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Old July 22, 2012, 04:35 PM   #1
sigcurious
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What Powder Does Federal Use in Their HST Series?

Anyone know the answer? Specifically for the 9mm 124gr loading, if they use different powders for different ones.

Eventually, I'd like to recreate this load for practice/training purposes, figure it would be easiest if I just use what they use when the time comes.
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Old July 22, 2012, 04:38 PM   #2
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It's highly unlikely that they use a commercially available powder. Chances are, it's a proprietary, unique to them, blended powder... designed to perform to their specifications. I seriously doubt, considering how hot the premium HD ammo market is, that they'd have an interest in sharing that information.

Certainly you can obtain identical muzzle velocities with commercial powders... but burn rate, pressure, smoke and flash will not be identical.

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Old July 22, 2012, 04:55 PM   #3
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My main objective would be to find something that produces the same muzzle velocity and burn rate to best mimic the recoil impulse.

Would pulling one apart and weighing the powder charge, then consulting reloading manuals as to expected velocities from various powder charges be worth while to narrow down the possibilities of what powders might recreate the load?
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Old July 22, 2012, 05:03 PM   #4
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Would pulling one apart and weighing the powder charge, then consulting reloading manuals as to expected velocities from various powder charges be worth while to narrow down the possibilities of what powders might recreate the load?
As the powder they use is an unknown... that's a bit sketchy. You can try it, but you didn't hear that from me.
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Old July 22, 2012, 05:40 PM   #5
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Would pulling one apart and weighing the powder charge, then consulting reloading manuals as to expected velocities from various powder charges be worth while to narrow down the possibilities of what powders might recreate the load?
Again, since the powder is probably proprietary or blended, the specific powder is unobtainable anyway. Using the same bullet with a powder giving similar velocity should be close enough for practice and training. Recoil should be very similar also.
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Old July 22, 2012, 05:46 PM   #6
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Write to Federal and ask them. Let us know what they say.
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Old July 22, 2012, 05:53 PM   #7
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Would pulling one apart and weighing the powder charge, then consulting reloading manuals as to expected velocities from various powder charges be worth while to narrow down the possibilities of what powders might recreate the load?
Whether or not it's worthwhile is a question only you can answer, but I suspect you'll never know the powder by name. Best to measure the velocity of the ammo through your pistol, then find a reload that re-creates that velocity.

Federal Ammunition is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alliant Techsystems, who also owns Alliant Powder, CCI/Speer, and other companies in the industry. Whether they use their own components to load ammunition is subject to clam, but I'd bet that they won't tell us hobbyists their loads. You're on your own with that one. However, the 124 grain 9mm loading is a common load, and I'll bet that you can figger it out on your own.
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Old July 22, 2012, 05:53 PM   #8
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One thing that concerns me about attempting to recreate the load, particularly the recoil impulse, is that they seem to use a fast burning powder. However my only evidence for this currently is that when testing a few different commercial SD cartridges, the regular pressure HST 124gr had a much sharper feel than the 124gr gold dot +p, even though it has a lower velocity going by the factory specifications and what chronograph information I can find.

Either way, it will be sometime before I attempt to recreate this particular load. I figure I should cut my teeth on basic loads straight from the manuals before experimenting with loads within the min-max loads of the manuals.
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Old July 22, 2012, 06:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigcurious
Either way, it will be sometime before I attempt to recreate this particular load. I figure I should cut my teeth on basic loads straight from the manuals before experimenting with loads within the min-max loads of the manuals.
I'm not sure what you mean by that... "basic" loads ARE loads within the min-max of manuals. It doesn't get any more basic than that.
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Old July 22, 2012, 06:16 PM   #10
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Sorry I should have been more clear, the recommended loads. When looking at my lymans they have the min max and recommended, still working on getting more manuals though, so not sure of what the set up is in those. I figure the recommended loads are a good starting point.
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Old July 22, 2012, 06:26 PM   #11
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If you ask about their powder they would probably respond "We do not recommend the use of handloads."

Sent from HenseMod6.
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Old July 22, 2012, 06:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrawesome22
If you ask about their powder they would probably respond "We do not recommend the use of handloads."
That would indeed be a curious response as they sell powder (Alliant), bullets (Speer), and primers (CCI) to handloaders. Federal itself sells shells, primers, and wads to shotshell reloaders.
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Old July 22, 2012, 06:39 PM   #13
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I think there is entirely too much credit given for special blend powders in factory loads. What I think they are doing is buying bulk lots of powder that may or may not meet cannister specifications for retail sale. They have the equipment to test it. So what if the ammo plant gets a truckload of powder that is, say, Unique chemistry but 12% different in burn rate? They just load it up. As long as they can make the catalog velocity within SAAMI pressure specs, all they care about is getting product on the shelves.

So pull a bullet, weigh the powder, and look in your handbook to see what you can get that gives, in this case, 1150 fps with about that powder charge.

Off the top of my head, I would say Power Pistol. When it came onto the retail market, Alliant advertised they had loaded a billion rounds of 9mm ammunition with it. Does that sound like a special blend?

But there was a guy on this or some gun board who went through a long test program to match his service load. He was more interested in feel than in chronograph readings so his end product may not have been a perfect ballistic match. But it kicked the same and he was happy. I think he used HS6 but since that is a Hodgdon (St Marks) powder, it is probably not what is in your HST.
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Old July 22, 2012, 07:38 PM   #14
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Jim, if you happen to remember what board and thread that was in it would be much appreciated seeing what someone else did in a similar situation would be useful. I am also looking to recreate the feel, for practice with follow up shots and strings of shots.

I would imagine at the 15yards or less that I tend to practice self defense style shooting, as long as the muzzle velocity isn't vastly different I can't imagine the POI being so far off from the factory loads that it would matter.
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Old July 22, 2012, 08:02 PM   #15
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Ah, I see what you mean. Certainly, nothing wrong with starting with their recommended powders. There's probably nothing special about them, but there's nothing wrong with starting there.
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Old July 22, 2012, 08:07 PM   #16
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as long as the muzzle velocity isn't vastly different I can't imagine the POI being so far off from the factory loads that it would matter.
Hopefully someone will chime in if I'm wrong, but I think that if you have two identical bullets that leave the muzzle of the same gun at identical speeds, their external ballistics should be the same.

I do realize that the two loadings may have very different pressure curves, and that it might be possible for a load that duplicates a factory load's muzzle velocity to subject the gun's internals to unsafe pressures.
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Old July 22, 2012, 08:39 PM   #17
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Hopefully someone will chime in if I'm wrong, but I think that if you have two identical bullets that leave the muzzle of the same gun at identical speeds, their external ballistics should be the same.
Not so sure about that, at least not with respect to point of impact. Muzzle flip is probably more a matter or INTERNAL ballistics, but it still affects POI.

So, if a fast powder and a slow powder produce the same muzzle velocity but a different acceleration curve, it MAY affect how the muzzle flips and returns to the sight line in the shooter's grip as he shoots a "double tap."

Others with more experience in shooting double-taps may be able to verify or discredit that line of thinking.

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Old July 22, 2012, 08:45 PM   #18
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I was thinking about that, but I remember seeing high-speed photography that showed that muzzle flip didn't really start until the bullet left the barrel. I do agree that it might affect follow-on shots, though.
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Old July 22, 2012, 09:04 PM   #19
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Recoil definitely starts slightly before the bullet exits but it's generally SO slight as to sometimes be hard to see in high-speed video. I have no doubt that the powder choice mat affect that recoil but I'm not sure there could be enough difference to ever see the accuracy affect in a handgun.

I could be wrong, and it wouldn't be the first time.

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Old July 22, 2012, 09:34 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottRiqui
Hopefully someone will chime in if I'm wrong, but I think that if you have two identical bullets that leave the muzzle of the same gun at identical speeds, their external ballistics should be the same.
That is correct. Once the bullet leaves the muzzle, pressure, peak/curve/dwell have no bearing. Only external elements will have effect... gravity and weather.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SL1
Muzzle flip is probably more a matter or INTERNAL ballistics, but it still affects POI.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottRiqui
I remember seeing high-speed photography that showed that muzzle flip didn't really start until the bullet left the barrel.
Recoil and muzzle flip are caused by two different elements of the same process.
A gun of sufficient weight, would be, for all intent and purpose, recoil and muzzle flip proof... a 100 lb .22 for example probably wouldn't move much.

If a normally weighted firearm was parallel to the ground with equal weight and balance and no fulcrum point around which it, the barrel or "lever" can pivot, there would be no muzzle flip.
A free resting straight barrel lying on a flat table over it's entire length for example, would recoil rearward only from both the recoil and the expelation of high pressure gas after the bullet leaves the muzzle... with no muzzle flip at all. It might roll one way or the other from a spin imparted by the rifling... but not flip.

A handgun with a low barrel center will have less muzzle flip than a gun with similar weight and dimensions but a higher barrel center... it's the "hinge" (fulcrum) point relative to the lever, weight and leverage applied.

Or... I could be talking completely out of my backside.

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Old July 22, 2012, 11:37 PM   #21
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I am rather insensitive to small differences in recoil. If the bullet weight and muzzle velocity are the same and the gun is the same, then I can't tell a difference.
Some people make a lot of fuss over the effect of the brand and grade of powder on the FELT recoil; kind of a Princess And The Pea situation.

Hey, I found that study on gun FEEL as opposed to simple matching of weight and velocity. Unfortunately, it was done for Speer .38 and .357 Short Barrel, not 9mm P. But it would be a place to start, Power Pistol, HS6, AA5 were the main contenders, concluding with HS6 in .357 and AA5 in .38. Power Pistol was good but he, like me, saw a lot of flash and blast along with its high velocity. Hey, some people like flash and bang.

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Old July 23, 2012, 01:17 PM   #22
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Making a practice load that is close to the velocity, recoil, and point of impact of your commercial SD load doesn't appear difficult. You can use the 124 grain Speer Gold Dot. A quick look at the Alliant site reveals three 124 Grain Gold Dot recipes with different powders for that bullet that exceed 1150 fps and that could be reduced to get a velocity match. Power Pistol is one, but it has the fireball mentioned earlier. Blue Dot gets almost 90 fps more than you need, but reduced it runs inefficiently. The best choice looks to me to be Unique, which they show getting 1180 fps, and that's a powder that, while harder to meter than most, is fairly quick and not very flash prone and just might be your winner for mimicry of what you buy. It's load recipe, backed off a couple tenths of a grain, should hit your velocity number about right.

Muzzle rise does begin before bullet exit, and in handguns it is the main reason that changing pressure levels typically has less effect on pistol range point of impact than changing bullet weight does. With a same-weight bullet, loaded to higher velocity it creates more rapid muzzle rise, but gets out of the bore faster, so the net difference in muzzle rise at bullet exit isn't great. But go to a lighter bullet and the same pressure accelerates it faster so it clears the muzzle sooner, before the muzzle has risen as much, and thus that lighter weight bullet impacts lower.

Ammunition makers don't normally use blended powders. Cannister grades sold to hand loaders are blended with held back fast or slow lots of the exact same type of powder to adjust burn rate to be consistent enough for load manual data to remain valid, but that adds cost that large scale manufacturers don't want. They normally buy unblended bulk powders then use pressure/velocity test guns to adjust their loads rather than a book of recipes. There is a larger number of bulk powder types available than cannister grade types, which may mislead people into assuming commercial ammo makers use blends when they are actually just using something not on the handloading market at all. Look through military load data and you will notice some unfamiliar numbers.
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Old July 24, 2012, 12:07 AM   #23
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I have chronographed the Fed 124 HST +P out of a 4" S&W 5906 at 1190 fps, a 3" Sig P290 at 1090fps and a 3" Kahr CM9 at 1081fps. The Speer Gold Dot was essentially the same.
A load of N-350 at the upper end of the booklet range duplicated it. Also contending was AA5 and HS7 along with a case full of Herco. Most of these are slower powders with AA5 being the fastest tested to reach the desired velocity.
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Old July 24, 2012, 07:49 AM   #24
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A case full? What's the weight, in grains, of that?
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Old July 24, 2012, 10:19 AM   #25
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CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The Firing Line, nor the staff of TFL assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

moxie,
I'd rather not give the exact charge because it needs to be worked up in the individuals gun and since it is from old Speer data that might be over pressure limits by today's standards, but more so because there are too many new reloaders reading these forums that I don't want to steer wrong.

... but since you asked, here is some of the base data anyone can find and decide for themselves whether to use ...

Speer #8 lists 7.0 gr of Herco @1251fps as the max load for a 125gr JSP bullet at an unlisted OAL (very important info to leave out)... It was published in 1970 well before the common use of piezo-electric PSI measuring and may be over-pressure by today's sammi standards.

o- I don't know how Speer got 7.0gr of powder into the 9mm case to begin with as even 6gr fills the case almost to the top. [edit] so I just went out and filled a case up and carded it level with the case top- dump and weigh it... 7.9gr !! boy that herco is heavy stuff.

[edit] I also looked up the above load in Speer #9 (1974) and the max had been reduced to 6.6gr @1169fps and in Speer #10 (1979) it was eliminated from the list.

The 1994 thru 2005 Alliant data booklets list 6.5gr Herco @1180fps as max for 125 FMJ @ 1.15" and they provide a psi of 32,700 (not cup but psi) so that tells us it is within current SAMMI for 9mm AND the velocity is close to what I clocked HST at. It was removed from the list after 2005 for some reason, maybe because it is a case full?

By comparison, Hornady #3 (1980) lists 5.3gr @1100fps as the max for a 124 FMJ.

Considering the wide range of powder differences found between the three authorities, max loads need to be approached with extra caution. So considering the all of the above, you can understand my reluctance to give the exact charge I am using.

I feel that the Speer #8 edition is on the extreme end of charge pressures and any loads from that manual need to be worked up to, very carefully. Most of them work fine w/o excessive pressure.

I find Herco to be an excellent (forgotten) powder to attain higher velocities that some of today's powders cant easily reach. To match the 124gr HST velocity, I think it would work well, once worked up, thus my unspecific comment about a case full (to be taken as a relative term, not literally).

Since I buy HST as my CCW round of choice, this gives me something to play with for my next chrono project. The only problem is finding a supply of THE HST bullet - which I doubt is available to the reloading public. I also doubt I will recreate the feel of the recoil exactly but don't think that matters as much and would be happy to just duplicate the velocity and POI.

sorry for the long winded post... I tend to get that way sometimes

Last edited by AhChi WaWa; July 24, 2012 at 03:43 PM.
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