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Old October 10, 2013, 02:33 PM   #26
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57K, we hope to see your range report soon.
mjes92, how about a mini-report? I fired the new True Blue handload yesterday and it was exceptionally accurate. Because the charge I used is slightly above published Maximum for standard pressure 9mm, by definition it should be considered +P so I won't list it. What I can say is that what I was trying to achieve is something similar to Win. WhiteBox 124 gr. NATO. I don't load FMJ in 9mm, but the bullet I used might as well be an FMJ. It was the 124 gr. Montana Gold JHP and it nas never expanded for me in any of my unscientific tests of simply shooting water jugs. When water won't make a JHP expand, it obviously has no application, or any more than an FMJ. The MG 124 gr. JHP is very popular with IPSC shooters that compete in Major 9. One reason for this is that it tends to give higher velocity with a given powder charge than other 124 gr. jacketed bullets. The bullet I mostly use in my defense handloads is the old style Rem. 124 gr. JHP and they get loaded with a Max. charge of V-V 3N37 from an older load guide and I've been shooting that load for years. If I had used the Rem. 124 gr. JHP, my velocities would probably have been more consistent with my goal of around 1175 FPS. The MG 124 JHP is consistently the smallest diameter 9mm bullet I use and it's brass jacketed. The combination of those 2 factors tends to yield higher velocity than conventional copper jacketed bullets. Also, I load longer than the recommendations typical for 9mm in the load manuals. To do that, you have to confirm that the handload is NOT too long for YOUR pistols chamber. So, with the slightly undersized MG 124 JHP loaded to 1.142"/29mm OACL my average velocity was 1216 FPS for 10 rounds. Extreme Spread was 36 FPS and Standard Deviation was 10. The rounds were fired from a Ruger SR9 with a 4.14" barrel. This bullet is not handicapped in the accuracy dept. it's just not a good choice for a defense/small game load. While accuracy was consistently excellent, I had reason to suspect it would be because before I chrono'd the load, I fired 5 rounds offhand. The distance wasn't much of a test at 7 yards because I was really only trying to get a feel for the load before I sent 10 over the chronograph, but I came very, very close to putting all 5 of those rounds into a single hole. Groups from the bench at somewhere between 20 and 25 yards, where I chrono'd from were all excellent.

In summary of True Blue's potential, I can say that any 124 gr. JHP factory defense load on the market can be replicated with True Blue but it may require departing from the typical norms of 9 x 19mm handloading. The best data sources that I know of are the SIERRA and SPEER manuals that push 9mm bullets a bit faster with True Blue than some of the others. But be advised that SIERRA, in particular, recommends a very short OACL. So, find the best OACL for the bullet you're using with the pistol it will be fired from. Load some testers beginning with a START Charge and work up at various increases. When you get to mid level loads, True Blue will begin to shine. Looking for pressure signs as you go, work up toward the Max. charges and you'll be rewarded with both accuracy and very good statistics that will reinforce the uniformity that this powder is capable of.

And since I recommend Silhouette as much as I do, I'll mention another little test that I conducted. 3N37 is a wonderful powder for cartridges like the 9 x 19mm and the .40 S&W where the goal is full power loads. So I've spent some time considering the option of replacing 3N37 in my personal defense loads with Silhouette and I've commented a number of times about the similarities of thses 2 powders. With the Rem. 124 gr. JHP (not the Golden Saber) with V-V's older Max charge for 3N37, that load produces 1226 FPS from my SR9. Using Silhouette with a charge that is .3 grs. lower with an OACL of 1.142"/29mm, it produced a 10 shot average of 1238 FPS with an Extreme Spread of 22 and a Standard Deviation of 6! The higher velocities are necessary for me to get the level of performance I want from an older style conventional JHP. Nothing against newer high tech loads like the SPEER 124 gr. +P that's an excellent performer, but its advertised velocity is a bit optimistic. SPEER rates it at 1220 FPS from a 4" test barrel while 10 rounds average 1174 FPS from the 4.14" barrel of my SR9 with an Extreme Spread of 61 and a Standard Deviation of 17. In all honesty, if I had to use a factory load in 9mm, it would probably be the Win. Ranger 127 gr. +P+. It will pass any penetration/expansion after barrier test and when those 2 conditions are met, I'll take all the energy available.

By no means am I advocating the use of handloads for defense because there are just too many variables in the law from state to state. My main point is kinda what got me into handloading years ago and that was the potential to better any factory load with a properly constructed handload.

OOOPs, not so mini after all!

Last edited by 57K; October 10, 2013 at 02:40 PM.
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Old October 10, 2013, 10:58 PM   #27
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Thanks for the report 57K. Interesting stats.
My quest for a better "all around" powder began when I was getting less than average accuracy from my 9mm. Factory WWB gave me better groups. I used Universal for .380 acp, .38 spl, 44 mag, and 9mm. All shot great except the 9mm. Tried several different OACL, std & mag primers. No noticeable difference. I never did load past midrange of Speer #12 loads for a 115 gr projectiles. Loading powerbond plated 115 gr RN. Never had the desire to load higher since my goal was a low recoil plinking round.

My current quest is trying to find a pound of True Blue.

Thanks for all your help
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Old October 11, 2013, 12:38 AM   #28
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Law enforcement ammo also includes 38spl and 9mm +P+ ammo.



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Old October 11, 2013, 09:42 PM   #29
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mjes92, glad to help, Buddy. As you can tell, I really like True Blue. I only load JHPs in 9mm, but one that I use pretty much as a target/plinker that isn't much of anything but an FMJ, has shot very well with True Blue. I also use it for cast loads in .45 ACP and short barrelled .357 Magnum loads. For high velocity and +P type 9mm loads, Silhouette is my go to powder along with 3N37, but that trend is now favoring Silhouette because it and 3N37 are similar enough that it's not really necessary to pay the 3N37 price. Availability really is the issue, but fortunately, I'm pretty well stocked on Silhouette. 3N37 is actually easier to find. One of the reasons I try to get the word out about Ramshot powders is in hopes that more reloaders will try them and distribution will improve. I'm not a great fan of ordering from the internet and paying Haz-Mat fees, but sometimes that's the only option for the Ramshot powders and I use all 4 of their handgun powders, ZIP, True Blue, Silhouette and Enforcer. X-Terminator and TAC for rifle loads. I have not used Competition that comes from St. Marks in Florida as Silhouette does. It's a shotgun propellant with a reputation for cleanliness in selected handgun loads like .45 ACP and Ramshot gives data for it for some SASS loads. I plan to try some of the other Ramshot Rifle powders like Big Game and Hunter.
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Old October 12, 2013, 05:24 PM   #30
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57K; Thanks for that post on 9mm loading info. Good read - lots of good info there. It's obvious you put a lot of thought into everything you do.

The Sportsmen's Warehouse near where I live puts out all their newly received loading inventory on Thurs mornings. So every Thurs morning, there's usually a line about 120 deep when the doors open (used to be 250+ people at the peak of the madness). I'm one of those people; and have managed to build up a pretty nice inventory. I still go on Thur mornings, but I no longer need anything, so I wait for the crowd to clear and get there about 10 minutes after they open the doors.

But I digress:

This past Thursday when I was there, it was a Ramshot powder day. They had most of their pistol line, best I could tell. I'm not real familiar with the Ramshot lineup, but for sure they had Zip, True Blue, Silhouette, and Enforcer.

I immediately thought of you After some mental consternation, I decided to pass on a purchase of any (in fact, I bought nothing at all last thurs). For several reasons: I'm kinda broke lol; I already have 17Lbs of powder - and that's getting to the edge of my safety/comfort level; and I already have so much load recipe testing going on with my existing powders, throwing another into the mix just seems too daunting at the moment. I already have too many irons in the fire.

But to be sure, I didn't pass because I don't want to try True Blue, and especially Silhouette. You've sold me on them. Now's just not a good time. There will be a day though.
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Old October 12, 2013, 08:23 PM   #31
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Anytime, Nick! In our current situation, reloaders pretty much have to get what they can find, or use what they already have. When I started loading 9mm, it was before the SAAMI reduction to 35,000 PSI/33,000 CUP. It was 35,700 CUP and when tested in the SAAMI PSI system, those loads if Max. will test close to the current SAAMI limit for 9mm +P at 38,500 PSI. I used quite a bit of Blue Dot in the early days and more my loads were pretty heavily compressed where Blue Dot is more effiecient and capable of very high performance, sometimes with exceptional accuracy. I also used quite a bit of HS-6 that is also capable of very high performance with fewer pressure fluctuation issues. Likewise, those loads would be +P today. Nevertheless, the guys that load 9mm Major for IPSC use powders that are capable of even higher performance and well above pressure levels that should be attempted only with custom pistols anb barrels that will allow a considerably longer OACL. HS-6 is still the most commonly used powder for that along with Silhouette and V-V 3N37. True Blue is commonly used and others see limited use.

The point is that these powders have very good pressure stabilty and are very good choices for warm loaded 9 x 19mm as well as for top performance in .40 S&W while maintaing safe and stable pressures. That's why I tend to recommend them and kinda why I advocate using Hodgdon's burn rate chart since powders are listed in numerical order of burn rate. No burn rate chart is perfect and even if one were, powders will change burn rate order specific to the cartridge they're loaded in. I also prefer spherical propellants for pressure stability reasons, so that's why you'll see me recommend that guys looking for the best powder for .40 S&W in particular, start with sphericals just slower thn Unique which starts with V-V N330 down to around AA#7 and LongShot. Because of the limited powder space in relation to the heavier bullets used in .40, it causes a faster pressure peaking condition. Faster powders can be used for target loads, but so can some of the ones I recommend between N330 and AA#7, particularly True Blue. If guys are making light loads with faster powders, I don't have as much issue with that, but would like to see them staying around the AA#2, ZIP and W231 area.

I've been using 3N37 for a long time to make 9mm +P type loads and it's a great .40 powder as well as was Vectan SP-2 that's no longer available and was very popular for loading 9mm Major. If you're gonna do high velocity in 9mm or .40 loads, these are the best, IMO. There are other good ones like WSF and a lot of guys like Power Pistol and I've used it. Neither PP or WSF are good choices for 9mm +P and when I worked up to Max. standard pressure loads with PP, recoil was higher and accuracy suffered, so while they can be used in .40 S&W, I don't think they're great choices for high performance 9mm loads or +P. And if there is any defense issue in mind, PP and Blue Dot should be avoided. At high pressure levels they'll make your pistol look like a flamethrower when shot at night, or even on an indoor pistol range. Fine for plinkers and such, not so good if you should use a handload for defense.
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