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Old September 15, 2012, 05:21 AM   #1
FlySubCompact
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Feeling moldy....115, 124 or 147

Now that I've started reloading using "store bought" jacketed bullets, I'm considering getting a 9m bullet mold to try some centerfire round casting.

I have done a good bit of casting for my muzzleloaders. I will eventually get a 9mm mold for some weight in a RN projectile for range plinking, but I haven't settled on one yet.

What I'd like to know is what are the advantages of these three weight bullets?

For instance, why would you personally choose a 147 grain bullet over a 115, etc. ?
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Old September 15, 2012, 12:59 PM   #2
tkglazie
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I shoot all 3 sizes. I like factory high velocity 115gr for SD/HD, lead or plated 124gr in the 1000fps range for max accuracy and lead flatpoint 147gr in the 900fps range for plinking. If I had to choose between the 124gr and 147 gr I would go with the former but both are nice to shoot. Recoil with the 147gr is more of a smooth push than a snap/flip.
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Old September 15, 2012, 02:48 PM   #3
Gerry
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I now use the Lyman 4-cavity mold #356637 for 9mm, and shoot them as cast without resizing. With my alloy, they drop at about 156 grains and are about .358 in diameter. Clocking around 825fps with a power factor over 128, they are loaded to an OAL of around 1.080 in front of 2.8 to 2.9 grains of Vihtavuori N320. It took me years of experimentation to develop this load, and the objective was for fast recoil recovery and soft shooting for IPSC use, and of course I wanted absolutely ZERO barrel leading. It also fits my barrels, with lots of contact area with the rifling on that size of bullet meaning zero keyholes and decent accuracy. I haven't had much luck with the Lee TL bullets in this regard. I have a few theories...

If I was loading to a higher power factor like major I'd use a much lighter bullet, especially using a ported barrel and needed lots of gas. But I shoot Production Division in CZ Shadows, so that's of no use for me.

It all depends on your use. For range plinking I'd want something easy on me that I could causally shoot all day, and not give problems for kiddies as well.

Last edited by Gerry; September 15, 2012 at 03:29 PM.
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Old September 15, 2012, 03:06 PM   #4
dunerjeff
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I've seemed to like the heavier 147gr,but my best load is a 140gr lfp, mold is from Magma Engineering,for the .38 but I size to .358 and it works great in my 9's.

124/125gr shoot good also, I think the 9mm luger was built for around a 125gr bullet.

115gr I don't care for the light bullets , most of my shooting is for accuracy and plinking so I like heavier, but they can be accurate.
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Old September 15, 2012, 04:13 PM   #5
FrankenMauser
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Most fairly stock 9mms run best with something in the 120-130 gr range.

That's what I load: 122-125 gr LFPs.
Good, efficient, reliable load that functions and cycles in everything, but isn't beating up the action like some 147+ gr loads may.
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Old September 15, 2012, 04:59 PM   #6
Gerry
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Quote:
...isn't beating up the action like some 147+ gr loads may
I'm not sure I understand this statement. I know that if I loaded 115gr to major power factor in my CZ Shadow, there is a slight possibility it could blow my gun apart and likely cause injury to myself or innocent bystanders. However a 156gr loaded to just above minor power factor is like blowing warm butter through a straw.

Newton's third law of motion. Energy (Power Factor) is what beats up a gun, particularly when your mainspring isn't up to the job of handling it. In order to shoot my 156gr loads which have a LOWER power factor than factory ammo, I installed a lighter mainspring to accommodate it. Thus the slide comes forward less forcefully as well, also helping to prolong the life of my gun.

There is another factor in bullet weight as well when talking home lead cast. You must push smaller bullets faster to achieve the same power factor making leading more likely than if you were pushing larger bullets much slower. For example, a 115gr bullet would need to be shot at 1,130 fps to achieve a 130 power factor compared to 833 fps with my 156gr bullet. Also, most smaller bullets don't have the same amount of driving area to engage the rifling as much larger bullets.

Then there is the factor of (felt) recoil... I could go on, but I suggest folks experiment with many different loads and bullet weights as I did. Using a chrono is a must when doing this.
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Old September 15, 2012, 06:39 PM   #7
tkglazie
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Well said Gerry.

When I want to shoot powderpuff loads with minimal recoil I generally go with a heavy, slow round like a 147grain 9mm or target-load 158gr SWC .38 Special. Heavy does not always equal harsh.
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Old September 16, 2012, 01:32 AM   #8
FlySubCompact
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Unfortunately, I've not had a chance to shoot any 147gr's yet. Factory or homemade. I included this weight because they seem to be popular with reloaders.

dunerjeff said something that sounds great....a 147 intended for shooting in his .38, but resizing for his 9mm. One of the rounds I eventually want to handload for is .38sp. That die sounds like it would kill two birds with one stone for me also. I need to try some 147's to see if I like plinking with them.
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Old September 16, 2012, 01:48 AM   #9
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Keep in mind that various changes in bullet weight may change POI usually printing higher with heavier bullets. This can work to your advantage -- or not.

This change of impact is negligable at self defense ranges, but can be quite substantial at say 25+ yards. I've owned fixed sight handguns where changing bullet weight was required to get them shooting center without altering the sights. jd
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Old September 16, 2012, 03:15 AM   #10
iraiam
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I personally shoot the .356 9mm 147 grain Flat Point w/gas check, 1015 fps (Tack Driver!)

I also shoot the .358 158 grain SWC w/gas check, 1200fps in a .357 mag, Very Accurate.

I made my own alloy, I mixed linotype lead and pure lead 50/50, turned out to be a pretty descent bullet alloy. the bullets weigh right where they should.
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Old September 16, 2012, 09:00 AM   #11
reloader28
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The Lee 358 125gr RF is a very nice boolit. I would highly recommend it. And the best thing is, its only $20 for a 2 cav.
Drops from mine at 130gr and has a nice meplat so it can be an actual working boolit. The Lee website has a pic of the new style. The older one is very ugly.
Shoots great in 380, 9mm, and 38. Aint tried 357 yet, but it might work too.

Last edited by reloader28; September 16, 2012 at 07:57 PM.
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Old September 16, 2012, 12:01 PM   #12
dahermit
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Quote:
...124/125gr shoot good also, I think the 9mm luger was built for around a 125gr bullet...
When young, I used to buy WWII surplus 9MM ammo. As I remember the bullet weight was 117 grains.
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Old September 16, 2012, 12:28 PM   #13
chris in va
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9mm has been an exercise in frustration for me. All the 356 diameter lead bullets fired through my CZ went through the target sideways, ie keyholing. Once a sage individual suggested a 358 mold designed for the 38 Special, all those issues cleared up (358-125-rf Lee mold).

However, I have to use a minimum powder charge as the boolit has to be seated very deep in the case.


45acp is absurdly easier to load for than the 9mm IMO.
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Old September 16, 2012, 02:55 PM   #14
Gerry
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Quote:
All the 356 diameter lead bullets fired through my CZ went through the target sideways
Considering 9mm CZs commonly slug at 357 or even larger, I'm not surprised!

This is why slugging your barrel is a good investment. Locally, there's a guy who does it for $20 and gives you the slug afterward as a bonus. There might be someone in your area if you don't want to do it yourself. Keep in mind also that going 2/1000ths or more over is extra insurance as long as it feeds. It's not going to explode your gun.

And yes, .45 ACP are very forgiving. However I really enjoy fooling around with loads and bullets and the chrono for our picky small volume high-pressure 9mm. It becomes a hobby all by itself.
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Old September 17, 2012, 02:14 AM   #15
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Today, we ran about 100 reloads through my wife's Glock 23 (with LW 40-9 barrel). I loaded these medium/low pressure to see if she liked them. She did. These were 115gr Hornady's. We also shot some 124 HP's that I loaded a little hotter. She did not care for these so much, but I did load these hotter for defensive use.

I will be putting in a small order for some 147's for us to try.

Thought about slugging the LW barrel we have now. I have some pure lead conicals that would work for this, but I intend to get another LW conversion barrel for my G27 and want to wait until I can slug both to make sure they are the same or close.
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