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Thread: Can Reloaders Replicate Federal 9mm 147gr JHP HST Tactical Performance?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Liberty1776's Avatar
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    Can Reloaders Replicate Federal 9mm 147gr JHP HST Tactical Performance?

    My LGS owner believes the Federal HST Tactical 9mm 147 gr round ($1 per round, plus shipping and tax), which claims to push a 147 grain JHP projectile to 1000 fps, delivers equivalent ballistics to the 45 ACP because of its velocity, expansion and mass.

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    I have a supply of Everglades JHP 147gr bullets, so I thought I'd attempt to get them to go 1000 fps out of either a Sig P365 or a Sig P320 -- popular self-defense carry pistols.

    Hodgdon says 4.7 grains of Longshot should push the 147 slug to 1004 fps. Being shy of max loads, I backed off and loaded 4.6 grains of Longshot, individually weighed, COAL of 1.10", Winchester small pistol primers.

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    They all fed and shot fine.

    But the velocity of this 147 gr JHP over 4.6 gr of Longshot only delivered an average of:
    892.3 fps (Sig P320)
    857.8 fps (Sig P365)

    This is little better than predicted velocities at minimum charge of 3.8 grains Longshot (851 fps).

    Is it possible to push a 147grain pellet to 1000 fps in a short-barreled 9mm pistol?

    To see practical impact, I shot two, 2-liter water-filled soda bottles with the 147 JHP from the P365 (858 fps) and P320 (892 fps), to examine entry and "exit" damage.

    I also shot a 2-liter bottle with a 124gr FMJ moving at 986 fps, 4.3 grains W231.

    All three bottles appeared to have the exact same "exit wound."

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    Is it worth trying to reload 147 JHP to 1000 fps or just give up and purchase Federal shells?

  2. #2
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    The Hodgdon data site claims to have used a 4 inch barrel to produce that velocity. I doubt a shorter barrel will give you that velocity.
    I have no idea what barrel length Federal used to get their published velocity either. Quite often, the manufacturer's published data is overly optimistic and real world use will not match the claims. The Federal load may not do any better than what you just loaded in your pistols.
    You are getting very good velocity with the load you are using. If it is accurate and functions well, I wouldn't worry about the other missing fps.

    Remember, when you compare this to a 45ACP, you are comparing it to hardball and not a similar hollow point bullet that would be performing even better than the 9mm as far as mass and expansion. The 9mm will not have the mass or expanded diameter of a good 45 caliber hollow point bullet.

    I am not saying the 9mm will not do the job. I am quite fond of my 9mm handguns and what they will do. I also know they are not a 45ACP.
    Last edited by tazman; 10-07-2021 at 09:20 PM.

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    Your local LGS is trying to sell ammo--right. Like taz say, compare the same type bullet, and the same +P velocity and LGS's "facts" go down the tubes in a hurry. The 9mm load will do the job if place right but it will not hit as hard or make as big of a hole at similiar velocity as the .45 will. And you can get a 200 grain hollow point .45 at or near that 9mm velocity. You can hear a lot of mis-information is gun stores.

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    You may already have close to the equivalent.
    If you clocked the Federal factory load in your gun, it might turn in speeds closer to 900 fps like your loads do.

    I'd question the ballistics data though.
    There might be a reason IPSC considered the 9mm as low power, and the .45ACP as high power for their competitions.
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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I’d rethink your choice of defensive ammo for the little 9’s. Try some high velocity 90gr rounds, bet you shoot them much better at speed.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Ithaca Gunner's Avatar
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    If you can get it, try Vihtavuori N105. Their site lists it with a Hornady XTP 147gr. in the 9mm. Start load is 6.1gr. for 1,039fps to a max load of 6.4gr. for 1,108fps. from a 4'' barrel. They have a good website with lots of loads. I use N105 in my .38 Super and get results you can't get with almost anything other than Accurate #7, (another powder you might want to look into). I don't know how much you'll loose with a shorter barrel as both list the 9mm with a 4''.

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    Boolit Buddy Liberty1776's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNsailorman View Post
    Your local LGS is trying to sell ammo...
    To be fair to my LGS owner (who sold me the P365), he didn't even have any HST in stock to sell.

    I went in to ask him if there's a better 45ACP carry gun than my Kimber Ultra TLE II 3" compact 45ACP, which is not all that much bigger or heavier than the Sig P365, and is quite comfortable to carry.

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    The LGS owner then mentioned how that very few people are carrying 45acp these days compared to 9mm, especially if loaded with modern 9mm ammo. That's when he mentioned the 9mm HST 147.

    He had performed ballistic gel tests. He pulled a slug from the cash register and showed me how perfectly the bullet expands in ballistic gel. This would transfer almost all its energy into the subject and not over-penetrate things like walls.

    I still like the idea of 45acp, however. And I hit with the little Kimber pretty well.

    I practiced carrying the Kimber in Condition 1 (locked and cocked, but with no bullet in the chamber at first) to see if the safety came off in normal carry using a good Galco Avenger holster. The safety never moved. That, combined with the grip safety, gives me good confidence that I can carry a locked-and-cocked .45 safely -- perhaps more safely than a striker 9mm with no external safeties at all.

    I realize it's an eternal question -- 9mm vs .45acp -- and the best gun is the one you're carrying, but I like that Kimber 45. I can remember admiring John Browning's 1911 design in, like, the 3rd grade (circa 1960), long before I ever even held one. When I got my first .45, it was love at first sight. I still have that gun and will never part with it.

    There's lots to be said in favor of the Sig P365. It, too, is a great gun.

    I just thought it would be an interesting experiment to load up a 147gr projectile to Federal HST specs.

    I suppose I need to make some ballistic gel for more thorough comparison. I really don't know how well the JHP will expand at practical velocities out of a short barrel.

    That's another thread, however....

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I just ordered some 65gr ARX ammo to try in the p365. I’m liking light and fast, but this might just be too light.

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    Not to muddy the waters too much, because I am sure the bullet in question is very capable for SD situations regardless of whether the velocity claims are true, but the mushroomed bullet you saw will absolutely go through walls. It might dump energy into the target, but walls are not people - if you miss the target, the bullet WILL go through the wall, and likely the one behind it as well.

    Sorry, didn't want to see something bad happen because that wasn't pointed out...
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Power Pistol claims 975fps
    Blue Dot 1001fps

    Both from 4 in barrels. Ive not used much Blue Dot outside 41Mag and 38sp so cant verify that. Power Pistol I use in 40cal but while accurate and consistant i find it very flashy.

    147gr in the 9mm is not something I run and have none on the shelf.

    I think the dealer is certainly trying to sell you something but nothing crazy. Quite a few people if not the majority have gone to 9mm for carry many for the same reasons i have. A type for everyone, better ammo, smaller/lighter and the capacity of my Shield Plus is 13+1.
    Last edited by jonp; 10-08-2021 at 08:33 AM.
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    I also carried my 45 and it was my preferred carry until the question on whether a trigger job could become an issue in court with a defensive shoot. Not debating yeas or nays of it but who turns down "having" to get another pistol. Like you the Sig fit me great but I went with the 357 sig vs the 9. Not quite what you were asking but something else to consider. Good luck.

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    I have been carrying a Combat Commander cocked and locked for 25+ years with no issues. I see no reason to change now. I am more comfortable with the safety for carry than either of my XD's.

  13. #13
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    I would try cfe pistol powder. If it can get a 90 grain 380 bullet to 973 out of a taurus tcp with only .2 grains over a standard pressure load (.6 under +p if I remember correct) it certainly has potential.
    "In God we trust, in all others, check the manual!"

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I think you could do far worse than your Kimber .45. I also think that your LGS may have some valid points. The original 9mm loading was 124 gr., with 115 becoming far more popular. The 147 gr. originally appeared as a subsonic load, if I remember correctly. Modern design HP, heavier bullet, higher velocity should equal devastating impact. But, all things being equal, a .45 ACP at 1,000 fps. with the same design bullet is bound to be even more impressive. I have a bunch of full size 1911s and carried them for years, but the enhanced performance of Gold Dots has had me carrying a 9mm for several years now. Everything in the handgun caliber world is a trade off. In this case, slightly reduced size and weight vs. performance. Half the battle is being good with, and having confidence in what you carry.

    DG

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Gebirgsjager View Post
    I think you could do far worse than your Kimber .45. I also think that your LGS may have some valid points. The original 9mm loading was 124 gr., with 115 becoming far more popular. The 147 gr. originally appeared as a subsonic load, if I remember correctly. Modern design HP, heavier bullet, higher velocity should equal devastating impact. But, all things being equal, a .45 ACP at 1,000 fps. with the same design bullet is bound to be even more impressive. I have a bunch of full size 1911s and carried them for years, but the enhanced performance of Gold Dots has had me carrying a 9mm for several years now. Everything in the handgun caliber world is a trade off. In this case, slightly reduced size and weight vs. performance. Half the battle is being good with, and having confidence in what you carry.

    DG
    Good post...maybe because I am biased and have done the same thing. Went from three Kimbers in .45 ACP to striker fired 9mm's.

    A "good" or "match type" trigger is not needed and may actually be a disadvantage in a carry gun...more chance of an AD. I prefer the lighter weight and increased capacity of the 9's. We all have different thoughts and needs so no right answer.

    After doing a bit of research, I settled on 124 gr Gold Dots. I have enough to last a lifetime and I doubt anything "new and improved" will be much more effective than what I have now.

    One last thought. Most shots fired in the panic of self defense do not hit the intended target. So, I do not worry about over penetration, I worry about under penetration of the bullets that hit the target. If the bullet will go through and have a bit of expansion, that is ideal. Two holes leaking red stuff are better than one.

    These seem OK:

    https://www.luckygunner.com/9mm-124-...rounds#geltest
    Don Verna

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    Boolit Grand Master

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    Glad to find myself in agreement with a respected senior member of the Forum! Some additional observations would be-- and not criticisms of anyone or anything, just what seems right for me-- it doesn't matter what you're shooting if you miss. A miss counts for zero. If it's a very close miss it might cause your opponent to become unnerved and wet his pants, but won't disable him. So, it takes a lot of practice to be very good with +P anything for repeat shots. A center hit with a .380 ACP is much preferred to a miss or even peripheral hit with a larger caliber. An arm or leg shot may not even disable unless it breaks a bone. Stated again, as previously, a 230 gr. .45 ACP will probably prove superior to a 147 gr. 9mm at the same velocity, but how good will your recovery time and repeat shot be? More manageable while still retaining good terminal ballistics seems like a good deal to me, therefore my reluctance to write off the LGS's opinion.

    I'm still with hammer fired 9mms-- but then again, I'm the kind of guy that would probably still be driving a 55 Chevy if I had one.

    DG

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy Liberty1776's Avatar
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    Yes, I prefer the 124gr loads for all my 9's.

  18. #18
    Boolit Grand Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Liberty1776 View Post
    Yes, I prefer the 124gr loads for all my 9's.
    I'm not sure what the deal is with having that heavy in a 9mm. 124gr seems a good fit, if you feel the need for heavier then step up in caliber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liberty1776 View Post
    To be fair to my LGS owner (who sold me the P365), he didn't even have any HST in stock to sell.

    I went in to ask him if there's a better 45ACP carry gun than my Kimber Ultra TLE II 3" compact 45ACP, which is not all that much bigger or heavier than the Sig P365, and is quite comfortable to carry.

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    The LGS owner then mentioned how that very few people are carrying 45acp these days compared to 9mm, especially if loaded with modern 9mm ammo. That's when he mentioned the 9mm HST 147.

    He had performed ballistic gel tests. He pulled a slug from the cash register and showed me how perfectly the bullet expands in ballistic gel. This would transfer almost all its energy into the subject and not over-penetrate things like walls.

    I still like the idea of 45acp, however. And I hit with the little Kimber pretty well.

    I practiced carrying the Kimber in Condition 1 (locked and cocked, but with no bullet in the chamber at first) to see if the safety came off in normal carry using a good Galco Avenger holster. The safety never moved. That, combined with the grip safety, gives me good confidence that I can carry a locked-and-cocked .45 safely -- perhaps more safely than a striker 9mm with no external safeties at all.

    I realize it's an eternal question -- 9mm vs .45acp -- and the best gun is the one you're carrying, but I like that Kimber 45. I can remember admiring John Browning's 1911 design in, like, the 3rd grade (circa 1960), long before I ever even held one. When I got my first .45, it was love at first sight. I still have that gun and will never part with it.

    There's lots to be said in favor of the Sig P365. It, too, is a great gun.

    I just thought it would be an interesting experiment to load up a 147gr projectile to Federal HST specs.

    I suppose I need to make some ballistic gel for more thorough comparison. I really don't know how well the JHP will expand at practical velocities out of a short barrel.

    That's another thread, however....
    I've always favored a LW Commander in 45 ACP. I've carried one for almost 40 years now.

    The extra 1" or 1.25" in barrel length makes a difference. The Commander sized pistols are also more reliable in my experience. A LW commander is going to weigh 3-4 more ounces than what you're currently carrying.

    I have a Sig P365. I carry it maybe 2% of the time. I just feel more comfortable with my obsolete 1911 in 45 ACP.

    Also if you find some of those 147 gr HST loads and shoot them over the chronograph you'll find they don't give near the factory performance...go figure.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy Liberty1776's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnt Fingers View Post
    I've always favored a LW Commander in 45 ACP.
    A Combat Commander in satin nickel was my second 1911. Still have that one, too. All steel, however, not the LW. Pretty heavy.

    The little Kimber is aluminum frame, with a shorter grip and 3" barrel. Very light and carryable. And surprisingly adept at putting lead on the target, at least for me. I qualified for my CCW with that gun.

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BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
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