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Old December 26, 2012, 06:48 PM   #1
Arkmaker
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Can a .38 bullet be used on a 9mm case?

I think I know the answer already, but they are the same diameter. Just not sure about the length.
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Old December 26, 2012, 07:21 PM   #2
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A 38 is actually .357 where a 9mm is .355. I would not interchange them. JMHO.
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Old December 26, 2012, 07:32 PM   #3
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Lots of folks load .357 diameter lead bullets in their 9mms.
The 147 grain truncated cone is very popular.
The 125 grain round nose is even more so.
Both are also popular with .38/357s.

.355 is the normal jacketed diameter for 9mm.
.356 is normal for lead.
Both are too small for .38/357
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Old December 26, 2012, 07:36 PM   #4
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but what about the length. The 9mm case is so short. Will pressing the longer bullet into it, increase the pressure outside of the normal?
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Old December 26, 2012, 07:40 PM   #5
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I use the 125 TC in .358 in one of my 9s ; )

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Old December 26, 2012, 08:58 PM   #6
SL1
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Quote:
but what about the length. The 9mm case is so short. Will pressing the longer bullet into it, increase the pressure outside of the normal?
YES it will.

For two reasons:

1. If the bullet is "longer" then it is probably also heavier, which will definitely increase pressure.

2. If the bullet is longer, it will still need to be seated to nearly the same overall cartridge length in order to feed it from the magazine. That will leave less space for the powder and can raise pressures catastrophically in such a small case.

There is also a third reason that is not quite as significant as the two above: the larger diameter bullet is harder to swaged down into the bore and rifling, which also raises pressure. It might also be large enough to make it hard for the case to release the bullet in a gun with a tight chamber.

So, without a lot more study on your part, DON'T DO IT.

Once you area able to determine the amount of powder space in a case with a bullet loaded, the groove diameter of a barrel, and the clearance between the case and the chamber wall where the bullet is inside your case, THEN you can start thinking about whether you want to use a particular .357" diameter bullet in a 9mm chamber. But, you will certainly want to start from pressure tested data for the same bullet weight.

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Old December 26, 2012, 09:17 PM   #7
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When I owned a 9mm I often used .38 bullets when reloading. I used low power loads just enough to work the action and hopefully with enough accuracy that I could hit a target. You'll have your best luck with some of the light bullets that CAS shooters use.
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Old December 26, 2012, 10:03 PM   #8
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I would only do it the other way around,when accuracy isn't an issue.This is something I do whe the bullet of choice doesn't work in my 9mm,and I have 300 or so that will be shot out of a 38/357.Makes good teaching ammo for me to use.
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Old December 26, 2012, 10:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Lots of folks load .357 diameter lead bullets in their 9mms.
I size my cast 120gr Lee truncated cone 9mm bullets to .357. They work fine.
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Old December 27, 2012, 01:00 AM   #10
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I have loaded hundreds of jacketed .357 bullets in my 9mms, at max load, with multiple powders and without any signs of excessive pressure. Both my barrels slug at .355. The idea that the .002 difference will create unsafe pressure where none existed before is speculation based. It also assumes that barrels never run slightly small, which they do. People are constantly shooting jacketed bullets that are .001-.002 oversized down their barrel without even realizing it.

Your OAL will be different but the same can be said for any bullet. I used 110gr and 125gr Remington SJHP and 125gr XTPs. You will also have to ignore the canellure because it will cause your bullet to have much too short of an OAL. This is an example of a 125gr SJHP loaded into a 9mm.
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Old December 27, 2012, 08:57 AM   #11
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Thanks guys for all of your responses. Because some say yes and others no, I will stick to the norm until I gain much more experience Heck, I am still looking for that perfect .38 load anyway! Almost have it, I think. My next 4 loads should dial it in and I will be able to choose the best for this pistol. Then I need to re-do the whole process for the shorter barreled .38.......

What brought this question to mind, is that I see an end to the .38's and I will be moving on to my 9's. I only bought 100 sample bullets for the 9's and now know that it will take me many more than that, hence the original question about using the .357 diameter .38 bullets. I have lots of them.

This is a great hobby!
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Old December 27, 2012, 09:09 AM   #12
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The 9mm barrels that I've slugged actually measured .357.
We shoot .358 cast bullets in ours.
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Old December 27, 2012, 09:20 AM   #13
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To slug a barrel, I would push a bullet through the barrel and then measure the lands? Is that how it works?

Sorry for all the newbie questions.
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Old December 27, 2012, 09:30 AM   #14
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Push a well oiled soft lead bullet or soft sinker thru the barrel and measure.
I usually just tap it about an inch into the throat end, then tap it back out.
A small wooden dowell works good for a ramrod.
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Old December 27, 2012, 10:12 AM   #15
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As far as diameter goes, some ".357 Magnum" barrels may actually measure as small as .355" (Colts in particular), while some "9mm Parabellum" barrels may actually measure as large as .359", and both would still be within SAAMI specs. There is actually a SAAMI limit on the minimum cross-sectional area of the bore + grooves that also comes into play for tight barrels.

With respect to the pressure increase caused by bullets that are over-diameter for the barrel, that is one of the factors that leads to "fast barrels" on some guns. So, it DOES makes some difference in the pressures, evidence of which can often be seen on a chronograph (but not always).

SAMMI pressure limits apply to the charge weights for the tightest barrels, for whatever bullet the manual makers are testing. So, a maximum pressure-tested load will be below the SAAMI peak pressure limit with THAT diameter bullet. Substituting a larger diameter bullet of the same weight at the same seating depth will create higher pressures for sure, but how much higher is not clear. There are also other factors, such as jacket thickness and lead core hardness that can significantly affect pressures, perhaps more than bullet diameter. So, substituting bullets is ALWAYS something to be done carefully.

With regard to pressure signs, there are really none that are very reliable at normal pistol pressures. That is especially true of cartridges like the .45 Colt, which is not supposed to exceed about 20,000 psi, but still true of cartridges like the 9mm, that are not supposed to exceed about 35,000 psi. In an auto-loader, you can tell if your brass is being ejected with more or less force than occurs with factory ammo. But, that is not a very good measure of PEAK pressure, which is what ruptures cases.

When starting to handload, it is best to stick with the load manual recepies as closely as possible until you have mastered the loading processes and learned how to avoid errors there, as well as what to expect from YOUR particular lots of powders and primers. Then, when you start to experiment with things that the manuals don't cover (such as revolver bullets in auto-loaders), you are in a better position to avoid having uncontrolled factors create unexpected and perhaps misunderstood results, and to recognize when things are not going as planned.

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Old December 27, 2012, 10:50 AM   #16
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I have a 9mm XDM that is slugging at .357. I was wondering what I should be using for a jacketed bullet diameter or the range of diameters that I could use before having trouble.

Quote:
Push a well oiled soft lead bullet or soft sinker thru the barrel and measure.
I usually just tap it about an inch into the throat end, then tap it back out.
I'm confused. Do you run the slug thru or just partially and back it out. Or do you do both and measure? I ran my slug all the way through then measured.

I also have a .45 ACP 1911 that slugs right at .450. I've had trouble seating the ammunition to the recommended COAL and have it chamber. I was using .451 185gr XTP bullets and they seem to hit the lands and stick (so it's a plunk fail). I set the bullet back further and tried them with a low charge and it seemed to work fine. I'm wondering if I end up getting a heavier grain bullet that is longer how am I going to seat it without seating to far in and having higher pressures.
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Old December 27, 2012, 11:00 AM   #17
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From the standpoint of peak pressure, the groove (and bore) diameter just ahead of the chamber is most important.

From the standpoint of accuracy, the diameter should be uniform or slightly DECEASING as you move from the chamber to the muzzle.

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Old December 27, 2012, 01:52 PM   #18
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I read an article in which they tested bullets of .355", .356", and .357" through a .38 Super pistol.
The original purpose was to determine if there was a correlation between diameter and accuracy, but what they discovered was a stronger correlation between bullet bearing surface length and accuracy.
The longer the cylindrical portion of the bullet, the more accurate they tended to be, regardless of diameter. That would suggest that heavier bullets are more accurate, but I've shot some 147s that had a very long, tapering profile, with a shorter bearing surface than lighter bullets with a stubbier profile.
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Old December 27, 2012, 08:19 PM   #19
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I think most people run the bullet clear thru, but I've always had good luck just going partially in and then back out.
I've never had a problem, and like SL1, I think thats the most important area of the barrel.
I'm no expert, but it works for me and all I shoot is cast bullets. It would be a good idea tho to run one clear thru to make sure the barrel dont get bigger at the muzzle end.
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Old December 27, 2012, 08:43 PM   #20
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I will add, oil the whole barrel and just tap it all the way through. My CZ slugs at .355 and I use a .357 sizing die.
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Old December 27, 2012, 11:44 PM   #21
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Some guns will do it, some will NOT. My rugers all shoot anything, including .38 bullets loaded in 9mm.... However I had a kel-tec PF9 that would NOT. It had a close to minimum chamber, and cartridges loaded with .38 bullets would not allow it to go into battery (even with the correct OAL) and if they were loaded second in the mag, they would lock it up tighter than a drum, requiring disassembly to extract.... Personally, I don't see the point, get the right bullets, its not that difficult...

This was with jacketed bullets BTW, lead would probably work better, but I still wouldn't do it...
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Old December 28, 2012, 10:12 PM   #22
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My plinkertoy bullet for 9mm is from a Lee .358" 105 grain SWC mold. I run it through a .356" size die and call it good.

Initial load data was from somebody over on castboolits. Above bullet with 4.4 grains of Unique with a CCI 500 primer.

Nice, light target load. My Hi Power eats it like pop corn.

I wouldn't do jacketed .38/.357 bullets in a 9mm. Stick with cast lead and size it down if you want to go that route.

The only reason I delved into it was I wanted a semi wad cutter and a couple other bullet profiles not readily available in a .356" mold to run through my 9mm stuff.
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Old December 29, 2012, 09:44 AM   #23
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I've shot .358" cast out of all my 9s without any problem. In fact, anything below .357" and many of my guns will lead up. This doesn't mean the guns that others own will not have much smaller diameter chambers or undersized bores. You have to check. Generally when it comes to cast lead, if you can easily insert a round all the way into the chamber of your barrel (removed from gun) and easily extract it by just tipping the barrel up, you're good to go. You've just performed a chamber expansion room check test and a OAL test at the same time.

With jacketed, I would not shoot anything over bore size as recommended by the bullets manufacturer and commercially available load data. In other words, 9mm bullets for 9mm guns.
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Old December 29, 2012, 05:07 PM   #24
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I have done the opposite on occasion - run the .356" lead bullets for my 9mm Largo and .38 Super in .38 Special loads - works well. Have not slugged it but I suspect my Ruger Securitysix has a fairly tight bore.
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Old December 29, 2012, 11:25 PM   #25
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The responses to threads about this fall almost exclusively into two different groups. "It's not safe and I've never done it" and "I have done it and it turned out to be safe". I understand people not doing things that they perceive to be unsafe but I don't understand going around forums saying things aren't safe contrary to people who have actual experience doing them. Commenting cluelessly is most of what makes the internet the ultimate source of bad information.
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Last edited by Adamantium; December 29, 2012 at 11:48 PM.
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