Structural and magnetic properties of nanocrystalline P6/mmm R(Fe,M)9C are presented. Their structure is explained with a model based on the R 1–s (Fe,M)5+2s formula (s = vacancy rate) where s R atoms are statistically substituted by s transition metal pairs. The maximum coercivity is obtained for low Ga/Si content for auto-coherent diffraction domain size 30 nm. This controlled microstructure might lead to hard permanent magnet materials. Furthermore, the influence of small amount of Dy substitution on magnetocaloric properties of R-Fe systme is reported. The potential for using these low-cost iron based nanostructured RFe9 powders in magnetic refrigeration at room temperature is also discussed.