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Casting for.356 9MM


rick62
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Seeking advise

I have a new 356-125-2R lee 6 cavity mold,used it for the first time last week & it worked very well.

However the bullets are .357 & .358 in Dia.and wheigh in at .130 gn. as a average.cast from WW

Will this work in m Ruger SR9 or do i need to buy a sizing die. will be loading with Win 231 & CCI primers,mixed brass

if any one has any load sugestions with COL.it would be greatly appreciated. Thanx !!

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The diameter itself should not be a problem. Some barrel makers recommend using oversize bullets to ensures a good gas seal and positive rifling engagement. Schuemann recommends a jacketed bullet of .001 to .002 inches larger, and lead bullets .002 to .003 inches larger for the best accuracy.

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It's been quite a few years since I cast but it was always my understanding that running through the size/lube station was mandatory for good accuracy. You need bullets to be uniform in diameter. Bullet dia vs. bore dia is the next step.

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Are you using a micrometer or a vernier caliper to measure your bullets? The cheap vernier calipers I've used lately are frequently .002" off from the measurements given by a decent micrometer. Slug your bore to find if your bullets are big enough.

My Beretta and Walther 9mm barrels are all just under .358" groove. My 1960's vintage Browning high power is about the same. If I run a Lead bullet smaller than that through them, I get lots of Leading. For the Berettas and Walthers they get .358" or .359" bullets, cast in a mold intended for the .38 Special. The Browning's chamber will not admit a cartridge loaded with a bullet over .356", so I don't run Lead through it.

In general, cast bullets shoot best unsized. The NRA did extensive tests on this 30 or 40 years ago.

Lead is an odd metal. There is a temperature for every metal at which it will spontaneously crystallographically reorganize. For Lead alloys that temperature is right about room temperature. That recrystalization has as its driving force distortions, stresses and strains in the crystallographic lattice from alloying, cold work or any other source. What all this means is that if you cold work a Lead bullet by sizing it, you will probably end up with a somewhat softer, not harder, bullet.

I like hard cast bullets for high pressure pistol cartridges. I try to size as little as possible, but the highest output luber I have (Magma Star) does not work right without some sizing down. The Lee Liquid Alox system allows me to lube with no sizing.

In my Berettas and Walthers, 3.8gr of 231 and a Winchester small pistol primer in a WRA case, pushing a 125gr Lee round nose flat point bullet, shoots exceedingly well and functions 100%. I still use mostly the NRA formula lube of 50% beeswax/50% Alox 2138F (not to be confused with Lee Liquid Alox).

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The suggestion of adding a bit of Tin is a good one. Lead alloys don't freeze in a wave front, pressing into the liquid. Solid Lead alloy is more dense than liquid Lead. Lead alloys freeze with these tree-like things (dendrites) growing into the liquid, and eventually they restrict the flow of liquid into areas where the liquid is exhausted. Tin modifies the dendrites so they restrict liquid flow less. The result is better fill out of the bullet and less porosity inside the bullet.

Tin by itself will harden a bullet just a little, but if you have some Antimony present, the effect is much stronger. You can magnify the effect more by dropping the bullet from the mold into a 5-gallon bucket of water. This does not just deal with hardening, but also deals with a material handling issue: when hot bullets hit each other they make dings in each other, and the also burn you when you try to pick them up. You can make sure there is some Antimony by adding a little bit of high-Antimony shot, but most Lead scrap has Antimony in it. dropping bullets from the mold into water will be a little inconsistent on hardness, and you can get more consistency by putting bullets on a cookie sheet in the oven, heating them to just below the melting temperature, then dropping them into water, but I don't see a difference on targets.

Beware that most wheel weights now are Zinc or Steel. A little bit of Zinc will wreck a lot of Lead. Suddenly you have a melt that is the consistency of sand mixed with syrup.

Do NOT put wet bad castings or sprues back in the metal, or you will get a visit from the 'Tinsel Fairy'.

Edited by NuJudge
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I was carefull when sorting lead(recycled the zinc & steel out ) But i did not have any Tin to add when i cast ,i did "carefully" water quench out of mold,

I slugged the barrel , looks to be .3560 ,Most my bullets seem to be around .3570 / .3580

I loaded ten rnds, on 3.7gn. W231 with COL at 1.130 .using LEE 4-PC dies,Tried them last knight recoil seemed average & they all fed w/o any problems

I did not think the accuracy was near as good as my plated rnds, i load w/115gn Xterm rn & hp with 4.4gn. W231,

maybe it was too cold out and i was freezing my A$# off.

I guess i will load a few more and try them on a warmer day.

MANY Thanks for ALL the good tips !!!!! :roflol:

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Donnie at Bayou Bullets -http://www.bayoubullets.net/ has started selling his coating for bullet casters. I am not sure what the application process is but it is so much cleaner than a traditionally lubed bullet that I would certainly look into it as an option.

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I was carefull when sorting lead(recycled the zinc & steel out ) But i did not have any Tin to add when i cast ,i did "carefully" water quench out of mold,

I slugged the barrel , looks to be .3560 ,Most my bullets seem to be around .3570 / .3580

I loaded ten rnds, on 3.7gn. W231 with COL at 1.130 .using LEE 4-PC dies,Tried them last knight recoil seemed average & they all fed w/o any problems

I did not think the accuracy was near as good as my plated rnds, i load w/115gn Xterm rn & hp with 4.4gn. W231,

maybe it was too cold out and i was freezing my A$# off.

I guess i will load a few more and try them on a warmer day.

MANY Thanks for ALL the good tips !!!!! :roflol:

Diameter is probably fine. I shoot .358 diameter out of a .355 barrel with good results. I load 124 grain lead bullets with 4.4 grains of 231. That load is very accurate at 25 yards; leaves a bit to be desired at 50 yards.

Adding tin is a good idea. Tin/lead solder is a good source.

Not sure you need to water quench for 9mm unless your pushing them hard. I don't quench anything under 1000 FPS and have no leading problems. Good bullet fit, I.e., .002 over groove diameter, seems to keep the leading down.

- John DeJarnette

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Help with cast bullets & accuracy,

I loaded some of my cast bullets approx, 130gn round nose with 3.7 & 3.9gn. W231 1.130 COL.tumble lubed w/lee alox

Accuracy is not what i had hoped for,is load too lite ? COL wrong ? not sure what to try next. any sugestions would be greatly appreciated

Thank You ! in advance. :mellow:

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Try a few of the ones you have already cast, unsized with bumble lube and see how it works for you. If the loaded cartridge chambers without issue, you may already be done. My 9mms leaded the bores horrible with .355 to .356 bullets, and .358 seems to work fine. 9mm can be a testy cartridge with cast, so expect some challenges.

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