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Old October 15, 2002, 10:31 AM   #1
FJC
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9mm Reloading

I'm thinking about getting into reloading of 9mm (I currently do .45 ACP, and have done .38/.357 and some .223 long ago). I realize that it's darn near as cheap to buy 9mm ball ammo as it is to reload it, but hey it's a hobby - reloading gives me something to do at home when I can't be out shooting.

For .45, I currently use a single-stage press, Lee carbide dies with factory crimp die. Right now I only have Hodgdon's Clays powder, but I don't want to limit myself to that.

So, what recommendations do you all have for dies? I was thinking I'd just get the Lee 4-die set that has the factory crimp die included, any concerns there, or are there "preferred" 9mm dies?

What problems should I watch out for with reloading 9mm? My goal is to primarily load round-nose jacketed or plated bullets, and not push any limits. I don't want wimpy ammo, I'm mostly looking to duplicate Winchester white-box performance, or even a little under that.

What powder recommendations would you have? I've heard great things about the Vitah Vourhi (spelled something like that) powders, in fact I'm told they make one specifically for 9mm.

Feel free to pass on any load recommendations!

Thanks,
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Old October 15, 2002, 11:07 AM   #2
stans
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I do not care for Lee dies, I find the rubber gasket lock ring arrangement to be a little less precise in locking the dies into a repeatable position. I generally prefer RCBS dies and you should taper crimp in a seperate operation. I have had good results with W-231 and AA #5 in 9mm with 115 grain bullets. I usually load with Remington's 115 grain JHP and can easily duplicate factory velocity and accuracy. I understand that you can get into the +P velocity area with Blue Dot. Beware, 9mm cases vary greatly in case capacity. I highly recommend segregating cases by manufacturer. If you use range pick up brass, limit the pressures to standard loadings, no +P or top end loads in brass with an unknown history.
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Old October 15, 2002, 11:53 AM   #3
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I've found Titegroup and 231 work pretty well, still experimenting with some others. While definitely wimpy, Clays can produce very accurate 9mm loads.
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Old October 15, 2002, 12:10 PM   #4
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The Lee dies are good, there may be better, I just haven't used them or needed to.
For the 9mm, be sure to get the Lee factory crimp die as it will do the taper crimp needed and will also take any excess "bulge" from the bases of the 9mm cases. After setting the die to size the case, turn the crimping adjustment stem till it contacts the the neck, and turn another 1/2 turn and it will give you about the right amount of crimp.
Loading die set up is different for the 9mm than the .45.
You want to back the 9mm sizer/decapper die (if using carbide die) about 1-1.5 turns, just size enough to give sufficient neck tension to hold bullets snugly.
The Winchester 231 is very good in 9mm with 115gr jacketed bullets. Win. Superfield is excellent.
I used to use 4.9 of 231, but now use 5.2 of Superfield as velocity is much more consistent. (Sd below 10fps, often spreads below 10fps.) Velocity is 1170fps from 5"bbl.
The Remingtons Hp's are accurate. Rainier 115hp's are just as accurate through my guns and are $10.00 less expensive.
Seat either to 1.09" to 1.125" max. -wherever your gun gives best feeding. A top velocity loading of 5.7gr of Superfield will give 1200fps from a 5" bbl. (Win recommended max).
Be sure to group cases by headstamp and use good US manufactured brass. My favorite is Federal, and Starline second.

Avoid mil-spec brass unless you want to de-crimp the primer pockets- and some will be very thick in the neck, some won't even hold a bullet after being full length sized. Just not worth the trouble sorting .
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Old October 15, 2002, 02:04 PM   #5
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"I realize that it's darn near as cheap to buy 9mm ball ammo as it is to reload it"

I really dissagree with that. I recently started loading for 9mm. Heres the cost effectiveness as I see it-

1000 Rds White box Winchester 155gr FMJ(100 rd bulk pack x10) Avg price - $115-$120.

Reloading 9mm Luger - $45-$55 /1000 using-

125gr Cast Lead @ 21.00/1000 (local show)
Win 231 avg 4000 gr/1000 $10.00
WSP 1000 @14.00
1X Brass @12.00/1000

Your local prices may vary, but my standard plinking load is 3.8 gr of 231, 125gr cast lead, WSP, and fired win brass, which usually yields a cost of $45/1000. Thats 1/3 the price of Winchester white bulk pack. Even using 115gr FMJ Youre still only around $60-$65/1000 which is half price of win bulk. Besides my P38 and HK USP seem to love the lead bullets behind the Winchester 231.

My 9mm dies are the Hornady custom grade new dimension...blah blah... I like thse pistol dies alot. The floating seater works great, and virtually eliminates runout. They are also titanium nitride, which is supposedly better than carbide. I have never crimped a 9mm load, even though the Hornady dies are equipped for it. My loads run just fine without the crimp at a 1.130 OAL. As a matter of fact, I dont crimp anything I load, yet.
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Old October 15, 2002, 05:48 PM   #6
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Thanks Krautguns, even MORE reason for me to reload (besides the fun).

I'd be reloading for a HK P7M8 (among other 9mm pistols), and shoot mostly indoors, so lead is out. Even so, sounds like I can do this cheaper than purchased ammo (especially since I already have all the expensive gear for reloading, just need primers/powder and $30 or so in dies and case check gauges).

I used to use 231 years ago, for .45, but found it way too dirty. I would come home with my arms covered in specs from it. Ugh.

Any comments on the Vihtavuori powders for 9mm, like N320 or N340? Is it clean? Meter well? I see they have loads listed at http://www.vihtavuori.fi/vihtavuori/pistol/9mmluger.htm

Thanks,
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Old October 15, 2002, 06:08 PM   #7
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for a powder try 4.7 grns of n330 over a 124 grn fmj bullet loaded to 1.15 oal


as far as the lee dies they will work just fine, just flip the nut over if you don't like the "O" ring.

sno

ps: if you are close to Bay City I would be willing to come over and help you get things set up...

sno

Last edited by snokid; October 16, 2002 at 04:00 AM.
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Old October 15, 2002, 06:37 PM   #8
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For cheap, no-exposed-lead bullets, check out:
www.berrysmfg.com
www.westcoastbullet.com
www.precisionbullets.com

I've used Rainier, West Coast, and Berry's so far, can't really say I prefer one to another on performance, but Berry's has the lowest prices and the best web site
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Old October 15, 2002, 07:24 PM   #9
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I do 9mm on a single stage (rock chucker) with RCBS dies.

I have overcrimpped (crushed the case vertically) to the point of creating feed problems, but I believe this can be avoided by proper adjustment of the crimp. The alternative, fixing with a LEE factory crimp die, would require an entire separate pass through the single stage press.

I have used mostly BlueDot powder, as it was what I had on hand when I started with 9mm. It fills the case nicely and therefore helps avoid bullet setback. However if cost is important you may want something like AA#5 which is faster and therefore takes a lighter charge, giving more loads to the pound.

I have never loaded straight lead in 9mm, but have been through a box of http://precisionbullets.com/ and am starting into a box of http://www.westcoastbullet.com/. I will probably stick with the later simply because they have a flat-point bullet which is suitable for 357sig also.

The most efficient routine I have found is to get the cases cleaned, decapped, and primed (through the first two dies) so as to accumulate bags of ready cases.

The powder drop and press are mounted about chest high, a foot apart. When ready to load I set up (left to right) stack of prepped cases, powder measure, stack of bullets, press.

Grab a case, drop the powder, visually check powder in case, put on bullet, set in press, crunch. Every so often verify the powder weight, caliper the cartridge, and check drop-in-and-out of disassembled pistol barrel.
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Last edited by shu; October 15, 2002 at 09:09 PM.
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Old October 15, 2002, 07:33 PM   #10
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Why do you rule out lead? Indoor shooting or the P7M8 wont feed it? My Hk runs it just fine and I shoot indoors all the time.
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Old October 15, 2002, 08:05 PM   #11
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Lead bullets are smoky, a serious problem shooting indoors (#1 reason I don't use plain lead).

Plus, isn't the P7 gas-operated, or gas-delayed? I would think lead would gum up the gas system like mad.
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Old October 15, 2002, 08:19 PM   #12
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I sometimes think that I enjoy loading more than shooting. I use Lee dies fof the 9 and 231, buy jacketed hp's cheap from a commercial reloader. All that said, I have purchased Blazers for 3.99 per box. At that price and not having to worry about loosing the brass, I will shoot the Blazers.
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Old October 15, 2002, 09:07 PM   #13
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The indoor range I shoot at actually does not allow un-jacketed/plated lead bullets, due to the smoke/vapor. And, as someone stated, the HK P7 is a gas-operated pistol, and lead bullets gum up the gas piston.

I prefer jacketed or plated anyway, just cleaner all around to use.

Snokid - thanks, but I'm down in the southern area of the state. I see you've tried that powder - how clean does it seem to be?


I'm used to the extra pass through the Lee FCD - I do that with all my .45 ACP reloads anyway.

Thanks everyone, I appreciate the info!
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Old October 16, 2002, 04:03 AM   #14
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The place I get my VV I couldn't get to for a week so I loaded 1000 rounds with 231....Well lets just say I will not do that again.

I will drive to get the VV instead, it's tons cleaner....

sno
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Old October 16, 2002, 04:30 AM   #15
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LEE DIES GOOD

But use Forster/Bonanza die rings. Best.

Alliant Power Pistol, LEE Carbide Factory Crimp die (now included in the 4-die set), OAL 1.140-1.160".
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Old October 16, 2002, 10:56 AM   #16
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Winchester 231 is a good 9mm powder which I never found too dirty, but I think it's too fast. The pressure seems to spike instead of build (it only took 10,000 reloads to realize that). I've switched to Winchester SuperField (WSF) which is only slighly slower.
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Old October 16, 2002, 01:36 PM   #17
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I am with WESHOOT2 as usual. Once I tried Alliant Power Pistol in 9mm, I never went back. My fired cases look like I just took them out of the tumbler.
http://www.alliantpowder.com/
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Old October 16, 2002, 01:42 PM   #18
john kilgore
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In 9mm, the Win Superfield is going to be your best bet. The SD and extreame spreads with this powder are very low. Quantity is low(charge wts), resulting in additional savings. If using Lee Disc, use the .49 for 115gr (5.4gr) or .46 (5.1gr), .43 for 124 (4.9gr), and .40 for 147gr (4.4gr).
Yes, I know Winchester says this is 0.1gr above their listed max, but is exactly what two commercial loaders admit to using- comfirmed by weighing samples)
VitaVouri Oy powders are great, but roughly twice as expensive per Weight. (One reason I've never used them)

These loads are used by at least three commercial loading operations I familiar with. (Precision Delta, Anderson Munitions, Atlanta Arms).
(though Precision Delta still uses Win231 (HP-38 lot #'s) in 115gr. (w/Hornady 115hp w/4.6gr.- very light, occasionly won't cycle new or tight guns)

I recently chronographed the 115 and 147 loads
Results are:
S&W PPC-9 w/5" bbl
115hp (Rainier @ 1.120" oal, Federal Ni- brass, WSP primer)
5.5gr Win WSF (6 shots, 85deg.F, @10ft)
1205
1191
1196
1195
1200
1201

147 Rainier 147 hp (@ 1.130" oal, Fed. Ni-Brass, WSP primer)*
4.4 WSF
999
1005
997
995
1001
993
*(Exact load except for 147gr Hornady JHP used by Precision Delta, and Anderson, in Starline brass @1.115"oal).
This load used to win many stages/matches at NRA nationals over past 9yrs.

124 Speer Gold Dot w/ 4.9 WSF@ 1.125" in Starline Case (Loaded by Master Cartridge/GeorgiaArms, holds several national records
shot through SA1911 custom w/BarSto barrel. (This was a special order-custom "batch" run for large volumn customer)
Velocity runs approx. 1100fps from 5" bbl.

Velocities are approx. 40 fps slower through my 4" S&W 5906P.
Accuracy is unbelievable. Powder fouling is almost non-existant.

Using the Rainier bullet you can cut cost to $65.00/M.
($39.99/M + shipping from Midway)
Current cost of Winchester "white box" at Walmart with sales tax is around $110.00/M. So savings are substantial.
With savings on first thousand, you pay for dies and other associated accessories.

I've used BlueDot, and with weighed charges it gives high velocities, but consistency has something to be desired due to uneven metering of large flake powder through automatic powder measures. Charge weights are 20-30% higher as well. Same for slower burning ball powders such as AA-7, HS-7, ect.. Cost vs results is why the "Large loaders" use the WSF.
This is not a "slam" against the other powders.
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Old October 16, 2002, 02:00 PM   #19
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Blue Dot also has a high illumination value.
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Old October 16, 2002, 02:36 PM   #20
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Ok, have the dies/check gauge ordered, and some small quantities of bullets to try (Ranier 115 RN, Winchester 115 JHP).

Now you all have me confused on which powder to get. So far, I'm not considering:

- VV N330 - hearing it's great for 9mm and .45 ACP
- Alliant Power Pistol - sounds like primarily for 9mm (but that's not a big issue, I have lots of Clays for .45)
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Old October 16, 2002, 08:31 PM   #21
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Pass on N330. I hear all kinds of great stuff about N320 and N340 (not to mention 3N37), so those may be great. But I've found N330 to be quite dirty. Now, normally I don't much care about that, as I've found a really really dirty gun takes the same amount of work to clean as just a dirty gun. But N330 leaves *ME* dirty. Shooting 9mm made with N330 leaves my forearms lightly covered in a black soot, that resembles tiny granules of unburned powder. It does this in 4 different 9mm pistols (Baby Eagle, CZ-75B, Steyr M9, Beretta 92FS), no matter how hot I load it (up to listed max, anyway), no matter what bullet weight I use (115, 124, 147).

It gives good accuracy, but with the price being what it is, and the soot on my arms, I'll just use something else. N330 also has some annoying gaps in the data. Like, there'll be data for N320 and N340, but no N330. I'll admit to having interpolated some data for it with good results, but I shouldn't have to do that.
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Old October 16, 2002, 09:03 PM   #22
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Mikul says:
Blue Dot also has a high illumination value.
================

I've never been out front to watch, but from behind, it do seem to cast a nice blue flame. I guess that's part of being a slow burning powder; there's some left to keep burning outside the barrel.
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Old October 16, 2002, 09:46 PM   #23
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Thanks for that info, Nyetter - that's exactly what I don't like about WW231, all the soot/specs it leaves all over my arms.

I may give that Alliant Power Pistol a try, or N320/N340. I suppose it may come down to what I can find locally, as I don't want to pay the $20 UPS hazardous fee for a single "trial" pound of powder...
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Old October 17, 2002, 03:33 PM   #24
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Well, swung by a local gunstore today that carries reloading stuff. Picked up 1000 Winchester small pistol primers. Looked at the powder, and they didn't have any of the VV stuff - so I picked up a pound of the Alliant Power Pistol to try.

Once my dies/bullets show up, I'll give it a try.
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Old October 17, 2002, 06:40 PM   #25
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You won't be disappointed.
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