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How Do You Go About Developing A Load For Your Specific Gun.


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I have a Kahr TP9. I have three different powders right now. Bullseye, HS-6, and some V-N350. I like each for different reasons. I need to know what a good order is to start developing a new load for accuracy. I want to make 1150fps or so (I also have a chronograph coming for christmas). I don't know where to start. Are things like Overall length, and crimp going to behave the same in my gun independent of my powder choice and velocity? If not then it's going to be tough to even decide if one powder is better then the other with out retesting those two parameters. Is powder not really the thing I should worry about and I just pick the one that meters the best in my powder measure? I like the Bullseye becasue it's clean enough and versital. I like the HS-6 because it's slower, but man is it dirty. The V-N350 is super clean but seems to vary a little in my powder measure (need to recheck that part). I also don't even know where to start with OAL. I have been loading just short of max length (1.60) but it seems a lot of people load a lot shorter. Will this effect accuracy? My gun has been 100% with all my reloads so far. And none of the rounds seem to be much different in accuracy then the "whitebox" stuff I have used. I am just clueless as to a method to the madness for moving forward.

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Well with a caliber specific gun (I say this only 'cause it's not like loading a .40 long vs. standard .40 dimensions) makes things pretty simple. The OAL, et. al. is already figured out for you. Zero the pistol with some brand of factory ammo, just to get the pistol on paper and get an idea of its accuracy potential.

So start with a given bullet weight and try various charges of each powder for it. Then do the same for each bullet weight you want to try.

From this data figure out what meets the performance goals you were looking for. Group size, velocity, feel, etc. Compare these against other factors like powder charge efficiency (3.0 grains of Powder X yields all things equal to Powder Y at 5.0 grains = Powder X is more 'efficient' and cheaper!)...among other things (primer flowing?, 'excessive' unburned powder in the gun, et. al.).

This is where my father loves me being a shooter. He taught me most everything I know about reloading, so any time I get a new blaster, I just give it to Pops along with all the powder and bullet combos I'm looking for. He loads 'em up on his Rock Chucker and takes it to the range. Comes back with all the data for me to look at then we load up 50-100 or so of each of the better ones for me to take to the range and see what I like. This usually gets me down to "the one" but when it's say two different ones I'll load up a large batch of each and shoot a club match or do a long practice session with them and see what pans out.

Hope that helped.

Rich

ETA: After re-reading your post, get a chrono, how-to reload book (ABC's of Reloading...the older ones if you can find them; 'cause the new ones suck) and some reloading manuals (Lyman, Lee, Sierra and Vihtavouri are good starters).

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Pick a powder that meters and move on. Don't worry about crimp, just flatten the case mouth back against the bullet, and make sure it is not indented into the bullet. OAL for 9mm wants to be from 1.115" to 1.150" depending on bullet weight and profile. Most of my 124grain JHP reloads like 1.135" for function even though some factory JHP 115's are in the 1.110" OAL range. Get an ammo gauge for 9x19 that lets you drop your ammo into and out of as a fuction check. A good power factor to work towards for any stock 9mm gun is 135000-140000 as most factory ammo is in this range. This is derived by veloicity in fps times the bullet weight in grains.

Round nose FMJ may function better, but the exposed lead base on most FMJ burns dirty compared to JHP bullets. JHP's may also be intrinsically more accurate, but may pose feeding issues in some guns.

Find something that works well enough and settle on it as soon as possible. Phartin' around with this type of comparison stuff in a minor gun is a loser compared to more practice time. Load up a bucketload of any reasonably good recipe and shoot the poop' outa' that gun. Next thing ya' know, your gonna' be pretty good with it and THEN you will be able to tell the small stuff from the non-stuff ;-)

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Pick a powder that meters and move on. Don't worry about crimp, just flatten the case mouth back against the bullet, and make sure it is not indented into the bullet. OAL for 9mm wants to be from 1.115" to 1.150" depending on bullet weight and profile. Most of my 124grain JHP reloads like 1.135" for function even though some factory JHP 115's are in the 1.110" OAL range. Get an ammo gauge for 9x19 that lets you drop your ammo into and out of as a fuction check. A good power factor to work towards for any stock 9mm gun is 135000-140000 as most factory ammo is in this range. This is derived by veloicity in fps times the bullet weight in grains.

Round nose FMJ may function better, but the exposed lead base on most FMJ burns dirty compared to JHP bullets. JHP's may also be intrinsically more accurate, but may pose feeding issues in some guns.

Find something that works well enough and settle on it as soon as possible. Phartin' around with this type of comparison stuff in a minor gun is a loser compared to more practice time. Load up a bucketload of any reasonably good recipe and shoot the poop' outa' that gun. Next thing ya' know, your gonna' be pretty good with it and THEN you will be able to tell the small stuff from the non-stuff ;-)

I am running Rainer 115gr FMJ (no exposed lead is important to me), hence the the 1.60 OAL. I know some of you guys don't like these bullets but they seem to run thru my gun well and be accurate at the velocity I have been pushing them. Don't know what that is till I get my chronograph of course.

So get the crimp to not indent the bullet, get a powder that meters well, and really don't worry about it too much. :huh: Then shoot the crap out of the gun.

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So get the crimp to not indent the bullet, get a powder that meters well, and really don't worry about it too much. :huh: Then shoot the crap out of the gun.

Absolutely the right way to get going. Once you are quite a few thousand rounds down the road you will be able to actually see/feel the little things and then you can sweat them, until then, it's all about getting the gross things under control and getting a handle on developing your shooting capabilities properly.

Do visit Brians webstore and get a copy of his book Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals: http://www.brianenos.com/pages/reviews.html

Take a look at Steve Andersons Dry Fire lesson books too: http://www.andersonshooting.com/

Matt Burkett's training videos are also worth the bux: http://www.burkettvideo.com/

Welcome to the world of competition shooting, or "gunracing" as I like to think of it. The only real question is, how fast do ya' wanna' go and how hard are you willing to work to get there?

BTW, get the chrono real soon. Saying you don't know what velocity you are pushing something at when you are experimenting with reloading is not a good thing in the long run. You should not be looking at anything much over 1225-1250 fps with a 115in that gun or you are starting to push things a bit and really should know what "pressure sign" looks like and what velocity you are actually running downrange. 1217 fps with a 115 is 140pf and that's more than enough PF to duplicate factory 9x19.

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So get the crimp to not indent the bullet, get a powder that meters well, and really don't worry about it too much. :huh: Then shoot the crap out of the gun.

Absolutely the right way to get going. Once you are quite a few thousand rounds down the road you will be able to actually see/feel the little things and then you can sweat them, until then, it's all about getting the gross things under control and getting a handle on developing your shooting capabilities properly.

Do visit Brians webstore and get a copy of his book Practical Shooting, Beyond Fundamentals: http://www.brianenos.com/pages/reviews.html

Take a look at Steve Andersons Dry Fire lesson books too: http://www.andersonshooting.com/

Matt Burkett's training videos are also worth the bux: http://www.burkettvideo.com/

Welcome to the world of competition shooting, or "gunracing" as I like to think of it. The only real question is, how fast do ya' wanna' go and how hard are you willing to work to get there?

BTW, get the chrono real soon. Saying you don't know what velocity you are pushing something at when you are experimenting with reloading is not a good thing in the long run. You should not be looking at anything much over 1225-1250 fps with a 115in that gun or you are starting to push things a bit and really should know what "pressure sign" looks like and what velocity you are actually running downrange. 1217 fps with a 115 is 140pf and that's more than enough PF to duplicate factory 9x19.

Thanks, I have all those books on my christmas wish list. If I don't get them I will buy them. I am running my loads about 5-10% under max loads. Can't wait to get going on all this. I am most excited about reading some books to learn more about what to do and how to train. This forum is a great help really.

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Also keep in mind if you are using a powder drop and not weighing each charge stay away from max loads. Even the most accurate powder drop can be off a tenth or 2 grains.

As for the crimp, some say no crimp into the bullet, just remove the belling. I however think a slight crimp is necessary. Should something happen where the bullet is somehow slick enough in the case mouth to set back, without a crimp you could end up with extreme pressures and destroy your gun and your hand. I use plated bullets as well and crimp til there is a slight ring visible after pulling the bullet. Never had the jacket separate as most people do, likely from a severe crimp.

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As for the crimp, some say no crimp into the bullet, just remove the belling. I however think a slight crimp is necessary. Should something happen where the bullet is somehow slick enough in the case mouth to set back, without a crimp you could end up with extreme pressures and destroy your gun and your hand. I use plated bullets as well and crimp til there is a slight ring visible after pulling the bullet. Never had the jacket separate as most people do, likely from a severe crimp.

I was planning on calling Rainer just to see what they said as well. It would worry me a little to have a inadequate hold on the bullet. Even when I set my die a little tighter then needed the accuarcy is good so I know I can back of some, have a good crimp and maintain good accuracy.

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If you NEED crimp to hold a bullet, your size die expander ball is too large. Crimp dies are used on straight wall auto-pistol cases for one reason only, to flatten the case mouth straight again after belling it out to get the bullet in without shaving it.

The tension resulting from the case mouth inside diameter being a couple thousandths smaller than the outside diameter of the bullet being inserted is what holds the bullet in place, not squeezing it afterwards. If you HAVE to crimp just to keep a bullet from being setback, you have issues with bullet diameter and your sizing die.

I ONLY crimp (by crimp here I mean indent the bullet) hefty caliber revolver rounds like .44 magnum where I am using a lead bullet that has a crimping cannelure, or on full house hunting loads to keep the bullet from "backing" out under recoil.

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If you NEED crimp to hold a bullet, your size die expander ball is too large. Crimp dies are used on straight wall auto-pistol cases for one reason only, to flatten the case mouth straight again after belling it out to get the bullet in without shaving it.

The tension resulting from the case mouth inside diameter being a couple thousandths smaller than the outside diameter of the bullet being inserted is what holds the bullet in place, not squeezing it afterwards. If you HAVE to crimp just to keep a bullet from being setback, you have issues with bullet diameter and your sizing die.

I ONLY crimp (by crimp here I mean indent the bullet) hefty caliber revolver rounds like .44 magnum where I am using a lead bullet that has a crimping cannelure, or on full house hunting loads to keep the bullet from "backing" out under recoil.

Well, isn't a Rainer basically treated like a lead bullet? Also, looking at my dieset as a SET the Lee 4 die set expects you to use the FCD on the last station. It sounds like the real question is not "should I crimp" but how much crimp is needed. Sounds like you are saying that I don't need any more crimp then what is required to take the edge down a little on the 9mm case/bullet transition. Is that right? Not enough to mark the bullet in any fashion.

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Crimp the bullets in place with the correct style of die for the caliber, ie taper for autos and roll for revolvers.

You'll have trouble without the right crimp. Find the case specs and use a .003" crimp for autos and enough on revolvers to hold the bullet in place under recoil.

example: .40 S&W outside case diameter is roughly .420". Crimp the bullets at .417" to get a good powder burn AND keep the bullet from pushing back into the case.

9mms are anywhere from .375 to .380 depending on the brand of case...

Mick

A27257

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If you NEED crimp to hold a bullet, your size die expander ball is too large.

Absolutely correct. The bullet is held in place by the tension of the case wall not the crimp die. With plated bullets like Raniers it's also possible to over crimp and cause problems with the plating. The bullet needs the belling in order to be seated. The crimp die removes the belling after the bullet is seated but should not do anything more than remove the bell. If you need more tension on the bullet to prevent set back then you need to make the expander die smaller as George stated.

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Tank yew! The truth will always win out in the end ;-)

If the inside of the case is the couple thousandths UNDER the bullet diameter like it oughta' be, the bullet CAN'T get pushed back into the case. The size die controls this not the crimp station.

I have yet to see a fired and re-sized 9x case not coke bottle when a bullet is inserted. Every die I have used from Dillon to RCBS to Lee in 9x caliber has sized the ID of the case to UNDER the diameter of the bullet and the cases bulge a tiny bit where the bullet is inserted. New brass may not do this on first loading, but it sure will after it is 1x. I don't believe in using the FCD for any 9x (tapered) cartridges. Crimping like this will just crush the bullet making it UNDERSIZE where it was squeezed by the FCD. This will actually decrease hold friction as the bullet doesn't spring back as well as brass does. Now you have a looser fit than before and indenting the bullet with the case mouth is NOW needed to keep it in place. Bad juju IMHO.

The back out under recoil thing for revolvers is a horse of a different color and will confuse the issue unless you understand that a bullet backing out of a cartridge case and one being pushed further into a cartridge case are not the same thing, nor can they be controlled in the same manner.

The FCD while useful, is a band-aid fix to a situation that is more complex than a beginner wants to deal with.

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I don't believe in using the FCD for any 9x (tapered) cartridges. Crimping like this will just crush the bullet making it UNDERSIZE where it was squeezed by the FCD. This will actually decrease hold friction as the bullet doesn't spring back as well as brass does. Now you have a looser fit than before and indenting the bullet with the case mouth is NOW needed to keep it in place. Bad juju IMHO.

The few bullets I measured using my FCD did not change the diameter of the bullet at all. Still it makes me a little nervous because if you have a thick case it would seem that he die would resize the bullet. I will try and find a thick case just to see what really happens on my dieset.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't believe in using the FCD for any 9x (tapered) cartridges. Crimping like this will just crush the bullet making it UNDERSIZE where it was squeezed by the FCD. This will actually decrease hold friction as the bullet doesn't spring back as well as brass does. Now you have a looser fit than before and indenting the bullet with the case mouth is NOW needed to keep it in place. Bad juju IMHO.

The few bullets I measured using my FCD did not change the diameter of the bullet at all. Still it makes me a little nervous because if you have a thick case it would seem that he die would resize the bullet. I will try and find a thick case just to see what really happens on my dieset.

Don't obsess about this. The 9mm is taper crimped. What you want to do is return the case mouth to the diameter necessary to keep the case from entering the bore when hit from behind by the firing pin and still allow it to enter the chamber. If you have a nice digital caliper (available from Sportsman's Guide or Midway USA for about $25 for a Frankfort Arsenal type) then you can measure things for your own comfort. Most reloading manuals give you the "ideal" size of the case as it should appear when perfectly formed. Resize your case in the sizing die and measure it at the case mouth both inside and out. Now measure the size of the bullet you are using about 1/16 of an inch up from the base. This will tell you how much of a press fit the bullet is into the case. You can go one step farther and measure the case a bit back from the mouth so you know what size it is before the bullet is seated, then measure it again when the bullet is inserted in the case. If the case is larger by anything over a thousandth or two the bullet will not be inclined to move or "set back" when forced into the feed ramp etc. during the loading cycle.

All you need to do now is insure that the crimping die returns the case mouth to a diameter suitable to feed and still hold the case in place at the mouth so it doesn't go too far into the barrel when the slide pushes it into the chamber. Another test is to take a loaded round and hold it between thumb and forefinger in one hand while the nose of the bullet is against a solid object like the side of the reloading bench, and press firmly with the other thumb against the base of the cartridge. If the bullet does not "set back" after firm pressure is applied, it is unlikely to do so during the loading cycle and you can sleep well at night.

Like the other member said, most bullets will "coke bottle" the 9mm a bit and it is readily visible. Such rounds will not normally be victims of "set back" when used 'cause the bullet is press fitted into the case. If it still will drop in the chamber with the bare barrel in your hand or into a measuring die you're pretty much good to go. After all, the thing has to function. If it is set up to do that, and the bullets and cases are the correct size to begin with, bullet friction in the case will pretty much take care of itself.

If you are using very old, many times fired brittle brass, all bets are off unless you anneal the cases, but you already knew that.

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