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Old July 27, 2013, 10:34 AM   #1
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9mm's and their ammo

Is it just me or are 9mm pistols more fussy about ammo choices as far as accuracy goes. I have 2 CZ pistols that are quite accurate with 124gr. +P ammo. Feed them range ammo like WW white box or Federal bulk in 115gr. and group sizes seem to grow a couple of inches, same holds true of 147gr. loads. Don't seem to experience this in .45, .40S&W, or 10mm.
Are CZ pistols regulated for +P loads?
Anyone have a similar experience with other brands of 9mm pistols?
I recall reading standard European ammo is +P equivalent.
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Old July 27, 2013, 10:45 AM   #2
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Very similar here. I have several 9mms with one being a 952 Smith. I did some targets @ 50 yards to see the differences in ammo. With the rounds I tried between 119 and 125, the groups were in the 3-4" range but when I went with 147s, under 2"! My guess is depending on the barrel design (rate of twist, etc) they will favor a certain ammo. Because this is a target pistol, I think S&W designed around what they thought would perform best. YMMV

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Old July 27, 2013, 10:47 AM   #3
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My 9mm Glocks seem to be more accurate with 124 grain bullets. I've never tried the heavyweights (147). When I've used 115 they have always been economy type rounds like WWB or the steel or aluminum cased offerings. I did not expect them to be as good as premium SD offerings. Mostly I load my own for range practice.
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Old July 27, 2013, 01:22 PM   #4
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My Sig loves the Golden Sabers (124s though I have not tried the 147s)

As the GS is my carry rounds I shoot one round of that with the carry laser at the end of shooting to confirm all is well.

It always hits dead center and the others not nearly so good.

I reload XTP rounds for practice and those do not group as well as the GS. Not a clue if its the bullet or the assembly as a whole but there is a definite preference.

Annoying as I would like to have my practice rounds tighter than the carry rounds (which would be plenty good enough accuracy for SD if needed, they aren't bad, just not as good)

GS to expensive to shoot much and a bit or reloading did not duplicate the factory.
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Old July 27, 2013, 03:24 PM   #5
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Consider that a heavier bullet most likely has a longer bearing surface, which I would think leads to greater accuracy.
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Old July 27, 2013, 03:29 PM   #6
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Not always GJ
I have a CZ75 that shoots very small groups with 115 and 125 grain ammo, but with 147 grain bullets it's terrible. I get sideways holes in the paper with 147 gr bullet at only 12 yards.
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Old July 27, 2013, 03:34 PM   #7
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CZ75 barrels have faster twist rate (1:9.7) and throats optimized for 124gr bullets.
Some 147grainers with longer profiles will not even fit in chambers because of short CZ75 leade
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Old July 27, 2013, 08:10 PM   #8
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My Hi-Power is the least finicky 9mm I've ever used. It devours everything I throw at it with ease, although I've gravitated toward 124s in recent years because I feel they are the best overall and also due to consideration for my P7, which is much happier with certain types of ammo, namely fairly warm 124s.
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Old July 27, 2013, 11:31 PM   #9
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Its just you.

More picky than what? A .40? .45? well look at .22s. Some of them are really fussy.

The 9mm is a fussy round to load for, in that tiny differences in the ammo can make large differences in performance. Factory ammo isn't different in that, either.

Your guns run good, shoot accurate with top end ammo. Cool. We expect that. We PAY for that.

Things aren't as good with the "range ammo" (budget/cheap stuff), well, expect that too. That's why its cheaper.

Each gun is an individual, and while they tend to have similar results as a group, one gun might be just the opposite.

Its about the fit of the ammo (in ALL its variables) to YOUR specific gun. The combination that is right for best accuracy in gun A could be wrong in gun B.

The other thing is that it seems that as calibers get bigger, tiny variances that affect smaller bullets don't have as much effect (and sometimes no effect) on bigger bullets. A flaw in a .22 barrel that might be just enough to keep it from being a tack driver, that same flaw in a .45 barrel might not even be noticed, for instance.

So, we have the variances in ammo quality, the variables in ammo & gun "fit", and the variables in the gun design and the quality of manufacture of that design. Dump 'em in a bucket, shake well, and shoot. All these factors play a part in why some guns seem "fussy", and others don't, or don't to the same degree.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old July 28, 2013, 10:05 AM   #10
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Bigger bullets work better is the reason I gave up on the 9 thirty years ago.
Got restarted because of all the technical advance hoopala I'd been reading about. While from a defense point of view all three of the 9's I own are adequate. It just drives this old bullseye shooter crazy not to be able to get groups like other calibers that I shoot. Plan to start reloading for the nine as soon as dies and powder become available again, guess I'll just have to live with it until then.
How much of this fussiness can be attributed to the small case capacity? What are the best modern powders to use?

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Old July 28, 2013, 02:31 PM   #11
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Each gun is an individual, and while they tend to have similar results as a group, one gun might be just the opposite
Do you mean even within a model or do you mean the models of a gun shoot the same, but it's possible to have one of them be different? In either case, can the barrels of a particular model be that different from one another?

I can agree that bullets and barrels go together and that certain bullets work better than others in a particular barrel. My statement about a longer bearing surface being more accurate was a generality. Other things being near the same, it should exit the muzzle straighter, barring issues like the cz75. Is this not true?

I can see that the composition of the jacket can be different enough to alter friction. I can see that difference in bullet diameter can make a difference. I'm sure weight distribution (i.e., shape) makes a difference. But even in the same lot bullets I've seen small differences in length and certainly weight. So you can control certain factors and minimize differences, but you can't control differences within a lot unless you're going to sort each bullet by length and weight. I'm not sorting 6000 bullets.

When it comes down to it, a lot of this is an academic exercise. It's good to understand how different variables change things, but unless you're a bullseye shooter, minute variations don't make enough difference. I shoot USPSA and IDPA, and the 'A' zone in each is pretty big, but small enough that I miss it too much
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Old July 28, 2013, 11:19 PM   #12
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Accuracy is about uniformity. Repeatability. All the factors that affect the benchrest and long range shooters affect handguns too. It just the proportion of the effect can be much different.

Short range, lots of rounds, many tiny variances don't seem to make any difference, where the same variations would mean long range misses.

But there are handgun effect too. And each gun could show a marked preference or dislike for certain things. Could be as little as a small difference in group size. Or it could be as much as gun shoots groups with brand A and shoots patterns with brand X ammo.

There is such a thing as too short a bearing surface (for a given pitch and depth of rifling. Once you get to enough, more doesn't seem to have much effect at usual handgun distances.

When we pay for top end ammo, we are paying for the QC that makes it uniform, and that uniformity is what accuracy is built on.

The next level is the guns themselves. How repeatable (uniform) is the gun itself. Its a well known fact that many autopistols when fired from a machine rest will "throw" the first round away from the rest of the group. That may happen in our hands too, I just figured it was me...

When you think about it, you might wonder how it is that the common tilt barrel semis are as accurate as they are.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old July 28, 2013, 11:35 PM   #13
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I can see ammo preferences/dislikes in my 9mms, but I wouldn't call them fussy. The ones that tend to shoot well, tend shoot well with most any decent ammo. The ones that won't shoot bragging groups don't seem to have a favorite brand that will make them shine.

Here's a ten shot 2" group I shot at 15 yards with one of my 9mms using 6 different kinds of ammo in one magazine. None of it what you would call premium ammo...
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
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Old July 29, 2013, 08:29 AM   #14
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It's definitely just you.

This is years and years ago when I just purchased my SIG 226 e2 (when it had the e2 grip on them, yuck.)

edit: This was 50 rounds at 15 yards.

That's 50 rounds.

I swear I love that gun. 3,000 rounds later.
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Old July 29, 2013, 11:03 AM   #15
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T'ain't just 9mms - I have a 38 revolver that can't stand anything above 148 grains, prefers 125 grain bullets...and that's a caliber designed with 158 grain slugs!
I only use three bullet weights in 9mm, 115, 124 and 125. The last to are so close the difference is negligible...but I really don't see a huge difference in accuracy from them, seems to be just fine, but I am always monkeying with the loads anyway - that's the fun of reloading.
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Old July 29, 2013, 11:20 AM   #16
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I think accuracy is a pistol/ammo combination thing.
In my experience bullet weight affects POI more than accuracy.

I have several pistols which groups well with any weight ammo -- 115 "Walmart" ammo, 124 (mostly brass plated and moly coated) and 147. POI change between bullet weights but once the load is set, the pistols shoot well.

I have a Kimber that groups well with 124 berry's plated but not so well with 124 moly coated bullets.
My STI shoots both ammo well.
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