Author Topic: First 9mm loads  (Read 823 times)

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Offline TWEAKD4

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First 9mm loads
« on: June 09, 2018, 08:05:55 PM »
I have had my reloading equipment setup for a while but I finally got a chronograph so I felt safe to do a simple ladder test to get things started.  I tried to keep as much things constant to truly test my loads.  I am using Xtreme 124g RN and weighed bullets to be 124 +/-1g, CCI #500 primers, Blazer brass, CFE Pistol powder, OAL 1.13".  Using Hodgdon load manual min load for this is 4.9g, max 5.5g at 1.15" OAL.

I have read that this powder likes to be ran a little hotter so I did loads at 4.9g, 5.1g, 5.3g, and 5.4g with six loaded of each and shot with my CZ SP-01.  Below is the results.

4.9g    1117fps     SD 21.1
5.1g    1145fps     SD 9.1
5.3g    1177fps     SD 10.0
5.4g    1191fps     SD 13.5

Hodgdon shows max velocity at 1120fps for the 5.5g and I am way over that.  I didn't see any pressure signs by my brass so I kept shooting.  Basically my 4.9g should be the standard load with 5.1 being closer to NATO rounds and 5.4g at +P velocities.  Being a newbie I was a little shocked that I was this high.  I shot some factory Remington 9mm I had and it was about 50fps higher than published info.  I thought I shot anything 5.1g and higher the best. 

So reloading gurus.  What advise do you have to give me in selecting a load.  I am leaning to 5.0 to 5.2g.

Offline 1SOW

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2018, 12:45:55 PM »
Did you use the Hogdon manual the used the BRY124hBRN-TP?
That bullet has a deep Hollow Base.  This makes the OAL and seating depth deceptive.  Because of the Hollow Base, the seating depth is actually approx. .010" LESS than the oal would indicate.
When loading a flat base bullet,  a .080-.010 longer oal will better match the Hogdon data.

This and a slightly longer bbl can account for much of the speed/pressure differences you recorded.

Offline Wobbly

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2018, 10:24:01 PM »
• The data was collected at 1.150", but you're using the more favored 1.130" OAL. Gotta say that 0.020" makes a big difference in 9mm.

• The load data is for a "thick plated" bullet, which may as well be jacketed. As I remember the plating is about twice as thick on that Berry RNHB-TP than it is on the Extreme. The Extreme is going to react closer to lead data than the plated data, and (like lead) use a lot less powder to obtain the same velocity.

 ;)
« Last Edit: June 11, 2018, 07:08:28 AM by Wobbly »
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Offline M1A4ME

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2018, 06:37:03 AM »
I started loading in about 1978.

Bought a chronograph last year, haven't had it to the range yet.

What are the group sizes?  Safety.  Reliability.  Group size.  My opinion about order of importance as you evaluate your reloads.

I can't remember any time that I ever got the smallest groups with the highest velocity loads.  Best groups, for me, have always been at lower velocities/pressures than the max. loads.

Depending on the powder and your reloading practices running near max or max can put you over the edge sooner/faster.  In the danger zone.

Some powders measure very consistently.  Some don't.  If I'm using a powder that I can't get true consistency from with a powder measure and loading near max loads (my self defense hollow points with Blue Dot or 800X) I use an electronic powder measure/scale so I get a consistent amount of powder.

Sounds like your bullet is a range/target bullet, so it doesn't need to be a "max. load" to achieve the purpose of shooting good groups, safely and reliably.

There's a lot of posts here about loading issues.  Lots of good info on the effects of bullet shape, bullet seating depth, brands/types of cases known to cause probles, etc., etc. 

One more thing.  Every work on cars?  If so, you've found that information you need that is missing from one shop manual can be found in another shop manual.  Same for reloading manuals.  I have manuals (recently purchased - I won't list all the older ones I've bought over the years) from Lee, Sierra, Lyman (two - the standard reloading manual and the cast bullet manual).  I need to buy a Hornady manual, just haven't gotten around to it.  Not only will they contain reloading info for specific brands/styles of bullets they will have different powders/primers and even powder charge weights for the same powders, different velocities, etc.  Most list the barrel length (used to be understood by many of us, years ago, that the velocities stated in the manuals were often obtained with barrels longer than any of us might ever use - like shooting .357 magnums out of 8 to 12" single shot handgun barrels when we were reloading for a 4" or 6" barrel revolver.)

Buy different manuals and read through the information/technique chapters, too, not just the reloading data tables.  You'll be surprised at what you pick up from them.  And ask questions here.  There are some guys here that have learned a lot about reloading over the years.  Some are very technical about it and some won't always agree with others (sort of like reloading manuals) but they'll tell you why they disagree (based on what they've done/learned over the years.
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Offline Wobbly

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2018, 07:10:27 AM »
I can't remember any time that I ever got the smallest groups with the highest velocity loads.  Best groups, for me, have always been at lower velocities/pressures than the max loads.


Excellent point.
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Offline IDescribe

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2018, 04:00:31 PM »
I haven't found that  best accuracy is at sub-maximal loads.  What I've found is that a particular bullet is going to produce best groups in a reasonably narrow velocity range, regardless of powder or position within that powder's load window for that bullet.

So assuming the PD 124gr JHP is most precise with WSF at 1070 feet/sec average, which is not right at the top of the load window, it is also going to be most accurate at 1070 feet/sec +/-10 with Titegroup, where that IS at the top of the load window.  Titegroup doesnt get more accurate with that bullet as charge weight and velocity decline.  And the same  with Bullseye, and with N320, and Prima V, and so on and so on

I think it's finding the right velocity for the bullet in the gun, then most powders are going to find an accuracy load in a reasonably narrow range, with significant overlap with other powders.

I also suspect it's closely tied to bullet weight vs twist rate.  Every 124/125gr bullet with every powder I load for my 75 Shadowline finds an accuracy node with an average velocity somewhere in the range of 1060-1080 feet/sec, which is nice, considering that's right where I want to be for 9mm minor.   135gr seem to have a node around 950 +/- and another one up around 1025.  147gr seem to tighten up between 925 and 940.  This all by weight, and regardless of jacketed, plated, coated lead, etc.. 

Edited to fix autocorrect error of WST to the word "best" in first sentence.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 04:33:11 PM by IDescribe »

Offline TWEAKD4

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2018, 08:45:53 AM »
Thanks everyone for the help.  After looking at the manual again I was using 124gr BERB HBRN which was a mistake to reference.  I am not the most accurate shooter out there so it is hard for me to judge my loads on my targets.  You all have showed me to go back to the bench and work up more loads starting with a much lower charge.


Mods changed 24gr to 124gr
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 05:05:14 PM by Wobbly »

Offline Wobbly

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2018, 05:19:46 PM »
The powder is your problem. I have a 1# bottle of CFE Pistol myself, but haven't gotten around to testing due to lack of specific data.

Could we ask you to pick up another type of powder that's got more published data ? Win 231 (aka HP-38), N320, AA No5, Unique, Bullseye, BE-86... whatever. Anything would be better.
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Offline IDescribe

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2018, 06:27:30 AM »
I've recently been involved in another thread where a guy is trying to use CFE Pistol for 9mm minor, and he's getting lower than expected, and his SDs are all over the place. 

Decide on your needs for the cartridge - - bullet weight, type, desired velocity, and any other desirable characteristics, THEN choose the powder that best meets those goals. When you choose a  a powder somewhat arbitrarily, then try to work that powder into a use after the fact, you're asking for problems.

I have a pound of CFE Pistol myself.  The only loads I've made with it were to generate data to help out someone else here who had blindly bought some and then ended up with dubious chrono results.  Personally, I have no use for that powder.  It may end up as fertilizer.

Offline Wobbly

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2018, 08:54:01 AM »
I have a pound of CFE Pistol myself.  The only loads I've made with it were to generate data to help out someone else here who had blindly bought some and then ended up with dubious chrono results.  Personally, I have no use for that powder.  It may end up as fertilizer.


I suspect that sellers have been left with a lot of powder and are pushing CFE Pistol onto unsuspecting buyers simply to get it out of the store. There's a lot of older known pistol powders, and now a whole array of new pistol powders, and placed on top of that are declining powder purchases based on cheap factory ammo.

So whenever anyone walks into a gun store and says "What powder is good to reload 9mm", they hand him a can of the slowest moving product they have.... knowing he'll be back for one of the better known powders in 2 weeks.

The fact is, Hodgdon put on a huge advertising campaign for CFE , BUT... 1) copper fouling has never been an issue in any of my pistols, 2) there are much better new powders like BE-86 and Sport Pistol which are not being stocked, and 3) there's a glut of older pistol powders that are known to work great.

 ;)
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Offline TWEAKD4

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2018, 08:51:21 PM »
When I started researching powders to start reloading 9mm CFE Pistol was one of the top three by most internet users/sites.  Being one of the newer products I figured it had the best Hodgdon had developed to date.  I will probably pick up a pound of another powder but I will use up this CFE.  What makes it so bad compared to others other than load data?

Offline armoredman

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2018, 06:48:12 AM »
Good question - I almost bought some of the CFE Pistol to try, since the local shop refuses to stock Accurate Arms.

Offline Wobbly

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2018, 09:25:49 AM »
Being one of the newer products I figured it had the best Hodgdon had developed to date. What makes it so bad compared to others other than load data?

Understand this... Hodgdon doesn't make powders, they distribute powders. They take powders like Win 231 and sell them as HP-38. They get foreign powders that aren't imported and sell them in the USA under their own name.

My problem is entirely centered around the lack of data.
Everything we do in reloading is to control chamber pressure. If Hodgdon is so lazy as to only have 1 load posted for 124gr 9mm, then why should I have to do "back flips" to stay safe ? From their advertising you'd think they were really proud of their new product. Well, compare their load data to any other new product, such as Alliant Sport Pistol. The difference is almost laughable. Especially when you consider that Sport Pistol is $2 cheaper !

Speaking as a customer, I simply don't feel well served by Hodgdon. And too, Winchester and IMR have gone downhill since they took over distribution rights from them.

 ;)
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Offline SoCal

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2018, 09:57:19 AM »
I'm sure that is ONE reason for Vihtavuori  setting up their own distribution in the US.
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Offline IDescribe

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Re: First 9mm loads
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2018, 12:04:57 PM »
When I started researching powders to start reloading 9mm CFE Pistol was one of the top three by most internet users/sites.

Tweak, I'm not sure what gun forums you were looking at, but I have seen very few users in the forums I frequent  posting data or discussions of CFE Pistol.

CFE Pistol is the plated bullet of pistol powders - - not best at anything.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2018, 02:01:38 PM by IDescribe »