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Old August 5, 2008, 10:18 PM   #1
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Safe Bullseye 9mm Load?

I recently reloaded some 9mm ammunition using 147g FP lead bullets and 3.2g of Bullseye. Went out to the range today and got good results-some real nice groups. My question: I would like to increase the powder to 3.8g of Bullseye to see the results at that load. Lee's 2nd Edition Modern Reloading shows a starting load for 147g XTP of 3.9g not to exceed 4.2g. No load for Bullseye is shown in Lee's manual for 147g lead. Lyman's 3rd Edition of Pistol and Revolver Handbook shows a starting load for Bullseye of 2.8g not to exceed 3.5g for a 147g #2 Alloy. Am I going to be OK increasing the powder to 3.8g for the 147g FP lead bullet given the information provided above? Thanks
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Old August 5, 2008, 10:48 PM   #2
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I'd consider 3.5 grs Bullseye as max in any 9mm firearm with lead bullets of 147 gr weight. Bullseye is not forgiving and can get whacko quick. I don't use it at all but that's more of a personal preference. If your wanting more speed, look to a slower powder but there isn't much power left for a 9mm with that heavy of a bullet. Next time you buy bullets, I'd suggest using the 124's. Personally, I like to plink with my 9mm's and I use 115 gr for that. It's a lot less recoil and a lot more fun. It's also much easier on the pistol.
FWIW, lead bullets have more drag on the barrel than a copper plated or jacketed bullet hence the lower loading data as pressures will be higher using lead.
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Old August 6, 2008, 08:46 AM   #3
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I recently reloaded some 9mm ammunition using 147g FP lead bullets and 3.2g of Bullseye. Went out to the range today and got good results-some real nice groups.
Good results, some real nice groups. But... not good enough?
If it were me, I'd have to ask myself what I'm trying to accomplish before I go further.

And if I thought there was room for improvement, I might go further, but by no more than .3 grains at a time. And I wouldn't be churning out 50 rounds of this stuff, either, I'd make 10 rounds and no more, and I'd be inspecting the brass after each individual shot for any signs of excess pressure.

Loader9 is right on-- Bullseye shows a quick rise in pressure in small amounts. I personally found that 4.9 grains of Bullseye (listed as a Max load according to Alliant) behind either a FMJ or LRN 125 grain bullet was too hot and put a slight bulge in the brass. I backed it off to 4.6 grains and it works much better with no case bulging.
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Old August 6, 2008, 08:51 PM   #4
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As a general rule, powder loads for lead bullets will be lower than for jacketed bullets. I would NOT use the 147gr XTP loading as a substitute for a cast lead bullet. My recommendation - follow the published data and do not exceed it, especially with any fast burning powder.
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Old August 7, 2008, 12:43 AM   #5
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If you insist on trying 3.8gr - work up to the load 0.1 grains at a time. With a powder as fast as Bullseye, you can get yourself into trouble very quickly.

As for lead - In my experience, you shouldn't try to push lead quite so fast. Usually, all you end up doing is fouling the bore 5 times faster. Like PCJim said, never substitute jacketed bullet data for lead. Lead powder charges usually run 5%-15% lighter than jacketed bullets; depending upon powder type, primer, bullet weight, bullet design, and bullet alloy.
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Old August 7, 2008, 08:29 AM   #6
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I wholeheartedly agree that you should first ask yourself "Why?" then if you have an answer that suits you work up slowly. A tenth of a grain per increase is a bit ridiculous but .3 or .2 gr(near the top) per test lot is appropriate. As for the assertion that lead has more "drag" umm A couple of reasons why lead bullet loads often have lower max charges listed in current manuals-Barrel leading- Often the manual makers are trying to A. avoid the problem all together and B. avoid a disaster when Joe Blastsalot fires hundreds of rounds without cleaning or checking his gun and plates his rough bore with 1/16 of lead greatly impeding the passage of each subsequent bullet and pushing pressures through the roof. It is also true that bore condition and alloy strength together with lube quality and chamber pressures create a complex puzzle for cast bullet shooters to work out ideal load bullet loadings (but it doesn't HAVE to be overly complicated-If you aren't pushing the limits most cast loads in handguns go bang, hit the target and leave only moderate cleaning chores).
A perusal of pressure tested data from years past will reveal that lubricated lead bullets generally have LESS resistance to squirting down a barrel than jacketed... producing higher velocities and lower chamber pressures with a given charge............but those were the good ole days when there was an expectation that people would pay attention, clean their firearms and not go running to a lawyer if they failed to take care of their own responsibilities.
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Old August 7, 2008, 11:42 AM   #7
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3.8--too Hot

From Lyman Pistol & Revolver,

147 gr lead @1.058

Bullseye 2.8 grs Pressure 24,900
Bullseye 3.5 grs Pressure 31,600 MAX

Try to load long
You should not go over Max Load.
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Old August 8, 2008, 10:47 AM   #8
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The SAAMI pressure limits for 9mm are 35,000 psi and 38,500 psi for "+P" ammo.

The problem is that some powders do not behave well in some cartridges right up to the pressure limits. They sometimes erratically create pressure spikes in some rounds, but not others. A good manual will put max charges at a point where spikes do not get above the limits. But, they rarely say that is what happened.

So, you are often faced with max load data that produces pressures well below SAAMI max. IF you decide to go over that data, you need to be careful that your rounds are not behaving erratically.

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Old August 8, 2008, 06:10 PM   #9
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I load 5.0 BE with 115 grain Zero FMJ and JHPs, never a problem in various Hi Powers,a 5904 and Sig 226s. Work up from 4.5 though and be safe.
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Old August 9, 2008, 08:41 PM   #10
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FM12 - Vigilante is looking for powder loads for a 147gr lead bullet, not 115gr. Lighter bullets allow for heavier powder loads. Under no circumstances should he be loading 5.0gr Bullseye behind a 147gr bullet.
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147g fl lead bullet , 9mm , bullseye

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