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Thread: Problem - rounds won't chamber - 9mm with Berry's 124gr HP

  1. #1
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    Problem - rounds won't chamber - 9mm with Berry's 124gr HP

    Let me start by saying I've been reloading for about two years, and while I'm no expert, everything til now has chambered right.

    I made up some reloads using once-fired UMC (RP) 9mm cases and Berry's "preferred plated bullets" 9mm (0.356") 124gr plated HP bullets:
    http://www.berrysmfg.com/9.php

    Cases had been tumbled and were resized in Lee carbide dies, and crimped in Lee factory crimp die. OAL was set at 1.095". It's not relevant to this problem, but I was using CCI primers and 6.1gr of Power Pistol.

    I went to shoot these today in my Steyr M9 and found many rounds wouldn't chamber fully - the slide would not go all the way into battery. It also jammed things up so it was extremely hard to rack the slide and eject the cartridge, though I was able to do so. The rounds that would chamber shot just fine.

    Later I disassembled the M9 and tried to see if the rounds would fit in its chamber. None of the remaining ones would - they got as far as to where the case rim was almost lined up with the end of the barrel, i.e. they were stuck out by one case rim thickness. I re-crimped a couple in the FCD, which resizes the case if necessary, and the result was the same. I tried some empty cases run through the FCD and those dropped in without a problem.

    I then tried the same cartridges in the detached barrels (for safety) of an XD9 and a Ruger P89. Same result with the XD9, however all remaining cartridges dropped fully into the chamber of the P89 barrel with no problem whatsoever.

    The bullets I'm using are full bore diameter pretty far out, due to the huge HP (look at the picture linked above), and I'm going to guess that the M9 and XD9 have barrel throats that are tight and/or start early, while the P89 must have the opposite. I have not heard of Rugers having loose chambers before, but at least in comparison that seems to be the situation here. I don't think I have a resizing or crimping issue because of the results described. I'd like your opinions. I did not see any rifling marks on the bullets of the cartridges that had been inserted and wouldn't go all the way in, FWIW.

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    It is still possible that the throat differences you describe require seating those specific projectiles deeper so that whole cartridge will chamber. I encountered a similar issue with the Sierra #8110 115 JHP projectile requiring very deep seating. Try making up a dummy cartridge or too, experimenting with seating the projectile deeper. You can just iterate on slightly deeper seating until the dummy will drop into the shorter throat chamber. I've never had much luck with rifling marks as a method of measuring throat jump for projectiles.

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    A couple of good pics of some of the rounds that won't fully chamber would help. Aside from premature engagement of the lede, the only other two things that come to mind from the sketchy description is possible overlength brass or, if you are really crimping them you may be raising a ridge of displaced slug material just ahead of the case mouth that is contacting the "headpsace shoulder" in the chamber. I saw that problem come into the shop a few times... plated slugs are far more fragile than true jacketed slugs and lack the crimping groove provided on cast slugs. The soft core metal is easy to booger up when they're treated the same a jackets.

    Just a couple thoughts on things to check for.



    Tiger

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    Measure a couple of 'em. They may have sent you the 125 grain .357 bullets.

    I bought some of those same 124 grain 9mm bullets and they won't feed in my BHP (they hang on the ramp) so I just use them in .38 Specials. Loaded to .38 Special +P, they are very accurate in my Marlin carbine even though the bullets are a little undersized.
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    Thanks. I am using a light to very light crimp in the FCD, nothing hard. There is no visible ridge.

    I actually did try measuring some, as I bought both 9mm and .357 versions of this bullet in the same order. While I have a caliper that nominally measures to 0.001", I'm not sure it's accurate to the last thousandth as my initial measurements were getting about 0.354" on the 9mm batch and 0.356" on the .357 batch. Logically I'm guessing that the caliper is off by 0.001 to 0.002", but I don't know how to be certain without getting a 1/10,000 micrometer.

    I could seat the bullets a bit deeper but was worried about creating pressure issues or feed reliability issues (funny on that one). I will probably try a small batch like that, but I shoot the Ruger enough to use up this batch of bullets in just the Ruger if I need to. Most of all I want to know what the problem is so I don't encounter it again.

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    I have been reloading for many years and it has been my experience that some 9mm handguns will not feed 124 gr blunt nose projectiles reliably. I can take the 115gr from the same supplier and load them and they will feed without a hitch. The only conclusion I have ever come to is that being longer, they bulge the brass just enough to create the issues you describe. It would take highly accurate instruments to find the root cause.

    You might want to buy a gauge to check the loaded rounds prior to loading very many of them. Dillon Precision makes some good ones, but there are others available.
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    Maybe you could try the ol' magic marker test, to see if it's the case or the bullet that's being a problem. Try putting a round in a detatched barrel and spin it around a little to make sure you get a good mark.

    If it's the bullet, I'd just seat them a little deeper and not worry about it, unless your load data is specifically for the Berry's 124 gr HP. A more tapered bullet will be longer, so deeper seating won't have quite that much effect on case capacity.
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    Just back off your load a couple tenths of a grain and seat the bullets until they chamber reliably. It's a simple matter of the bullet contacting the leade, since some 9mm's have a very short leade. The XD is one of them, and I own 3 of those. I have to seat that bullet deeper for the XD, so I would say the same is true for your pistol.

    It's not a matter of a larger chamber in the Ruger, just a longer leade.

    Smythe

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    Thanks Smythe! For the record, I do not think these are "hot" loads, but I can't find copper-plated data for any powders other than AA and VV, neither of which I use (I have only Alliant and Hodgdon powders for now). The loads were sub-starting (5.8gr) and basically starting (6.1gr) loads for jacketed bullets. Berry's says to use starting to midrange jacketed loads for their bullets. I would be much happier if I had pressure tested data for these bullets and powders, but I don't. I should be safe going shorter on OAL, but it wasn't the first thing I wanted to do.

    I know it's a bit rare, but any idea if the Steyr also has a short leade? Is that a european preference?

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    The reason I advised to back off a little is the Lyman 48th Edition suggests a starting load of 5.1 gr. of Power Pistol with a 125 gr. JHP bullet, and a maximum of 5.7 grains. You're going to be seating the bullets a little deeper and reducing the volume, so just to be prudent, I would back it down just a little.

    The same manual lists a starting load of 4.8 gr. of Power Pistol with a 125 gr. cast bullet (#358093), and a maximum load of 5.4 grains with the same bullet, all in the 9x19/9mm Parabellum.

    I don't own any Steyr firearms, but from your description of what's occuring, I would have to speculate that the Steyr does have a short leade. You can prove that yourself by simply blackening a loaded round that won't chamber and try to chamber it. Where the black marking is scraped off the bullet will tell you where the leade has a reduced diameter, and how much you're going to have to shorten the over all length to get them to feed. I have a match 9x19 barrel for one of my Witnesses that has practically no leade at all, and that's what I had to do with ammunition loaded for it.

    I use that same bullet by the thousands, but in the 357 Sig, where it demonstrates exceptional accuracy.

    Smythe

    PS: I just looked at the .38 Super data in the Lyman 48th Edition, and it's almost the same as what you're loading for the 9x19. I haven't gone down the shop to look at any other manuals, but you may want to take another look at that data.

  11. #11
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    You might also be seating the bullets too deep, causing a bulge. The interior of the 9mmP case is tapered, not straight-walled, so the bullet can only seat so far before bulging the case-walls out; it depends on the brass you use as some manufacturers are thicker-walled than others, but this has happened to me when loading heavier-than-115gr lead bullets.
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  12. #12
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    Thanks again, Smythe. The reloading data I used was JHP data from Alliant and from Lee's book. Alliant shows 6.4gr as a max load for a 124gr Speer GDHP:

    http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloade...23&bulletid=26

    I backed off 10% from this, per their instructions, for a starting load of 5.8gr, and then tried an intermediate load of 6.1gr. I will double check the Lee data but I think it showed a higher load still. I was using lighter jacketed data (at least what I thought was lighter!), rather than lead data, per Berry's instructions. Felt recoil and ejection distance were nothing unusual in the rounds that fired. All were a bit loud and flashy, but in my experience anything loaded with Power Pistol is loud and flashy, including 17,000 psi .38 Special loads.

    I think I will try the blackening test and then seat some deeper with lighter charges. Or just run 5.8gr out of my Rugers at the current OAL.

    Andy, I appreciate the suggestions, but I don't think there was any bulging because (1) no visible bulge, (2) used a Lee FCD which should prevent and/or iron out any bulge, and (3) same rounds drop into a Ruger barrel with no resistance whatsoever and a little room to spare.

    Edit to add: Lee Modern Reloading 2d Ed shows a starting load of 6.0gr and a max load of 6.6gr Power Pistol for a 125gr jacketed bullet.
    Last edited by Z-Michigan; December 16th, 2008 at 12:29 AM.

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