Newbie's First 9mm Loads


Blind Bat
November 29, 2008, 06:25 PM
Sorry in asdvance for the long post. My scale should arrive early next week so I've been surfing the internet and looking through reloading manuals all day trying to decide on recipes for my first load. I'm using Rainier 124gr plated bullets which aren't listed in many manuals so I'd like to some input to make sure I'm staying on the safe side of things.

Here is what I've got:
-1000 Once Fired WWB (all tumbled, resized, expanded & primer pockets cleaned)
-CCI 500 Primers
-Rainier 124gn Plated RN Bullets
-Titegroup, Unique, W231 Powders

Goals: Accurate (@7 -15yards), clean, subsonic target load.

Titegroup 3.6-4.2gn @ 1.125
Unique 4.4-5.4 @ 1.125
W231 3.8-4.4 @ 1.125

I figure I'd start from the min and work my way up to the max load in .2grain increments. I'll be making and testing 10 rounds at a time, marking the brass and checking for overpressure signs at the range. The TG and W231 loads closely resemble Hodgdon printed data from LRN-mid FMJ. I was somewhat on my own for Unique recipe. All the recipes I found were either <1000fps LRN loads, >1100 max FMJ loads (no min listed), or used a really short OAL. I'll attach my research. Do all of these loads look safe and appropriate for my goals and equipment?

The other thing I noticed is that the 9mm factory ammo I have on hand (WWB and Armscor) uses a COAL of 1.147-1.62 which is quite a bit longer than most of the published data I can find. I thought the rule of thumb was to use a COAL as long as you could manage without feeding or crimping problems so the bullet engages the rifling as early as possible. If all my guns feed WWB @ 1.162 why would I want to load @ 1.100? Is this just so the publishers' data will work with odd ball short/tight chambers and/or to keep themselves from getting sued if they publish a load close to the SAAMI max OAL and someone doesn't has a bullet set-back (overpressure) problem? If I'm looking for 1050-1100fps and I extend the published OAL from 1.090 to 1.15 to get the best accuracy might I not then have to go over the max load data to get the pressure/velocity back into the published range?

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November 29, 2008, 07:19 PM
Looks and sounds like you are on the right track to me, just don't go over max data. You can reach your velocity goal without doing so.

November 29, 2008, 11:51 PM
A chronograph would be great if you could get one. That will remove any of the guesswork and let you know if you have any problems before any other signs crop up. As far as the OAL goes, I'd stick with the published data to start with then you can change things as you get more experienced. Once you have tried some, then you will start to make minute changes here and there and see what your gun likes. This is the fun of reloading.

November 30, 2008, 08:56 AM
Blind -
Unique is going to burn too slowly to use on 115 or 124gr bullets. Reserve that for your 147gr in 9mm. If you use it on those light bullets, then the gun is going to end up all smutty, since the powder is still burning after the bullet leaves.

TG and W231 burn roughly about the same speed, so I doubt you'll notice much difference in shooting. You'll want to look for ease and accuracy in measurement (dispensing), and then cleanliness in the gun.

W231 is sort of the standard powder to gauge others by. In the 1000 to 1050 fps range both these powders will do great. TG is noted as making a little more smoke on the range by some shooters.


November 30, 2008, 09:14 AM
You have chosen three good powders. I disagree about Unique, it is the closest thing we have to a Univesal pistol powder. I've loaded thousands of rounds with it.
That said, I've actually gone to another 'old' powder for 9mm, P B, which was one of the pistol powders used during WW2 and continued unabaited.
P B simply meters perfectly.
This is an easy caliber to load and there are probably 25 powders you can use very effectively.

November 30, 2008, 09:55 AM
"Unique is going to burn too slowly to use on 115 or 124gr bullets. Reserve that for your 147gr in 9mm. "

OK, in deference to Mr. Feathers very thoughtful and considerate comments, maybe a better way to express myself would be... you're not going to find many modern published 9mm loads for Unique and 115 or 124gr bullets.

...And as a newbie, IMHO you'll want to stay with published loads.

November 30, 2008, 11:05 AM
i just finished up loading some 125gr. lead bullets using 4.5 grains of unique.
seem to burn clean enough, and seem to shoot about like winchester white box.
they had a very similar recoil, and seemed a little more accurate than the wwb.
no idea on fps, because i don't have a chrono.
basically, just wanted a practice type load, and unique seems to do pretty well for that.

honestly, anything more than maybe 5 gr. of unique seems like it might be bordering on a compressed charge.

but i'm a relative newbie as well, so take my word for what its worth.

December 7, 2008, 09:36 AM
Here's some reload data while working up a load for a Glock 17
Forgive the formatting, copied from a spreadsheet. What little formatting I tried to apply went away after I posted.

I got the best grouping with 5.4 Unique in 115

I'm trying WSF (based on recommendations) for the 124 FMJ and like the results from 4.9 but plan to try 4.8. The hotter I run the WSF the more the shots scatter. Not overly impressed with WSF results, may end up going back to Unique or trying another powder.

124 FMJ, OAL 1.15, CCI
1113 ...1128......1178 .....1120..1099.....1063 <5 shot avg

This data is comparing an old batch of Unique to a new batch
115 FMJ, OAL 1.160, CCI
1050........1175.......1109........1118.......1176<5 shot avg

Walkalong, thanks for the tip

December 7, 2008, 09:51 AM
Just remember not to go too hot with any of the plated bullets. Probably best to stay below 1,100 fps with the 9mm loads and Ranier bullets. After that you risk excessive barrel leading.


December 7, 2008, 09:56 AM

Any chance when you get some time you could reorganize your data? I am having a bit of trouble clearly following it, and am interested in your results wanting to compare it to my own.


December 7, 2008, 05:33 PM
Use ....... to get the numbers where you want them Billme. The program runs excess spaces together

December 7, 2008, 06:24 PM
I've been pleased with Unique for 124fmj and 124jhp's in my 9mm pistol and carbine. I've used Winchester & Remington 124fmj, Sierra, & Speer 124fmj all with CCI500 primers and Unique powder. I've used various cases. While starting low and working up is the smart and safe method, I would not load many test rounds with 4.4-4.7 grains of Unique as this range is pretty mild. 4.8 grains in my test loads only showed 950-970 fps. It cycled the Glock 19 reliably but to get above 1000 fps it took 5.0-5.1 grains of Unique to get near 1050 fps. 5.0-5.1 with the G19 shoots to point of aim and showed no pressure signs with any case or bullet. Overall lengths of the 124 fmj's were all 1.150-1.160" depending upon which bullet I loaded. For instance the Win 124fmj's has a longer tapered sharper profile and were loaded to 1.160 while others were blunter and were seated to 1.150". I'm relatively new to loading
9mm and Unique is the only powder I've tested and like I said, I am happy with the results. Workups provided a steady increase in velocity with no big jumps or surprises.

December 8, 2008, 10:22 AM
Unique or Bullseye work fine for 124gr FMJ Rainiers or 124gr Poly-coated Precission bullets out of my pistols. I generally stick with Bullseye 4.5gr will give ~1000 fps out my 5" 9mm 1911. Your loads and strategy look sound, the chrono is a nice addition if you can pick one up or borrow one. It adds one more piece of data to validate your loads.

December 9, 2008, 06:27 PM
I am using 5.3 gr of Unique with 124 gr bullets, like billme. It has the same feel and kick as Winchester USA 115gr. The groupings are very good, anecdotally.

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