Looking for help reloading 9mm.

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Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by jlow on 1/6/2019, 8:36 pm

First of all, new to the board and I am not a bullseye shooter but I am here because I know you guys can be a wealth of knowledge so I am hoping you can help me.

The gun I am reloading for is a SIG MPX PCC pistol.  This is a semi-auto with an 8” barrel. 

I have over 10 years of experience doing precision reloading but only for centerfire rifles, so a lot of the things we do like annealing, turning necks, etc. do not translate to pistol reloading.  In terms of pistol reloading, I have done many tens of thousands of rounds but they are plinking and not precision ammo.

Currently my load is what I use for my handgun - range pickup brass, Rem 1 ½ primers, 3.2 grain of Tightgroup, COAL 1.147", and 147grain Precision Delta FMJ.  This load shoots reasonable in my PCC i.e 3-4” groups at 50 yards.  What I am hoping is to shrink it down to a consistent 2” group.

Looking at an article from Accurateshooter.com on precision handloading, I realize that I need consistent brass – to that end, I have sorted my brass by headstamp.  Currently using FC since I have a lot of that.

I also see the importance of optimizing taper crimp – to that end, I am using a Hornady adjustable taper crimp die and have done optimizing studies looking at different degree of crimp.

I see the importance of uniform COAL – to that end, I have started to uniform my sized cases using a Lyman case trimmer.  This is where my main question is:

1)      Is trimming brass to consistent COAL a good idea for precision?

2)      If you trim, is chamfer/deburr (which is required for rifle brass trimming) a good idea?

3)      Is trimming slightly shorter than SAAMI a bad idea?

Of course any additional suggestion as to pitfalls of what I am currently doing would be appreciated.  I realized that I am not using dedicated brass, optimal powder/brass/bullet for absolute precision, but at least at present, I am looking for ideas of what I can do to optimize the current load.

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by james r chapman on 1/6/2019, 8:45 pm

I'd suggest starting here.

our ammunition section.
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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by bruce martindale on 1/6/2019, 9:05 pm

A couple points to help. You're right to sort. Getting tighter groups can be tough in a 9, your gun, the load, phase of the moon etc...

Forget trimming, our shells expand and grow shorter.

Drill out the seater plug so it contacts at the outer edges of the bullet, like a glass on a tennis ball. This seats straight.

Get a good expander plug so the bullet starts to enter the case by hand

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by Wobbley on 1/6/2019, 9:18 pm


First of all, new to the board and I am not a bullseye shooter but I am here because I know you guys can be a wealth of knowledge so I am hoping you can help me.

The gun I am reloading for is a SIG MPX PCC pistol.  This is a semi-auto with an 8” barrel. 

I have over 10 years of experience doing precision reloading but only for centerfire rifles, so a lot of the things we do like annealing, turning necks, etc. do not translate to pistol reloading.  In terms of pistol reloading, I have done many tens of thousands of rounds but they are plinking and not precision ammo.

Currently my load is what I use for my handgun - range pickup brass, Rem 1 ½ primers, 3.2 grain of Tightgroup, COAL 1.147", and 147grain Precision Delta FMJ.  This load shoots reasonable in my PCC i.e 3-4” groups at 50 yards.  What I am hoping is to shrink it down to a consistent 2” group.

Looking at an article from Accurateshooter.com on precision handloading, I realize that I need consistent brass – to that end, I have sorted my brass by headstamp.  Currently using FC since I have a lot of that.

I also see the importance of optimizing taper crimp – to that end, I am using a Hornady adjustable taper crimp die and have done optimizing studies looking at different degree of crimp.

I see the importance of uniform COAL – to that end, I have started to uniform my sized cases using a Lyman case trimmer.  This is where my main question is:

1)      Is trimming brass to consistent COAL a good idea for precision?

2)      If you trim, is chamfer/deburr (which is required for rifle brass trimming) a good idea?

3)      Is trimming slightly shorter than SAAMI a bad idea?

Of course any additional suggestion as to pitfalls of what I am currently doing would be appreciated.  I realized that I am not using dedicated brass, optimal powder/brass/bullet for absolute precision, but at least at present, I am looking for ideas of what I can do to optimize the current load.
First, handguns aren’t rifles and most of the reloading techniques suitable for rifles do not truly apply to pistols.

If you want to improve your accuracy you’ll have to determine what accuracy your gun is capable of.  To that end put a scope on your PCC and see the basic accuracy.  Shoot as many different makes of ammo as you can.  Make sure you include Hornady Ammunition.  Their bullets are very accurate.  

Once you have determined your carbine,s Base accuracy, try and duplicate and improve it by shooting different bullets of similar weight.  

Trimming doesn’t add much value.  Rather than sorting your brass by make sort them by length.  

http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2018/04/loading-accurate-pistol-ammo-for-competition-usamu-tips/
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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by S148 on 1/6/2019, 11:21 pm

My first thought is to try different bullets. With respect to the Precision Deltas, I would guess that their FP 147 might shoot a little better than the RN FMJ, because FP bullets tend to do that. I haven't compared them so I'm not speaking form experience.

Proven bullets would be Hornady 147 XTP (if you prefer that weight), and their 125 HAP is one of the more reliably accurate bullets I've tried. The 125 HAP powered by Power Pistol is tough to beat.  Their 115 XTP and HAP bullets are also winner.

Zero's 115 JHP-Conical is another one that produces excellent results from my Kart barrel pistol - powered by Power Pistol. Other powders that have proven reliably accurate are Accurate #7 and Silhouette. 

Other inexpensive bullets would be Rocky Mountain Reloading's 124 FMJ FP, and possibly their 147 FMJ FP.

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by kidneyboy on 1/7/2019, 6:00 am

The 2 9mm PCC guns I've had liked 124gr bullets pushed kinda hard over 147s. They would both shoot 1" groups at 50yds. 16" barrels on both of them. I've loaded thousands of 9mm 147gr bullets over 3.1 or 3.2gr of titegroup. A great run and gun, low recoil, minute of steel plate/A zone cartridge. For accuracy I switch to 124s or 125s and a different powder. 
 That said, finding a bullet that likes your barrel would be #1 on my list. Single headstamp, quality brass. Trimming not necessary. An OAL specific to your barrel (plunk test). It helps if you can load to tight tolerance, like +/- .002.  Crimping 9mm - some say just take out the bell, some say a .002ish crimp. Let your gun decide.
 Finally, It's the Indian not the arrow......

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by bruce martindale on 1/7/2019, 11:48 am

kidneyboy wrote:The 2 9mm PCC guns I've had liked 124gr bullets pushed kinda hard over 147s. They would both shoot 1" groups at 50yds. 16" barrels on both of them. I've loaded thousands of 9mm 147gr bullets over 3.1 or 3.2gr of titegroup. A great run and gun, low recoil, minute of steel plate/A zone cartridge. For accuracy I switch to 124s or 125s and a different powder. 
 

Lead or jacketed? Curious, what twist?

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by jlow on 1/7/2019, 1:59 pm

kidneyboy wrote:The 2 9mm PCC guns I've had liked 124gr bullets pushed kinda hard over 147s. They would both shoot 1" groups at 50yds. 16" barrels on both of them. I've loaded thousands of 9mm 147gr bullets over 3.1 or 3.2gr of titegroup. A great run and gun, low recoil, minute of steel plate/A zone cartridge. For accuracy I switch to 124s or 125s and a different powder. 
 That said, finding a bullet that likes your barrel would be #1 on my list. Single headstamp, quality brass. Trimming not necessary. An OAL specific to your barrel (plunk test). It helps if you can load to tight tolerance, like +/- .002.  Crimping 9mm - some say just take out the bell, some say a .002ish crimp. Let your gun decide.
 Finally, It's the Indian not the arrow......
It's good to know that your PCC guns shoots well.  Hoping my MPX will get at least 2" groups.  I've got two OEM barrels - a 4.5" and an 8" and they both only shoots 4" groups with reloads.  Will likely do some OAL test too.

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by kidneyboy on 1/7/2019, 2:13 pm

bruce martindale wrote:
kidneyboy wrote:The 2 9mm PCC guns I've had liked 124gr bullets pushed kinda hard over 147s. They would both shoot 1" groups at 50yds. 16" barrels on both of them. I've loaded thousands of 9mm 147gr bullets over 3.1 or 3.2gr of titegroup. A great run and gun, low recoil, minute of steel plate/A zone cartridge. For accuracy I switch to 124s or 125s and a different powder. 
 

Lead or jacketed? Curious, what twist?

Not sure of twist. JR carbine and Ruger PCC if you want to search for info. 
RMR 124gr JHP MPR over BE86, particularly out of the Ruger.
Acme 124gr coated ran a close second for accuracy.
Running about 1100 fps.

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by oldsalt444 on 1/7/2019, 9:40 pm

The 9mm is a higher pressure round than most pistol rounds.  Consistency becomes more important, so sorting by headstamp is a good idea.  Don't worry about case trimming.  The 9mm headspaces on the case mouth, so every time it gets slammed into the chamber the length is kept in check.  COAL can make a minor difference in group size, so when you find a good load, experiment with bullet seating depth.  Keep your loads below 1070 fps; that's the sound barrier.  If it's supersonic at the muzzle, it will usually go subsonic before 50 yds. Then the bullet will wobble as it passes the sound barrier and effect your accuracy.  At least that's what I've been told.  My pet load is 4.3 Power Pistol and a 115 Hornady HAP seated to 1.115 COAL.  Soft shooting and accurate - 1" @ 25 yd from my S&W 910 4" bbl.  Had to go to a 12 lb. spring, though.
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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by Carbide on 1/7/2019, 11:01 pm

Wilson Combat uses 125g HAPs over 5.2g of PowerPistol to shoot their test targets. Don’t know if the shots are free hand or Ransom Rest but apparently they like the accuracy and consistency. Too bad the distance is only 15yds.

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by jlow on 1/8/2019, 8:03 am

Thanks for the info!

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by BE Mike on 1/8/2019, 9:59 am

The most accurate load I've used when I had a Kidd Beretta was 6.2 grains of Power Pistol under a Hornady encapsulated 115 gr. FMJ. I "stole" the load many years ago from someone on the old Bulleye-L. It also shoots well in my Sig P 320 compact. It is a loud, flashy load that produced a velocity of 1,250 fps. out of the Beretta. The accuracy has been excellent. I was hoping to get the same accuracy from something a little milder and less flashy. I've been considering BE-86. I have a plinking load of 5.0 grains of American Select. It is a mild, clean load, but the accuracy isn't there. I also am a little concerned with wear and tear on my pistols. Am I going to have to keep those velocities super sonic to keep getting the accuracy I desire? Any suggestions?
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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by Wmvdg123 on 1/8/2019, 10:31 pm

Definitely use power pistol, its the most accurate powder for 9mm.
I would agree that you should try either 115 gr xtp, 115 gr hap with a barrel twist of 1:16 or greater, or if you have a twist of 1:10 try the 147 gr xtp. 
I do like precision deltas 115 gr jhp, they shoot as well as the xtps in my gun. 
I think FMJ bullets are just not nearly as accurate as JHP.
Don't trim 9mm. My gun does shoot best with a brass length of .750 inches, this is a new brass length. If you trim you will lose length and that is important for accuracy. Pistol brass of course shrinks with use. I used the EGW U die to lengthen it back up to .750 or as close as possible. Several forum members recommend a case pro to roll the cases but I don't have the money for that. 
Wayne

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by SmokinNJokin on 1/8/2019, 10:42 pm

Ditch that P-delta FMJ and test some 147 zero JHP’s with 4.0 gr of WSF . I gurantee you will see drastic improvement. Ideal load for your 1:10 subgun barrel (i shoot it in my Scorpion Evo). You can then fine tune crimp and OAL.

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by jlow on 1/9/2019, 8:32 am

Thanks!  Yes, that is the direction that I am heading.

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by SmokinNJokin on 1/9/2019, 9:20 am

Do not be turned off by zero’s low prices and terrible website design.  their jacketed bullets are absolutely the most accurate money can buy. rozedistribution is the retailer.

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by jlow on 1/9/2019, 10:38 am

How do you find the plated vs. jacketed bullets?

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by SmokinNJokin on 1/9/2019, 10:46 am

plated have a very poor accuracy and leave bore filthy. I have tried quite a few brands and was not impressed, even for plinking. If you want cheap and accurate, sub gun friendly, I would look at Summers Enterprises 147 grain hitek coated lead. If you don’t mind paying a little more, the Zero JHP is a no – compromise bullet.

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by jlow on 1/9/2019, 1:47 pm

Thanks!  Not looking for cheap bullets.  Looks like Zero is a good choice - thanks again.

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by Allgoodhits on 1/10/2019, 3:40 pm

Ditto on ZERO.

In their line of JHPs they offer old style, and what they refer to as new style or Conical. In 9mm JHP bullets, 115 or 125gr both are excellent, some feel the new style Conical may be a tad superior. My findings are the old or new style are excellent bullets, either way. I have not loaded any of their 147 gr bullets.

My findings are consistent with others in that in the .451 bullets, the 185 JHP new style Conicals are superior to the old style.

YRMV

MJ
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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by jlow on 1/10/2019, 5:21 pm

Thanks, useful information!  I did some search on the web and you guys are dead on as to how good Zero bullets are.  Will get some tomorrow.

Thanks again for taking time out to give good advice!

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by Bigtrout on 1/12/2019, 12:57 pm

oldsalt444 wrote:The 9mm is a higher pressure round than most pistol rounds.  Consistency becomes more important, so sorting by headstamp is a good idea.  Don't worry about case trimming.  The 9mm headspaces on the case mouth, so every time it gets slammed into the chamber the length is kept in check.  COAL can make a minor difference in group size, so when you find a good load, experiment with bullet seating depth.  Keep your loads below 1070 fps; that's the sound barrier.  If it's supersonic at the muzzle, it will usually go subsonic before 50 yds. Then the bullet will wobble as it passes the sound barrier and effect your accuracy.  At least that's what I've been told.  My pet load is 4.3 Power Pistol and a 115 Hornady HAP seated to 1.115 COAL.  Soft shooting and accurate - 1" @ 25 yd from my S&W 910 4" bbl.  Had to go to a 12 lb. spring, though.
Does anyone in the forum know of data that would substantiate the sound barrier causing errant shots?   If those data are available what was the impact on group size?       I know it sounds intuitive that the claim is correct so don't beat me up, but it would be interesting to see the data if they were generated.
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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by jlow on 1/12/2019, 4:32 pm

Going transonic and affecting bullet stability is a well known phenomena in precision rifle.  A classic example is shooting Sierra Match King 168gr .308 bullets at extended ranges i.e. 1K - not recommended because of this specific phenomena.  Most people shooting that caliber use the 175gr SMK for this specific reason.

Do a Goolge search and you will find reams of post on it.

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

Post by jlow on 1/13/2019, 8:43 am

Took advice from you guys and brought some Zero 115grain JHPs, should be here soon and so need to think about load development.  Looking for suggestion in terms of COAL and charge.  In terms of powder, since I only have Tightgroup right now, I am going to start with that but willing to change it to others (Power Pistol, Accurate #7, WSF, etc) if it does not work out.

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Re: Looking for help reloading 9mm.

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