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Old December 31, 2013, 01:00 PM   #1
Brutus
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The 9MM and Power Pistol

Is it just me or do load data for the above seem a bit excessive?
Kind of new to reloading 9mm's and powder is a bit hard to come by.
Have had good results with it in .40S&W, 10MM and .45ACP.
For 9MM 124gr. jacketed I found the following data:
Lyman 48 lists 5.1 to 5.7gr.
Speer 14 lists 5.6 to 6.4gr.
Hornady 5 lists 4.3 to 5.7gr.
As you can see that's quite the spread. Since I'm using plated bullets for target work I chose to be a bit conservative and went with 5.1gr's. under a Rainier 124gr. FMJ. I tried them out at an indoor range so I was unable to chronograph. Loads seemed hot to me with a lot of muzzle flash, I was shooting a CZ 85 Combat and a PCR so, at least in the case of the 85, the gun was no light weight.
Next time out I took the Hornady data to heart and loaded 4.7gr's.
This was a much more comfortable round with OK accuracy. No failures of any kind to report. Has anyone else had comparable findings or is this powder more useable in a defense round application?
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Old December 31, 2013, 02:39 PM   #2
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Go to the source

Go to the source. Alliant makes Power Pistol and it is an excellent powder for 9mm.
http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloade...8&cartridge=23
9mm Luger 124 gr Speer GDHP Speer 1.12 4 CCI 500 Power Pistol 6.4 1,157 -
Start at the lower number and load a few and increase in steps 0.2 gr at a time. The listed GDHP is actually a plated bullet so you should be fine using the load as published. Note that 1157 fps is a safe speed for plated bullets. If Alliant publishes it, then it is true.
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Old December 31, 2013, 02:57 PM   #3
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Power Pistol and 9mm is an outstanding combination.
Easily the best powder I ever used in that cartridge. Not only did it give the highest velocity but it was so clean that after a shooting session it honestly looked like the gun hadn't been fired.
It was a perfect marriage.
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Old December 31, 2013, 03:33 PM   #4
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I don't use Power Pistol because of its flash and with Max. effort 9 x 19mm loads it didn't produce accuracy as good as I get with other powders like Silhouette and 3N37. Silhouette and 3N37 are very similar powders, but because Silhouette can produce the same velocity with .2 or .3 grs. less in powder charge coupled with the fact that it is chemically treated for flash, it's just not necessary to pay extra for 3N37. Silhouette is very pressure stable and being a flattened spherical, it meters a good bit better than Power Pistol. It's very uniform ballistically as well. One of my +P type defense handloads with Silhouette and the old style Rem 124 gr. JHP chronographs 1238 FPS from the 4.14" barrel of my SR9. It's extremely accurate where its standard deviation for 10 rounds is 6.

After you get through the Power Pistol, or whenever you can find it, try some Silhouette. Downloadable data can be found here: www.ramshot.com where you can also request a printed version that includes reloading instructions not given in the online data. True Blue is also excellent in 9mm, .40 and the .45 ACP and one of the best general use powders on the market today. Easily better than Unique, IMO. My defense handloads in 9mm and .45 ACP get charged with Silhouette.
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Old December 31, 2013, 04:28 PM   #5
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FWIW I find that 5.2-5.3 under a 124 mimics the recoil impulse of my defense ammo, so it seems reasonable that 5.1 probably still feels a bit hot. I can't comment on the flash though as I shoot outside in the desert.
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Old December 31, 2013, 04:51 PM   #6
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sigcurious, you don't have to shoot at an indoor range, try shooting in the desert at night. I try to shoot my defense handloads at night whenever possible.
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Old December 31, 2013, 07:16 PM   #7
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I'm not sure if you're looking for some guidance using Power Pistol with 124g bullets for 9x19, but I'll chime in just the same.

57K has lots of good info. And Silhouette is probably the best all-around choice - especially with its low-flash characteristics. But with this environment of powder shortages, if Power Pistol is the powder you have and want to use, I have some data.

It's a work in progress, but I currently have tested 6.0g of Power Pistol (with a CCI 550 magnum primer - because I use magnum primers with all defense recipes). I say "work in progress" because I haven't decided if I'm going to try 6.1g's or not.

Through a Kahr CW9, 3.7" bbl, it yields 1126 FPS. That's plenty fast enough for a 124g HP to do what it's supposed to do (assuming good shot placement). And if I were loading plated bullets, I'd back down several 1/10ths from that 6.0 - say, 5.6g's. Would make great GP practice rounds.
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Old December 31, 2013, 07:41 PM   #8
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57K: that is some interesting information. I started using Power Pistol as soon as it came out. And I loved it. I don't think those Ramshot powders were available at the time.
I have never tried any of the Ram Shot powders, but if they are as good as you say, I would like to .
One thing with me is that when I find a powder that I like, I buy a big jug of it. So, my supply of Power Pistol might last me my lifetime.
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You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.
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Old December 31, 2013, 08:15 PM   #9
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Power Pistol rocks. It's flashy, so it wouldn't make good night time defense rounds. (Relative to my above post: When I make "defense round" recipes, I really just mean full-power rounds. For legal reasons here in Kalifornia, I always load my defense guns with factory ammo.)

Power Pistol is highly energetic and is capable of making some very high velocity rounds. It also seems to operate well under a broad range of load weights. It's an impressive propellant.

That said, it can also bite. I approach loading hot recipes with particular caution when using it. It's not known for having a linear pressure curve; and thus, can pressure spike with little warning. Working up high pressure rounds with it requires a patient approach, diligence, and a keen eye; and little experience is helpful too.

I wish I had a whole jug of it. It makes fun range days.
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Old January 1, 2014, 12:29 PM   #10
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It appears my assumption was correct Power Pistol is geared for more high velocity rounds. In any case does anyone have any chronograph data when using it in a 5" or 4" barrel? I'm curious to know what velocities I'm getting with the 4.7gr. load.
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Old January 1, 2014, 05:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
In any case does anyone have any chronograph data when using it in a 5" or 4" barrel
I haven't used a chronograph, but I use 5.1 gr of PP with 124 gr JHP in my 5.25" barrel. The recoil isn't that strong. Quickload tells me that with 4.7 gr the muzzle velocity is 992 fps. With my load of 5.1, the MV is 1072. With a 4" barrel, QL calculates the MV to be 927. If you are shooting competition and need to make power factor of 125, your load won't make it.
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Old January 2, 2014, 01:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Power Pistol is geared for more high velocity rounds.
It is. True.

But because it's a flake powder, it ignites easily. With that, it seems to be a better than average powder for downloading. It has the characteristics conducive to operating well over a broad range; so it probably does.

Myself, I like to use it for how it was intended And although you're working with plated bullets, I think you have room to bump that recipe up a bit.
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Old January 2, 2014, 02:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
But because it's a flake powder, it ignites easily
Power Pistol is a flattened sphere or ball powder. A flake powder is made by making sheets of powder and then flaking it (cutting it up somehow). I've seen confusion over PP being ball or flake before. PP looks like a round disk. PP meters very well and from what I've read, flake powder does not. I suppose because it has an irregular shape.
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Old January 2, 2014, 03:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Power Pistol is a flattened sphere or ball powder. A flake powder is made by making sheets of powder and then flaking it (cutting it up somehow). I've seen confusion over PP being ball or flake before. PP looks like a round disk. PP meters very well and from what I've read, flake powder does not. I suppose because it has an irregular shape.
Power Pistol is a larger flake cut version of Bullseye. Both are flake powders. Alliant only has one spherical (flattened ball) type handgun powder and that's the newer MP-300. Information that anyone can find in a load manual or at the Alliant website.

444, you're correct, Power Pistol was on the market well before Western Powder Co. introduced the Ramshot powders. Same goes for WAP which Winchester dropped from their line. Western acquired the rights to it and it's the same exact powder now sold as Ramshot Silhouette.
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Old January 2, 2014, 03:30 PM   #15
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It's my understanding the military NATO 9mm utilizes Power Pistol.
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Old January 2, 2014, 03:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 57k
Information that anyone can find in a load manual or at the Alliant website.
Can you provide a link? I don't see this information on Alliant's site or in their manual.
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Old January 2, 2014, 03:39 PM   #17
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Chris, I don't think it's quite the same as the powder that's sold to reloaders. Alliant has a new variant called BE-86 that has a flash suppressant that Power Pistol obviously does not. I haven't found anything conclusive yet, but I wonder if BE-86 isn't the low flash version of Power Pistol that was used by the military. Surely they didn't go into battle with a powder that flashes as greatly as Power Pistol does. When Alliant gets around to posting data for BE-86, we'll be able to compare it to Power Pistol. Powder charges and burn rate may differ slightly due to the chemical coating (flash suppressant) on BE-86.
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Old January 2, 2014, 03:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Can you provide a link? I don't see this information on Alliant's site or in their manual.
All of Alliants pistol/shotgun powders are flake propellants so the only one they designate by type is 300-MP which is spherical.

Check your Lyman or SPEER manuals where the various powders are discussed.
Here's a quote from the Lyman Pistol & Revolver III.

Power Pistol:
"This is a double-base, flake type powder designed as a prime choice for semi-auto handgun calibers such as the 9mm, 40 S&W, and the .45 ACP."
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Old January 2, 2014, 03:54 PM   #19
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Well, I sent Alliant an email. We'll get it straight from the horse's mouth.
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Old January 2, 2014, 05:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
Well, I sent Alliant an email. We'll get it straight from the horse's mouth.
I did the same and then read your post. I find it interesting that Alliant doesn't say what "shape" any of their powders are. I also thought I read that flake powders were more often used in Europe than here.
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Old January 2, 2014, 05:42 PM   #21
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I just know that I've been told more times than I remember that Power Pistol is supposedly a flattened ball. Specifically, I once compared it to Unique and 800x, kind of like Me, Mini Me and Maxi Me and was told how wrong I was because the other two are flakes and PP is a ball.
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Old January 2, 2014, 06:03 PM   #22
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Simple solution? Open your load manuals as is so often recommended to new reloaders. 300-MP is Alliant's first spherical handgun propellant. Surely you guys knew that Unique, Bullseye and all of the various "Dot" powders are flake?

Another little clue if you understand what bulk density is, find a listing for bulk density of the various powders. In my case I easily prefer Silhouette over Power Pistol. Silhouette meters very well at 800 grams/Liter. Power Pistol is a good deal lower in bulk density. Then you have sphericals like True Blue at 935 grams/Liter, AA#5 at 950 G/L and AA#7 at 975 G/L. Since powder measures operate on the principle of gravity, it doesn't take long to understand that denser sphericals meter better than flake powders which contributes to better uiformity of powder charges.

Last edited by 57K; January 2, 2014 at 06:26 PM.
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Old January 2, 2014, 06:20 PM   #23
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You keep saying that but the Alliant 2010 and 2013 Reloader's Guide and do not make any mention of the "type" of powder.

They say the same thing:

Principal Uses
High performance pistol loads such as the 9mm, .40 S&W, and 10mm


My Lyman 49th does say it is a Double-base extruded wafer or flake shape. Does that mean it's actually a flake or just flake shaped? They have no designation for "flattened ball".
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; January 2, 2014 at 06:26 PM.
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Old January 2, 2014, 06:37 PM   #24
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Brian, I edited my last post since your post. It kinda baffles me that an experienced reloader wouldn't know these things. There are obvious advantages in metering with denser spherical powders and possibly Alliant wants to deemphasize that.

Your Lyman manual is giving you the correct description that you're somehow still questioning. The correct term that I learned is "Extruded Flake." Maybe you'll need to hear it from Alliant themselves.

The same applies with their rifle powders that are extruded kernal type and undesignated as such while they designate their newer spherical rifle propellants as spherical.

And, hey, that was a direct quote I posted from the Lyman Pistol & Revolver III.
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Old January 2, 2014, 06:48 PM   #25
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I don't know why an experienced reloader would necessarily know nor care in most cases about the exact shape designation of a particular powder. Ease of metering and bulk density are not always primary (or even important) considerations. I do know enough to know that just because a manual says it doesn't make it fact. If Alliant's said it about they're own powder I'd tend to believe it.

I've simply been told, any multiple occasions by folks I believed to be knowledgeable, that Power Pistol is a flattened ball and no one has previously ever tried to correct that statement. As such, I am suspect of claims to the contrary. Being that the Lyman manual has no designation for a flattened ball, mentioning that it's an "extruded powder flake shape" isn't terribly conclusive.

I really don't care one way or the other, beyond idle curiosity. Maybe it's extruded. Hoorah! I presume that Alliant will answer my query shortly and then there'll be no question whatsoever.
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