Hi-Skor Update (pre 700X/800X)


November 21, 2007, 06:47 PM
This is in reference to the thread where I asked about data for an old can of Hi-Skor:

Although there isn't any 9mm data for Hi-Skor, I decided to try the Hi-Skor in 9mm anyway. I'm currently doing some 9mm development, and I didn't feel like switching the press over to 45acp, and I really wouldn't have had time to before today's trip to the range.

My reasoning for going ahead with the 9mm: Hi-Skor looks like it loads close to Red Dot, and there are plenty of loads for Red Dot, and 9mm would not have been a popular caliber to reload in the 60s (being more of a European caliber originally), so there's no reason for it to not work well, nor would there have been strong reasons to develop data for it at the time, and it is a fairly high pressure pistol caliber which provides plenty of safety margin (the smaller diameter works in its favor). So to play it safe starting out, I loaded up a pair of cartridges in 9mm (115gr FMJ) at 2.5gr, 2.7gr, 3.0gr, and 3.2gr. At the range - started low, of course, and every one hit the target at 25yds, but fairly spread out. The 3.0gr and 3.2gr grouped OK, but several inches apart. They were very soft, and not a single one fully cycled the action. In fact, only one ejected the spent case, but only a couple of inches.

Some notes: Hi-Skor is surprisingly bulky. It looks like little doughnuts, as the following image shows. It appears that it will meter very well, but I haven't tried running any through the press yet. It burns clean in 9mm, even lightly loaded. It appears that 4.0gr in a 9mm case is about max before it starts to compress, and suspect thats about what it will take to get the action to cycle reliably.

The 9mm case has 5.1gr in it, and the 45acp case has 10.4gr in it.

Here's the can.

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November 21, 2007, 08:49 PM
That is very interesting. :scrutiny:

November 22, 2007, 12:33 AM
Man, that stuff looks a LOT like IMR Trailboss.. I wonder if that's where they got the idea?

John C
December 5, 2007, 08:40 PM

I read your original post back when it first came out. Just today I was reading P.O. Ackley's _Handbook for Shooters and Reloaders, volume II_ and saw a bunch of original Hi-Skor load data for shotguns and pistols. The copyright date is 1966. You might want to check it out.


December 6, 2007, 12:55 PM
Thank you sir. Now all I have to do is find that handbook somewhere....

Actually, with the data I was given about 45acp, and my observations with the 9mm load, I'll work up loads for those 2 calibers and blast away until the can is empty. But if that book shows up at a local show for a reasonable price, I may have to grab it.

John C
December 7, 2007, 04:14 AM

Actually, the book is currently in print. My copy is the 19th printing, 1998.

Scanning the data a little more closely, I see that it doesn't have Hi-Skor listings for 9mm or .45 acp. It also doesn't look like it's really that good of a pistol round. Mostly it's listed for low velocities under heavy bullets. By low velocity, I mean much lower velocity than the other powders listed around it. However, this may be due to the fact that the book is about wildcat loads, and perhaps the Hi-skor load is a "normal" load, rather than a secret, high velocity recipe. (This is speculation on my part)

One interesting table in the book shows shotshell loads from du Pont for both Hi-skor and Hi-skor 700x. It shows 1 1/8 oz target loads, power piston wad, and of 19.0 grains of Hi skor giving 1150 fps and 9300 psi. The 1 1/8 oz target loads of Hi skor 700x, the same power piston wad, shows 18.0 grains giving 1155 fps and 8200 psi. It therefore appears that Hi Skor requires a fraction more powder than 700x to do the same work, and does it at a bit higher pressures. Keep this in mind when working up a load. Use common sense, start low, don't hot rod, etc.

Good luck. Please let us know how your experiment turns out.


December 7, 2007, 11:21 AM

Thanks again for the info. BTW - when do you sleep?

My observations with fast burning powders is they do best with the lighter bullets pressure wise. Hi-Skor's saving grace is that it is bulky and meters well, so it's easy to control. I suspect it's achilles heel is a rapid rise in pressure relative to charge weight (and/or bullet weight) as charge weights approach max limits. Caution is the better part of valor in any case.

Unfortunately with the holidays coming up and winter dumping snow on us, I won't be doing much until after Christmas. I also don't like trying something new when it's well below freezing since I don't know what to expect when the temps soar into the 80's and 90's. If I get something to cycle the action reliably in the winter, I will stop until temps come up enough to see how the load responds to increasing temps.

John C
December 8, 2007, 02:29 AM

Funny you ask about my sleep cycle. The answer is, not much! My wife had a baby on Tuesday, so I don't expect to sleep regular hours until it's warm enough for you to test some loads!

I agree with your sensible plans. Again, good luck!


March 17, 2009, 10:06 PM
Forgot how long ago this was.

Anyway, finally got back out to do some testing with some new loads. Finally had decent weather and time to spend on this.

9mm, 115 RN Ranier plated
3.4gr, 3.6gr, 3.8gr, and 4.0gr.
Shot 5 rounds of each. Didn't want to end up with too many if the loads seem to be getting a little warm. They were all mild though. 4.0gr actually cycled the action each time, none of the others did.

3.4gr pretty much fail to cycle anything

3.6gr was interesting - shot 1" at 25yds, off a sandbag. 2 failures to feed (the slide wasn't coming back quite far enough to allow the cartridge to pop up enough to feed properly.

3.8gr may have shot as well, except for a flyer. Can't be sure because there was a ragged hole where the 3.6gr and 3.8gr rounds were hitting. 1 fail to feed.

4.0gr shifted lower and opened up a little.

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