Rambling Thoughts on Reloading Cast Bullets in the 9mm
by Greg Ritchie
I like reloading. Because I am cheap, casting bullets has been a necessary evil for me. Unfortunately my source for free lead dried up a while back. I have started saving lead for the hard to find or the expensive bullets, namely the .459 405 and 500 grain bullets I use so much. This put me on the hunt for a cast bullet to use in my 9mm reloads
One bullet I liked so much was the TL356-124-TC for the 9mm. This bullet has proven itself to be effective both as a plinking round and an effective depreditation round for varmints.
Unfortunately none of the vendors near me stock such a bullet. Lots of the round nosed variety that so many use for plinking, but not much else. Plus the 9mm is not reloaded for as much as other cartridges. The general consensus is why bother,you the 9mm is cheap to purchase anyway. Sure I could special order, or order on line, but there is something to be said about walking into a store and walking out a few minutes later with what you want.
I found what I wanted in a bullet made for the 38 special. The 125 grain bevel base truncated cone. I run this bullet through a .356 sizer and seat it over a charge of Unique powder. I like Unique because it nearly fills the case, a double charge will overflow the case. Plus I get good performance. My load is getting just over 1000 feet per second in my handgun, a bit more in my carbine. plus it is accurate.
I had to make a few changes in my die setup. The 358-125-TCBB is a bit shorter than the TL356-124-TC I was using, plus it has a wider metplat. I seat the latter bullet at a C.O.A.L. of 1.070, the former is seated at 1.050. Because the new bullet is shorter than the old bullet I was using, it doesn't protrude into the case any deeper but I still reduced the powder charge slightly. The muzzle velocity is just a bit less than what I am used to, but it's still respectable, and it makes me feel better.
But what about cost? The 9mm is cheap to buy as a factory round. Can I still reload the cartridge cheaper than I can buy it? A look at one of the on line vendors shows their cheapest 9mm at 22 cents per round. My reloads with the free lead were costing me 5 cents per round. Buying the bullet adds 6 cents to the cost of a reloaded round for a total of 11 cents per round. Still a 50% savings!
I have not tried any of these new rounds on varmints yet, only paper and reactive targets, but the terminal effects should be just as good, maybe even a little better with the wider metplat.
A few pictures. The TL356-124-TC on the left and the resized 358-125-TCBB on the right.