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Old March 21, 2013, 08:13 PM   #1
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9MM Lead Cast First Time Reloading OAL Question

I have been loading 115 grain Berry's plated bullets with no issues at all. I decided to order 500 115 grain lead cast bullets from Missouri Bullet Company last night to give them a try.

My question for those with experience loading cast bullets in 9MM is what OAL do I use? For my plated bullets 1.14 seems to work really well for me. Do I just use the same OAL for the cast bullets?
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Old March 21, 2013, 09:19 PM   #2
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Should be about the same, right around 1.1. I havent used Missouri 9mm yet, but the other two cast bullets I've been loading (125gr RN and SWC) were seated with case mouth exactly to the shoulder on the cast bullet and measured around 1.13.
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Old March 21, 2013, 11:25 PM   #3
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I use the same COL for my lead as I do the platted. (As long as they are the same shape and weight) You may want to load a few bullets with different weights of powder to see if other weights of powder shoot better with the lead.
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Old March 24, 2013, 09:16 PM   #4
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I was in the same situation except I was loading 124Gr from Missouri Bullet. I'm using 1.15 for OAL. I got some great advice and a good explanation of how to determine the best OAL for your gun from Mississippi Dave. Here's the link to the thread:
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Old March 25, 2013, 06:07 PM   #5
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Yep, check out what Mississippi Dave said in the thread that cubsfan provided the link for. I'll add something to it. Some 9mm pistols have chambers that are long enough to accept loads longer than the 1.150" MD recommended. Even though they'll fit the chamber in some pistols, they may be to long for the magazine to function properly. Personally, I would start out by inserting a bullet into a fired case that has a dead primer in it and of course, no powder. With the barrel removed from your pistol, drop the "dummy" round into the chamber with the muzzle pointed down. If you want to run the "dummy" through your seating die first, seat for an OACL of 1.161"/29.5mm. If the load is too long the case rim will extend out past the barrel hood. If you didn't run it through the seating die first, it's definitely going to be too long. Either way, take a plastic mallet or a block of wood and tap very lightly on the case rim until the case stops forward movement. This is where the casemouth has met the front of the chamber and your bullet will be seated by the barrel's throat and will be the max. possible OACL with the bullet touching the lands. Repeat this with 4 more "dummies" to make sure you're getting the consistent max. OACL possible. Depending on the accuracy you get when bullet seating on YOUR press, you'll want shorten your handload OACL by .005 - .010". For instance, if your loaded cases have an OACL variation of +/- .005", your gonna want to shorten your handload OACL by .010" so the no bullet will be touching the lands when the cartridge is fired.

Using a lot of European load data over the years, I tend to shorten my handloads to the next lower .5 mms as they do. So short loads for me run 1.102"/28mm, 1.122"/28.5mm for medium length, 1.142"/28.5mm for longer loads and for pistols with very long chambers for bullets like a 147 gr. JHP I sometimes use 1.161"/29.5mm. But again, you have to find what the max. possible OACL can be for your pistol, then reduce to the next lower .5mm for your actual handloads. In that way you can minimize the bullets jump from the case into the bore for accuracy and making sure your bullet is not touching the lands when you feed it. To confirm that you've done it right, do a "plunk" test by dropping a handload into the barrel removed from the pistol with the muzzle pointed down. If you've allowed for proper "freebore", the round will make a "plunk" sound when it seats, if it doesn't, or you can't freely spin the case extending from the chamber, your OACL is probably too long, may not function and could be potentially dangerous. Do it correctly, making sure the load is not too long for the magazine, it will work great for you.
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