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32ACP - The quest for the best bullet

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shootindoc80
Schaumannk
Murph
fc60
Buck13
Gustavo1957
Jon Eulette
James Hensler
Wes Lorenz
Jwhelan939
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32ACP - The quest for the best bullet - Page 3 Empty 32ACP - The quest for the best bullet

Post by Guest Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:34 pm

First topic message reminder :

I have commented on various recent threads that I am struggling with the 32ACP, both the gun and the ammo. It is very frustrating.

FC60 made the valid observation "show me the groups!" - before attesting that any particular bullet/recipe is good or bad. Fair comment.

I'm lucky that my local range continues to be open and, even better, very few others use it, so I can take my time to get set up and test ammo as well as practise. The only problem is that the range is only 15yds. OK, not truly representative for Bullseye testing, but I figure that if the ammo does not group well at 15 then it surely will not be better at 25/50 yards. Eventually, once I've homed in on a gun/ammo combo that seems to perform well, and the CV restrictions are lifted, I'll go and do more testing at 25/50.

I've never tried to bench rest a handgun before, so please excuse me if my technique is not optimal. I bought a Caldwell Pistolero Rest like this. 
32ACP - The quest for the best bullet - Page 3 Caldwe11
And set up on the range bench using a garden chair. I put the Caldwell G2 Chrono on a tripod at about 15ft in line with the target frame at 45ft. I have found that results are more consistent if I position the chrono so that the bullets are passing through towards the bottom and middle of the "window". That means I have to go and re-position the chrono after every couple of strings. I collect the data on my phone via bluetooth. After quite a bit of testing I now know that as soon as I see an "ERROR" signal on the chrono it is best to just go and cycle it off/on then re-establish the bluetooth connection and resume testing (PITA). Setup looks like this (it is still quite cold here most days, hence my Mr. Buddy heater on the bench!).
32ACP - The quest for the best bullet - Page 3 Range_10
I've got a 2-7x scope sight with a 1" body which drops straight into place on the Warne rings on my Pardini HP32.

I ran some CCI SV through my SP22 (using the red dot) first just to confirm that the set-up is OK. I saw ~920fps and decent groups between 0.5 to 0.75 inch with a flyer caused by me.

Then I ran some factory PMC 32ACP 60gr JHP through the HP32. Results were not as good as I would have hoped. Velocity fairly consistent at between 950 to 970fps, but the groups were not great at 1.5 to 2 inch. This is the best of those groups:-
32ACP - The quest for the best bullet - Page 3 Pmc_gr10
I took a lot of care loading test batches of Hornady XTP bullets. The best group was with 1.8grn of VV N310, but, Murphy's Law, the darn chrono did not record the velocity. Grrr...
32ACP - The quest for the best bullet - Page 3 Xtp_6010
I tried 1.4, 1.6 and 1.8 grains of VV N310 with the XTP60 bullets. I tried COAL 0.840 and 0.900. Crimp all at 0.330. Starline or PMC once or twice fired brass, selected. 
1.4 ~ 800fps
1.6 ~ 900fps
1.8 ~ 950fps
Group sizes were all in the range of 1.25 to 1.75 inch (after discounting the odd flyer caused by me).
So I cannot settle on a preferred powder load till I can test again at 25/50 yards, but I believe I my XTP ammo can produces better groups than factory PMC. Good.

I tried both XTP 85 and XTP100. Loaded with Accurate #2 or VV N310.
The best of the XTP85 groups was this:-
32ACP - The quest for the best bullet - Page 3 Xtp_8510
XTP85 velocities like this:-
AA#2 - 1.6 ~690fps
N310 - 1.7 ~890fps
N310 - 1.8 ~925fps
Rested group sizes were in line with the XTP60 results.
I did shoot a few SF cards offhand and got decent groups with the N310 1.7 load, but again this needs to be confirmed at 25/50 yards.

XTP100 velocities like this:-
AA#2 - 1.4 ~610fps
I was cautious with these bullets as someone had warned that they might cause damage, so I only shot a couple of strings and did not have the opportunity to measure rested groups.

OK, so it is no surprise that the rather expensive XTP bullets can produce decent (but not great) results, but what about cheaper bullets?

First up I tried some Berry's 71grn copper plated LRN's. They look nice and load easily. I tried them with Accurate #2 powder. 
AA#2 - 1.6 ~840fps
AA#2 - 1.8 ~900fps
AA#2 - 2.0 ~950fps
Maybe others can find a better way, but for me these bullets are hopeless. Here is an example of a 20 shot rested "group" next to a 10 shot group of PMC factory.
32ACP - The quest for the best bullet - Page 3 Berrys10
Well, I think that I managed to keep all 20 on the paper! And this was from the rest! Would not even rate as a decent shotgun pattern!

I bought a box of T&B 60grn LSWC uncoated blue lubed LSWC's from a Forum member - thanks! 
I don't think they make these any longer. I did a weight selection process which is described in a separate thread. They produce similar "patterns" as the Berry's. Hopeless.

I also tried some T&B 64grn Hi-Tec coated LSWC's, these seem to be somewhat better and other Forum members have reported decent results for short line loads.
I only had a small quantity left when I prepared ammo for group tests, but I carefully loaded up some with COAL 0.840, Crimp 0.330 and actually got quite decent results. Here are the best two groups:-
32ACP - The quest for the best bullet - Page 3 Tb_64_10 
I must say that in my previous testing and off-hand shooting I did not feel confident with these bullets, but I'm going to order some more as these groups suggest that I may have been mis-handling them and I need to try again.
Velocities for the T&B 64 LSWC as follows:-
N310 - 1.6 ~930fps
N310 - 1.8 ~1,100fps
I did not try them with AA#2 or lighter loads of N310. I'm thinking that 1.5 of N310 might be a sweet spot. I will test again in the future.

So. Sorry that this is a rather long post, but the bottom line for me is that (the now discontinued) XTP60's produce the best results, the XTP85's are good (and maybe can be better with more recipe tuning and testing). The T&B 64 Hi-Tec LSWC's have surprised me and require more work.

The rest are no good! IMHO.

But, even with reasonable ammo, I still don't get good 900 CF results with my HP32. I'm disappointed that it does not seem to be possible to buy really good target quality factory 32ACP ammo (I've tried Fiocchi, PMC and Winchester, but it is all intended for the home defence market and is too hot for Bullseye), but, as my recent testing has proved, I can produce decent quality reloads, so I really cannot blame the ammo. Grrr......

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Post by Schaumannk Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:58 am

An XTP85 bullet, when seated to around COAL 0.895 takes up about 50% of that volume, so, roughly, the maximum amount of powder with a similar density to VV N310 that you could load without compressing the charge would be ~2.70 grains. (no doubt someone could do a more accurate measurement - but good enough to be a guideline for now).




There is an obvious reason that we measure powders by weight and not volume, because they don’t all weigh the same.   


An 85g bullet has to take up a bit more room in the case than a 60g.   and there is no doubt that a shorter OAL will increase pressure.  


However in my mind, this is more of an engineering problem than a scientific one.  
I know of many 45 shooters who have loaded very slow powders to the point where the bullet was compressing the powder, and gotten very good accuracy with a much reduced recoil impulse.  I don’t think that caused an unmanageable pressure problem.  


However 32ACP is a new ballgame for me.  


Bullseye loads and velocities are generally so small compared to factory loads, that these issues don’t really come up.  


I would appreciate any comments from a true ballistics experts.  I don’t claim to be one.  
Like I said, Field Artillery Officers Basic and advanced course a long time ago.  
I just know that there are many many factors that go in to both an accurate round, and an accurate gun.  

Schaumannk

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Post by James Hensler Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:04 am

Hey Don I happen to be an engineer as well! Small world

I think the only people on earth that can do what it seems you want is the nice folks at Hornady! Years ago when I called them they helped me out and was able to answer my questions
James Hensler
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Post by Schaumannk Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:16 am

James Hensler wrote:Hey Don I happen to be an engineer as well! Small world

I think the only people on earth that can do what it seems you want is the nice folks at Hornady! Years ago when I called them they helped me out and was able to answer my questions
A friend called Hornady.    They say, and I quote “the 85g JHP is not a pistol bullet“.    There is no data for it anywhere in their manuals, their app, or on their web site for use in a handgun.

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Post by James Hensler Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:38 am

That has to be the funniest thing I have ever read. What the hell are they for a rifle that hasn’t been made since the 50’s? They made the damn thing and you are saying they don’t have any data for it??



Ok it’s official I am done here! Everyone take care
James Hensler
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Post by lablover Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:47 am

Ummm, Jim. Not a whole lot of data for that bullet!  Not a single bit I Hornady manuals online or hard copy.  I think Mr. Wilson made that clear awhile back and mentioned the AA online manual was the only thing available.

We should wonder more why they discontinued a good bullet!  Hahahahaha
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Post by fc60 Mon Sep 07, 2020 11:17 am

John,

I have run out of popcorn, can you help a guy out?

Cheers,

Dave
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Post by Schaumannk Mon Sep 07, 2020 11:23 am

lablover wrote:Ummm, Jim. Not a whole lot of data for that bullet!  Not a single bit I Hornady manuals online or hard copy.  I think Mr. Wilson made that clear awhile back and mentioned the AA online manual was the only thing available.

We should wonder more why they discontinued a good bullet!  Hahahahaha
Maybe Zero can get hold of them, and buy the molds.   Smile

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Post by Guest Mon Sep 07, 2020 11:33 am

Dave,

John told me that he gave up on 32 "pop-guns" years ago. 
He only likes full bore arguments these days lol!

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Post by Wobbley Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:15 pm

https://www.grantcunningham.com/2014/09/ed-harris-makes-the-32acp-into-a-real-tackdriver/

According to research from CE “Ed” Harris as mentioned in the article, the key to 32ACP accuracy and cast bullets is to match the bullet diameter to the throat “forcing cone” diameter.  So apparently the “best bullet” to use varies depending on the reamer used, the barrel diameter and twist rate.

My head hurts already and I don’t even own a 32....
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