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  #1  
Old 06-24-2020, 07:41 PM
Hank in Arkansa Hank in Arkansa is offline
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Question about DW chamber dimensions

I recently received a DW Guardian (2020 production) 9mm. I've finally had time to run a bunch of loads thru it, with some interesting results. Zero malfunctions with 3 different factory loads, ball and HPs, mild and +P. However, I have some handloads that don't feed completely. First thought is bad handloads, but all function perfectly in my other duty type 9mms. I also have a 9mm gauge, and run all my handloads thru the gauge, and all gauge just fine. But when dropped into the DW barrel, some won't chamber completely. I resized a few with a carbide die (yes, you can resize loaded rounds, but it's a pain), and that allows them to chamber. So it's not OAL, or bullet ogive, but rather the degree of resizing of the brass. I want this handgun as an EDC, but I'm a little concerned about a chamber that is so tight that rounds that gauge OK won't chamber. I fear a factory round might hang up if the gun is a little dirty or dry. At the range, no problem, but for EDC a bit risky. Wondering if anyone with a similar problem has had a barrel replaced, or reamed out just a hair? I don't need match accuracy for an EDC, because I have a match 9mm that goes to IDPA with me.
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Old 06-24-2020, 09:38 PM
K38 K38 is offline
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Interesting. I have had the same problem in my Valor with .45 handoads that chamber just fine in my other .45's.
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  #3  
Old 06-24-2020, 11:03 PM
f1racefan f1racefan is online now
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Had the same problem and think I have the answer.

I haven't bought factory 9mm ammo in nearly a decade since I started reloading. Up until about 3 years ago, most of my 9mm reloads were shot through Berettas and a CZ or two. Everything was fine...

Then I bought a DW Valkyrie Commander in 9mm. All of the sudden, rounds started not chambering fully. I removed the barrel and decided to just drop rounds into the chamber to see what would happen. Some did not fully drop into the chamber. So I got the micrometer out and started measuring cases. I found that the problem cases were a bit oversized right next to the case rim.

So obviously the case wasn't getting fully sized. I checked my press and found my sizing die wasn't contacting the shell carrier at full stroke. So, while holding the press at full stroke, I adjusted the die so that it firmly contacted the shell carrier. After that, most of my DW chambering issues went away.

Lots of pistols say they have "match" chambers, but I don't really think they do. A match chamber is designed to just have enough clearance for the case to load. This is done so that the bullet enters the rifled bore as perfectly centered as possible. But I've found with my two DW pistols that the chambers tend to be very tight. I don't believe they're out of spec, just that they are cut to the correct spec to qualify as a true match chamber.

So, you have a few options. You can just not shoot reloads in your DW pistols. Of you can find a sizing die that fully sizes the case walls. Or, you could even have your DW chambers reamed a bit to open them up. You'll find that most other "service" pistols tend to have chambers that are a bit bigger just to make sure they chamber pretty much any ammo.

As an aside, I shoot a high-end .22 target rifle. When folks buy a custom barrel for their .22 target rifle, most smiths take a LOT of time getting the barrel bore perfectly centered in their lathe before cutting and reaming the chamber. Making sure the .22 bullet is perfectly centered as it enters the rifle is paramount to creating a consistent shooting rifle. I'd guess that for similar reasons, DW cuts tight chambers in their pistols. I know my little ECO with it's 3.5" barrel seems to be awfully accurate out to 50 yards.
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  #4  
Old 06-25-2020, 12:49 AM
longarm longarm is offline
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I ran into some issues like this with my G2c - I reset the dies to seriously "resize" down to the toenails of the brass and that helped - I think I am also running with almost no leade.

1. Full-resize as hard & far as you can.
2. Keep reseating the slug until the pistol-barrel agrees.
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  #5  
Old 06-25-2020, 06:29 AM
rbert0005 rbert0005 is offline
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Sounds like you guys need a Lee Factory Crimp Die.

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Old 06-25-2020, 09:38 AM
K38 K38 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbert0005 View Post
Sounds like you guys need a Lee Factory Crimp Die.

Bob
I've always used one. Still have occasional chambering problems with the Valor. No such problems with my Wilson CQB and other .45's.
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  #7  
Old 06-25-2020, 11:06 AM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hank in Arkansa View Post
I also have a 9mm gauge, and run all my handloads thru the gauge, and all gauge just fine. But when dropped into the DW barrel, some won't chamber completely.
Plan A: Rechamber to accept the ammo you use in other guns.
Plan B: Try the Lee "U" sizing die which is smaller ID and less mouth radius than standard. (Also available from EGW.)

I wish somebody with good instrumentation would examine these tight chambers and see if they are minimum or undersize.
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  #8  
Old 06-25-2020, 12:23 PM
Hank in Arkansa Hank in Arkansa is offline
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Some good, thoughtful info here. As I said earlier, it was possible to resize some loaded rounds that would easily drop into the DW chamber, but not workable solution. That technique squeezes some of the bullet lead forward, and causes the bullets to loosen in the case. Discarded those. Here's solution I'm going to try: existing 9mm reloads will be reserved for my Glocks and PCCs. Just completed order for Lee 9mm undersize carbide sizing die, and also Lee 9mm carbide factory crimp die. And I'll size the crap out of cases destined for the DW pistol. Interestingly, some handloads I have on hand were loaded in new factory primed cases I picked up at a gun show. They chamber just fine, so obviously the DW likes the minimal dimensions that good quality factory ammo has. I'm still baffled at why a quality 9mm gauge would "pass" ammo that won't chamber in the DW.
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  #9  
Old 06-25-2020, 01:12 PM
f1racefan f1racefan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hank in Arkansa View Post
I'm still baffled at why a quality 9mm gauge would "pass" ammo that won't chamber in the DW.
If you have a set of calipers or a micrometer, why not measure some factory 9mm rounds, your reloads that chamber, and your reloads that don't chamber and see where the differences are?

I'll admit that I would have thought the gauge would be to the tighter end of the spec, but maybe not. I've probably reloaded over 10K rounds of 9mm and have never used a gauge. The only thing I'm concerned with is my guns shooting my reloads since I no longer buy factory loaded pistol ammo. For me, my pistols' chambers are my gauge. As long as the rounds fit there, I'm good.
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Old 06-25-2020, 01:13 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
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The L.E. Wilson and Lyman are cartridge gauges. Since the minimum chamber should accept a maximum cartridge, these are slightly larger than a gun chamber.
Another consideration, just how precise is a $20-$30 gauge?

The EGW is cut with a chamber reamer without a throat and won't pass any of my reloads except those with lightweight JHPs.

The Shockbottle gauge is, according to their www "Machines to S.A.M.M.I. spec's (will be tighter on lead and moly bullets)"
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  #11  
Old 06-25-2020, 04:26 PM
Hank in Arkansa Hank in Arkansa is offline
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f1racefan, your idea of measuring is good. I have both calipers and a micrometer, so I compared dimensions on a factory round (no problems after 150+ rounds with this round) against a handload that would not quite chamber properly. Every dimension on the handload was less than or equal to factory, with one exception. The case cross section just ahead of the case head web averaged 1 to 2 one-thousands of an inch larger than factory (I took several measurements). I conclude that on my particular pistol, the chamber dimensions are tighter than any other 9mm I've ever encountered, and tighter than my Lyman gauge. I'd suspect that the chamber is tighter than any manufacturer who is building to SAAMI specs. I hope the Lee undersize sizing die will do the trick, as it's supposed to reduce this dimension by 3 to 4 one thousands. If it doesn't, I've already found a gunsmith who will open up the chamber and polish. Frankly, for me, this chamber is way too tight for an EDC. I don't understand why DW would use such a chamber size.
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  #12  
Old 06-25-2020, 04:29 PM
Hank in Arkansa Hank in Arkansa is offline
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I neglected to mention that I have a custom Nighthawk 9mm (built to my specs) that eats these handloads with no problems. Same for factory fodder. And it's a tack driver.
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  #13  
Old 06-25-2020, 07:23 PM
LWMac LWMac is offline
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9mm Valkyrie has same issue - tight chamber. Reloaded cartridges must have a diameter on the small size AND satisfy headspace. L.E. Wilson gauge just does not catch the extra 0.002 to 0.003" that chokes the Valkyrie. As test today, ran 30 mixed WIN/WCC bright, clean cases through Lee 90313 die and then loaded the resulting cases. Only one of the 30 did not pass plunk-test with Valkyrie barrel and it was well off on headspace (even the L.E. Wilson indicates bad). However, that too-long case would go into barrel backwards a good distance suggesting that extra diameter had been cured with the Lee 90313. Shame to need an extra step. However, owner (weight sensitive) is shooting the Valkyrie (with red-dot sight) in Bullseye - and it is excellent.
So as not to need to use plunk-test with barrel, who makes a more tight 9mm gauge than the L.E. Wilson?
Related to the issue, at least three companies make machines to perform full-length sizing: Rollsizer.com Case Pro 100 and Magma Engineering - anyone use one of these? Mac
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Old 06-25-2020, 07:42 PM
f1racefan f1racefan is online now
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I think there is a user that goes by Keith DW that I thought was a DW rep. Perhaps he'll wonder along here and provide some clues as to why DW chambers tend to be tighter than others. It might be even better for DW to consider the issues users of their fine pistols are having and open up the chambers just a smidge.
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  #15  
Old 06-25-2020, 07:46 PM
Big Pete10 Big Pete10 is offline
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My 9MM Valkyrie works with my hand loads as well as factory loads. Your hand loads need to be as close as possible to factory loads, if not it ain't the gun's fault.
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Old 06-25-2020, 10:48 PM
f1racefan f1racefan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Pete10 View Post
My 9MM Valkyrie works with my hand loads as well as factory loads. Your hand loads need to be as close as possible to factory loads, if not it ain't the gun's fault.
Kind of...because reloads that won't shoot in a DW will most likely shoot in many other pistols. I've shot plenty of my reloads thru a Beretta 92A1 and a PX4. Both of those pistols were very, very accurate and fed all my reloads WAY before I discovered that my sizing die wasn't going all the way down the case.

Plus, how do we know you don't have a Valkyrie with a chamber a bit bigger than those reporting issues???
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Old 06-27-2020, 06:54 AM
rbert0005 rbert0005 is offline
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You could go to a local machine shop and ask to use their pin gages and check the diameters of the chambers.

Bob
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  #18  
Old 06-27-2020, 10:56 AM
Big Pete10 Big Pete10 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f1racefan View Post
Kind of...because reloads that won't shoot in a DW will most likely shoot in many other pistols. I've shot plenty of my reloads thru a Beretta 92A1 and a PX4. Both of those pistols were very, very accurate and fed all my reloads WAY before I discovered that my sizing die wasn't going all the way down the case.

Plus, how do we know you don't have a Valkyrie with a chamber a bit bigger than those reporting issues???
My Valkyrie may have an oversize chamber. Experience over the years has shown me that if a gun will shoot factory loads it will shoot hand loads if the hand loads duplicate factory loads. I've had more experience with .45s than 9MMs. Most likely the hand loads that won't feed exceed the factory spec in some way is why they don't chamber like they should. This is why it's a good Idea to use the bbl from the gun you are gonna shoot the ammo in toe gauge your ammo. In this instance the 2 guns that do work may have oversize chambers.
In my experience with .45s, Had to adjust my dies when when I bought a Gold Cup even tho ammo worked in my Combat Elite, had to adust again when I got my 625 revolver, had to adjust again when I got the Ruger CMD.
Ammo now works in all 7 45 ACPs I own. Factory ammo also works in all 7 guns.
Of the 7 9MM guns I've had experience I've never had had one with a tight chamber but anything can happen. A gunsmith should have go-no go gauges to check the gun in question. You still may have to seat the bullet a little deeper to get the ammo to chamber. My Ruger CMD has no lead in it, had to seat my bullets a little deeper before it would feed reliably.
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Old 06-27-2020, 05:53 PM
Bob JD Bob JD is offline
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Most of my brass is range brass, so as standard procedure I full length resize my cases. They functioned fine in 3 different brands of pistols and they dropped into the 9mm gauge with no issue.

When I started shooting my 2 DW's I had occasional rounds that would not go to full battery. I used the DW barrel for a plunk test and had to shorten my oal and I had no more issues.

Then along came a couple CZ's and I had fail to go into battery issues again. Used the CZ barrels for a plunk test, had to shorten the oal again and all is well.

The above is with the same bullets, primer and powder. My DW and CZ chambers are in spec. so that was not the issue. The issue was improper oal for the gun I was shooting.

95% of what I shoot is reloads and they will now function in all my pistol. I am sure there may be some accuracy compromises but I will accept that.

I do understand the potential hazards of too short oal but I am longer than any minimum oal spec. I can find.

The point of all this is to consider this before you bare the cost of rechambering. Maybe you have.

Regards,

Bob
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Old 06-27-2020, 06:28 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is online now
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And, of course, it will Void Your Warranty which is probably not worth a whole lot once you have a working gun in hand.
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  #21  
Old 06-28-2020, 02:44 PM
LWMac LWMac is offline
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Compared just the barrels of two 9mm Valkyrie DW pistols. One absolutely needs reloaded cases that have gone through 90313 Lee "U" die and the other is not fussy. S/N about 700 apart made in 2016. Found a reloaded cartridge that has gone through 90313 and that drops into the tight chamber and that drops out of the tight chamber just using gravity. This cartridge when in the tight chamber has barely a hint of side to side movement when pushed sideways. Same cartridge placed into the other DW barrel is able to be moved side-to-side a very small, but noticeable, amount.
Conclusions: DW barrels can have very tight chambers necessitating use of 90313 or one of the other means for almost full length resizing. Must use plunk test when setting up for reloading.
Comment on "almost full length resizing:" since the cartridge base ends up outside of the barrel, the base can be oversize and pass the plunk-test. L.W. Wilson case gauge will not work to sort because it includes base. Headspace gauge still works, but is not sufficient to indicate fit to a tight chamber. MUST USE PLUNK TEST Mac
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Old 06-28-2020, 06:27 PM
f1racefan f1racefan is online now
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I shoot an STI Guardian 2011 for competition and it is now my practice the night before the match to remove the barrel and "plunk" all rounds I'm taking to the match to make certain they chamber. Granted, I've never had any issues with the STI not chambering. But I do everything in my powers to eliminate any potential issues that might occur during the match and cost me time.

Bob JD...I'd be interested in knowing what OAL you've finally settled on to get your rounds to pass the plunk test in your DW and CZ pistols. I shoot RMR 115 gr FMJs and tend to shoot for 1.125 OAL.
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  #23  
Old 06-28-2020, 09:06 PM
Bowdrie Bowdrie is offline
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Lee makes push-thru dies, but I don't know if they offer 9mm.
Cases that have had multiple re-loadings can have their bases swell a few thou and the normal sizing dies won't get that out.

Edit; An old time trick is to take the sizing die and have a machine shop put it in a lathe and take-off a few thousands, so that the ram can push the case into the die a bit more.

Last edited by Bowdrie; 06-28-2020 at 09:24 PM.
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  #24  
Old 06-29-2020, 03:14 PM
Bob JD Bob JD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f1racefan View Post
I shoot an STI Guardian 2011 for competition and it is now my practice the night before the match to remove the barrel and "plunk" all rounds I'm taking to the match to make certain they chamber. Granted, I've never had any issues with the STI not chambering. But I do everything in my powers to eliminate any potential issues that might occur during the match and cost me time.

Bob JD...I'd be interested in knowing what OAL you've finally settled on to get your rounds to pass the plunk test in your DW and CZ pistols. I shoot RMR 115 gr FMJs and tend to shoot for 1.125 OAL.
I use Blue Bullets. For the 125 gr. RN profile the OAL for my Glock's was 1.135" and for the CZ's the OAL is 1.100". The DW's were about 1.250". I now load all of my 125 gr RN Blue Bullets at 1.100" OAL. and have no issues.

I also load 125 gr TC "truncated cone" Blue Bullets. For the CZ the OAL is 1.300" and they function in the above pistols.

The profile on these bullets is different and require a different OAL.

Hope this helps.

Bob
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Old 06-29-2020, 10:33 PM
f1racefan f1racefan is online now
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It is crazy when you look at reloading data and see quite a variance in OAL for the exact same weight bullet. I think when I settled on 1.125, I sort of chose the middle ground for 115 gr bullets. But you are correct, the shape of the bullet makes a difference as to whether the chambered bullet is touching the rifling of the barrel or not.
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