Powder/Bullets for starting out

Powder/Bullets for starting out

This is a discussion on Powder/Bullets for starting out within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Greetings, I'm looking at starting to reload now that components are becoming available. There are so many options, what powder and bullet size would be ...

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    Member Array johnaengus's Avatar
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    Powder/Bullets for starting out

    Greetings, I'm looking at starting to reload now that components are becoming available. There are so many options, what powder and bullet size would be a starting point for a beginner with 9mm? I am looking at range ammo for practice. I'm probably going to shoot at targets at no more than 30 meters - more likely in the 15-20 yard range.

    I know there are recipes, right now I'm looking for a, "start with this powder and bullet and you will get good rounds," while I am learning all the ins and outs.

    Thanks!


  2. #2
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    You will really want to try out several powders as you find what works best for you and your firearm. That said, for a general purpose 9mm round I'd have a look at Win231 or Unique. Both are well known for good results with 9mm. As far as projectiles go, I'd recommend something plated 124 gr. like Berry's or 125 gr. cast like Missouri Bullet Small Ball. Both are good for range fun and both are fairly economical.
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    Distinguished Member Array coffeecup's Avatar
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    I would opt for Unique powder. It truely is UNIQUE and will reload almost any caliber/gauge weapon you might choose. As for weight and type bullets----Kinda hard to beat a hard cast 115-125gr lead for range work/plinking. Cheap too.
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    I go along with recommending UNIQUE powder. You can load a variety of things with it other than just pistol. Its always good to have a few pounds of that around.

    ZERO brand bulk bullets are popular where Im at for reloading 9mm. Cheap, and they work.

    If you have a GLOCK, Id advise against lead cast bullets. GLOCK says dont shoot them. They have a different barrel type, instead of normal rifling.

    I know all kinds of people who have shot lead out of them, and tell me not to worry about it, but I figure its best to start you off right, and safe. Btw, I will not shoot lead cast out of my glocks. My guns & myself are to valuable for me to risk blowing uo to save a few cents per round.
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    Glock (and most gun makers) say no reloads period--lead or not--so it's up to you as to what you shoot in your gun. I shoot lead in everything, including Glocks, with no issues, but that's my choice. I currently shoot 9mm Mak, 9mm Luger, and .45 ACP and load all 3 with HP-38 (same stuff as W231 only cheaper). It meters exceptionally well and burns clean if loaded in the upper range of data amounts, and is versatile in many calibers.

    Some ranges won't allow lead bullets, so you may ask about that first. 115 grain FMJs are fine for range use anywhere. Take your time, avoid distractions, and check your powder levels. You'll do fine.
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    Member Array johnaengus's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone - that gets me going in a direction.

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    Been loading for my 9mm for a year now. I use universal powder for the same reason. I cast almost all of my own bullets. After struggling with leading issues a friend of mine recently found a coating from Australia called Hi Tek. He coated some bullets for me but I haven't loaded them yet. He was pleased with the results. Does anyone here have any experience with Hi Tek?
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    Member Array noylj's Avatar
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    Bullet size for 9mm? Usually 0.355" for jacketed and 0.356" for lead. However, I find that 0.356-0.357" jacketed bullets are often more accurate and 0.357-0.358" lead are often more accurate.
    For weight, I would start with 121-125gn bullets (that is what the cartridge was apparently designed for).
    For a beginner, I would get FMJ-RN, though JHP and L-SWC are more accurate--generally.
    For powder, I find Bullseye, AA2, and Am. Select are great for light target loads up to mid-range. For mid-range to full power, I prefer Power Pistol and WSF. These are what work best in my 9x19s, but yours may be different.
    For a beginner, many recommend a light fluffy powder so you can't double charge. However, if you start out always looking in each charged case to verify the height of the powder charge, you won't have any problems. Strange, but in the '70s, when I started reloading, the warning was always to inspect each case and no body ever mentioned fluffy powders.
    Back then, what little 9x19 reloading that was going on (and most had to be done with 0.357" bullets and there were very few 0.355" bullets on the shelves) was done with Bullseye (light target loads) and Herco (general purpose 9x19 powder) mostly, with Blue Dot for max velocity. Now, these are all fluffy powders.

  9. #9
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    I made a habit of checking all my cases for double charge. Probably one of the best habits you can have.
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    Senior Member Array BamaT's Avatar
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    Another vote for Accurate #2. Meters very well.

    I use a mid-range load from Accurate's web site with 147 grain truncated flat point cast bullet, very accurate out of my M&P 9. I also tumble lube my commercial cast bullets with Lee Liquid Alox.
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  11. #11
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    Here's another happy Unique user, chiming in for it's use on automatic pistol cartridges.
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  12. #12
    Member Array GeorgiaShooter's Avatar
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    Good recipe for you. Runs like butter in every 9mm I have.

    Longshot powder 4.3gr for light practice load, 4.6-4.7gr for min required power factor in USPSA/IDPA competition. Overall length around 1.150. Bullets 124gr round nose plated xtremebullets.com call to order instead of web. Any small primers you can get but the magnum primers give a really good reliable result. If you knock a bullet out of one of your reloads the crimp should have left a good line in the plating but didn't break through the plating. You want a medium tapered crimp. Crimping too light will lessen your velocity and hinder feeding a touch. A good crimp will help your velocity and make them slide right up the feed ramp. I get about 1020fps average out of these with 5-5.25" barrels. Less with the pocket 9mm.

    IMPORTANT FOR 9mm: Resize each brass with the press and drop check in a case gauge before you ever start reloading to reject all the problem cases you will find. This will mean the cases will be sized one more time when you actually reload them through the press but they will feed like butter. This might be a lot of work but for match ammo, ammo you never want to fail it's one of the most important tips you will ever try. 9mm range brass is not all that great. The 9mm round in general is a lot more pain in the arse to reload than for example 45acp. You have to at times file bumps and irregular places off the rim so they will pass the case gauge check. You should never just trust your gun barrel for drop checking rounds. You must use a real $15-20 case gauge. They are exact to the specs and if the round will slap in full seated, then fall out you will have a round that runs like butter in any gun. The gauge also checks the entire case and rim, unlike a gun barrel can.

    W231 is also a good 9mm powder and both it and Longshot pour and measure, or meter very good. Unique is more dirty and measures like ass with it's big flat flakes. It's a good powder but more like a generic standard. You can do better in my opinion. Basically if your reloading manuals list loads like mine the slower burning powders are more toward the bottom of each list. You can get more velocity that way.

    Your main concern might be avoiding a compressed powder load. Make sure there is not so much powder or the bullet seated so deep the bullet presses on, or crowds the powder. Not a good thing at all. If your loads are too hot the rounded edges of the primer will flatten after firing, examine your cases closely.

    I use Dillon analog scales to make sure I'm pouring precise loads and I check them constantly until I see my machine adjustment is rock solid. I also have a cheap Franklin Arsenal $30 digital scale that's remarkably accurate and allows me to do quick checks and compare to my analog.

    I shoot match after match after match with zero malfunctions and I watch people with their flawless Glocks and other guns constantly clearing malfunctions. Once your reload is perfected you may begin dialing in the recoil springs and basic components of the gun to match them perfectly. A perfect setup will make the slide almost hesitate at the rear and wont slap the frame and slam back forward. I can do double shots in 3-4 inch groups at 20 yards with my XDm now that it's tuned up nicely.

    Good luck!!! I have more chrono data from my notebook if you need any.

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    Member Array ETXhiker's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice so far. What I would add, is to get a couple of reloading manuals and read them from cover to cover before you start. Lyman's is a very thorough one to begin with.

    Be sure you have some calipers for measuring cartridge overall length. Very important in a 9mm to match length specified in the recipe you are using.

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by velo99 View Post
    Been loading for my 9mm for a year now. I use universal powder for the same reason. I cast almost all of my own bullets. After struggling with leading issues a friend of mine recently found a coating from Australia called Hi Tek. He coated some bullets for me but I haven't loaded them yet. He was pleased with the results. Does anyone here have any experience with Hi Tek?
    I shoot almost all lead bullets. The only leading problem Ive had was found to be that the barrel was slightly oversized. I moved to .357 or .358 bullets and said goodbye to any leading. You might try slugging the bore to see what bullets you need. DR
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  15. #15
    Member Array GeorgiaShooter's Avatar
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    Be careful shooting lead at indoor matches for example. If you shoot around lead bullets often you should be taking a lot of precautions and being tested for lead about every year or two. You can absorb through eyes, breathing and even on hands picking up brass. We have guys here testing 30 all the time and requiring real treatments. One guy tested so high they made him stop shooting for a year.
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