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Old April 1, 2014, 10:21 AM   #1
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How to choose the right 9mm bullet weight?

Hello dear Sirs/Madams,

I am not a new reloader, I have loaded many hundreds, if not thousands, of .45ACP rounds and .30-06 rounds, and .30M1 Carbine rounds. I know what bullet weights work best for those, and what powders, etc.; however, I'm about to expand into the 9mm world for the first time, and the myriad of bullet weights are confounding. I say that because with my .45's, I settled on the 200gr. LSWC from Oregon Trail early on, and am a devotee of that bullet.

My question is, which end of the bullet spectrum should I focus on? I want to make practice rounds primarily, and this is for my wife's new XDS 4.0. I suspect that I would want to focus on the 115-124gr range, since that simulates the typical defence round. Thanks for any advice in advance,

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Old April 1, 2014, 11:54 AM   #2
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I load heavy for caliber in all of my pistol rounds.

In this case 147g.

If your loading for SD.

147g seems to be a little harder to find these days so 124g may have to due.
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Old April 1, 2014, 12:05 PM   #3
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For me, the 124 is the best choice for defense. The 147's may work fairly well in a full size that has some barrel length to pump up the velocity. But overall, the 147's are probably better suited for 357 Sig.

I don't mean to start a debate on 9mm bullet weights for defense, so I digress. . .

For practice, I use both 124's and 147's. The 147's give good recoil report for practice - I like that. But if I could only load/shoot one 9mm bullet weight, it'd be the 124 without hesitation.

with my .45's, I settled on the 200gr. LSWC from Oregon Trail.
^^ Excellent choice, btw. ^^
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Old April 1, 2014, 12:10 PM   #4
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I split the difference and use 135's. Heavy bullet (which I like) but it leaves enough room in the case for the powder. The only problem is lack of load data.
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Old April 1, 2014, 12:57 PM   #5
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I load 124 gr (berry round nose hollow base) I have tried several weight but my gun like those better (tighter group at 25 yards) try and get a couple of different weight (10 / 15 of each) reload them to a mild charge and see what your gun likes better.
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Old April 1, 2014, 01:23 PM   #6
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I would say 158 gr for sturdy 9mm pistols and 90 gr for wimpy pistols, but someone had a garage full of Winchester 115 gr JHP bullets to give me, so... I am now a 115 gr person. I used them in 380, 38sw, and looking for other applications.
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Old April 1, 2014, 02:38 PM   #7
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I don't think there is a difficult or un-accurate bullet for the 9mm. 115-124-147 all seem to give reasonably good accuracy. You know the deal with powders how some work better than others. So my advice is pick a good one for the purpose. (powder) I prefer Accurate #7 for my 9mm if that helps yaw any.
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Old April 1, 2014, 05:04 PM   #8
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For sd I typically use the lighter bullets so as to have some control over penetration. I load the hornady 115 gr FTx bullet.
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Old April 1, 2014, 05:14 PM   #9
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For dome reason I found the 115 gr to be more snappy
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Old April 1, 2014, 05:31 PM   #10
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Like others said, it depends on the pistol, for me personally, the 124 grain is pretty much my minimum, I prefer 147 grain.

A tiny little 9mm pistol on the other hand, I would probably select 124 grain bullets.
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Old April 1, 2014, 05:39 PM   #11
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I load 115 gr for plinking but I like a heavier SD bullet. Not really that picky for plinking rounds I recon, as long as they are accurate, I am happy. I could go with a heavier plinking round and be just as happy.
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Old April 1, 2014, 05:45 PM   #12
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115 grain bullets work well with the right powder. The right powder for this bullet normally is a fairly fast powder.

When I'm loading 124 grain jacketed bullets, I prefer Accurate #5 or as it is also called AA5 powder. WSF also works well with a jacketed 124 grain bullet. These seem to be a good match for the bullet. It also seems to be a good match for every full sized 9 mm pistol I have tried them in. I can load 124 grain jacketed to sub-sonic levels and they work well. If I need to load for a suppressed pistol, the 147 grain bullet works better. It is very easy to keep that heavy bullet sub-sonic.
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Old April 1, 2014, 06:38 PM   #13
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124 fmj rn or hp from precision delta for range practice
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Old April 1, 2014, 06:40 PM   #14
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what 9mm load?

hi, I don't get it. is this for SD? buy hollow point
is this for target; 115 or 124 is fine; also easiest to find load data.
is this for steel targets; 147gn.
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Old April 1, 2014, 07:01 PM   #15
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Finding 9mm bullet weight?

You take 100 gr. on the light side, 147 on the heavy side, add 'em together, divide by 2, round up to next whole number = 124 gr. Could do worse
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Old April 1, 2014, 07:31 PM   #16
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This is a budgetary question more than it is practical application. I say choose what is easiest on your pocket. Let you and your beloved go to the range and hone your skills.

My wife has been shooting my 9mm re-loads, cast lead, for a year now and can shred center mass. In the event the worst comes to pass and she or I have to use a gun in self defense, believe me, the grain of the bullet isn't going to matter so much as being able to place it where it belongs to defend life.

Go in peace. Good luck.
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Old April 1, 2014, 11:27 PM   #17
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I use 124s and 147s, but I load for Power Factors in IDPA. Using the heavier bullets means you can go lighter on the powder charge and still make the minimum PF. You still need to chrono your loads to see what your MV is to calculate PF. This is a great advantage when shooting fast in that the reduced powder charge makes the pistol less snappy and you can get back on target quicker and shoot faster.

Just food for thought if you intend to shoot any competitions that have PFs.
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Old April 2, 2014, 12:08 PM   #18
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I like 147's.

One could argue, for practice rounds, that the heavier bullet, will recoil more, generally, and may be better for practice because you we be proficient with the heaviest recoiling load, in that caliber. OTOH some could argue that the lighter bullets are better for practice because they recoil less and could be easier to control and practice quick follow ups and could potentially allow more range time before your wrist/hand gets sore. But then again, if you're accustomed to a lighter recoiling load, and then switch to a heavier recoiling load, you may shoot it worse.

I think as far as accuracy, with any decent bullet, and load, they should all shoot about the same, mechanically. It's going to be more up to the shooter whether he/she can fire the loads accurately, and it may turn out for some shooters that they could shooter lighter bullets more accurate.
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Old April 2, 2014, 02:46 PM   #19
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I find the 124--135g choices offer a better chance of having enough sight adjustment.
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