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Old June 6, 2014, 02:46 PM   #1
ghbucky01
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Another Clays with 9mm thread

I need some advice:

I have just gotten a brand new XDM 5.25 9mm (yay). I called my cast bullet guys.. SNS bullets.. and told them what I had coming and the guy told me that they shoot 147gr bullets with an OAL of 1.130 from that gun.

So, I bought 500 of them to test. The only powder I can find that I have data for is Clays.

My Lyman book shows data for 147 gr Lead bullet with Clays:
start 1.9gr, max 2.8 gr (compressed), BUT their data is for a very short OAL of only 1.058.

I am using a Lee autodisk powder measure, and I have tested up to 2.5 gr, but I am not getting slide lock. My next cavity size goes up to 2.8gr... max load.

I called Springfield and they told me that the XDM is rated for +P ammo, but I am still very concerned about going to that max load.

Am I safe, and is it OK to run a max load (I'm talking about competition, so maybe thousands of rounds like that), or should I forget it and go with a lighter bullet?

[edit] one more detail.. the gun has 56 rounds through it. Wondering if putting more rounds through it will smooth it out so that the mid range charge will get slide lock?
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Old June 6, 2014, 05:33 PM   #2
RickB
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2.8 is a compressed load? I just loaded a couple of hundred 125s over 4.1 of Tightgroup, and that's nowhere near a compressed load (I'm thinking only in terms of case and powder volume, and not any consideration of burn rate or other issues).
What does Hodgdon say about Clays and 147s? Clays is the only pistol powder that I have in any quantity, so I'll be using it for 9mm, soon.
The only 9mm I load for is a Hi-Power, and I load the rounds as long as will chamber.
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Old June 6, 2014, 05:56 PM   #3
noylj
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My data for 147gn bullets in 9x19 and Clays shows 2.8-3.0gn is max, but that is in the test guns with the particular lot numbers of components and particular bullets used and is only a guide to what you will get in your gun.
If you aren't getting slide lock, and you do with factory ammo, then the load is too light. So, you have to go up in charge weight.
Go up to next level and see how it works.
Get some 147gn factory ammo and compare recoil impulse and how far the cases are thrown and compare to your loads. Watch the primers.
If the next step sees too hot, which I doubt though I don't care for ANY max loads with Clays, you can always order another set of disks and open up the smaller cavity to get the weight you want (incrementally opening it up and testing). Disks are cheap.
The Lyman 147gn bullet has a longer bearing surface than most cast 147gn, so it has to be seated deeper and will have more bullet inside the case.
It is the 147gn bullet that I prefer, but since I've pretty much stopped casting and I can't find any one selling that bullet...
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Old June 6, 2014, 06:22 PM   #4
BigJimP
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Hodgdon ....online reloading manual.....does not list a load with Clays ....for a 147 gr bullet ...either lead or plated or jacketed....

So I don't trust the data you're using.../ I would do a lot more looking around for a recipe ...before you get too deep in this.

( personally, I consider a 147gr bullet in a 9mm to be a "Defensive" round....more than a practice round (where I like either a 124gr or a 115 gr bullet ).
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Old June 6, 2014, 07:30 PM   #5
noylj
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I can sort of concur.
Normally, I would warn against Clays, TiteGroup, or N310 for any max loads, but the OP seems cautious enough.
Personally, I'll take a 115gn JHP for defense (if I was to grab a 9x19 for a job that belongs to a .45), and 121-125gn for targets, but that is me.
Today, with lack of powders, you simply have to try what you have, if you have recognized load data. Since I have two manuals that listed Clays, one at 2.8 max and the other at 3.0 max, working up should be as safe as any other load work up--but I would warn about sudden pressure spikes at max loads--especially with a longer COL than either manual.
Of course, I would recommend that, for any one loading 9x19, best accuracy and consistency comes from powders in the AA5 to Silhouette range, with Power Pistol (which I haven't seen for over a year) being the "best" in my guns. My experience is that fast powders and 9x19 are not an accurate combination.
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Old June 6, 2014, 09:35 PM   #6
GJSchulze
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Enjoy the gun; I love mine.

If you aren't getting the slide to cycle then you are no where near max pressure. I shoot 147 gr FMJ-TC with 4.2 gr of Power Pistol at an OAL of 1.135. That's a power factor of about 132. My minimum load is 3.9 which didn't always cycle the slide because of charge variation, which is why I bumped it up to 4.0 at first. That gave me a PF of 125, which is the minimum for USPSA production or ESP/SSP in IDPA.
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Old June 7, 2014, 08:18 PM   #7
mboylan
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Clays is really touchy over the max and has blown up more than it's share of guns. Loading long is a good precaution. Working past the max is not a good idea because it's pressure curve is very non-linear. It is also prone to pressure spikes. There is a reason why there is not much load data with bullets over 124 gr in 9mm.

Try to find some better data with a longer OAL, drop to a lighter bullet or find a more suitable powder.
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Old June 7, 2014, 08:47 PM   #8
mboylan
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Quote:
Enjoy the gun; I love mine.

If you aren't getting the slide to cycle then you are no where near max pressure. I shoot 147 gr FMJ-TC with 4.2 gr of Power Pistol at an OAL of 1.135. That's a power factor of about 132. My minimum load is 3.9 which didn't always cycle the slide because of charge variation, which is why I bumped it up to 4.0 at first. That gave me a PF of 125, which is the minimum for USPSA production or ESP/SSP in IDPA.
What you are saying does not apply to heavy bullets under extremely fast powders. You are using a slow burning stable powder that is as far away from Clays as it gets.

Really fast powders make minimum power factor at close to max pressures. Clays has to produce a sharp pressure wave to get the bullet to move. Sometimes it's necessary to respring the gun.

It's a nice soft .45 powder. But not for 9mm with 135 gr and 147 gr bullets.
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Old June 8, 2014, 04:13 AM   #9
GJSchulze
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Quote:
What you are saying does not apply to heavy bullets under extremely fast powders. You are using a slow burning stable powder that is as far away from Clays as it gets.
I ran his numbers with Quickload and I see what you mean about needing to be near max. QL calculated a PF of 125.2 using 2.54 gr of Clays. I don't have his bullet or case data, but my case data is representative. I used a 148 lead bullet I found and changed the weight to 147 gr. Pressure is calculated to be 29867 psi. If I change the OAL to 1.058 pressure goes up to 44,525!

Even at his 2.5 gr he should be able to cycle the slide.

I tried a 124 gr TMJ bullet and the pressure is higher at PF=125.
I tried a 115 gr TMJ bullet and the pressure just gets higher.

My suggestion is to change to a slower powder. Clays just doesn't give you any room to experiment with loads and with that Lee Autodisk you really can't adjust your loads very much AFAIK.

I'd recommend Power Pistol if I thought you could find it anywhere, but it doesn't seem to be available.
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Old June 8, 2014, 07:55 AM   #10
Shotgun Slim
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Congrats on the 525. I think the sns guy steered you right with the 147.I have found that heavier bullets with light charges that make whatever power factor you might need give a more controllable recoil signature that allows quicker follow up shots. You can make power for IDPA with a light enough charge that you will need to drop down to a 16# recoil spring to run the gun.18# is stock and you can get Wolff springs easily and cheaply enough.As for the clays I love it on the low end for reloads but would never use it anywhere near max. I am not going to list loads for you but I know you can put clays under that 147 within reason. Get thee to a chronograph and see if what you have already tried will make power.Safe shooting

Last edited by Shotgun Slim; June 8, 2014 at 08:01 AM.
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Old June 8, 2014, 05:45 PM   #11
GJSchulze
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Quote:
Congrats on the 525. I think the sns guy steered you right with the 147.I have found that heavier bullets with light charges that make whatever power factor you might need give a more controllable recoil signature that allows quicker follow up shots. You can make power for IDPA with a light enough charge that you will need to drop down to a 16# recoil spring to run the gun
My XDm 9mm 5.25 runs just fine with the factory spring at a power factor of 125, which is the minimum for both IDPA (SSP/ESP) and USPSA. I agree with you about the heavier bullet's recoil. The measured recoil is still the same, but the impulse (force/time) is less because the bullet is traveling slower, making the recoil less snappy. Strangely, there are a lot of people who disagree about recoil and heavier bullets, either because of their subjective experience or because they aren't taking into account that it applies only when the PF is the same.

ghbucky01, have you shot factory loads through the gun? If they don't cycle the slide, then something is wrong. As to your question about more shooting smoothing it out I have to say that it isn't necessary. Both because of my own experience and because a polymer gun doesn't have such tight tolerances between slide and frame. Try some factory ammo and get a slower powder if you can. If you don't have data for other powders, there are multiple sources on the Internet including the powder manufactures' website. I know Alliant will reply to an email with data.
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Old June 8, 2014, 06:29 PM   #12
ghbucky01
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Thanks for all the replies.

I've run 100 rounds of factory load through it with flawless performance.

With the 2.5gr Clays, I am not getting consistent slide lock. 1 out of 3 fails to lock.

I did another calibration and 0 on my digital scale and confirmed it with my Balance and I am getting very consistent drops at .1gr below published max. Test rounds showed no unusual primer marks (I was a little freaked when I looked at them at first - I am used to pristine .45 ACP primers).

I loaded 100 rounds and tested them alongside a box of factory ammo.

The gun handles noticeably softer with the Clays and the ejects drop right next to my right foot as opposed to the much more vigorous ejects from the factory loads.

All 150 rounds functioned flawlessly through all three magazines.

As for changing springs, I considered it briefly, but I just can't see replacing parts on a gun when I don't even really have a feel for it out of the box yet.

A chrono is on my wishlist, but not in the cards for a while yet. I really just got into shooting this March, so I've dumped a bucketful of money into reloading and shooting gear over the last 90 days and the wife finally hit her limit

Question, though, to the people saying Clays isn't optimal for 9mm: My Lyman 49th edition reloading book specifies that Bullseye is a recommended powder for 9mm loads. Bullseye is actually a faster powder than Clays, so what makes Clays so unsuitable?
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Old June 8, 2014, 08:18 PM   #13
GJSchulze
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Quote:
My Lyman 49th edition reloading book specifies that Bullseye is a recommended powder for 9mm loads. Bullseye is actually a faster powder than Clays, so what makes Clays so unsuitable?
According to Hodgdon's own burn rate chart (http://www.hodgdon.com/burn-rate.html), Bullseye is a little slower, not faster. I checked Clays, Bullseye, Tightgroup, and Power Pistol with Quickload and the graph of pressure for each agrees with their burn rates. From faster to slower it's Clays, Bullseye (although close to Clays), Tightgroup, and Power Pistol.

So when you say not going to slide lock, is it cycling the slide, but not enough? Or are you getting stove pipes?
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Old June 8, 2014, 09:05 PM   #14
ghbucky01
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Quote:
According to Hodgdon's own burn rate chart (http://www.hodgdon.com/burn-rate.html), Bullseye is a little slower, not faster. I checked Clays, Bullseye, Tightgroup, and Power Pistol with Quickload and the graph of pressure for each agrees with their burn rates. From faster to slower it's Clays, Bullseye (although close to Clays), Tightgroup, and Power Pistol.
My Lyman manual shows a bit of difference in the order of burn rates, with Bulleye being 3 above Clays. Essentially, they are both very fast powders.

Quote:
So when you say not going to slide lock, is it cycling the slide, but not enough? Or are you getting stove pipes?
The slide isn't locking on an empty magazine every time.
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Old June 8, 2014, 09:57 PM   #15
GJSchulze
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Burn rate charts do vary. I also found one that put Bullseye faster. The method to determine burn rate isn't all that scientific.

Quote:
The slide isn't locking on an empty magazine every time.
Wait, so if you fill a magazine the slide cycles but after the last one it doesn't lock? I've never had that problem with mine. If it's as I state, I'd ask a gunsmith or two about this. I do know that if the feed lips get just slightly too wide spread, it will lock on the next to last round.

Does it happen with any magazine? If you're not sure, number the mags and then experiment.
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Old June 8, 2014, 10:13 PM   #16
noylj
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Actually, in 9x19 and with a heavy bullet, you will find that Clays is much faster than Bullseye. Burn rate is dependent on cartridge and bullet and there is no single burn rate chart that is accurate for all cartridges--just for the specific closed-bomb test (which will probably get this e-mail into the NSA database).
Then, if you missed it, Clays can throw some really major pressure spikes nearing max loads (which "should be" above the level needed to get reliable functioning). Bullseye, on the other hand, is very stable in terms of pressure increase per charge weight increase.
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Old June 9, 2014, 01:21 AM   #17
GJSchulze
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Quote:
but I would warn about sudden pressure spikes at max loads--especially with a longer COL than either manual.
A longer COL (or OAL or COAL) means more volume under the bullet which leads to less pressure. Why would pressure spikes occur more often with a longer COL?

Also, what do you mean by sudden pressure spikes? By sudden I surmise you mean unexpected. But what is a sudden pressure spike compared to the normal pressure curve?
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Old June 9, 2014, 06:59 AM   #18
ghbucky01
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Quote:
Also, what do you mean by sudden pressure spikes? By sudden I surmise you mean unexpected. But what is a sudden pressure spike compared to the normal pressure curve?
This is where I am at. I see all these warning about Clays, but when I google "clays pressure spike" all I see are forum threads like this one.

I don't see any published data from Hodgdon, nor do any of my load manuals indicate any special handling needed for Clays. I would assume that if Clays becomes unstable at certain pressure ranges, you would not find published data for those loads, they would be beyond the "never exceed" load ranges.

Lyman 49th edition even lists a compressed load for Clays in 9mm.

What am I missing here?
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Old June 9, 2014, 11:05 AM   #19
ghbucky01
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I called IMR and asked them why no data for Clays in 9mm under 147gr Lead bullet.

The answer was that they consider the powder to be too fast for that heavy of a bullet. By the time they got acceptable velocities, the pressure was too high.
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Old June 9, 2014, 04:28 PM   #20
GJSchulze
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The answer was that they consider the powder to be too fast for that heavy of a bullet. By the time they got acceptable velocities, the pressure was too high
This ties in with what I said. Even if you have a load that works, you have very little wiggle room for either safety or tuning. You are going to have 0.1 gr spread in your charge weights, even with a good measuring powder. In Clays you have about a .3 gr swing between a minimum power factor of 125 and a too high pressure of 35,000 psi. That gives you a velocity spread of 50 fps. With Power Pistol I make PF of 125 at 3.94 and reach 100% filled at 5.02 with pressure under 30,000 psi. A velocity spread of 852 fps to 1067 fps.

According to Quickload, a lighter bullet is even worse. with a 115 gr bullet you need a charge that is 0.05 gr under maximum pressure! No wiggle room at all.

Sell the Clays to someone that uses it and get something else.
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