Loading for short barrel guns


June 22, 2007, 01:45 PM
Okay, I have three short barrel pistols. A 9mm, 40 and 45 with 3" barrels. I'm interested in finding a powder that will offer maximum velocity out of the short barrel. I realize there's about a 200fps loss in velocity due to short barrels and am just wondering if any of you chrony owners have found a powder that maximizes velocities out of these short barrelled guns.

I've run some DoubleTap through these guns and judging from the recoil, it's a safe bet that they are probably the fastest bullets hurled out of them thus far. But Mr. McNett sells cartridges, not his powder.

I don' t own a chrony, but Blue Dot has provided me with the biggest boom thus far. I'm not saying that's entirely indicative of more velocity, but if the books are right, it probably is.

If you enjoyed reading about "Loading for short barrel guns" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
June 22, 2007, 02:11 PM
A chrono is the only way to know for sure. Blue Dot will give you a big boom all right, along with the muzzle flash to go with it. :)

June 22, 2007, 07:14 PM
Can't beat Bullseye in a short barrel. It's the only powder I know that gives me factory-quality velocity in my 2 3/4" .45acp. My next favorite is Titegroup, but Bullseye is better.

June 23, 2007, 12:52 AM
clays &231 is fast & clean!!!


Steve C
June 23, 2007, 01:57 AM
With short barreled pistols in the calibers mentioned you are going to get the best velocity with powders that produce the best in longer barrel lengths.

IMO Blue Dot is too slow a burning powder for best results in the .45 or 9mm. For the 9mm and the .45 acp Unique will give better velocities with published loads than the faster powders and I'd expect similar results in the .40 though I don't own or load .40 S&W cal. You could probably get similar results with aa#5 or Universal but I say Unique because I've used it for a long time with excellent results. I've crammed 8.0 grs of BD in a 9mm case behind a 115gr Rem JHP and it did the same velocity as 5.7grs of Unique. BD may be better in carbine length barrels as would AA#7 but in pistol length small capacity cases its not so good.

In the 9mm Power Pistol would be another good choice and should be good for the .40 cal but I've not been impressed with it in the .45 ACP although I wasn't at full power standard and didn't try the +P level with the 200gr Hornady XTP's I loaded it behind.

You probably won't loose as much velocity as you think with the shorter barrel. A lot depends upon the individual pistol. If you are shooting a short barrel pistol with polygonal rifling like the Glock I think you'll find a much smaller drop in velocity. My Glock 19 delivers the same velocities as my 5" Beretta and my 4.25" Colt Commander produces exactly the same velocity with loads as my 5" Colt Gov.

June 23, 2007, 09:14 AM
Thanks folks. I have some bulleseye on hand, but I recall it being rather sooty to shoot a lot. So if clays and 231 burns really clean, I'll try that next.

I agree that the big boom is not necessarily indicative of speed, it's just all I have to go on right now since I lack a chronograph. I'm just guessing that more felt recoil equates to more speed since sensation is all I have to go on at present. Looks like a chrony will be on my acquisition short list.

Thanks folks, THR is always a great resource for good guidance in these endeavours.

If you enjoyed reading about "Loading for short barrel guns" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!