My S.O. carries a 9mm- in the woods. Best bullet?


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GJgo
February 26, 2009, 10:54 PM
So I have a few of the more "manly" calibers of pistol and revolver that I carry as the situation may call for. None of these however met the fancy of my Fiance'. So I said, "honey, when you're ready, we'll go to the store and you can pick out one that you like". And some time later she did! A nice M&P 9c! It's a nice piece- I've had the Springer compact 9 and a couple Glocks, and overall first impression I like this one a little better. (long term opinion to come)

So, I handload, and I'd like to put together a stash of 9 for carry in the woods and just general purpose. (obviously we use factory ammo for "city" carry, I prefer 124gr.) Well, regardless of whether the 9 is the best choice for days in the mountains, it's better than naught and it's "her gun". Some of you may know what I mean. :p

My question is do you think, for said situation, I'd be better with loading up some toasty 147 grain woods loads as opposed to 124 grain stuff? Maybe the Hornady XTP 147 (XTP have a reputation for penetration), or even a flat point projectile like the Speer 124 jacketed soft point?

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Deer Hunter
February 26, 2009, 10:58 PM
In most places, you are most likely to come across an angry humanoid than an angry animal while out roaming the woods. She should be fine with the "wimpy" 9mm.

-v-
February 26, 2009, 11:02 PM
I'm not sure on the 124 JSPs, as I'm not aware that anyone makes them for the 9mm, however, conventional wisdom does dictate that the heaviest round for your weapon that you can shoot accurately and effectively is the best choice. That said the 147gr XTP is a great choice with a purported 16" of penetration in gel, likewise a solid TC or hard cast 147gr projectile would also be a good choice considering the caliber. Other than that, without handloading odd stuff, there really isn't much out there.

But, the other thing to keep in mind is that you're much more likely to have to use your gun against a two-legged predator then you will against a four-legged one. Most four-legged ones tend to try to get away from you if they have the choice, and are easy enough to avoid if you keep your senses peeled.

SimpleIsGood229
February 26, 2009, 11:05 PM
Since my SIG P229 is my largest-caliber handgun, I load it with Hornady 147 gr. TAP for the woods.

pps
February 26, 2009, 11:09 PM
Be happy she is carrying. Have her carry her usual SD round. Since she won't be by herself in the woods, you get to carry the "manly caliber" with you. You're not going to let your SO go by herself in the woods.

GJgo
February 26, 2009, 11:29 PM
True, I just prefer to hedge our bets. Often times I'll be fly fishing and she'll meander off to pick flowers and stuff, for example. Whether on 2 legs or 4 (coyotes, mountain lions, black bears, bobcats, elk, moose, even some hogs, etc. all live in the remote areas we frequent) when it comes to protection I just want to make sure I'm making the best decision I can for the situation.

Avery Goodschott
March 1, 2009, 12:39 PM
I understand your need. Frankly, as a field carry I use a revolver in .357 Magnum or .41 Magnum . . . BUT . . . in your situation I would secure some of that stout Buffalo Bore stuff or have someone build a hard cast semi-wadcutter that would cycle reliably.

I say hard cast because it could be helpful to break a load bearing bone or penetrate a skull.

IF, I ever carry a semi in the field it is a 357SIG conversion of my Glock 23 loaded for maximum penetration.

David E
March 1, 2009, 12:56 PM
conventional wisdom does dictate that the heaviest round for your weapon that you can shoot accurately and effectively is the best choice.

Says WHO ?? Were that true, then the .357 125 grain JHP's reputation would've been exceeded by the 220 JSP.....:rolleyes:

As for the OP's question, have her carry her standard defense load. It makes much more sense than expecting her to remember her "woods load" kicks and impacts differently than her carry load.

If you go in the woods with her, something to consider is.........getting a S&W M&P 9mm yourself, maybe the 5" Pro. You can loan your mags to her, not to mention ammo. Important? Maybe.

Depending on the woods, a .44 might be a better choice for you, so consider the possibilities carefully.

I agree that the most likely threat is from the two-legged snakes.

batmann
March 1, 2009, 01:46 PM
I think using the rounds that is she used to shooting would be prudent. If 124gr is what you shoot, keep it. There are some +P+ 9MM from Double Tap and Buffalo Bore you can buy,but the most common 4 legged critter will probably be a Wild Dog, rabid Skunk or Coyote and a will placed shot with a weapon she is used to with a round she is used to will do the trick. On the chance you would run into something bigger, Cougar or such, a well placed round from a 'nine' should do the job as well. None of these animals are partically hard to kill, providing you do you job.
IMHO, familiarity with both the weapon and ammo is more important than worrying about what round to load. I think another of your concerns should be on a weapon carrying system, one that allows rapid deployment, should the need arise, given they layers of clothing most hikers wear

wnycollector
March 1, 2009, 02:20 PM
I agree with the posters that have commented that 2 legged predators are more of a worry then 4 legged. That being said I would go with the 147gr XTP loaded nice and hot...that way BOTH 2 and 4 legged goblins will have something to worry about!

wyocarp
March 1, 2009, 02:34 PM
I guess it depends on where in the woods you go, but I've had four-legged issues much more frequently, but it has been a very long time since I've had two-legged issues.

Two or four, I wouldn't be excited about the 9mm.

Javelin
March 1, 2009, 02:38 PM
9mm with a good 124 or 147gr JPH will do just fine.

:)

MachIVshooter
March 1, 2009, 03:28 PM
If large predators (bears, cats) are a concern, I'd carry 147 gr. Hornady XTP's. In my experience, they produce the best combination of expansion and penetration, exceeding the penetration of most 115 or 124 gr. FMJ I've tested.

golden
March 1, 2009, 06:04 PM
I would go with whatever FACTORY LOAD she carries for self defense. She already will know how to use it and you should know how reliable it is.

Except for bear, the predators in the woods are usually man sized or smaller. Wolves, cougars and coyotees are vulnerable to a 9m.m. More likely, your predator will likely have two legs and a criminal record.

No weight of bullet in a 9m.m. would satisfy me with a bear.

If you want a handgun with a heavier bullet, then at least a 6 inch .357 magnum with a 158 grain soft point or hard cast lead semi wadcutter.

If you are in bear country and run into a bear, a 12 gauge with slugs or a .44 magnum carbine is what I would want.
Actually, I would prefer a nice .444 Marlin or .45-70 carbine and have my companion carry a shotgun with slugs!

Jim

GJgo
March 1, 2009, 08:06 PM
I think I'll go with the 147 grain XTP. For carry she's getting the 124gr TAP loads, and they are shooting awesome. 50 fps faster (~1100 fps) with less ES and more accurate than the 124gr gold dots I tried in this gun.

At any rate, I'd never be too far away with my 44 or my 10mm handy..

Remember- this post wasn't a question about what 's "ideal", it is a question about what's the best choice for a certain situation.

4Freedom
March 1, 2009, 08:12 PM
I have discussed outdoor guns several times with others on various threads here. I have come to this conclusion: Glock 10mm, S&W 357 8-round revolver, S&W 44 cal revolver. Keep the 9mm as a backup gun. For me, I just leave the 9mm at home and use my .45 for backup in the woods. Of course the more guns you can carry the better.

NG VI
March 1, 2009, 08:45 PM
My question is do you think, for said situation, I'd be better with loading up some toasty 147 grain woods loads as opposed to 124 grain stuff? Maybe the Hornady XTP 147 (XTP have a reputation for penetration), or even a flat point projectile like the Speer 124 jacketed soft point?



Sounds like you're already on the right path, I would go with the 147 XTP and load it safely but as heavy as you can, and also, is she sensitive to different recoil levels in 9mm ammunition? I ask because in my 9mm pistols I don't really notice recoil differences much, though I definitely notice differences between loads in my .40 pistols and .357 Magnums.

GJgo
March 1, 2009, 09:44 PM
There's not a big difference so far concerning recoil in this M&P between the WWB stuff and the TAP / GD self defense stuff which is moving faster. I don't think it's a big deal. I let her shoot some Buffalo Bore out of my 10mm today so she understands that the 9 doesn't kick. :D

NG VI
March 1, 2009, 11:17 PM
That's the ticket. Before my Glock 27 I thought I might have noticed recoil in my 9mm. Not anymore.

David E
March 1, 2009, 11:21 PM
There's not a big difference so far concerning recoil in this M&P between the WWB stuff and the TAP / GD self defense stuff which is moving faster. I don't think it's a big deal.

If they kick and have the same point of impact, then I suppose it doesn't matter much, but I don't know what the 147 is gaining for you.

The better 9mm loads are 125/115 JHP's, at least, for stopping people.

.

Carbon_15
March 2, 2009, 12:31 AM
Without a doubt the Winchester Ranger 127gr +p+
knocking on the back door of .357 mag performance

Hostile Amish
March 2, 2009, 01:21 AM
Hornady TAP, Golden Saber, or XTP should do fine.

sm
March 2, 2009, 05:44 AM
I'm partial to standard pressure 124 grain loads, either JHP or FMJ, and yes, there are reasons why I choose to use FMJ.

That said, my Kel-Tec P-11 has put down cows with <gasp> Win 115 gr STHP.
Cows have also fallen to standard pressure 158 gr LWSC and <gasp> LRN from a 1929 Colt Detective Special.

I really don't worry about it, I really don't.
My deal is keeping in mind what a firearm is spec'd to use, including how the sights were set up to shoot POA/POI with ammunition.
The P-11 was set up for 115 grain and the nice folks said the 124 was tested for the sights too.
My testing, my "investigate-n-verify" bears this out to be true.

Shot placement is dependent on gun going bang, repeat. So since the mags are part of a semi...
I have fired thousands of rounds through mine in T&E , and others.
Still my personal gun has at least 200 rds, of various loadings, with all the mags.

I know my gun, so I simply snag whatever ammo is handy, from a large variety of loads I have fired at least 200 rds thru and don't worry about it.

I like Fiochhi, a lot. Given my druthers, I'd pick Fiochhi first.
Federal has a 9B or some-such load, forget, a 115 gr JHP that is fine
Win STHP ..
Mine does fine with NATO (granted a bit much for ground hawgs)

I like to handgun hunt...bone stock guns, and have with this P-11 and Colt DS.
[Hey, I might get caught and have to run what I brung...]

Barked squirrels, taken wabbits, pests, varmits...
and for a brief moment my P-11 had a barrel 4" long, really, hunting regs said 4" bbl min and mine was, just long enough to fell a Doe.
I was there to assist a fella that oversees some property, he was still weak from surgery , and wanted meat.
Bless his heart, he was not able to get a shot off due to health and the doe was about 17 steps or so, so I popped it.
His family come and took care of it.

He was going to use a lever action .357 at this close distance.

Don't ask me the load, It did not seem important at the time, and I have forgotten anyway.
Whatever I was using for a carry load, and it would be a standard pressure load.

SimpleIsGood229
March 2, 2009, 10:39 PM
Federal has a 9B or some-such load, forget, a 115 gr JHP that is fineFederal 9PB. Stephen A. Camp is quite fond of it. He says he gets very good accuracy from it.

Speaking of whom, hipowersandhandguns is updated once more (after a long time).

PT1911
March 2, 2009, 10:44 PM
last I checked, a hunk of lead does a lot of damage. few animals have bullet proof capabilities, anything that she is likely to stumble upon in the woods that is not stopped by a 9, would doubtful be immediately stopped by a larger round with similar shot placement... I would suggest she carry that and pepper spray... it is more affective in some cases...IE- BEARS!!!!! ha but seriously...

gglass
March 2, 2009, 10:57 PM
If you are carrying 9mm in the woods, then the same rules apply for hunting ammo. Four legged critters need some bullet expansion and a lot of penetration. Therefore go with what hunters use... Jacketed soft points.

MachIVshooter
March 2, 2009, 11:14 PM
Without a doubt the Winchester Ranger 127gr +p+
knocking on the back door of .357 mag performance

No 9x19 load can compete with .357 mag. I've pushed the cartridge to it's very limits in stout guns using magnum primers and a host of potent powders. The most I could get was a 90 grainer at 1,640 FPS for 538 ft/lbs., and those bullets pretty much explode on impact at that speed.

Matrix187
March 2, 2009, 11:26 PM
Montana Gold Full Metal Jacket Flat Point 147 gr @ 1135 fps
http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_37&products_id=268

UnTainted
March 3, 2009, 02:19 AM
+1 on the Montana gold FMJ. If you readload, you won't need to buy the load from DT; you can get it to where you want it.

CZF
March 3, 2009, 03:49 PM
IF I was somehow removed from my 10mm for the woods.
I'd shoot the 147 DT Dold Dot or Hornady XTP, with the
Double Tap load having more velocity, but probably less
penetration that the deep driving XTP.

http://onfinite.com/libraries/1417138/203.jpg

You can actually kill a Grizzly with a 9mm, but I'm not up to the
task.

I actually like the XTP 200 grainer as loaded by DT in .40
but mostly in 10mm.

http://onfinite.com/libraries/1217139/972.jpg

Or reloaded
by myself. I have no problems with carry reloads for woods protection.

Matrix187
March 3, 2009, 04:26 PM
A headshot with a 9mm might kill a grizzly, but shooting any other part of the grizzly wouldn't work out too well probably. I would preferrably carry a 10mm minimum for the woods. Right now I carry a 9mm and bear spray because it's all I have besides carrying a big rifle.

mr.trooper
March 3, 2009, 04:57 PM
any ammo will be fine.

BlindJustice
March 3, 2009, 05:23 PM
Double Tap offers
9mm Luger 147 gr. Speer Gold Dot JHP @ 1135 FPS
which is what I stock for carry in my CZ 75B

Reeds Ammunition & Research has the
147 gr. Hornady XTP JHP @ 1,090 FPS fwiw


Oh, CCI back in the early 1980s offered
130 gr. JSP for 9mms - I traded my last box of
100 about a year ago. I think they're out of prod.
and unobtanium from Speer these days.


Randall

Carbon_15
March 8, 2009, 09:01 PM
No 9x19 load can compete with .357 mag
no doubt, but the RA9TA (Winchester 127gr+p+) load is getting scary close to the low end of the .357, which is what I was trying to say.
Out of my 17c I'm getting 1300fps for 476 ft/lbs

Remington .357 magnum 125 gr Golden Saber's Clock 1220 and 413ft/lbs
Winchester 125's are around 1370 and and 520 fps

Yea the .357 has ALOT of room to improve on these 2 loads but the facts are that the RA9TA IS more powerfull than some factory .357's and with 15-17 rounds on tap is a formidable woods carry load


http://www.hipowersandhandguns.com/FieldReportDeer.htm

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