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Old December 17, 2012, 08:31 AM   #1
jwrowland77
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Lead in 9mm?

I'm looking at trying to load lead bullets for my 9mm for general plinking. However, I know absolutely nothing about loading lead. Been trying to get a grasp on what to do and not do from reading the forums. I won't be casting my own, just buying and loading.

Would it be worth it? Good idea?

What are some things to do? Not do?

What are some things to look for?

Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:00 AM   #2
tkglazie
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I have shot a ton of lead through my P89 will good results. However, the last time I ran out I switched to Berry's for good (well, until I start casting my own). With the current rates of 7-7.5 cents each shipped for a Berry's 124gr HBFP it makes no sense for me to shoot lead.
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:14 AM   #3
reloader28
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Before you buy any, make sure you slug the bore.
That will at least tell what size dia to get. In order to get decent accuracy and keep from leading the barrel, they need to be .001-.002 bigger than the bore.
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:16 AM   #4
jwrowland77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reloader28 View Post
Before you buy any, make sure you slug the bore.
That will at least tell what size dia to get.
How do I go about doing that? I'm fairly new to reloading. Started back in March of this year.
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:16 AM   #5
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I reload and shoot lead for the sub-1000 fps calibers like .38 special and .45 ACP, however I shoot plated for 9mm. Berry's 115 gr. plated bullets are pretty reasonable.

Quote:
How do I go about doing that?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR_WiL8Dkgw
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:17 AM   #6
jwrowland77
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I have thought about plated, but don't have a chrony just yet. Hoping to get one soon though.
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:18 AM   #7
reloader28
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A pure lead sinker or bullet.
Oil it up and tap it thru the barrel.
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:20 AM   #8
jwrowland77
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Ah ok. That should be easy enough to do. And then I assume to measure the widest part? I guess then, if its say .356, then I need to buy .356 or .357 lead bullets?
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:23 AM   #9
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Yep.
If its 356 you need 357 or 358.
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:24 AM   #10
wpsdlrg
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I am just starting out with loading cast for my 9mm pistols. But, I have tested a number of loads and already found a good one. According to my testing so far, at least with both of the pistols I've tried them in, cast bullets in the 9mm aren't that difficult a prospect. Of course, I may have had some early luck. But, I'll pass on what I've learned....hopefully it will help you.

As to why should you try cast bullets....or should you at all..... that is simply a matter for you to decide. Unlike some other cartridges, 9mm is relatively cheap, so you will probably not save a huge amount by going to cast bullets exclusively. The possible exception is if you cast your own bullets. Then, you WILL save quite a bit, in the long run. As to technical advantages/ disadvantages of cast bullets....cast bullet loads tend to produce lower pressures than the same loads with jacketed, so they will reduce wear and tear on the gun. Disadvantages would include a tendency for dirtier guns, because cast loads are inherently a bit dirtier.

The FIRST principle, for shooting cast in ANY firearm.....is BULLET FIT. You should slug your barrel, or at least have a recovered bullet to measure, if possible. Many 9mm's are said to have sloppy, oversized barrels. The proper spec, for groove diameter, for 9mm Para barrels is 0.355". Many barrels, so it is said, have groove diameters of 0.356, 7, 8.....some even as large as 0.360". So it is said. My pistols, as it happens, both run right at 0.355"....so perhaps I am just lucky. But, the point is, bullet fit MUST be right, or you'll get lousy results....and probably barrel leading. You DON'T want barrel leading, by the way. It is a PITA to remove.....and will destroy accuracy, within a few shots.

Normally, cast bullets should be 0.001" or 0.002" larger than groove diameter, to work well. That means, if you have a 0.355" barrel, that 0.356" or 0.357" dia. bullets would probably work well. This is something you'll have to find out for yourself - each barrel is different.

As well, since cast bullets will be "oversized", technically speaking, you need to make sure that your pistol can accept them, before doing any live loads. The accepted way to do this is to make up "dummy" loads with no powder....and check for magazine fit/ functioning and chambering, etc. Usually, bullets 0.001" over groove dia. will be no problem....but if you have to go larger, it could be an issue.

Next, the loads you use must be appropriate for the bullet alloy. No need to get excessively technical about this.....suffice it to say that your cast loads (the chamber pressures produced) cannot exceed the yield strength of the bullet alloy.....or you'll get leading. So, most cast loads are a bit lighter than those with jacketed bullets. For example, my favorite jacketed load, for my 9mm pistols, is 4.8 grains of HP38, under a 115 grain FMJ bullet. VERY accurate in my pistols. (Obviously, this is a TARGET load, not self-defense). For cast, so far, I have gotten really good accuracy from 4.0 grains of HP38, under a 125 grain cast bullet. I have not found the maximum for the cast bullets I use yet, so I intend to go above 4.0 grains. I just haven't had time, yet.

There is a lot more to go into.....but I will stop here. You see, loading and shooting cast is a bit more of a technical challenge, especially for cartridges like the 9mm Para, but it isn't that difficult. You just have to get the fundamentals right. Whether it is worth the effort, only you can decide. I enjoy the challenge and the variety. I am not loading cast bullets to completely replace jacketed, but only to augment them. As it is, the cast bullets I will be using, after my successful testing, will be the same as ones I load for my .38 Special wheelgun. I also enjoy that aspect.

Anyway, I hope this helps you. If you have further questions, I'll try to answer them.

Last edited by wpsdlrg; December 17, 2012 at 09:43 AM.
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:25 AM   #11
reloader28
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You can shoot them at same dia as the bore, but it never works as good with cast bullets.
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:48 AM   #12
tkglazie
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Quote:
I have thought about plated, but don't have a chrony just yet. Hoping to get one soon though.
You dont need a chrony to shoot plated, any more than you do lead or jacketed. Work up the load as you would with any other projectile.

One more note- precision delta has jacketed 9mm for 8.5 cents each, shipped.

If it sounds like I am trying to talk you out of lead, I am not, I like lead, but unless you have a really cheap source of lead bullets you are unlikely to save much if any money over plated or jacketed.
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Old December 17, 2012, 09:51 AM   #13
jwrowland77
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Ah ok. I'll have to check them out.

I thought you have to have a chrony to work up plated, to make sure it doesn't go over they fps they say not to go over. That's the only reason I haven't ordered from PV yet.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:05 AM   #14
Samdweezel05
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You can find good lead bullets for $60 per thousand lubed and sized for your 9mm. I cast my own so I don't buy them any more.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:09 AM   #15
tkglazie
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As long as you arent using load data for hot fmj loads you are fine. Here is one way to think of it- plated bullets have slightly more resistance in the barrel than lead, but less resistance that jacketed. Generally speaking, if you use lead load data for plated you will see slightly reduced velocities than advertised, if you use jacketed data you will see slightly higher velocities. This is oversimplified, of course, but the bottom line is if you start with a good starting load for lead you are fine all the way up until the advertised lead data says 1250fps. There is no need to go that high of course, if you are looking for a medium powered range load you will find something that cycles well and is accurate between 1000-1100fps (about where your led sweet spot would be).

From Berry's: We recommend using hard cast load data or start with mid-range jacketed data. Make sure data is below 1250fps unless you are using a Thick-Plated bullet

I would add to that if you do start out your plated load testing right at the minimum starting charge for lead take a little extra care that you dont stick a bullet in the barrel. This is just a precaution since the plated does have a little more resistance than lead due to the thin copper coating. You will only be testing 5-10 at this minimum load anyway, and this is good advice for any projectile when you are at the minimum charge.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:13 AM   #16
jwrowland77
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Awesome, thanks tk.
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Old December 17, 2012, 10:14 AM   #17
jwrowland77
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And everyone else as well. Hit the send button a little too fast.
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Old December 17, 2012, 04:14 PM   #18
tkglazie
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Another thought, related to what Reloader28 said about slugging your bore. Of course, that is an excellent idea. I wouldnt mind knowing the exact diameter of all my bores. The logic is sound.

On the other hand, if you do decide to shoot lead there is nothing wrong with picking up a small amount of standard .356" dia hardcast bullets from whatever inexpensive source you find and seeing how they work in your gun(s). Chances are very good that you have a "normal" sized 9mm bore and they will work perfectly. I have never sized the bores in my 9mm, .380s, .38/.357 or .45 and I shoot nominal sized lead in all of them with excellent results (nominal being .356" for 9mm/.380acp, .358" for .38/.357, .452" for .45acp). No leading, pinpoint accuracy.

If you pickup 250 .356" diameter hardcast bullets and they shoot great with no leading you are good to go. Feel free to order way in bulk. If you see leading and cant find a load that doesnt lead by the time you are done with the 250, then you might want to see if you have a big bore. Chances are very good that wont be the case.
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Old December 17, 2012, 04:54 PM   #19
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I have not yet started casting for 9mm. I have a lot plated bullets that I came into in a trade, and I do not shoot a lot of 9mm. A couple of mags a week with my CC guns. I push the Berry's the same as I do jacketed. So for no problems with them at all.

I will concur with go over sized. Poor fit leads to barrel leading more than anything else. Many people will blame soft alloy, then try harder alloy only to have the same problem.
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Old December 17, 2012, 05:32 PM   #20
ShootingNut
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Never had a problem with several handguns I own, in 9mm, .40, .45 ACP
with excessive lead in barrel. Never slugged a barrel, shoot "standard"
lead bullets .356, .401, .452 respectively. I judge my accuracy as fairly decent, for an older far sighted fart like me.
sn
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Old December 17, 2012, 05:55 PM   #21
serf 'rett
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Previous poster, tkglazie, basically says you can buy a few and try 'em, which is what I did. Worked for my 9mm pistol.
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Old December 17, 2012, 06:07 PM   #22
mlcompound
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I cast some at 356 and they lead in my m&p9c. Although, they work good in a kahr cm9. I used some 358 in my m&p and they work great. I did slug the barrel at 356. Trial and error is fine. If you get leading then grab some choreboy 100% copper cleaning pads and wrap a few strands of it around a cleaning brush and it will come right out.

Sent with my Evo 4g from Tapatalk.
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Old December 17, 2012, 06:14 PM   #23
jwrowland77
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Does anyone have or know of experience in the Walther PPS an lead reloads?
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