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  #1  
Old 08-28-2010, 03:51 PM
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Reloading 9mm & 380 With Bullseye Powder & Federal Primers


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Hello all, This is my first post so I'd like to say thank you for having me and thank you in advance for taking the time to read my post and for any responses.

I'm new to reloading. So new in fact that I still haven't done it yet.

I purchased a Hornady Lock and Load AP today along with Federal Small Pistol primers and Bullseye Powder.

I also purchased the "7th edition Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading" and "Modern Reloading Second Edition by Richard Lee".

After looking through these books I realize I have a lot to learn and was hoping to get some help to get me pointed in the right direction. I had it in my head that all I needed was a type of powder and the caliber I'm reloading and I'm good to go. After reading through the books a little I've noticed that the Grain of Bullet as well as the type of bullet matters as well. So now I don't really think that the two books I have purchased are going to help me as much as I had hoped because they don't seem to cover all of the bullet types.

I will obviously be receiving 500 Hornady Bullets (115 GR HP/XTP) from my purchase of the LNL AP, but these free bullets are the only time I plan to use them. According to my Hornady Book, it says to load 3.9 gr. to 4.6 gr. of Bullseye. So I think I'll be ok for those 500 reloads.

When purchasing the bullets on my own dime, I plan to reload with whatever is available at a low cost. What I have found in the 380 and 9mm is .356 Diameter 95 Grain RN for the 380 and 115 Grain RN for the 9mm, Brinell 18 (Not sure what the Brinell 18 stands for...material maybe?). It looks like these bullets have a crimp ring for crimping. I have also found 9mm 355 Diameter 115 Grain Plated RN that does not appear to have the crimp ring.

What should I use for bullets when reloading? Material, Crimp Ring, Grain, etc.? I'm a beginner just looking to make some successful reloads with the lowest possible cost.

Do any of you have recommendations on where to get a good price for bullets?
I can't seem to find 90 grain 380 bullets. Any suggestions on where I can find them, or should I even bother and just go with 95 grain?

Any other tips/suggestions that any of you can give to help make this experience safe and successful is greatly appreciated as well.

Best Regards,
Blain
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  #2  
Old 08-28-2010, 05:41 PM
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I load for the 9 mm Luger but not for the .380 ACP so what I'm discussing refers only to the 9 mm.

With jacketed, cannelured bullets I seat the bullets to the cannelure. With all other bullets, I seat to the suggested over-all length (OAL) as found in your reloading manual.

My suggestion would be to follow the loading instructions found in your reloading manual or you can access the RCBS site and get the same information. When starting out, load a few bullets at the recommended starting load (3.9 gr. Bullseye in your case) then test these in your gun. Should the load not cycle your action, you can load a few more cartridges with a slightly higher charge and retest this load. Continue loading with small increases of powder until you are loading cartridges that will reliably cycle your action. Record this load as the minimum that will cycle your action. By making further powder charge adjustments, you should find a load that both cycles your action and gives you good accuracy. Do not exceed 4.6 gr. of Bullseye as that is the maximum recommended charge.

Only after finding a suitable load should you procede to load cartridges in quantity. I find that 4.5 gr. of Bullseye to function well in my gun but your charge may be different.

Brinell 18 refers to the hardness of your bullet. At 18, this is a hard bullet.

I generally purchase my bullets in bulk which is the least expensive way to obtain them. The more you can afford to purchase, the better the price. I try to order 1000 bullets at a time. With the 9 mm, I purchase Winchester or Remington 115 gr. round nose, full metal jacket bullets from Cabela's, MidwayUSA, Graf and Sons for all-purpose use.

Welcome to reloading, it's the way to get in the most shooting (usually) at the least possible cost! Best wishes and reload safely.
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  #3  
Old 08-28-2010, 08:03 PM
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If low cost is your goal, then you'll eventually come to the realization that you'll need to cast your own bullets. The reality of the situation is that jacketed bullets are just **** EXPENSIVE.

I like to use the Lee 125gr RNFP in .358" and size it down to .357" for my Smith and Wesson model 59. This shoots as well as any jacketed load in my particular pistol and is a great plinking bullet, provided your pistol can feed the RNFP design.

I have used 3.7-4.0 grains of Bullseye in the past with this bullet, but my normal load is 4.0 grains of HP38 or WW231.

If you are interested in trying some of these bullets, I could send you a small sample of these in a USPS small flat rate box to try in your pistol. I'm only looking to get reimbursed for my shipping costs and what I have invested in my lead stash.

PM me if you are interested.
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  #4  
Old 08-29-2010, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshal Kane View Post
I load for the 9 mm Luger but not for the .380 ACP so what I'm discussing refers only to the 9 mm.

With jacketed, cannelured bullets I seat the bullets to the cannelure. With all other bullets, I seat to the suggested over-all length (OAL) as found in your reloading manual.
I have loaded for both. COAL recommended by the manufacturer for 9mm/.380 is probably the most important number in the manual. Both rounds are small, and even very small changes can have a big effect, rarely in a good way.

Both rounds need to utilize brass sorted by headstamp. Brass weight and hardness is all over the map for both, so mixing will be dangerous at the top end of the charge range, and erratic for functioning at the low end.

I start with brass sorted by headstamp. Then I load a series starting at the minimum charge weight, increasing by 0.10gr increments until reliable functioning is achieved. When I can run several clips without a fail to feed/eject, I see where I am relative to suggested max, and make any further increases from there. Usually a tenth or two at most.

For either cartridge, if I need hot loads, I buy 'em as I don't have the equipment to determine a max level of performance for either.
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  #5  
Old 08-29-2010, 03:52 PM
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Thank you all for the information. This helps a great deal to be able to ask specific questions and have so many people willing to share their knowledge.

I've found a couple of places that have plated bullets for a decent price (about 10 cents each for both 380 and 9mm). I keep hearing that the brass is the most expensive part of reloading, but from what I've seen it's the bullets (unless you cast your own as Ole1830 has stated). I can't remember if I found 9mm at around 7 cents per bullet (plated) or if it was lead.

What is all of your opinions of lead bullets? I've heard it's not good to use lead especially in a hot load because it will cake onto the barrel. Any opinions on that? I won't be loading anything "hot" to my knowledge and probably not even near the maximum until I've made at least 1000 successful rounds otherwise. Would you suggest Lead for a beginner or go with the plated?

Also in the loading manuals if they don't list a range for the grain amounts they are listing the maximum? Is that correct? So being a beginner I should go lower than the suggested amount in load charts. I've heard 10% less is a good figure to shoot for when starting out. But I've also heard that on a rare occasion loading too little powder could be just as dangerous as loading too much.

I still haven't been able to completely set up my press since Cabela's only had 9mm dies and a 380 shell plate. So now I've got the 9mm shell plate and 380 dies on order with MidwayUSA. Should be able to play around with it soon but probably won't actually start loading for a while as I'd like to read up on it some more and make sure I'm comfortable with the whole process first.

As a beginner who hasn't yet even started I have to say I'm a little nervous especially with the idea of seating the primers and setting the bullet correctly. Seating the primers is mostly just me wondering just how much is it going to take to accidentally set the thing off and what would it do if it did get set off (no powder in the bullet of course, but the powder isn't far away). If a primer doesn't seat all the way and is sticking out beyond the casing, do you re-seat it or do you chunk it?

For seating the bullet, how do you know if it's too tight or not tight enough? Should you be able to pull it apart at all by hand? I'm guessing not, but then how do you know if it's not too tight?

Sorry for all the questions, I just want to make sure I've got a good grasp on everything before getting started. I don't want to be the guy that has a bad experience on his first attempt and never tries to reload again. I do still have two reloading books that I've been reading and have been surfing the internet non stop trying to find all of the information.

Ole1830, I really appreciate the offer. I think for right now since I'm still getting into all of this, trying to modify a bullet probably isn't the best for me since if something goes wrong I won't know if it's how it was modified or if it's something else I did wrong. Thank you very much for being so generous though.

I have way too many hobbies already, but I can see this as being one that I'm going to really enjoy eventually. Especially once that press starts paying itself off (another 5 years from now probably)

Best Regards,
Blain
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  #6  
Old 08-29-2010, 04:30 PM
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Ok, here is what I was referring to when I thought I had found plated bullets for around 10 cents each. Actually it's more like 7.5 cents per piece for the 380. I think I've found 9mm bullets closer to the 7 cent mark where these are a little over 8 cents each.

What do y'all think about these? Most 380 bullets available at the stores are 90 grain. Is there a down side to using 100 grain provided that you follow the suggested load requirements?

I'll be shooting the 380's in the Ruger LCP. For the 9mm they have 115 grain which is what I'm used to shooting through my Ruger P89 and my Glock G26.

http://www.berrysmfg.com/products-c10-380_Cal_.356.aspx

http://www.berrysmfg.com/products-c11-9MM_.356.aspx

If these look good for me to start with, please don't buy them all out before I get a chance to. I've researched TONS of places on the internet to buy at a good price and so far these may be the best I've found.

Also aren't most 380 and 9mm .355? I just noticed that these both show to be .356
Any problem with that or modifications that would need to be made?

Best Regards,
Blain
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  #7  
Old 08-31-2010, 06:43 AM
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It's a great feeling once the initial cost of all your reloading equipment is paid off in ammunition savings as the savings continue as long as you reload. Best wishes and reload safely.

Last edited by Marshal Kane; 03-27-2011 at 06:04 AM.
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  #8  
Old 09-01-2010, 02:49 PM
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Marshal,

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. This helps clear up a lot. For a while I felt like I have gotten in over my head, but after reading more in the manuals and researching online and after seeing your responses, I'm a lot more comfortable with the task and ready to learn some more.

Then of course....ready to begin loading eventually.

Thank you again for the in depth reply. I appreciate it.

Best Regards,
Blain
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  #9  
Old 09-04-2010, 09:41 PM
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Bottom Line..........
Take your time.
Inspect your cases
Prime your cases and double check to make sure the primers a face down.
Eye ball your charge to make sure there is powder in the case and NOT a double charge.
Use a good reference for the load and start low.
Extra's? a case gage is nice, calipers to check OAL.
Keep rechords so you know what the load does with what gun you shoot it in.
Last is to enjoy........
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  #10  
Old 09-08-2010, 07:43 AM
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I have a Glock 26 also. Glock advises against using lead bullets. I am sure their lawyers recommended they take that action as some people who have Glocks shoot lead and must never clean the barrels. Anyway..... I have used Berry's. I now use Precision Delta @ $75 per thou delivered (or close to that). These are the 115 grn FMJ. The bullets work fine and seem accurate enough. The Glock 26 is not exactly a 50 yard slow fire target gun.
I also use Bullseye. I have found with the Glock standard recoil spring that I have to avoid light loads to avoid FTF issues. I've also found that max OAL does not necessarily take into account the design of the bullet. 115 FMJ will have a different shape than Hornady XTP and seated to the same length, the Hornady will not feed while the FMJ design will. For the Glock, I will load a few and take the gun outside and give them a test fire. Kinda nice to be able to do that! I never seat any bullet less than minimum recommended OAL
This is very important! In an older manual I had lying around, there were a few paragraphs on the dangers of loading 9mm too short. 1/16th" too short resulted in pressure of over 65,000 psi or almost double the max SAAMI spec.

Also, since Bullseye is a very dense powder and very fast burning, take care not to double charge. I will charge a tray of 50 and eyeball everyone of them. When gun testers want to blow up a rifle, they'll load a cartridge full of Bullseye, tie a string to the trigger and take cover. I am not suggesting that you change powders. I've been loading with Bullseye for 30+ years. Never had any kind of accident but I am very methodical and safety conscious.


I shoot mostly 115grn FMJs from PD, like I mentioned. I guess you could go cheaper than 7.5 cents per if you cast your own but you would have to shoot thousands of rounds if you factor in the initial cost of your equipment not to mention your time.
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  #11  
Old 03-26-2011, 08:56 PM
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Good info from Doc and others....I really don't like to use Bullseye because it is so so easy to double charge a case...I try to pick a power that fills the case a bit better. The AA powders are excellent and generally a bit less expensive if you shop around. They all work however you just have to be careful. My go to power for cast 9mm loads is WW231. I have tried all brands of dies and I really like the Lee system with the factory crimp die. If you are going to use hard cast bullets then you will need to smooth the ramp on your pistol and be sure to have a very aggressive taper crimp. If you don't use the Lee factory crimp die then be sure to trim your cases so that you get a uniform case length. I would recommend not attempting to seat and crimp in the same operation until you get some experience. Again, using the Lee system this is less important. I got a wilson case drop guage and I stop every ten rounds or so and drop a round into the guage to make sure everything is still in calibration. Earlier tonight I loaded up a couple of dozen rounds from range recovered brass....ah btw...if you pick up military brass be aware that the primer pockets have to have the crimps removed before you can seat a primer.
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  #12  
Old 03-27-2011, 05:26 AM
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I'd use No.2, American Select, or Clays instead of Bullseye. Bullseye is filthy.
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  #13  
Old 03-27-2011, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtmrolla View Post
....I really don't like to use Bullseye because it is so so easy to double charge a case

...I would recommend not attempting to seat and crimp in the same operation until you get some experience.

I got a wilson case drop guage and I stop every ten rounds or so and drop a round into the guage to make sure everything is still in calibration.

...if you pick up military brass be aware that the primer pockets have to have the crimps removed before you can seat a primer.
I load the 9mm using 115 gr. round nose Winchester/Remington FMJ bullets and 4.5 gr. Bullseye powder for my SIG P228 (please refer to my previous post) so what follows refers only to my situation. YMMV.

The double charge a case is certainly true using Bullseye and cases with enough capacity for this to happen e.g. .38 Special however, anyone who puts 4.5 gr. of it in a 9mm case will find a double charge overflows the case.

My seater die comes with a taper crimper, and adjusted properly, seating and crimping FMJ bullets at the same time has not been a problem.

I have a Midway case guage (similar to your Wilson) which I use on every 9mm round that I reload. In fact, each case is guaged twice, once after sizing and once after being reloaded. Cases are trashed if they do not guage after being resized. IME, not every completed reload passes the case guage test due to several reasons. Sometimes a case has expanded so close to the case rim that my carbide sizer die cannot fully resize it. Sometimes I come across a case with a case rim that is out of specs and sometimes the bullet is seated slightly off center causing the reload not to drop flush into the gauge. What I have found is reloads that don't guage may still function perfectly in my SIG. Since the 9mm is known more as a service round more than a match round, manufacturers tend to chamber the barrels on the generous side. Last night, I guaged a round that had the entire rim exposed above the guage. I normally accept a round with a partially exposed rim as I have fired many of them without a hitch. This time I dropped the round into the barrels' chamber just to see what would happen and it chambered completely flush with the barrel hood and dropped out when I tilted the barrel. In the future, I'm going to test any round that won't guage in my barrels' chamber rather than break it down and reload it. My point being that the cartridge guage is a great tool but your barrels' chamber is a better tool.

Finally, you are correct that 9mm military brass will most likely have to have the crimp removed from the primer pockets as repriming with the crimp is a miserable experience.

Just my thoughts on reloading the 9mm, YMMV.
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  #14  
Old 03-27-2011, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kludge View Post
. . . Bullseye is filthy.
IME, all powders leave a residue and truth be told some more than others. I've heard this said a lot about Bullseye but have never had a malfunction caused by using it or experienced any more difficulty in cleaning it off my guns. I've been using Bullseye in my NRA Bullseye competition match reloads since the '70s so I have had some experience with this powder. If you've had some bad experiences using Bullseye, you might wish to share them with us.
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  #15  
Old 03-27-2011, 06:19 PM
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Bullseye was my first pistol powder. I quit using it all together, but now I'm just trying to use it up in .38 SPL, and it's fine for that, and to be honest accuracy is quite good, but in my 3rd gen S&W .40 cal (which I no longer own) it would gunk up the works so bad in 50-100 rounds I almost couldn't cycle the slide by hand. I switched to Universal for my .40 loads and I can run several hundred rounds through the current XD-40 without any need for cleaning... in fact I can't tell you how many rounds it's been since I cleaned it last. I just loaded a batch with No.7 and some 170gr LSWC... First time with No.7 so I'll be interested to see how it goes.
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  #16  
Old 03-28-2011, 06:14 AM
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[quote=kludge;564348]Bullseye was my first pistol powder. . .but in my 3rd gen S&W .40 cal (which I no longer own) it would gunk up the works so bad in 50-100 rounds I almost couldn't cycle the slide by hand. . .[quote]
That doesn't sound good. I use a lot of Bullseye for both 9mm and .45 ACP without experiencing the same problem but who's to say that it can't happen? My guns are shot for 200 rounds at each range session then religiously cleaned so they probably have not accumulated enough powder residue yet to cause problems. Thanks for sharing!
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  #17  
Old 03-28-2011, 07:40 AM
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Bullseye and Unique both have reputations for powder residue with cast bullets. But I think that a lot of it depends on the lube used. I've noticed much less fouling with jacketed bullets so I think that there is something there.
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