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Old September 13, 2020, 06:12 PM   #1
Aguila Blanca
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Asking for a friend

No, really. Honest. I'm asking for a friend.

A good friend of mine lost his father earlier this year. The father was an avid reloader, but the son (my friend) never took the time to sit down with his father to learn, so now he's starting from scratch.

The father loaded almost exclusively centerfire rifle, mostly for competition. And .44 Magnum, for a lever action carbine. That was his plinking toy. My friend wants to start with 9mm, because his brother-in-law and sister-in-law own 9mm pistols, and my friend will probably be getting a 9mm once he gets his carry permit.

He has a set of 9mm dies inbound (thanks to a member of this site). He has 1,000 bullets coming from X-Treme (500 124-gr round nose, and 500 124-gr HP). His father had three powders that are possibly suitable for 9mm: H110, Unique, and L'il Gun.

The question: there are no small pistol primers in all the stuff his father left him, and we haven't been able to find any vendor that has them in stock. The father loaded a lot of .223/5.56x45, so there are a LOT of small rifle primers. If he starts loading 9mm using the SRP, is he safe starting at the starting load froma loading manual, or should he back off below the starting load? If he should reduce it -- how much? 5%? 10%

Thanks.
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Old September 13, 2020, 06:19 PM   #2
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Yes. Following safe loading and testing practices.

I've done it, and I know a ton of competitive pistol shooters use them. You'll want to be cognizant That the rifle primers will be a little tougher, likely, so you'll just want to be aware of possible misfires (failures/light strikes) and try another brand primers to see if they have the same issue.

If for some reason the h110 ends up getting loaded in 9mm(I don't think it would work well, but if it's in books... ) You'll want a little hotter primer than just standard small pistol

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Old September 13, 2020, 06:29 PM   #3
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Only Unique is appropriate for 9mm. I’ll leave the primers up to you.

This year, it would be better to start with the 44 mag, if he has access to that gun. They can be loaded quite mild with the right powder. You will possibly be able to find primers for that.
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Old September 13, 2020, 08:05 PM   #4
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Unique will work for 9mm, as will the SRP. Start on the low end and work up from there. IMO 9mm is a tough round to learn to reload on- as the capacity is very low, pressure is high, and even a slight error in seating depth can really spike pressures. Do you plan on tutoring him?
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Old September 13, 2020, 08:11 PM   #5
nhyrum
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikejonestkd View Post
Unique will work for 9mm, as will the SRP. Start on the low end and work up from there. IMO 9mm is a tough round to learn to reload on- as the capacity is very low, pressure is high, and even a slight error in seating depth can really spike pressures. Do you plan on tutoring him?
Couple that with most people choosing a very fast burning, light powder, and things get dangerous very fast.
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Old September 13, 2020, 09:30 PM   #6
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Couple that with most people choosing a very fast burning, light powder, and things get dangerous very fast.

While unique is not super fast, it meters like crap (most flake powders do, IME) ..... my brother started loading with Unique in 9mm, with 115gr plated bullets ..... set his powder measure up for start loads and either his settings were in error or his technique was poor .... they shot OK but didn't always cycle .... when he ran some through my chronograph, they clocked in at between 700 and 850 f/sec, very erratic ..... any slower or if he had used jacketed bullets, he'd had a squib for sure.
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Old September 13, 2020, 10:47 PM   #7
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I don't think my friend even has a powder measure. His father was into precision rifle reloading, and my understanding is that he measured each drop on a digital scale. So that's how my friend is going to start. And he'll be using a single stage press, so he can't get going fast enough to get into too much trouble.

@mikejonestkd -- Yes, I plan on tutoring him, to whatever extent he asks for. He may not need much. He was trained as an aircraft mechanic, worked as a Volkswagen mechanic and shop foreman for many years, and he now works as a field technician for a company that makes high-end CNC machining centers. He's very research-oriented, and I'm sure he's going to read up on the subject a lot before he even pulls the handle on the press.
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Old September 13, 2020, 11:22 PM   #8
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If he was my friend, I'd try to talk him into buying a Ruger GP-100 in .38 Special/.357 Mag. Although I have 9mm, .380 auto, and .38/.357 I don't think there's anything special about 9mm other than increased magazine capacity over the revolver

It's easier to reload due to larger cases and combinations of bullets and powders can give you any power level he might want. If he's also not a shooter (yet), I think it's easier to learn using a revolver than a semi-auto.
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Old September 14, 2020, 01:32 AM   #9
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Small rifle primers are the right size and can be used, and loads can be adjusted for them, BUT I recommend not using them, unless you already HAVE the gun in your hands to test them with.

and, I'm not talking about load levels here, I'm talking about reliable ignition. Despite some people saying there is no difference between small rifle and pistol primers, the can be, and some guns MAY not reliably ignite a certain primer. Testing is the only certain way to know.

Doesn't do any good to make up loads for testing if the gun won't set them off reliably.

So, find that out, first, THEN go from there
(yes, tis tedious, hand chambering primed cases, and it does use up some precious primers, but its better than loading up a box (or more??) and finding out they only go click instead of bang)
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Old September 14, 2020, 08:17 AM   #10
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There was an article linked in another thread (sorry, not sure who linked it, maybe UncleNick?) that discussed primers in detail.

One thing I recall from the article is that an overpowerful primer can have enough pressure to unseat a bullet before full powder ignition. So there is an initial pressure spike that unseats the bullet, followed by another spike when the charge fully ignites.

I'm not sure what this means in the case of 9mm , but I would sure not want to be playing anywhere close to max charges if there is a chance of that happening.
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Old September 14, 2020, 10:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdoc42
If he was my friend, I'd try to talk him into buying a Ruger GP-100 in .38 Special/.357 Mag. Although I have 9mm, .380 auto, and .38/.357 I don't think there's anything special about 9mm other than increased magazine capacity over the revolver
I'm sure this was intended to be helpful -- but it isn't. I asked the question specifically about 9mm because that's what he wants to load -- I didn't think it was necessary to spell out his entire life history and rationale, but I guess I need to.

I never said he isn't a shooter. He has been a rifle shooter since he was knee high to a grasshopper -- he's now 50 years old, so that's awhile. He's an Army veteran who has been qualified on the M1911A1, the M9 Beretta, the M16 and M4, the greasegun, and several other small arms. He doesn't need to learn how to shoot.

His brother-in-law is a former Marine, also qualified on a number of varied small arms including the AR-15 and the M9. Further, his sister-in-law and brother-in-law own Glocks, and he wants to be able to share ammunition with them. He doesn't currently own a handgun but, when he buys one, it WILL be a 9mm. End of story. That decision has been made, the reason is valid and logical, so there is no reason for me, as a friend, to try to talk him out of that and into something he has zero interest in.
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Old September 14, 2020, 04:15 PM   #12
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It might be worth going ahead and biting the bullet so to speak and getting a 1000 SPP off of an auction site. They will cost more than you or I want to pay, but reloading will still be cheaper than buying ammo in current market.
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Old September 14, 2020, 06:06 PM   #13
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Of the three powders listed only one is suitable for this application: Unique.
SR primers are generally close enough to SPM to work as such and in the past some brands of SR and SPM were the same just different packaging. Going with starting loads should be fine. Brass segregation is more important depnding on the mix of brass involved. Starline, Fed, Win, Rem, Fio. are all close enough but any Euro should be segregated due to volume differences. Aguila and Magtech should also be segregated.

Xtreme Roundnose has a profile very close to Fio. and Fed. I used an unfired Fiocchi and adjusted my die to fit it for both length and crimp. I then made a dummy round and it tested fine. I to this day almost 30 years later verify against that dummy. Ammo made to that setting has been fired in a P89, Sig 239, Springer XD's, and Glocks with no failures to feed. The HP has only been fired in my P89 and 239 but the same setting works. If he gets to loading the RN's on the warm side he will need to drop the powder charge down a couple tenths with the HP or he will go into +P territory. I use W231 but it is close enough to Unique in speed and charge weight that the information still applies.

Unique doesn't play well with many powder measures but a proper sized scoop can work well. He should be able to make one from a 9mm brass and stiff wire.

Last edited by SHR970; September 14, 2020 at 08:25 PM.
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Old September 14, 2020, 06:55 PM   #14
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I don't load much pistol these days but when I do the Unique gets bypassed. Unless he has a buttload of the stuff and is tight on money I would recommend he go with something a little easier to throw like Win 231. A pound of that can be had for less than $25 and in 9 mm will last for over 1500 rounds. I can understand going with what you have but it would just make life easier to switch to a ball powder
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Old September 14, 2020, 07:42 PM   #15
cdoc42
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Thanks for the acknolwledgement regarding helpfulness. But it would have been more helpful had you included all of the history herein presented to avoid my unhelpful post.
In any event, you are correct; I jumped off your original question to interject a thought of no consequence. I'll read more carefully in the future.
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Old September 14, 2020, 07:57 PM   #16
Jim Watson
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I am at present loading 9mm P with HP38 and small rifle primers. No huhu.
I foresee no problems with Unique.
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Old September 15, 2020, 07:02 AM   #17
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As long as proper procedures are followed the SRP’s are worth a try. While not a fan of Unique, it would work if you’re checking each powder throw as you load, but I would suggest looking for something else. There are a lot of better powders for 9mm, my go to is Clays followed by 700-X. He sounds like the kind of guy who would be sensible and follow good procedures.
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Old September 15, 2020, 01:57 PM   #18
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He's meticulous. He's the only person other than myself I let work on my Jeeps.

And he has Unique.
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Old September 16, 2020, 12:40 AM   #19
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I can understand going with what you have but it would just make life easier to switch to a ball powder
+1 on that. They meter so much better. I run Power Pistol (yeah, I know, it's "really" a very short extruded flake powder ....but short and dense enough it acts like ball powder..... meters well) ..... before the panic, I picked up several pounds of BE-86 ...... supposed to be akin to PP, but without the fireball from short barrels .... we'll see ...
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Old September 16, 2020, 02:48 AM   #20
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I may be one of the few that likes Unique, but when I use it I do not use a powder dispenser. I use the inexpensive Lee dippers and measure each load. As I am not a competitor I like to get into a zen state when loading doing it this way for me is soothing. I don't need to load thousands of rounds in an hour. I would have your friend order some of the Lee powder measure kit for the Unique powder.
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