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Thread: Setting up for boolits in a new 9mm

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Setting up for boolits in a new 9mm

    We have been having a steady flow of "9mm leading and hitting sideways" sort of threads, so I thought it might
    be useful to report what I just did to check out my "new" Walther P1 (P38 w/aluminum frame) 9mm handgun before
    shooting boolits in it.

    First, I had fired about 20 rounds of factory 9mm ball ammo through the pistol, just to see if it would work properly
    and how the accuracy was. No problems, and I was pleasantly surprised that the trigger was decent in both SA
    and DA modes, and the sights are not at all bad.

    First, let's clean the gun up a bit. Brass brush and a couple patches, nothing big. Now, I picked up a Lee 358-105-SWC
    boolit that I happened to have handy and a 1/4" steel rod with a .25 ACP case permanently jammed on one end. I
    dismounted the barrel and dropped the boolit into the chamber, and drove it through the lubricated barrel with a small
    brass hammer. Before it miked at .359 x .360 and after, two rifling grooves were .3585 and one was .358, so the bore
    is a good bit oversized, fairly common in European 9mms in my experience.

    So now I take a case that was fired in the gun and chamfer the mouth and clean it inside with a brass brush and check
    the inside with my pin gauges. A .356 (minus) pin gauge will just barely enter the fired case mouth. This is worrisome
    because it is pretty clear that I will need .359 boolit or larger to make this one work, and now there is a question of
    whether the chamber will accept (and release when fired!) a loaded round with a .359 boolit seated. I will start VERY
    low and see if the chamber will safely release the fat boolits.

    So now, I need to make up a dummy round and see how it will chamber with a .359 boolit seated. I size and expand a
    case with my single stage 9mm die set (I have a Dillon 550 setup, too) and seat a .359 Lee 358-105-SWC boolit to the
    crimp groove and then run it into the TC die. I drop the dummy round and it chambers up until about 1/8" is protruding
    at the back. Since I don't know much about the P38 design, I slip the slide onto the barrel and close it all the way, noting
    that the breech face is recessed about 1/8" into the slide, so the round is fitting the chamber just fine - good news!. Next, I
    want to see if the brass is sizing down the .359 boolit when it is seated. I measure the expander in the die set and it
    measures .3535, so there is some concern that the expanded case may size down the boolit as it is seated.

    I also inspect the lead shoulder of the boolit which is protruding from the case, looking for rifling marks. I see nothing, also
    good. If I was seeing rifling, or the round would not fully seat with 1 lb or less force, I would seat the boolit deeper
    until it would. TC setting is also a controlling factor in the dummy round seating properly. Both are OK for my dummy round.

    Pulling the seated boolit from the dummy round is next, and it still mike's out at .359, which is great news. So with my std
    air cooled wheel weights with this Lee boolit, unsized at .359 and seated with my normal single stage press dies, I can
    expect to deliver a boolit that is at least 1/2 of one thousandth of an inch larger than the groove diameter. I hope that is
    enough, and it likely will be.

    So - now I know that I probably need fatter boolits in this gun than my normal .357 or .358 diameter that I use in with my
    Lee 356-120-TC mold which is my most commonly used 9mm boolit. I will try the .358 version of this one and see if it is
    big enough to work in the .3585 groove diameter barrel without leading. I won't be suprised if it is not big enough.

    So - if you are starting out with a 9mm this is the path you should take.

    1. Slug the barrel, and measure groove diameter with a MICROMETER. A caliper is typically only +/- .001 or even .002"
    accuracy and this isn't good enough for this job. You need a micrometer with .0001" accuracy for this job. Enco tools
    online frequently has them on sale for under $35.

    2. Plan on using a boolit about .001" larger than groove diameter, and you might even need .002 larger.

    3. I recommend the two Lee designs 358-105-SWC and 356-120-TC used with NRA 50-50 lube. I do not
    recommend the tumble lube designs from Lee, although some have had success with them, many have had serious
    problems in 9mm. The Lee Alox tumble lube system is marginal, but very cheap to get started in, a signficant
    advantage for the new caster. It seems to work most reliably in lower pressure and velocity loads.

    4. Make a dummy round to set the LOA and degree of taper crimp (TC), and see whether a case with a boolit the correct diameter
    will chamber properly. Boolit diameter MIGHT be too large to chamber, and LOA and TC are set to work with your
    chamber.

    5. Pull the boolit from the dummy round and make sure you have not sized it down during the seating process.

    If you follow this routine, you will have a good chance to have good ammo which is accurate and does not lead, right
    off the bat. Also, do not think that you need a super hard alloy or water dropping to harden them for 9mm. Air cooled
    wheel weights will be just fine. In fact, too hard and too small are the root cause of most 9mm problems with boolits.

    Bill
    Last edited by MtGun44; 07-10-2011 at 11:18 PM.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    theperfessor's Avatar
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    A very clear and sensible way to get started loading a 9. Good job. Ought to be a sticky.

  3. #3
    bhn22
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    Seconded. Can some kindly, esteemed Moderator please do this? This is actually a good guideline for any caliber.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Very well stated and worded. This is the way every new autoloader should be looked at.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Nice write up. I just got my 9mm problems solved actually. Mine was a powder issue.

    I was trying to use AA#7 like I do with my jacketed loads. I was getting the velocity that I wanted and no barrel leading (even with 8 bhn boolits). My problem was a build up of lead at the end of the chamber that caused the following rounds to not chamber fully and the gun wouldn't go into battery. I switched to Unique and the build up went away, but I had barrel leading which requires that I water drop or heat treat my boolits with my current alloy.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Thanks, guys.

    Bill
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Yessir--sticky this one!
    I don't paint bullets. I like Black Rifle Coffee. Sacred cows are always fair game. California is to the United States what Syria is to Russia and North Korea is to China/South Korea/Japan--a Hermit Kingdom detached from the real world and led by delusional maniacs, an economic and social basket case sustained by "foreign" aid so as to not lose military bases.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master crabo's Avatar
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    Thanks for doing this. I am about to start loading for my 9mm AR and have not been looking forward to it. I have been planning on using the Lee 125 rnfp that I use in my 38s/357s/ and 38 Super. I think it should be a good small game boolit.

    I also have RanchDog 9mm tumble lube boolit and that is what I am hoping will work well with 45/45/10. It would be easy to cast and prep a bunch of them in a hurry.
    Crabo

    Do not argue with idiots. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    You're welcome, hoped to make it easier for someone that is just getting ready to use
    boolits in a new gun, and as said by others, the basic concepts apply to semiautos in general.

    Get your fit right and you will be well ahead. It seems like we have reports of 45/45/10 doing
    better than straight Alox (aka Mule Snot), so good luck with the TL. My experience with TL
    is limited and unhappy, and no experience with 45/45/10. Ranch Dog's molds have
    a good reputation.

    Bill
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  10. #10
    Moderator Emeritus


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    I read it and understood it. I also stickied it here and in Classics and Sticky's. Thanks, Bill.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    Wow. That's neat.

    Hope it helps the many new casters starting up in semi-autos.

    Bill
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master lead Foot's Avatar
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    Well done Bill. Iv'e been loading for years with lead boolits and the 9mm was a big learning curve for me. Though my 9mm is going perfectly now, your info would have helped a lot. After the gun was shooting well, the odd round would jam on the ramp. The OAL was 1.106. I set it back to 1.098. Now it feeds perfect and even more accurate than before. My 9mm it just is accuate as my 686. If the sights were better and my eyes were younger who knows. Thanks again Bill for the post.
    Your mate Phil from Australia;

  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    What a timely post for me. After 40+ years of casting, loading and shooting the .45 ACP, I just bought a 9mm Springfield Armory XDm.

    I figured that if I ever wanted a "hi cap" pistol, I''d better act soon, if you know what I mean...

    Anyway, thanks so much for this 9mm cast boolit primer! It's now obvious to me that the 9mm needs to be treated with much more attention to detail than my beloved .45 ACP. Tt.

    PS: I have an old Lyman 358242 two cavity that I bought back in the 70s for my BIL's Browning Hi Power. The Hi Power is long gone now and the mold is still unused, so that's what I will start out with...
    "Treetop"
    Sgt. USMC
    1968-71

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    Lt. Gen. George Flynn, USMC

    “The Second Amendment was not written to protect your right to shoot deer.
    It was written to protect your right to shoot tyrants…”
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  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    what powder should i use for 9mm i got 115 grain cast boolits bullseye hs6 or unique and can i use the same load data as my fmjs my book dont have the data for cast and iam trying to find a book that has data for cast boolits and iam just starting with the cast boolits

  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    I like Unique in 9mm.

    No offense, but capitalization and punctuation are polite to help the reader.

    Bill
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MtGun44 View Post
    I like Unique in 9mm.

    No offense, but capitalization and punctuation are polite to help the reader.

    Bill
    I'm currently shooting unique and bullseye in my 9mms with good results.
    scrap, smelt, cast, lube, load, shoot. repeat.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Alan's Avatar
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    I like Red Dot. It is my go-to powder in 9mm and .45 for experimenting w/ boolits. I load 1 round in the mag, and rack the slide. I like to start with powder charges that will not lock the slide back, and increment .2 gr until the slide does lock back. Generally .1 or .2 gr above that will really make the group snuggle up close on the paper.

    3.7 gr w/ a commercial 121gr pointed round nose wouldn't lock the slide consistently, 3.8 locked the slide, and 3.9 was the accuracy load. 4.0 and up the groups started opening up, and 4.1gr was a noticeable deterioration.

    This has worked to perfection, giving me a cheap accurate load in my 3 SIG P-6's, and the same load also shoots great in my Kimber Custom Target II 9mm.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by thegreatdane View Post
    I'm currently shooting unique and bullseye in my 9mms with good results.
    Clarification: Unique seems to be more apt for 9mm than Bullseye in the more commonly experienced boolit weights
    scrap, smelt, cast, lube, load, shoot. repeat.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Nice write up, Bill. Now I know what to do to reload my 9mm. However, I think that I'll use W-231 for my powder choice as it has been recommended for almost all semiautos. I've got a .45acp to reload for also. Thanks. BC
    Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me."

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    Bill

    How did your loads shoot in the new P-1 ?

    I,ve got a P-38 that I need to work up some loads for and if your method of development was sucessful I will follow your lead.

    Never loaded for 9mm so I'm glad to have found this thread. I have a sneaking suspicon the .356 cast boolits on hand will not be the best fit.

    I do have a 115 gr. swc- hp Lyman mould that is .358 and if it will feed , will do nicely. Going to go slug the barrel right now.

    gary

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check