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Old September 29, 2013, 10:13 AM   #1
Larry K
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re-loading noob & questions

Am just getting into reloading. Have spent the past month or so, just reading posts etc. My choice ended up as the Lee Classic Turret over the progressive 1000 for a variety of reasons, caution being the #1 reason. Also the Classic "Kit" got me everything I needed or was suggested. Have already read through the Lee book, along with a few others, and lots of lurking and reading on this and a few other forums.
Initially I will be re loading 9mm and have been accumulating my brass for the past month. Press is due in end of this month, and first order of bullets were the Rainer 124gr Copper plated FN. ( still no powder ) and primers will be the CCI #500 sp's which I have not purchased yet either.


Now the question: Books and posts all indicate OAL and case lengths:
OAL of 1.160 and case len. of .754

having picked up the bullets, cases and a 6" vernier, tumbler and media, I started "practicing" with the vernier.

My cases all seem to run to the range of .740 - .747 ( most around .743)
manuals all say case len should be .750 - .754
( all dims are prior to resize etc )
Q1: do these dimensions present an issue?

Now I got real bored last night so decided to 'mic' my current live ammo ( 9mm )
my PMC Blazers all ran between OAL of 1.154 - 1.156
My reloads from Freedom Munitions ran an OAL of 1.153 - 1.155
again manuals and posts all indicate 1.169 for OAL ( need to see if there is a mention of different OAL for Flat Nose bullets ) but dims where kept apples for apples. (FMJ Round Nose)
so Q2: is like Q1 are these shorter dims an issue?

I suspect there are minimum dimensions but I have not found them over all ( case dimensions Min to max )
OAL I can see, or expect a difference of 1.169 to my 1.154 = .015 is well with in the tolerances many seem to use when setting the jump distance.

That said however no one mentions just how far BACK would be considered "to far". so current stuff is as much as .015 more jump than the manuals note.( and theirs is padded as well )


so any insight, hints, tips, suggestions . . . .
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Old September 29, 2013, 10:29 AM   #2
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The OAL of 1.169 and case length of .754 are the max lengths. If you have cartridges longer than 1.169 you might have problems feeding them from the magazine. If you have cases longer than .754 you might have extraction issues.

I load for 9mm with a variety of bullets and my COALs are 1.120 - 1.150 depending on the type of bullet and powder. I honestly never measure my 9mm brass and have never trimmed a pistol case.

The most important part is that you follow the load data provided in your load manuals. You can also look up load data at hodgdon.com and other online sources, depending on what powder you have. The load manuals will have the COAL for the loads they prescribe and that COAL is the minimum safe COAL for that specific load. In other words, there is no universal minimum COAL, it is dependent on the specific powder and bullet you are using.

You will see that most if not all sources will have COALs that are less than 1.169.

Again, it is very important that you follow the load data for your specific powder and your specific bullet (or bullet type). Start with the minimum charge specified from the load manual and work up.

It can be unsafe to have too short cartridges, where bullets seated too deep create unsafe pressures. It can also be unsafe to have too long cartridges, with bullets jamming into the lands (also creating unsafe pressures) or causing feeding / ejection issues.
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Old September 29, 2013, 10:37 AM   #3
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When a reloading book shows a COAL for a particular bullet, any maximum load should never be shorter than listed.

Of course any smart reloader will start at the lower charges, perform a "plunk" test to make sure the bullet is not hitting the lands, and work up a load for accuracy and\or function in your particular firearm. Maximum loads should never be the goal of the reloader.

Cases are often shorter than SAAMI spec's. This is not generally an issue, as long as you get solid firing pin strikes. Pistol brass rarely stretches and often shrinks. SAAMI 9mm shows .754 -.10 (.744) being the standard minimum. A case too short will generally be held by the extractor and rarely causes issues.
Your brass is of normal length and should function fine.

http://www.saami.org/PubResources/CC...Luger%20+P.pdf
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Old September 29, 2013, 07:03 PM   #4
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Good on you for doing as much research as you did before you jumped into it. I don't load for 9mm but I do load for 40S&W. Here's my advice.

Just like stated above, start at the low end and work up. Use the bullet manufacturers COL data. What you want is clean firing and ejection. Remember the case headspaces on the front edge of the brass. I trimmed all mine to a consistent length.

My bullet profile is a truncated cone from a Lee mold. It is not a smooth rounded bullet and has a small shoulder. Using the Lee COL data the shoulder stuck up above the top of the brass by about .004". That created a false soft sholder and my gun didn't eject the case properly and feed the next round. Jambs were too frequent and I didn't resolve the problem until I seated the bullet "shoulder" flush to the brass. Then all was good. The COL that worked with that bullet was about .004" - .005" shorter than published COL.

Point being you need to pay attention to your specific components and understand how the feed mechanism works in your gun. A smooth contour bullet w/o a shoulder will not have that problem but it was my lesson learned that I thought was worth sharing.
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Old September 29, 2013, 07:18 PM   #5
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A few things to consider:

- OAL does not result in maximum pressure. Bullet seating depth does. So if you are using a different bullet it probably has a different length. Calculate the bullet seating depth and keep that the same.

- The 9mm is a high pressure round that can be sensitive to minor changes in bullet seating depth. Some times as little as 0.010 to 0.020" change in seating depth can significantly change the peak pressure. Using ultra fast powders can exacerbate this.

- If you experience bullet set back during the chambering action of firing, it is no different that seating the bullet deeper in the case.

- The 9mm has an extremely wide range of OAL from the shortest of 1.010" to the SAAMI max length of 1.169". So make sure you know what bullet was used the published load, the length, and the seating depth if you are trying to duplicate that load.

Your interest and questions will enhance your loading experience. It will also keep you safer.
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Old September 30, 2013, 06:54 PM   #6
Larry K
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Quote:
Cases are often shorter than SAAMI spec's. This is not generally an issue, as long as you get solid firing pin strikes. Pistol brass rarely stretches and often shrinks. SAAMI 9mm shows .754 -.10 (.744) being the standard minimum. A case too short will generally be held by the extractor and rarely causes issues.
Your brass is of normal length and should function fine.

http://www.saami.org/PubResources/CC...Luger%20+P.pdf
Great link war, that answered a great many of my questions, I was a tad concerned over the potential head space issue. However I see now that should not be an issue. Still patiently waiting for the press to show up, and finally maybe load a dummy round just to 1. get the feel of it. and 2. to use as a gauge specific to my pistol.
All while waiting to get some powder.
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Old October 1, 2013, 09:28 AM   #7
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Larry K - <snip> All while waiting to get some powder.
FYI, Powder Valley in Winfield, Kansas is 245 miles and 4 hours away. Feel like a little trip?
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Old October 1, 2013, 05:10 PM   #8
Larry K
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hmmmm interesting thought
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Old October 19, 2013, 01:51 PM   #9
Larry K
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First set of results

Have acquired powder & primer, spent a week or so depriming, and sizing only.
finally ready and have prepped 20 rounds total

Powder: Bullseye 1lb
Bullets: Rainer 124gr FP Copper Plated
Weapon: M&P 9 FS 4.25" barrel
Press: Lee Classic turret

loaded 10 rounds @ 3.8gr Bullseye OAL 1.061 light factory crimp
and
10 rounds @ 4.0gr Bullseye OAL 1.061 light factory crimp

Fired 1 factory round to foul the barrel
loaded 1 3.8gr and fired for effect. no noticeable increase in BOOM or recoil, round ejected with no issues and on same approx. traj. as factory stock ( both cases landed in same approx. area).

loaded 3 more rounds @ 3.8gr and fired for accuracy & cycle. again no issues noticed ( 2" group ) a tad low and left, no FTF,FTE.
Brass recovered and examined, no issues noticed other than one case had what looked like a light strike ( smaller than normal FP dent).
loaded remainder and fired in hand, no FTF/FTE and groups well with ing the 0 down circle ( 15 yds ), holes where clean.

repeated above with rounds loaded @ 4.0 gr Bullseye, all rounds performed as expected, recoil was a bit more noticeable now, and groups where noticablely tighter and dead on target, and no FTF or FTE. All cases where recovered from the same approx. area ( forward of the 3.8 location) but that may have been simply how/where I stood ( just seemed more forward of what I am used to )
again, 1 case looked 'odd' it showed a noticeable 'extrusion' or blister, but no other signs of flattening on the primer.

base of all cases expanded from a pre fired dim of .387 to after fired dim of
.389 for both 3.8 and 4.0 gr loads.
cases all appeared to shrink from pre fired len of .750 to .745 after firing,
all case mouths opened from pre fired dim of .377 to after fired dim of .388

all cases where PMC cases, trimmed to .750 prior to charging.

attached a pic of all cases, so my question is do these all look ok, and should my production now be to the 3.8 or 4.0 gr charges? I like the better accuracy of the 4.0 gr charges, but have better control @ 3.8 gr.
BTW primary usage will be IDPA competitions and practice.

cases on left are the 3.8 gr loads, cases to right are 4.0 gr loads.
and yes lost two cases somewhere out onto the active range.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg results 1.jpg (231.0 KB, 20 views)
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Old October 19, 2013, 04:17 PM   #10
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You are thorough. You have the makings of a fine loader.

Looks like you're doing great so far - all systems nominal, so to speak.
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Old October 19, 2013, 04:28 PM   #11
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The Bullseye/124g bullet combination is good for just what you're doing - everyday medium power, and occasional competition shooting.

A word of caution - and I suspect you're not the type to do this, but I feel compelled to mention none-the-less:

Bullseye is no powder to go playing "let's see how far I can load this up" games with. It is a very fast flake powder, and thus, highly prone to pressure spiking. It's a powder for doing just what you're doing with it - making consistent, everyday shooting rounds. And it does that very well. Use it only for its designed purpose.

If at some point down the road, you want to load some hotter stuff, look for: Unique, AA5, HS-6, Power Pistol, or Silhouette. They are all good, medium speed powders, well suited for 124g bullets.
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Old October 19, 2013, 05:10 PM   #12
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You are thorough. You have the makings of a fine loader.
Just what I was thinking... It's clear that you REALLY want to do it right, and you grok the importance of the details. That's good. I'll just inject two words here for the heck of it:

Relax.
Enjoy.
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Old October 19, 2013, 07:06 PM   #13
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Relax.
Enjoy.
^^ Yeah, that too. ^^

Maybe I should take the same advice
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:38 PM   #14
Larry K
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so ya'll see nothing to be concerned with on those primers then I take it.
Am thinking the 3.8gr load is the better for my usage, less wear and tear on the pistol, easier to control the recoil, and easier on my nerves that im gonna blow something up lol. had to do some creative digging just to get the recipe I used since alliants new load data only shows Speer GDHP for the Bullseye, had to go back to 2008 books just to find basic data.

give it about a month or so, then Ill start on the .45acp ( should be easier to find Bullseye data for that caliber I expect.)
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:40 PM   #15
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Your doing fine.
Being your running them thru an M&P, you can load them a little longer if you want.
Happy loading...
BTW, most guys shooting plated bullets use lead bullet data. I've done it and the loads were pretty much identical. I shoot almost nothing but lead bullets thru my M&P9 and M&P40's.
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Old October 19, 2013, 09:54 PM   #16
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The primers looked textbook. No issues at all.
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Old October 27, 2013, 07:56 AM   #17
Larry K
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well ran a full 200 rounds through an 11 stage IDPA event, and ended up having to use about 20 rounds of my factory reloads, by far my reloads exceeded the factory reloads for accuracy and not a single FTF or FTE even after crawling in a culvert, and one stage in a rowboat ( yeah, they even made a pond for it to float in).
Twas a blast.

Have noticed my loads appear to fire cleaner than the factory stuff, would that imply they (factory reloads) are being loaded more on the light side? also noticed I see most every round produces a muzzle flash from mine, but only occasionally from the factory reloads! Good, Bad or ? and yes temp was a tad chilly that morning.
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Old October 27, 2013, 09:55 AM   #18
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Have noticed my loads appear to fire cleaner than the factory stuff, would that imply they (factory reloads) are being loaded more on the light side?
No, "cleaner" only indicates that, at the level you are using, your powder burns cleaner than the factory powder. Also the flash means only that your powder is different from theirs.

Each powder has a "sweet spot" where pressure, barrel length, & amt of powder all combine to give the "cleanest" burn.

This may, or may not be the same point as the desired performance. Often, it isn't.
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Old October 27, 2013, 10:41 AM   #19
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Each powder has a "sweet spot" where pressure, barrel length, & amt of powder all combine to give the "cleanest" burn.
..... and the powder chosen by the makers of factory ammunition's needs are by definition, not yours.

For range/target ammo, they need ammo that will work OK in any gun with SAAMI spec chambering out there, at the lowest possible price. It has to be reasonably accurate and functional in a variety of barrel lengths and actions ......

You, OTH, can tailor your ammo to your particular gun and spend whatever you want to components .......
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Old October 27, 2013, 10:21 PM   #20
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After you get comfortable with your reloading and using the various powders, etc, and:
If you get the time, it might be interesting to find out what your individual max OAL measures in your own barrel by:
-
No primer and no powder in brass
Run it thru the die to just seat the bullet
If fails, slightly back off a 1/8 turn
Continually do a plunk test until it just passes
Mark up the round to just past the ogive w/ a marker
Drop another plunk test to see if it was really clear
Crimp and retest with marker
Measure the OAL
Insert and remove the test round in/out of the mag 2-3 times to see if setback is experienced from thumb feeding the round into the mag by measuring the OAL again
-
Make 2-3 test dummy rounds (no primer/powder) for the purpose of running thru mag to see if they feed ok while racking with the slide
Compare the measurement to your completed test rounds.
-
Some use this method with start grains and work the OAL back a bit if failure to feed or extract under slide recoiling activity
-
Usually after the plunk and mag feed test, the round usually performs ok
-
Be sure to compare your original recipe of reloaded rounds at the same firing session to compare feel and accuracy. If you have a chrono, that would be interesting as well.
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