Anyone tried 90gr JHP in 9x19 ?


Zak Smith
January 18, 2003, 08:45 PM
I picked up a box of 90gr Speer Gold Dots designed for .380 Auto, but they have the same diameter was 9x19 loads.

Has anyone tried these in 9x19?

My VV lists data for 88gr JHPs, so I loaded some up, using VV-N320 and 3N37. It looks like 1500-1600fps is possible.


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January 19, 2003, 09:18 AM
I bought a 102gr cast bullet mold from Lee and cast up a bunch for .380. Like you, I then wondered about using them in a 9X19. My results were dismal. Not to say you won't do a whole lot better, but I shot them in a 1915 original Luger and could not stay on the paper at 25 yards. Switching back to 124gr cast bullets from a different Lee mold, I was surprised to see good scores and groups. Bottom line is from my experience, lighter bullets do not work in a 9X19. Quantrill

Tony Z
January 19, 2003, 10:04 AM
I tried some 95gr JHP's that I too got for my 380, then loaded some for my 9mm.
They shot OK and were fairly accurate. But what good are they in the 9mm other then punching paper. The 124 FP's are much more accurate then the 95Gr ever thought of being.

Have fun ,


Rick R
January 19, 2003, 10:38 AM
The only jam I ever had with my BHP was a 90gr Sierra JHP. I loaded it out too far and the bullet popped out of the case when it hit the feed ramp! :banghead:

When I pulled my head out of the dark place and loaded them to the proper length I found accuracy was very good and expansion was explosive. I don't know what the velocity was as this was long ago before chronographs were commonly available.

Try some, you may like them.


Zak Smith
January 19, 2003, 01:19 PM
Thanks for sharing your experience. It seems as though results are mixed.

I did check that the bullets had enough purchase on the cases with an OAL of 1.060". The Speer 90gr GD's cannot be seated out much further than this, since the full-diameter portion of the bullet will hit the rifling on my CZ's.

I agree that these might have questionable usefulness. I'd expect a 90gr JHP designed for a .380's velocity of 900-1000fps to positively explode at 1500-1600fps. If it's accurate enough, maybe a varmint load.


Jim Higginbotham
January 20, 2003, 02:04 PM
Tried them some 30 years ago. 90 gr Sierras, I think it was with Unique. They clocked over 1400 fps (though I did not get to actually chronograph them until 1976). Like others are saying - they would sort of disappear when they hit something. They did shoot flat out to 100 yards but I would not want to stake my life on one.

A friend actually got 88gr Remington JHP (also a .380 bullet) to 1750 in his Browning (which I told him had to be way too hot). Sure enough, one of our acquaintences involved in the Air Force 9mm project took some to HP White and they ran some 50,000 PSI. Not much of a testimony for his loading skills but it does indicate a Browning will hold up to abuse!

Jim H.

January 20, 2003, 03:49 PM
I'm playing with 95gr FMJs and 8.4gr of VV 3N37. The average of 11 rounds is 1586fps and accuracy seems as good as the 124gr at 10 yards. One round clocked at 1605! The gun was tossing brass 30 feet. OAL is 1.120"

This load has some primer flattening so I'm still working down, I had a few loaded to 8.7gr. I think 8.2gr will be okay.

January 20, 2003, 10:42 PM
First 9MM I had - a S&W39 (?) was in about '73 or so & bought some off-the-shelf 90 gr SuperVels.

Those suckers seemed to hit the target before you pulled the trigger. This is with me used to .38s & .44 mags at the time far as handguns went.

Lickety-split! Zip FTF, etc. but have no idea as to on-target performance.

All told, think I'll stick with the 115-124 gr class for the 9 - but that's just me.

Zak Smith
January 20, 2003, 11:03 PM
Chrono data collected and in thread: "Lots of 9x19 Gold Dot / Vihtavuori data" (

Summary: N320 and 3N37 yielded velocities over 1500fps easily. 3N37 didn't reach quite as far as I'd hoped, but had easier recoil than N320 at the same velocity.

Didn't test for accuracy yet.


January 21, 2003, 06:27 AM
they arent long enough and affect pressure terribly.the 115 grain are much better.124 is as high as I go in 9mm.147 grain was terrible also.

Johnny Guest
January 21, 2003, 06:01 PM
- - - I, too, had an original S&W M39--It got me started handloading. After I swapped it off, I later got a Browning High Power and shot some of the Super Vel 90 gr. factory loads. They were pretty nifty, I thought. When SV released the bullets as separate components, I bought two, 50-bullet boxes, and proceeded to load them. At about that time, there was an interview with Lee Jurras printed in Guns magazine. He said something like, "With blank grains of Unique, you can get over 1550." (Near as I recall the article, 32 years later.)

Hey, great! No "work up to it," if Mr. Jurras says it's okay, I'm ready for it! I don't know why I held myself back to only 25 of these loads. Lotsa brass damage, flattened, cratered primers, torn extractor grooves - - - Too hot even for my adventurous spirit at the time.

By that time, I'd had "a difficulty" and found that a felon behind sloping safety glass was fairly safe from the 90 gr. SV factory loads. That ended my interest in the light bullets for all time.:uhoh:


January 21, 2003, 11:41 PM
I loaded some Sierra 90 gr in a medium load- vel was suppost to be 1100-1200 fps. They were VERY accurate in a Smith 669 I had and very controllable. I thought of the loads as hot 380's but never shot anything besides paper. I had this in mind for my wife and she did appreciate the light recoil.

Are people making a mistake in loading these 90 grainers as hot as possible?? I've read they are explosive at the high velocities, what about loading them down to take advantage of light recoil [small guns], the bullets will probably penetrate and perform much better at the lower vel.

Stephen A. Camp
January 21, 2003, 11:51 PM
Hello. In the past, I tried some of the really light bullets for reloading 9x19mm such as Remington 88 gr JHPs, Speer 88 gr JHP, Sierra 90 gr JHPs, Super Vel 90 gr JHPs, and more recently Hornady 90gr XTP and Speer 90 gr Gold Dots. I think that were I going to load this round, I'd load it around 1400 ft/sec and go with whatever grouped using the XTP or the GDHP rather than some of the other more aggressive expanders.

In some guns, I got decent to very good groups with the 90s, but not so in others. With the more traditional weight bullet/handloads, while some guns would show a preference for a specific load, most would at least group "good" with it. For me, the lightweights didn't show this same consistency.

Because of the shorter LOA, I ran into feeding problems with some pistols.

For me, it wasn't worth it, but if it's what you want, go for it. You never can tell; we might all benefit from something you find.


Zak Smith
January 22, 2003, 12:00 AM

That's an intereting idea. One measure of recoil - Free Recoil Energy (FRE) - is proportional to the (m*v)^2, if I remember correctly. Based on similar reasoning, I believe that for a given pistol & spring combination, there will be a minimum power factor (PF, again m*v) floor to achieve proper operation, including locking the slide back.

For my CZ-75B-SA, I computed this floor to be around 90 PF. Much below that and it would short-stroke or not lock the slide back properly.

Though I have not tested it yet, I think that this PF "operation" floor should be the same even when using different bullet masses. For example, a 115gr @ 870 has 100PF, but a 124gr need only go 806 fps to hit 100 PF. Similarly, a 90gr would have to go 1111 fps for 100 PF.

These 90gr Gold Dots don't penetrate and expand very well even at their design velocity out of a .380 Auto. I think the bare gel penetration was 9.3" with expansion to 0.59" at 934fps. ( Link to FBI data ( ).

For my low-power practice loads, for people who don't like recoil, I use a 115gr PRN (lead, copper plated round nose) West-Coast bullet with 3.4gr VV-N320 or 3.2gr Bullseye, seated to 1.100 - 1.120" (doesn't matter too much at the low loading), with "any" brass. This goes about 900fps and doesn't recoil much more than .22LR, in a full-size gun. It is not strong enough to cycle a BHP or Glock, however.


January 22, 2003, 05:41 AM
"Mathematical reasoning", while fine for mental pleasure, does not make your gun go 'bang'.

Recommend testing.

Zak Smith
January 26, 2003, 10:34 PM
More data posted to this thread:

re: "Mathematical reasoning" of minimum PF for slide operation- Think of it as a hypothesis to be tested by experiment.


January 27, 2003, 10:27 AM
I never tried 90s because I always knew that they might cause feeding problems. For example in a P-08 or P38 the magazine to chamber distance is long and these guns want longer LOA. The sectional density is about as low as you can get in any cartridge and that will limit penetration.

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