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Can you use 9mm bullets to reload 357/38?


Blind Squirrel
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I did a search here on the forums and on the inter webs and couldn't find anything specific on the topic.  There is a .001 difference in diameter between the two. 357 is .357 and 9mm is .356. 

 

Thanks.

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36 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

9mm is .355

 

I saw that a jacketed bullet is .355. a lead bullet is supposed to be .356. 

Edited by Blind Squirrel
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I wouldn't use 9mm bullets to load .38 Special or .357 Mag and definately not the other way around.  Although the difference is small, 9mm bullets are indeed smaller and would probably be less accurate and also allow gas cutting that could lead the barrel pretty quickly with lead bullets.  You might get away with it on jacketed bullets, but still the accuracy would probably suffer.  However, I have resized some .358 lead pills and used them to load 9mm without issues.

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Generally speaking there is no crimp groove on a bullet designed for 9mm. So while pistol might be ok, you would risk the bullets collapsing into the brass on rifle rounds.

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9 minutes ago, Goody, SASS #26190 said:

Generally speaking there is no crimp groove on a bullet designed for 9mm. So while pistol might be ok, you would risk the bullets collapsing into the brass on rifle rounds.

That's why you roll crimp.....

Been loading Bear Creed smooth sided moly-coat bullets for SASS for many years with never any issue.

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3 minutes ago, Goody, SASS #26190 said:

Generally speaking there is no crimp groove on a bullet designed for 9mm. So while pistol might be ok, you would risk the bullets collapsing into the brass on rifle rounds.

True.  I once bought a box of plated 357 bullets with a few 9 mm bullets mixed in.  The 9 mm bullets had little or no neck tension in 38 Special cases.  Only a strong crimp might have held the bullets in place.  I did not shoot them.

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As for accuracy, I wouldn't worry about that at our ranges. Years ago some shooters would load them Or other under sized bullets to cut the recoil down. I won't use any names, but I know a multi World overall  Champ that used that technique.

Edited by Snakebite
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Good advice above.

 

TWO things to consider:

 

1.  In a revolver, the bullet would probably move FORWARD in the case and stick out the front of the cylinder..... causing a lockup in rotation.

You would have to use a very nice ROLL CRIMP to solve this issue.

 

2.  No way would I try them in a rifle because (as mentioned above) spring pressure in the mag tube will push the bullet back down in

the case and cause multiple issues.   One issue would be a spike in pressures.   The other would be a shorter OAL of your ammo which would

create feeding issues.   In the Marlin, it would create the Marlin jam if your timing has not been set for shorter OAL ammo.

 

Personally, if you can't use the 9mm bullets, try to trade them for .357/.358 bullets and enjoy the game.

 

..........Widder

 

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Yes only .001 difference in diameter in guns with a land to groove difference of several thousands.  In the US, we use the larger groove diameter but much of Europe has went half way between the land and groove diameter for a generation or two (especially with jacketed bullets).

 

And remember how that bullet in the higher pressure 9mm (30,000 psi vs 18,000) with a taper crimp backs up and jams the gun when fired.  Neither do I.

 

You do have to have a good crimp since there normally isn't a crimp groove but normally a roll crimp should make it's own groove in lead bullets.  That groove could slightly impact accuracy so I would test a few in your guns first.

 

Several years (10 - 12) ago people were using 95 grain bullets to get them lighter.  That was before 105 in 38 was available.  Guess what diameter the 95 grain were?  (They were for 380 pistols.)  Most only used those in pistols due to the shorter cartridge length.

 

Plus for many years some pistol makers (such as Ruger) used 9mm barrels for both 38 and 9mm.

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Howdy Marauder.

 

I wonder why some of those pistol makers, such as Ruger, stopped using 9mm barrels for both the 38/357 and 9mm.

 

..........Widder

 

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.38/.357 use that diameter bullets. .355 is 9mm. So if the barrels are .355 and you put a .357 mag round through it you get excess pressure. Manufacturers use the correct caliber barrels and bullets when pressure testing the rounds, they base psi rating on those tests. If you use 9mm and 38/357 bullets interchangeably you are outside any testing that reloading manuals provide. Having worked at manufacturer of reloading equipment, we would never tell anyone to do that. The cost difference between the 2 does not warrant the problems you might encounter. Good luck. 

Edited by Colt Walker 45
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8 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

That's why you roll crimp.....

Been loading Bear Creed smooth sided moly-coat bullets for SASS for many years with never any issue.

I don't mind not having crimp groove but do not want bullet less than .358 for my 38 loading.  You should recognize difference when you place the bullet up for setting.....to small.

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Hey Possum.

 

What kinda crimp did you use and did you experience bullet movement in your cylinder?

 

Hope you are doing well.

 

..........Widder

 

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Thanks for asking, I've wondered the same thing. Especially since you can get 38/9mm cylinders for some revolvers. I shoot more 357 than 9mm so I quit buying 9mm lead. I got a lee sizing die for 9mm and just resize my 357 lead as needed. 

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I use an "as cast" Lyman 356637DV 147 grain boat tail flat nose from a 4 cavity mold for .38/.357 black powder loads.

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We have used 147 grain 9mm rd nose flat pt for knock down loads for over 9 years.  I just recently loaded 1000 9mm 115 grain .356 bullets and shot them in the rifle and pistol until my regular .38 rds came in.  No problem.  They only have to go ding!

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I use them without hesitation.  All the 9mm bullet weights  that didn't prove useful for IPSC get loaded for revolver... ain't going to waste them.  Actually..I shoot 9mm 145gr coated bullets in my 627 too... (AND in 38 Short Colt brass) If there is an accuracy loss i can't detect it!

 

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On 4/7/2022 at 8:07 AM, Dogmeat Dad, SASS #48563L said:

Just hit them on the nose with a hammer (Before You Reload Them :o) and they will be .356, or .357 or .358 or...  All depends on the size of the hammer! :P

I like it. RNFP

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On 4/7/2022 at 9:17 PM, Widder, SASS #59054 said:

Hey Possum.

 

What kinda crimp did you use and did you experience bullet movement in your cylinder?

 

Hope you are doing well.

 

..........Widder

 

I used the standard Dillon roll crimp and never had an issue with bullets moving.  Crimped right into the side of the bullet.

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1 hour ago, Possum Skinner, SASS#60697 said:

I used the standard Dillon roll crimp and never had an issue with bullets moving.  Crimped right into the side of the bullet.

 

That is good news, especially for those wanting to use the 9mm in the .38 brass.   Thanks

 

..........Widder

 

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Can someone explain why you would do this?  I have had no difficulty getting bullets of various common sizes.  The only reason I can think of would be having no source of the proper caliber bullet.

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1 hour ago, Rip Snorter said:

Can someone explain why you would do this?  I have had no difficulty getting bullets of various common sizes.  The only reason I can think of would be having no source of the proper caliber bullet.

When I did it, it was because I was able to buy the 9mm bullets for a very low price.  Again, they worked fine with ZERO issues.

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3 hours ago, Blind Squirrel said:

What weight of bullet do most of you use for reloading?

There is a lot of variety, but I'm going to say that 125gr is the most common for both pistol and rifle.  Some are using 105 or even 90 in pistols for less recoil.  Some use bigger bullets in rifles that work better with longer OAL's.

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2 hours ago, Rip Snorter said:

Can someone explain why you would do this?  I have had no difficulty getting bullets of various common sizes.  The only reason I can think of would be having no source of the proper caliber bullet.

I had 2500 or so already cast up for 9mm and dropped to a 124 grainer, so I started using them up in .38 black powder loads.

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4 hours ago, Rip Snorter said:

Can someone explain why you would do this?  I have had no difficulty getting bullets of various common sizes.  The only reason I can think of would be having no source of the proper caliber bullet.

 

I asked the question because I have a couple of thousand 9MM bullets.

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It's fairly common to Hi-Tek or powder coat a 9mm bullet for use in a 1873 rifle. A roll crimp into the body of the bullet lets you adjust the length to what works best for you. 

 

In the theoretical world, using SAAMI and CIP specs as reference, there is basically only one barrel specification for 9mm, 38 Spl and 357 Mag and most of all the other calibers in that group. The spec is 8.79/9.02 in mm or .346/.355 in inches. The CIP spec is the same for groove but the bore is listed as 8.82 for some. 

 

Therefore, in theory, it's just a matter of what size of a bullet do you want to shoot in your firearm. If you own a Colt, and measure the barrel, you will find that the groove diameter will seldom be over sized, IOW, the groove will be between 353 and 355. It has been mentioned above that Ruger has larger groove diameter barrels, and most will run in the .357 to .358  inch zone. 

 

Uberti list their firearms in 38/357 as being to spec. 346/355. 

 

Cast bullet theory has established that for best accuracy a cast bullet should be at barrel groove diameter up to 0.002" over groove diameter. In my experience, loading at typical cowboy velocities, ideally the bullet can be 0.001' under groove diameter, up to groove diameter. Your typical commercial bullet is cast from 92-6-2 and has a BHN of 15, you probably don't want it any larger than groove diameter. Leading won't be an issue at cowboy velocities. Sized like that, maximum velocity is limited to less than 800 fps, thereabouts. 

 

So, to answer your question I'd first have to ask what your barrel groove diameter is. 

 

Unfortunately the big picture is a bit different. If you are shooting a revolver, when fired, the bullet has to pass through the throats of the cylinder first. If the bullet is too much smaller than the throat diameter, the forcing cone will be spray welded with gas cut lead. In my experience you can get away with about a 0.002" clearance and still have minimal leading. 

 

Therefore, if you are shooting a revolver,  my second question would be; What are your cylinder throats sized at?

 

Revolver theory for optimum accuracy/performance wants the throats of the cylinder to be larger than the groove diameter of the barrel. They can be equal, but the cylinder should not be smaller. Issues will start to pop up if the cylinders get much more than 0.002" larger than groove diameter. 

 

The bullet should never be larger than the throats, a cast bullet should be sized so that it will just slip through the throats, not a drop through, but an easy slip. This is to lessen the strain on the revolver frame and helps keep end shake increase to a minimum. 

 

That is my rule of thumb overview, there is so much more to the equation. The softness or hardness of the bullet is a factor as well. Also in the equation is the pressure you are loading to. If you load much below black powder pressures, with anything other than a soft lead bullet, obturation is not a factor as it may occur but bullet bump up probably does not. I shot a few bevel or concave based bullets, and this type of bullet definitely helps seal things up. Hollow base bullets will seal at even lower pressures. This is one of the reasons Trail Boss works well for cowboy shooting. Trail Boss is a high pressure low velocity powder. It has a good peak pressure when it burns, but it doesn't have the energy one would expect at these pressures. 

 

So, my third question would be, what bullet are you referring to and how hard is it cast. And is it coated or lubed conventionally?

 

I fired a few thousand 9mm bullets in my guns, mostly rifle and most were coated. Performance was good in all aspects. I've also tried some 9mm cast, conventional lubed bullets and met with failure more often than not. Here the failure was mostly due to the 9mm bullet being light, 125 grains, and the issue here is getting the velocity low enough. I found it a challenge to get velocities low enough and still have good chrono numbers. I experienced ignition/powder position issues at the low loading densities required to lower the velocities. It worked in 38 Long Colt brass, but my Es and Sd went south in 38 spl and 357 Mag brass. I found it easier to drive a heavier bullet slow. I shoot 146 to 150 grain bullets at around 700 fps with good accuracy and minimal leading. My loads work in guns with 360 throats and 354 grooves on the extreme. I size my bullets at 358. 

 

I'm a slow learner, in the beginning I spent more time cleaning lead from my barrels that shooting. Today, not so much.  

 

A bit off topic, but I recently added another 44-40 to the collection. Its throats and groove diameters were somewhat larger than my other firearms, but my ammo still worked well. My ammo must have been well into the zone as I went from an alloy with a 14 to 15 BHN to an alloy about 11, and saw no significant difference. Throat clearance on that one is about 0.002' and I saw a slight performance increase when I went to a bullet with a larger grease groove. With clearance, the grease is sealing the throats, 

 

Loading for our game is far from being an exact science, there are many approaches that will work. A Hi-Tek bullet has a fairly large zone that it will tolerate, a powder coated bullet is a little less tolerant of variations, but still works well. The conventional sized/lubed bullets require a bit more attention to detail. 

 

BB

 

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