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Old July 18, 2011, 01:41 PM   #1
DarkRayz
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Questions for the hand-loading gurus

Just started reloading. I've got a Dillon 550b. Doing 9mm Luger about 1000 rounds so far, and just bought the fixins for .223.

I have two silly questions I could not find the answer to in the manuals I have.

1) what is the most accurate type of bullet? i'm using Berrys plated for target loads, and bought some SNS lead bullets at the Dillon store also, b/c they were a tad cheaper. I note that FMJ is a bit more. For competition, I'd like the secure the most accurate bullets obviously. What do folks suggest?

2) I notice the SNS lead rounds are SMOKEY SMOKEY. Is this normal? What's this from?

3) What is the shelf life of hand-loaded ammo? Are there primer and powder types that are more durable than others? (I live in Arizona where it's rarely damp...)

Thanks

DR
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Old July 18, 2011, 01:52 PM   #2
overkill0084
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Not a guru by any means, but here goes:
1. I don't know. But it is a subject of much debate. Try different bullets and find out what works well for you.
2. Typically from the lube applied to them. It's normal.
3. Properly stored, it may outlast you, i.e the standard cool, dry place. As to specific types, someone else with more experience will have to catch that one. Modern smokeless powders are, as a rule, pretty stable.
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Old July 18, 2011, 01:59 PM   #3
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Are you looking for accurate bullets for you 9mm or the .223? For rifle bullets I believe most target shooters use Hollow Point Boat Tail bullets. For 9mm I got no clue.

When shooting lead bullets most if not all smoke will come from the lube. It's necessary, but some experimenting will find a lube that smokes less than others.

I don't know of a shelf life for reloaded ammo. As long as it isn't exposed to temp extremes (+110 plus to -12 degrees) and not allowed to get too wet, they should last longer than you do. I have some .44 Magnums I reloaded in '87 that look as good as when I reloaded them and prolly shoot as well too ...
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Old July 18, 2011, 03:25 PM   #4
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I have been reloading 223 for over 30 yrs for a variety of guns. A lot depends on the rate of twist of the barrel. Some 223's are set up for heavier bullets than others. For example: my Remington 40x with 1 in 14" likes 52 grains and will shoot quality 52 grainers into a less than 1/2 MOA while my son's AR-15 with a 1 in 10" barrel likes 60 grains and above. I would agree that a quality hollow point bullet will usually shoot better tha FMJ bullets but, if I have learned one thing about reloading, it is that rifles are individuals and some just don't like to follow the rules.
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Old July 18, 2011, 04:26 PM   #5
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The reason hollow point match bullets are most accurate are several. One is that the jackets are thinner than hunting bullets, which makes it easier for the manufacturer to give them uniform wall thickness. Another is that symmetry of the bullet's base matters much more to accuracy than a perfect nose, and it is easier to make the bottom perfectly symmetrical if it is formed from the solid copper bottom of the jacket cup, than it is when the base has its heel turned in over exposed lead.

Note that boattails reduce drag, and that makes them important at long range. However, it is more difficult to get perfect symmetry where the boattail meets the bearing surface than it is to get a flat base perfectly symmetrical. Also, a boattail takes more time to clear the muzzle than a flat base, so it allows muzzle blast more time to influence initial yaw of the bullet at the start of its flight, making any imperfection in the muzzle crown more significant. As a result, flat base bullets tend to be easier to get accuracy loads with, even if they won't travel as far before wind starts to blow them around noticeably more.

Flat base bullets are also shorter for the same weight. Bullet length is more important to twist rate than bullet weight, so you can actually shoot a heavier flat base than you can a boattail, not counting solids or other lower density bullets. Berger makes some of the best flat base match bullets.
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Old July 18, 2011, 04:32 PM   #6
dahermit
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Quote:
1) what is the most accurate type of bullet? i'm using Berrys plated for target loads, and bought some SNS lead bullets at the Dillon store also, b/c they were a tad cheaper. I note that FMJ is a bit more. For competition, I'd like the secure the most accurate bullets obviously. What do folks suggest?
Assuming that you are interested in .223 bullets (not 9MM), Any of the major brands produce very accurate bullets that are designed for target use (not hunting bullets). When I was using my M1 Garand in local competitions, I used the Sierra 155 Palma Match bullet but tested the Speer and Hornady match bullets also. All three of those makers bullets proved to be very accurate.

Re-reading your post, it looks like you are interested in 9MM target bullets. I will leave the info anyway, in case you do get an interest to shoot your .223 at targets.
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Old July 18, 2011, 05:22 PM   #7
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Berrrys 223 bullets come from winchester or hornady. Ask them what they have (are going to send you when you place the order. The winchester bullets lead don't seem to fill out the base of the boat tail at all and as above the base is quite important. The hornady bullets are better in this respect so I only order when they have them in stock.

With AR's I have had the most accuracy with HPBT bullets in the 60+ grain weights. I have a 1:7 20" that puts hornadys 68g HPBT, using 748 inside 1/2 MOA at 100 yds with little trouble. It will open up to 1.5 +- with mixed brass and bulk FMJ.
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Old July 18, 2011, 06:46 PM   #8
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You did not say what velocity you are reloading the 223s to. Lead and plated bullets should not be shot much beyond 1500 fps or you will start to get leading in the barrel.
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Old July 18, 2011, 10:23 PM   #9
DarkRayz
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Thank you for the info. I haven't quite gotten to reloading the .223s yet. I'm still on 9mm. I know it's not that big a cost savings, but when I bought the reloader that's all I was shooting, plus I wanted to play around with loads and such.

I've already noticed that in my various CZ pistols, I can see reproducible variations in group size with factory ammo and with hand-loads. I've tried bullets weights from 115 to 147, and various shapes. I have only loaded SNS lead bullets and Berry's plated so far, no other types. I wondered if there was an accepted fact about what bullet shapes were more accurate. Sounds like there isn't any predictable finding like that! I'll experiment!

Insofar as the smokey lead bullets are concerned, I am not using any lube when I load these. Could it be the waxy band around the bullets that is smoking? Am I not seating the bullets deep enough, is that why they smoke?

Thanks
DR
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Old July 18, 2011, 11:17 PM   #10
Jim Watson
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Quote:
Insofar as the smokey lead bullets are concerned, I am not using any lube when I load these. Could it be the waxy band around the bullets that is smoking? Am I not seating the bullets deep enough, is that why they smoke?
Uh, the blue wax IS the bullet lube and yes, that is what is smoking. Perfectly normal. Seating depth has nothing to do with it.
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Old July 20, 2011, 12:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
What is the shelf life of hand-loaded ammo

Untill they are fired or 25 to 50 years depending on which comes first.

Jim

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Old July 20, 2011, 06:34 AM   #12
WESHOOT2
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easy guess

The most accurate 9mm bullet is the one your gun prefers.
I have found many 9mm guns prefer the Penn Bullets 125g LRN.
I find many 9mm guns prefer the .356" lead bullets.
I have found many 9mm guns prefer a Winchester or Remington or Zero or Montana Gold 124g FMJ-RN.
I find many 9mm guns prefer the .356" lead bullets.

Bullseye shooters seem to prefer the 121g Hornady.

Great inexpensive choices include the Penn lead, and the Winchester/Remington/Zero/MG 124g FMJ-RN.
Sadly, hard to get the IMI 124g.

And for more $ there are superb choices from Sierra, Speer, and Hornady.

Powders to explore include: Power Pistol (also a favorite Bullseye-shooter's choice), 3N37, HS6, AA5, and Silhouette.
Sort cases by headstamp.
CCI500.
Vary OAL and test.
And a million other things.....
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