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Bombproof/trouble-free 9mm die recipe?


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(probably should have put this in the 9mm section... mods, if you see this, please move it, thx)

 

Finally getting my press (XL750) set up this week after thinking about it for only like 10 years or so... 🤪

 

Wondering what die recipe(s) guys are running in 9mm for bombproof/trouble-free performance using average range pick-up brass and coated lead (like Blue's, Acme, etc)..?

I've done the searches, I've read the threads, but stuff is all over the place, so...

 

Hoping to stick to dies, I'm not looking to get lost in the weeds about how case gauges are evil and just a ploy to take our money or how there's no point in even reloading any rounds if you don't first choose only the finest brass, sorted by headstamp, dumped into the hopper only after it's been pre-processed twice on your extra single-stage before then being roll-sized...😉 I'm just concerned with keeping it simple for now and trying to put together the best setup to collect brass > tumble it > pump out rounds that work. For major matches and such, I'm totally all about sorting and doing all the extra steps for loading really good functioning ammo, but here I'm just asking about dies for making good/decent functioning practice/local match type ammo.

 

Just wondering about die setups that make good reliable ammo that'll run in relatively tight chambered guns (CZ) and pretty much everything else... good, but not too fussy... I'm going to case gauge them all, but would prefer not to be making a whole lot of rejects and would like a low case gauge fail rate. I plan to dial in a load that runs in all my 9mm's then leave it there for 10k rounds or so... shooting is my hobby, NOT reloading lol.

 

From what I've gleaned searching/reading all the old info around here I've bought a handful of dies and sort of have a plan, but nothing is set in stone which is why I'm inquiring.

I've got the following dies and here's my plan so far: 

 

1. Lee standard size/decap (bought a Lee U-die too in case I need it, think I'm going to try the standard die first)

2. MBF powder funnel die

3. MBF

4. Hornady Custom New Dimension seating die w/ micrometer (Redding Comp die was sold out everywhere and the Hornady has the same floating alignment sleeve type of deal, I know I don't need it but mic just seems easier to adjust "just so"... I'll buy the Redding Comp seat die if it's really better?)

5. Lee Factory Crimp Die (the purist's choice obviously 😉, but might get a standard taper crimp die (which ?), I'll ditch the FCD if I see it harming the bullets and/or if I see evidence of it doing too much, switch to the U-die in station #1 + standard taper crimp die in #5 )

 

Thoughts? What are you guys using?

 

Thanks.

 

Edited by ck1
probably should have put this in the 9mm section...
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Dillon size/decapping die

Dillon powder funnel

Reading Micrometer seating die

Dillon crimp die.  

 

I've used this set up for 12 years and reloaded 10s od thousands of rounds for a Ruger SR'9,  a Ruger SR9c, a 9mm Les Baer 1911,  a 9mm Kimber 1911,  both an M&P9 1.0 and M&P9 2.0 and a Sig P365.    All of the rounds feed in all of the guns and pass the chamber checker nearly 100%.  The very few that won't fit the chamber checker are salvaged using a Lee FCD in a single stage press.

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Lee resizing die in station 1

Powder drop with MBF expander in station 2

MBF in station 3

Lee Sizing die in station 4

Lee FCD in station 5

I've run this setup for years in my 650 without any issues.  

 

FWIW  I might switch to the Redding Comp seating die.  I've heard great things about my friends who have them.

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Lee or Dillon Sizing die in station 1

Standard powder drop

Powder check die station 3

Dillon Seating Die in 4

Lee FCD in 5

 

I have one or two per 1000 that don't fit the gauge with this formula.  I have more fail the gauge with all Dillon dies but the machine runs better.  I really like the Dillon Seating die, its like a huge funnel and you can be less than perfect.  If I was shooting coated bullets I would have a very light crimp with the FCD or consider a taper crimp die.  I think the most bombproof thing is to use real jacketed bullets like Precision Delta or Montana Gold.  I am not trying to start a debate about it BUT I have tried both coated and plated and respectfully submit plated that coated are more finicky, not the easy switch.  My 2 cents.

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On my 650 I used

Dillon Sizing die
MBF powder drop
MBF
Dillon Seating die
Lee FCD

My CZ chambers are more generous than my case gauge. I'd have 1-2% fail the case gauge but none failed to feed in CZs. However, an STI 1911 would fail to feed the fat rounds and had to be kept strictly to the rounds which passed the gauge.  I now process brass on a 1050 using a customized Lee U die as a swage backer. Reaching a little farther down the base of the brass with the Lee die solved the gauging issue.

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10 hours ago, stick said:

Lee resizing die in station 1

Powder drop with MBF expander in station 2

MBF in station 3

Lee Sizing die in station 4

Lee FCD in station 5

I've run this setup for years in my 650 without any issues.  

 

FWIW  I might switch to the Redding Comp seating die.  I've heard great things about my friends who have them.

 

FWIW I use this same setup.

 

However I think it is very easy to overthink this. Look at all the other setups that people like. 

 

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Thanks guys, all helpful info. 
 

Think I’m overthinking it and just need to get up and running and see how it goes for me... I might be jumping the gun thinking I’ll have problems before I’ve even loaded a single round lol.

 

Think I’ll try “normal” die choices and keep the U-die and FCD on the shelf until if/when I need to try them depending on what I get...

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1.  Dillon sizing die.

2.  Custom powder funnel.

3.  RCBS Lock-Out die

4.  Dillon seating die.

5.  Dillon crimp die.

 

All my brass is range pickup.  I cast my own bullets and they are sized to .357

 

I only use around 1500-2000 rounds a month so take that into account.

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Practice ammo:

1. Dillon sizing die

2. MBF expander

3. MBF

4. Dillon seater

5. Lee FCD

 

Match ammo

1. Redding sizing die

2. MBF expander

3. MBF 

4. Redding competition seater

5. Dillon 


Brass are all sorted by head stamp. I got too much time in my hands after retiring 😂

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1 hour ago, George16 said:

 
Brass are all sorted by head stamp. I got too much time in my hands after retiring 😂


Lol, it’s funny, I’m still so new to this that I’ve only tumbled/cleaned one batch of brass, and I can already see why guys decide to just take the extra step to sort by headstamp... I was dialing in my bell/funnel and found out quick that the brass can vary wildly (plus I found a .38 supercomp that got through).

 

I’m pretty much there, almost ready to go, just waiting on my Redding Competition Seating Die to show up (decided buy once, cry once... has to be a reason it was sold-out everywhere and tricky to track down).

 

For dies:

1. Lee standard resize

2. MBF powder

3. MBF

4. Redding Comp seat 

5. Lee taper crimp

 

I have the Lee U-die and FCD on the shelf in case I need them... if I have to go that way I plan to try the U-die first, and if all else fails try the FCD (though, I’ll be loading .356 Blue’s, and according to my calipers the carbide ring just inside of the mouth of my FCD is sized to .378, so there’s a high possibility of me swaging bullets with it...). Time will tell...

 

Bench is looking good though, getting pumped to make ammo 🤪 

My only regret is I wish I passed on the Dillon wrench set and just got a nice set of T-handle hex wrenches for the bench instead. The 750 with where the powder measure is located and MBF plumbing is really cramped for space and I’ve decided to go all Lee Ultimate lock rings over standard rings because, with the close confines, the 1” Dillon wrench would really only be useful for rounding off rings if I could even get at dies with it lol...

 

45D5CF97-99AD-48E7-9E74-11D5ECF6FE56.jpeg

Edited by ck1
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30 minutes ago, ck1 said:


Lol, it’s funny, I’m still so new to this that I’ve only tumbled/cleaned one batch of brass, and I can already see why guys decide to just take the extra step to sort by headstamp... I was dialing in my bell/funnel and found out quick that the brass can vary wildly (plus I found a .38 supercomp that got through).

 

I’m pretty much there, almost ready to go, just waiting on my Redding Competition Seating Die to show up (decided buy once, cry once... has to be a reason it was sold-out everywhere and tricky to track down).

 

For dies:

1. Lee standard resize

2. MBF powder

3. MBF

4. Redding Comp seat 

5. Lee taper crimp

 

I have the Lee U-die and FCD on the shelf in case I need them... if I have to go that way I plan to try the U-die first, and if all else fails try the FCD (I’ll be loading .356 Blue’s, and according to my calipers the carbide ring just inside of the mouth of my FCD is sized to .378, so there’s a high possibility of me swaging bullets with it...). Time will tell...

 

Bench is looking good though, getting pumped to make ammo 🤪 

My only regret is I wish I passed on the Dillon wrench set and just got a nice set of T-handle hex wrenches for the bench instead, the 750 with where the powder measure is located is really cramped for space and I’ve decided to go all Lee Ultimate lock rings over standard rings because, with the close confines, the 1” Dillon wrench would really only be useful for rounding off rings if I could even get at dies with it lol...

 

45D5CF97-99AD-48E7-9E74-11D5ECF6FE56.jpeg

Very nice and clean table you got there. I’ll be installing the u-die on my 1100 once it gets here. It’ll be a month and a half tomorrow. I was promised 3-4 weeks since I ordered without dies but that didn’t happen. I called and asked for an update on the one month time frame and was told 1- 1/2 week but nothing.
 

Oh well, it’ll get here when it gets here. I’ll continue on loading on my 650 and 550 until then.

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5 minutes ago, George16 said:

Very nice and clean table you got there. I’ll be installing the u-die on my 1100 once it gets here. It’ll be a month and a half tomorrow. I was promised 3-4 weeks since I ordered without dies but that didn’t happen. I called and asked for an update on the one month time frame and was told 1- 1/2 week but nothing.
 

Oh well, it’ll get here when it gets here. I’ll continue on loading on my 650 and 550 until then.


Thanks.

 

I hear ya on the wait time... waiting sucks 😝 I actually paid Ben Steoger Pro Shop a little extra to snag the last 750 they had because Dillon said I’d be waiting at least a month or so if I was lucky... I also decided to go with Inline Fabrication’s Ultramount and Ergo handle over the Dillon Strong Mount/Dillon handle, and bought a MBF after I’d ordered the Dillon bullet tray... had to ship back a box of stuff to Dillon and the only thing I ended up keeping was the set of plastic shellsorters... with shipping back and forth to Dillon (because I didn’t really know better ordering stuff first and finding better stuff after) I now own the world’s most expensive shellsorter set lol 😝 

Edited by ck1
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1 hour ago, ck1 said:

... I was dialing in my bell/funnel and found out quick that the brass can vary wildly.

 

Ditch the dillon trumpet flare, and install a mister bulletfeeder flare in the dillon powder drop. Incredible improvement.

 

1 hour ago, ck1 said:

 

I’m pretty much there, almost ready to go, just waiting on my Redding Competition Seating Die to show up (decided buy once, cry once... has to be a reason it was sold-out everywhere and tricky to track down).

 

For dies:

1. Lee standard resize

2. MBF powder

3. MBF

4. Redding Comp seat 

5. Lee taper crimp

 

I see you’re already convinced on the MBF. :D  

 

Good choices.

 

1 hour ago, ck1 said:

 

I have the Lee U-die and FCD on the shelf in case I need them... if I have to go that way I plan to try the U-die first, and if all else fails try the FCD (though, I’ll be loading .356 Blue’s, and according to my calipers the carbide ring just inside of the mouth of my FCD is sized to .378, so there’s a high possibility of me swaging bullets with it...). Time will tell...

 

I prefer the U-die but the traditional will likely work well. You will probably be happier with the standard crimp die if you run coated bullets.

 

Overall you’re well sorted out.

 

1 hour ago, ck1 said:
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1 hour ago, MemphisMechanic said:

Overall you’re well sorted out.

 

 

Thanks to you and all the other guys around here, and all I've gleaned from threads/posts, some going back years... 👍

 

I must've read seriously over 50+ different posts on here regarding presses/equipment, bullets/powder, etc there's no way I would've jumped into this if it wasn't for the benos forum 🤟

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Redding Pro Series Titanium Carbide sizing die

Shooting Sports Innovations Alpha Dropper powder funnel

Dillon Powder check

Dillon seating die

Redding Pro Series crimp die

 

Just finished loading 4k over the last few days with all range pick up brass, this setup has been fool proof for me for the last few years. Was previously using the MBF powder funnel but prefer the alpha dropper I thinks it’s a much better design.

 

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4 minutes ago, mveto said:

Was previously using the MBF powder funnel but prefer the alpha dropper I thinks it’s a much better design.

 

 

Well so far so good for me as far as die choices... though I've only loaded 400rds hahaha!

 

Really though, with credit due mostly to all the threads I've read around here, things have been going pretty good. I shot 300rds today at a few different OAL's for testing purposes and my Blue 135gr TC's w/ 3.5gr Sport Pistol at around 1.110-1.115 feels almost identical to the Federal Syntech 150gr "Action Pistol" stuff I've been shooting for a while, except, the groups with my load were easily half the size! Not bad for a newb lol...

 

That said, just 400rds into this, I'm already growing tired of cases sticking/popping with the MBF funnel... I can totally see how this annoys people. I'm using case lube, enough were the press definitely runs better, but not so much that the rounds end up all tacky/sticky, seems like the right amount. But, while it doesn't happen a bunch, maybe every 25-50rds or so a case will get stuck on the funnel... is the Alpha Dropper really THAT much better..?

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1 minute ago, ck1 said:

is the Alpha Dropper really THAT much better..?


For me YES!! When I was using the MBF and Using One Shot lube I’d get the occasional stuck case, sometimes it would require a bit of force to unstick it, with the Alpha dropper it’s running so much smoother, not saying cases won’t stick but it won’t be nearly as bad. They seem to just release with a lot less effort now and it seems to be a more consistent bell on the cases.

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Just now, mveto said:


For me YES!! When I was using the MBF and Using One Shot lube I’d get the occasional stuck case, sometimes it would require a bit of force to unstick it, with the Alpha dropper it’s running so much smoother, not saying cases won’t stick but it won’t be nearly as bad. They seem to just release with a lot less effort now and it seems to be a more consistent bell on the cases.

 

Ok, worth a try, ordered one. Seems when mine stick, they STICK, and I have to pop it free with enough force sometimes where I toss powder all over...fak that. All of this stuff is so new to me that throwing in a new variable won't bother me too much...

 

Besides, I'm learning fast that little things can be huge when it comes to this... found out the hard way that my XL750 absolutely requires the upside-down .45acp case + bullet jammed in it as a weight on the primer feed rod or else it barely even works, after wrecking a bunch of components, cussing a lot, and generally making a mess, I double checked everything I was doing and was at a loss... then tried the .45 trick and hallelujah, loaded 100rds in like 10mins lol!

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On 7/12/2020 at 12:34 PM, ck1 said:


Lol, it’s funny, I’m still so new to this that I’ve only tumbled/cleaned one batch of brass, and I can already see why guys decide to just take the extra step to sort by headstamp... I was dialing in my bell/funnel and found out quick that the brass can vary wildly (plus I found a .38 supercomp that got through).

 

I’m pretty much there, almost ready to go, just waiting on my Redding Competition Seating Die to show up (decided buy once, cry once... has to be a reason it was sold-out everywhere and tricky to track down).

 

For dies:

1. Lee standard resize

2. MBF powder

3. MBF

4. Redding Comp seat 

5. Lee taper crimp

 

I have the Lee U-die and FCD on the shelf in case I need them... if I have to go that way I plan to try the U-die first, and if all else fails try the FCD (though, I’ll be loading .356 Blue’s, and according to my calipers the carbide ring just inside of the mouth of my FCD is sized to .378, so there’s a high possibility of me swaging bullets with it...). Time will tell...

 

Bench is looking good though, getting pumped to make ammo 🤪 

My only regret is I wish I passed on the Dillon wrench set and just got a nice set of T-handle hex wrenches for the bench instead. The 750 with where the powder measure is located and MBF plumbing is really cramped for space and I’ve decided to go all Lee Ultimate lock rings over standard rings because, with the close confines, the 1” Dillon wrench would really only be useful for rounding off rings if I could even get at dies with it lol...

 

45D5CF97-99AD-48E7-9E74-11D5ECF6FE56.jpeg

 

Questions about your work bench you are using for loading. Due to the fact your legs seem to be adjustable to you can adjust your work bench height.  Do those type of legs create wiggle in the work bench when you are operating the press due to slop in the adjustment mechanism?  Or do the tighten up enough where the workbench does not move?

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23 minutes ago, Boomstick303 said:

 

Questions about your work bench you are using for loading. Due to the fact your legs seem to be adjustable to you can adjust your work bench height.  Do those type of legs create wiggle in the work bench when you are operating the press due to slop in the adjustment mechanism?  Or do the tighten up enough where the workbench does not move?


Bench is really solid, even though the legs adjust, once tightened up there’s no real wiggle coming from there. My floor was a different story, there might have been a hint of wiggle still in the bench due to the tiniest amount of give/flex in the the flooring, but I moved the bench over a bit to square it up on a couple studs and bolted the top to the wall/studs with 4” L-brackets and it’s all really solid now.

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7 hours ago, ck1 said:

 I moved the bench over a bit to square it up on a couple studs and bolted the top to the wall/studs with 4” L-brackets and it’s all really solid now.

 

I did the same with the brackets.  My issue is by bench top is too thin.  I either need to replace the bench top or get a new bench.  Thanks for the info on the adjustable legs, I was hesitant to get that type of bench because of the uncertainty.  Where did you get the bench from?  Cost?

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Late to the party, but my 9mm 550 head is Dillon, Dillon, Hornady Microjust, Lee CFC.

I have a U die but I seldom use it for anything but 115 gr jacketed bullets, the regular sizing die is fine with longer, heavier bullets, commonly coated these days.

 

I don't have a bullet feeder.

The MBF "powder funnel" was not effective, the "M" step is all but imperceptible.  I understand there is another brand that I might try, but the Dillon isn't bad.

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