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I decided to try Lehigh Xtreme Defense 68-grain 9mm bullets. They finally arrived, and I have been trying to load them. I learned a few things, so I am here to post the info for anyone else who uses these bullets.

They do NOT like separate crimping dies. I had my press set up with a seating die and a 9mm crimping die. The loaded cases were very hard to push into the crimping die. Lube helped, but maybe not enough to make a crimping die a good idea. I don't know what the problem is, but these are hard 100% copper bullets, so maybe they don't yield like lead and jacketed bullets.

Before I tried lube, I actually pulled a case in half. The upper half stayed in the die, and I had to make a punch to bang it out. To me, this suggests that even if you get away with using a crimping die, you are likely to end up with weakened cases that almost tore.

I went back to my old crimping/seating die, and the problems went away. I used a gage to make sure the cartridges would chamber in any 9mm pistol. Haven't tested them yet because I spent a long time working on the special Lehigh issues and some problems with the press. These rounds are supposed to go about 1600 fps. Lehigh's data goes as high as 1785.

I also learned new things about the Hornady Lock n Load AP. It's always coming up with surprises. The primer slides on these things are full of problems. They tend to catch on the primer punch, because it will stick up if there is powder in it OR the spring around the spent primer tube is short. In the past, I had primers that were hard to seat, so I applied a lot of pressure on the spring, and it looks like the spring was permanently shortened. This causes the primer seating stud to stand up when the sub plate is at rest, and the stud will obstruct the slide.

I pulled the spring out of the press. To do this, you have to remove the spent primer tube. It's pressed in. I could not get anywhere by hand, so I grabbed the lower end with pliers. I deformed it a little, but primers will still go through. The tubing has a 0.25" ID and a 0.307" OD, if you want spare tubing but don't feel like ordering official Hornady stuff.

I think the press would be improved by a couple of hard rubber stops under the sub plate, to prevent overcompressing the spring. When I got my spring out of the press, I stretched it, and the slide started working again.

It looks like loading all-copper ammo is very different from loading lead and jacketed. As for the Hornady press, I think people underestimate the maintenance it needs. Getting it running smoothly today with one cartridge doesn't mean it will work 6 months from now with something else. The spring shortens, the primer punch digs a hole in the press, powder gets into things, the pawls get out of timing, crud accumulates, and you also have to use the grease zerks regularly.

I found another new problem this time around. The screw in the end of the pistol micrometer on the powder press backs out, and it kills your accuracy. You have to check this screw every time you use the press. I'm going to loctite mine.
 

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Those Lehigh bullets, are they the funny looking ones? I was looking at some tonight.
 

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From the tests I have seen none of those funky bullets are worth it over regular good hollow points, and the only reason to use them would be when you are not able or allowed to use hollow points.
Reading your post keeping with hollow points will also save you a lot of headaches and probably a bit of money as well.

f.w.i.w I have over 50K roudns loaded on my LnL and I don't recognize the issue with the spring. You do have to keep that area clean but that goes for any progressive.
 

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When you flare the cartridge cases for bullet seating, the flare should be just enough to start bullet to seat. To big a flare can cause the cartridge case to drag on the inside of the crimping die. Plus to much flare any more then necessary can cause the cartridge case mouth to eventually crack do to over working the brass by over expanding with the flare die, and then compressing back with the crimp die.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
From the tests I have seen none of those funky bullets are worth it over regular good hollow points, and the only reason to use them would be when you are not able or allowed to use hollow points.
I suppose we are looking at different tests.

When you flare the cartridge cases for bullet seating, the flare should be just enough to start bullet to seat. To big a flare can cause the cartridge case to drag on the inside of the crimping die. Plus to much flare any more then necessary can cause the cartridge case mouth to eventually crack do to over working the brass by over expanding with the flare die, and then compressing back with the crimp die.
These bullets are naturally slick, so they like to fall over if the bell isn't deep. I considered reducing the bell, but I didn't want bullets flopping on the way to the die.

The old combination die is working fine, so it's not a problem.

Lehigh answered a question for me, so I'll post the response for the benefit of others.

I'll try to be of help and while I usually use mostly Lee Crimp Dies, I have use some Hornady Crimp Dies and have had good luck with them in the past. I'll just point out a few things for you to try and see if we can't get the issue resolved.
Since it is a "solid" bullet unlike a lead core bullet which has some "give" to it, the crimp must be applied in the groove or there is no place for the case mouth to go.
We list the loaded length at: COL (Inches)1.105". and when loading this bullet I position the case mouth at the top of the groove and then start adjusting the Crimp Die until I get a snug crimp. When adjusting the die you should be able to see the case mouth begin to press into the groove - making small adjustments until you get a firm crimp.
Also it is important to make sure the brass is once fired and is all the same length.
Hopefully making sure the seating depth is correct and then backing off the Crimp Die and making fine adjustments on it, will work for you
 
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There's no way that I'm trimming 9mm brass, so I guess those are out.
 

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I just read the last post by English Bob and if that is the advice Lehigh gave, to me the part about crimping the cases mouth into a crimp groove is not what one wants to do for 9mm Luger. Auto loading pistols that fire straight walled cartridges, the cartridge case mouth rim is what the cartridge head-spaces off of. If the case mouth rim is rolled into a crimp groove on the bullet the cartridge will seat to far forwards into the pistols chamber and the firing pin will either light strike the cartridge primer or not even strike it at all. Worse case scenario is that the cartridge does fire, but the cartridge gets slammed back onto the pistol slide breach face and may damage the pistol.

The advice given by Lehigh referring to crimping the cartridge case mouth into the bullets crimp groove is for revolver cartridges.
 

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I lead a sheltered life I guess, since I have never heard of Lehigh Xtreme Defense bullets. I do have to agree with PRR about the crimp groove and revolver cartridges. There is no way I would ever put a roll crimp on a 9mm since the chamber has to have a pronounced edge for proper headspace.
 

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Agree with PRR1957-roll crimp on a 9mm...don't think so.....I've killed a lot of hogs with LeHigh 115gr Controlled Chaos-devastating...if you have a weak stomach,you don't want to see what they do..I also carry same round in my PDW .300WH.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The email didn't actually say to do a full roll crimp. I don't know if the people at Lehigh know what they're doing or not. One hopes so, given the business they're in.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I tried to test the rounds I made. Could not get the chronograph to work. Maybe it was too dark. Anyway, I learned this: these bullets will NOT feed in a Storm Lake barrel. Not even close. They work fine in a stock barrel.
 
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I tried to test the rounds I made. Could not get the chronograph to work. Maybe it was too dark. Anyway, I learned this: these bullets will NOT feed in a Storm Lake barrel. Not even close. They work fine in a stock barrel.
Interesting. I wonder why not. I guess that I could stop by their place and ask.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
The flat ends of the bullets hit the rear of the ramp.
 

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Stock barrel with polygonal chamber is more forgiving.I've found SL barrels to be tight,which is good from an accuracy POV.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I only bought new barrels for practicing with lead. As much as I would like to carry a gun with a pretty stainless barrel, I think it's a really bad idea. The stock barrels will chamber anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Today I had time to shoot a few rounds. The average speed is 1505, which is a lot lower than Lehigh's maximum figure. I'm still 0.5 grains below their top load, so I'm going to move up.

The recoil seems light.
 

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Today I had time to shoot a few rounds. The average speed is 1505, which is a lot lower than Lehigh's maximum figure. I'm still 0.5 grains below their top load, so I'm going to move up.

The recoil seems light.
Keep track of your accuracy and precision (group size). Higher velocity does not necessarily mean better grouping.
 
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