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First I want to say thanks for all the the great advice I received on a previous thread--Reloading for Semi-Auto. Being a newbie to reloading I need all the help I can get. :smile:
I have been reloading for my Ruger SR9, reloading about 50 rounds at a time being I am still in the learning curve. Using Hodgdon Universal at 4.4gr. I notice that I get fired brass,not all, that show excessive powder burn on one side of the case. Is this caused by "light" loads? Anything to do with the crimp? I try and crimp as lightly as needed to hold the bullet. The data says the maximum charge is 4.5gr. Can this be exceeded by a few tenths and still be safe? Thanks in advance for help and advice.

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Don't know what brass you are using but the walls look to be quite thick, as far as crimp I crimp to .380 at the case mouth and have no problems with various powders and bullets. However I am not one to second guess the powder makers. I don't believe this is due to the crimp, the brass is not sealing the chamber.
 

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The brass was once fired Winchester Wally World ammo.
 

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Don't know what brass you are using but the walls look to be quite thick, as far as crimp I crimp to .380 at the case mouth and have no problems with various powders and bullets. However I am not one to second guess the powder makers. I don't believe this is due to the crimp, the brass is not sealing the chamber.
I see that with factory ammo on my 9MM AR pistol. The chamber is just a hair big I guess, and allows some burn to come back around the case.
 
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I see that with factory ammo on my 9MM AR pistol. The chamber is just a hair big I guess, and allows some burn to come back around the case.
The rounds are all going bang at 4.4gr and working the slide. Is the excessive burn harmful to the gun? Am I overthinking it?
 

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The rounds are all going bang at 4.4gr and working the slide. Is the excessive burn harmful to the gun? Am I overthinking it?
The biggest problem I've had is that it doesn't like reloads. I had the instances of case head separation with it, all different brand once fired cases. Other than that it was just dirty.
 
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Light powder charge would be my thinking. Had the same with light loads in 40 and 45 cal.
If it is cycling the gun , the worst you should get is a gun that gets dirty quickly with unburnt powder.
 

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Straight from the ABC's of Reloading:

"Soot-streaking of cases when they are fired, particularly staining near the case mouth, is a sign not of high pressure but of its opposite — low pressure. If a loading is not generating enough pressure to obturate the chamber — i.e., make a complete gas seal between the cartridge case and the chamber wall — a certain amount of gas will leak back into the action and smudge the case. Other than being a minor nuisance this causes no danger. It is an indication that combustion is at too low a level owing to not enough powder or poor ignition of the powder. Such under-powered loads will tend to be inaccurate since the amount of gas that escapes will vary from shot to shot depending on the elasticity of the individual case."


James, C. Rodney. The ABCs of Reloading: The Definitive Guide for Novice to Expert (ABC's of Reloading) (Kindle Locations 965-970). F+W Media. Kindle Edition.
 

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That's not really bad! And it will work fine. There are a few things you could do to make it less if you wanted.

You could try a slightly faster powder to raise the pressure slightly and cause the brass to expand to make a better seal in the chamber.

You could anneal the mouth of the brass to soften it enough to let it seal better.

Or raise the powder to the max charge and try that. You are almost there now...[ That's probably what I would try first] This would be the easiest of the three. And the easiest to go back if it doesn't work out. Good Luck DR
 

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Or raise the powder to the max charge and try that. You are almost there now...[ That's probably what I would try first] This would be the easiest of the three. And the easiest to go back if it doesn't work out. Good Luck DR
I loaded 10 rounds today of the Winchester brass at max charge. There was still a little bit of burn mark down the side of case but nothing like the ones loaded at 4.4gr. I also loaded 10 rounds of some Blazer brass at 4.4gr. The Blazer brass came out clean, just a hint of burn. I guess I need to work up the loads according to what brass I am reloading. Good news is that they all went bang, all cycled the gun. I am learning there is alot more to reloading than I first thought.:smile: It's all good.
 
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Don't overthink it. There should be no need to work up a load depending on brass head stamps. Rocky called it. A different powder can give you better results if case staining is a concern.
 
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I loaded 10 rounds today of the Winchester brass at max charge. There was still a little bit of burn mark down the side of case but nothing like the ones loaded at 4.4gr. I also loaded 10 rounds of some Blazer brass at 4.4gr. The Blazer brass came out clean, just a hint of burn. I guess I need to work up the loads according to what brass I am reloading. Good news is that they all went bang, all cycled the gun. I am learning there is alot more to reloading than I first thought.:smile: It's all good.
I'm assuming your loading for .40 S&W. What bullet weight are you loading? Never exceed maximum charges!

Can you show pic's of your spent primers? Are they rounded, flattened?

Can you mic the chamber of your SR9?

Who's dies are you using, and what what is the resized dimension?

Wondering why you chose Universal, not my favorite powder.
 

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Don't overthink it. There should be no need to work up a load depending on brass head stamps. Rocky called it. A different powder can give you better results if case staining is a concern.
Thank you. I guess I am overthinking. They all go bang and cycle the gun. I believe I read on the forum that a member used Universal powder so I thought I would give it a try, had to start somewhere. What would be a few other good choices of powder? I intend on loading for .40 also.
 
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I use Accurate No. 5.

It works for pretty much all pistol loads. It burns clean and has little muzzle flash.
For shooting paper, its pretty much all I use...its much cleaner burning than either Bullseye, Unique or Universal.
 

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Thank you. I guess I am overthinking. They all go bang and cycle the gun. I believe I read on the forum that a member used Universal powder so I thought I would give it a try, had to start somewhere. What would be a few other good choices of powder? I intend on loading for .40 also.
The way I choose powders is to first decide what my goal for that load is going to be. If I were looking for an economical target load Id grab my load books and find the loads that use the least powder but still give me the velocity that I need to cycle the slide. If I were looking to work up a defensive load I would be looking for higher velocity and only worrying if I can get that much powder in the case with the bullet, and watching that I don't over pressure the gun.

With more experience you will find a couple of powders that you can make work in most situations. but early on try to tailor your loads to your own needs. It will help you make the load books work for your needs.

Each powder has its good and bad points. You have found that Universal is somewhat smoky in that load. So if clean burn is one of your prerequisites then look at the powder burn chart and discount any powders that burn slower than universal[ for this load.] Look for another load that is faster burning and also meets your other needs.

I have some favorite powders that I can use in less than ideal situations, but that means Ill have to put up with smoky cases or maybe less velocity[ without going over pressure] than I could have gotten with a better powder for that load. Sometimes Ill use that powder because its what I have on the shelf, or it was the closest powder that was available at that time.


You have learned that you can make a safe load for you and your gun. Your next load should be a refinement of that one. Good Luck DR
 

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Why are you all calling it burn? It is SOOT.
The pressure is not expanding the case enough to seal the bore. Could be several reasons, but it is the same "problem."
Since bullseye competitors have been shooting light loads that do this for decades, all you have is the theoretical problem of hot gasses eroding the chamber.

You crimp NOT to hold the bullet but to remove the case mouth flare. If you need to crimp to hold the bullet, you have other problems that need to be addressed.

The max load is determined by the gun's chamber, the exact lot of powder used, the exact bullet used (and, sometimes, the lot number of the bullets), the cases used, the primers used, and the COL used.
It used to be that reloaders were taught that the max load was for reference only and mainly used to determine the start load (a 10-12% reduction from that MAX load). If you check six manuals from different sources you'll probably find six different MAX loads.

Next, no one asked about the cartridge or bullet weight/type? Since it is an SR9, I can assume it is 9x19 (9mm Luger)—but again, that is an assumption. Why didn't the first couple of respondents ASK for this critical information?
So, what is the bullet weight and are you using jacketed or plated/lead?

If a 124gn lead/plated bullet is being used, the start is 3.8-3.9gn of Universal (only have two manuals with data for Universal and lead bullets) and 4.3-4.4gn MAX. So, being an old fart, who doesn't want any one blowing themselves up, how did the cases with the start loads look? YOU DID WORK UP TO YOUR 4.4gn LOAD, RIGHT?
If a 124gn jacketed bullet, I show start loads of 3.8-4.6gn and MAX loads of 4.5-5.3gn, so the OP has started over the start load shown in five manuals and is only 0.1gn below the lowest MAX load. Note the fact that in one manual the start load (about an 11% reduction from the MAX load) is higher than another manual's MAX load—and both are using pressure transducer data per SAAMI specifications—showing the effect of components on the MAX charge.
In either case, 4.4gn is not where I would have started load work-up. I always start at the lowest start load I can find.

If the OP is using 115gn bullets, the load is probably light, but if the OP is using 147gn bullets, the load should be over max. Thus, just guessing, I "assume" the OP is actually using 121-125gn bullets....

If the OP knew the velocity, we might be able to guess (and that it is all would be is a guess), if the problem was low pressure by itself or a chamber too large and cases too work hardened for the cases to fully expand even at near max pressure.
 
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