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  #1  
Old 04-22-2017, 03:10 PM
Shooter606 Shooter606 is offline
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Getting bullet tumble,... why?

Went to the range this morning and discovered something odd, it happened about 6 times out of a hundred or so rounds. Found that one bullet style I shoot does not do it but the other one is guilty. Took these pics of my target and the holes where the bullet clearly went through on it's side. What can cause this? The guy that owns the range said it was most likely that bullet design. All fired the same and I could not tell any difference except that the tumbling bullet would fall way low. Rounds are 9mm using 4.0gr HP-38 powder and cast lead bullet at 125gr. The last pic shows the bullet I'm shooting compared to a factory round.
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Old 04-22-2017, 03:15 PM
diver64 diver64 is offline
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Since its not fully in the groove are you seating them squarely?
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Old 04-22-2017, 03:46 PM
Shooter606 Shooter606 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diver64 View Post
Since its not fully in the groove are you seating them squarely?
I have another thread about the seating depth of this bullet. I also questioned it, and because of setting them too deep for the powder that's why they are out a little. The length is fine and they cycle fine at this length. I'm thinking that this bullet design is my problem as the other style I'm casting had no issues and seated to the same depth. I'll get a pic up...
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Old 04-22-2017, 03:55 PM
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RetiredRod RetiredRod is offline
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I don't think the problem is with the bullet design. Bullets tumble because they haven't obtained the gyroscopic stability necessary. I'm guessing the problem is due to one or both of the following.

First, the cast bullet may have an internal "void" which will make the Moment of Inertia unsymmetrical about the longitudinal centerline. The would cause the bullet to "wobble".

Second, in charging the cases with powder you may have gotten a low charge, resulting in low velocity. Low velocity thru the barrel will cause less than optimal bullet spin stabilization, resulting in tumbling.
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Old 04-22-2017, 03:58 PM
RustyOK RustyOK is offline
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Typically a key holed bullet is from an improper powder charge. But I only know shooting and not reloading.
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Old 04-22-2017, 04:34 PM
Trigger Creep Trigger Creep is offline
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Rod is on the right track. When we say "tumble" we don't mean end over end.
But rather the projectile is wobbling because it hasn't stabilized its spin.
Most projectiles do wobble when they leave the muzzle, but self stabilize quickly.
Yours is not stabilizing quickly enough.

If cast improperly, the solution is to go back and cast more carefully.

IF the bullet is cast correctly with no voids, you can experiment with different powders
looking for a load that lets it stabilize more quickly, my suggestion is a slower powder.
I know it sounds strange, but 9mm bullets that wobble with faster powders
often stabilize with a slower powder.

Example:
I had some 125gn truncated cone that keyholed from my Beretta using Titegroup.
I simply loaded to same velocity with Unique and the keyhole went away.
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Old 04-22-2017, 04:40 PM
kurusu kurusu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredRod View Post
I don't think the problem is with the bullet design. Bullets tumble because they haven't obtained the gyroscopic stability necessary. I'm guessing the problem is due to one or both of the following.

First, the cast bullet may have an internal "void" which will make the Moment of Inertia unsymmetrical about the longitudinal centerline. The would cause the bullet to "wobble".

Second, in charging the cases with powder you may have gotten a low charge, resulting in low velocity. Low velocity thru the barrel will cause less than optimal bullet spin stabilization, resulting in tumbling.
All very true.

I might add that it can also happen with:

Undersized bullets for a given barrel.
Worn out barrel.
Improper barrel twist rate for the bullet velocity.
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Old 04-22-2017, 04:41 PM
NonHyphenAmerican NonHyphenAmerican is offline
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I"m guessing bullet design since it only does it some of the time.

My load and the load my range buddies use for 120gr 9mm urn's is 4.0gr HP-38 so it would appear that it's some of the bullets rather than the load.
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Old 04-22-2017, 05:23 PM
iceburg iceburg is offline
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I've heard that cast bullets can tumble in a Glock hexagonal barrel, what kind of pistol is it?

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Old 04-22-2017, 05:30 PM
chuckstur chuckstur is offline
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What a can of worms.... As noted above, try higher and lower velocities, and make sure you are not over-crimping. Check the crimp on a loaded round with a razor blade straight edge and a magnifying glass. This is all theoretical. My shooting buddy has had on-and-off problems with coated bullets in his Glocks for years. We have not figured it out.
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Old 04-22-2017, 05:45 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shooter606 View Post
I'm thinking that this bullet design is my problem as the other style I'm casting had no issues and seated to the same depth.
This is kind of like the old saying "Pain is nature's way of telling you to cut that stuff out."
Use your good bullet.

For some reason 9mm is more subject to yawed and keyholed bullets of any caliber I have shot or seen being shot.
Sometimes it can be corrected, sometimes it can't.
I dealt with my last batch of "tumblers" by shooting them up in the one gun that they did NOT keyhole from, and then going back to the previous fully satisfactory bullet.
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Old 04-22-2017, 05:47 PM
Shooter606 Shooter606 is offline
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All good info and many things to try, I do have different powder now to try. I was told to give Bullseye a try from an old-timer reloader, he said it is an awesome powder for handgun loads so I got a pound to try. I also have some Titegroup but have not loaded with it yet. The gun is a new Springfield 1911 9mm 5 inch barrel I also got the same results with my 4 inch barrel 1911. Here is a pic of the two bullets i'm now casting. Both are 124gr but due to my alloy they are a tiny bit heavier around 125.2 give or take. The bullet on the right gives me no issues and both measure .356
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  #13  
Old 04-22-2017, 05:56 PM
kurusu kurusu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Watson View Post

For some reason 9mm is more subject to yawed and keyholed bullets of any caliber I have shot or seen being shot.
Sometimes it can be corrected, sometimes it can't.
I dealt with my last batch of "tumblers" by shooting them up in the one gun that they did NOT keyhole from, and then going back to the previous fully satisfactory bullet.
Going off topic but...

Jim, have you ever fired or seen someone firing the .30 Mauser much in a pre 1912 broomhandle?
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Old 04-22-2017, 06:13 PM
GT40DOC GT40DOC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trigger Creep View Post

IF the bullet is cast correctly with no voids, you can experiment with different powders
looking for a load that lets it stabilize more quickly, my suggestion is a slower powder.
I know it sounds strange, but 9mm bullets that wobble with faster powders
often stabilize with a slower powder.

Example:
I had some 125gn truncated cone that keyholed from my Beretta using Titegroup.
I simply loaded to same velocity with Unique and the keyhole went away.



I have never heard of this.....good info to try. I am getting keyholing occasionally with some 30 Luger 93gr RNL bullets out of a Luger pistol. I purchased the bullets, as I don't cast bullets. These rounds are loaded with Bullseye powder, and function fine in the gun, but will occasionally keyhole. The next batch I will switch over to Unique powder, as I like Unique with FMJ bullets.....thanx
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Old 04-22-2017, 06:21 PM
kurusu kurusu is offline
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Originally Posted by GT40DOC View Post
I have never heard of this.....good info to try. I am getting keyholing occasionally with some 30 Luger 93gr RNL bullets out of a Luger pistol. I purchased the bullets, as I don't cast bullets. These rounds are loaded with Bullseye powder, and function fine in the gun, but will occasionally keyhole. The next batch I will switch over to Unique powder, as I like Unique with FMJ bullets.....thanx
Bullseye is a bit too fast for good Luger operation. You will indeed do better with Unique or equivalent.
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Old 04-22-2017, 07:28 PM
Falmike Falmike is offline
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Maybe the cast bullets are undersized for your bore. Dig some out of the backstop and see if the rifling is clean or if slippage is apparent.
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Old 04-22-2017, 10:33 PM
jjfitch jjfitch is offline
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After shooting the lead bullets, what does the barrel look like?

If you are seeing lead in the grooves you are probably stripping lead due to improperly sized bullet to barrel.

I had a similar experience with a barrel that measured .356. I now cast a NOE 130 grain LRNFP .358 and size to
.357. I also use a fairly soft lube. Problem solved. A side benefit is absolutely no leading. I floss the barrel with a rolled up paper towel!

I also shoot the the same bullet in 38SPL and 38 Super!

Shooting lead is as much an art as it is a science.

Regards,
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Last edited by jjfitch; 04-22-2017 at 10:42 PM. Reason: syntax
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  #18  
Old 04-23-2017, 03:21 PM
GT40DOC GT40DOC is offline
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Originally Posted by kurusu View Post
Bullseye is a bit too fast for good Luger operation. You will indeed do better with Unique or equivalent.

In THIS particular Luger, in this caliber(30 luger), Bullseye works 100%. You and I both know that each Luger is "different" and one has to load to fit it. I use Unique in all of my 9mm Luger loads, but Bullseye and Red Dot(another fast powder) work wonderfully in this Luger. It is hard to argue with success!!!
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Old 04-23-2017, 04:04 PM
kurusu kurusu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GT40DOC View Post
In THIS particular Luger, in this caliber(30 luger), Bullseye works 100%. You and I both know that each Luger is "different" and one has to load to fit it. I use Unique in all of my 9mm Luger loads, but Bullseye and Red Dot(another fast powder) work wonderfully in this Luger. It is hard to argue with success!!!
No argue at all. If it works well in your gun, it is a good load for it.
Tell me about each Luger is different. Can't seem to find one single good load for my 2 shooters.

But you said you had keyholing issues.
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Old 04-23-2017, 06:02 PM
GT40DOC GT40DOC is offline
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Originally Posted by kurusu View Post
No argue at all. If it works well in your gun, it is a good load for it.
Tell me about each Luger is different. Can't seem to find one single good load for my 2 shooters.

But you said you had keyholing issues.




I do get keyholing occasionally(maybe 1-3/50 rounds), and had never heard of trying a slower power to try to correct it. I was questioning the lead bullets that I purchased as not all being consistent in size/shape/internal void, as causing my problem, as it doesn't occur with every shot. Changing to a different powder is easy to do, and maybe it will solve my problem, if not, then I will just have to put up with it, as I purchased >1K of these bullets(I am frugal!!). These bullets don't tumble in my BHP in 30 Luger, but they lead like crazy, as they are slightly oversize for the Bar-Sto bbl. in the BHP. Handloading can/does open some doors, but also can produce mystery.
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Old 04-23-2017, 06:39 PM
noylj noylj is offline
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Keyholing is almost always due to the bullet being too small in diameter for the barrel.
This is VERY common in plated bullets. Honest to God jacketed bullets simply don't do this, except in milsurp rifles with barrels in very poor condition.
Thoroughly clean the barrel. Slug the barrel. Ensure cast and plated bullets are at least 0.001" over actual groove diameter. For 9x19, I prefer 0.357" jacketed and 0.358" cast for ALL my 9x19 guns. Note that SAAMI permits groove diameters up to 0.359" and European guns can go as high as 0.362", so you really need to know your barrel before shooting plated or cast bullets.
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Old 04-23-2017, 07:52 PM
Jim Watson Jim Watson is offline
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Yes, but...
Seems like they hold the chambers closer to spec than the tubes.
You can get a chamber that will not accept a round with a bullet that fills the grooves.
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  #23  
Old 04-23-2017, 08:49 PM
eby1911 eby1911 is offline
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I've got a 380 that key holes when the barrel gets dirty.
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  #24  
Old 04-23-2017, 10:57 PM
BruceM BruceM is offline
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It is more likely to be that the tumble-lube bullet and the rifling in you particular barrel do not play well together than a propellant problem or that the alloy you are using is not strong enough with that particular bullet design. Look at the difference in the amount of bearing surface between the tumble-lube on the left and the round nose on the right.

Bruce
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Old 04-24-2017, 01:14 AM
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Hate to say it, but your molds are of poor quality. The bases are not square to the centerline of the molds. Look at the bullet picture in your first post. Notice how you bullet is leaning over as compared to the jacketed bullet.

Look at your picture in post number 12. Both bullets are leaning outboard. I realize camera angle can create optical illusions, but unfortunately, this is an all too common issue with these molds.

Place two of them together on a flat surface, and it will become apparent.

Yes, the single lube groove bullet has a better chance of acceptable performance than does the tumble lube design, but neither will be what they could have been had the bases been square to the centerline. LEE is hit and miss with this, looks like a miss this time.
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