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Thread: Newbie questions about casting 9mm and .223?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Newbie questions about casting 9mm and .223?

    Hey Everyone,

    I have been away from shooting actively and reloading for 20 years and am determined to get back to shooting on a weekly basis.

    I have been a little surprised at how expensive things have gotten. To add insult to injury, I don't earn nearly as much as I did 20 years ago.

    Reloading is a must. I cannot afford to shoot regularly with factory ammo. It is looking like casting my own bullets may be in my near future. I have never done any casting so this is new to me.

    Along with that, I am a relative newbie to 9mm and .223 which is what I want to start with. I owned a Taurus PT92 back in the '90s and could never get it to perform adequately. I had primarily been shooting tunes 1911's in .45 and the Taurus just didn't meet my expectations in reliability and accuracy. Now that I am getting old and can no longer see like I could when I was 30 I have had to adjust my expectations and I am going to give 9mm another shot. I am no longer able to carry my 1911 all day like I used to and I am not as tolerant of recoil as I used to be. All things considered, it is time for me to retire my. 45's.

    I have a Walther PPS and a PSA AR-9 (carbine) on the way and am researching bullets and loads. Coming from the .45 world I am accustomed to "heavy and slow". That had me looking for 147gr bullets and appropriate Sub-sonic loads. As I have been looking around I am getting the idea that 147gr 9mm has fallen out of favor due to COAL and seating depth issues.

    What advice would you give to a "newbie" casting and loading 9mm for my 3.1" barrel PPS and my 16" AR-9 carbine?

    Next question, is it really practical to cast .223? Or are the velocities too high? I am seeing most of the 55gr bullet loads are pushing 2600-3300fps.

    Last question (for now), coatings, Alox, powder coat or Hi-tech? Cost is performance?

    Feel free to offer any casting and loading tips you think relevant.

    Thanks.

    S.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Burnt Fingers's Avatar
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    https://www.mp-molds.com/product/357...e-groove-mold/

    That has become my goto 9mm mold. I've got a bunch of other 9mm molds just collecting dust now.

    For heavy boolits the NOE ELCO is my favorite. Due to the design it doesn't have to be seated as deep as other 9mm molds.
    NRA Benefactor.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    I would suggest a boolit between 120 and 135 grains.
    If you want a heavier boolit, the NOE ELCO that Burnt Fingers mentioned is a winner for exactly the reasons quoted. I was involved in a small way with it's development and it shoots like a dream. It will drop at 147 grains in it's hollow point configuration.
    Lee offers the 356-120-TC in a 6 cavity mold which allows for high production and it shoots great in everything I use it in. Lee also offers a 358-125-fp which was intended for 38 special but works well in 9mm also.
    NOE makes a 135 grain flat point that also works really well.
    I don't powder coat or use Hi-Tek coating. I just size and lube, usually to .357 and lube with White Label Lube 50-50.
    I have several 9mm handguns I load for and this size and lube system works in all of them. I have used these boolits in carbines in the past.
    If you are on a budget, the Lee molds are as inexpensive as you will find for a good mold.

    I can't speak to the 223 since I haven't tried to cast for it. I sincerely doubt you can get anything approaching jacketed velocity with the 223 though.
    I considered casting for it to replace 22lr a while back, but with 22lr prices down, I gave up on that idea.

    On a side note about the Taurus PT92. I have two of them and they are quite accurate and reliable. That said, I made a change to both of them that made them work. I swapped out the Taurus barrel for a Beretta M9 barrel which is a drop in replacement. It made all the difference in the world.
    The rifling in the Taurus barrel works fine for jacketed but isn't tall enough for cast. It doesn't grip the boolits well enough to properly stabilize them. The Beretta barrels work really well.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy chutesnreloads's Avatar
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    You have chosen one of the most problematic cartridges for a newbie to reload with cast boolits,9mm.The tiny .223 boolits may be a challenge for a newbie just to cast.
    I would suggest casting and loading the .45 and getting proficient before stepping up to more difficult cartridges to cast and/or load for.Understanding the cost to shoot I would urge you to take baby steps in the cast boolit department to save yourself some frustration and possibly giving up on it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I'll second the Elco mold from NOE for the heavy 9mm. It's the only boolit I load for 9mm now. Have shot upwards of 20k of them. I use Red Dot for powder.
    223 I have been casting for for about a year now. I use an MP mold for a 227-75 grain boolit that gets sized 225, gaschecked, and lubed in a Star. W748 gets me around 2000fps which is plenty for plinking and practice.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master StuBach's Avatar
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    Newbie questions about casting 9mm and .223?

    If you already have 45s and like 45s you might start your casting there and load up some mouse fart loads. The 45/ come in a bevy if easy to cast configurations that would make a a great place to start. Their wide so they are easy to cast. May I recommend a clone of the HG#130 or #68 as great molds that will cycle your 45 on lighter powder charges. Might need to swap out your recoil spring to a light one though depending on the charge you use.

    As my father has gotten older (and his father before him) they have both found the #130 over 5 or so grains of bullseye to be a most pleasant round in their respective “tuned” 1911s with decent accuracy at the pistol ranges. Grandpa especially loved it in his old M1917s.

    I don’t do 9mm or 223 but I do cast 380 and 30cal and have found those lighter or narrower molds to be a bit touchier on the temp and alloys they like so took a little more skill to get good fill out.

    Once you have the casting down switch over to a harder option like the 9mm or 223.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnt Fingers View Post
    https://www.mp-molds.com/product/357...e-groove-mold/

    That has become my goto 9mm mold. I've got a bunch of other 9mm molds just collecting dust now.

    For heavy boolits the NOE ELCO is my favorite. Due to the design it doesn't have to be seated as deep as other 9mm molds.
    Thank you for the recommendation. I like the idea of an eight place mold. I am a bit confused about the bullet weight. It looks like a 125gr from the website. I f I understand Tazman's comment it is a 147gr. Which one is correct?

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    Why retire the .45's? Cast up some bullets and load them light, in the end you will end up with a lighter recoiling more potent round then a 9mm.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    I started shoot with my father when I was seven and inherited his love for the 1911. I reluctantly quit carrying it as my EDC due to back and Hip issues. I appreciate the suggestion to start with .45 . I would run with it but I have some reservations.

    As I am switching to a compact 9mm for my EDC I need to practice with it. I still take my 1911's to the range with me and enjoy shooting them. I had 11k rounds of .45 loaded up when I tore my reloading bench down and still have over 1k left.

    If you think that the casting of 9mm is much more difficult for a beginner than .45 then I will go that route to get started. If it is the reloading process that you find 9mm to be more challenging then I think that I can make it play. I'm a bit rusty but I expect it will come back to me.

    Thanks again Everyone for the input.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
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    I started shoot with my father when I was seven and inherited his love for the 1911. I reluctantly quit carrying it as my EDC due to back and Hip issues. I appreciate the suggestion to start with .45 . I would run with it but I have some reservations.

    As I am switching to a compact 9mm for my EDC I need to practice with it. I still take my 1911's to the range with me and enjoy shooting them. I had 11k rounds of .45 loaded up when I tore my reloading bench down and still have over 1k left.

    If you think that the casting of 9mm is much more difficult for a beginner than .45 then I will go that route to get started. If it is the reloading process that you find 9mm to be more challenging then I think that I can make it play. I'm a bit rusty but I expect it will come back to me.

    Thanks again Everyone for the input.

  11. #11
    I've cast loaded and shot a TON of 9mm...and am still tinkering with it to get it just right.

    Powder coat is a dream...shake and bake method is cheapest and most effective for general use.

    I use the Lee tc120 that @tazman referenced earlier...makes a mountain of lead in a hurry.

    223? IDK. I have a mold but haven't been successful in trying in a gas gun. You won't get the same velocities as jacketed...not by a Longshot. Also even reducing velocity for practice (which is a very valid reason btw...you'll be able to practice so much cheaper) you'll still need to be picky in culling your cast boolits because small imperfections have a larger impact on a 55-75 grain bullet of small diameter than a bullet weighing 6-8 times that weight of larger diameter. Accuracy is the biggest issue I've heard when casting for 223 but is doable.

    9mm, yes, do it ...try it get good at it and enjoy it. Makes practice so very inexpensive. Just be expecting to need to tinker with it

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub
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    The Lee 120TC coated with Hitech works well in 9mm as long as you use a slow powder - fast powders seem to lead even with hard alloys where a slow powder is clean even with relatively soft bullets.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Burnt Fingers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
    Thank you for the recommendation. I like the idea of an eight place mold. I am a bit confused about the bullet weight. It looks like a 125gr from the website. I f I understand Tazman's comment it is a 147gr. Which one is correct?
    The MP is a 125 gr. The ELCO from NOE is the heavier boolit. https://noebulletmolds.com/site/prod...358-155-tc-as5
    NRA Benefactor.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
    Thank you for the recommendation. I like the idea of an eight place mold. I am a bit confused about the bullet weight. It looks like a 125gr from the website. I f I understand Tazman's comment it is a 147gr. Which one is correct?
    Sorry for the confusion. Burnt Fingers reply is correct.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muddydogs View Post
    Why retire the .45's? Cast up some bullets and load them light, in the end you will end up with a lighter recoiling more potent round then a 9mm.
    I can no longer carry the weight due to back and Hip issues. I have plenty of .45 loaded up and I do take my 1911's to the range. I have retired them from daily carry.

    My first thought was a compact polymer .45 then I shot one and it was a bit unpleasant to shoot. Not conducive to regular practice at the range.

    My father was an avid shooter and carry advocate. I remember him answering the "what is the best gun/cartridge for carry? " question many times. His pat answer was "the one that you WILL carry and CAN shoot effectively."

    Personally I am not a huge fan of. 380 as a defensive round. But.... I have one, I will carry it and I can shoot it effectively. Since I quit carrying my 1911 I started carrying a little .380 . It certainly is not a huge manstopper but it sure beats throwing rocks.

    I think that the compact 9mm waiting for me down at the lumber yard will be a reasonable compromise. Damn Seattle liberals. Even though I have held a CPL for years and been able to pick up guns without a waiting period. Now we have a 10 day wait on any pistol or semi-auto rifle. Any semi-auto purchase requires showing that you took and passed a class. The material and the class are ridiculous.

    We now have to go through an FFL for private transfers.

    Next week when I can finally pick up my new guns it will have been a month since I ordered them. F'ing Seattle liberals.... 'Scuse me, I need to go take my blood pressure medicine.....

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muddydogs View Post
    Why retire the .45's? Cast up some bullets and load them light, in the end you will end up with a lighter recoiling more potent round then a 9mm.
    I can no longer carry the weight due to back and Hip issues. I have plenty of .45 loaded up and I do take my 1911's to the range. I have retired them from daily carry.

    My first thought was a compact polymer .45 then I shot one and it was a bit unpleasant to shoot. Not conducive to regular practice at the range.

    My father was an avid shooter and carry advocate. I remember him answering the "what is the best gun/cartridge for carry? " question many times. His pat answer was "the one that you WILL carry and CAN shoot effectively."

    Personally I am not a huge fan of. 380 as a defensive round. But.... I have one, I will carry it and I can shoot it effectively. Since I quit carrying my 1911 I started carrying a little .380 . It certainly is not a huge manstopper but it sure beats throwing rocks.

    I think that the compact 9mm waiting for me down at the lumber yard will be a reasonable compromise. Damn Seattle liberals. Even though I have held a CPL for years and been able to pick up guns without a waiting period. Now we have a 10 day wait on any pistol or semi-auto rifle. Any semi-auto purchase requires showing that you took and passed a class. The material and the class are ridiculous.

    We now have to go through an FFL for private transfers.

    Next week when I can finally pick up my new guns it will have been a month since I ordered them. F'ing Seattle liberals.... 'Scuse me, I need to go take my blood pressure medicine.....

  17. #17
    Boolit Master RKJ's Avatar
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    I’ve found the 9mm to be aggravating but not something to be scared of. Get the LEE 120TC, cast some up and have patience.

    I’ve tried cast in an AR with the LEE 55 and a MP 70 grain and could not get the accuracy I wanted. After casting, Powder coating and then sizing those little buggers I decided to just use bulk (cheap) jacketed. It wasn’t wort the aggravation for me. Good luck going forward.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by John McCorkle View Post
    I've cast loaded and shot a TON of 9mm...and am still tinkering with it to get it just right.

    Powder coat is a dream...shake and bake method is cheapest and most effective for general use.

    I use the Lee tc120 that @tazman referenced earlier...makes a mountain of lead in a hurry.

    223? IDK. I have a mold but haven't been successful in trying in a gas gun. You won't get the same velocities as jacketed...not by a Longshot. Also even reducing velocity for practice (which is a very valid reason btw...you'll be able to practice so much cheaper) you'll still need to be picky in culling your cast boolits because small imperfections have a larger impact on a 55-75 grain bullet of small diameter than a bullet weighing 6-8 times that weight of larger diameter. Accuracy is the biggest issue I've heard when casting for 223 but is doable.

    9mm, yes, do it ...try it get good at it and enjoy it. Makes practice so very inexpensive. Just be expecting to need to tinker with it

    Sent from my moto g(7) power using Tapatalk
    Tinker? I think I can deal with it I have loaded many thousand rounds with the old version of the Lee 1000. I think that makes me an expert tinkerer.

    These days I have plenty of time at the expense of disposable income. I am all about cost effective practice and plunking.

    I will give the mold above a shot. Most of the molds I have looked at so far have been two or four position molds. The one above looks like it is an eight position. Are there any special considerations with the larger mold?

    Regarding coating: Do you use HF powder or another brand? How does Alox compare?

    Thanks.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKJ View Post
    I’ve found the 9mm to be aggravating but not something to be scared of. Get the LEE 120TC, cast some up and have patience.

    I’ve tried cast in an AR with the LEE 55 and a MP 70 grain and could not get the accuracy I wanted. After casting, Powder coating and then sizing those little buggers I decided to just use bulk (cheap) jacketed. It wasn’t wort the aggravation for me. Good luck going forward.
    What sort of issues have you had with casting 9mm?

    I understand the .223 can be particular when it comes to bullet quality. I used to load .225 using the same range of bullets as we are using for .223. I bought some cheap bullets and found base imperfections and variations in weight threw accuracy out of the window.

    What have you found to be the best buy on reasonable jacketed .223 bullets in the 67-72gr range?

    Thanks.

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    There are no issues with Lee 6 cavity molds that don't exist with other molds. Just get the mold hot before you start casting. You can use a hot plate or set the mold on the top of your pot while it is heating up.
    I have used powder coating in the past but find it to be more hassle than I wish to deal with. I water quench my boolits directly from the mold. When I powder coat, I have to re-heat treat the boolits to get them hard again.
    The system I use works fine for me so why change it?

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