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Old November 19, 2012, 12:48 PM   #1
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A new (hand loading) adventure begins.....

I've just taken up hand loading for the 9mm Para. I found a load, the FIRST one I tried, that is terrific in all three of my 9mm pistols. Specifically, 4.8 grains of HP38, under a 124 grain jacketed bullet....Winchester SP primers and a COL of 1.10". Dead nuts accurate in all of my 9mm's.

I decided in the beginning to try cast bullets as well. So, at the gun show this weekend, I found some bullets to try. Funny thing is, I keep finding CAST bullets sized to 0.355".....which is undersized for a 0.355" 9mm barrel. IF the barrel in question is actually 0.355" (groove diameter)....then cast bullets should be 0.356", in most circumstances. Of course, lots of 9mm barrels are oversized....with some being as large as 0.360....but many, so I understand, seem to like bullets in the 0.357- 0.358" range. Since all I could find (at the gun show) specifically sold as 9mm Para bullets were indicated to be 0.355"....I decided to go with a larger diameter.

So, I brought home a box (500) of 125 grain, truncated cone/ FP 38 Special bullets, sized at 0.357". I haven't slugged my 9mm barrels - I will do that soon - but I think that they are all pretty close to 0.355" (they certainly shoot jacketed 0.355" bullets very well).

I made a couple of dummies, to test magazine fit, chambering and ejection.....and a COL of 1.10" seems to work perfectly in all three of my 9mm's. No chambering issues, even with the slight bulge in the cases (from the larger dia. bullet).

The cast bullets came lubed with a graphite-based lube (I think it's graphite-based), though NOT the loose, flaky kind (which I've had before on 38 wadcutters - and which is a real MESS). This lube is much more like a soft paint. Nevertheless, on the assumption that the (graphite-based?) lube might be better suited for the slower 38 Special....I tumble lubed all of the bullets in Lee Liquid Alox. Some of the black came off from this, but not too much. The LLA has dried to form a soft coating on top of the black (graphite?) lube.

Anyway, on to the loading. I will try HP38.... somewhere in the 3.3 to 4.0 grain range. I will do a light taper crimp, against one of the driving bands on the bullet (NOT rolled into one of the grooves). So, we shall see what happens.

It has occurred to me that, if I don't get good results with these 0.357" dia bullets, I have a couple of options. One, get a 0.356" die from Lee...and resize the bullets. Two, play with different lubes (although LLA has always worked for me in the past and is my chosen lube for my paper-patched rifle bullets, which I shoot at over 2000 fps).

A third possibility, though I'll probably not try it, is to try some of my 158 grain RNFP (38 Special) bullets. I know that many people get good results in the 9mm, shooting 147 grain cast pills. If .357" dia. works well, then perhaps a heavy bullet (heavy for calibre) might work. THAT possibility would require LIGHT powder charges....and some serious thought. I do know that these pills will feed and chamber in my pistols, because I tried this with a dummy round a few weeks ago.

Well, wish me luck, guys. I'll report back as to my success (or failure).

If anyone has any useful suggestions on this, I'd be happy to hear them.
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Old November 19, 2012, 06:13 PM   #2
Misssissippi Dave
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I don't load lead in 9 mm. I am interested in hearing how this goes.
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Old November 19, 2012, 09:15 PM   #3
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We started loading for my friends XD9 and it loved the 120 gr LRN with 4.0 Unique for 1050ish. Then we tried the .357/158's as you were thinking, we had the same idea. They did feed, but were not ejecting with our cautious starting load of 2.8 gr of ww-231 (1.065).

We did not finish working it up, other things put it on the back burner for now. It's a starting point for you though. BTW, hard lube did fine in his XD, no leading.
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Old November 19, 2012, 11:53 PM   #4
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I load 125 grain pointed cone ammo in front of 4.0 grains of unique seated to 1.150 in my fnx9. I'm not sure of the speed don't have a chrono but its the starting load in my lyman 49th manual. Accuracy is decent haven't tested it at longer ranges but at idpa distances its great.
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