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Thread: Setting up for boolits in a new 9mm

  1. #81
    Boolit Master
    toallmy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    easternshore of va.
    Yes it will fit in your lee 9mm die , and expand the brass a little deeper , then when you seat the bullet be careful to not smash it down to much .

  2. #82
    Quote Originally Posted by toallmy View Post
    Yes it will fit in your lee 9mm die , and expand the brass a little deeper , then when you seat the bullet be careful to not smash it down to much .
    Sounds like the ticket item - placing my order! I replied to your PM and I will update this thread when I send rounds down range with the new set up.

  3. #83
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    peters township, PA
    The above replies are spot on, if your correctly sized boolit gets swaged down during seating or crimping you can get keyholes. I had great accuracy with most loads but still got the occasional keyhole despite everything that I tried. My problem was the mixed brass that I scrounge; some of the import 9mm brass has a wall thickness so great that seating a normal diameter boolit (.3575 for me) results in a loaded round that is too fat to chamber unless run thru a taper crimp that swaged it undersize and then they keyhole. My test was to load a bunch with Win brass which is known to be thin walled and I fired hundreds loaded on the same dies with no keyholes. I now sort the "thick" brass out and give it to a friend who loads jacketed bullets. Depending on your gun's chamber and bore you may find that some 9mm brass is just too thick for boolits. Just my opinion but it worked for me . Good luck.

  4. #84
    I got the 38 S&W plug but have only had time to load 10 to test. Bullets were coated with Hi-Tek.

    -I loaded 3.5gr of Tightgroup which would have given me keyholes and poor accuracy before.
    -With the new plug they didn't exactly pass the plunk test. They were a bit snug is all. They fed fine but I had 3 or 4 out of the 10 that didn't extract well. Just a kiss from the factory crimp die was enough to get them to drop right into the barrel under their own weight so I am confident that will solve the extraction issues.
    -Bullets were sized through the regular Lee .356 die.
    -I pulled one bullet after seating it and it came out .356.
    -Happily, accuracy was excellent.
    -Problem solved as near as I can tell.

    Big thanks to all of you guys. When I have shot some more I'll post again. The only thing I can see is a little junk in the barrel - not sure if it is coating or what. I may try a larger bullet sizing die at some point but meh, I'm good with what I'm seeing.

    For someone else like me who ends up here via google, the Lee tumble lube 9mm bullets paired with the regular Lee 9mm dies just plain ole doesn't work. The 38 S&W plug that is suggested in this thread opens the case up just a touch more and a bit deeper so that the bullet itself isn't sized down when seated.

  5. #85
    Boolit Master
    toallmy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    easternshore of va.
    Another happy camper .

  6. #86
    Next experiment is to seat some unsized bullets and pull them to see if they are being sized to a desirable figure (.357 maybe) during seating. If that works out, sizing will be a thing of the past. I'll trade the sizing step for the factory crimp step. If I'm lucky, I'll get that extra thou or two and go back down to 3.2gr of Tightgroup (or whatever feeds and engages slide lock) because let me tell you, that is one EASY shooting 9mm load. I primarily shoot them through a full size 9mm 1911. Add in the low charge = very fun to shoot. If the stars align, I think I have access to a chrono coming up as well which may be interesting for some readers.

    I'd also note; I have been working with a friend and so these problems have been consistent across 5 different guns, 3 to 6 inch barrels (different twist rates too), two or three different powders, different people doing the loading on different machines using different dies. Eventually, I will try to get these rounds run through all these different guns and have some useful data to share.

  7. #87
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    New member and new caster here. Just waiting for purolator to find my mould I ordered as they seem to have lost it.
    This is exactly what I needed to read. I think this forum will be a big help and most likely cost me a bunch of money.

  8. #88
    Boolit Master
    toallmy's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    easternshore of va.
    Welcome Hometownhero a lot of very knowledgeable members here with years of experience willing to help . Take advantage of the archives with a Google search will answer most questions , but do jump in with questions .

  9. #89
    Boolit Master 308Jeff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Tempe, AZ
    New member, and this is my first post here. Wanted to say this is one of the most informative and well discussed topics that I've read regarding reloading ANYWHERE. Thanks to the OP for the original posting, and to everyone else that has contributed to it. I'm looking forward to my venture into bullet casting.

  10. #90
    Last post was April of '16 and I wanted to circle back around (been meaning to for awhile) to share my results. I have now cast, coated, and loaded nearly 5,000 rounds. Still shooting them in a variety of guns with great success. Between then and now I purchased a 9mm AR and moved from the tumble lube bullets to the 125gr Lee mold with just a single lube groove (90457 / 356 125 2R). Long story shortish, the new rounds with the new bullets are TIGHT in the 9mmAR.

    Massive edit. Bottom line, 1.120 OAL was too long in my 9mm AR. I seated the bullets to 1.100, works perfectly. The tumble lube bullets have a smaller diameter nose than the 2R bullets and therefore do not touch the rifling when chambered - makes perfect sense now.

    3.6 grains of Titegroup so I'm not expecting a pressure issue. Problem solved.

    3.6 grains of Titegroup, the 90457 bullet at 1.120 COL (now going with 1.100 for the AR9) with Hi Tek coating sized to .356 using all Lee dies and the 38 S&W expander plug. Not using the FCD at all, though I have found if I get the occasional cartridge that won't plunk into my 1911 barrel, I can use the FCD with the crimper backed all the way out, and fix them. Getting close to 5,000 rounds and having great success, with excellent accuracy from several different guns.

    Update 6_27_2017:
    So I recently got a CZ P09 and much like my AR9, the barrel throat is relatively shallow - shallower still. My chubby 90457 bullets are actually proving to be a little annoying and I experienced sticky rounds in the chamber (2 or 3 per mag). And in the mean time since this last post, I switched to a .358 sizing die. Accuracy is vastly improved over .356 bullets (w/ 38 S&W expander plug of course) and I actually continued using the same OAL and powder charge as .356 bullets. This load through a smith-fit Apex barrel in a 5" M&P would shoot 2 inch groups off a bag at 20 yards. Enter the P09 and now I am experimenting with an OAL of 1.06+/- and a powder charge of 3.4gr TiteGroup. This was like, two days ago and a total of 25 rounds is all. Looks like the groups are good out of my 9mm 1911. CZ slide is off being milled for a red dot so I can't experiment further until it's back. I am finding this particular bullet to be more annoying than anything else. So for sure I am going to cast some lube groove bullets and see what kind of accuracy I can achieve with those at .358. The nose of that bullet is way smaller so it'll fit in anything, and my hypothesis is that accuracy will be fine. Only issue I have noticed with .358 bullets is that the case mouth measures .381 or .382. However, I haven't found that to actually cause any issues. Cartridges still pas plunk test as long as OAL is compatible with the particular firearm in question.

    Update 7/19/2017:
    P09 is back. It likes my 356 bullets just fine. No sticking, good accuracy - amazing what a couple thousandths can mean - but at least I don't have to mess around with super short OALs to get the 358s to actually function in it. My AR9 is also perfectly happy with my 356 bullets. I managed to get a couple 200 yard hits on steel in a local 3-gun match with it in PCC division (with a non magnified red dot). I am going to revisit my 1911 with the 356 bullets vs 358 because it seemed to prefer the larger ones like my friend's Apex M&P barrel did. I had good luck in 2 different 3-gun matches with my 1911 running the 358s and it isn't picky at all about OAL. I may have just been having a better day but I was able to hit the annoyingly small steel they seem to have a fetish with at this club as well as a Texas star that was farther away than I would have liked. My Canik TP9 is going back to Century because it shoots way too far left for me to mess with anymore. When that comes back I'll do some head to head with the 356 and 358s.
    Last edited by cityofthesouth; 07-19-2017 at 11:41 AM.

  11. #91
    So this post isn't as lame, have some pics. The Lee bullets I'm using now with black Hi-Tek and the blaster that ingests a lot of them.

    hitek_coating2 by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    hitek_coating1 by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr
    Last edited by cityofthesouth; 02-13-2017 at 12:23 AM.

  12. #92
    Hey I brought you guys some pics you don't care about.

    Went back to try the Lee lube groove bullets. Sized 358 my P09 does this mostly group well and then some crazy fliers thing. So then I went back to 356 and kinda the same thing happens except the fliers aren't as crazy. Two 10 shot groups here. The thing with 10 shots is, it takes a lot of shooting for me to make up my mind about something, but at the same time I get lazy and impatient about half way through. On top of that it is windy, 100 degrees and I'm using a little home made bean bag thing for a rest - PLUS I just don't have the patience to be a good bench rest shooter. These shots are all roughly 20 yards - I just stepped it off and I kinda think my steps are long.
    CZ_P09_LubeGrooveBullets by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    These are the single groove bullets in the picture from my previous post. 356 and seated about 1.100 OAL +/-. So figure if I sucked a little less, this is pretty good accuracy. I can stand there off hand at 20 yards and make pretty quick hits on 8" steel all day. The furthest two holes are 2-3/4 inches. And these feed flawlessly even at 1.100 OAL.
    CZ_P09_SingleGrooveBullets by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    These are the single groove bullets at 358 but seated at 1.050 to work in the CZ. Neither gun likes them and they still don't feed perfectly in the CZ. 1911 doesn't care.
    RIA1911_358SingleGrooveBullets by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    And the 356 single grooves in the 1911. Not a whole lot better. It seems to prefer the 358s with a much longer OAL. I kinda wonder if the really short loads are a little too warm. No tumbling but not amazing.
    RIA1911_SingleGrooveBullets by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    That's it for now. Looks like I got a couple surprise days off so I'll do a little more testing in the next few days.

  13. #93
    More pics. This time I set out to shoot a control group. CZ knows how to make an accurate gun I can say that much. I got some American Eagle 115gr FMJs that in my experience shoot well in general. That's a 3/4 inch group at 20 paces.
    CZ_P09_AE115gr by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    I accidentally bought 2K CCI Small Pistol Magnum Primers so I went down a tenth just in case and for this particular set of strings I ran them through the Factory Crimp Die with the crimp backed completely out - just using the die to size the case. I wanted to know if it would have a negative impact on accuracy but it maybe possibly improved the accuracy somewhat. Additionally I had it in my head that perhaps with perfectly in spec cartridges I would avoid malfunctions on match day. However, the P09 feeds the 356 bullets perfectly and I don't think I'm going to bother. Today was much better weather, I was mostly comfortable for the shooting and so that may have had an impact. Even with that flier the group is 2-1/2 inches and the better group on the left is just under 1-1/2 inches. I did the same thing without the crimp die and the results were basically the same.
    CZ_P09_CCIMagnum1 by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    Also recovered a bullet. Very impressed with the HiTek of course. The other pic is a little misleading but if I had to describe it I would say the coating stayed in tact everywhere except where the lands contacted the bullet.
    Lee125gr_HiTek_recover by city_ofthe_south, on Flickr

    I shot groups of similar loads as the post above only using 3.5grs and I did see an improvement. Not sure if it was me, the weather, or the fact that I shot 2, 5-shot groups instead of 10 at once, or a combination of them all. I don't think I will be able to achieve the American Eagle results with my reloads (and these bullets), but at the same time, about the only reason I would even consider it is knowing that the P09 is capable. If I hadn't seen that, I would be totally excited about 1-1/2" groups at ~20 yards.
    Last edited by cityofthesouth; 07-23-2017 at 10:20 PM.

  14. #94
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    WV USA

    It looks like you are getting there. That P09 is a neat pistol and all the CZ products I've shot were more accurate than I am.

  15. #95
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick R View Post

    It looks like you are getting there. That P09 is a neat pistol and all the CZ products I've shot were more accurate than I am.
    Thanks Rick, I am feeling pretty good about it at this point and I am really happy I went with the P09. Monthly 3-gun match is this up coming weekend and the P09 is tagging in for the 1911 for its maiden voyage. I am looking forward to it ... even though I have to shoot in Open now. But you know, I wanted my red dot.
    Last edited by cityofthesouth; 08-01-2017 at 04:07 PM.

  16. #96
    I'm happy this was a sticky. Well discussed. I actually learned a few things

  17. #97
    Just wanted to put this somewhere, it's possible that it has been discussed in other threads but this thread talked about the Lee 38 S&W expander plug so it makes sense here I think. A friend of mine bought a Redding 9mm expander die that was apparently redesigned for the issue of the case swaging cast bullets. Item #96172 - one of the "premium" dies. I tried it for him to see if it worked. First issue was that it will put enough bell in the case that it won't go into a Lee seating die - so don't buy the Redding and expand 9 million cases, and then try to load them if you're using Lee stuff before you do some testing. However, I dialed the expander die back to the point where the flare wasn't an issue, seated my Lee 125gr cast bullet coated with Hi Tek sized .356, at 1.08 OAL then pulled the bullet. It was still .356 on the dot the entire length. I don't know how useful this information is, but if you need a Lee alternative, the Redding appears to work. How it works with .357 or .358 bullets, I dunno.
    Last edited by cityofthesouth; 06-28-2018 at 02:19 PM.

  18. #98
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Under what I feel are common circumstances, I feel that a standard 9mm expander plug (intended for bullets) is just wrong for boolits and can guarantee failure.

    The 9mm has been my biggest challenge for finding boolit happiness.

    Now that I am happy, I have posted responses a few times in a few thread. For this one, I went back grabbed some stuff and put it all together. First lets start out with something that combines a good measure of truth with some humor. The following was at post 10 of the link at the bottom.

    Take your time and the following. Then do it. As corny and funny as it may sound, it is probably the best solution.

    9 mm can be very frustrating. Do not let that put you off. The solution is simple. There 10 easy steps to the 9mm.

    Step 1: Try what you have and what you think might work. Take notes. You might get lucky.

    Step 2: If step 1 did not work, tell us exactly what you did.

    Step 3: Sort through the 50 suggestions, pick one.

    Step 4: Try it and hope you get lucky.

    Step 5: If it did not work, tell us exactly what you did and what happened.

    Step 6: Sort through the 40 suggestions. Pick a new suggestion.

    Step 7: Try it and hope you get lucky.

    Step 8: If it did not work, go back to step 5.

    Step 9: After you get something that works, assume you are an expert and provide suggestions when some else shares their problems.

    Step 10: After a bunch of newbies ignore your suggestions, come to understand that the 9mm is too finicky to ever be simple and work the same way for anybody else.

    The above was from post 10. Later in post 37 I gave some more specific stuff that I did. The combination worked for me and may helped others figure out something that may want to try next.

    Use a deep plug 0.358" expander
    Use 0.359" PC coated boolits.
    Use sorted brass, only Blazer, FC and CCI for me
    I seat and I do flare removal as separate steps.

    I can now use any powder I want and loads up to book max with great accuracy and no leading.

    I have come to believe that much of the 9mm "just can't figure it out frustration" comes from having boolits sized down by the case more than you think and/or just not going with big enough boolits. I Also I am convinced that sorting headstamps is an easy thing to try early on when your are having problems. More details of my basis for these can be found in post 37 of

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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