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Old February 17, 2013, 06:50 PM   #1
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Near max load with low pressure signs? 124gr 9mm LRN

Howdy! I just started reloading .223 last month and this month I made my first batch of 9mm. In working up my 9mm load, I noticed some low pressure signs half way through (I was too busy looking for signs of high pressure in the first half to notice the low pressure). There is fouling on the outside of the cases starting at the neck and collecting on the head of each case. When I moved up to my my next load the problem persisted. My Hornady manual gives a range from 4.0-5.0gr of Unique for a 124gr LRN. All the rounds fit in my LE Wilson C.O.A.L. checker and feed through the gun fine.

Should I be getting low pressure signs when I am this close to a max load, or am I doing something wrong? Should I go up to the max and continue over until I no longer get the low pressure signs?

What I'm using:
Gun: Sig p228
Brass: WIN 9mm LUGER on it's first reload
Primer: Winchester Small Pistol
Bullet: 124gr LRN from
Powder: Unique (4.1gr, 4.3gr, 4.5gr, 4.7gr, 4.9gr)
Average Cartridge Overall Length: 1.157 inches

The pictures below show a case from each powder test in order from left to right (4.1-4.9). The two cases on the far right are factory ammo cases shot through my gun that day to use as a comparison to the reloads.

These are the cases in the same order, just turned around 180 degrees

This is the head of each case... No signs of high pressure that I see...

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Old February 17, 2013, 07:16 PM   #2
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I wouldn't worry about it, focus on the accuracy you are getting. You are already loading to 4.9gr. If you go up to 5 then you really haven't changed all that much.

Shooting cast lead is going to be dirty, there is just no way around it. I shoot several thousand cast lead bullets a year and my brass constantly looks like that.
New gun, same ol' shot.
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Old February 18, 2013, 05:29 AM   #3
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I agree, don't worry about it. If it functions well drive on.
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Old February 18, 2013, 09:50 AM   #4
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I load 124gr plated all the time with 5 gr of Unique with no issues.
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Old February 18, 2013, 09:52 AM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
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You're near max load for lead bullets but you're no where near max for pressure. Besides that, at this point, you probably just have a dirty chamber.
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Old February 18, 2013, 10:16 AM   #6
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Those cases don't look like a low pressure problem to me.
They'd be a lot more blackened.
Just the usual grime from shooting Unique and lead.
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Old February 19, 2013, 08:48 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the advice. I'll stick with my best shooting load at 4.5 and be sure to clean more often.
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