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Old April 2, 2014, 06:21 AM   #1
Headgear
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Good clean burning powder for 9mm that won't bulge cases in S&W Shield.

I've been using Universal Clays and I am running out and would like to try something else anyway. I love how clean it seems to be but its a little hot and leaves bulges in the cases with my Shield at fairly low charges. I have a lot of other 9's that I shoot a lot more than the Shield and none of them have that problem but that's a whole other topic. I feel like I need to try something little slower anyway.

I am reloading 115 gr Berry's plated round nose using a Dillon 650. I would like to try something that meters well, burns clean and not quite as hot. I generally shoot a lot and sometimes with friends who don't have their own guns. It is not uncommon to go through 500 or more rounds at a time which is why I am so interested in "clean". Let me know what you guys like.

Thanks
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Old April 2, 2014, 07:54 AM   #2
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Headgear,

Note this description by Starline for their 9 mm +P brass at their on-line store. The capital letters are theirs, for emphasis:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Starline Brass
9MM+P has no difference from the standard 9mm Luger other than headstamp designation for load segregation. Due to standard case design, it will handle +P pressures with no problems. **NOT RECOMMENDED FOR USE IN S&W SHIELD PISTOLS WITH NEAR-MAX OR +P LOADS, DUE TO POORLY SUPPORTED CHAMBER CONDITIONS**
So what you've got is a gun design prone to bulging cases. You can buy Lee's Bulge Buster and Carbide Factory Crimp Die to remove the bulge. It's probably best not to expect to be able to reload brass to maximum if you are doing that. Maximum loads seem like a good reason to pick up range foundlings that aren't bulged and count on using them only once.

If you use a slower powder to reduce peak pressure without losing velocity, it will burn dirty. The slower a powder is, the more it needs to operate at near maximum pressure to complete combustion and burn cleanly, so there's no solution for you there. I find Universal hard to beat for its better metering (as compared to Bullseye and especially to Unique) and cleaner burning in short auto pistol cartridges.
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Old April 2, 2014, 08:07 AM   #3
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I have been using Hogdgon Titegroup for 9MM for some time now, with good results.
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Old April 2, 2014, 08:20 AM   #4
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Hodgdon's own relative burn rate chart says Tightgroup (#14 on the chart) is faster than Universal (#32), so what you're suggesting will produce higher peak pressure and more bulging for a given muzzle velocity. That goes in the opposite direction of what he was thinking to try.
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Old April 2, 2014, 08:45 AM   #5
Headgear
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Uncleninck,

When you say "Universal" that is different than Universal Clays right? I didn't have time to look it up so I figured I'd just ask.

Thx
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Old April 2, 2014, 08:48 AM   #6
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Universal and Universal Clays are the same thing. Hodgdon changed the label a while back to reduce the confusion (it didn't work)

I use Bullseye (and load them hot), but that might not be a good choice for you -- try WSF.
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Old April 2, 2014, 08:54 AM   #7
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Headgear,

(Edit: Zxcvbob posted while I was composing, so this is sort of redundant)

I meant the same thing: Hodgdon Universal Clays.

It's pretty common to use "Clays, International, and Universal", avoiding the suffix "Clays" on the latter two because of the potential to cause them to be confused with the first. Someone could hear "Universal Clays", then, when they got to the store see "Clays" and think it's maybe the same thing because all they remember is the word "Clays" was somewhere in the name of the recommended powder. That would make for a pressure problem.

Good on you for asking, though. Many wouldn't think to be sure we were all on the same page.
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Old April 2, 2014, 09:21 AM   #8
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I have never experienced any "case bulging" with Titegroup, but I pay attention to the reloading data.

If Titegroup is too fast burning, or "hot" try W231/HP-38.
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Old April 2, 2014, 09:26 AM   #9
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Pilot,

Are you shooting a S&W Shield? Are they maximum loads? Both these conditions are required to reproduce what the OP is seeing (see the quote from Starline in my first post).
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Old April 2, 2014, 09:36 AM   #10
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231 / hp38 is hard to beat.
It's not as clean as the others, but it's a soft residue and very easy to remove.
Just a thought.
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Old April 2, 2014, 11:43 AM   #11
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Apparently folks are reading the thread title and not the OP. The quest isn't simply for a clean 9 mm powder. It's for a clean powder that reaches high velocity without bulging cases when fired in a S&W Shield, specifically. I'll edit the title to reflect this.

With 231/HP-38, again, it's faster than Universal so it won't address the bulge issue. That would take a slower burning powder that somehow burned cleanly despite running at lower peak pressure. I'm unaware of the availability of such a thing.
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Old April 2, 2014, 01:21 PM   #12
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I really don't think you'll get around the bulge problem. It's a design issue, not something that can really be avoided with component selection.

And if your current load is running clean, I wouldn't change powders.
As Unclenick mentioned - most powders run fairly dirty in 9mm, until you get the pressure up (approaching or at max charges).


If you do want to try something else, my suggestions would be:
(Not necessarily making burn rate a priority)

HP-38/W231
True Blue (possibly a bit slow for 115 gr plated loads)
Power Pistol
Titegroup
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Old April 2, 2014, 02:06 PM   #13
WIL TERRY
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CASE BULGING IS CAUSED BY THE GUN'S CHAMBER not supporting the cartridge all the way to the solid case head or the extraction groove in some instances.
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Old April 2, 2014, 02:12 PM   #14
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OP question is like asking:
What is a good orange to make apple juice from?
Case bulge and powder choice are not related.
Chamber design causes or allows case bulging at SAAMI pressures.
Powder choice won't fix that.
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Old April 2, 2014, 02:19 PM   #15
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Powder choice might let you reach the desired velocity at lower than SAAMI pressure. That would help w/ this situation. It might or might not burn cleanly, just depends on how well it burns in a short case at 25k to 30k psi (Rex 3 or Solo 1250 powders would be good here, they are moderately-slow burning single base powders -- and both have been recently discontinued

SR-4756 maybe?
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Old April 2, 2014, 02:39 PM   #16
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Clarification needed it seems

The OP asks for a replacement powder that will shoot clean and not bulge cases. There was no mention I could find about high velocities being a goal.

That said if the OP is interested in mid range target loads I have had good results with HP 38 in my Shield. Low to mid range loads have shown no bulging.

If high velocity is a goal then back to the conundrum.
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Old April 2, 2014, 02:42 PM   #17
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to answer the question (your chamber is the problem)

Since you want a powder as clean as Universal, with easy metering, you might test Alliant Power Pistol (recommend), Ramshot Silhouette, Vithavuori 3N37, or Hodgdon HS6.

(The chamber of your Shield is sized generously, allowing case bulge.)
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Old April 2, 2014, 02:47 PM   #18
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Never mind...
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Old April 2, 2014, 11:12 PM   #19
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I tried some loads with WSF just because somebody gave it to, and it does a real nice job for very mild 9mm loads. Its a ball powder so it meters consistently, shoot s fairly clean and accurate. I ended up at 4.7gr for a 120gr cast SWC after increasing so it would eject reliably. The brass dropped next to be instead of 10 feet behind me like my normal rounds.
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Old April 2, 2014, 11:42 PM   #20
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FWIW, an FYI for those considering using the Lee Bulge Buster for cases bulged due to lack of chamber support. This is in the instructions:

Quote:
Do not use the Bulge Buster Kit to reload for the
40 S&W Glock or similar guns with chambers that
do not fully support the cartridge due to the
intrusion of the feed ramp.
Just an FYI. ymmv
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Old April 3, 2014, 06:30 AM   #21
Headgear
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Thanks for all the info. Sorry I posted a thread and then was unavailable to respond for so long. I own a couple of small businesses that think they own me. I want to clarify that I am not dead set on finding a powder that would stop bulging my cases in the Shield. I was kind of hoping that a little slower powder coupled with loading it down a fuzz would help reduce or eliminate it, but it is not crucial. I like my shield for summertime carry and always want to train with the piece that I actually carry. That being said, I think the best way to cure the bulge is with any one of my favorite words: Sig, H&K, Walther, etc. I'll get another comparable sized carry gun that does not bulge cases.

A friend of mine who is an long time pistol reloader told me about Universal Clays quite a while ago and I got 16 pounds of it. That is running out now and just thought I would see if you guys thought that there was a powder that was more suited for 9'ers.

BTW, if you haven't already seen it, below is a picture of the bulge I have been referring to. Its kind of deceiving because per the reloading data and my chrony, these loads are not that hot. I guess it just goes to show that a faster powder can produce a quick pressure spike without necessarily getting a ton of velocity to show for it. The design of all of my other guns seem to be able to handle it but not this one.

Thanks again


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Old April 3, 2014, 09:14 AM   #22
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Higgite,

I've seen that statement in Lee's instructions, but just presumed it was some sort of liability deflecting, lawyer composed double-talk. After all, if you don't have a chamber that leaves some portion of the case unsupported, you don't have a bulge, in which case, by definition, you don't need a Bulge Buster in the first place. It struck me as sort of like gun instructions saying it's too risky to use the gun for shooting, if you see what I mean. A late friend of mine called these kinds of devices, "self-eating watermelons".


Headgear,

Having said the above, that crease left by the bottom of the feed ramp extension in your barrel looks like a potential weak point for a crack to start from. It also may just iron out in firing, but it does give me pause regarding my suggestion to use the Bulge Buster. I think I'd be looking at using harder brass, as I suggested earlier, or even just different brass, to see if that helps. If you section cases you find they don't all have the same brass distribution, and you want to pick one that has relatively thick brass walls coming away from the head, and that are thicker as far forward as you can find.
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Old April 3, 2014, 10:00 AM   #23
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Unclenick,

You're probably right about the Lee disclaimer. Trying to C-their-A against folks that don't have the knowledge or experience to safely evaluate bulged cases. Can't say that I blame them nowadays. I just thought I would throw it out there as an FYI before someone went off the deep end. Hence,the "ymmv" ending that post.

I like the term "self-eating watermelons". I might steal it.
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Old April 3, 2014, 12:52 PM   #24
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Personally, I've never quite understood the "science" behind using a bulge-busting die. (for the record, Lee isn't the only company offering one of these dies...)

I'm not a metallurgist. In fact, I'm not even qualified to get a metallurgist his morning coffee. However. It seems to me that the structural integrity of an incredibly important piece of the puzzle (the cartridge case, near the head at that) has been willfully corrupted by a poorly-designed chamber, and I just can't see the rationale in safely just "squeezing" that metal back in to place.

Please don't mistake what I've said and compare it to simple full-length resizing, which we all obviously do. That is a piece of brass that swells evenly around it's entire self just a wee bit and gets evenly shaped back to a point at which it will work again. If anything, we've proven that this works over a hundred years of handloading.

But taking a visible and NEAR CATASTROPHIC event like a bulged case and simply trying to "iron out" that bulge? What happens if THAT piece of brass runs a good, warm, MAX load, in the same (crap designed) pistol with the same (dripping with liability) chamber and it just so happens that the "ironed out" portion of the brass is sitting in the same spot of that wonky chamber?!

I think it's a horrible idea. I would (seriously!) rid myself of the gun or at least it's barrel. And FWIW, if anyone wants to know, I own one Glock pistol, it's a 2008 build MML-prefix Gen 3 Glock 29 and even running 180s at a chrono'd 1,200 FPS out of brass that is DOZEN times loaded, I do NOT bulge brass with the OEM barrel. Not even a smidge.

But I don't get coffee for metallurgists.
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Old April 3, 2014, 02:44 PM   #25
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Yes it's an odd business, but you're not especially working of the brass more than you are the shoulder of a fireformed wildcat. And there have been many millions of rounds of "pregnant" .45 Auto cases resized and reloaded over the years, so it's not an automatic disqualifier. It just depends on how extreme it is. The extra working may even harden it enough to better resist bulging next time around.

The main concern I have is the crease. If it were to line up exactly the same way on the next round, it could get noticeably weaker or start to fatigue the brass at that point. That's why I'd be inclined to limit the case to lighter target loads after acquiring that feature.

Since Redding came up with this bulge removing idea originally, in form of their Glock Rx die for .40 S&W, I'm guessing they researched the issue. They might be a good resource to ask about how de-bulged cases hold up in reloading, and if they are any more prone to blow out at the head than usual or to do so before the case mouth starts to split. Inquiring minds want to know.
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