Bullet "Keyholing" in both H-P 9 MMs

Discussion in 'Pistol Cartridge Data' started by FRED J WAHL, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. Hey, All,
    I've been trying to work up some good loads for my H-P C-9 and 9 MM Comp, using Lee bullet molds, (115 Gr. LRN, sized to .357, and 125 Gr. Lee TLTC), at around 1085 f.p.s. MV, and have been getting a LOT of "Keyholes" in the targets, (bullets are going thru the targets sideways). The bores on both H-P 9 mms are fine, the "boolits" are well lubed with Alox, and are even Scale Weighed, cast from hard alloy.
    I also tried some "Space Coast"(commercial) brand 125 Gr. LTC (Truncated Cone) lead bullets sized at .356, and got the same thing, even with the longer-barreled Compensated 9MM, also at 1085 f.p.s. MV. I was using the same charge of Bullseye powder in all 3 loads. At that speed MV they should have certainly stabilized, albeit I don't know what the barrel twist rate is, on the Hi Points.
    Anyone have any ideas?
    Fred (Honcho)
  2. OldOutlaw

    OldOutlaw Supporting Member

    I have to ask you. What does commercial rounds do in those guns??

  3. Hey, Old Outlaw,
    Commercial ammo is fine, no problems, but none of which has had lead bullets-- The rifling in the Hi Points is the standard type, not the "shallow" rifling as used in Glocks. I also fired a couple of bullets from each gun, into a bunch of phone books, but the recovered bullets weren't good enough to get a micrometer measure of their diameter.
  4. OldOutlaw

    OldOutlaw Supporting Member

    Is there any leading build up in the barrel?

    And, are you positive you are not crimping to tightly? This is often the cause of
    key holes due to perhaps only .002" deformation of that lead. Causes a gas leak at that spot and makes the bullet out of balance.

    Gas checks may help also. May have to try a few to see though.
  5. I saw no sign of leading in the barrels, a very few small flecks, which were easily removed with a bronze brush. I use an alloy that is close to the Lyman #2
    Gas checks aren't an option, with those molds, I usually don't get into them until the velocities are much higher, (Besides, these 79 year old hands don't like hot loads anymore!)
    Crimping is a good possibility of being the problem, never thought of that! I use a Lee Factory crimp die, and gave them a good taper crimp, because these bullets are leaving the muzzle as stated, at +- 1085 f.p.s., and I didn't want the bullets to go "wandering" in the magazine, at that velocity-- Come to think of it, I may not even have to crimp them, since I'm using .357 sized bullets in a .356 barrel! "Ve get too soon olt, und too late schmart"!
    Thanks for the tip, Old Outlaw, I'll give that a whack!
    Fred (Honcho)
  6. OldOutlaw

    OldOutlaw Supporting Member

    I also use a Lee Factory Crimp Die for my 6.5X55mm Swedish Mausers and the
    CG-63 Swede target rifles. Bought it last year and crimped them for the first time.
    But, I seemed to have set it for too much. Accuracy went to hexx in a hand basket at 200 yards. I tightened that die until I could see an obvious crimp. Wrong thing to do. I read instructions and really lightened it up. Now I can barely even see any crimp. Problem solved for me. Now, I am in the groove at 200 yards.

    Oh, cause of my problem was that crimp tool and as tight as I had it set actually
    indented into the FMJ bullet. Pulled some bullets to see what was under the crimp.
    Looked at them with a small magnifying glass, and sure enough a line was all the way around. Yea, my 71 year old eyes are not as good nowadays close up. :)

    I seem to think the instructions may have had a warning about this effect if set too tight.

    Let us know if the crimp reset helps.
  7. Fred,
    I can't remember where I got these numbers, but I saved em from somewhere.To the best of my knowledge these numbers are correct. Use at your own discretion.

    Here ya go . . .

    CF380 9 RH 1 in 10
    3895 NO INFO

    C9 3 RH 1 in 10
    995 8 RH 1 in 10

    JCP 40 7 LH 1 in 10
    4095 7 RH 1 in 10

    JHP 45 7 LH 1 in 12
    4595 9 RH 1in12

    Hope this helps.

    Last edited: Jan 23, 2016
  8. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

    Slug your bore. Your bullets might be undersized. You want groove diameter plus .001 /.002. I use the Lee TL-356-124-TC. Mine drop at .3575/.358. I load them as cast and keyhoing stopped.
  9. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

    subbing for knowledge! :D
  10. FlashBang

    FlashBang I Stand With Talon Lifetime Supporter

    If you are using the LEE FCD, after you complete the round pull it apart and measure it again with your calipers. The LEE FCD has a habit of sizing the bullet down a few thousandths. Also try slowing the bullet down to give it time to stabilize in the barrel.

  11. Greg_R, I am getting the same size (.358) in the Lee 124 Gr. TLTC, but was wondering if you ran into any chambering problems with the cases? I have loaded .357 with no problems in my Nines, they fed fine.
    I loaded another batch, without crimping them, as per Old Outlaw's advice, and also ran this batch with a lower powder charge, (3.5 Gr. Bullseye), dropping it a whole grain, which should run around 900 fps MV. Also tried some of the Lee 105 Gr SWC, sized to .357, also in #2 alloy, with 3.6 Gr. Win.#231, which should run about a Grand @ MV.
    I didn't crimp any of the last batch, so I'll be watching for bullets "wandering" in the cases in the magazines.
    I'm also trying all loads in a 3rd 9 mm handgun, (Jennings), to check the response.
    I don't have any of the proper sized round balls to "slug" the bores, but have prepared a few low velocity rounds for all 3 guns which I'll fire into a stack of phonebooks, to see if I can get a bore measure on all 3.
    Will post the results soon as I can shake loose to get to the range, (it's an hour and a half drive each way for me, here in central Florida, and I can't see well at night anymore, 25 yard ranges are few and far between, in the Kissimmee area.
    Thanks to all for your responses, will keep you posted!
    Fred (Honcho)
  12. OldOutlaw

    OldOutlaw Supporting Member

    I recommended a bit less crimp. Just to eliminate some bullet deforming in that area.
  13. greg_r

    greg_r Lifetime Supporter

    No problems at all. I have thought about a .357 or 358 sizing die just to make sure each bullet is concentric but I'm in the if it ain't broke don't fix it stage now.