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9mm reloading problem tonight


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Hey guys... I have reloaded thousands of 9mm rounds on a Dillon 650 in the past... I have never had any issues at all. Tonight, a friend called me up to help him set up a Honraday LNL press in 9mm and get some rounds going... I didnt have much to do so, I went on over to help him out.

I ran into an issue I am puzzled by and I am hoping one of you veteran loaders can slap me straight!

So he had once fired 9mm brass, all cleaned, tumbled and shinned up

He had SNS 115 Lead Round nose bullets

The Press that I set up with him seemed perfect...

Powder drop was 3.9 with Clays

Bell was just right to let the bullet sit nicely without falling off

OAL was adjusted to 1.169 after seat and crimp etc...

I was skipping the primer station seat and powder drop (I was loading one round at a time to make sure everything was spot on). The dead bullet would come around and the rounds seemed great.

I load one into a magazine to see if it would cycle and make sure there were no other random issues... well, the round would not fully chamber? I have no clue what the problem could be? In measuring an actual factory loaded round vs my reload, all measurements were within one or two thousandth of an inch. The round would cycle in but, it seemed like the back of the case was to large or the bullet head was to fat for the barrel. The thing is, nothing seemed out of whack when measuring.

Does anyone have any clue what the issue could be? I am seriously puzzled on this and I can not think of a logical explanation as to why this happened... Advise, help, other?

Thanks in advance!

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What was the gun? What was the bullet diameter before loading them. Is the barrel factory of aftermarket? Did you try and drop test them into the barrel out of the gun? Look at the profile of a loaded round as to a factory hard ball. Look especially at the ogive and length. Drop check them into the chamber to see if it a dimensional problem in the chamber or a problem with feeding. Also make sure you are resizing all the way and that there isn't a lip where the webbing meets the wall of the case if you are not resizing all the way down.

Just some things I would look at off the top of my head.

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The max OAL for 9mm is 1.169. I think your OAL is too long. Look at your reloading book and adjust the OAL.

Here's a snapshot from Hodgdon (I'm too lazy to get my reloading book).


Bullet Weight (Gr.) Manufacturer Powder Bullet Diam. C.O.L. Grs. Vel. (ft/s) Pressure Grs. Vel. (ft/s) Pressure

115 GR. LRN Hodgdon Clays . 356" 1.100" 3.0 954 25,300 CUP 3.4 1039 31,000 CUP

115 GR. SPR GDHP Hodgdon Clays .355" 1.125" 3.7 1066 30,900 CUP 3.9 1095 32,600 CUP

Edited by stick
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Case gauge would be pretty handy right about now. If you don't have one I agree, pull the barrel and use it. Start by dropping a few sized cases in the chamber to see if you have bulged brass. Chances are that is the problem.

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Have you read a manual?

According to Hodgdon to powder range for the 115gr Lead bullet is 3.0gr - 3.4gr, with an OAL of 1.100"

I hadn't read the whole thread and stick posted the same thing.

Edited by RePete
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The 1.169 is the SAAMI specification for the maximum OAL for the 9mm Luger. This does not mean that all bullets will fit in the chamber when seated to that length. Most won't. (Some rounds won't even fit in the magazine at that length.) Also, there can be differences in chamber dimensions from one barrel to the next. Bullet nose shape, in combination with chamber dimensions, determine the real OAL required for each bullet profile. See the article below for practical advice on OAL and other bullet features that can influence feeding reliability.

As noted, pull the barrel and drop-test the rounds to see if they fit properly. While a case gauge can be useful, the barrel's chamber is the ultimate case gauge. It doesn't matter if the round fits the case gauge or not. What really matters is if the round fits the chamber.


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Hey guys, a few things....

1. The size/deprime was all the way down, cant size it anymore than it was

2. OAL was exactly what two other factory loads were that are chambering fine

3. I will pull the barrel today and see how that goes

4.The pistol is a 3.8" XD

I also want to clarify one quick thing... when I say chambering, the bullet is feeding into the chamber but, when the pistol slide is moving forward, the slide is not coming all the way into battery. (I guess I should have said that yesterday but, I was half a sleep when posting). That causes a jam as bullet basically gets stuck... similar to how a squib round with out getting half way down the barrel.

Additionally, I am still not understanding why a factory load with all the exact same specs were cycle in and out perfectly but the reloads that have been sized, seated, crimped to the exact same size of the factory load will not?

Super dude, I will read your link and will try the drop in outside the pistol

Thanks for the help!

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A drop check would help here, but the trick to trouble shooting fat boy brass is to put it in the drop check bassackward it should go in about 1/3 of the way, some will go all the way. The OAL is dependent on the bullet you are using, a simple example is a RN and a JHP while the RN may be fine at 1.165 the JHP can only be 1.145 due to difference in the bullet shape.

Just to clarify it isn't the LNL AP I've loaded 50K of 9 mm on it, I also have a 650 and don't get me started on all the Blue Press issues you can have.

On the LNL use a wrench to secure the bushing in the press otherwise it will come lose when you are loading, especially the powder measure, nothing liking humming along and looking up to see the powder measure going up and down. If using the ptx expander make sure that you have clearance around the powder plunger especially look for interference with the case feeder frame, the plunger can get hung then no powder.

Now back to the problem. Size a case, don't bell it, now partial seat a bullet, in short longer than you expect to load, take the barrel out of the gun, now push that dummy round all the way in, the will push the bullet all the way in as it will hit the rifiling. Now take it out and use caliper to measure it. If it is 1.160 then try 1.150 for your round, or shorter if it won't fit in the mag.

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The OAL of factory ammo is not always the best guide. If the bullets you're loading have a different nose profile, that changes everything, and the factory load OAL is not relevant. The OAL that will fit in the chamber is unique for each bullet profile, and this has to be tested. This cannot be emphasized strongly enough. There are real-world examples of the different OALs required for different bullet profiles at the link provided.

Your problem does sound like an OAL issue, that the bullet is engaging the riflings before the cartridge is fully seated. This will prevent the slide from closing completely. If this is the case, you should be able to see marks on the bullet where it has engaged the riflings.

When you try the loaded round in the chamber, be sure to try to rotate the cartridge, too. It should rotate freely when fully seated.

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Your OAL is too long for the XDm. I was shooting a match with an XDm 5.25 9mm. I was using a good friends load using 124 MG with OAL of 1.150. He primarily shoots M&P. I was using his loads as I had not started loading 9 and was still waiting on dies from Dillon.

My XDm would go into battery and I had no issues firing but when it came to 'unload and show clear', racking the slide to unload the chambered round took a good pull to unload. The SO at the chrono stage also asked if I was having issues as he thought it was too long also.

After getting home, I took my M&P and these loads. In the M&P it racked and unloaded fine. Took the round in my XDm and it was too tight but still chambered.

I did what Cocobolo suggested, "Size a case, don't bell it, now partial seat a bullet, in short longer than you expect to load, take the barrel out of the gun, now push that dummy round all the way in, the will push the bullet all the way in as it will hit the rifiling. Now take it out and use caliper to measure it. If it is 1.160 then try 1.150 for your round, or shorter if it won't fit in the mag." I measured my XDm and it was 1.146.

After my 9mm dies came from Dillon, I load all mine at 1.140 and it's been perfect.

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Well you need to read this. this was for a 40 S & W but will work for all cal. Copied from a post by WOBBLY @ czforum

Well, books and help line people can certainly be valuable, but there's no substitute for knowing exactly how your bullet interacts with your barrel. As I said, the XTP is special and your CZ chamber is also special. So let's not guess, let's find out EXACTLY. Sound good?

There are several ways to do this, but here's my method.... Fit a new bullet into a fired case. (No powder; fired primer.) If you try 2 or 3 bullet/case combinations you'll end up with 1 or 2 where the bullet is a snug "push fit". Set the bullet out to an OAL of like 1.300". Any OAL longer than what you need. Working with your barrel REMOVED from the gun, slide this "test cartridge" into the chamber. At some point it will stop going into the chamber. In other words, whatever the bullet is striking is keeping the test cartridge from going all the way in. At this point, if you continue to push, the bullet will slide back into the case until the mouth of the case comes to rest on the end of the chamber. So whatever the bullet was striking has pushed the bullet back into the case. Follow?



Now, slowly and carefully withdraw the test cartridge and measure its new length. Do this with other bullets and other cases until you start to see the same number again and again. That measurement is your exact chamber length for that bullet in that barrel. Now of course we need a set-back distance off the rifling, so subtract at least .015" from that number to obtain your maximum OAL.



So let's assume your test cartridge keeps giving you a number like 1.177". We subtract our setback and get 1.177" - .015" to equal 1.160". You see I've backed off an additional .002" because 1) it's simply easier to read on a caliper, 2) the chances of finding a load for 1.162" is impossible, whereas 1.160 is probably pretty good, and 3) we're talking less than a human hair, so gee whiz give it a break! grin.gifgrin.gif

With an OAL like 1.160" you can use any load for 200gr jacketed that is equal to or shorter than. So the load for the 1.155" from Hodgdon will work nicely. Can you follow all that? I hope so. Now you are armed with EXACT knowledge of your firearm and don't have to guess any longer.

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Wow, techno marvel pictures, nice. Ok lets head the next problem off. The load is Clays, so the op should exercise a modicum of caution. When you shorten the round the pressure goes up so decrease the powder charge to compensate. Clays don't scare me I shoot 9 major but I still respect it, and other fast powders, shucks even slow powders.

Tumbling, well it happens but mostly when the mad crimper gets too over zealous, an easy rule of thumb is the thumb test. Press firmly against bench with thumb measure it again to see if it moved. Or for 9 mm @ .378 or measure it before crimp and decrease with crimp .002.

Finally check all brass with a magnet some of it may be steel imposters.

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Hey guys... I just wanted to say thank you for all the help... Issue is fixed! I load a lot more jacketed bullets than lead... Loading (getting the dies only, dead rounds only) on only a few hours sleep and going at midnight... Indeed it was OAL issue and imva dummy... Thanks again

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CZ posted the magic diagram here. Even if you've adjusted OAL, you should really use his post to check the MAX OAL for that specific barrel and that specific projectile, then subtract .01" or so and consider that max OAL for that gun/projectile combo. Did you do that, or just kept re-seating further down until problem appeared resolved? If the latter, you could wind up right at longer than you want, with potentially higher resultant pressure as a result.

Just trying to keep you safe, feel free to ignore if you did actually check the max safe OAL on the barrel itself..

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i am the friend bobby was helping, thanks bobby. it turns out a bit of tweeaking all the dies and my final oal is 1.120. anything longer will not cycle through my xd9. thank you all for all the great info. i will be doing some serious reading here. thanks again, Jason

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CZ85Combat's diagram needs to get put somewhere for all to access easily. This is a great way to get your OAL, and You don't have to make a dozen dummies of various lengths first.

Thanks guys.


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