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redpillregret

9mm reloading problems

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Hello all. I’m having an issue with rounds failing both the case gauge and the plunk test on a variety of pistols. Typically, many rounds pass, but perhaps about one in ten fails. 

 

I use a Hornady LnL AP, RCBS carbide dies, a Lee Factory Crimp Dies, mixed 1x fired brass, CCI small pistol primers, VV N320, and ACME 147 gr flat nose bullets to an OAL of 1.15”. 

 

My seating die is adjusted to just kissing the shell plate. I have tried it 1/8 turn into the shell plate and it just wore the base of the die. I’ve tried only leaving enough bell to barely allow the bullet to make its way into the mouth. I have the searing die backed off enough that the seat/crimp function is disabled in favor of the Lee factory crimp die. I’ve also run the Lee FCD all the way in. No matter what, the issue persists. 

 

For the life of me I cannot find what the issue is. Brass will gauge or plunk to all hit the last 0.125” or so of the case. I’ve tried running magic marker coated brass through to see where the failure is. It almost seems most of the cases randomly bulge 3/4 of the way toward the rim. 

 

Currently the brass is being shot in CZ, Glocks, VP9s, and Sigs. Occasionally I’ll end up with failure I go into battery on rounds that slip through when I don’t gauge every single round. Sometimes it’s too tight to rack the slide to get the gun back into operation and requires breaking the gun down. 

 

At at this point, I’m considering replacing the dies one at a time to see if that makes a difference. Please, what am I overlooking?  I’m about to the point where I’m just going to give up  reloading 9mm if I have to check every round...it’s hust not worth that kind of time investment for anything but match ammo. Thanks I’m advance!

 

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What is your background in reloading? Are you new to the process or just new to 9mm?

 

My gut reaction is sounds like your sizing die isn't sizing far enough down the case.

 

I haven't used RCBS dies so no experience there. Lee dies are thought to size farther down the case than most. 

 

If you are failing about 1 in 10 then try sizing about 20 cases but don't load with primer/powder/bullet. See how those fit your chamber.

 

If they all fit then something is going on later in the process.

 

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I’ve been reloading for 16 years or so. I’m only new to 9mm, but I’ve loaded precision rifle, hunting rifle, and so on rather extensively and successfully. For handguns, I’ve loaded quite a bit of .45 ACP and .44 Remington Magnum.

The sizing did won’t go any further. As I said before, I tried turning it in an eighth turn into the shell plate and it wore/damaged the bottom of the carbide sizing die. My first impression is that IS a sizing problem, but I found it somewhat hard to believe that RCBS would design a die that physically won’t accomplish the task.

I will try to run ten cases or so real quick and see what happens.


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I ran 20 cases through just the sizer. Two didn’t fit the case gauge. I ran the size 1/8th turn in past the break-over of the ram and ran those two cases through. One case dropped into the case gauge freely. The other case did not.

I took some measurements. The case that did not pass though the gauge was 0.001” wider toward the rim.

All cases passed the plunk test on my loosest chamber...the Glock. However, this depth on the seating die is similar to what I ran before and runs very rough and actually damaged the end of the die. Powder commonly splashed out of the charged cases before reaching the seating station.

Perhaps a new seating die is in order? Or perhaps stoning 0.001-0.002” off the current die?

Another observation: all brass failing the case gauge and initially the plunk test were R-P, Winchester, and Federal stamps. The Aquila, Blazer, and Speer have had zero rejects. With the exception of Speer, the failed brass were stamps all shot through the Glock on the first firing. I’ve read over and over that 9mm Glocks don’t typically have an issue...but it does seem this chamber is very, umm, generous?


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I filed my Lee 9mm size die flush with the carbide insert, after doing this all rounds drop in my Dillon gauge unless the case rim has damage but that has nothing to do with sizing.

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Dillon resizing dies are known for being slightly undersized as well if you're having sizing issues. The only other issue I could think of is that maybe your cases are bulged near the rim? Pretty uncommon in anything other than .40 shot through older Glocks, though, so I doubt it's that.

 

Depending on how much you're reloading, you could take a look at getting a rollsizer too. A bit expensive if you're not processing thousands of pieces of brass regularly, but man do they look sweet lol. They're supposed to help with fixing issues like this, plus you can swap out the sizing die to just a universal decapper in your first station, and it would probably make the whole process way smoother. Again, depends on what kind of money you've got to spend and if that's even worth it to you.

 

The last thing I'd recommend is maybe checking out a different seating die? I know you said there were issues before even loading them... but I've had issues with my Dillon 9mm seating dies where they kinda seat the bullet in crooked and it caused the case to bulge about halfway down. Only happened with FMJs and 147gr coated bullets, really. I guess the easiest fix is a Redding competition seating die since it's spring loaded and supposed to keep the bullet completely straight.. but that's a single $100 die just for the sake of convenience. 

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I suspect its the bullet profile that is causing the issue. I have run into this several times, even from the same manufacturer who changed the coating. When you indicated certain types of brass fail more often and get the bulge, that is exactly what happened to me. The dies size everything equally, but the brass thickness is the problem I ran into. I admit the worst troubles I had were almost the opposite of yours, the Aquila cases, CBC, and S&B would almost always bulge.

 

Try a different bullet and see if the problems persist or change. Then you will have a better idea of exactly where the problem is. I have ended up separating my brass and using different bullets for types of brass. One oddity I had happen was some 124 weight bullets had to be seated deeper then 147 because of profile differences.

 

For my known failure brass I just went to 115 rounds with Autocomp or Longshot and blaze away.

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Mont and taco, the only failures to chamber in my guns have been 147 gr Acme. Particularly bullets from my last batch of 5,000. I mostly run 147s in my CZs, Sigs, and HKs. I’m on my second lot of ACME bullets and trying to universalize my ammo for all my guns.

 

I had switched bullets back and forth before while my supply of 124 FMJs and plated bullets dwindled. Usually, in the Glocks and my VP9 I shoot 124s, some Hornady FMJs and some Berry’s plated bullets. I can’t think of any times I’ve had a failure to go into battery with Berry’s or Hornady 124s. I have had them fail the case gauge, but pass the plunk test.

 

Perhaps you guys are on to something with it being the coated 147s being an issue of either seating crooked or being slightly over size causing certain brands of brass to be too thick, once a bullet is seated. I’ll go back and do some measuring. Perhaps they need more of a bell from the expander?

 

Would a competition-style seating die perhaps correct this? I really hate to spend money, because every $100 I spend chasing it means more than 1,000 rounds of ammo I can’t make. At this point I think I can file or grind a couple thou off my RCBS sizing die to get the press running smoothly again and it does appear maybe 1/20 doesn’t get sized far enough...but that doesn’t seem to be what’s causing problems with the rounds that don’t chamber on the gun.

 

 

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I'm on the 'it's the sizing die' side of the fence, especially if the cases are not fitting the gauge after sizing and before adding a projectile. 

 

Dillon dies will size slightly narrower (overall diameter) which results in a distinctive 'coke bottle' effect (they function fine, just look a little different), however they are tapered and won't size as far down the case as a Lee die.

 

If the sized brass fits the gauge and only after adding the projectile is there an issue, then I'd be looking at OAL and crimp.  Definitely OAL first, considering this is a 147, as the ogive may be hitting the rifling before the case bottoms out.

Edited by muncie21

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I'm on the 'it's the sizing die' side of the fence, especially if the cases are not fitting the gauge after sizing and before adding a projectile. 
 
Dillon dies will size slightly narrower (overall diameter) which results in a distinctive 'coke bottle' effect (they function fine, just look a little different), however they are tapered and won't size as far down the case as a Lee die.


After adjusting the RCBS die down 1/8 turn one of the two (of 20) in this last little test would fit the case gauge, but this makes for violent press function. The two pieces of brass plunked, however. Would you recommend a lee sizer over the RCBS? Or any reason not to take a few thou off the bottom of the sizing die?


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I use all 3 brands (RCBS, DIllon and Lee) in 9mm, normally  without issue, however I don't prefer the dillon for 147s, as the narrower case sometimes scrapes the coating off the bullet as it is being seated.

 

Only issue that I run into from time to time is brass that is bulging near the rim.  The sizing dies will end up squeezing the brass and leaving a ridge near the bottom of the case.  I suspect these 9mms were fired from a machine gun or other open bolt type gun; however just shear speculation on my end. I don't run across enough of these to try and figure out a solution, I just inspect and toss them in the trash.

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10 hours ago, redpillregret said:

 one in ten fails. 

 

ACME 147 gr flat nose bullets to 1.15”. 

 

That seems a little long to me - especially to try to get it to feed "universally" in multiple guns.

 

I'd back that down to 1.13" and see if that solves the problem.    :) 

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24 minutes ago, Hi-Power Jack said:

That seems a little long to me - especially to try to get it to feed "universally" in multiple guns.

 

I'd back that down to 1.13" and see if that solves the problem.    :) 


^^^^^ THIS ^^^^^

HOW did you determine your OAL?  Not by a method that would tell you your max OAL in a particular chamber with that bullet.

It is loaded to long.  Pull the barrel from your CZ as that is likely your shortest leade.  Drop one of those cartridges into it and spin it.  Will it spin freely?  No?  Keep shortening it until it does, then measure THAT, then drop .010 off that and start using that as your OAL.  Then do this with every bullet you ever load ever, and you will always know the max OAL for your new bullets in your chambers.

 

I am surprised at how many posts came through before HPJack pointed it out.  

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I determined my COAL by trying all my chambers and backing down. I am 0.015” off the lands in my shortest chamber. COAL is not the problem. IIRC 1.17” would chamber in all my pistols but one.

This COAL works fine in both my P-series CZs and my Scorpion. Perhaps it wouldn’t in a match CZ like the Shadow 2, but it’s excellent in my P07/09.


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[mention=68752]redpillregret[/mention] try a Lee U-die. They size further down the case than most others, and the extra thousandth really helps IMO.


Would taking a few thousands off the sizing die I have provide the same result (as in sizing further down the case)?

Are there any negatives to the Lee U die? Shortened brass life? Creating weak spots? Accuracy?

I would really like to get to a point where I only have to gauge match ammo and not be a gamble every trip to the range whether I’m going to have a major issue.


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6 minutes ago, redpillregret said:

 


Would taking a few thousands off the sizing die I have provide the same result (as in sizing further down the case)?

Are there any negatives to the Lee U die? Shortened brass life? Creating weak spots? Accuracy?

I would really like to get to a point where I only have to gauge match ammo and not be a gamble every trip to the range whether I’m going to have a major issue.

 

 

No. It takes a bit more effort to size, but if you’re already lubing like you should be it’s not a big deal at all.

 

I run:

 

Lee U-die (in process of replacing this with mighty armory’s new badass die but can’t recommend it yet)

 

Swage (factory 1050 stuff)

 

DAA expander funnel. Use this on ANY 550/650 even if you don’t have a bullet feeder. Seriously 100 times better than the Dillon trumpet belling crap.

 

Mr Bulletfeeder

 

Redding micrometer seater.

 

Lee Factory Crimp

 

I’m really happy with this array of dies. I expect 2 to 5 case gauge failures out of 1,000 at most. 1 or 2 is more common. And 90% of those will still run through a gun flawlessly; I just don’t use them as match ammo.

 

I don’t gague practice ammo. Malfunctions are exceedingly rare.

 

Edited by MemphisMechanic

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I prefer the Lee U-die to the EGW because the EGW is even further undersize. I find it just makes it harder to pull the handle without doing anything better than the Lee version did.

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10 minutes ago, redpillregret said:

 


Would taking a few thousands off the sizing die I have provide the same result (as in sizing further down the case)?

Are there any negatives to the Lee U die? Shortened brass life? Creating weak spots? Accuracy?

I would really like to get to a point where I only have to gauge match ammo and not be a gamble every trip to the range whether I’m going to have a major issue.


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When I had my Dillon die milled to size lower it ended up cracking the carbide ring and still was not as low as the U-die.

Waste of time!

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No. It takes a bit more effort to size, but if you’re already lubing like you should be it’s not a big deal at all.
 
I run:
 
Lee U-die (in process of replacing this with mighty armory’s new badass die but can’t recommend it yet)
 
Swage (factory 1050 stuff)
 
DAA expander funnel. Use this on ANY 550/650 even if you don’t have a bullet feeder. Seriously 100 times better than the Dillon trumpet belling crap.
 
Mr Bulletfeeder
 
Redding micrometer seater.
 
Lee Factory Crimp
 
I’m really happy with this array of dies. I expect 2 to 5 case gauge failures out of 1,000 at most. 1 or 2 is more common. And 90% of those will still run through a gun flawlessly; I just don’t use them as match ammo.
 
I don’t gague practice ammo. Malfunctions are exceedingly rare.
 


I’ve been eyeballing the Redding Comp die since even before I got fed up with this issue. I suppose I’ll make a cart on Brownells and wait for the next sale.

I plan to get the Mr Bulletfeeder down the road, but want to make this thing run like it should before I add more automation.


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When I had my Dillon die milled to size lower it ended up cracking the carbide ring and still was not as low as the U-die.
Waste of time!



Thanks for the info, I won’t bother with it the.


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@redpillregret Definitely get your press sorted out perfectly on the mechanical side. The bullet feeder only makes it harder to dial in.

 

The redding seating die doesn’t do anything a dillon does. It is just easier to adjust your OAL with a turn of a knob, and to return to previous settings.

 

I load 115 plated for PCC and 147 coated & plated for eveything else. It makes it easy to dial between the two without wrenches.

 

Edited by MemphisMechanic

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