9mm bullets vs. 38 bullets in 38 special cartridges [Archive] - Glock Talk

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kopsy
10-22-2010, 00:33
I have tons of 9mm lead bullets since that was all I was reloading. When I started reloading 38 special cartridges, I wondered if I could use the 9mm bullets that I already had or if I should go out and buy 38 bullets. I found several blogs discussing the merits mostly saying that 9mm bullets would not be as accurate coming out of my S&W Model 10 as 38 bullets would be. But what is "not as accurate"?

To answer this question, I loaded up some 38 special cartridges with both 125gn RN 9mm bullets sizing in at .356 and 125gn RN 38 bullets at .358.

Off to the range I went. I shot three groups of six each (18 per group, 36 in total) at six different targets from a distance of seven yards.

Back at home I took each of the six targets and calculated the Average Group Radius (find the group center, measure the distance from center of group to center of each shot, then average the distances). Then I averaged the three 9mm (.356) groups and the three 38 special (.358) groups and found the difference.

And presto! I now know how much more accurate the 38 bullets (.358) are over the 9mm bullets (.356) - less than a quarter of an inch (<0.25").

That should be less than an inch at 15 yards which is plenty accurate for IDPA. Not anywhere accurate enough if I was trying to shoot 100 yards, but I'm not.

From what I read in the other blogs is that gas escaping around the bullet because the bullet does not fill the barrel completely is what causes the smaller .356 bullet to wobble a bit as it comes out making it less accurate. But gas escaping around the bullet also means that some back pressure is lost and the bullet is flying slower, right? IDPA has some strict power floors that must be met, so the next question is, how much slower is the 9mm .356 bullet traveling vs. the 38 .358 bullet??? That's the next thing to find out - back to the range.

Disclaimer: I'm not a mathematician or a gun smith.

ilgunguygt
10-22-2010, 00:46
Accuracy wouldnt bother me. The gas blowby and ensuing leading of the barrel would bother me more than anything.

shotgunred
10-22-2010, 04:44
Hers is what you should try next. go buy one of those $15. lee sizing dies in .358. Take your lead bullet and put it on a hard surface and give it a light to medium tap with a hammer. then run it through the sizing die. Presto you should have the correct size bullet. You just have to figure out how hard to hit it with the hammer.:whistling:

Patrick Graham
10-22-2010, 07:57
If you put enough roll crimp on those .356 9mm bullets to make sure they stay in I don't see a problem.

You should chronograph them to make sure you are still making Minor Power Factor.

I'm guessing that leading could be a bit of a problem but probably not enough to interfere with an IDPA match though.

1006
10-22-2010, 09:17
When I bought my Press, the seller threw in 8000, 158 grain, lead 9mm bullets, sized at .355. Almost all of them went out the barrel of my 357 revolvers without issue. I kept the velocity down under 900 to reduce leading. They would lead up the barrel if loaded hot.

GioaJack
10-22-2010, 10:02
Kopsey:

You're on the right track with determining your group size and in NRA bullseye shooting is referred to as 'string measurement' As an example, if two competitors have four shots in the X and one each in the ten ring but the away shot can not be determined visually an appropriate caliber plug is placed in the hole of the away shot and with the use of a string the distance is measured to the exact center of the X. Works pretty nifty... cuts down on a lot of fist fights. Group sizes are determined in the same manner.

For they style shooting you're engaged in, 'accuracy', other than having the muzzle pointed in approximately the correct direction is not really an issue, you can hit a 15 yard target with a slingshot and a rock. Extend your distance to real handgun ranges and incorrectly sized bullets will have you packing your truck during the awards ceremony.

By all means load and shoot the bullets you have on hand, as others have pointed out you may experience leading in the barrel, also be aware of excessive leading of the forcing cone. Next time you order bullets simply get the correct size.

Shotgunred may have been a bit tongue in cheek but he's actually describing a viable way of increasing the size of a cast bullet... kind of.

It's called 'beagling' (sp) and is generally accomplished with the Lyman style sizer. An undersized bullet is placed in the desired sized die, (there are limitations as to how much you can enlarge it) and pressure from the ram compresses the bullet subsequently increasing its diameter to the size of the die.

If you want to be a proficient loader you have to be imaginative.


Jack

fredj338
10-22-2010, 13:11
Interesting that you don't post your actual group size & at what distance? IMO, 7yd accuracy testing is moot. Undersized lead bullets, if soft enough, may shoot fine @ 7yds, but double that & they groups may be 4x larger @ 15yds. It's not always linear, as the bullet can become unstable the further it gets from the bbl. Leading is also an issue, but again, your individual bbl will determine that. If it works for you great! For close range shooting, accuracy may not be affected much.

WiskyT
10-22-2010, 19:15
I tried some 0.356" bullets years ago, just a dozen or so, and they wouldn't stay put in the case. Thin R-P brass and an undersized bulet just didn't cut it. The thick IMI brass I have probably would have worked, but I don't know how they would have shot.

The best groups I've ever shot were with my Lee 120TC 9mm bullet that weighs 125 and comes out of the mold at 0.357" loaded with 4.0 Bullseye. They shoot great in my 442, GP100 and Python. The group size at 25 yards was under 3", I don't remember and it's upstairs. It was good enough that Jack showered me with all kinds of hate when I posted a pic of the target. The extra thousandth of an inch could make all the difference though, you'll just have to try and see.

GioaJack
10-22-2010, 19:40
Wisky if I've told you once I've told you a million times... don't exaggerate. That target wasn't a group, it was a pattern. :whistling:


Jack

WiskyT
10-22-2010, 19:47
Wisky if I've told you once I've told you a million times... don't exaggerate. That target wasn't a group, it was a pattern. :whistling:


Jack

http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1222931

:whistling:

GioaJack
10-22-2010, 20:14
http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1222931

:whistling:


You're so easy... it's almost criminal to screw with ya. :wedgie:


Jack

shotgunred
10-22-2010, 21:04
Kopsey:
Shotgunred may have been a bit tongue in cheek but he's actually describing a viable way of increasing the size of a cast bullet... kind of.

It's called 'beagling' (sp) and is generally accomplished with the Lyman style sizer. An undersized bullet is placed in the desired sized die, (there are limitations as to how much you can enlarge it) and pressure from the ram compresses the bullet subsequently increasing its diameter to the size of the die.

If you want to be a proficient loader you have to be imaginative.


Jack

While I was being tongue in cheek and would never suggest anyone else do that it certianly would work for for three thousands of an inch. You just need a hammer with a flat face and an anvil. I will do it for the fun of it this weekend. You would have to use a sizing die because you would take it out of round and you couldn't control the exact width. Lead is soft.

kopsy
10-22-2010, 22:27
Hers is what you should try next. go buy one of those $15. lee sizing dies in .358. Take your lead bullet and put it on a hard surface and give it a light to medium tap with a hammer. then run it through the sizing die. Presto you should have the correct size bullet. You just have to figure out how hard to hit it with the hammer.:whistling:

Yes, I'm sure this would work - lead is soft - but I can't imagine hammering every single bullet so I can run it through a sizing die. :wow: That sounds like "work" to me.

kopsy
10-22-2010, 22:31
If you put enough roll crimp on those .356 9mm bullets to make sure they stay in I don't see a problem.

You should chronograph them to make sure you are still making Minor Power Factor.

I'm guessing that leading could be a bit of a problem but probably not enough to interfere with an IDPA match though.

Honestly, I haven't shot enough of the 9mm in my 38 to see if leading is a problem. And when do you consider leading to be a problem? After a day at the range both my glock and 38 have enough lead that at least half of the barrel rifling (sp?) is obscured. It takes a little extra cleaning, but they are good as new when I get done.

fredj338
10-22-2010, 22:37
Honestly, I haven't shot enough of the 9mm in my 38 to see if leading is a problem. And when do you consider leading to be a problem? After a day at the range both my glock and 38 have enough lead that at least half of the barrel rifling (sp?) is obscured. It takes a little extra cleaning, but they are good as new when I get done.
IMO, that is too much leading. A proper fitting bullet w/ the right alloy & powder produces almost no leading for 100s of rounds. Accuracy must be pretty bad at the end of your dhooting session.:dunno:

kopsy
10-22-2010, 22:41
Kopsey:

You're on the right track with determining your group size and in NRA bullseye shooting is referred to as 'string measurement' As an example, if two competitors have four shots in the X and one each in the ten ring but the away shot can not be determined visually an appropriate caliber plug is placed in the hole of the away shot and with the use of a string the distance is measured to the exact center of the X. Works pretty nifty... cuts down on a lot of fist fights. Group sizes are determined in the same manner.

For they style shooting you're engaged in, 'accuracy', other than having the muzzle pointed in approximately the correct direction is not really an issue, you can hit a 15 yard target with a slingshot and a rock. Extend your distance to real handgun ranges and incorrectly sized bullets will have you packing your truck during the awards ceremony.

By all means load and shoot the bullets you have on hand, as others have pointed out you may experience leading in the barrel, also be aware of excessive leading of the forcing cone. Next time you order bullets simply get the correct size.

Shotgunred may have been a bit tongue in cheek but he's actually describing a viable way of increasing the size of a cast bullet... kind of.

It's called 'beagling' (sp) and is generally accomplished with the Lyman style sizer. An undersized bullet is placed in the desired sized die, (there are limitations as to how much you can enlarge it) and pressure from the ram compresses the bullet subsequently increasing its diameter to the size of the die.

If you want to be a proficient loader you have to be imaginative.


Jack

Well, the test wasn't all about loading what I have as much as it was to see if I really needed two different sizes. The RN bullet I have has a small lip around the edge. I seat the lip flush with the top of the brass in the 9mm, but in the 38 it sits just below so the crimp can go over it. It seems to work fine. So do I need two sizes? Maybe not. I may be able to use .358 which will work fine in the 38 and get squished a little when squeezed into the 9mm.

kopsy
10-22-2010, 22:44
Interesting that you don't post your actual group size & at what distance? IMO, 7yd accuracy testing is moot. Undersized lead bullets, if soft enough, may shoot fine @ 7yds, but double that & they groups may be 4x larger @ 15yds. It's not always linear, as the bullet can become unstable the further it gets from the bbl. Leading is also an issue, but again, your individual bbl will determine that. If it works for you great! For close range shooting, accuracy may not be affected much.

I didn't really consider the group size to be that important. What was important was the difference between the groups using .356 and .358 bullets.

But the second part of what you say makes perfect sense. I should retry the test at 15 yards and then again at 25-30 yards. Of course, the more testing I do the more accurate the results will become.

kopsy
10-22-2010, 22:55
IMO, that is too much leading. A proper fitting bullet w/ the right alloy & powder produces almost no leading for 100s of rounds. Accuracy must be pretty bad at the end of your dhooting session.:dunno:

Well, like I said earlier, I'm a newb at this at only 3000 cartridges. So how do I arrive at the right allow and powder? The 125gn RN .356 bullets I have are moly coated and should be the right size for my Glock 17. I use 3.5gr Unique with CCI small pistol primers. They crono at 900fps. A little slow for IDPA, but I'm working on that. I have not ordered a spec sheet on the lead but see that it is using the industry standard (I think that is 92/6/2?).

Given that, what should I change to come up with a cartridge that doesn't lead? :dunno:

kopsy
10-22-2010, 23:11
BTW: thanks to everyone that has replied. I appreciate the insightful answers.

I haven't done any searching for answers on the last question so if it's already been answered a 100 times just point me in the right direction.

I think I'll work up another test batch and try at 15 yards to see what the difference is.

I'm also going to chrono the .356 and .358 bullets. I don't expect any difference, but I won't know until I try.

I also ordered some 158gr bullets to see if that makes any difference.

And another test I see worth doing is using .356 vs. .358 in 9mm to see what the difference is there. maybe instead of trying to get the .356 to come out of the 38 straight I can squeeze the .358's down to work in the 9mm. I've got to order some more .358 since I used them all in the 38 cartridges.

WiskyT
10-23-2010, 06:12
My Glock will shoot 0.358" no problem. Bullet shape can be an issue though, so choose wisely or be prepared to shoot them out of a revolver if they don't feed.

dudel
10-23-2010, 06:16
http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1222931

:whistling:


Woww! I've never seen a 3 foot caliper before! :supergrin:

I've got that same mould. I like it alot for 9mm. I'll have to try it with the snub nose and the Contender.

WiskyT
10-23-2010, 06:19
Well, like I said earlier, I'm a newb at this at only 3000 cartridges. So how do I arrive at the right allow and powder? The 125gn RN .356 bullets I have are moly coated and should be the right size for my Glock 17. I use 3.5gr Unique with CCI small pistol primers. They crono at 900fps. A little slow for IDPA, but I'm working on that. I have not ordered a spec sheet on the lead but see that it is using the industry standard (I think that is 92/6/2?).

Given that, what should I change to come up with a cartridge that doesn't lead? :dunno:

A light load, a hard bullet, and an undersize bullet will give you leading. I don't know how many of those bullets you have left, but I'd try 4.5 Unique and see how it does. I run 5.2 Unique with my homemade 125 that are very soft and get no leading. If you want a reall light load, try 3.5 Bullseye, not Unique, with that bullet.. It's good for just under 1000fps in my G17 with stock barrel.

Overall, to do what I think you are trying to do, one bullet for 9mm and 38Spl., I think you should concentrate a 0.358" 125 grain bullet with a 9mm feed-friendly design. I would avoid marketing tricks like "black bullets" or moly coatings etc. A good bullet at 10-15 BHN loaded properly can be shot all day and night without leading at all.

WiskyT
10-23-2010, 06:23
Woww! I've never seen a 3 foot caliper before! :supergrin:

I've got that same mould. I like it alot for 9mm. I'll have to try it with the snub nose and the Contender.

You should see what I bought it to measure. Well, maybe Mrs. Dudel should see:wavey:

dudel
10-23-2010, 06:38
You should see what I bought it to measure. Well, maybe Mrs. Dudel should see:wavey:


Sure, but it still tells you you're under an inch! :rofl:

GammaDriver
10-23-2010, 07:43
While I like that you did the test, I don't agree that a .25" increase in inaccuracy at 7 yards will necessarily correspond to .5" at 15 yards with different width bullets. With same widths (and, sure, similar designs, but I don't think you're using anything out of the norm here - so it isn't worth saying), sure, but with blow-by and just a little movement down the barrel that shouldn't be there, you may be talking about an increase in inaccuracy that the .25" @ 7 yards doesn't yet speak of.

I am interested in hearing your final test results of controlled bench shooting at 15 yards to see just what may happen (and, if you've got the time, at 25 yards as well).

sheepman
10-23-2010, 08:04
I have shot a lot of lead 9mm bullets in 38/357 guns. Unless the bullets are very hard cast, they will key hole ate 25 yards from my 9mms but not from the 38/357 revolvers. The Lee 125 grain tumble lube mold bullets fired from the revolvers shoot OK, but some key hole at 25 yards from the 1911 9mm or the Glock 19. Also I have more leading problems with the 9mm barrels than the 38 barrels. Leading in the muzzle end of the barrel is some times caused by the lube(not enough or not the right type), undersized hard bullets will lead at the forcing cone end of the barrel. With lead it is usually better to be over sized than undersized. JMHO :wavey:

fredj338
10-23-2010, 10:46
Well, like I said earlier, I'm a newb at this at only 3000 cartridges. So how do I arrive at the right allow and powder? The 125gn RN .356 bullets I have are moly coated and should be the right size for my Glock 17. I use 3.5gr Unique with CCI small pistol primers. They crono at 900fps. A little slow for IDPA, but I'm working on that. I have not ordered a spec sheet on the lead but see that it is using the industry standard (I think that is 92/6/2?).

Given that, what should I change to come up with a cartridge that doesn't lead? :dunno:


If you are shooting a stock Glock bbl, they will tend to lead w/ softer bullets. Yes, I have shot a stock G17, 1000s of lead bullets, it will lead w/ softer/smaller bullets. You might try a 0.357" bullet if it's on the softer side. Stay away from uberfast powders, IME, they tend to lead bbls sooner than later. Here is some lead bullet reading that is insightful. Pay attention to the part about pressure vs alloy. A hard bullet can lead a bbl in light loads, especially if it is slightly undersized. http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm AS sheep noted, leading early is often too small a bullet, late is the lube failing, all along the bbl, alloy, lube &/or rough bbl.

kopsy
10-25-2010, 16:11
A light load, a hard bullet, and an undersize bullet will give you leading. I don't know how many of those bullets you have left, but I'd try 4.5 Unique and see how it does. I run 5.2 Unique with my homemade 125 that are very soft and get no leading. If you want a reall light load, try 3.5 Bullseye, not Unique, with that bullet.. It's good for just under 1000fps in my G17 with stock barrel.

Overall, to do what I think you are trying to do, one bullet for 9mm and 38Spl., I think you should concentrate a 0.358" 125 grain bullet with a 9mm feed-friendly design. I would avoid marketing tricks like "black bullets" or moly coatings etc. A good bullet at 10-15 BHN loaded properly can be shot all day and night without leading at all.

Unique is all I have right now (Tightgroup is on the way). so I can try more powder and see if that clears up the leading problem.

Yes, I am just trying to see if one bullet is good for both the 9mm and 38. If it's not then ok, fine. I think you're right though - the more I think about it the more it seems to make sense that I should be looking at a good .358 that will fire in my G17 (and will then go through the 38 special).

kopsy
10-25-2010, 16:13
You should see what I bought it to measure. Well, maybe Mrs. Dudel should see:wavey:

Well, it was only a two inch group! And thank you for not posting pictures! :rofl::rofl::rofl:

kopsy
10-25-2010, 16:15
While I like that you did the test, I don't agree that a .25" increase in inaccuracy at 7 yards will necessarily correspond to .5" at 15 yards with different width bullets. With same widths (and, sure, similar designs, but I don't think you're using anything out of the norm here - so it isn't worth saying), sure, but with blow-by and just a little movement down the barrel that shouldn't be there, you may be talking about an increase in inaccuracy that the .25" @ 7 yards doesn't yet speak of.

I am interested in hearing your final test results of controlled bench shooting at 15 yards to see just what may happen (and, if you've got the time, at 25 yards as well).

I'm interested in that too so I'll get back to you when I get to the range for that test.

kopsy
10-25-2010, 16:22
I have shot a lot of lead 9mm bullets in 38/357 guns. Unless the bullets are very hard cast, they will key hole ate 25 yards from my 9mms but not from the 38/357 revolvers. The Lee 125 grain tumble lube mold bullets fired from the revolvers shoot OK, but some key hole at 25 yards from the 1911 9mm or the Glock 19. Also I have more leading problems with the 9mm barrels than the 38 barrels. Leading in the muzzle end of the barrel is some times caused by the lube(not enough or not the right type), undersized hard bullets will lead at the forcing cone end of the barrel. With lead it is usually better to be over sized than undersized. JMHO :wavey:

With a handgun, I only shoot paper out to 25 yards. After that I shoot at steel. So far I haven't seen a keyhole shot from any of my reloads. I get that the bullet has started to tumble, but what does that do to your grouping size? double it? Triple it?

kopsy
10-25-2010, 16:41
If you are shooting a stock Glock bbl, they will tend to lead w/ softer bullets. Yes, I have shot a stock G17, 1000s of lead bullets, it will lead w/ softer/smaller bullets. You might try a 0.357" bullet if it's on the softer side. Stay away from uberfast powders, IME, they tend to lead bbls sooner than later. Here is some lead bullet reading that is insightful. Pay attention to the part about pressure vs alloy. A hard bullet can lead a bbl in light loads, especially if it is slightly undersized. http://www.lasc.us/CastBulletNotes.htm AS sheep noted, leading early is often too small a bullet, late is the lube failing, all along the bbl, alloy, lube &/or rough bbl.

Yes, it is a stock barrel and the leading occurs late.

That was very interesting reading. Maybe one day when I have a ton more time I will get into casting my own bullets.

PS. As a side note the 38 did not lead at all last weekend using new bullets and the Glock did using the old moly coated bullets.

shotgunred
10-25-2010, 17:11
Unique is all I have right now (Tightgroup is on the way). so I can try more powder and see if that clears up the leading problem.

Yes, I am just trying to see if one bullet is good for both the 9mm and 38. If it's not then ok, fine. I think you're right though - the more I think about it the more it seems to make sense that I should be looking at a good .358 that will fire in my G17 (and will then go through the 38 special).

Tight group is not the powder you want to use with lead!

Colorado4Wheel
10-25-2010, 17:14
You can try them, I doubt you will be happy. .001 inch to small in a gun will make a HUGE difference in most situations. You can use a large then needed bullet and be fine, but going the other way is not likely to be successfull. Bullets start keyholing pretty quickly in my experiance.

kopsy
04-28-2011, 21:46
Well, here it is April and I am just getting back to this. I've had time to go shooting but not had time to do both. :crying:

I was on a short bay last weekend that is only about 60ft deep so I ran tests at 10 and 15 yards. Four tests, two at each distance, using 125g .356 and 125g .358 bullets. The average group radius was 1 1/16" with only 1/4" between the two sizes. Still not enough of a difference to tell me anything.

I'm going to try this test again at 50 yards.

Between the tests and the replies, I think I would probably go with both sizes .356 and .358 -or- just the .358 bullets. Let's see what the 50 yard test shows and how well the .358 bullets come out of my 9mm.

kopsy
04-28-2011, 21:52
Tight group is not the powder you want to use with lead!

That's interesting. Why not?

Funny thing is I would have said that about Unique. When I shoot the .38 I have unburned powder that comes out of the spent brass. I never noticed this before until a couple of months ago I was shooting over a table and was just dropping the spent cartidges on the table top. I noticed unburnt powder so I started paying attention and sure enough. I didn't measure it, but if I had to guess I would say 0.25g - 0.5g of powder pours out of each cartridge.

Is that normal???

GioaJack
04-28-2011, 22:01
Don't use Unique for light target loads, it needs to be run at least mid-range. There really is no better powder for lead than Unique.


Jack

shotgunred
04-29-2011, 09:52
Tight group is a very fast burning powder and it burns very hot.
I am a fan of tight group for low velocity target rounds. But when you use it with lead it will smoke horribly. If you are just going to plink a few rounds you can get away with it. If you are going to shoot a lot will cause more leading issues also. There are a lot better choices for shooting lead out there.