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Thread: Help me decide on a new 9mm mold?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Help me decide on a new 9mm mold?

    Hey guys--

    I cast and shoot 9mm through my M&P and have absolutely loved shooting accurate bullets for less than a nickel a round. My first (and currently only) 9mm mold was the Lee 6 cavity 124 grain round nose tumble lube design. It was working pretty well in my short-barreled Shield, but when I went to the full-size, I'm getting leading that I can't seem to escape. I've checked all the usual culprits and ruled them out (bullets are not undersized, not being swaged by brass during seating/crimping, not too soft or too hard, not being fired too hot, not out of round, and I'm powder coating so it shouldn't be a lube problem).

    As near as I can tell, the problem is that all my powder coating is scraping off the sides of the boolit before it reaches the end of the barrel, as I have moderate leading only in the last about 1.5" of my muzzle. The rest of the barrel is squeaky clean. Reading up, I'm far from the first person to have issues with this mold, even powder coating. I will note that I'm not getting tumbling or keyholing like some others have reported, and my rounds are very accurate. But the leading will not go away no matter what I try.

    So I'm looking at trying a new mold.

    Right now it's between the Lee .358" 105Gr SWC, or the Lee .356" 120Gr TC. I've been really happy with the 124 grain weight so far. The point of impact seems right on where it should be (my POI on 115 grain factory ammo usually seems low). I also like the idea of going from a round nose to a TC. Hopefully this gives me cleaner holes in the paper, since I'm primarily target shooting.

    But the SWC design has the advantage of coming out of the mold a little larger, so I will probably not have to mess with the mold to get boolits big enough. It also lets me stretch my lead further since it's lighter, and therefore probably my powder will stretch further too, and I'll have more pleasant recoil. May also give me even cleaner holes in paper than the TC. My biggest concern here is that this bullet is too light to shoot accurately and/or give me a really low POI. I virtually never shoot further than 25 yards with my M&P though, so if it can be an accurate boolit out that far, I'm happy.

    Looking for people who have experience with one or both of these molds to help me make a decision. All opinions welcome. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    You might try "Beageling" the mold about +.001 on the diameter and/ or adding standard bullet lube to your coated bolts.
    Getting old is the best you can hope for.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    Simple solution, get into PC (Powder Coating) An easy way to add diameter to your boolits and get away from messy lube -- plus it's safer than lube, once you powder coat the boolits you are no longer touching lead and PC won't gum up your dies or dry out and crack.

    You also won't have to enlarge your mold.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...ange-PC-method

  4. #4
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    grmps .. he mentions he is already powdercoating

    .356 will NOT be large enough for most 9 MM to eliminate leading .
    9MM seems to be one of the hardest to get a good non leading load
    If your pistol will chamber it I would size to .358 or even .359
    my sig p250 required 359 before I got a good non leading load
    several glocks were also cured at 359 sizing
    I carry a Nuke50 because cleaning up the mess is Silly !!

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  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have ruled out improper sizing as a cause here. Barrel slugged at .357 and I'm sizing to .358.

  6. #6
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    I hate to say it but if your barrel slugs at .357 .358 is probably too small
    I believe you would be well served to try some powdercoated bullets sized at .359
    I carry a Nuke50 because cleaning up the mess is Silly !!

    http://www.bing.com/search?q=nuke50&...7ADE&FORM=QBLH

    Selling Hi Quality Powdercoating Powder

    PULSAR night vision and thermal dealer !!!
    PM me for a good deal

    I am not crazy my mom had me tested

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    and depending on the day I might just step over that line !!!

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Hey, I'll try anything at this point

    Still intend to pick up some clear powder coat from you BTW, but I just finished my first ever AR build, and my wife is still reeling from the sticker shock I think. Seems prudent to let things sit a while before spending any more money on gun-related pursuits

    Thanks for the advice. I'll try .359 and see if it helps. Probs just try sizing first, then coating and not sizing afterwards to see if I can hit .359 without lapping my mold cavities.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master flyingmonkey35's Avatar
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    I recommend going with a Grove less design for PC. Or at very least a grease groove deisgin.

    My thought s on the tumble lube design is you have a lot more ridges on the bullet to get caught on something.

    You may also have a burr in the rifling causing the PC to tear. PC is not easy to shave off. Gas port designs love to do this.

    Your alloy could be too hard and not allowing for proper deformation of the bullet on the grooves.

    If you run a dry cotton ball threw your barrel dose it get caught on anything? Srtingy etc..






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  9. #9
    Boolit Master flyingmonkey35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flyingmonkey35 View Post
    I recommend going with a Grove less design for PC. Or at very least a grease groove deisgin.

    My thought s on the tumble lube design is you have a lot more ridges on the bullet to get caught on something.

    You may also have a burr in the rifling causing the PC to tear. PC is not easy to shave off. Gas port designs love to do this.

    Your alloy could be too hard and not allowing for proper deformation of the bullet on the grooves.

    If you run a dry cotton ball threw your barrel dose it get caught on anything? Srtingy etc..






    Sent from my N9560 using Tapatalk
    One more thought. Try lowering the powder amount in your load. It could be too hot for the barrel length causing gassing

    Sent from my N9560 using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    You might try the Lee 358-125 RF to see of it performs for you. I have every mold you've listed except the 124 TL. I started out with the 356-125 RN over 30 years ago. My mold drops at .358 and I size to .358 which has worked for the 10+ 9mm weapons I've owned over the years. I also used it extensively in a 38/357 and have cast over 600,000 boolits with that mold. Had to rebuild the sprue plate screw a time or two. I now powder coat but shot many many thousands of rounds lubed with Javalina. The only time I had leading was when I tried a .357 sizer and had keyholes at 15 feet. I traded that sizing die. I extensively use Unique, but for a time W231/HP28, Bullseye, and Titegroup. I always go back to 5 grains of Unique as it gives a predictable gas volume and pressure pulse so even though I PC now, and that reduces pressure, it does not reduce velocity. BTW, I have several 9mm carbines and lubed or PCd, I have not had any leading with 50/50 WW/soft lead, range scrap, or stick on WW. I just prefer tumble powder coating because it works, is clean, and easy.
    Common sense Gun Safety . . .

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  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Good advice everyone, thank you.

    I'm going to see if I can eliminate leading by going to .359" as Smoke suggested.

    I did examine my loads as potential cause of leading, but I'm not convinced that's the case. These are fairly light target loads. My 9mm groups best with 4.0 grains of W231 or 3.9 grains of Bullseye. I'm not chronoing, but expect I'm somewhere in the 950 FPS range. Most recently I've had good luck with 3.5 grains of AA#2, but nothing so far has beat out 4.0 grains of W231 in my gun, so once I use up all my Bullseye, that's where I'll be going back to. Leading seemed less bad with W231 compared to Bullseye, and I wonder if the fast-burning Bullseye is causing more pressure than the W231 and exacerbating existing problems.

    Either way, if sizing to .359" doesn't solve my issue, I will definitely be buying a new mold.

    My first pick is the 105 gr SWC, *IF* it can be fired accurately out to 25 yards. Was hoping to hear from people who used that mold about their results. If 105 is too light to get good accuracy in 9mm, then I think my next pick is the 120gr TC.

    I do suspect that if it's not a sizing issue, my leading problems do have something to do with the profile of the bullet. As you know, TL bullets have a lot of very small lube grooves, and I can see that shearing off more easily than a large band of lead at the same .359 diameter. Dunno, this is more gut feeling than anything else. Will continue to test and find my holy grail for lead-free 9mm shooting.

  12. #12
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    BHuij I would load one dummy first and make sure it will fully chamber before loading any actual rds
    Hate to see you go thru a whole bunch of work for nothing
    I carry a Nuke50 because cleaning up the mess is Silly !!

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    Selling Hi Quality Powdercoating Powder

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    PM me for a good deal

    I am not crazy my mom had me tested

    Theres a fine line between genius and crazy .. I'm that line
    and depending on the day I might just step over that line !!!

  13. #13
    Boolit Mold
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    I still haven't found an OAL that feeds and chambers properly for me with the 105gr SWC. Too long and the shoulder prevents it from fully chambering. Too short and it nose dives or gets hung up on the ramp and doesn't feed reliably. I suppose I could throat the barrel and load it long, but the 120TC runs like champ for me, so why bother? We'll save the 105s for a different application.

    Should say that I don't have an M&P though, so YMMV.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy Drew P's Avatar
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    I thought loading hot was a help in reducing leading with coated bullets?

    I was having a tough time on the glock 19 until I discovered my coating wasn’t totally cured. My oven was a bit cooler than I thought. I never understood how a harder Lead would control leading though.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew P View Post
    I was having a tough time on the glock 19 until I discovered my coating wasn’t totally cured. My oven was a bit cooler than I thought.
    This is something that hadn't occurred to me. Everyone talks about PC being hard enough to stay as a consistent coating even if you flatten the bullet with a hammer. I haven't ever tried that with mine, but sometimes even the seating die leaves a ring on it through which I can see bare lead.

    I actually just bought an oven thermometer specifically to test my toaster oven temp, but that's just because I saw one cheap and figured I might as well. Never considered that my PC was actually under-curing and contributing to my leading, but the symptoms of my leading are indicative of the coating working perfectly for about the first 3" of bore...

    Thanks for the tip. Will give this a shot.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy



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    all good info here - shot my first pc rounds yesterday at the range in three calibers - 9mm 38 and 357 - absolutely no leading in any of the barrels. Looking for a mold for 9 and 38 and the info here is helping me decide on the one i want to purchase.
    Thanks

  17. #17
    Boolit Mold
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    Hello BHuji, I was having this issue also and I noticed you mention W231. My load is very similar as I am using two tumble lube bullets that are PC lee 124 TC tumble lube boolit and the NOE TL135 RG2. I never had issues before, I was using 4gr of Unique. Since switching to W231 I started leading. According to quickload 3.9gr is at or near max pressures for boolits that are 16BHN.
    I solved this for now and dropped my charge of 4.2gr to 3.6grs of W231 and my current alloy is 20bhn using wheel weights.
    Elvis ammo uses a low heat method to PC. What Ive been doing is the opposite; PC your boolit then bake bullets at 420* for 20 min, immediately after dunk them in ice water. You will heat treat and PC your boolits and achieve near 23 bhn with WW. Ive gotten 30 BHN using Lyman #2 with this method. PC will be a little darker but will be fully cured. I would try this before investing in a sizing die. I'm .001 over bore diameter without issues atm

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acidia609 View Post
    Hello BHuji, I was having this issue also and I noticed you mention W231. My load is very similar as I am using two tumble lube bullets that are PC lee 124 TC tumble lube boolit and the NOE TL135 RG2. I never had issues before, I was using 4gr of Unique. Since switching to W231 I started leading. According to quickload 3.9gr is at or near max pressures for boolits that are 16BHN.
    I solved this for now and dropped my charge of 4.2gr to 3.6grs of W231 and my current alloy is 20bhn using wheel weights.
    Elvis ammo uses a low heat method to PC. What Ive been doing is the opposite; PC your boolit then bake bullets at 420* for 20 min, immediately after dunk them in ice water. You will heat treat and PC your boolits and achieve near 23 bhn with WW. Ive gotten 30 BHN using Lyman #2 with this method. PC will be a little darker but will be fully cured. I would try this before investing in a sizing die. I'm .001 over bore diameter without issues atm
    Good info. I've found so much conflicting information about what ranges of BHN you actually get from WW alloy. I realize it varies, but while you're saying you can get 23BHN with water quenching, I have other people who have sworn to me that WW alloy, quenched or not, will never be harder than about 15 BHN. Then there's the fact that BHN fluctuates a bit over the first few weeks after casting before it really "stabilizes" and holds still. I'm thinking for me, it's probably a good idea to just buy a hardness tester so I can stop guessing about this particular variable and just know for sure.

    Weirdly enough I got a lot more leading after buying a pound of Bullseye than I ever did with my go-to of 4.0gr W231. When I was shooting my Shield with the shorter barrel, I had no leading with W231 or Bullseye, but my full size leads near the muzzle. Already have the sizing die, and I'm sizing to .358" which is 0.001 over bore diameter for my M&P. I know Bullseye is a very fast powder compared to W231, and suspect that the high pressures generated are probably contributing to the problem.

    As of right now though, I think my most likely list of suspects goes something like this:

    1) PC not fully cured. Will test as soon as I make any new boolits to PC.
    2) Still undersized. Will slug barrel again.
    3) ??? (Try a new mold at this point)

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    This outfit makes molds for pc bullets. http://arsenalmolds.com/products?product_id=150

  20. #20
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    I assume you are using ACWW alloy. Fast powder = leading. BE is one problem, the TL design is the other. Pressure drops in the longer barrel and dumps crud. That's why it's OK in the shorter barrel. Spiky pressure gas cuts (even with PC) but blows the crud down the barrel til the pressure is low enough then it gets dumped & overrun by the next round. Stick with the 231. Sizing first, then PC may help, gets more PC on the TL area.
    Whatever!

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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