1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

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1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by Dr.Don on 2/16/2015, 2:10 pm

First topic message reminder :

In a couple of earlier threads I have posed the question of whether a 9mm 1911 shooting light target loads can be made accurate enough for CF Bullseye use.  I know that very accurate 9mm’s are routinely built for hardball, but they typically require hot loads to achieve accuracy.  This is a different proposition.  In essence my question was this:  Since the 38 Special 148 wadcutter load at 700 fps is both light in recoil and highly accurate out of the 10 and 12 twist barrels often used in PPC, why wouldn’t a 147 grain bullet of essentially the same diameter (.357 vs. .355) pushed to 700 fps out of a 9mm casing also be accurate if a 10-12 twist barrel were used?

Answering this question experimentally requires building a target 1911 on a 9mm with a 10 or 12 twist barrel.  Such barrels do not exist so far as I have been able to determine.  So I undertook to sleeve an existing 9mm barrel using a 12 twist sleeve.  Jerry Keefer was kind enough to donate a section of high quality 9mm Douglas barrel blank with a 12 inch twist rate.  I used this to make a sleeve and bored out an existing barrel to fit the sleeve.

My sleeve was designed with a large diameter at the chamber end for two reasons.  First, I wanted a shoulder on the sleeve to resist bullet forces from dragging the sleeve forward and causing it to loosen.  Second, the barrel carcass I used was loose as a goose in the hood area.  Using a large diameter sleeve provided me with the material to re-mill the hood and get a good fit in the slide.  This should show in one of the pictures.  The sleeve was installed with Loctite 620, chambered, the hood and extractor groove milled, a feed ramp cut, and given an 11 degree target crown.

The “new” 12 twist barrel was then carefully fitted in both the hood and lower lug areas and a new bushing was also carefully fitted.  I had previously done a trigger job on this gun and tightened the slide.

I am continuing to test this “fast twist” 9mm and to try new loads, but I believe the results already demonstrate the relative success of the proposition.  My load of 2.5 gr Bullseye behind a 147 gr Hornady XTP are giving 10-shot 50 yard groups in the neighborhood of 2.5-2.8 inches.  This load clocks only 730 fps on my chronograph and is light in recoil.  I shoot .45 in the CF matches, but for those desiring a softer recoiling CF gun, the 9mm could provide an answer if only some fast twist 1911 barrels were available……

I enjoyed this project.  I hope you find something useful in it.

In the interest of full disclosure:

1.  Although I like to tinker in the machine shop and have built a half-dozen or so 2-2.5 inch .45’s over the years, I don’t have the experience of building literally hundreds of target guns that real gunsmiths like Jerry, Jon, K.C, and others have.  If any of them had done this work they may well have knocked another inch or more off the group sizes.

2.  The 50 yard groups shown were all fired carefully over sandbags using a frame mounted 1” Ultradot. If I had access to a Ransom Rest I feel they would be somewhat smaller still.

3.  The test gun was built on a lightly used Citadel 9mm (Philippine).  I would not choose such a platform for a gun I expected to hold up for 30,000 rounds.  But this was an experiment to prove a point, and it served well enough for that at relatively low cost.

4.  You won’t find the loads I used listed in any manual; they are too light.  I stuck to fast powders like Bullseye and kept reducing the load to get down into the neighborhood of 700 fps.  Use any of this strictly at your own risk.


5.  All testing was with jacketed bullets.  I don’t use much cast or swaged lead.  Someone else will have to do the lead bullet testing.
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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by Axehandle on 3/11/2015, 7:54 am

"Short Throat"  does not compute in my little old head.  Any quality match barrel should arrive "Short Throated."   If this isn't the case you are paying for something that you aren't getting.  When I have a gun built I tell the gunsmith what I plan to shoot in the gun.  Ball, wadcutter, jacketed, lead...  Tell the builder what the gun is for.   If you have picked your builder wisely he will throat it appropriately.

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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by HenryA on 3/11/2015, 3:30 pm

Axehandle wrote:"Short Throat"  does not compute in my little old head.  Any quality match barrel should arrive "Short Throated."   If this isn't the case you are paying for something that you aren't getting.  When I have a gun built I tell the gunsmith what I plan to shoot in the gun.  Ball, wadcutter, jacketed, lead...  Tell the builder what the gun is for.   If you have picked your builder wisely he will throat it appropriately.

I think this was directed at me.
In this instance I am the builder and I was asking for advice and reporting my results. I like working on my own guns and learning more about the how and why of doing so. That is why I posted in this thread.

Anyone have comments on the bullet I showed?

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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by james r chapman on 3/11/2015, 3:50 pm

I think Elmer Keith would have liked a square grease groove...  Cool
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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by HenryA on 3/11/2015, 3:58 pm

james r chapman wrote:I think Elmer Keith would have liked a square grease groove...  Cool

And a stout load of 2400 powder.

lol!

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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by james r chapman on 3/11/2015, 4:23 pm

HenryA wrote:
james r chapman wrote:I think Elmer Keith would have liked a square grease groove...  Cool

And a stout load of 2400 powder.

lol!
+1
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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by rec4309 on 3/11/2015, 7:00 pm

I have been watching this topic with interest. Has anyone tried a 148 HBWC our of a 38 super?
I have been looking at his for a while. It can be sized to .356, loaded to 9mm length and fed out of a 9mm mag. My concern would be getting it to feed reliably. Maybe I have too much time to think.

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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by james r chapman on 3/12/2015, 6:34 am

Generally the hbwc is only seated out a short distance leaving all grease grooves enclosed in the case. I'm not sure that would chamber, and, I'm not sure it wouldn't result in compressed charges of powder. The hbwc won't stand up well to 900+ velocities either. It might be possible with a hard cast wc seated out,but, most of the grease grooves would be exposed to abrasive materials. If you remove the grease, you have leading. Imho
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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by Dr.Don on 3/13/2015, 11:09 am

As a followup, I'm continuing to test the 12" twist 9mm gun described in the opening post of this thread.  So far, my best load continues to be the Hornady 147gr XTP with 2.5 grains of Bullseye at 730fps.  (Remember, I'm trying to duplicate the 38 Special wadcutter load in both accuracy and soft recoil.)  The 10 shot 50 yd groups with this combo continue to be around 2.0-2.4", often with 8 or 9 rounds going into about an inch and a half.

I am usually of a mind that in an accurate barrel/gun setup, the most important component of the load as far as accuracy is concerned is bullet quality.  I have been trying several jacketed 147gr bullets, and the XTP has proven to be the best so far.  The Hornady 147gr RN has been pretty good also, but still somewhat behind the XTP in my tests.  I have also tried both the Precision Delta 147gr FMJRN and the Precision Delta 147gr FMJTC.  These have both been teasers in that I get some groups with 8 rounds in a fairly tight knot and then a couple of rounds that open the group up to 4 or 5 inches.  So they have definitely been less consistent than the XTP's.

I have also tried Universal with the XTP's and it does not live up to the accuracy of the Bullseye loads at these softball velocities.  I plan to try another powder or 2, probably with the XTP's.  I will also try other 147gr bullets as I find them available.

Will report back later.
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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by Dr.Don on 4/16/2015, 7:20 pm

As a followup to my prior tests of this 12" twist 9mm, I can now report that it is indeed an inch-and-a-half gun after all.  Since my earlier tests I have obtained a Ransom Rest setup and am getting groups in the neighborhood of 1.5".  The best group so far is 1.36" for 10 shots at 50 yds.  That is the 147 XTP load with 2.5grs Bullseye and chronographs at about 730 fps.

Unfortunately, I am not able to duplicate this level of accuracy with any other bullet I have tried so far.  Most of the groups with other 147gr bullets are several inches larger.  I know technique with a Ransom Rest is always a question in people's minds.  But I have owned and used a Ransom Rest in the past.  And more importantly, when I stuff the XTP loads back in the gun I get the good groups again.  Technique is the same throughout, so it is not a technique issue.

I plan to continue testing other bullets, and also some other powders.  I have shot a few groups with Titegroup and it looks pretty good with the XTP.  I would like to try some WST when I find some.

   
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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by HenryA on 4/16/2015, 8:58 pm

Great results!

I'm shooting from arm rest at 25 yards and getting groups about that size. I've also found the Hornady 147 XTP to be very accurate. Good results with the 145 Saeco SWC. I hope to put mine in the Ransom soon. Here's 5 of the Saeco cast 145 SWC, 4 grains of WSF, around 900 fps - about 1.5 inches.


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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by rich.tullo on 4/17/2015, 8:34 am

I did not go through all the posts and it seems like there is a lot of knowledge their but from my own experience 9mm is not a softball bullet without a lot of work by a top smith like Dave Sams ect......

If you are looking to shoot accurate with a 115gn bullet I would go with a 38 super over 4.0 gn of bullseye with the right set up.
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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by Dr.Don on 4/17/2015, 8:43 am

Rich, this was a project to emulate the low velocity 38 Spec 148gr WC load in 9mm using a sleeved barrel to get the 12" twist I wanted.  It has achieved my original objectives (accurate at 50 yds, low recoil), but so far with only one particular bullet design.  The opening post of this thread kind of sets the stage.....
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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by HenryA on 4/17/2015, 8:50 am

Dr. Don -- I hope I am helping by adding in the information I've posted. If not I'll stop posting. Just say it.

Mine is in a standard Kart 9mm barrel and cast lead bullets. IMO, if this only works well with expensive factory bullets the result may not be so valuable to anyone on even a generous budget. I will shoot some lower velocity loads very soon. I'm looking for pretty much the same result as the OP in a cheap to shoot package.

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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by LenV on 4/17/2015, 8:51 am

Dr.Don,
  Were you able to try the 115gr Penn bullets? I have a bunch of them but haven't loaded any yet. I need to find or make a wadcutter/flat insert for my seating die. The corners of the cast bullet doesn't like the normal die.

Len
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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by Dr.Don on 4/17/2015, 9:59 am

Len,
I shot only one group with the Penn 115's.  It wasn't very good, but I am not ready to call that a test.  I will let you know when I get some more testing on this bullet.  But bear in mind that the faster twist was intended for long heavy bullets and may not work as well on a 115 as the standard barrels.

Henry A,  everyone's experiences are useful on here.  My project may not turn out to be very practical for folks in general because the 12" twist barrel is not available anywhere without being custom made.
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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by beeser on 4/17/2015, 10:16 am

Good work and interesting results thus far.  Please keep us posted, especially if you dig deeper with the Penn 115s.  As a side note, I wonder how Magnus Bullets is coming along with their 9mm, 115g cast bullet development.

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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by LenV on 4/17/2015, 10:20 am

Dr.Don,
  I have a 1:18.5 twist in the barrel I will be testing sometime soon. I will also give you those results. I have shot a lot of 147gr XTP in my pistol and have found that they perform like they do in yours. I should mention that I found no difference in performance between the XTP and Hornadys 147gr RN. I think it may be the boattail that is making the difference. The RN are a little less expensive and I will buy them first if given an option.

Len
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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by jmdavis on 6/14/2015, 9:23 pm

Bump
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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by GrumpyOldMan on 6/15/2015, 5:05 pm

HenryA wrote:Great results!

I'm shooting from arm rest at 25 yards and getting groups about that size. I've also found the Hornady 147 XTP to be very accurate. Good results with the 145 Saeco SWC. I hope to put mine in the Ransom soon. Here's 5 of the Saeco cast 145 SWC, 4 grains of WSF, around 900 fps - about 1.5 inches.


Hey, is that the SAECO # 929?

Looks like it might be a more pointy SWC, like the old H&G 73. I can get some of those with a flat base.

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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

Post by HenryA on 6/16/2015, 1:34 pm

Yep, its the 929.
I think its a good bullet, but I am not so sure about 9mm brass in general. Long bodied bullets end up pretty far down in the case where wall thickness and taper start causing problems. I'm still working on finding a "no-brainer shoots well in every gun" combination for 9mm using lead bullets. I'd like to find the easy recipe like a H&G 68 in .45ACP with 3.8grs. of VV310. This has not happened so far.

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Re: 1911 9mm Softball Accuracy

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