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Old February 28, 2012, 11:02 AM   #1
CS86
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9mm reloads

Hello everyone. I'm new to TFL and this is my first registered sight for posting some questions. I've just begun reloading and have been trying to read online and read a few books. Specifically Horady, Nosler and a small handbook for the 9mm. I've had some troubles finding a few answers to my questions. My primary goal is to reach accurate loads. I'm not trying to hit max velocities unless it yields higher accuracy. Main guns I'm playing with at the time is the 9mm Springfield XDM and Hi-point carbine 9mm.

I'm want to know with a semi auto how to determine the best oal length. With a rifle my understanding is to find the max and back it off so far .015 to .030, thus giving you a slight jump to the rifling. I feel like with a semi auto that you are increasing the jump to the rifling. There is a huge difference in the max oal between the 2 guns i'm playing with. I've also read that decreasing the oal in the 9mm can and will increase pressure dramatically. Again I would like to go for accuracy and may go outside of the oal spec some, which means I would only load bullets for each gun and not try and mix them if that makes sense.

Another question is high pressure indications. Specifically to the 9mm cartridge. All the pressure indications that I find seem more for bolt or semi auto rifle rounds. Like flattened primers, rings, etc. Is there anything more specific to 9mm semi auto cases to look for that doesn't involve special equipment and is visible to the naked eye? I worked up some loads with the carbine untill getting to a max load according to the books and feel like all the primers looked fine. I felt like the accuracy was terrible though. Of coarse I'm talking about a hi point though...
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Old February 28, 2012, 11:30 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. For a semi-auto, feeding will determine your OAL. Freebore will make precious little difference in accuracy in handgun loads (per my own personal experience.)

Get yourself a copy of the ABC's of Relaoding and read it first. Then start with a known good recipie and work from there. Start low and and go slow. Adjust only one peramiter at a time and be safe.
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Old February 28, 2012, 11:46 AM   #3
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The goal of accuracy is (in my opinion.) the sum of all your efforts, rather than the function of just one thing.

I agree with the previous poster rjrivero. Freebore in a pistol is of so little consequence that you might as well ignore it. In an auto pistol there are many, many things that are waaaaaaaay more important.
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Old February 28, 2012, 03:09 PM   #4
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Very few 9mm's will allow you to get that close to the rifling without exceeding max length for the magazine.

The only one that I've been able to come that close to the lands with is my CZ 75B, and that's only with cone shape bullets like the XTP/HAP.

My match FMJ's in the CZ are at least .050" away from the lands, and are every bit as accurate as the XTP/HAP at .010" away.

Yes, deep seating bullets in the 9mm causes pressure increases faster than other cartridges because it's such a short case. If you're loading shorter than the data calls for, start low and work up carefully.

Primers are not a good indicator of pressure. There's a good article on that in the current issue of Handloader magazine. Case bulging at the feed ramp will probably tell you more, but is still not an accurate gauge. Truth is there's no way to be sure, so stick with published data.

IME, you'll have better luck finding the accuracy you want by trying different bullets.

FWIW, my current favorite is the Winchester hollow base 115 FMJ. Superbly accurate in my CZ.
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Old February 28, 2012, 03:50 PM   #5
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I don't have the data in front of me right now on the exact loads, but i'll tell you what i'm trying to do.

I ordered some 124gr HP berry bullets from russell reloading. To be honest the bullets look cheap, but I thought I could still test them and have some fun. I found out, with the springfield pistol, that I would be seating it way to far into the case in order to keep it away from the lands. It made me nervous, so I decided to test the bullets in the carbine.

I was wondering, since I can increase the OAL of in the carbine does this mean i'm decreasing pressure enough to increase powder? Since the Carbine has a, i think 16" or 18" barrel, I want to make sure I'm not coming up short with powder. After reading some different forums I decided to use Blue Dot for the carbine since its a slower burn rate for the longer barrel.

This is why i'm wanting to know what to look for with excessive pressure indications. Also why I wanted to know about the max oal. I'm surprised there is little difference in accuracy with oal length. In the carbine I would think if i set it to spec that it would be one heck of a jump to the lands. Thanks for the posts.
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Old February 28, 2012, 04:31 PM   #6
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The 124 grain Berry's HP are good shooting bullets. In a handgun they will shoot more accurately than the person shooting in most cases. The same load can be used in the handgun, and carbine provided both feed, and cycle. I usualy seat on the longer side for reliability.

Any primer, with a charge of 4.0 to 4.2 grains of TiteGroup, or Bull's Eye give me good results with those bullets.
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Old February 28, 2012, 08:52 PM   #7
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Berry's are very good bullets, I've always had good luck with them.

Since you're new to reloading, I'll tell you something that took me a while to figure out. Making different loads for different gun in the same caliber becomes a big PITA after a while.

I would recommend making one load that fits in your pistol and works in your carbine.

Handgun bullets in general are very tolerant of long jumps to the lands. If you think .050" is a long jump, just look at what happens in a revolver. A revolver round has to traverse the un-rifled throat, the gap, the forcing cone, then the leade into the rifling. You don't use a caliper to measure that jump to the rifling, you use a tape measure. And in general revolvers will equal or best an auto or even a 9mm carbine in the accuracy department.

Load 'em short enough to fit in your XD, work up the load in the pistol, then try them in the carbine.
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Old February 28, 2012, 09:21 PM   #8
CS86
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When finding the max OAL with the 124gr HP berry's bullets I ended up with this.

9mm Springfield XDM: 1.049" touching lands
9mm Hi Point Carbine: 1.163" touching lands

I've only ran test loads so far through the Hi point using Blue Dot Powder and HS-6 powders.
I worked backwards from the max OAL for the Blue Dot: 1.148, 1.138, 1.128
Blue Dot working up: 5.1gr, 5.4gr, 5.6gr, 6.0gr

The HS-6 loads where intended for the XDM, but being new to this I found out the CAOL was different from bullet to bullet. I accidentally seated the bullet to long making it hard for the action to shut. So i tested them in the Hi Point.
I worked backwards from max OAL: 1.095, 1.085, 1.075
HS-6 working up: 5.1gr, 5.4gr, 5.6gr

I had no problems getting them in the magazine. If my memory serves me right I did have a few long ones having a hard time chambering. All cases seemed to look fine to me.

I need to look at the targets again but I think the shorter COAL with the higher grains of HS-6 were doing the best, but not great for a 50yd target. I feel like a longer barrel shooting with a scope should do better than a 4"-6"+ group.

One thing I really didn't like about the Hi Point was the long trigger pull.
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Old February 28, 2012, 10:01 PM   #9
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Wow, that is a short leade in the XD, shorter than the CZ 75B.

When you burn up those hollow points, try a more conventional FMJ shape, you'll be able to load them considerably longer in your XD.
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Old February 28, 2012, 10:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
9mm Springfield XDM: 1.049" touching lands
9mm Hi Point Carbine: 1.163" touching lands
How are you measuring to determine that these lengths are touching the lands? I'd be willing to bet that you're not actually touching the lands at that OAL, but that the "hard chambering" you're describing is a headspacing, sizing, or crimping issue rather than a problem with OAL.
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Old February 28, 2012, 11:15 PM   #11
CS86
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I've only edited this like 10 times. Watch this. I can't seem to find the exact video. The one I watched seemed to be referred by several shooters. I shouldn't try explain this in case I can't remember exactly. I would break down the gun so I had the barrel by itself. After seating a dummy round you should seat a bullet long and work your way down in length. Drop the bullet in the chamber, If the bullet is sticking where you have to pull the bullet out, then you are too long. Keep seating it deeper into the case until the bullet drops in the chamber and it should fall right back out. You shouldn't have to pull it out of the chamber. Also make sure the case length is within spec. Once you have done this several times and taken measurements you have a very good idea of where you are touching the lands. Then you back it off more for clearance.

You can't really do this with a bolt action so I use the Hornady OAL gauge then. Or I guess you could use the marker way by marking a bullet and sliding it in.

The one bullets that had a hard time chambering in the carbine was because they jammed. They didn't want to slide up and align right.

When I had a hard time with the action closing on the XDM it was because the oal length was too long.

Last edited by CS86; February 29, 2012 at 12:29 AM.
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Old February 29, 2012, 12:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
I've only edited this like 10 times. Watch this [youtube.com] . I can't seem to find the exact video. I shouldn't try explain this in case I can't remember exactly, but after seating a dummy round you should be able to drop the bullet in and it should fall right back out of the chamber. You shouldn't have to pull it out of the chamber. Also make sure the case length is within spec.
I think you're confusing measuring headspace with OAL, which are not the same thing. Headspace is the chamber stopping the forward motion of the case in the chamber and properly positioning the case head relative to the bolt face. Proper headspace on a straight wall pistol case like the 9mm is determined by the mouth of the case being positioned in the chamber properly, and not the bullet engaging the lands. On rifle rounds that headspace on the case shoulder in the chamber, it's typically possible to seat the bullet out far enough to engage the lands and actually effect your headspace by not allowing the shoulder to get forward far enough in the chamber. But on something like a 9mm pistol, it is pretty unlikely that you'd actually be able to set the bullet out far enough to engage the lands as your describing and still fit the completed round in the magazine.

So if you're having problems with the rounds seating properly, especially at the OAL's you're describing, it's not likely at all that the problem is the bullet engaging the lands. Rather, it's most likely a problem of the case not headspacing properly in the chamber. And I'd suspect that, if you're having headspacing problems, it's probably related to crimp rather than OAL. Too little crimp and you won't headspace correctly because you're not getting the case flare out of the case. Too much crimp and the mouth doesn't headspace properly because the case moves too far forward in the chamber. I'd be willing to bet your problem is there, and highly doubt it's related to OAL.

What I'd recommend you do is make some dummy rounds at a longer OAL, whatever is recommended in the manuals you're using for the bullet weight you choose. Then play with a minimal amount of crimp on the bullet an increase it as needed until you're getting proper headspace. Make sure also that you're not putting too much flare in the case to begin with, only as much as is needed to start the bullet in the case. Then like I said, you gradually increase the crimp until it removes the flare and allows the case to drop in and out of the chamber freely and properly headspace. I think if you do that you'll find that the OAL you're describing is much shorter than you need.
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Old February 29, 2012, 12:31 AM   #13
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Headspacing isn't the issue, bullets touching the lands is. OAL is what we're discussing. With barrels that have short throats and cone shape bullets like Berry's 124 HP you have to load to a shorter OAL.

Quote:
I would break down the gun so I had the barrel by itself. After seating a dummy round you should seat a bullet long and work your way down in length. Drop the bullet in the chamber, If the bullet is sticking where you have to pull the bullet out, then you are too long. Keep seating it deeper into the case until the bullet drops in the chamber and it should fall right back out
That's how I do it too, except I try to twist the round in the chamber. That gives a better feel for the lands when the bullet is just barely touching them. When you're off the lands the cartridge will spin freely in the chamber with little effort.

Last edited by Hammerhead; February 29, 2012 at 12:39 AM.
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Old February 29, 2012, 12:39 AM   #14
CS86
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Quote:
That's how I do it too, except I try to twist the round in the chamber. That gives a better feel for the lands when your just barely touching them. When you're off the lands the cartridge will spin freely in the chamber with little effort.
That's a good idea. I'm glad someone knows what I'm doing. I'm pulling my hair out trying to find that one video. I am explaining this right aren't I...for OAL?
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Old February 29, 2012, 12:40 AM   #15
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Yup, you're GTG.
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Old February 29, 2012, 12:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Headspacing isn't the issue, bullets touching the lands is.
You really think that the bullet in a 9mm is engaging the lands of a handgun at 1.049"? Sorry, but I seriously doubt that's the case. I almost guarantee that this is a headspacing problem caused by either: 1) Improper sizing, 2) Excessive Flare, or 3) Insufficient or Excessive Crimp. And if by some chance it's none of those and indeed the OAL is causing problems, then it's because that OAL is screwing with the correct headspace and not because it's engaging the lands. It's just not gonna happen at that length in a handgun.
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Old February 29, 2012, 12:49 AM   #17
CS86
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So from what I got out of this is that for pistols it really doesn't matter what the OAL is. Its best to just stay within spec and work with the powder?

With the carbine and the longer barrel would you think I would benefit from playing with the OAL and possibly more powder?

Also there isn't a real good way to see excessive pressure signs with the naked eye. What about velocity? Wish i had a chrono.
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Old February 29, 2012, 12:53 AM   #18
CS86
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Quote:
You really think that the bullet in a 9mm is engaging the lands of a handgun at 1.049"
It was only that bullet 124gr berry. Everything else (hornady, montana gold) was longer. When I tested my OAL I would use 3 cases of equal length within spec. These were fired cases that hadn't been re sized or flared. I made sure the case would slide in and out easily before putting a bullet in. I would push the bullet in and work with them.
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Old February 29, 2012, 01:00 AM   #19
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Quote:
You really think that the bullet in a 9mm is engaging the lands of a handgun at 1.049"?
Very possible, yes.
I had to load the similar Berry's 124 FP to 1.055" to get off the lands on my 75B, so 1.049" isn't much of a stretch.

I was surprised that Springfield uses such a short throat. I knew CZ did before I bought one, so I knew what to expect.
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Old February 29, 2012, 01:06 AM   #20
CS86
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You guys are making me second guess myself. I will have to check it again sometime when I get some more bullets. I think I'm out of them. I feel pretty confident though because I was checking the process several times.
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Old February 29, 2012, 01:14 AM   #21
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Quote:
So from what I got out of this is that for pistols it really doesn't matter what the OAL is?
It matters, definitely it matters. I contend however that chambering problems in a handgun are exponentially more likely to be caused by headspace issues than the bullet engaging the lands. So my only recommendation is that before you jump to short OAL's, make sure that's really needed. Verify you're not causing problems due to excessive flare, improper sizing, or insufficient/excessive crimp before you move to changing the OAL. The test you have described is one I utilize as well in setting OAL and still maintaining proper headspace. But because the 9mm is a taper crimp cartridge that headspaces on the mouth, that test is only going to give you an accurate OAL if you're doing those other things correct first. So you want to rule them out first and then adjust your OAL as is needed.
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Old February 29, 2012, 01:24 AM   #22
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Good advice.
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Old February 29, 2012, 01:38 AM   #23
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Just for reference on barrel lengths in 9mm.
http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/9luger.html
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Old February 29, 2012, 02:50 AM   #24
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You do not need to use the OAL listed on published load data as often test barrel fixtures and not real pistols are used to measure chamber pressures. Using published OALs WILL NOT ensure reliable feeding/chambering of finished rounds in your pistols.

Determining OAL should not be a guessing game and I use the following process for semi-auto loads whenever I use a new bullet:

1. Make sure resized cases drop freely into the barrel chamber. If not, adjust the resizing die to ensure the cases are resized full-length and fall in freely into the chamber.

2. Determine Max OAL - Make a dummy round (no powder/primer) and perform the barrel drop test with the barrel out of the pistol starting with the SAAMI max OAL until the dummy round falls into the chamber freely with a "plonk" and spin without hitting the start of rifling. To determine the amount of taper crimp to return the flare back to flat, I usually add .020" to the diameter of the bullet (So for 9mm .355" diameter bullet, .375" taper crimp and for .356" bullet, .376" taper crimp).

3. Next determine Ideal OAL - Load the Max OAL dummy round in the magazine and manually release the slide without riding the slide with your hand. Incrementally decrease the OAL until dummy round reliably feed/chamber. Depending on the pistol/barrel used, Ideal OAL that will work reliably will vary. If you are reloading for multiple pistols, use the Ideal OAL that will work reliably in all the pistols.


9mm cases headspace on the case neck edge/mouth and length of leade/start of rifling will determine the OAL of finished round and may vary barrel to barrel. Since case wall thickness will vary depending on headstamp (usually around .010"), adding .020" to the diameter of the bullet will either add flat taper crimp or slightly negative taper crimp shown below.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg Taper-Roll Crimp1.jpg (48.2 KB, 557 views)
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Old February 29, 2012, 04:31 AM   #25
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I wonder if a call to bar-sto would be worth it.
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