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Thread: Help 9mm leading problem!!

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Help 9mm leading problem!!

    Hello, All, First off I would like to say that I use TAC 1 lube and have been very satisfied with the results so far. I use it in full house 30-30, 303 british, 7.62x54R, 30-06, 7.62x39 with no leading problems. I also use it in pistol calibers 45ACP, 38 spl and 9mm. I am getting a problem with leading in the 9mm. My barrel is leading in the last 3/4" towards the muzzle end. From what I have read so far it seems to be a lube failure. I am using a LEE 6 cavity 356-120gn TC with regular lube grooves. The load shoot accurately. I am using 4.5 gn of unique(which is max BTW), I tried backing off on the powder charge and I am still getting leading at 4gn. I tried sizing the bullets to .356 and .357 and it did not make a difference. My bullets are cast at around 10.5 BHN. I have bought bullets from a commercial caster BHN 11 356-120gn RN and they seem to have less leading when shot in my gun. They have a red lube. My gun is a brand new Walther PPX with regular Ballard type rifling. My question is as follows: Should I try another harder lube to solve my problem or a different powder. I have Unique, Win 231 on hand. I am currently getting set up to start powder coating which might be another way to go.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    leadhead's Avatar
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    Your bullet is to small.....go to a .358 dia. and your problem will go away.
    Denny

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Phlier's Avatar
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    One of the difficult things about shooting cast bullets through 9mm is keeping the bullet sized to the correct diameter. 9mm cases are notorious for swaging down boolits. I've found that using alloy of at least BHN 15 and NOE's .360/.356 expander, I'm able to keep a .358 sized boolit at .3575-.358 after pulling.

    Pull some of your loads and measure the boolit. Are they getting swaged down by the brass? If so, here's some things to try...

    As Denny said, size to .358

    Harder alloy

    Larger expander plug
    "Things sure are a lot more like the way they are now than they used to be." --Yogi Berra

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    leadhead's Avatar
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    I use the Lee powder thru expander die and went to the .38 S&W expander plug
    and it opens the case to where it won't swage down a .358 dia bullet. Haven't
    had any leading problems since.
    Denny

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    runfiverun's Avatar
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    I think Phlier changed his avatar.

    but both posters are on the right track.
    a bit more diameter would help, as could a coat of tumble lube.
    the powder coat could help since it would fill in both roles.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Phlier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by runfiverun View Post
    I think Phlier changed his avatar.

    but both posters are on the right track.
    a bit more diameter would help, as could a coat of tumble lube.
    the powder coat could help since it would fill in both roles.
    Yup, he's gonna be 20 years old in a couple months.
    "Things sure are a lot more like the way they are now than they used to be." --Yogi Berra

  7. #7
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    What diameter are the bullets coming out of the mold? If 0.358" or larger, get a 0.359" sizer and lube them with that. The 38 S&W Lee expander and the 0.358" or larger bullets will solve your problems. The TAC1 lube is NOT the problem.

  8. #8
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    Yodogsandman's Avatar
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    I don't take any chances with 9mm, I water drop Lee 356-120TC boolits from the mold for extra hardness. Size to .358" and tumble lube with Ben's Liquid Lube. No problems so far.
    A deplorable that votes!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    It sounds like a lube failure, but I think it is your brass squeezing the 10.5 BHN bullet when you seat it to a smaller diameter and causing leading. I would try a harder bullet, say a water dropped WW (18 BHN or so) This is not the best fix! Read on.

    Try to find a larger spud for sizing inside the brass when you deprime. I've seen this many times..These are the two ways to fix the problem..The hint you gave me was commercial bullets didn't lead, normally commercial bullets are harder. If you need alloy to experiment let me know and I will ship you some to test..I would highly recommend finding a spud that is about .002-.003 smaller than the diameter of your lead bullet..You only need 2-3 K for bullet grab for lead any more and you squeeze or size the lead bullet when seating it (small bullets cause leading). Jacketed bullets can handle much more grab, lets say, 4-6K smaller than the projectile. Let me know how this works and keep in contact.

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
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    The bullets are dropping .356 to.3565 from the mould with this particular alloy. I have a LEE Lead Hardness tester and I have verified the BHN of my cast bullets being 10.5 and the commercial cast ones as being BHN 11. I also have the equivalent of lyman #2 on hand and I will try casting some air cooled and water quenched bullets with this alloy to see if I can get different results. I have a good supply of tin based babbitt metal as well I could make the alloy even harder if needed. My barrel slugs at .355. I currently have a Lyman/RCBS .356 and .357 sizing dies. Will the expander plug from my 38 special dies work for sizing my 9mm brass?

  11. #11
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    like was said try bigger if your gun will feed them. check your feed ramp to see that its not damaging bullets as they chamber, try a bit harder alloy (like around 15 bhn) Make sure your not over crimping and squeezing down the bullets. I seriously doubt if its a lube failure. Also ill ask. How bad is the leading. Is it just a gray wash that doesn't tend to get worse or is it leading that's building up to the point its effecting accuracy. Ive got a few guns that get a gray wash after 20 or so round and it looks the same after a couple hundred. Those guns I don't even bother trying to get it out.

  12. #12
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    dropping at 356 is no doubt a big part of your problem. I wont even fool with a 9mm bullet unless it can be sized to at least 357 with good sizing contact all the way around it. Not just something a 357 sizer lick the sides of.
    Quote Originally Posted by browning35 View Post
    The bullets are dropping .356 to.3565 from the mould with this particular alloy. I have a LEE Lead Hardness tester and I have verified the BHN of my cast bullets being 10.5 and the commercial cast ones as being BHN 11. I also have the equivalent of lyman #2 on hand and I will try casting some air cooled and water quenched bullets with this alloy to see if I can get different results. I have a good supply of tin based babbitt metal as well I could make the alloy even harder if needed. My barrel slugs at .355. I currently have a Lyman/RCBS .356 and .357 sizing dies. Will the expander plug from my 38 special dies work for sizing my 9mm brass?

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    Several things.. larger diameter and second check the fps. You probably want to stay under 1000fps unless your using a gas check. Harder alloy isn't necessary. I've shot straight lead that was properly sized and wasn't squeezed down when loaded. My results were no leading. So far I have tried straight lead on 9mm, 38/357, 45acp,and 45 LC with no leading. So don't exceed 1000fps and size properly.

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    The leading is gray and slight buildup on the grooves about 3/4" from the muzzle

  15. #15
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Yep, bigger boolit, ease up the load a bit or different lube.

    Fit is king, try that first. Then try playing with alloy/load/lube variables.

    My Hipoint carbines and my buddy's Beretta 92fs do fine with .356.
    My Hipoint C9 needed .358 or bigger to stop keyholing and tighten up groups.

    When I tried .359-.360 124 gr .38 special/.357 mag boolits I found the accuracy I was looking for. Groups were half the size of Federal fmj's. With no leading. Shooting an alloy almost exactly the same as yours.

    Fit first, be sure, make sure they are not swagged down in the loading process.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    with very few exceptions, maximum powder loads rarely are the most accurate.

    i never shoot the max.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Phlier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by browning35 View Post
    The bullets are dropping .356 to.3565 from the mould with this particular alloy. I have a LEE Lead Hardness tester and I have verified the BHN of my cast bullets being 10.5 and the commercial cast ones as being BHN 11. I also have the equivalent of lyman #2 on hand and I will try casting some air cooled and water quenched bullets with this alloy to see if I can get different results. I have a good supply of tin based babbitt metal as well I could make the alloy even harder if needed. My barrel slugs at .355. I currently have a Lyman/RCBS .356 and .357 sizing dies. Will the expander plug from my 38 special dies work for sizing my 9mm brass?
    Lyman #2 alloy should give you the largest boolits your mold will cast. You'll likely see an increase of .0005 to .001 in cast boolit diameter.

    One thing that is very important to find out is whether or not your brass is swaging down the boolit diameter. It doesn't matter a lick if your boolits are dropping from the mold at .360 if your brass is swaging it down to .354 (or even smaller)

    As for an expander plug, guys say that the .38 S&W is plug and play for 9mm case expanding. You can also use a Lee Universal Flare Die with an NOE expander plug (This is the route I took).

    Lee Universal Flare Die: http://leeprecision.com/universal-ca...nding-die.html

    NOE .360/.356 Expander: http://noebulletmolds.com/NV/product...oducts_id=1130
    "Things sure are a lot more like the way they are now than they used to be." --Yogi Berra

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    that sounds more like the antimonial wash Lloyd was mentioning than leading.
    it's just a light grey colored haze in the barrel.

    your boolit is going through a transition in that area.
    the powder pressure is dropping off and isn't pushing on the boolit as hard.
    I call it the relax point.

    you could take a q-tip and some atf or 2 stroke and swish it [like a super thin coat] in the barrel right there before shooting next time.
    shoot a couple [magazine] and look again.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Sur-shot's Avatar
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    One thing that was discovered here at Eglin AFB when the testing of the 9mm was done is that the European version of the 9mm is not accurate, the case is a straight taper, the bullet is a tea cup design, the bearing surface is about 1/8 inch long with the skirt reduced by the case's crimp. For a caster it is necessary to straighten the case and only crimp to a straight side. I use a profile or taper crimp to accomplish this task, in my 9mm Major loads with a 160gr RN Cast 38 Stupid bullet. I had a Taurus 92 based comp gun with a straight chamber. You should make sure your chamber is cut to take such a cartridge setup. The crimp die is the key to stopping the leading, as has been ascertained, the bullets are being sized by the as manufactured standard 9mm crimp die, inside the case, when the Euro taper is put back on that case.
    Ed
    "Let us speak courteously, fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready."
    Teddy Roosevelt, May 13, 1903

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Use the fattest bullet that will allow easy chambering of a cartridge. This will probably be .358", but could be .357" or .359". Don't worry about bore dimensions. Taper crimp only enough to keep the bullet in place under recoil; no more. WW alloy will work fine if the bullet fit is right, unless you want to push the load real hard. Bullet lube makes far less difference than many realize. With the right bullet fit, just about any lube will work and work well. If in doubt between hard and soft lube, go with soft. Many criticize half & half as being messy, and it is, but it generally works at least as well as anything else for most purposes.

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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