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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; 06-24-2013 at 07:51 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.
    I am now in full production of top punches for Lyman/RCBS and Saeco lubers ($8 each including shipping, two business day turnaround), and blank sizing dies for Lyman/RCBS, Saeco, Herters, and Star machines. Other products will be added as time and health permit. PM me for details.

  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
    btroj's Avatar
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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
    9.3X62AL's Avatar
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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
    Had the same problem with my beretta 92fs when starting to cast ...barrel leading and tumbleing bullets. fixed the problem by droping the charge and quenching the boolit. I use alox. It only took me 8 weeks to sort the problem, droppinng loads at a tenth of a grain at a time and testing. But have it running great now. 2.8 gr of ADI. AP-50-N, quenched and aloxed boollit. Crono's at just over 900 fps. Will gradually buile the load up to achieve around 100 - 1050 fps.
    Would be happy to answer any questions.
    a27south@bigpond.com

  11. #11
    Thanks guys done a very good job .....
    "DaviD"

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy vogironface's Avatar
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    Thanks for the post. I have been struggling with my 9mm like many others. This approach may just be the ticket. I am confused on one point though. If have read this correctly you are measuring the inside of the 9mm brass after being shot in the gun. You are also slugging the barrel. Slugging the barrel I understand, but the brass I do not see the significance of. Measuring the inner diameter of the brass would tell me how much room there is within the brass after expansion. It does not, however, tell me anything about the barrel diameter, only the chamber. In short, there is a relationship between these two dimensions that is escaping me. Could someone please explain this.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    The correlation is that some chambers will not take a larger diameter cast boolit i.e. a .356 diameter boolit leads the barrel a bit due to being too small and a person may want to try a .358 but the chamber won't allow for it (too tight to chamber for a handload round with a .358 boolit). The fired brass may provide the detail as to the chamber dimensions and a .357 boolit could possibly be the best option considering the chamber. However if a chamber would allow for a .358 boolit diameter then such diameter may be best for barrel leading/accuracy.

    My advise is to shoot as large as diameter as will chamber reliably with .358 on the upper side and .357 if the chamber won't allow for a .358 boolit.
    Last edited by RobS; 12-22-2012 at 11:40 PM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy vogironface's Avatar
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    RobS.

    Thank you so much for the reply. This makes perfect sense with your explanation. I was over thinking it. If the inner diameter of the brass is at least the outer diameter of the bullet then it should chamber. I am very excited to try these .358 in my 9mm now. hopeful my long battle with leading will be over and the lead will be vanquished to the berm where it belongs. Thanks again to the contributors of this thread..

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobS View Post
    The correlation is that some chambers will not take a larger diameter cast boolit i.e. a .356 diameter boolit leads the barrel a bit due to being too small and a person may want to try a .358 but the chamber won't allow for it (too tight to chamber for a handload round with a .358 boolit). The fired brass may provide the detail as to the chamber dimensions and a .357 boolit could possibly be the best option considering the chamber. However if a chamber would allow for a .358 boolit diameter then such diameter may be best for barrel leading/accuracy.

    My advise is to shoot as large as diameter as will chamber reliably with .358 on the upper side and .357 if the chamber won't allow for a .358 boolit.
    Recently tried something that at first was questionable in logic but worked......Using some Lee 356 TC bullets lubed with Lars 2500. As a **** shoot I loaded a dz. 38 special cases with the undersized 356 TC bullet sized to 356 dia. with 4 gr of Bullseye. To my surprise there was no leading despite being undersized after being shot in my K framed 4" S & W. Have since run several 100 thru my 358 dia in my Lyman Lube Sizer using 2500 Lars and have little to no leading. Using an occasional swatch of copper chore (make sure its copper) girl after shooting an IDPA match. The only thing I can figure is that the bullet upsets to fit the bore successfully upon firing. The powder charge has been bumped up to 4.6 gr BE still below the max. load recommended in my old Lyman Cast Bullet book. Load has not been chronographed yet. Merry Christmas. afish4570

  16. #16
    Great read. Just for referrence, I slugged my Sig P228 barrel twice, and it consistently gave me a diameter of .355". The NATO standard? I guess I'll be using a .356" for this one.
    Last edited by S. Galbraith; 01-01-2013 at 02:37 PM.

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
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    I never loaded the 9mm round but a friend did. i think with a 115 grain Lyman bullet and six grains of Unique. Don't think he ever cured his leading problem. I suspect too hot a load. He was always one for hot loads.

  18. #18
    I haven't had any problems with leading or tumbling with bullets sized at .356". I used air cooled wheel weights and some Lyman #2.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Well done! my only question is that the 25ACP jammed on the end of the rod did you leave a spent primer in it for a totally flat face or did you take it out?

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    jpnp - Left the primer in.

    Galbraith - congratulations, you are one of about 5-10% that succeeds with .356. You would also
    probably succeed with .357 or .358.

    NMLRA guy - Possible that the loads were too hot, but I'll bet dollars against doughnuts that he was using too small diam.

    Bill
    Last edited by MtGun44; 02-25-2013 at 01:53 AM.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

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