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Old September 8, 2012, 07:52 AM   #1
Cycrops
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First time loading Berry's plated .45 and 9mm, check my load data?

Hi Guys,

I've got all of my equipment and my bullets arrived from Berry's, so once I've got my cases prepped I'll be loading my first rounds this weekend. Before I do, I was hoping to get your reactions to my load data. I found this data online, apparently it's older Midway load data for Rainier plated bullets (this page is no longer available on Rainier's web site, somebody downloaded it an posted it as a .pdf), which should be very similar to Berry's.

.45 ACP
Berry's 200gr SWC (plated)

Max Case Length: .898"
Trim to Length: .888"
COAL: 1.265"
Max COAL: 1.275"

Alliant Bullseye
Starting: 4.0 (649 FPS)
Max: 6.0 gr (969 FPS)

9mm Luger
Berry's 124gr FP (plated)

Max Case Length: .754"
Trim to Length: .744"
COAL: 1.090"
MAX COAL: 1.169"

Alliant Bullseye
Starting: 3.4gr (929FPS)
Max: 3.9gr (1040FPS)


My Lyman's 49th manual doesn't cover plated bullets, but this seems to generally line up with with what they're saying for similar bullets. The one exception is the starting charge for the .45 ACP rounds. The data I found for Rainier bullets says start at 4.0 grains of Bullseye, but Lyman's 49th says for a lead 200 gr lead SWC you should start at 4.9 grains.

I don't want to start at 4.0 if it's unlikely to even cycle the gun (I have a Sig 1911 with stock recoil spring).

Thoughts?

ETA:
I've seen it written that you must be very careful with taper crimping plated bullets. Should I even bother with crimp, or go for something very very subtle?

Also, I plan to try out the "plunk test" in my Beretta 92A1 and Sig 1911 to determine ideal OAL. Any tips on how to do that properly?

Not sure if it matters too much, but I'll be using Federal primers.

My primary concern at this point is safety. I'm somewhat nervous about squib rounds as a result of not enough powder. Are squibs possible when using starting charge amounts, or will starting charges always get the round out of the barrel, barring any other mistakes on my part?

Last edited by Cycrops; September 8, 2012 at 07:58 AM.
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Old September 9, 2012, 09:11 AM   #2
WESHOOT2
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spilt the diff

But err towards caution.

Somewhere above 'min' will ensure projectile exits bore.
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Old September 9, 2012, 11:00 AM   #3
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You are doing well to be concerned and we are here to help. I'll address some things I saw:

Crimp
You are loading two semi-auto rounds here, so your dies will apply a taper crimp, and how much depends on how far down you've screwed the die. Lead, plated, jacketed -- you don't want too much taper crimp on ANY of them. The purpose of the taper crimp is to un-do the mouth flaring that you did earlier to allow you to start & then seat a bullet. A proper taper crimp should not be noticeable, and it allows the loaded round to headspace on the end of the chamber. Too much taper crimp will ruin -ANY- loaded round, no matter the bullet you've chosen. You goal is to make it look like a factory round, and for it to be able to fall IN and then OUT of the chamber by gravity.

It's a misconception that a taper crimp "holds" the bullet in place in a semi-auto round. It does not... proper case mouth tension does that. You get the proper case mouth tension by:
--using quality, not thin brass (R-P is some of the worst in this regard, PMC is also not the best)
--being careful NOT to over flare the case mouths
--having a sizing die that is built to spec and working properly

Primer
You are using Federal and that's fine. Federal has the reputation for being THE softest cup primer available, and therefore the easiest to light off. That means use caution when seating them, as you would anyway, I'm sure. If you find you handgun doesn't reliably set off a Federal primer, you've got a PROBLEM because it'll really struggle with a hard cup primer.

Plated bullets
I use a heap of them and I use Berry's exclusively, I'm a big fan of them. And while you need to follow the guidelines about not pushing them too fast and definitely don't try to put a heavy crimp on them in revolver rounds, they are good bullets and if you only remember one thing about them... my suggestion would be to NOT baby them. They can get stuck fast in a barrel if you try to run them at light target lead bullet velocities.

You don't need to be running a max or over max load, but please do not run them weakly. Sticking one in the bore sucks. I speak from experience.

As for published data, you won't find much at all for plated bullets because the folks that develop published data do so with actual lab testing and the use of high-buck equipment. While many jacketed bullets exhibit "similar" performance, plated bullets can vary depending on the construction of them, the thickness of the plating, etc. I tend to run them just under jacketed max loads as long as the velocities are within Berry's suggested limits.

I use them a lot in .380, .38 Special, 9mm, .40 S&W and .45, but I avoid them in .357 Mag, 10mm, .44 Mag, etc etc.
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Old September 9, 2012, 11:17 AM   #4
Jim Watson
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A 200 gr bullet and 4.0 gr of Bullseye will function most if not all .45 ACPs. That was my gunsmith's test load until he changed to N310.
So go ahead and start there, just don't load up a big supply before you have tried say two magazines worth.

1.265" is long for a SWC. The plunk test will guide you. All that means is to drop a round into the chamber of the barrel, clean and out of the gun and listen for the sound of the case mouth hitting the chamber mouth. Also see the case head flush or slightly below the barrel hood. Compare with a factory load.
I think you will end up at 1.24-1.25" with the long nosed SWC.
The length from the casehead to the SWC shoulder just in front of the case mouth will likely be 0.92-0.93".

You need enough taper crimp to eliminate the seating flare and not so much as to cut through the bullet plating. Not as critical as usually described.
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Old September 9, 2012, 01:41 PM   #5
Cycrops
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Thanks for the replies, guys. I got started on my .45 ACP this morning before seeing the replies so I seated everything to 1.265" COAL. I'd imagine it would be a simple matter to seat them a bit deeper, but I'll try the plunk test on them before doing so. I was able to cycle through a full mag of my finished rounds by racking the slide, so that seemed OK.

Unfortunately I don't have any factory rounds left for comparison purposes, I guess it wouldn't hurt to buy a box as I need the brass anyway.

Took me a while to get the hang of things, but I'm having a lot of fun already. It's a really satisfying process although the proof will be when I shoot a few (probably tomorrow).

One other note, I have a Lyman Model 55 Powder Measure. Right out of the box I started dialing in 4.5 grains and it seems to be really inconsistent with Bullseye. It tends to throw +/- 0.2 grains most of the time, but I found that as I neared the end of my session it was up to nearly 5.0. I've got a Lyman digital scale that came with my kit and I don't know for sure if it's functioning 100% accurately because I don't have a beam scale to check it against.

Assuming the scale is correct, is there anything I can do to get better consistency out of the powder measure with Bullseye? My 9mm powder tolerances are lower and I don't want to have to weigh and trickle fill every round, I'd like to throw 10-15 between weight checks.


Thanks again, I'm really enjoying this new aspect of the hobby already
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Old September 9, 2012, 04:28 PM   #6
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Did you clean the powder measure really good inlcuing the inside of ? Are you using a baffle in the powder tube? Are you double tapping on the up and down strokes to make certain the measuring chamber fills with powder and then is dropping the full charge?
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Old September 9, 2012, 06:18 PM   #7
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Wow, great response Seven. Lots of good info there. Nothing to add.

Jim Watson- I agree with everything you said, except the part about the OAL. That part I have a question about. I run 1.265" 200gr SWC through my SR1911 regularly with great success. Actually, 1.267-1.268". What problems do you typically see with this length SWC cartridge, and which firearms are more likely to see this problem?
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Old September 9, 2012, 06:34 PM   #8
Mac Sidewinder
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I have run a couple thousand of the Berry's 9mm 124gr HBRNTP (hollow base round nose thick plated) bullets through my Beretta 92FS with no problems. Like you, I couldn't find much info about these so I started from scratch and here is what I found works for me.

I found that an COAL of 1.150 works great in this bullet profile in my weapon. It passes the barrel "plunk" test and dummy rounds manually cycle through great.

Before I got my chrony I use middle of the road loads for the powder (just enough to get the slide to cycle) and couldn't get any accuracy at all. I was afraid of stripping the plating so I keep it well below any type of maximum (i'm sure I was way on the low side).

After I got my chrony I started running the load up, watching for pressure signs along the way and found that at 4.3 grs of Bullseye, my groups tightened up great and I was running around 1150 fps. Berry states that you can run their "normal" plated bullets up to 1200fps and their "thick" plated bullets up to 1450fps. I know this load is higher than what you found as max but I am also using a hollow based bullet at a longer seating length.

Anyway I guess what it all comes down to is you are going to have to test and run up your own loads to see how they react to your individual weapon. What I use or what anybody else uses won't necessarily work for you. Just start low and be safe. Read all you can, ask questions from all these smart reloaders on here, and make sure you know what the signs of over pressure are.

Mac
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Old September 10, 2012, 06:43 AM   #9
Cycrops
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Quote:
1.265" is long for a SWC. The plunk test will guide you.
Sure enough, the 1.265 loads would not pass the plunk test. I ended up coming back to 1.235" before they passed reliably. Seems like I should still be safe pressure-wise with 4.5 grains of Bullseye.

Quote:
I know this load is higher than what you found as max but I am also using a hollow based bullet at a longer seating length.
I ended up individually weighing all of my 9mm loads to be 3.4-3.5 grains. What a pain. If I can't get my measure to throw more reliably I may try a different powder for 9mm.

Quote:
Did you clean the powder measure really good inlcuing the inside of ? Are you using a baffle in the powder tube? Are you double tapping on the up and down strokes to make certain the measuring chamber fills with powder and then is dropping the full charge?
I did not initially clean the powder measure, but after cleaning with rubbing alcohol I was getting similarly erratic results. I believe I should be lubricating it with powdered graphite, so I'll give that a try.

There is a baffle in the tube.

I am using the knocker.


Thanks again for the advice and suggestions. I now have 50 rounds of .45 ACP and 50 of 9mm, so I'll be trying them out this morning.
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Old September 10, 2012, 01:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
I ended up individually weighing all of my 9mm loads to be 3.4-3.5 grains. What a pain. If I can't get my measure to throw more reliably I may try a different powder for 9mm.
What measure? If it makes you feel any better I get about a .1 grain variation both up and down with my Uniflow - thus, if I want each round to be identical I must weigh each one and trickle accordingly.
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Old September 10, 2012, 01:33 PM   #11
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I find Bullseye to be one of the more consistant powders to measure with both a Uniflow and a Lee Pro Auto Disc.The Lyman measure should do the same. Once set I've never had a meaure to change charges during a loading session. I'm not saying it can't but it's not happened to ME. I also have both a RCBS Rangemaster 750 digital and a RCBS 502 beam scales. I have on occassion caught the digital creeping up during loading sessions. There are some things that will interfere with a digital. FOR MY 750, I have to let it warm up good before calibrating it, and keep it well away from florescent light fixtures and it stays dead on.
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Old September 10, 2012, 05:19 PM   #12
Cycrops
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The first shoot was a success! All digits intact

I sent 50 .45 ACP and 50 9mm down range. The lower recoil was sweet and I saw the best groups at 7 yards I've shot with either gun so far (keep in mind I'm a novice).

I had two feed failures in the .45 that resulted in the slide jamming about half way through the cycle. I'll take a pic if it happens again, but it's happened once or twice with factory ammo.

The 9mm was nearly flawless, two rounds failed to cycle the slide far enough to eject, but I'm guessing this can be solved with a little more powder.

I loaded another batch of 50 9mm rounds this afternoon and the whole process was much faster. I think my powder measure woe may have been due to not giving the scale enough time to register rather than the powder measure being inconsistent. Apparently you need to give the scale several seconds to settle.
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Old September 10, 2012, 08:11 PM   #13
tkglazie
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Considering you said you are a novice, here is a thought re: the failures to eject- you might be limpwristing the gun. Only you can tell for sure, but try to make sure your wrists are firmly locked. Note that this does not mean your grip has to be firm necessarily. I used to have a crush grip a-la Ayoob's teachings but that ended up hurting my elbow. Now I grip much more gently and with bent elbows to prevent further damage. When I first changed over I was seeing some cycling problems but then I noticed I was not locking my wrists. Voila, no more problems.

Good luck
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Old September 10, 2012, 10:16 PM   #14
Jim Watson
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Quote:
I run 1.265" 200gr SWC through my SR1911 regularly with great success. Actually, 1.267-1.268". What problems do you typically see with this length SWC cartridge, and which firearms are more likely to see this problem?
I set my seating die for a commercial cast ersatz "#68" cast SWC to headspace on the bullet shoulder in a Wilson barrel, as shown in the color diagram regularly reposted here. It was 1.245" OAL and I did not find it necessary to change for other guns. But I don't have a Ruger.
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Old September 10, 2012, 10:29 PM   #15
tkglazie
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Quote:
I set my seating die for a commercial cast ersatz "#68" cast SWC to headspace on the bullet shoulder in a Wilson barrel, as shown in the color diagram regularly reposted here. It was 1.245" OAL and I did not find it necessary to change for other guns. But I don't have a Ruger.
Ok thanks. The SR1911 is my first .45 so I am in that "dont know what you dont know period" still regarding whats normal and whats not. Thanks for the clarification. The more info the better.
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Old September 11, 2012, 09:48 PM   #16
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Couple of thoughts about the powder measure. My Hornady measure seemed to drift upwards for the first 20-30 rounds in a tray. Drove me nuts. Then I figured out that tho prowling charges itself was making the powder in the measure compress a little. A baffle helped. Filling the reservoir 1/3, tapping the measure for a minute with a screw driver, fill to 2/3 and tap some more, full and do it again. The first charge already in the rotor will be VERY compressed, but this approach eliminated the upward drift I was experiencing. Now I just have a little vibrating motor rubber banded onto the measure and run it for a minute or two before getting started.

I also learned that running a lot of powdered graphite through the measure smooths everything up nicely. (thanks Nick!)
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Old September 12, 2012, 01:48 PM   #17
Cycrops
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I'll have to try the powdered graphite trick, as the Lyman manual recommends it. Not sure where to find powdered graphite, but I haven't searched the web yet.

I've now reloaded a total of 250 rounds of 9mm and I'm getting the system down and I'm able to focus on my speed a bit more. Once I have a tray of 50 spent cases set up and I've verified that the powder measure is throwing 3.5-3.6 grains of Bullseye, I can crank out 50 rounds of 9mm in less than half an hour. I think I can still speed that up quite a bit with practice.

I'm comfortable enough with the powder measure now that I believe it's reliably throwing the desired charge, so I only feel the need to measure once before I start and again at the end of the 50 rounds.

My wife and I will go shooting 9mm (and maybe .45 if I have time to load some up tonight) tomorrow morning and we'll see if the slightly increased powder load helps my Beretta to cycle a bit better. We'll also see how her Kahr T9 likes the rounds.

On a side note, I'm pretty sure my issue with my Sig 1911 is that as a lefty my right thumb rides the bit of the slide release lever that pokes through the other side of the frame. I think on occasion I push the lever free, which jams up the gun. Nothing to do with the ammo.
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Old September 12, 2012, 02:38 PM   #18
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Here's a trick I use...
When charging cases 50 at a time (that's how I do it), I will charge 51, 52 or 53 cases.

When those 53 are fully charged, I'll pull one about 12 cases in, next from like 28 cases in, and maybe case number 45. You get the idea -- it's a random sampling from somewhere, anywhere in the middle.

Check the weight of each of those charges. If all look good, I can reasonably assume the other 50 are properly metered out. I don't have to meter any more and I'm not checking one round that was metered out -NOT- in succession (and rhythm) with all the others. Consistency means a lot!

Now you've got your 50 and they are ready to run. Use this opportunity to look at EACH AND EVERY ONE of the 50 cases. This takes only a moment. If you've got a severe over or under charge somewhere, you'll see it. Keep good lighting over your bench.

Now place a bullet over each and make some ammo!
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