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Thread: My 1st. 9mm

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy oldhenry's Avatar
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    My 1st. 9mm

    First of all......a confession is in order: I've bad mouthed the 9mm all of my adult life. I was a big boolit advocate & even in my .357 & .38 spec. loads I leaned toward the #358429. My favorite caliber is the .45 Colt & recently the .44 spec. is running a close 2nd..

    About 15 or 20 years ago a friend bought a 9mm & came to my house to try it out. I regularly shoot @ IHMSA chickens @ 50 yd. , but since the 9mm was not a target model, we tried it @ 25 yds. & then 20. The 9 would barely tip over the chickens & sometimes fail to do so with a solid hit. My .38 spec. loads always put them down for the count, so I deducted that the 9mm was weak & at best no better than the factory 158 RN that was in wide use.

    I now realize that present day 9mm loads are much improved. A church friend (GBI) tells me that the GBI now uses the 9 & have dropped the .40.

    The LGD does not have a large inventory, but a dealer 70 miles North has one of the best in the State. I dithered between the Kimber Micro 9 & the Ruger 06758 SR1911 officer's model. The kimber was lighter & more compact & the Kimber quality is well known. Everything other than the weight was about equal except the trigger. I tried 4 different Kimbers (he had 10-15 in the show case) & the trigger pull was not good (I estimate @ over 6 lbs.). They only had 1 Ruger & the pull was close to 4 lbs. with a very slight creep. I figured I could easily cure the slight creep whereas reducing the Kimber pull might be a problem. I'm of the opinion that a light gun is good to carry, but one slightly heavier would be a better shooting platform. I bought the Ruger.

    I need some input on boolit weight as a mold is the next move. I've considered the Arsenal 358-125-TC, Arsenal 358-135-RF & even the Lee 356-120-TC (6 cav.). I plan to use cast boolits for practice & will probably carry the Speer 124gr. Gold Dot. Any suggestions are welcomed.

    I have Longshot, CFE Pistol & HP38 (listed in Hodgdon's recent manual for 124gr. loads) as well as red dot, blue dot & Unique. Any other powder recommendations would also be appreciated.

    I didn't mean to ramble.

    Henry

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


    nagantguy's Avatar
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    Congratulations on a fine auto! I also was always underwhelmed by 9mm also and haven’t owned one in years like you I’ve been intrigued by the newest self defense rounds. I just built a 9mm AR and it’s quickly becoming my favorite and it takes
    The same mags as the Glock family of 9mm! Now I need some molds!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    oldhenry - long time 9mm user here.

    The 9mm Luger is much maligned despite its 116 year history (only 4 years younger than the 38 Special).
    A LOT of the 9mm lore is based on outright lies and misinformation. Some of that slander was intentional and probably designed to favor American cartridges. In its typical round nose, FMJ configuration; it is lackluster as a self defense cartridge. However, with a well designed HP and loaded to its full velocity potential - it has a good track record. Those that are biased against it will always find some anecdotal evidence to show it in a bad light but that can be true of any cartridge.

    The 9mm Luger is and always has been, a high pressure cartridge. Of course, as you pointed out, that doesn't mean every 9mm Luger cartridge is loaded to its full potential. The SAAMI limit for 9mm Luger is 35,000 psi and 9mm +P is 38,500 psi. From a pressure viewpoint, it is right in line with the .357 magnum at 35K psi.

    The bullet diameter for the 9mm is .355" which also compares favorably to the .357" of the 38 Special & 357 mag.

    Before anyone gets upset, I'm not directly comparing the 9mm Luger to the .357 magnum; I'm just pointing out that max pressures and bullet diameters are in the same league.

    NATO was perfectly happy with the 9mm but in fairness, the Europeans had always liked the 9mm. The U.S.A. finally got on board with the rest of NATO, although we went kicking and screaming the entire way.

    When you get beyond all of the blatant misinformation and downright hate, the 9mm Luger has a lot to offer. It is a compact rimless cartridge that launches a bullet of decent diameter and weight at respectable velocities. AND, it has been doing that for 116 years.

    As for bullet weights, I've never been a fan of either light or heavy for caliber projectiles. Standard bullet weights for calibers became the Standards for a reason. In the 9mm Luger the 115-125 grain bullets work just fine!
    I'm always amused when someone loads a heavy for caliber bullet in a cartridge and acts as if they've discovered a new element or decoded a DNA chain.

    As a target load the 9mm with a 120gr bullet will get the job nicely. It's flat shooting, doesn't have a lot of recoil and will not beat up the gun or shooter.

    For a self-defense cartridge I would just find the hottest factory 115 - 125 grain cartridge that your gun will reliably cycle and call it a day.

    When picking a SD cartridge your criteria should be, in this order: 100% reliable in your gun, reliable penetration, reasonably reliable expansion without compromising penetration and reasonably accurate.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    I agree with almost everything Petrol and Powder said. The only place I differ is my opinion of heavy for caliber boolits. For self defense the 115 and 125 grain range is very hard to beat.
    Since you like to shoot silhouette, the heavier boolits may work better for you in that circumstance. The extra momentum would help knock down the steel.
    The powders you have listed should work fine. I run them in my 9mm Springfield Range Officer 1911, as well as Bullseye and AA7.
    I use the NOE version of the 135 RF and the Lee 120 tc as well as the Lyman 356402 120 grain tc for the majority of my practice.
    For the heavyweight I recommend the NOE 358-155-TC(ELCO). It has shown itself to be completely reliable and accurate in all my 9mm handguns. It drops at .358 with range scrap and right at weight with my mold. In hollow point configuration, it drops at 147 grains making data easy to come by.
    This boolit was designed for the 9mm from the start but due to it's diameter can be used in 38/357 as well. You may want to size it down slightly for 9mm but if it will chamber unsized in your pistol, shoot it that way.
    Do a search for TC(ELCO) on this site's search engine and you can get the benefit of several pages of experience from several people who have been using this boolit for a couple of years now.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    LUCKYDAWG13's Avatar
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    3.8 gr of RedDot under a 124gr boolit works good for me
    kids that hunt and fish dont mug old ladies

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

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    Be sure to read the sticky on Cast in the 9mm: http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...s-in-a-new-9mm
    Boycott YouTube

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy oldhenry's Avatar
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    nagantguy,
    It's my understanding that the 9mm responds very well to barrel length. If that understanding is correct, that 9mm AR should be very effective.

    Petrol & Powder,
    Thanks for your response. It reminded me of a Jeff Cooper book (that I thought I had......but can't find). One page had a B/W full page photo of a victim in the ER that was shot 21? times with a 9mm & survived. My memory may be wrong, but I do remember a large number of hits. Cooper made his case for the .45 ACP & 10mm. I prefer the .45ACP, but I need something small for CCW for summer wear & @ my age can't handle a 3.6 bbl. lightweight .45ACP.

    Tazman,
    Thanks for your response. I will not be making any 50 yd. shots with this gun, but it'll be perfect for "combat chickens" @ 20 yds. (I shot a few today with Fiocchi 124 FMJ & they all fell.......but not with the gusto of a .45,.44., or a decent .38 spec. load).

    Your positive mention of the Lee 120TC helps.

    LUCKYDAWG13,
    Thanks for that load tip.

    nicholst55,
    Thanks for that sticky.....a wealth of 9mm info.

    Henry
    Last edited by oldhenry; 05-23-2018 at 09:06 PM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master


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    Accordingly to ballistics by the inch 14.5 would be the ideal barrel length for
    9mm as it is I’ve found this 16 inch to be extremely reliable no matter bullet or boolit weight or case material, and plenty accurate at a 100 and have rung the gong at 200 with regularity on my buddies back 40 range.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    I agree with Tazman about heavy bullets for shooting those chickens.

    I've shot Red Dot in my 9mm's from 3 to 4.5 grains. The hotter loads were shot in a single shot handi rifle barrel and a Hipoint Carbine.

    The Handi rifle barrel puts them in a 1.5 inch circle at 100 yards easy.

    I do tend to load my pistol with the 3 grains of Red Dot under the .358 125 gr .357 bullet lubed with BLL.
    Pretty mild, pretty accurate. Probably more accurate than I am. On a good day at 20 feet I can put 10 in a pop can sized group. But I suspect that could be much better with a better gun and shooter. I make no wild claims for either my Hipoint C9 or myself.

    Except that it has gone bang every time I asked it to. I did have a couple of failure to feed issues and reworked the mag lips slightly using the "good" new factory magazine as my guide. It worked, now they both work. I suspect someone dropped a full mag and it landed on the lips changing the geometry slightly.

    That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Enjoy the 9. Good round in my opinon, can be a lot of fun.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    oldhenry - that 9mm Ruger Officer's Model will serve you well. The 3.6" barrel may not be the best configuration for shooting steel chickens at 50 yards but I suspect that's not why you selected that gun.

    It appears that you wanted a single action semi-auto and if you're proficient with that platform then it will serve you well.

    As for a self-defense cartridge, you're going to get a phone book worth of suggestions, many of which will start with, "I use X".
    Just because someone else uses "X" doesn't mean that "X" is right for you.

    I will tell you based on actual street results, some 9mm loads have very good track records. The longest track record is probably the Federal 9BPLE round. The 9BPLE round doesn't always expand but it does feed well in most pistols and it generally penetrates well even when it doesn't expand. The Illinois State Police was one of the first LE agencies to go to the 9mm and they have a long history with the 9BPLE round. (the 9BPLE is rated +P+ in some loadings but not all)

    The old Winchester controlled expansion rounds also have a long track record and generally do expand reliably, however the +P+ versions can be hard on pistols and I would avoid them in large quantities. The current Ranger SXT line has shown good results in actual shootings. Despite the hype, the 9mm Silvertip didn't always work as advertised.

    There is no shortage of 9mm self-defense ammo on the market. Everyone makes something in that popular cartridge but a hollow point that has a pretty package and self-serving hype isn't necessarily the best self-defense cartridge. Not saying they are bad but I am saying that marketing isn't the same as actual performance.

    As I said earlier, your criteria should be: flawless functioning, good penetration, reasonable terminal performance and accuracy.

    115-125 grain 9mm bullets rarely have problems penetrating and in fact often penetrate very well unless the hollow point opens too quickly. I would strongly advise against the 147 grain bullets in any self-defense situation, they have an horrible record in the real world. They were designed for suppressed guns and that's where they belong.

    Good Luck



    P.S. Still digging that motorcycle in your avatar !

  11. #11
    Medium burn rate powders tend to work best in the 9mm. Power Pistol, Blue Dot, WSF and Unique are top choices. Faster burning powders like Red Dot, Bullseye, 231, etc. will work, as long as you're careful. Pressures can spike quickly with those. I shoot bullseye competition and earned some "leg" points with 4.3 gr. Power Pistol and a 115 gr. Hornady HAP seated out to 1.115" COL. 1" groups at 25 yards in my S&W 910. But that load is on the light side. Had to lower the spring weight. My best lead boolit load was 4.8 gr. Green Dot with a 122 gr. TC. Definitely a hot load, but accurate.

  12. #12
    Boolit Man
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    The only problem I have with the 9mm is.. that a lot of the guns are all over the map for chambers and barrel dia. and throats. most factory rounds will work in almost any of em but some of the new 'defense' rounds are a bit quirky.. for reloading? it is a mixed bag for me. for one thing 9mm ammo is cheap. I almost feel like I am wasting my time reloading it. For another.. it is a short and high pressure round.. things can go very bad very quickly with fast powders. Some cast bullets are too short to get a decent over all length with and will fumble in a lot of guns. The 38 spl.....357.... 38 super are all easy peasy to load and get safe performance out of compared to the 9... and.. every one of em costs a LOT more to buy factory. The 9 has some problems feeding in full size 1911 style pistols.. so the newer shorter mag well 9mm 1911's are much better in my opinion.. it is a pleasant round to shoot compared to say a 45 acp except.. the noise of a high pressure round is 'sharper'? At this point.. after trying my cast TC 124 grain bullets that don't work in every 9mm? I am down to cast 124 grain round nose bullets for the 9mm They work just fine.

    lazs

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy oldhenry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petrol & Powder View Post
    oldhenry - that 9mm Ruger Officer's Model will serve you well. The 3.6" barrel may not be the best configuration for shooting steel chickens at 50 yards but I suspect that's not why you selected that gun.

    It appears that you wanted a single action semi-auto and if you're proficient with that platform then it will serve you well.

    As for a self-defense cartridge, you're going to get a phone book worth of suggestions, many of which will start with, "I use X".
    Just because someone else uses "X" doesn't mean that "X" is right for you.

    I will tell you based on actual street results, some 9mm loads have very good track records. The longest track record is probably the Federal 9BPLE round. The 9BPLE round doesn't always expand but it does feed well in most pistols and it generally penetrates well even when it doesn't expand. The Illinois State Police was one of the first LE agencies to go to the 9mm and they have a long history with the 9BPLE round. (the 9BPLE is rated +P+ in some loadings but not all)

    The old Winchester controlled expansion rounds also have a long track record and generally do expand reliably, however the +P+ versions can be hard on pistols and I would avoid them in large quantities. The current Ranger SXT line has shown good results in actual shootings. Despite the hype, the 9mm Silvertip didn't always work as advertised.

    There is no shortage of 9mm self-defense ammo on the market. Everyone makes something in that popular cartridge but a hollow point that has a pretty package and self-serving hype isn't necessarily the best self-defense cartridge. Not saying they are bad but I am saying that marketing isn't the same as actual performance.

    As I said earlier, your criteria should be: flawless functioning, good penetration, reasonable terminal performance and accuracy.

    115-125 grain 9mm bullets rarely have problems penetrating and in fact often penetrate very well unless the hollow point opens too quickly. I would strongly advise against the 147 grain bullets in any self-defense situation, they have an horrible record in the real world. They were designed for suppressed guns and that's where they belong.

    Good Luck



    P.S. Still digging that motorcycle in your avatar !
    Thanks for the information. I've been using a 5" SR1911 in .45ACP which works fine in cool weather when covered with a blazer. It's getting warmer & in July & August it will be too hot for a coat. The smaller Officer model can be covered with a "untuckit" shirt.

    P.S. I'm in the final stage of a build on a Honda GB500 (AKA the "TT"). If you want I'll email some photos.

    Henry

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy oldhenry's Avatar
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    oldsalt444,
    Thanks for this info on powder choices.

    Henry

  15. #15
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    I have 9mm pistols in Beretta 92fs, Taurus PT92, Springfield XD-E, Springfield XD mod2 tactical, Springfield 1911, and S&W 929.
    The pistols I have feed well with any round nose and TC design I have tried. The 1911 have some issues with boolits that need to be seated to a short OAL. The longer OAL feed fine.
    The Springfield 1911 has a target/match chamber and will not accept some of the larger diameter boolits. The Beretta and Taurus will eat anything I can stuff into a case no matter the diameter or OAL.
    I think the Beretta would feed dirty gravel.
    In almost all cases, I get my best accuracy with nearly full power loads. The S&W 929 likes everything. Light loads, full power loads, large diameter, small diameter, and any OAL at all given that it is a revolver with a long cylinder in relation to the cartridge.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy oldhenry's Avatar
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    lazs,
    There is a lot of wisdom in using the RN design. For years about 90% of my .45ACP shooting was with the #452374........never a bobble. Only after DougGuy improved the throat did I have 100% confidence in the 068 design.

    Thanks for your response.

    Henry

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    FWIW When I was teaching I managed to down full sized Pepper Poppers at 100 yards using a 4” 9mm loaded with 124gr Winchester ball. IMHO The 9mm was designed around the 125gr-ish loads and Herr Luger knew a bit about guns. I think the 125gr Gold Dot is an excellent choice and that is what rides in most of my and my wife’s guns.
    115gr ball hasn’t impressed me in the accuracy or velocity department. It is an Americanized loading as are the high velocity 115gr jhp loadings. The current fad is for 147gr loads but I choose to remain dubious as I remember the 147gr SubSonic fad of the 90’s.
    I admit I haven’t been shooting cast in my 9’s and I’m curious enough to buy a mold or six in the coming year.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldhenry View Post

    P.S. I'm in the final stage of a build on a Honda GB500 (AKA the "TT"). If you want I'll email some photos.

    Henry
    Post them here !

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy oldhenry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petrol & Powder View Post
    Post them here !
    Will do when completed.
    Henry

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    If you would like something a little heavier than that standard 124s, take a look at the SAECO 383... You can buy some bullets to test from Montana Bullets:

    https://www.montanabulletworks.com/p...-140gr-swc-pb/

    Have found this to be the most accurate yet in a 9mm or .38 Super...

    Otherwise just a good 124 TC works great....

    Bob

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check