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Old July 13, 2011, 07:45 PM   #1
Diesel9
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9mm and Bullseye Powder

New guy here. Been lurking for a while and I've found these forums to be a great source of info on guns and reloading. Thanks to everyone for sharing your knowledge.

I've been reloading various pistol and rifle cartridges (45 Colt, 45 acp, 38/357, .223, and 30-30) for several years. I recently bought a Beretta 92FS and have begun reloading 9mm.

I am using Bullseye powder and 115 gr XTP bullets. My data shows charge weights from 3.9 gr to 4.8 gr for this bullet/powder combo.

I loaded 3 different small batches of bullets using 4.2 gr, 4.5 gr, and 4.7 gr. The bullets are seated to 1.15" C.O.L.

Went to the range today to test these loads and upon examining the spent primers I noticed they were kind of "buldged out". Here's a bad photo.






I am concerned that what I am seeing is a sign of excess pressure. I am relatively certain that my scale is weighing correctly because I am using a Lee adjustable charge bar. If you aren't familiar with this device, the charge volume (and therefore weight) is adjusted by means of a "micrometer" setting. Lee publishes data for the average density of commonly used powders. Using this data you can calculate a pretty close micrometer setting number for the charge volume/weight that is desired. The weighed charges are pretty much right on the money using the calculated micrometer setting.

I also did a "plunk" test to see where the bullets were sitting in the chamber. My reloads sit in the chamber exactly like factory ammo.

What do you guys think?
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Old July 13, 2011, 08:03 PM   #2
Dapperdan
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I've noticed the 92's tend to poke up a bit of metal from the primer where the firing pin hits it. Your loads seem fine. I have had 3 92's, and they all did this. It's a gun oddity, loads should be good to go.
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Old July 14, 2011, 08:01 AM   #3
jrdavidson
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Notice any variation?

If your hypothesis is correct, your test loads should vary in effect on the primers. Your lower charged loads would not deform the primer as much as higher loads.

From the fuzzy picture, however, I don't see a flattened primer as one would expect from an overcharge. Probably a primer swipe as noted.

Check your loadbooks to be sure you're within the published range. Internet load recipes are not a reliable standard to use when its your pistol, hands, eyes at risk...
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Old July 14, 2011, 08:16 AM   #4
Diesel9
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I appreciate the replies.

I got my data from the Hornady and Lyman manuals so I am confident that the load is within safe limits.

I could not tell any difference in the primers from the various charge weights, they all looked the same.

A primer "swipe" isn't a term I am familiar with, could you explain?
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Old July 14, 2011, 08:42 AM   #5
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I will add just a bit-- when it comes to "reading primers" remember that every different brand, type or style of primer comes with it's own attributes, one of which is cup thickness/hardness.

What that means is to keep in mind when inspecting the visual clues on a primer that it's not accurate to compare different brands of primers in different loads if you hope to gain insight from what you see.

Let me put it a different way: If you make up a handload using a Federal primer and your fired case inspection shows a certain characteristic on the primer, you won't gain a lot of insight by comparing that piece of fired brass to a piece of recently fired factory Winchester White Box and the look of it's primer.

Instead, make up a load using YOUR bullets, YOUR powder, and YOUR primer and compare it to another different one of your loads with your components and the exact SAME primer and then you are comparing apples to apples.

Primer "swipe", at least from what I know, is related to the unlocking of the handgun and the brass ejecting while the firing pin is still in contact with the primer... the primer and entire piece of brass is being violently ejected all the while the firing pin continues to make contact with it, leaving evidence of a "swipe" on the primer that you can later see just by looking at it. I find that Springfield XD9 pistols often do this -- or perhaps, just the one that my bro-in-law shoots.

Primer "smear" is another animal... it's (I think?) the first stage of a leaking or pierced primer, an obvious sign of too-high pressure.
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Old July 14, 2011, 10:54 AM   #6
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I think you're probably fine. As others have said, this doesn't look like typical overpressure signs.

Just as an FYI though, having recently been working on some 9mm Bullseye loads myself, I'll note that though I've seen some manuals list a charge as high as 4.9gr with 115gr bullets, I've also seen a few that list a max charge of 4.4gr of Bullseye with that bullet weight. Mostly newer data, whereas older manuals tend to be a little more generous (blame the lawyers), but I thought I'd mention it.

I tend to try for low charges though. Right now I'm trying to figure out the minimum I need to break USPSA Minor PF and stick with that.
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Old July 14, 2011, 11:24 AM   #7
Diesel9
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Thanks for all of the help and advice. I have an old Star BM in 9mm that I rarely shoot. Next week I'm going to try to get to the range and try these loads in that gun. I'll let you know what happens.
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Old July 14, 2011, 07:45 PM   #8
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I am not as confident in the Leem micro charge bar and Bullseye. I have used the micro charge bar with very good results in large charges of 2400 and H110.

But last night I used it for the first time with bullseye. I was loading some cowboy 38 loads calling for 2.8 grs of bullseye. I got very inconsitant charges. I normally weigh the first 5 or so and if they are within an acceptable range I then weigh every tenth load.

Last night I weighed all 75 loads. I got charges from less than .5 gr to 4.5 grain. Out of the the 75 probably 40 were right at 2.7 or 2.8 on the first drop....the rest were mostly less than 1, but some up to 4.

I suspect my auto pro disk powder measure is more to blame....maybe it was clogged? I am going to break it down and examine it in more detail tonight.
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Old July 14, 2011, 07:53 PM   #9
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STOP! I know you are new to this, so I've got to ask...

Are you weighing loaded rounds?
If yes then forget what you think you have found.

Brass varies wildly in weight. So does the actual bullet, even if the box tells you that they are each 148 grains in weight.

Weighing loaded rounds will NEVER tell you the weight of the powder charge inside the cartridge. If it's a large capacity rifle round, it may certainly tell you if you DO or DO NOT have any powder in there, but don't rely on the weight of the loaded round of anything to tell you the weight of the powder charge inside it.

If this is not what you are doing, please disregard my post!
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Old July 14, 2011, 09:15 PM   #10
Diesel9
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I have also found that Bullseye doesn't meter as well as some other powders in my Lee auto disk. I am paranoid about over and under charges so I weigh about every 5th round. Bullseye is usually +/- .1 gr with an occasional +/- .2 gr. I guess part of the design of the auto disk is the jerky motion of the turret. I think the jerkiness helps keep the powder flowing properly into the measuring cup. I have noticed that if I charge several casings in a row without indexing the turret, the charges can vary wildly (they are always light, never over charged). So it seems important to let the turret make a full rotation for each charge so the powder measure gets a few bumps to keep the powder flowing.
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Old July 14, 2011, 10:51 PM   #11
TennJed
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Quote:
STOP! I know you are new to this, so I've got to ask...

Are you weighing loaded rounds?
If yes then forget what you think you have found.

Brass varies wildly in weight. So does the actual bullet, even if the box tells you that they are each 148 grains in weight.

Weighing loaded rounds will NEVER tell you the weight of the powder charge inside the cartridge. If it's a large capacity rifle round, it may certainly tell you if you DO or DO NOT have any powder in there, but don't rely on the weight of the loaded round of anything to tell you the weight of the powder charge inside it.

If this is not what you are doing, please disregard my post!
Thanks for checking up on me. One thing I love about TFL is posters like yourself are very helpful to us newbies......however.....I am not wieghing the loaded rounds. I realize that both the brass and bullets can vary.

I usually wiegh the charges of the first 5 or so rounds. I actually double weigh them on a franklin arsenal digital scale then on my RCBS 10-10 balance scale (I want to be xtra carefule while I am starting out)....if I get 5 charges in a row that are acceptable i go on the wwigh every 10th.

Tonight I took the Pro Auto Disk off emptied it and could not see any obstructions....so I tried out some small charges of Unique and got the same results. I was looking for 3.3grs and was getting several very light charges. I actually had quite a few where no powder came out.

It seems to me that the powder is getting clogged in the micro adjustment bar. Any suggestions or ideas? I seem to remember reading that graphite applied to the powder measure can sometimes help the flow and allow for a more consistant charge. Any truth to that? Can it cause any harm? Where could I get some graphite?

Thanks again to everyone for your help
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Old July 14, 2011, 10:56 PM   #12
TennJed
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Quote:
I have noticed that if I charge several casings in a row without indexing the turret, the charges can vary wildly (they are always light, never over charged). So it seems important to let the turret make a full rotation for each charge so the powder measure gets a few bumps to keep the powder flowing.
You might be on to something. I batch load so do not have the auto indexing bar installed. I will size and prime 50 or 100 rounds, then I charge them all. Then I double check the powder, but with such light charges it is hard for me to tell visually (unless of course nothing comes out).

So most of the time I am not moving the turret at all in between powder drops.
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Old July 15, 2011, 07:20 AM   #13
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Hmmm. I don't use the auto disk or pro suto disk, so I can't help you with that. (but I can recommend a great powder measure! Lyman 55! )

I can also tell you that in my experience, Bullseye meters pretty well out of most measures -- while almost everyone universally agrees that Unique handles badly out of any/every measuring device.

A great alternative to Unique and it's lousy metering capability is Hodgdon Universal. It's a very similar powder and uses similar charge weights and offers similar performance in the same loads. Now that doesn't help you if you just bought a pound (or more) of Unique...
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Old July 15, 2011, 03:26 PM   #14
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You may also be experiencing the "static cling" effect of the moving plastic pieces of the Lee powder dispensing system. The powder weight variations as well as the spillage of the small grains of Bullseye flake is why I went to the charge bar over the worn disc system.

I like the teflon wiper, I also started wiping the hopper with NEW dryer sheets to help reduce the static build-up.

Not familiar with your press, my older Lee was showing signs of wear and I had to rotate the up-right support arm to make sure the powder hopper was getting enough shake/vibration to fill the drop cavity in the sliding charge bar.
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Old June 4, 2013, 11:25 PM   #15
jazzyla9
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Primer signs on the 92fs after firing

Diesel9: I also was concerned about the appearance of the primer after firing my Beretta 92fs. After close inspection of the firing pin hole, I noticed that there was a cut around the (firing pin hole) that looked like a little bowl. So when the gun is fired, the spent primer takes that puffed bowl appearance that would make one think that it was pressure. I talked to a gunsmith friend about this and he assured me that this was very normal. Hope that this helps.
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Old June 5, 2013, 07:35 PM   #16
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In my experience with a couple of rifles that did this, primers actually back out on firing when there is generous head clearance. That is very, very common in pistols that headspace on the case mouth.

It generally takes something more than 25,000 PSI or so for the case to slide back against the bolt or breechface and re-seat the now spent primer. If it's a normal-pressure rifle round above about 45,000, the primer can balloon out before getting squished, resulting in a false "flattened primer" situation.

I've had plenty of fired rounds with backed out primers showing no pressure signs. Radius of the primer "corner" almost unchanged from before firing. That was BEFORE I fixed the over-sizing situation that was wearing the cases out in 3-4 reloads (the full power ones that did not leave a high fired primer).

Good note on the firing pin hole resulting in false "cratering" pressure signs.

For funky charge drops, I recommend the dryer sheet followed by rubbing graphite on everything with a Q-tip. If all else fails you could also tap a small screwdriver handle on the measure every time it is in the dump position. The old Lyman 55 Ideal powder measure had a little steel "door knocker" for just that purpose. Just do it the same every single time.

Be careful, but carry on. The biggest danger I see in non-defense loads and charging challenges is a lodged bullet too far in the bore, followed by a live round. I know one guy who did that and bulged a nice barrel, in a spot that compromised the semiauto's function, and I've seen a few revolver barrels similarly afflicted long after their respective events.
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Old June 5, 2013, 11:07 PM   #17
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FYI, you will get just as accurate rounds using Win. 231 and nowhere near as dirty. Bullseye was designed as a shotgun powder that just happens to make really accurate loads with the .38 special. It's OK to use in a revolver, but in my experience, Bullseye is an accurate load, but burns too dirty for a semi-auto.
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Old June 11, 2013, 09:52 PM   #18
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i haven't messed with the 9mm and Bullseye.....but it is or at least was the 'gold' standard for 45s.
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Old June 11, 2013, 10:03 PM   #19
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On the subject of metering difficult powders (Bullseye and Unique), I used to use a Lyman 55 and it worked pretty good. Still, I switched to W231 for better metering. Then I got that Lyman 1200 DPS3 auto powder dispensing machine and Bullseye and Unique are no longer any problem at all to meter. That Lyman 1200 throws the right charge 95% of the time, with an occasional 0.1 overage. I haven't had the Lyman 55 in the sunlight for about a year.
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Old June 11, 2013, 10:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
FYI, you will get just as accurate rounds using Win. 231 and nowhere near as dirty. Bullseye was designed as a shotgun powder that just happens to make really accurate loads with the .38 special. It's OK to use in a revolver, but in my experience, Bullseye is an accurate load, but burns too dirty for a semi-auto.
I feel exactly the opposite. A semi-auto doesn't really take much longer to clean when it is filthy dirty than when it is only lightly soiled, whereas a revolver - well, there's six chambers plus the barrel to deal with.

I don't really find Bullseye all that filthy - it doesn't seem to affect the functioning of my pistols and I'm getting excellent consistency from it.
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Old June 12, 2013, 05:55 AM   #21
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lotta nine

I simply find Bullseye too 'fast' for 9x19, and much prefer (and use) powders in the AA5 / Power Pistol / Silhouette / HS6 / 3N37 range.....
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Old June 12, 2013, 07:52 AM   #22
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Quote:
I simply find Bullseye too 'fast' for 9x19, and much prefer (and use) powders in the AA5 / Power Pistol / Silhouette / HS6 / 3N37 range.....
Yeah, it's kind of counterintuitive, but it seems to work best with light loads in large cases - like .40 bores and up. My .45's love it.
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Old June 12, 2013, 05:28 PM   #23
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-----delete, thread necromancy----
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Last edited by lee n. field; June 13, 2013 at 07:53 AM.
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Old June 13, 2013, 06:25 AM   #24
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It has been my experience that when dredging up and responding to a two year old thread, either the problem has been solved, or the orginal poster has since blown himself up.
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Old June 13, 2013, 08:15 AM   #25
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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Bullseye: Its primary use has always been for handguns. Its name alone should tell someone that. Nice try thought.

OP your charge rates are indeed spot on to what I have available. As far a bulged primers. If you think you have that going on with this loading. I would use a foreign made or import primer in the brass you have there. As they are measured in metric verses American SAE. And are actually a shade bigger in diameter. For all those old reloaders hanging around here. Do you fellows remember those Alcan primers and how well they worked in American brass and shotshells with having a little oversize primer pockets from use? Fiocch brand are one I would try. They work great in my application for them. I shoot allot of small bore rifle.

TimSr: You are right Sir. I didn't catch that until you mentioned it. Thanks for being the alert one here. S/S
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