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reduced loads for 9mm

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Jon Eulette
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Post by hengehold 3/20/2020, 3:53 pm

I am a new BE shooter and would like to know if most master-highmaster shooters make reduced power loads for use in bullseye?

I am looking at the minimum and max charge weights in my reloading book. Is it safe to load BELOW the minimum starting powder charge weight?

I am chasing leg points still so I would like to stick with jacketed bullets as they are required for EIC.

Thanks,
-TH


Last edited by hengehold on 3/20/2020, 4:46 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by robert84010 3/20/2020, 4:11 pm

I think you will find its not really worth it to go real light. 

I use JIMPGOV's guidance in all things 9mm. I use 5.4gr of WSF under 115gr XTP for 50 and 5.0gr under a 115FMJ for 25. not much of a difference and most importantly I don't have to change recoil springs. Just a little less snappiness but there isn't that much recoil to start with, just snappy. Basically find what works for you at 50 and reduce by a 4 or 5 tenths and learn to shoot that in the middle.
Really need to work on grip and stance to improve your recovery instead of "chasing a rainbow" magic load that shoots without recoil.
Just like in rifle, all rounds move in the wind, instead of chasing the magic bullet just learn how to read and dope the wind. Right? I know you can relate to that. No difference in pistol.

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Post by bruce martindale 3/20/2020, 4:31 pm

You didn't state for jacketed or cast. Jacketed are best at 50 yards.

I have played with lead and found a conical bullet either 115 or 120 works well with 3.0 bullseye. While I have had excellet groups at 50 yards from a RR, l keep it at 25 and focus on better techniques. Good luck...oh and reloading methods are critical, Federal straightwall brass with an oversize xpander plug to prevent base damage and diameter swaging during seating. Standard dies may not work. I use a Lee FCP converted to a resizer.

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Post by bruce martindale 3/20/2020, 4:32 pm

Winchester and Remington brass are ok but Fed or starline are best

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Post by chiz1180 3/20/2020, 5:00 pm

The majority of people I have seen shoot 9mm shoot Atlanta Arms. Not saying reloads can't work, but it probably takes more work. Kinda like finding a DR hand load, it is possible but requires more effort.
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Post by David R 3/21/2020, 7:07 am

Finding a load that shoots below  a starting load is tough.  Its not a matter of looking and searching, its a matter of stabilizing the bullet.   Light loads in 9mm do not shoot well for me.  I ended up settling on 1050 fps for a 115 HAP.   

I was getting good accuracy with 5 Grains of CFE Pistol.   Its a light load for that powder and the ES was over 100 fps.   I tried Tite group starting at 3.8 grains and went up to 4.2 in .1 incraments.   4.0 was the best group by far.

I do not have a ransom rest.  Just  a Hyscore pistol rest and I mount  a scope using a grip mount.



 I have found max loads shoot best, but this is what I have used for a couple years and shot my best score ever with.  

Good luck and enjoy shooting the match. 

David
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Post by Bigtrout 3/21/2020, 7:58 am

Use a load that has a muzzle velocity under the speed of sound for 125 HAP.  At 50 yards the sonic transition destabilizes the projectile.  I use 4.9 CFE under 125 HAP to achieve less than 2" groups from a handheld Hyskore rest.  A lot of members tout higher 115 9mm velocities for 50 yds. but nearly all go through the sonic transition.   I forgot to mention those loads are for my S&W 986 5" barrel.


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Post by oldsalt444 3/21/2020, 3:07 pm

FWIW, I use a S&W 910, which is by no means a match gun, but is accurate nonetheless.  I earned a few leg points with it. 

My 25 yd load - Hornady 115 HAP or Magnus / Zero 115 conical JHP & 4.3 gr. Power Pistol
Groups just over an inch @ 25 yd. but not very well @ 50 yd.  Low recoil.  I use a 12 lb. recoil spring with this load.  It is below minimum.  I haven't  chrono'd this so I don't know the velocity. 

Also Hornady 90 gr. XTP & 4.1 gr. of VV N310.  Groups as good @ 25 yd.  Not so good @ 50 yd.  This is a near max load, but recoil is light.  Velocity ~1250 according to VV.

My 50 yd load - PPU 94 gr. JHP & 4.1 gr. N310.  Groups ~3" out of my unsophisticated gun.  Since I test from a sandbag rest, I feel my technique could use improving.  I get 2 shots close together and the other 3 shots are also close but a couple inches apart from the other 2.  Velocity also ~1250.  Light recoil compared to factory loads.
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Post by tovaert 3/22/2020, 8:02 am

In 9mm, I think there is some variability in accuracy loads depending on the twist rate of your barrel. For example, I have a very accurate subsonic 147gr JHP load, albeit through a 1:10 twist barrel.

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Post by pgg 3/24/2020, 9:54 am

A while ago I had a bad case of lateral epicondylitis / tennis elbow, aka "shooter's elbow" and after taking some time off and shooting just airguns and then 22lr for a while, eased back into centerfire, with limited round counts, and lighter loads.

I chased a super light 9mm load for a while using cast heavy bullets, but my pistol wouldn't stabilize them. I wound up using 147 gr XTPs with 2.5 gr of Vhitavuori N310. Not sure why those were stable but the cast bullets of similar weight would tumble. My Beretta needed a lighter spring to cycle reliably. I think I wound up with a 10 pound spring in it.

Extremely soft shooting. Accurate "enough" for me as a relative beginner. This is a 25y target but it was shot at 50y - clearly showed me that any shot that wasn't a 10 was because of me, not the gun or the ammo.

reduced loads for 9mm 9mm-ta10

There is published data for N310 in 9mm, but not for jacketed 147s. The conventional wisdom is that reduced loads with jacketed bullets carry an elevated squib risk; however, I went below 2.5 gr in testing and didn't encounter issues. On the other end, 9mm pressures with N310 rise quickly in 9mm, if you're pushing for velocity. 

Quickload predicted 27,070 psi at 2.5 gr. However, it overestimated velocity compared to what I observed, so actual pressure is probably lower.

Quickload predicts 38,795 psi at 3.0 gr, which is just over the 9mm +P SAAMI limit of 38,500.

So I think 2.5 gr is well within the margins of safety. I'm confident with that load in my gun. Function was 100% with about 1000 rounds through the gun.


One of the things on my list is to try 90 and 115 gr bullets with VV N32C (somewhere in the 3.0 - 3.5 gr range) to see if light loads of lighter bullets will shoot well. The lighter bullets are better suited to my barrel twist anyway.

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Post by SmokinNJokin 4/1/2020, 7:38 am

pgg wrote:A while ago I had a bad case of lateral epicondylitis / tennis elbow, aka "shooter's elbow" and after taking some time off and shooting just airguns and then 22lr for a while, eased back into centerfire, with limited round counts, and lighter loads.

I chased a super light 9mm load for a while using cast heavy bullets, but my pistol wouldn't stabilize them. I wound up using 147 gr XTPs with 2.5 gr of Vhitavuori N310. Not sure why those were stable but the cast bullets of similar weight would tumble. My Beretta needed a lighter spring to cycle reliably. I think I wound up with a 10 pound spring in it.

Extremely soft shooting. Accurate "enough" for me as a relative beginner. This is a 25y target but it was shot at 50y - clearly showed me that any shot that wasn't a 10 was because of me, not the gun or the ammo.

reduced loads for 9mm 9mm-ta10

There is published data for N310 in 9mm, but not for jacketed 147s. The conventional wisdom is that reduced loads with jacketed bullets carry an elevated squib risk; however, I went below 2.5 gr in testing and didn't encounter issues. On the other end, 9mm pressures with N310 rise quickly in 9mm, if you're pushing for velocity. 

Quickload predicted 27,070 psi at 2.5 gr. However, it overestimated velocity compared to what I observed, so actual pressure is probably lower.

Quickload predicts 38,795 psi at 3.0 gr, which is just over the 9mm +P SAAMI limit of 38,500.

So I think 2.5 gr is well within the margins of safety. I'm confident with that load in my gun. Function was 100% with about 1000 rounds through the gun.


One of the things on my list is to try 90 and 115 gr bullets with VV N32C (somewhere in the 3.0 - 3.5 gr range) to see if light loads of lighter bullets will shoot well. The lighter bullets are better suited to my barrel twist anyway.
Thanks for sharing, I never thought to experiment with N310 and 9mm. Sorry if I missed it from earlier in the thread, but what is your barrel twist and details on the build of your beretta?

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Post by JIMPGOV 4/1/2020, 7:48 am

A LIGHTER RECOILING 9MM LOAD.
147GR XTP 4.2GR VV330, OAL 1.142"  NEW BRASS AT 50 FED PRIMER
147GR XTP 4.0GR WSF   , OAL 1.142"  NEW BRASS AT 50 WIN PRIMER

THAN USE THE HORNADY 147GR FMJ FOR 25 YDS. BOTH HORNADY 147GR XTP AND FMJ ARE BOAT TAIL BULLETS. JP

P.S. DO NOT USE IN 1/32 TWIST BARRELS. THEY WILL KEYHOLE AT 25YDS.

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Post by pgg 4/1/2020, 7:59 am

It's a Beretta National Match M9 from Mountain Competition Pistols.

I'm not 100% sure on its twist. It may be a 1 in 18.5 Walther. There's a long sordid story here, the tldr is that the one I've got now is not the original he made for me. I'm pretty sure the first one he made for me was a 1:18.5 Walther but that pistol broke, and he replaced it with a new one. I think the new one might be a 1:32. He's not the easiest person to reach and doesn't really answer emails. I asked what the twist was but never got an answer.

It stabilizes 147 gr XTPs but all the 135+ gr cast bullets I tried out of it tumbled. So I'm betting it's a 1:32 and the fact that 147 XTPs shoot well out of it is just a fluke.


I'm presently awaiting a new Beretta being made by David Sams, which will have a 1:32 twist barrel. I don't expect the 147s to work with it, hence my plans to try 115s. I'm only about 6 months into the ~1 year wait for that pistol ... and I'm in tail of a deployment with zero shooting going on, so my elbow is being well rested. By the time i get home and the new pistol arrives my elbow may be 100%, and I might just shoot his recommended speedy 115 gr load out of it. I'll probably still experiment with reduced loads in it just to see if I can get something less snappy for the short line. Haven't really decided yet. Smile

Sorry if that's vague and unhelpful. Smile

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Post by SmokinNJokin 4/1/2020, 1:04 pm

I have one of the MCP beretta's as well, im pretty sure you are right its a 1:18 barrel. Dave Sams ransomed mine, told him to test 147 loads he ignored me and shot a bunch of different 115 loads through it and a single 124 jhp, the 115 all grouped shotgun pattern 4-5" groups (no big surprise there), 124 shot much better around 2.5", still don't know how 147's do out of it.

Anymore, the Beretta is a novelty, its too fat for me to grip well. JIMPGOV's above mentioned load with 4.0 WST /147 JHP is my go-to, i use in in all my 9mms now to include carbines. Fantastic load, but not exactly what I would call 'reduced recoil'. It is full power.

As for your Beretta you are waiting for from Sams, I highly, highly encourage you cancel the order, and get a 9mm/38 super 1911 built instead from him or someone else. Match Beretta's are pretty much obsolete for service pistol, the same money can buy you a much better gun. In addition, they instantly lose about half their value upon purchase. If you are dead set on another Beretta, please consider talking David out of the 1:32 twist barrel. It will only shoot very hot +P 115 loads well. The whole point of using that slow twist, was that CMP rules required you had to shoot the +P hardball army ammo and 1:32 would stabilize it well. Nowdays, those rules are gone and you can shoot whatever you want. A fast twist 1:10 or even middle of the road 1:16 will be way, way more versatile for 124 and 147's, and not limit you to that punishing 115 hardball.
David might argue with you on that decision, but frankly he is very resistant to change and wants to do everything the exact same way they did it in AMU in the 80s/90s, a lot has changed since then. Ultimately, you are the customer and are shelling out a F*ton of money for his work so stand your ground and get what you want.

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Post by Jon Eulette 4/1/2020, 2:21 pm

Skip the 1:32. Too demanding of a barrel to shoot various bullets. 1:18 way to go for normal loads and bullets. I haven't messed with 10 twist in 9mm yet, so no advice.
Jon
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Post by Colt711 4/1/2020, 2:54 pm

oldsalt444 wrote:FWIW, I use a S&W 910, which is by no means a match gun, but is accurate nonetheless.  I earned a few leg points with it. 
I'm not familiar w/ the (circular) medal on the lower right of your avatar. Could you enlighten me?
Thanks,
Ron Habegger

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Post by SmokinNJokin 4/1/2020, 3:03 pm

Ron, thats the Army Excellence in Competition pistol badge, bronze.

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Post by Colt711 4/1/2020, 3:49 pm

Smokin'
Thanks! And, I suppose it comes in 3 flavors; bronze, silver & gold...what kind of competition does it represent, and what is the criteria for winning them?

Thanks again,
711

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Post by oldsalt444 4/2/2020, 10:32 am

Colt711 wrote:Smokin'
Thanks! And, I suppose it comes in 3 flavors; bronze, silver & gold...what kind of competition does it represent, and what is the criteria for winning them?

Thanks again,
711
It's basically the same as the CMP's civilian EIC program.  Each branch of military has their own program, but they're all the same except for some minor differences.  I got my first leg points in the Army, hence the bronze badge you ask about.  The other 2 are civilian, which are harder to get since the CMP established minimum cut off scores.  I don't believe any of the services have cut offs, but I could be wrong.  The CMP accepts your military leg points toward earning distinguished status.
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Post by SmokinNJokin 4/3/2020, 11:01 am

Not to hijack an ammo thread, but yes all the armed services have to follow CMP rules, including points cut-off, in addition to their own rules. According to AR 350-66, we (Army) have additional limitations such as a complicated restriction on number/type of matches a year (only 2 civilian, 1 national and all-army for 4 total) and a lifetime points restriction of 14 on civilian matches. Its actually a lot harder to go distinguished as Active Army. 16 of your 30 points have to be from Camp Perry or All-Army at Ft. Benning. Oh, and All-Army requires the use of rack-grade, unmodified guns. So even the best shooters have a very, very hard time making a 250 point cut score with a rack-grade Beretta. "Combat matches" are supposedly very easy, but in my 14 years in the Army on dozens of different installations I have never seen one or heard of one being hosted.  Would love to try one out.

*Correction; I just looked up last year's edit of 350-66 and the limit on number of matches has been increased to 6 total counting the NTI. The lifetime 14-point total on "non-army' matches is still the kicker, though


Last edited by SmokinNJokin on 4/3/2020, 11:10 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : added update.)

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Post by Newtire 1/15/2024, 10:28 am

The length of the bullet and velocity is what determines the twist rate needed to stabilize the bullet.  So, a shorter bullet takes less spin to keep it stabilized, given the weight is the same.

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Post by rich.tullo 1/17/2024, 2:31 pm

I use 124gn RMR Matchwinner over 4.9 CFE. Not a light load but it prints at 25 yards. 4.3gn W321 is a little less snappy. Walther PPQ 5 inch 1:10 twist barrel
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Post by Axehandle 1/17/2024, 4:07 pm

...makes me so glad I completed my Distinguished path in 1984 when life was so much simpler.

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Post by rich.tullo 1/17/2024, 4:32 pm

If I was going for badge I would get Atlanta Arms Ammo. Also 9mm is very barrel specific.
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