9mm OAL Question

This is a discussion on 9mm OAL Question within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I'm having a problem with consistency in my OAL for 9mm Luger. I'm loading Hornady 115gn XTP. Lee lists min. OAL at 1.125. To me ...

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Thread: 9mm OAL Question

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    Member Array ConcealedinPA's Avatar
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    9mm OAL Question

    I'm having a problem with consistency in my OAL for 9mm Luger. I'm loading Hornady 115gn XTP. Lee lists min. OAL at 1.125. To me that seems a bit long for a hollow point. Anyway that's not my problem. I set my seating die to to seat appx 1.075 but my loads are coming out anywhere from 1.065 & 1.090. I figured since I'm not seperating my brass by manufacturer, head stamp etc. that may be my problem. So rather than seperate them I figured I'd trim about 10 cases to the same length as a test. Well after loading those 10, my OAL are still ranging from 1.065 to 1.090. I am new to reloading, and I'm sure this may be a no brainer to the more seasoned vets of the trade. But I'm always up for a good lesson, and the guys and gals on this forum have given some good direction and great advice in the past. Thx
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    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    My first thought is that you are trying to seat the bullets too deep, the brass is thicker and is pushing them back up. Minimum OAL and you want to go .050 shorter? Why?

    Austin

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    Member Array Springer99's Avatar
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    I also have to ask why you're trying to load them that short? Did you do a "plunk test" on the loads to determine that you needed such a short round. I load Hornady 115XTP's and set my OAL to 1.142, which runs fine in numerous 9mm and still fit all my various magazines.

    What press and dies are you using? Is it possible that press flexing is causing a problem? Also having the wrong bullet seating plug in your dies might be deforming some rounds during the seating operation?

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    Senior Member Array darbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConcealedinPA View Post
    I'm having a problem with consistency in my OAL for 9mm Luger. I'm loading Hornady 115gn XTP. Lee lists min. OAL at 1.125. To me that seems a bit long for a hollow point. Anyway that's not my problem. I set my seating die to to seat appx 1.075 but my loads are coming out anywhere from 1.065 & 1.090. I figured since I'm not seperating my brass by manufacturer, head stamp etc. that may be my problem. So rather than seperate them I figured I'd trim about 10 cases to the same length as a test. Well after loading those 10, my OAL are still ranging from 1.065 to 1.090. I am new to reloading, and I'm sure this may be a no brainer to the more seasoned vets of the trade. But I'm always up for a good lesson, and the guys and gals on this forum have given some good direction and great advice in the past. Thx
    I have only been reloading for a few months now so far from being an expert so take my response for what it's worth!

    You write Lee's book list min OAL as 1.125. I can't help but wonder if you are mis-reading it and that is actually the maximum OAL? As Aus71383 says why would you be trying to seat the bullet .025 shorter than the "min" OAL?

    Having said that I think the 1.075 you are trying to seat to is appropriate according to the Hornady book for their 115gr. XTP, that is the same measurement they have in the load book.

    Are you belling/flaring the case before seating? Is the die clean? The info with the Hornady dies says to disasseble and clean the dies before use. Have you done a quick test measuring of the bullets themselves just to make sure they are right? Sorry if none of this helps but it's all I can come up with. Hopefully some of the more experienced loaders will come along with better ideas.

    Just an added bit of info from the Lyman 49th, states the OAL for a 115 gr. jacketed hollow point 1.090"

    One last thing is yes you are right with the "min" instead of "max" that I was asking about.

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    Member Array Exsimguy1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Springer99 View Post
    Also having the wrong bullet seating plug in your dies might be deforming some rounds during the seating operation?
    This is probably close to or the right answer. See WHERE on the bullet the seating plug is hitting. It is probably conical and not pushing directly on the end (few do, or can). Check for fit to the bullet in question by removing from the die, and also check for damage. It is probably either not hitting a reproducible spot on the bullet, or the bullets are not consistent. With a caliper, measure a few bullets with the seating plug in place on top (measure at the edge of table or bench), this should tell you if the seater/bullet relationship is reproducible or not. If the seater does not fit the conical shape of the bullet, it can just push the nose and deform it.
    Good luck,

    Terry

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    Senior Member Array darbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exsimguy1 View Post
    This is probably close to or the right answer. See WHERE on the bullet the seating plug is hitting. It is probably conical and not pushing directly on the end (few do, or can). Check for fit to the bullet in question by removing from the die, and also check for damage. It is probably either not hitting a reproducible spot on the bullet, or the bullets are not consistent. With a caliper, measure a few bullets with the seating plug in place on top (measure at the edge of table or bench), this should tell you if the seater/bullet relationship is reproducible or not. If the seater does not fit the conical shape of the bullet, it can just push the nose and deform it.
    Good luck,

    Terry
    Interesting. This is good info, certainly something I was not familiar with being the reloading noob that I am. Not to highjack the thread but are there "different types" of seating plugs for the same die?

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    Member Array Exsimguy1's Avatar
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    Depends on the Die brand, but usually yes. Most of the die makers offer optional seating plugs, but may need some research to find. If you are, or know, a machinist, one can be modified or made from scratch to fit a particular bullet also. I had to modify my Lee seater to fit the truncated flat point 124gr Berry's plated bullet.

    Terry

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    Senior Member Array darbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Exsimguy1 View Post
    Depends on the Die brand, but usually yes. Most of the die makers offer optional seating plugs, but may need some research to find. If you are, or know, a machinist, one can be modified or made from scratch to fit a particular bullet also. I had to modify my Lee seater to fit the truncated flat point 124gr Berry's plated bullet.

    Terry
    Excellent, thank you!

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    Member Array ConcealedinPA's Avatar
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    Hornady 8th says 1.075 & and Lyman's 49th says 1.090 and Lee says 1.125 I guess I was leaning more towards bullet manufacturer.
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    OAL never agrees from one source to the next. But it should be consistant from round to round. Your inconsistant OAL is what I'd be concerned about rather than what the end OAL is. I don't sort brass and haven't had any issues by not doing so. I keep my OAL toward teh long end as long as tehy fit the mags, feed, and chamber okay.
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    Member Array ConcealedinPA's Avatar
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    Thx. I'm gonna investigate the seating die a bit.
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