Reloading 9mm - Checklist

This is a discussion on Reloading 9mm - Checklist within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Just got all my reloading supplies and want to be sure ive got all the right equipment to load 9mm. So here it goes, this ...

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Thread: Reloading 9mm - Checklist

  1. #1
    Member Array heylin's Avatar
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    Reloading 9mm - Checklist

    Just got all my reloading supplies and want to be sure ive got all the right equipment to load 9mm. So here it goes, this is what I currently have

    - RCBS Single Stage Press (on loan)
    - RCBS Scales (on loan)
    - RCBS 3 Die Carbide Set (with seat and crimp + shell holder)
    - Lee Auto Prime with #19 shell holder
    - Lee Primer Pocket Cleaner

    Now for some questions as im missing one critical item

    - Powder Measure or Dipper ? which do you reccomend ?, ive heard for general use dipping is quite reliable provided you scoop in a consistant manner.

    And one question about loading

    - Im using Lapua 115Gr FMJ and 123Gr JHP

    what sort of load in grains should I be aiming for ?? is 3.5 - 4.5 a safe range and possible with dipper ?. Anything thats capable of 6" groups at 25 yards

    And one question about case cleaning

    - Do you really need to polish your brass ?


    Hope you can all help, cant wait to start loading :)
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  2. #2
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    What you need:
    Powder thrower. Don't guess the powder, be sure. Guessing is for Game Shows and if you lose, you get Rice A Roni. You lose here you lose gun plus limb or get a squib.
    Reloading tray. Make it 2 trays for batches of 100 rounds.
    Reloading Manual. Again, don't guess and make sure.
    Tumbler & cleaning media. Dirt, unburnt powder, carbon, all may end in your gun. Why court a malfunction?
    Caliper & Go No Go die. Make sure that the round is in spec.
    Last edited by Miggy; April 22nd, 2009 at 06:28 PM. Reason: Adding stuff
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
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  3. #3
    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    Add a reloading manual to your list.

    The amount of powder acceptable will vary with the type of powder and the bullet.
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    Then check out my blog! www.BodyByMcDonalds.com

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  4. #4
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    In addition to what Miggy and Cupcake said:

    Caliper to measure cartridge length
    Max Cartridge Gage to check the size of your finished cartridges
    Bullet puller (inertial, collet, or both) because you will screw up once in a while

  5. #5
    Member Array heylin's Avatar
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    Oh yes calipers :) forgot to add that I do have as set of those. Do I need to measure each round I make ? or once the die is set up correctly do I just check 1 round every 50 rounds or so ?
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  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heylin View Post
    Oh yes calipers :) forgot to add that I do have as set of those. Do I need to measure each round I make ? or once the die is set up correctly do I just check 1 round every 50 rounds or so ?
    Yep. Once the die is set up I wouldn't check very often. I would gauge every round with a max cartridge gauge though.

  7. #7
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    The way I do the check is this: The first 10 rounds go through the caliper and then Go-No Go die (AKA Max Cartridge Gage). Then I check every 5th for 20 rounds with the Max Cartridge Gage. Then the same for every 10 till a tray is full. Next tray goes through the process all over. Any cartridge that feels funky gets the Max Cartridge Gage and the caliper.
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
    Randy Cain.

    Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
    Signed: Me!

  8. #8
    Member Array heylin's Avatar
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    I was thinking could I remove the barrel from one of my 9mm and use that as a gauge ? One would think if the round drops into the barrel and chambers fine then the case length and diameter would therefore be in spec

    I will have my partner assisting me during the reloading process so she could do that step while I seat and crimp.

    Thoughts ?
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  9. #9
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heylin View Post
    I was thinking could I remove the barrel from one of my 9mm and use that as a gauge ? One would think if the round drops into the barrel and chambers fine then the case length and diameter would therefore be in spec
    The chamber in a gun isn't always the same as the spec. For instance, Glock chambers tend to be pretty loose. They'll chamber rounds that wouldn't fit into a gauge. On the other hand, some guns have tight chambers and won't chamber cartridges that will fit in the gauge. Chambering a round also won't tell you anything about the overall length, which the gauge will. You'd also have to disassemble a gun every time you wanted to load ammo, which seems like a lot of trouble. Gauges are cheap, I'd go ahead and get one.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miggy View Post
    The way I do the check is this: The first 10 rounds go through the caliper and then Go-No Go die (AKA Max Cartridge Gage). Then I check every 5th for 20 rounds with the Max Cartridge Gage. Then the same for every 10 till a tray is full. Next tray goes through the process all over. Any cartridge that feels funky gets the Max Cartridge Gage and the caliper.
    I like to gage every round. With range pick-up brass, there can be round to round variation even after reloading. Gaging also gives me a chance to individually examine each round, and detect any problems or anything unusual (particularly important with progressive/turret presses where you don't get a chance to handle the round as much during the reloading process).

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array frankmako's Avatar
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    all the above. get different reloading data from different sources.
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  12. #12
    VIP Member Array sgtD's Avatar
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    IMO, if you are using dippers, and the dipper is even close to the max charge, you should weigh every one.

    Example: Now my dipper and powder combo for 38 spl. pistol loadswith a 125 gr bullet is well below the max, (4.8gr on average from the dipper and max is 5.3gr) so I don't sweat it making target loads. I would have to seriously screw up to somehow dip and extra 1/2 grain of Unique. But even then I weigh every 5th charge and visually inspect every charged case.

    Example 2: If I had a dipper that throws within 2/10gr of the never exceed load on a pistol cartridge, I'd weigh em all or go with a smaller dipper then trickle. Better safe than sorry is my motto.

    When loading near max, I weigh every charge when using dippers. Dip it in to the scale tray, and then trickle until I'm where I want to be. It takes forever that way though.

    It's faster to weigh every charge if you set you scale to max or close to it, then just dump every charge in the pan on the scale. As long as it doesn't rise above to the mark, dump it in the case and repeat. Of course this adds to the chance of spillage as you are moving powder around more than necessary.

    I use a powder measure for pistol loads now, but that's how I used to do it with the dippers.

    I load rifle ammo with dippers, and use the last method mentioned to weigh every charge.(much more room for error with rifle loads where the safe range between starting and max is 4-5 full grains difference rather than tenths as with pistol loads) For plinking loads, I set the scale at my preferred load (which is well below the max) dip into the pan, and if the needle hovers below the pin, I call it good. For target or hunting loads, or anything approachin max load, I weigh every charge precisely.

    My advice, get the Lee Perfect Powder measure for $20, set it where you want it, and be done with it. Still weigh at least every 10th charge and visually inspect for safety.

    Oh yeah, since you're new I'll add, always check several charges on a pwder measure before you start chargin cases and always zero your scale before you begin. I talked to a guy at the gun shop who blew up his 30-06 becuase he didn't know he had to zero the scale. So I'm just throwing that out there.

    Anyone with more experience than me, (that's most of you) please point out if I screwed up anywhere with my newby advice to a newby.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Dippers are for survival. Use a powder measure and scale. Cry once, spend the money and do it right the first time. You can't put a price on safety.

    With my personal ammo, I chamber check with the barrel for a new load. After that I just load and forget about it.

    With commercial ammo, I gauge it.

    Do this long enough you can feel if it's right or not.
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  14. #14
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    sgtD,

    Nope, that is good advise. Powder measures are cheap, relatively. I have never loaded with a dipper.

    I zero my scale, measure till I get three throws of powder in a row where I want them, then I will measure the 5th, 10th, 20th and 50th. I tend to do hundreds at a time so after the first tray I will just randomly measure stuff throughout the process. I visually inspect each tray of 50 after the last round. I make sure the measure is locked down in place, and don't let the powder get too low in the measure and it throws pretty consistantly. I use the Lyman 55 measure that came with my kit.
    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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  15. #15
    Member Array heylin's Avatar
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    Cool, well ive decided to get my self a Lee Perfect powder. I do have access to some RCBS scales for calibration as well but am interested in the Digiweigh grain scales on ebay for about $24US.

    It says they are accurate to 0.2 grains which sounds plenty adequate for spot checking loads from the Perfect Powder.

    Any opnions on this product ? can you trust a $24 set of digital scales to accurate to 0.2 grains ?

    Im thinking I could tare weight each cartridge on the scale and dump the powder direct from the Perfect Powder and therefore confirm each individual round.
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    --------------------------------------------------------------

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