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Old September 17, 2012, 09:32 AM   #1
plouffedaddy
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Underwood Ammo 9x18 Mak 95gr XTP Ammo Review



I got some 9x18 Mak ammo from Underwood Ammo recently and put it through a little T&E and it seems to be pretty good stuff. It's loaded with the 95gr Hornady XTP bullet and the advertised velocity is 1150fps.

Before I go on, let's address the pressure issue. There were several Russian 9x18 rounds developed over the years of various weights and pressures, most ranged between 20,000 and 24,000 PSI. The Czechs designed a 69gr load in the early 1980s that traveled at 1350fps out of their CZ 82s that had a chamber pressure of 24,650 PSI. The ammo being reviewed today has a chamber pressure of 24,500 so it's actually slightly under what the Czechs used as their service round for the last few years that the gun was in service. After firing this ammo, I didn't see any evidence of stressed cases (bulges, cracks, ect...). As to whether other 9x18 guns can run this ammo as effectively and safely, I can't say for certain but most probably can since Russian put out a couple loads around 24,000 PSI and they were used by seveal nations in their guns.

Moving on.... With 9x18 guns, people often debate whether one should use JHPs or FMJs for defensive purposes. With that in mind, the XTP bullet may be the ideal compromise. XTPs are known for relatively deep penetration due to relatively small expansion between 1.25-1.50x the original diameter once it meets soft tissue.

Here's a video with of me running some rounds through my CZ, a quick discussion of the rounds charachteristics, and a chronograph test comparing the Underwood load with the factory Hornady load:

Underwood 9x18 Mak HD Review Video Link

Chrono numbers:

Underwood 9x18 95gr XTP: 1198fps, 303 ft/lbs energy at the muzzle
Hornady 9x18 95gt XTP: 999fps, 210 ft/lbs energy at the muzzle

This round should be availible shortly on the Underwood site for those looking to pick some up. 

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Old September 17, 2012, 10:19 AM   #2
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Sounds like I've got a new carry load. Very Impressive. I'm curious what it would chrono out of my little p-64.
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Old September 17, 2012, 03:46 PM   #3
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Now that's pretty good, and a bit cheaper than buying Buffalo Bore.

The Underwood 9mm Mak seems to edge out most .38 special +P numbers and creeps towards standard pressure regular 9mm.


Did you put a bigger recoil spring in your CZ82? Or still have the factory one installed? How is the recoil?
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Old September 17, 2012, 05:37 PM   #4
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Interesting, looks like time for a little new ammo testing.
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Old September 17, 2012, 09:06 PM   #5
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So another over pressure round using the +P moniker for advertising hype hits the market! If I were to carry something as big as my CZ82 I could carry a double stack 9MM rated for 9MM+P. A round that actually exists on the SAAMI standard pressure charts!
This may be OK in the CZ82 according to your supposed pressure data, but how about Maks and PA62 pistols. Again the +P rating is being used for advertising aimed at uninformed people who think they are buying some "wonder round" that will stop any threat without regard to shot placement.
How about these companies putting a warning label on the box stating "This ammunition is loaded to higher pressure than SAAMI standards for this round" Wouldn't that be a more honest approach?
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Old September 18, 2012, 07:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
This may be OK in the CZ82 according to your supposed pressure data, but how about Maks and PA62 pistols
That's why I stated:

Quote:
As to whether other 9x18 guns can run this ammo as effectively and safely, I can't say for certain
Here's some numbers fired out of the CZ 82 from commercial ammo companies:

Silver Bear 94gr HP: 1108fps, 256ft/lbs of energy
Brown Bear 94gr FMJ: 1119fps, 261ft/lbs of energy

Now, I run that ammo in all my Mak guns, including the small P64 with 0 issues. The BB is averaging only 80fps less than the Underwood so the pressure can't be that far off.


Quote:
How about these companies putting a warning label on the box stating "This ammunition is loaded to higher pressure than SAAMI standards for this round" Wouldn't that be a more honest approach?
Yes, it would. But, they do make their pressures readily availible and their advertised velocities are right on the box so it's not a secret either...
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Old September 19, 2012, 03:15 PM   #7
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Any data on penetration?
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Old September 19, 2012, 03:55 PM   #8
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Sorry but no. I don't have any gel to perform tests on. Plus it's too freaking hot where I live anyway; it'd probably melt!

Likely it would lose some penetration over the hornady load though.
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Old September 20, 2012, 08:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
So another over pressure round using the +P moniker for advertising hype hits the market!
Who knows? When I go to the SAAMI site, I cannot find any pressure info for the 9x18 and Wikipedia confirms this. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9%C3%9718mm_Makarov

Quote:
How about these companies putting a warning label on the box stating "This ammunition is loaded to higher pressure than SAAMI standards for this round"
Underwood doesn't have their "+P" 9mm Mak listing at their site yet. I do know that for some of their 10mm loads, they specifically warn against use in Colt Delta Elite and other 1911s without a ramped barrel.

Added: I do see that Underwood lists the 95 gr. XTP bullet with a velocity of 1150 fps but they do not list it as "+P" on their site. I'm not sure what this means.
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Old September 21, 2012, 08:36 AM   #10
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Everything is the CZ82, what about my Polish P64? The Brown Bear loads are a bit snappy in a small gun like the P64, what would these be like?
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Old September 21, 2012, 11:06 AM   #11
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I have a P64 as well but I was just trying to isolate the variables (gun) as much as possible when trying out this new load. I haven't run any through the P-64 yet but that gun has a much sharper recoil impulse than the CZ so I'm sure it would have some snap to it but I can't say for sure.......
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Old September 21, 2012, 01:15 PM   #12
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Bottom line: is this ammo safe to shoot in an IJ-70 Russian Commercial 9X18 model?
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Old September 21, 2012, 03:06 PM   #13
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No idea. Check and see if that gun can run the SP-7 round. It's the hottest military produced 9x18 I know of and the chamber pressures of that surpass the Underwood.

You can also email Kevin over at underwood (sales@underwoodammo.com) and he'll let you know. He's usually pretty quick with emails.
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Old September 22, 2012, 03:43 PM   #14
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I wonder how it would perform in my PA-63?
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Old September 23, 2012, 03:20 AM   #15
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ive seen video of a pa-63 fireing parabellum. im sure it could handle this
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Old September 23, 2012, 02:29 PM   #16
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Penetration?

I'd really, really like to see some Ballistic Gel tests of this load. I just watched a test of the Hornady XTP 95gr here and the expansion and penetration were terrific, so I was planning on picking some up for my CZ82 and/or P64.

If the penetration is as good or better than the Hornady, then this will be a fabulous low cost alternative. From the Hornady test, it looked like the bullet was getting full expansion so it may well be that the increase in velocity won't negatively affect penetration (this is mostly just me justifying my wishful thinking, though).

Last edited by marklmurray; September 23, 2012 at 03:55 PM. Reason: Fixed link - software overly helpful with the 'http://' part
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Old September 23, 2012, 03:40 PM   #17
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Quote:
I'd really, really like to see some Ballistic Gel tests of this load. I just watched a test of the Hornady XTP 95gr here and the expansion and penetration were terrific, so I was planning on picking some up for my CZ82 and/or P64.

If the penetration is as good or better than the Hornady, then this will be a fabulous low cost alternative. From the Hornady test, it looked like the bullet was getting full expansion so it may well be that the increase in velocity won't negatively affect penetration (this is mostly just me justifying my wishful thinking, though).
Can you repost that link? It doesn't seem to be working...

Your thinking is probably wishful. The ammo will likely expand more and penetrate less; it's happened in every XTP bullet test I've seen when velocity has been increased. But, you never really know until it's tested....
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Old September 23, 2012, 03:57 PM   #18
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Can you repost that link? It doesn't seem to be working...
Should be fixed, now. Thanks!
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Old September 23, 2012, 05:41 PM   #19
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Thanks; that's the best test I've seen yet.
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Old September 23, 2012, 07:42 PM   #20
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Good news---I just talked to the guy that did that test (he apparently saw my review and contacted me...). He said he's got a box of the Underwood ammo in question here ordered and he'll post a gel test shortly of it. Giddy up.
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Old September 23, 2012, 08:00 PM   #21
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Awesome! If that one is as good, I may be able to afford to 'stock up'. Thanks for the info!
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Old September 25, 2012, 07:53 PM   #22
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That is one serious looking hollow-point cavity.
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Old September 26, 2012, 10:47 AM   #23
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Nice review. Thanks
Now I have to go research sp7 and makarov pressure tolerances....

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Old October 2, 2012, 11:30 PM   #24
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question, has anyone used this ammo in a PA-63

About two years ago, I picked up a FEG PA-63, reason one, the price was affordable, #2, it fit's the hand nicely, #3, I'm getting old, and that left side thumb rest is a good grip assist, #4, the silver bear 9x18 HP is a 380 on Steroids...#5, a very manageable weapon... has this Underwood ammo really been proven safe in a PA-63?
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Old October 3, 2012, 06:38 AM   #25
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Tough to say if it's been proven. I was the first one (other than Kevin Underwood) to get a box of it so it's extremely new to the market. I recommend checking if the SP-7 round has been used successfully in your gun; it it has then you're good to go. That rounds been around a lot longer so there's a lot more data on it.
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