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Thread: 9mm Profile for P38

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    9mm Profile for P38

    I'm working with a cool old P38. First attempts at cast boolit loads are no good. At an COL that kerplunks ok, it is too short to feed. Inconsistent failures to feed. Factory ball ammo at traditional COL feeds and cycles fine.

    Bullet profile was a Lee 356-125-2R. Freebore is almost nil. This gun likes a longer COL to feel properly from the mag (tip-in angle). Factory ball ammo runs fine.

    Here's what I think, and I'd love some advice or thought. I believe a longer/thinner profile like a truncated cone might be the ticket to help with tip-in.

    Looking at the Lee 356-120-TC.

    or maybe the Lyman 356402

    What say you?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    marlin39a's Avatar
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    I run the Noe 358-124 TC GC in my P-38, and Luger. They like them hot. Both those boolits should work.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I grew up shooting the LYMAN #356402 cast of LINOTYPE, sized .356DIA. Many 1,000's were shot in WW2 P-38's & various LUGERS. Even a BIG RED 9 Broomhandle. Plus S&W Model 39's & Hi-Power's. Always at MAX LOADS.

    JUST MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GOOD MAGAZINES !!!!
    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    How did you determine the cartridge OAL? Did you use the cast and lubed bullet, or are you powder coating which will increase the nose diameter and require you seat deeper into the case?

    What is the powder and charge weight? If you are under powered, the slide is not moving back as far and might be altering the cycle time and thus try to return to battery before the nose of the bullet is in the correct position. Specifically, what is the "failure to feed"? Sticking the nose on the ramp? Not picking up a fresh round? Sticking the nose on the top of the barrel hood?

    Along with this, does the case eject to about the same position as the factory rounds? If it falls short, you might consider loading a little faster, if your book data will allow for that. Again, the powder and charge might be informative. What book are you using for your cast bullet data? More information will usually be helpful. Dusty

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    rintinglen's Avatar
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    The LEE Conventional 356-120 TC has worked well for me in a 1938 Mauser MFG Luger as well as several other more modern guns. Run them warm, near or at Max loads for best results in the old guns, which is contrary to the usual advice, but when I started working up loads in mine, the recommended start loads were an invite to a jam fest--and I didn't like that music at all. Unique worked best, though nowadays I would likely use Power Pistol which has become a favorite for me in the 9mm, since the bad old days under Obama when old favorites couldn't be had.
    _________________________________________________It's not that I can't spell: it is that I can't type.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master




    bruce drake's Avatar
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    It was designed for a Truncated Cone bullet profile if I remember the history on that cartridge's development in the Post WWI timeframe. http://cartridgecollectors.org/docum...Cartridges.pdf

    I prefer to shoot TC bullets in all my 9mm semi-auto pistols.
    I Cast my Boolits, Therefore I am Happy.
    Bona Fide member of the Jeff Brown Hunt Club

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dusty Bannister View Post
    How did you determine the cartridge OAL? Did you use the cast and lubed bullet, or are you powder coating which will increase the nose diameter and require you seat deeper into the case?

    What is the powder and charge weight? If you are under powered, the slide is not moving back as far and might be altering the cycle time and thus try to return to battery before the nose of the bullet is in the correct position. Specifically, what is the "failure to feed"? Sticking the nose on the ramp? Not picking up a fresh round? Sticking the nose on the top of the barrel hood?

    Along with this, does the case eject to about the same position as the factory rounds? If it falls short, you might consider loading a little faster, if your book data will allow for that. Again, the powder and charge might be informative. What book are you using for your cast bullet data? More information will usually be helpful. Dusty
    Good questions. Yes. Should have included more data.

    PC bullets. Sneaked down on COL until a consistent kerplunk.

    Cases eject similarly to factory ball. Did not chrony the factory ball ammo. Charges of Hercules Unique from mid to high 4s runs 1050ish to 1100ish. I think I have enough recoil impulse.

    Same loads cycle a Norinco 213 (an interesting pistol) flawlessly. Different gun geometry though.

    Nose-up jam into the hood of the barrel.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I appreciate the input guys. Thank you very much.

    A 6 cav Lee TC mold is en route. I'll let you know how it goes.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

    gwpercle's Avatar
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    My 1944 cyq Walther P38 , although lacking the finely finished surfaces of earlier manufactured P38's actually will feed, fire and eject everything. I did replace the recoil springs and magazine spring with new Wolff's springs. The following boolits have all worked: all boolts sized .357 and no tumble lube designs , TL design did not work in mine.

    Lee 105 gr. SWC
    Lee 120 gr. TC
    Lee 125 2R RN
    NOE 124 gr. TC GC

    The 105 gr. Lee SWC shoots to the fixed sights POA with a moderate load of 4.7 grs. Unique, very accurate load.
    The trouble I had was with new guns...tight chambers, little or no throats...the old P38 only needed a load with enough powder to reliably cycle the action...boolit profile and seating depth was not a problem at all.
    Gary
    Certified Cajun
    Proud Member of The Basket of Deplorables

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    Nov 2017
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    The best, and my most favorite 9mm bullet of all time is the RCBS, 125 grain 9mm gas check bullet.
    .
    Sadly;
    it's painfully slow to cast,
    and,
    it's a pain to size, and apply the gas check...

    But,
    once loaded, they are plenty accurate enough, and they feed through any 9mm magazine, slick as a whistle.

    I shot a ton of those, ( 4.2 grains of bullseye ), through my old Beretta 92, until I just got tired of casting, sizing, gas checking, etc...
    .
    One day at a gravel pit, I set the sights of that 9mm, on a aluminum can and shot 1, ....the can tilted a little, I then shot 4 more, but, the can did not fall down.

    Thinking to self, "I am pretty hot with this gun, how did I miss all 5 ?"

    Turns out I didn't miss at all, ... fact is, I hit all five, but the energy transfer was so low, with those pointy 9mm bullets, that they passed right through the thin aluminum, the can simply did not fall down.

    5 neat little round holes, in that pop can, .......through and through, ....the can just sat there as if it didn't not even feel it.
    .
    .
    My favorite 9mm bullet is now an LBT 125 pb;
    it's fast to cast,
    no gas check,
    has a big flat nose,
    will knock down anything I shoot at,

    and,

    it feeds great in my model 19 Glock.

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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