Just getting started with 9mm

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reloading, what dies are you all using? Carbide I assume, but what brands of dies should I be looking at? So far I've been pretty happy with RCBS in another caliber, but haven't bought any dies for nigh on 20 years. I'm also gonna start with .357 this summer, so I'm looking for recommendations.
 
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Yes, spend the extra for carbide or buy a brand that only has carbide pistol caliber dies. I started with RCBS and will stick with them because each company that makes dies does something different. All RCBS dies adjust and work the same. I have had Redding, Hornady and lee. Sold those, not because there bad just different. I have one Redding National Match .308 win die set because I got it used at about half the price of new. 20 years old dies I have maybe several that old. BTY, RCBS stamps the year they made them on the die somewhere. If you ever are looking at used, it's a 2 digit code. 74 means made in 1974.
 
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Yes, spend the extra for carbide or buy a brand that only has carbide pistol caliber dies. I started with RCBS and will stick with them because each company that makes dies does something different. All RCBS dies adjust and work the same...

Nothing wrong with keeping things simple (especially if you'll be reloading just 2 or 3 calibers)! Also, if I was using an expensive Dillon progressive reloading system, or something similar from a different manufacturer, I might get dies from the same company as the press (to make customer service & support easier if I had any issues).

When it comes to reloading, everyone seems to settle on an approach that works for them (but maybe not for the guy next door)!
:)
 
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Most die sets will load ammo w/o issues. Some setups require proprietary die sets. I've loaded a LOT of ammo for many different cartridges using LEE dies. I now load 9mm on a Dillon loader with their dies.
I recently encountered a 9mm specific problem related to case interior design vs bullet length and base shape. The solution was a secondary run through a LEE 'factory profile' die. This is something that's always on the horizon when loading 9mm and you won't know until it pops up.
 

contender

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All good info above.

By your comments,, the simple answer will be to buy RCBS dies. You already know them, trust them, and as such, they will be just fine. And yes,, carbide is the way to go. I will add; BUY A TAPER CRIMP DIE set.

Another tip; Get a case check gauge. I find that in the semi-auto's, you can miss a slightly out of spec round, and it can cause feeding issues. I shoot a lot of .9mm in USPSA competition. I learned long ago the case check gauges were well worth the few buck I spent.

To add a bit to what Mobuck said,, pay attention to the brass & such. Often, the .9mm can be a bit of a tricky caliber to load. Short cases, translate to proper bullet seating depth to prevent over-pressure ammo.
 
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I've been using Lee for decades. Simple and reasonably priced. I'd recommend starting with the hand press. It really let's you feel what's happening. I can use it sitting at my desk waiting for a return call or something. It's also handy for load development. I can take primed brass and my powder measure to the range and throw a few charges and shoot for group over the chronograph. Don't even attempt reloading without a chronograph. Once you are comfortable with that you can step up to other presses. I think I'm up to 6 or 7. Sometimes it's handy to have a few set up for individual operations. Managing a progressive involves serious attention to detail. A light that shines down in the cases between the charging and seating dies is handy to verify consistent charges. Also an extra sizing die with the decapping pin removed is great to stabilize things at the priming station.

 
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Thanks all for the replies. I had kind of planned on RCBS dies, just wondered if there were some new wingding dies that would be the cat's meow. I know, not likely, but I thought it prudent to ask. I use an older Rock Chucker, so no speed loading. I do the reloading partly for cost, but partly because I am interested in it and it is kind of a hobby. So, I spend the extra time to double and triple check everything as I go.

The taper crimp will be different for me, so good advice on the taper crimp die, and yes, I do use a case check gauge, so will get one of those as well.

Thanks again for the comments, I appreciate it.
 

noahmercy

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If you plan on loading Speer Gold Dots (GD), I highly recommend RCBS dies since you can get GD-specific seating stems for them.

If you do not intend to load GDs, then Lee is a fine choice.

Regardless of brand, I suggest a carbide (or titanium nitride in the case of Hornady) sizer, and a Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die for the final step.

Pro tip: the 9mm case is tapered, so even if you are using carbide or TiN dies, running a lubed case through on every tenth pull or so will make resizing much easier...I just put some Hornady One Shot (or the homemade equivalent) on a bunch and grab one from that pile every so often.
 
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... I use an older Rock Chucker, so no speed loading...

FWIW, you can definitely speed things up a bit, if you want to. My brother-in-law had a couple of older Rock Chuckers that we 'updated' with Lee 1-1/4"-12 breech lock conversion kits:


The hardest part of the conversion was finding a wrench big enough to remove the original RCBS bushings (got one at Harbor Freight). I bought one of the Rock Chuckers from him when he stopped reloading, and really like the ability to change dies quickly, without readjusting them (although the bushings cost $4-$5 for each die). I think Hornady makes a similar conversion kit to use their quick-change system (which I have no experience with):


As always, IMHO, FWIW, YMMV, etc., etc.
:)
 
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I love RCBS dies. But I also really like Hornaday dies too. Definitely carbide, as mentioned.

Also, since 9mm is rimless, I use one of those case chamber gages to check if the 9mm will chamber. And yes, I check each one.

Edit: I see Contender mentioned this also.

I actually size the cases then check before loading them. It's an extra step that I feel is worth it.

What press are you using? You didn't say, or I might have missed it.

Also, I've found really good lights at the reloading bench have helped me as much or more than anything else. I've got two really nice led fluorescent lights directly overhead and a few more on the sides. But that's just me.

Oh and also, quite a few years ago I bought a wet stainless steel pin tumbler case cleaner. Clean cases also makes everything smoother.

But again, that's just me. I'm slower at reloading, but it's a fun hobby and I don't have a reason to go faster.
 
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contender

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I know a lot of people who use the barrel & do the "plunk" test. However,, a $10-$15 tool will make it much easier & you don't have to disassemble or re-assemble a gun all the time. Plus,, I've seen a few times where a case passed the plunk test,, yet gave feeding issues. The proper use of a case gauge is highly recommended. (And yes,, I see you plan on getting one.)

Also, as mentioned above,, cleaning cases before loading is a good thing. As is lubing some & using lube even with carbide dies. It does make things go smoother.

Personally, due to the volume I shoot, I use a Dillon 650 progressive with the case feed. I normally pour brass in the feed hopper, give a little squirt of Dillon case lube, and go to work. Things go very smoothly for me. (PS; My dies in my Dillon press are RCBS.)
 
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The best case gauge is the barrel from your pistol, aka the old plunk test. If you have multiple 9mm's, use the barrel with the tightest specs. I used a CZ75 barrel to set my dies.

Also, make sure your ammo will feed from your magazines.
I started using a chamber case gauge because my 9mm reloads were jamming in my CZ Tactical Sport pistol.

But I would also say buy a separate case gauge, not the barrel.

Unless you have a separate barrel for that, you certainly don't want your barrel to get marred up on your reloading bench.

Besides, it sounds kind of awkward to use the barrel. No offense to anyone who does this, I just haven't heard of this before.
 
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I started using a chamber case gauge because my 9mm reloads were jamming in my CZ Tactical Sport pistol.

But I would also say buy a separate case gauge, not the barrel.

Unless you have a separate barrel for that, you certainly don't want your barrel to get marred up on your reloading bench.

Besides, it sounds kind of awkward to use the barrel. No offense to anyone who does this, I just haven't heard of this before.

It is a quite common method to use to set reloading dies.

 
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Thanks all for the replies. I had kind of planned on RCBS dies, just wondered if there were some new wingding dies that would be the cat's meow. I know, not likely, but I thought it prudent to ask. I use an older Rock Chucker, so no speed loading. I do the reloading partly for cost, but partly because I am interested in it and it is kind of a hobby. So, I spend the extra time to double and triple check everything as I go.

The taper crimp will be different for me, so good advice on the taper crimp die, and yes, I do use a case check gauge, so will get one of those as well.

Thanks again for the comments, I appreciate it.
A couple of the cheap Lee presses can allow you to have a production line setup using the Rock Chucker for full length resizing. I have a progressive with feed tubes and all but for precision especially charging which is the most critical throwing each charge and having the case in my hand let's me see what's going on. Sometimes there will be a pocket of fine powder that will appear to be low which can affect pressures because of the increased gap. If I'm just cranking off 1,000 plinker loads the progressive is fine but anything requiring any level of actual precision is done one stage at a time. Not saying that a Dillon whatever thousand they are on isn't capable of producing great loads I just like to see and feel what's happening.
 
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The past week I had some time available and loaded up all the .223 55gr fmj's I had on the bench. It ended up being 644 rds.
4 days and about 17 hours got it done using a single stage press. All brass went through the tumbler and primer pocket cleaning. Those steps took a lot of time. It was just kind of a test to see how much time about 500 rds could be loaded through a rock chucker.
 
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The past week I had some time available and loaded up all the .223 55gr fmj's I had on the bench. It ended up being 644 rds.
4 days and about 17 hours got it done using a single stage press. All brass went through the tumbler and primer pocket cleaning. Those steps took a lot of time. It was just kind of a test to see how much time about 500 rds could be loaded through a rock chucker.
Not to mention case trimming if it's gone through a few times.
 

Ka6otm

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I bought a 9MM case gauge way back when I first started reloading 9MM. Gauged the first 2,000 and not a single one failed to gauge.

So I quit gauging them and a few years later I had 2 loaded rounds that failed to chamber. Examination showed that those two cases were 0.016" longer than SAAMI maximum case length. This was around 10 years ago.

I still don't gauge 9MM and figure that the amount of time I've saved not gauging them will more than make up for any time I lose if I have one that fails to chamber.

Now if I was competing, I'd gauge them though, but I'm not.
 
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