Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

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MaduroBU
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Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#1

Post by MaduroBU »

I'm working on getting a simple 9mm load working for competition in USPSA. Long story made short, I moved away from a 357 Sig to a 9mm G19 because policing brass after matches was a chore and the cartridge provides no benefit in competition. I'm loading Minor and have no desire to make Major with a 9mm (thus 125 PF minimum). The G19 has a Burris dot, an extended barrel with a Lone Wolf compensator, and an aftermarket spring and guide rod (I'm not married to the spring, I just got an aftermarket one so that I can change spring weights to adjust for the compensator. I want to use Magpul 21 round magazines, but I am having the issue with stock Glock mags about half as often as with the Magpul mags. My current load is range pickup brass that I don't trim or chamfer/deburr loaded with Hornady HAP 115 grain bullets over 6.0 of Longshot and Fiocchi lead free primers. Those components are fixed as they are what I have in bulk, and by the time that I could get more bullets or primers, I'll probably just buy factory ammo.

Now the issue: Rounds are aggressively nosediving in the magazine with the expected poor feeding. If the nose gets close to the feed ramp, then the gun cycles, but otherwise the nose just gets jammed into the base of the feed ramp. The nosediving is both visually and and palpably observable holding the loaded magazine in my hand, i.e. the nosediving occurs completely independently from the rest of the gun. Glock mags are better but still terrible, demonstrating the issue only with the first and second rounds out of 15. The Magpul mags show the issue on most rounds through the first 15 of have a hollow in the part of the feed lips that contacts the brass, and I initially suspected that, but I'm going to assume that if that were causing this severe of an issue they would've fixed it well before the product came to market. Bottom line, something is wrong with my handloads.

I am VERY aggressively taper crimping using a crimping die after the seating die, and I'm doing this because I was getting setback which carries the risk of overpressure. By using a very aggressive taper crimp with the standalone taper crimp die, I was able to prevent the bullets from being pushed back into the case, but the bullets will still slide forward slightly even after the seating die and crimping die (which boggles my mind). The pulled bullets have a visible indentation where the case was squeezed into them with the crimp, and it appears that the case mouth catching on the indentation formed in the bullet by the crimp is what is preventing backward travel. IF that fed well, I'd be okay with it, but I am suspicious that I am introducing too much taper into the case wall, which is in turn causing the nose-dive.

So if I make the taper crimp less aggressive, then I have to figure out why the cases aren't holding the bullets. I haven't seen this issue with .357 Sig, .40 S&W, or .380 ACP. At first I assumed that I was perhaps flaring the case mouth too much, but the issue is present even without the bell flare die. My final idea was that maybe the brass is too hard, but that seems like the craziest possibility of all. First, I have an Annie induction annealer with a pretty sweet drop into a bucket of water quench (i.e. I can trap door the still glowing case into a bucket of cool water so that I don't heat the body....you don't actually "quench" brass), but I would still be very nervous about annealing a pistol case. There's just too much risk of dangerously softening the web/head. Further, I have never heard of anyone doing that, and I am having this issue with range brass such that a random sample cannot all be uniformly so hard that it all springs back and won't hold a seated bullet.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

strogg
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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#2

Post by strogg »

What's the OAL of your rounds? If it's too long, it may nosedive.

Also, what dies are you using? And brass? If you can put the bullet inside the case without using the expander die, then the resizing die is not doing its job or you have bad brass. Or maybe undersized bullets. What bullets are you using? What is the actual measured (not claimed) diameter of the bullets?

flechero
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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#3

Post by flechero »

strogg wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:51 am What's the OAL of your rounds?
My first question as well. Too short can also nosedive. And HAP's are a pretty short bullet. I'm not too sure you could load 115 HAP's too long and have them stay steady in the brass.

Doing this with multiple mags of different make sort of rules out mags.

2nd question- Have you run a box of factory ammo recently to confirm it's just your loads?

3rd question- Is the recoil spring of proper weight? An improper recoil spring can bump a round out ahead of the extractor and let it dive.

flechero
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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#4

Post by flechero »

I just re-read your post- you have 2 very different issues going on. #1 feed issue see above.

#2 you have a loading issue or 2, independent of the feed issue.

You either have a neck tension issue, or an undersized bullet (which has been common with Hornady bullets over the last 2 years) not a crimp issue. Have you checked diameter of them? They should be .355 and some change. (like .3555 if you use a mic vs caliper)You shouldn't need to crimp any more than it takes to remove the flare. Crimp itself is only a set back preventative to the extent that the case walls dig into the bullet- which only helps one way (as you've figured out)

Have you considered an EGW U-die? Made by lee but the EGW specs. A couple thousandths undersized for this kind of issue. (and for $25 it's a cheap fix most of the time)

Now if you are overflaring or your expander plug is a touch large that could cause low neck tension as well. If plug is too large- you can turn it down a hair...or replace.

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MaduroBU
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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#5

Post by MaduroBU »

flechero wrote: Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:49 pm I just re-read your post- you have 2 very different issues going on. #1 feed issue see above.

#2 you have a loading issue or 2, independent of the feed issue.

You either have a neck tension issue, or an undersized bullet (which has been common with Hornady bullets over the last 2 years) not a crimp issue. Have you checked diameter of them? They should be .355 and some change. (like .3555 if you use a mic vs caliper)You shouldn't need to crimp any more than it takes to remove the flare. Crimp itself is only a set back preventative to the extent that the case walls dig into the bullet- which only helps one way (as you've figured out)

Have you considered an EGW U-die? Made by lee but the EGW specs. A couple thousandths undersized for this kind of issue. (and for $25 it's a cheap fix most of the time)

Now if you are overflaring or your expander plug is a touch large that could cause low neck tension as well. If plug is too large- you can turn it down a hair...or replace.
Thanks for the suggestions, this is a lot more than what the Hornady tech was able to offer.

Hornady's recommended OAL for the 115 XTP/HAP in 9mm is 1.075 and these are at 1.069, so I don't think OAL is the issue. I saw nosediving equally at 1.045 and 1.125 OAL (basically the extremes, ogive at case mouth on the short end and bullet touching mag front at the long end). I get the issue with the magazine in my hand and the gun nowhere to be found; I probably DO need to play with the recoil spring, and intend to do so, but things are going sideways with the magazine alone before I get that far along. I haven't yet mic'ed the bullets, and I did see setback when loading them into a .357 Sig, though I attributed that to the bottleneck case rather than the bullet's being too narrow. I have some 115 XTPs from a different lot and a bunch of 147 XTPs that I can try, though the 147's boattail may just bottom out on the thicker part of the internal case web and give the appearance of better neck tension. I also haven't measured the neck tension pre- or post-flare.

I found another thread on this here: https://www.glocktalk.com/threads/9mm-l ... 769/page-2

The issue seemed to be the Hornady sizing die. There's a local store that seems to have a 9mm Lee carbide sizing die, so I may be able to fix the issue for $35 presuming that the bullets mic to spec.

Thanks again for all of the help.

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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#6

Post by wally775 »

Perhaps I missed it but do you have a maximum case gauge and do you use it.
I use a Wilson. Run your cases through it before you even start loading.
It can tell you a lot about what is happening and where to look.
Just a thought.
Good luck. :tiphat:

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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#7

Post by MaduroBU »

wally775 wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 11:48 am Perhaps I missed it but do you have a maximum case gauge and do you use it.
I use a Wilson. Run your cases through it before you even start loading.
It can tell you a lot about what is happening and where to look.
Just a thought.
Good luck. :tiphat:
Generally no, the only calibers I use that for are .50 BMG and 7.62x40. I do "plunk" test my pistol rounds, and have never had an issue even with SAAMI spec Bar-Sto chambers. The loads plunk test fine in my stock G19 and aftermarket (Lone Wolf) threaded barrels, but I believe that the issue is that they are undersized rather than oversized. Since the 9mm headspaces on the rim and I'm not doing anything to adjust the brass OAL, my guess is that I'd have to crimp them so hard that the mouth passes inside the chamber rim that should catch the mouth to show an issue in a case guage (i.e. dropping too far in).

If the rounds make it onto the feed ramp, they feed fine. However, most of them on Magpul and 25% of them on the Glock mags are at such a low angle that the meplat just crashes into the bottom of the feed ramp. The rounds are gripped at the head of the case but not the mouth by the feed lips and the inappropriate angle is obvious even when observing a loaded magazine outside of the gun, so I am pretty confident in WHERE the issue is occurring.

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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#8

Post by MaduroBU »

Last data point: factory ammo works fine. I made it a point to run a box of factory blasting ammo (IIRC S&B 124 grain- the trash they were selling for $30 a box at Collector's) through it and it ran fine.

The bitter irony is that my P226 X5 is now running my 147 grain loads flawlessly even with the can on and the G19 purchased exclusively as a range/competition beater can't strip rounds out of the magazine.

flechero
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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#9

Post by flechero »

MaduroBU wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:19 am I get the issue with the magazine in my hand and the gun nowhere to be found
Can you elaborate on that statement? Do you mean you get a dive if you "thumb" rounds out?

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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#10

Post by MaduroBU »

flechero wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 2:24 pm
MaduroBU wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 10:19 am I get the issue with the magazine in my hand and the gun nowhere to be found
Can you elaborate on that statement? Do you mean you get a dive if you "thumb" rounds out?
Yes....sorry, it was tough to make this clear as it's an odd phenomenon. The Magpul 21-round will start nose-diving after 5-7 rounds are loaded (i.e. nose-dives on the first 14-16 rounds). The Glock 15-round magazine can take 10-11 rounds before it starts nose-diving (i.e. nose-dives on the first 4-5 rounds). My suspicion of an issue with the crimp comes from the difference between the two: The magpul mag has a hollow in the middle of each feed lip and only makes contact with a ~0.2" lenght at the mouth and head of the case. The Glock mag, in contrast, has a flat piece of steel the entire length of the feed lip. I presume that this makes the Magpul mag more sensitive to deviations in case geometry, and thus more likely to fail with my (presumably) over crimped cases.

I should mention that if I load rounds without the crimp die, they'll exhibit dangerous setback (got a very nearly pierced primer in a test round before I figured that out), but they don't exhibit the nose-diving issue.

I am more and more suspicious that the expander ball on my sizing die is too large, as flechero suggested.

strogg
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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#11

Post by strogg »

For troubleshooting, maybe you can try pulling some factory bullets and loading those into your rounds. If they feel tighter, then your bullets are most likely out of spec. If they feel the same or looser, then it's probably your brass being loose from the resizer or expander.

Also, you can try using a set of calipers to measure the bullet instead of a micrometer. If it's too small, it'll be noticeable in the measurement. It's not like we're looking for exact numbers here.

If you do end up getting new dies, I recommend RCBS or Lee for the best bang for buck.

flechero
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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#12

Post by flechero »

I'd start by zero'ing my calipers and then measuring a few bullets and the expander (in multiple locations. Re-asses from that point... that should clear up a few things and give a good direction of where to look next.

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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#13

Post by Boxerrider »

I use Lee powder-through dies for handgun rounds. I don't remember which caliber, but I had one that wasn't gripping bullets well. My solution was to chuck the expander in a drill and use sandpaper and a block to reduce the diameter, going slowly and testing until I got a fit I was happy with.

Good luck!
Jeff

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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#14

Post by MaduroBU »

Boxerrider wrote: Thu Dec 10, 2020 5:33 pm I use Lee powder-through dies for handgun rounds. I don't remember which caliber, but I had one that wasn't gripping bullets well. My solution was to chuck the expander in a drill and use sandpaper and a block to reduce the diameter, going slowly and testing until I got a fit I was happy with.

Good luck!
Jeff
This is a phenomenal idea, particularly given the current components market. THANKS!

flechero
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Re: Nosediving 9mm Handloads, Crimp Issue

#15

Post by flechero »

Make sure the expander is too big before you turn it down!
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