9 mm.

Now, there's also another possibility. The 9 mm case head/extractor groove seems to have a much wider variation than most others*. If your problem is that the round drops into the gage, but hangs up on the rim, it may simply be the case head dimension. The "plunk test" using the chamber of your gun barrel will tell you if they're going to chamber in your barrel.

* The best option here is to use a .38 Super shell holder or make sure whatever brand you're using is listed to work with both 9 mm & .38 Super.

Last edited by WR Moore; 08-18-2021 at 12:10 PM.
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Old 08-16-2021, 05:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 824tsv View Post
Plunk test the the rounds that wont fit in the Wilson gauge. Use a "Bulge Buster" from Lee using the 9mm Makarov FCD. It's works very well. There are youtube videos on using the bulge buster on 9mm rounds. I've been using 4.2g of W231 under a 125g LRN home cast bullet for many years without issue.

9mm Lee Bulge Buster Review - YouTube
^I bought one of these^ for 9mm and 45 ACP and used it for a while. It works, but I was bothered by why I needed it in the first place. I found that if I took the rounds that wouldn't drop in the Wilson gauge and screwed the taper crimp die down a half turn more, it generally solved the problem. Maybe it has to do with differing thickness of brass or shot from a different pistol??? At any rate, before buying a bulge buster kit, just try a little more taper crimp and see what that gets you. It's a cheap test and may solve your problem.
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Old 08-16-2021, 06:07 PM
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I ran into a similar problem, and solved it completely by discontinuing use of my Lee carbide set, and buying a Hornady die set. The sizing insert on the Hornady sizing die is longer and I think does a better job of not sizing the case down too much at the case mouth end. I also use a little Wilson gauge, and make sure that the tip of the bullet is just poking out of the gauge when the round is inserted. When I used the Lee dies, I would also notice that loaded rounds would clatter when they were rolled on glass. The Hornady seating die is a pain in the neck to adjust but also completely resolved that issue. OP, I can tell from your photo that the bullet on the left is seated cock-eyed for the lack of a better term. Rolling it on a glass table top, when your wife isn’t watching , will tell the tale.
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Old 08-16-2021, 06:22 PM
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A couple of thoughts.
You donít mention you are having any problems shooting so why are you looking for one? Itís something that newbies do, there is no perfect round. Thatís what reloading is all about. What works for you and your guns is what you are seeking. Reloading manuals provide proven suggestions, there is no perfect number. As others have mentioned your OAL seems long, I think mine are usually 1.10 to 1.125. What you need now is experience so go shoot Ďem and see what you have.
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Old 08-16-2021, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvsurgshooter View Post
I have reloaded a bunch of 9 mm brass using 231 Winchester powder 4.1 grain, small pistol Remington primers, with 9 mm 124 grain Berry's round nose, OAL 1.162 on average and yet after crimping, many will not fit in the 9 mm Wilson gage. Some do and yet some do not and I do not understand why when I am using the same technique. Is it due to the fact that the brass I pick up is varied and some are Federal, some RC, etc?
The one on the left seems to have a very subtle bulge and the one on the right fits perfectly in the Wilson gage.
Would appreciate any suggestions
Thank you
Are you using Lee dies, by chance? If not, read no further.

I struggled mightily with varying case lengths on some mixed brass a while back.

Sparing you the gory details, it came down to differing pressure required to seat bullets in the mixed brass and my Lee dies. The seating stem has a rubber o-ring which would compress more or less depending on how hard it was to seat the bullet and gave me varying OAL.

You said "OAL 1.162 on average" They should all be the same. I went back to the RCBS dies and the problem went away.

I am not beating up on Lee dies. In that particular case, they weren't the right tool for the job.
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Old 08-16-2021, 07:05 PM
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I use mixed brass and Lee dies and have never had a problem with any of the many thousands of rounds loaded over the last 10 years. I have also never had them seating different length's not that it would matter much unless you are seating them to max OAL. I also use the Lee FCD and that might be the difference not sure.
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Old 08-16-2021, 07:45 PM
Moe Mentum Moe Mentum is offline
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I also use Lee dies, loaded 10's of thousand 9mm's without a hitch. I also load 9mm to 1.12 to 1.15, no longer....Mixed brass and whatever I could scrounge at the range, never had one problem.
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Old 08-18-2021, 12:13 PM
WR Moore WR Moore is offline
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Revisiting this caused me to recall something. Try gaging all your cases as they come out of the sizing die. If they fit without issue, the problem lies in your bullet selection/seating/crimping.

If they don't perhaps you need a better sizing die or become more selective on picking up brass.
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Old 08-18-2021, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvsurgshooter View Post
many will not fit in the 9 mm Wilson gage. Some do and yet some do not and I do not understand why when I am using the same technique.
Welcome to the world of range brass and it's nothing new. I shoot competitively and use nothing but range brass/once fired/whatever you want to call it, Lots of it. The problem is not your dies and anything your doing in so far as them not fitting the case gauge. The problem is you and I have no knowledge as to what type of chamber these rounds were fired in prior to us. Unsupported chambers (some Glocks) and LEO full auto will bulge the brass at the base and most of the time you can't even see it. But sure as heck it don't go. These rounds may or may not work in your gun depending on your chamber. A plunk test will reveal that. My CZ's are extremely tight whereas my 1911's not so bad. But one out of spec round will lock me up on a competition costing me a lot of time clearing the weapon.

I became very tired of this and was also finding many rounds in 9mm and especially .40 would not pass the case gauge and that leads to breaking down a lot of shells with that dreaded plastic hammer. My solution, and it wasn't cheap was to rollsize all my brass. However I shoot a lot and obviously reload a lot. Rollsizing eliminated all my issues! I too tried undersized dies and they helped, but I still would see 5 rounds out of 50 that would not pass. If you are collecting brass fired from your weapon only, then you will have better results out of the gate.
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Old 08-18-2021, 02:59 PM
Hasbeen1945 Hasbeen1945 is offline
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Dies are like chambers. Some are minimum spec, some are max. If you are lucky and get a minimum die any brass you resize will probably work in your firearm. The thing to remember is anything fired in your firearm should rechamber. If not your reloading technique is wrong.
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Old 08-18-2021, 04:20 PM
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I started out using Lee dies for all my handgun loading. They have always worked well for me except for the neck expander on the .45 ACP dies but that's another story. I did buy a Hornady full length 9mm sizing die when I saw it on sale cor a low price. The only reason I bought it is the Titanium Nitride insert makes resizing short semi-auto cartridges very easy to do. I have one other for the .45 APC but no others.

What I'm saying is, I feel it's not the dies giving a problem, it's the loading itself. The bullet looks to be seated crooked and I also feel the OAL is too long. Like said many times above, use your barrel as your cartridge gauge.
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Old 08-19-2021, 01:17 PM
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Sometimes I wonder. I reload 9mm for 4 pistols. Mixed brass, cast, jacketed, small/light for caliber and large/heavy for caliber bullets and I don't have any chambering problems (I thought I needed a case gauge when I first started reloading 9mm, but I soon learned the plunk test was the best indicator. I put the gauge in a drawer, somewhere, and have loaded 9mm for 18+ years, trouble free). Lee carbide dies, no FCD, no bulge buster, no resizing after completion. (I have no idea how many rounds, but a WAG would be upwards of 9,000, plus 1,200 rounds of my "JIC" ammo).

Any time there is a fit problem, measure. Measure the OD in a few places and check OAL with a marked bullet. First find out where the round is too big, and then you can determine when it happens and fix it.

Last edited by mikld; 08-19-2021 at 01:21 PM.
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