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1/22/2020 12:12:56 PM
Posted: 11/13/2012 12:04:28 PM EST
I loaded 10 of these using the recipe shown that came with my Lee die set:

Bear Creek lead 125gr truncated cone .356" bullet
3.0 grains Clays
Federal SP primer
Various headstamps
1.125" OAL

The pistol is a Sig P226. I set my measure so it ranged from 2.9-3.0 grains, each of these first rounds was individually weighed. All rounds case gaged good, and dropped into my barrel good. They had a very slight "hourglass" shape that I read is normal for 9mm.

After firing, I see the primers are somewhat flattened and the two I decapped were mushroomed. Firing felt good, no sharp recoil or anything odd. I tried to take some pics, but it was hard to get anything with good detail. Can anyone with more experience than I have take a look and give me your thoughts?

Some questions I have:
Would it help to increase OAL some?
If that load is for a RN bullet, I assume the TC would leave less room in the case at an equal OAL.













Link Posted: 11/13/2012 12:46:25 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/13/2012 12:55:50 PM EST by CBR900]
This drives me nuts:


OP: 1.125" IS THE MINIMUM SAFE C.O.A.L.

Sorry for yelling that, but hardly a day goes by when I do not see someone on a gun board confusing "minimum safe" with "recommended" when it comes to overall length of pistol rounds.

In straight walled pistol calibers, you want as long a C.O.A.L. as possible (without touching the rifling) for safety reasons. Longer COAL means lower pressure, greater safety margin, easier on the brass, easier on the gun, and usually better feeding and better accuracy too. The max for guns like the Sig is theoretically approx. 1.169" (WWB tends to run this length) but flat point bullets might require slightly shorter COAL to feed from the magazine.

OP: have you made a "dummy round" and cycled it to check for possible set back? (please let us know if you want info on how to do this).

Primers are slightly flattened & I would stop at your current load - though I've seen worse in 9mm - plus your Sig is a very strong gun with excellent chamber support. Also, Federal primers are the softest of all brands and they tend to exagerate "pressure signs" - where other primers would look just fine. I happen to really like Federals, I just find they flatten a lot sooner than every other brand & do not put too much worry into it.

Link Posted: 11/13/2012 1:35:43 PM EST
I have a question since you are using cast bullets. Did you check the sizing on those bullets? Also, I don't see any lube in the lube grooves. I cant tell if the bullet is coated or just dark. Do you lube or are they coated bullets? And, last but not least if the barrel starts leading pressure will mount fast.

If you already know this then disregard.
Link Posted: 11/13/2012 2:16:37 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/13/2012 2:19:52 PM EST by steve4102]
Federal Primers are soft, they flatten in everything I load them in, both rifle and pistol. Reading primers in a kin to reading tea leaves.

I borrowed this from another forum, I like it.

Think about this: Primers don't know what cartridge they're in.
A small pistol primer in 380auto and a small pistol primer in 38 Super.
The primer is too ignorant to know that it must flatten at 18000psi in the 380
but wait until 36000psi if loaded in a 38 Super. It just isn't smart enough.
Take that Winchester LP primer, good for both standard and magnum cartridges.
How does it know you seated it in a 45acp, or maybe a 44 Magnum?



Your Lee load data is copied from Hodgdon as Lee has No data of their own.

If your scale is correct and your OAL is correct then your load is at the published Min and should be fine. Do not go below 2.9gr.

Have you checked your OAL for barrel fit like this?


Link Posted: 11/13/2012 2:43:04 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/13/2012 2:48:07 PM EST by Wingman26]
Link Posted: 11/13/2012 6:24:14 PM EST
Those look like the polymer/moly coated bullets, Black Bullets Int'l and others make. The coating is the lube.
Link Posted: 11/13/2012 6:38:58 PM EST
Link Posted: 11/14/2012 12:02:14 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/14/2012 12:04:20 AM EST by stevejness]
Thanks for all the help and advice everyone, I'll try and answer any questions all in one post:

I did make 2 dummy rounds, and just made another to confirm nothing changed. They headspace in the barrel just like the second example in steve4102's post.

I just made another dummy at 1.160" oal, and it also feeds and headspaces fine.

I measured the mushroomed diameter of the primers, and they are .179", so just a few thou bigger than a new one.

The bullets are moly coated, so no lube. They measured at .356" with my caliper.

My scale (Dillon eliminator) should be good. When I bought it, I checked it against my brother's two scales and all weighed the same.

The powder is regular clays, not universal.


I may try a different primer and at the longer OAL. These are the only pistol primers I have now, but can pick up something different later.
Link Posted: 11/14/2012 3:18:08 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/14/2012 3:22:03 AM EST by steve4102]
My scale (Dillon eliminator) should be good. When I bought it, I checked it against my brother's two scales and all weighed the same.


Your scale should be checked, zeroed and calibrated every time your use it, every time.
Link Posted: 11/14/2012 4:27:13 AM EST
I had the same problem when I tried to use Clays. I was actually getting signs of overpressure (flattened primers) with a load that was too light to lock the slide back. I didn't even think that was possible. I came to the conclusion that Clays just isn't a good powder for 9mm. Switched to WSF, and couldn't be happier.
Link Posted: 11/19/2012 7:45:47 AM EST
The fired primers in the photos look totally normal to me. Flattened primers tend to fill out the rounded shoulder of the primer at the outer edge of the primer pocket. These fired primers still have a nice radius at their outer edge. Primers are deformed on decaping, so measuring them at that time may not be useful.

OTOH, Clays is not really a mainstream powder for the 9mm.

OTOH, my favorite soft shooting loads for .45 is 4.0 clays for 230 grain cast lead and 4.2 grains for 200 gr. cast lead. And a soft shooting load for .40 S&W is 185 gr cast with 3.1 clays, although it will not cycle one of my pistols. Soft shooting loads for the .40 are hard to come by.

You are wise to use the BearCreek moly/plastic coated bullets. They are great all around bullets.

Link Posted: 11/19/2012 8:54:29 AM EST
Over the weekend, I loaded up some more to try after changing a couple things and triple checking everything.

I bumped the OAL to 1.150", decreased the charge to 2.9gr, and bought some Winchester primers to try. The new load showed no pressure signs, and functioned good in two guns. None of these have locked the slide back on an empty magazine.

I'll still probably end up saving the clays for some 45s or something in the future. Like some have said, it just isn't ideal for 9mm. Thanks for all the help everyone.

Link Posted: 11/20/2012 4:53:16 AM EST
Quote stolen from Counselor.
""The fired primers in the photos look totally normal to me. Flattened primers tend to fill out the rounded shoulder of the primer at the outer edge of the primer pocket. These fired primers still have a nice radius at their outer edge. Primers are deformed on decaping, so measuring them at that time may not be useful.""

This was also my first reaction to the photos.

My question is, how did they shoot? Did they function properly? Did the lead your barrel?

Link Posted: 11/20/2012 8:20:48 AM EST
primers look normal to me
Link Posted: 11/20/2012 9:38:45 AM EST
They were a little worse than what shows in the photos. None flowed out to the edge of the pocket or anything, but they were definitely flattened some. I've seen other's reloads from my range brass that were worse, so it was probably not bad.

They all functioned fine and felt good, just not locking the slide back. I never shot much lead before, so I'm keeping an eye on any leading, but these are moly coated and are supposed to be ok.

Link Posted: 11/20/2012 11:55:01 AM EST
If they are not locking back the slide and other ammo does then they are too light. I can't give you direct advice because I don't use Clays in 9mm but if your data shows that you have room to move up the charge weight, I would do it. I would go up a tenth or 2 at a time until they either worked the gun properly or became too hot.
Link Posted: 11/20/2012 12:00:34 PM EST
Originally Posted By Motor1:
If they are not locking back the slide and other ammo does then they are too light. I can't give you direct advice because I don't use Clays in 9mm but if your data shows that you have room to move up the charge weight, I would do it. I would go up a tenth or 2 at a time until they either worked the gun properly or became too hot.


I had the same issue with Clays in 9mm. I started getting flattened primers with loads that were too light to lock the slide back. I think that it has something to do with the extremely fast burn rate of Clays. It builds pressure too quickly to work well in high pressure rounds like 9mm. Just my theory, but I know that it didn't work for me and I really wanted it to since I use a lot of Clays.
Link Posted: 11/20/2012 5:57:16 PM EST
I have not had any good experience with Clays or Universal in anything.

I switched to Bullseye as my load my pistol ammo powder, and have not looked back

YMMV
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