Reloading the 9mm Makarov and making brass.

This is a discussion on Reloading the 9mm Makarov and making brass. within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; With a little time on my hands (and the need to work on my typing skills--at the reader’s expense ), I decided to post this ...

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Thread: Reloading the 9mm Makarov and making brass.

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    Reloading the 9mm Makarov and making brass.

    With a little time on my hands (and the need to work on my typing skills--at the reader’s expense), I decided to post this thread on reloading the 9mm Makarov for my CZ-82.

    What I quickly found out after I bought my CZ is that ammunition selection is limited at best. The typical gun store load is a 95-grain FMJ by various name brands and the occasional Silver Bear HPs. Rumors exist of Hornady XTP SD loads (although I read it’s under loaded), but my searches have not proven that story to be true. I guess supply isn’t keeping up with demand, and the trickledown of ammo surplus has not reached my local area.

    I hate paying full price for ammo and don’t care to order bulk through the internet. I’m not one who feels 10,000 rounds of spare ammo is cutting it a bit short. Reloading is my option, which I’ve been doing for handgun, rifle, and shotgun rounds since 1975. That way I can have as much or as little ammo as I feel I need.

    To begin with, all the commercial Makarov brass I’ve tried works well (Fiochi and S&B). Naturally, during the course of a range session, brass is going to be lost, mainly due to the CZ-82’s tendency to toss it across the furthest county line. So replacements must be found or new brass purchased. Starline sells 9mm Mak brass, but I’m not interested in 500-round lots. The quick easy answer: make my own brass from 9x19 cases. (That’s 9mm Luger/Parabellum for those who don’t follow the European designations.) Anyone who’s been to a shooting range knows that 9x19 cases are lying on the ground, just begging someone to take them home for reloading.

    For those who may not know, the Makarov case measures 9x18mm in length. The other dimensions between the two 9mms cases are close but not necessarily exact. Fortunately, they are close enough to work for the CZ-82. The Luger bullets measure .355”, whereas the Makarov bullets measure .365”. Mak bullet diameter tends to vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, but in general .364-.365” is the nominal size.

    Many methods and means of trimming the extra one-millimeter off the Luger cases are available. I have a nice case trimmer but couldn’t find a pilot in .365 diameter. I opted for a Lee case trimmer. Spend a couple extra bucks and get the wooden ball cutter. It’s worth the price.

    The case holder fits nicely in a drill chuck, which saves wear and tear on the hands and is much quicker. One point of order: speed is not your friend when trimming. A slower speed produces a nicer trim with less chamfering required

    Before attempting to trim the Luger cases, run them through a Mak sizing die and case flaring die. Insert the flaring die deeper than you would normally because the oversized Mak pilot will bind inside the smaller Luger case if not opened up slightly. Besides, you’re going to trim most of the exaggerated flare off. If you find the trimmer binding, increase flaring until it stops.

    The Lee trimmer will stop at the proper length automatically, so insert the case in the holder, turn it at slower RPM, and press lightly on the cutter. (You’ll know you have the right speed and pressure when the brass shaves off in a long ribbon.) In seconds, you’ll have a 9x18 case. The Lee trimmer actually trims the case slight less than 18mm but all the trimmed cases I’ve used have fed and chambered just fine. A light chamfering to remove any rough edges and the case is ready to go. Some might say to resize and reflare before loading, but I haven't found that to be necessary.

    A note here is in order: The cases will still be “Luger” diameter, so when you first load the larger Mak-size bullets, the loaded rounds will have a slight “hourglass” shape. The newly converted cases will “fire form” when fired, and that hourglass will be gone after that. It won’t affect feeding.

    Small pistol primers are needed. My preference is Winchester, but I also use CCI with no ill effects or changes in loads needed. I use Hodgdon HP-38 powder simply because it’s what I use in my .45 ACP. Many powders are available, and I’ll leave the choices to a personal issue.

    The bullets I currently load are 93-grain lead round noses. I haven’t found those exact weights in any loading reference I have, but do find 90- and 95-grain loads. I split the difference on the Hodgdon loading data reference and came up with 3.5-3.9 grains as spread. What you load is entirely up to you; don’t accept my charges as gospel.

    Standard reloading practices apply, and reloading the Mak round is no different than any other handgun cartridge. I use a COL of .965” for the 93-grain LRNs and they’ve fed 100% reliably so far. Most of my charges have been the lower 3.5 grains, as it keeps the already low CZ-82 recoil to a minimum and helps prevent the cases from heading out of state. No sense in having airline passengers have to wait while my cases sail through the scanners.

    While the Mak round will never equal the Luger round in man-stopping effectiveness, I do feel that the right load would serve the self-defense purpose within a reasonable range. My theory is that if you need to question any handgun’s effectiveness—use a rifle! If I can ever find the mythical Hornady SD loads, I may give them a try. But until then, my hotter chunks of .365” lead will fill the niche.

    Spent Mak cases appear very similar to the Luger cases, and the trimmed Luger cases even more so. I’ve tried black marker to designate the modified cases, but that only lasts until the first tumbling. Brass black didn’t fare much better. So, long story short, expect to get your Makarov (9x18) cases mixed up with both .380 (9x17) and Luger (9x19) cases. They’re easy to sort if you stand them on end on a flat surface. Toss the short and tall ones, and those left are your Makarov cases! As a courtesy, if anyone next to me is shooting .380 or 9x19 rounds, I warn them that my Mak cases look similar and may be head stamped 9mm Luger. It also gives me the opportunity to ask to collect and keep their brass. If you’ve ever shot the little CZ-82, you know you just can’t have too much Makarov ammo or spare brass around!
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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  3. #2
    Member Array booyah's Avatar
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    good read, my father does the same thing for his east german mak

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    Good write up.

    I don't think I will add any Mak, to my stable. I have enough trouble separating .380 and 9mm, I can only imagine adding one more to the mix especially with luger headstamps. 9mm Browning headstamps give me enough headaches.

    Good way to take a bit of time and make due with what is available to you.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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    good to see that i am not the only person reloading, making cases, and casting for the mak. mak ammo in my area is priced too high. so i reload it.
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    I've made .45 acp and .45 Colt brass from .06-.270, 308, and .243 brass, simply because those were the most common empties I found on our local range. I've been wondering about making 9mm brass from .223 brass. My old eyes tell me the bases are the same, but the book says there is a very slight difference. There are thousands of .223 empties on our outdoor range, my grandkids are great picking them up for me.

    Has anyone here made 9mm brass from .223 brass?

    Thanks
    Bob

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    Other than a couple boxes of steel case Russian ammo my 9 x 18 has never seen a piece of brass cased factory ammo. I started making my own brass from once fired 9mm cases right off the bat. I shot commercial Meister cast bullets in it with great results till I got a mold and cast my own.

    I was lucky enough to get my hands on several boxes or Speer Gold Dot 90 gr. HP bullet before Speer stopped carrying them as a component bullet,I like the expansion much better than the XTP at MAK velocities. MP Molds has a nice little custom 93 gr. HP mold but it's a bit pricey but it's a excellent mold and you can swap the pins and cast a solid FN bullet as well.

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    the 380 brass nests perfectly into 9mm parabellum...a mistake you only make once...but have to be forever vigilent if you live with 9x19,9x18,9x17...

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    One way I keep my 9mm and 9 x 18 brass that has the same headstamp separate is to circle the primer on the 9 x 18 cases with a red sharpie before putting them into the ammo box,it stays on the case till it's tumble. I sort the brass and tumble separately,it's a simple way to keep it separated.
    "Men fight for freedom, then they begin to accumulate laws to take it away from themselves."

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    I stand all my 9x18 empties on their bases before tumbling, etc. and eyeball the heights. I find a lot of .380 cases picked up along with my brass that way, as well as more 9x19s. The red marker is a good idea also.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptSmith View Post
    the 380 brass nests perfectly into 9mm parabellum...a mistake you only make once...but have to be forever vigilent if you live with 9x19,9x18,9x17...
    Which nests nicely into .40S&W, which nests nicely into .45 ACP ...

    Then there's the .25 ACP which fits into a .32 ACP which fits into a .380 ACP ... All kinda like Russian nesting dolls. <gg>
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    Back in the early 90's when the Makarovs were just coming in and were fairly cheap, ammo was a big problem, so I made my own cases also. Only thing I did was to sort all my 9mm cases into brass vs nickel. All nickel cases got cut down to my Mak Brass. Now a days I just buy up Starline with the correct head stamp. I also buy up alot of wolf and the bear mak ammo for when I don't feel like hunting brass as the little buggers throw them all over the place. CZ 82 is a nice gun, durable well made and accurate. I have never found the polyogonal rifling to be a problem, but some say shooting lead out of them can cause a rapid increase in pressure as they tend to get leaded easier, depends who you talk to.

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    I've seen no evidence of lead buildup in my 82 (nor my Glock 30), at least no more than one would expect in any style rifling.
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

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    Member Array Bear4570's Avatar
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    I neither support or argue the increased leading information regarding polygonal rifling, I have shot lead out of my glocks and CZ 82's and like you did not see any evidence of it, as I stated above. That being said I clean my guns well after every outing so that removes the variable of lead build up. Just putting that information out there for those who are not as apt to clean there guns as often as others might.


    Polygonal rifling - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Lead bullets and polygonal rifling

    The manufacturer Glock advises against using lead bullets (meaning bullets not covered by a copper jacket) in their polygonally rifled barrels, which has led to a widespread belief that polygonal rifling is not compatible with lead bullets. Firearms expert and barrel maker, the late Gale McMillan, has also commented that lead bullets and polygonal rifling are not a good mix. Some have made a point of the fact that neither H&K nor Kahr explicitly recommend against lead bullets in their polygonal rifled barrels, and feel that it is probable that there is an additional factor involved in Glock's warning. However, Kahr's FAQ does include a warning that lead bullets can cause additional fouling[8] and recommends special attention to cleaning after using them. In addition, while H&K doesn't warn against the use of lead, at least one well-documented catastrophic incident in an H&K pistol[9] may be related to this issue. Furthermore, Dave Spaulding, well-known gun writer, reported in the February/March 2008 issue of Handguns Magazine that when he queried H&K about their polygonally rifled barrels that they commented: "It has been their experience that polygonal rifling will foul with lead at a greater rate than will conventional rifling."

    One suggestion of what the "additional factor involved in Glock's warning" might be is that Glock barrels have a fairly sharp transition between the chamber and the rifling, and this area is prone to lead buildup if lead bullets are used. This buildup may result in failures to fully return to battery, allowing the gun to fire with the case not fully supported by the chamber, leading to a potentially dangerous case failure. However, since this sharp transition is found on most autopistols this speculation is of limited value. The sharp transition or "lip" at the front of the chamber is required to "headspace" the cartridge in most autopistols.

    Another possible explanation is that there are different "species" of polygonal rifle and perhaps Glock's peculiar style of polygonal rifling may be more prone to leading than the particular styles employed in the H&K and Kahr barrels.

    Leading is the buildup of lead in the bore that happens in nearly all firearms firing high velocity lead bullets. This lead buildup must be cleaned out regularly, or the barrel will gradually become constricted resulting in higher than normal discharge pressures. In the extreme case, increased discharge pressures can result in a catastrophic incident.

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    New Member Array singlestacks's Avatar
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    i think the cost of 500 from starline would be cheaper than risking a case rupture & damaging your gun...
    several years ago i ordered 2k 9x18 from starline and have not used them up..

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    I sort enough brass that I can spot a 9x18 in a buncha 9x19,I use a flat cookie sheet and start throwing 9mm in one tub and 380 in another tub,about the only mak I seen gets picked up with a magnet
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