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Thread: Best dies for 9mm

  1. #41
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    Got PC from smoke, one step closer to making this work! Waiting on resizing dies still. I think Im hooked!

  2. #42
    Boolit Buddy Phlier's Avatar
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    Nice! That's a very well done photograph.
    "Things sure are a lot more like the way they are now than they used to be." --Yogi Berra

  3. #43
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    Your probably going to get 100 people telling you which dies are their favorites and you will have people that love LEE, RCBS, Dillon, Hornady, and others. There is no "best" die in my opinion. My opinion is quality costs more money quality my opinion again equates to the possibility of better accuracy. Last opinion is to buy once and buy good. In other words don't settle for a set of cheap dies when you really wanted a set of "XYZ " dies. I have Dillon, RCBS, and Redding dies. All work well. The real test is when something goes wrong and a die gets screwed up which happened to me with a set of Redding dies. I got on the phone to them and no problem they sent me what I had screwed up at no charge.

    The Dillon's work well and the newer versions come apart for easy cleaning while maintaining the setting. Sometimes I setup a Dillon 550 press with a combination of Hornady powder measure and RCBS and dillon dies. I also have competition Rifle Die Sets from RCBS for 22-250 and .308 and I find the micrometer setting a necessity in achieving extremely accurate ammunition.

    Some here like Lee and well whatever works I guess. I personally do not like the quality of the Lee product as opposed to say RCBS. I purchased a 9mm Lee taper crimp die which was hell on my cases. I purchased a RCBS taper crimp die and you couldn't tell any case wear at all.

    What it boils down to is your going to have to satisfy yourself instead of listening and or reading 100's of different accounts from people you don't know claiming to know more than anyone else telling you to buy a specific brand.

    Its simply a question of how much you want to spend for a lot of people and for me its an all out question of quality and what I can live with. I have 5 sets of 9mm dies and that breaks down to two sets of Dillon and 3 sets of RCBS. I have two Dillon presses and one Lyman T-Mag press.

  4. #44
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    I got my resizers today. Sized the 150 or so PCed boolits I have to .358. Made a dummy round with a light crimp on a 1.002" OAL and it did not plunk. I could push the bullet down into the throat with my thumb with moderate pressure. Sized one down to .357 and same thing except it took very little pressure to push the bullet into the throat. Do I need to send my barrel to Dougguy to open the throat up a bit? This is a factory Glock barrel, the one they say you cant shoot cast boolits through. Maybe I should consider another barrel instead of putting money into this one.

  5. #45
    Boolit Buddy Phlier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bashby View Post
    I got my resizers today. Sized the 150 or so PCed boolits I have to .358. Made a dummy round with a light crimp on a 1.002" OAL and it did not plunk. I could push the bullet down into the throat with my thumb with moderate pressure. Sized one down to .357 and same thing except it took very little pressure to push the bullet into the throat. Do I need to send my barrel to Dougguy to open the throat up a bit? This is a factory Glock barrel, the one they say you cant shoot cast boolits through. Maybe I should consider another barrel instead of putting money into this one.
    Yup, that's about the only real option if you want to shoot cast in that barrel.

    Also, be careful with that OAL... that sounds awful short to me. What weight is the boolit? I could see getting that short with lighter (115gr and less) weights, but to give you an idea, I'm at 1.125 OAL with a 124gr 2r round nose.

    You *could* try to go down to .356, and maybe powder coating will come to the rescue and keep you from getting leading problems, but there aren't a lot of guys that are able to get .356 cast boolits to work well in 9mm.
    "Things sure are a lot more like the way they are now than they used to be." --Yogi Berra

  6. #46
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    Its a 105 gr swc. Lee 358-105 mold.

  7. #47
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    If I have the throat opened up, are there any negatives like when I shoot jacketed bullets?

  8. #48
    Boolit Buddy Phlier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bashby View Post
    If I have the throat opened up, are there any negatives like when I shoot jacketed bullets?
    Not that I'm aware of, but Doug would be the one that would know for sure. It's opening the throat only, so it shouldn't effect the way that the gun operates with different ammo at all, merely give you the option of using wider projectiles than before.

    You're positive that you crimped (to the point of removing flare) the rounds?
    Last edited by Phlier; 11-16-2019 at 08:13 AM.
    "Things sure are a lot more like the way they are now than they used to be." --Yogi Berra

  9. #49
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    I got the 38 s&w expander but just used the 9mm one to make my dummy rounds. I can start my .358" boolits in the mouth of the case. If I take an expanded case, no boolit, and drop it in the chamber it falls all the way in and solidly plunks. I am pretty sure it is the boolit not going in the throat I am experincing.

    I just measured my dmmy round at the case mouth and an expanded empty that plunks and the dummy is .001 smaller.

  10. #50
    Boolit Buddy Phlier's Avatar
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    Some guys have had success with powder coated .356 boolits in 9mm, but most 9mm barrels require either .357 or .358 to work without leading issues. You could give .356 a shot... if it works for you, great. If not, it looks like getting the throat reamed is going to be the only way you'll get that barrel to work with cast boolits.

    Given the testing that you have done, I'd be willing to bet that you have accurately diagnosed the problem to be the throat. : / There are some nice aftermarket Glock barrels out there that are worth considering. I've also not read one bad thing about DougGuy's work. So at least there are options.
    "Things sure are a lot more like the way they are now than they used to be." --Yogi Berra

  11. #51
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    Hey Bashby, there's one other thing that you could consider...

    I just took a look at the boolit you're casting...I had completely missed your post:
    Quote Originally Posted by Bashby View Post
    Its a 105 gr swc. Lee 358-105 mold.
    You're using a semi-wadcutter design. SWC's aren't universally used in the 9mm community, and you're bumping into one of the reasons why; the boolit shape.

    If you go to the local store and buy 9mm ammo, you'll see FMJ, round nose hollow points, truncated cones, and round nose plated. Yet you won't find (now just because I said "won't find" someone will find some ) SWC's. If you do manage to find some SWC's in 9mm, they're probably meant to be shot in a 929, which is a revolver.

    They just don't play well in the wide variety of 9mm chambers you'll find out there.

    IMO, if you change to a different boolit design, you have a much better chance of getting one that'll fit your throat. That SWC is extending that full .358 diameter much farther up the total length of the boolit than a round nose or a truncated cone would, leaving a large amount of that full diameter sticking out above the case mouth.

    The boolit I shoot, which I hesitate to mention here because it's so controversial, ends it's full diameter at approximately the half length of the boolit shaft. All but just a few thousandths of the full .358 diameter are stuck in the case mouth... very little (as I said, just a few thousandths) of the full .358 diameter protrude past the mouth of the case. That part of the projectile that protrudes past the case mouth is *significantly* narrower in diameter. And it's this part of the boolit that's causing your throat to choke.. literally. So as long as you can get a .358 sized piece of brass to "plunk" in your gun, the chances are very, very high that you'll get a boolit that has little to none full .358 diameter boolit sticking out past the case mouth to plunk as well.

    I would be happy to send you a few of my preciouses to load up and try in your gun. I'd (almost) be willing to bet real American Pesos that my boolit will fit your gun's throat, even if sized to .358.

    Edit to add: OK, I'll break down and tell you the boolit I'm shooting... I'm shooting the (in)famous Lee TL356-124-2R. This boolit gained a nasty reputation here and on many other forums. Guys have had horrible issues with this boolit, ranging from horrible leading to life ending cancer. I ran into most of those problems along the way, too, which is actually why I've accumulated so much knowledge about casting and loading the 9mm. I was finally able to fine tune this boolit with great help from this and other forums, and I love it very, very much. Especially when it's powder coated. Powder coating tames the wild and wily Lee boolit like nothing else. I get zero leading and fantastic accuracy from it.

    If I had it to do over again, I'd pick the non TL version of Lee's 124 gr truncated cone if I was on a budget, but if the wife was feeling particularly generous, I'd buy the no lube groove Hi-Tec that currently has a group buy going on. On both of these designs, very little of the full diameter of the boolit extends past the case mouth.

    Anyway, I'm serious about the offer to send some boolits your way... and not at too high of a velocity. You have a variety to choose from, too. I can send them to you unsized, not powder coated, or sized to either .356, .357, or .358. Mix and match to your heart's content... if you want a few unsized, and un powder coated, and a few powder coated but not sized, and a few powder coated and sized to .356, plus a few that are .357, etc. etc. You get the idea.
    Last edited by Phlier; 11-16-2019 at 02:56 PM.
    "Things sure are a lot more like the way they are now than they used to be." --Yogi Berra

  12. #52
    Whats your secret with this boolit? I bought this mold when things were crazy a few years ago when any thing was hard to get. I haven't cast any boolits from it because of the bad reviews. I just put my name in for one of the group buys for a boolit with no grooves. Thanks Don

  13. #53
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    Heres a copy/paste of a post I made a while back that explains why I am trying to get the swc to work. I know its an uphill battle but figured Id give it a shot.

    "Thanks for all the advice. My intentions for right now are to try to get some SWCs to work in my Glock 17 sized Polymer80. Once I get to casting who knows what i will get into. The reason for the SWC is that Ive been doing a 2x4 shoot at my local club where two of us stand at 15 yards and shoot a 2x4 in half for the fastest time. Everyone else is using larger calibers cuz big holes are better, but it seems that even with a .45 when using a RN bullet damage is way less than a SWC. The smart thing to do would be to get a .45, but what fun is that? If I can get S wCs to run reliably and they perform like I hope they will, quicker follow up shots should be possible. Im considering downloading and possibly running a lighter return spring.

    ETA: planning on powder coating also."

    I was planning on getting a mold for something more foregiving, just concentrating on the swc for now.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by sagebrush rebel View Post
    Whats your secret with this boolit? I bought this mold when things were crazy a few years ago when any thing was hard to get. I haven't cast any boolits from it because of the bad reviews. I just put my name in for one of the group buys for a boolit with no grooves. Thanks Don
    Do you mean the SWC or the one Phil is talking about?

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by sagebrush rebel View Post
    Whats your secret with this boolit? I bought this mold when things were crazy a few years ago when any thing was hard to get. I haven't cast any boolits from it because of the bad reviews. I just put my name in for one of the group buys for a boolit with no grooves. Thanks Don
    IMO, powder coating takes a ton out of the learning curve for this boolit. Some other tips...

    For the best accuracy, load it to as long of an OAL as your gun will allow.

    Slower burning powders work best with it (I'm currently using CFE-Pistol)

    Start by sizing 0.001 over what your barrel slugs at

    Slug your barrel

    Use either a .38 S&W expander, or NOE's .356/.360 expander plug

    I've had best results with alloy hardness in the range of BHN 14-16, although powder coating has allowed me to go down to BHN 12 without any problems. I haven't tried going softer than that... yet.

    If after increasing to the max OAL that your gun will allow you still need better accuracy, change the boolit speed. One of my guns likes that boolit fast, another slow, and the third really doesn't care. So I can't say "Increase the boolit speed for better accuracy," but rather just "change speeds until you get the accuracy you want."

    Here's my current pet load, but I'm posting this for reference only... I'm not saying that it's safe, accurate, or anything else... just what I'm currently using. If you decide to use it, do so at your own risk.

    Lee TL356-124-2R

    OAL: 1.125-1.130

    Powder: 4.6 gr CFE-Pistol

    Primer: CCI 500

    Boolit Diameter: 0.358

    Expander Plug: either .38 S&W or NOE's .356/.360 (depends on what press I'm currently loading on). Case is expanded to just below where the bottom of the boolit seats

    Crimp: Taper crimp just to the point where the flare is removed. Do not over crimp this boolit. This will be ~ .380 mouth measurement, depending on the thickness of the brass you're using.

    Powder coated with Smoke's powder, and sized to .358 after powder coating.

    If you do not want to powder coat, Ben's Liquid Lube (at least the old formula.. haven't tried the new) works very well as a tumble lube. After TL'ing and the lube has dried, tumbling again with 1/4 tsp of mica powder per 300 boolits will remove any stickiness. And if you can stand the smell of it when you're shooting, straight Alox works very well as long as you heat the alox until it's the thickness of whole milk, and applying such a thin coat that you can just barely see it. Warming the boolits to the point that you can just stand to hold them prior to Alox'ing them helps a lot, too. 1/2 teaspoon per 300 boolits is plenty for either Alox or BLL.

    If an OAL of 1.125 is too long for your gun, please be very careful... seating the boolit deeper will result in much higher pressures. You will need to change your powder charge appropriately.
    Last edited by Phlier; 11-16-2019 at 04:39 PM.
    "Things sure are a lot more like the way they are now than they used to be." --Yogi Berra

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bashby View Post
    Heres a copy/paste of a post I made a while back that explains why I am trying to get the swc to work. I know its an uphill battle but figured Id give it a shot.

    "Thanks for all the advice. My intentions for right now are to try to get some SWCs to work in my Glock 17 sized Polymer80. Once I get to casting who knows what i will get into. The reason for the SWC is that Ive been doing a 2x4 shoot at my local club where two of us stand at 15 yards and shoot a 2x4 in half for the fastest time. Everyone else is using larger calibers cuz big holes are better, but it seems that even with a .45 when using a RN bullet damage is way less than a SWC. The smart thing to do would be to get a .45, but what fun is that? If I can get S wCs to run reliably and they perform like I hope they will, quicker follow up shots should be possible. Im considering downloading and possibly running a lighter return spring.

    ETA: planning on powder coating also."

    I was planning on getting a mold for something more foregiving, just concentrating on the swc for now.
    That's what I get for skimming through the thread too fast... I completely blew past that part. IMO, a cast hollow point would be best for shredding 2X4's. Cast it with a bit harder of an alloy than what you'd typically use for a hunting HP. Not *too* much hader, though, or the boolit will just break apart on impact. If you're not using an expanding boolit, though, I really don't think that you'll see much of a difference in lumber shredding ability between the various non-expanding boolit designs. Although I must say it would be fun to retrieve a few of my Lee 356-124-2R's that have gone through a 2X4... I wouldn't be too surprised to see that round nose collapse down and expand all the way down to the drive bands.

    Now you have me so curious that I think I'm gonna be shooting some lumber today...

    The offer for some of my boolits still stand... I'd like to see what you think not just of the boolit itself, but on its lumber shredding abilities.
    Last edited by Phlier; 11-16-2019 at 04:55 PM.
    "Things sure are a lot more like the way they are now than they used to be." --Yogi Berra

  17. #57
    Thanks for all your help and information. I will try it out. Thanks Don

  18. #58
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    As a question for you folks on resizing dies, I have the Lee sizer and it seems to require a decent amount of force to use. Is that typical of any of the other dies? I've heard of people lubing 9mm and I know it's a tapered case unlike sizing say my .357 brass but still wondering if there's a better way.

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdi View Post
    I have 9mm reloading dies from 3 different manufacturers (bargains, freebies, etc.) and I don't think you'd go wrong with any from the major die manufacturers. But, and this is my opinion only; don't bother with a Lee FDC for handgun cartridges. There is no need to resize the cartridge after seating/crimping. If there are bulges on the cartridge or it doesn't plunk correctly, find out why and fix it. Mostly just a die adjustment will suffice...
    Can you please explain how to adjust to the die to get rid of the bulge in the seated cartridge? That doesn't make any sense to me, the only way I can think to do is size bullet smaller. I find especially the problem is not the bulge itself if it forms evenly on all sides but its the fact that it tends to form on one side. The only way I could fix it was to to buy Lee FCD and yeah, not very happy with brass particles it leaves behind but what to do? I am having same problem with 45 ACP now but it's even more sensitive as case gauge won't pass bunch of bullets sized to .452, at least with 9mm I can size them down a little bit more.

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelguns 1961 View Post
    I prefer rcbs dies, but I have all kinds. They all work. In 9mm, I use a lee universal expanding die with a noe expander plug for loading oversized cast bullets. I think I also use a redding taper crimp die in 9mm. Canít remember right now.
    Just recently I was using NOE expander plug and noticed that it was getting harder and harder to move the ram in the press up and down and than I noticed there were parallel lines / scratches running in the cases vertically, they were all scratched up! I looked at the culprit and it was NOE plug which accumulated brass particles and was scratching all of my brass, I am using .356/360 plug but the first stage is just way too long .350" and this is probably why it's a problem, I think it was meant for 357/38 I think I'll shorten it on the lathe and buy/machine another plug for my 38/357. What plug do you use and have you had any problems?

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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