Loading 9mm at 1300fps


November 30, 2010, 05:10 AM
In the Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, reference is made to the "Illinois State Police load"-a 115-grain standard JHP launched at some 1300 fps.

How is this accomplished?

Speer 14, Lyman 49, and Alliant's website show max velocities ranging from 1144 to 1244 for 115gr.

I see loadings for 90gr moving at 1300fps+.

Any advice is appreciated.

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November 30, 2010, 06:36 AM
The VV load manual gives data for their powders which will give you over 1200 fps with a 147gr bullet.

Buffalo Bore sells ammo that meets this spec.

You can do amazing things if you select for the largest case capacity, use a high energy powder, and compress the heck out of the powder.

I don't think I want to subject my guns to this kind of punishment.

November 30, 2010, 06:48 AM
Lyman's 49th does not publish data in the +p or +p+ range and that is were the 115g 1300fps loads lurk.

I have some loads with 90g XTP's that are flying at close to 1500fps using Power Pistol.

These loads should always be worked up just like any load your working on.

115g 6.7g Power Pistol should get you close to 1280fps but, again you should always work your way up and look for pressure signs.

I have loaded max powder without being compressed using Bullseye and Power Pistol without any high pressure signs but each gun is different.

November 30, 2010, 07:28 AM

November 30, 2010, 10:28 AM
If there's a "secret" to launching 115gr 9mm Luger rounds at 1200 fps or faster, it's to use a gun with enough barrel. While several powders will accomplish this goal with a 4" barrel, drop to a 3.5" barrel and it gets more difficult to do under SAAMI limits. Drop to a 3" barrel or less and it becomes exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.

As far as a 90gr JHP in the 9mm Luger, both Hornady #6 (90gr HP/XTP) and Lyman #49 (Sierra 90 JHP) have data showing velocities exceeding 1400 fps from a 4" barrel. This would give impressive expansion, but I'm pretty certain penetration would suffer. Remember that these bullets are constructed with the .380 Auto in mind, and are designed to expand at significantly slower speeds. I'm sure Speer has a good reason for not including the 90gr GDHP in their 9mm Luger data...

November 30, 2010, 12:09 PM
Why does one need that speed. Great performance is gained from a 115 gr Gold Dot Hollow Point traveling between 1150 and 1200 fps. Good penetration, excellent expansion, and not as much wear and tear on the firearm.

If you insist on going for 1300 fps just use Vihtavouri 3N37 at a max load with an XTP bullet. Even with a 3.5" barrel you'll be darn close to 1300 fps. Just be careful with this powder to not go below the minimum OAL of 1.142". This load won't chamber in my CZ75 SP-01 as it is too long but does great in my Sig P-229. Have abandoned it though in favor of the 124 gr. GDHP's with 6.5 Gr 3N37.

November 30, 2010, 12:45 PM
i know Nato 9x19 pushes a 12X grain bullet to 1300 fps...

November 30, 2010, 01:26 PM
The load mentioned by the OP was a +P+ load that was developed for the Illinois State Police for use in their S&W Model 39's. They were the first large agency to adopt a 9mm semi-auto handgun for agency wide use. They also required that every officer carry it on their right hip and no magazine pouches were allowed on the Sam Brown belt, since it messed up the "look". I don't know if these rules were changed later, but that was how they started out.

The above was related to me by Joe Norman, the designer of the Model 39, 52 and 59 for Smith & Wesson. We worked side by side for two days in 1979 while upgrading our department's Model 59's. He had been brought back out of retirement to help with some feeding and reliability issues with the guns.

Hope this helps.


November 30, 2010, 03:50 PM
I asked the question because what I read about 9mm Luger seemed to conclude that a standard 115 gr JHP moving at 1300 fps was an effective defensive round. And standard 115 gr JHP is what I have on the bench. :)

NuJudge--Thanks for the link to the Vihta Vuori-Lapua load data.

Unique is the only powder I've used thus far, and have worked up a load that is fine for practice. I guess I'll open the PP and load some of that up.

ReloaderFred--No magazines on the belt because it messed up the "look"? How were they to carry them?

November 30, 2010, 04:59 PM
They carried extra magazines in their pockets, as that was their only option. You have to remember this was back in the late 1960's, and it's Illinois we're talking about. They were very image conscious. It was a foolish rule, and I would certainly hope they changed it soon, but I don't have any other information than what Joe Norman related to me.

Hope this helps.


November 30, 2010, 06:13 PM
You can definitely push a 115gr 9mm bullet fast using published Vihtavuori data. Check out this link from an older High Road post:


I've tried the 36k psi 124gr load through a Glock 17 and a Keltech Sub 2000 and had no issues.

Chrono data 124gr FMJ (C.O.A.L.= 1.142) 7.3gr VV3N37:
Glock 17 = 1310 fps
Sub 2k = 1490 fps
elev = 4000
temp = 65 F

Johnny Guest
November 30, 2010, 07:51 PM
I well recall when the ISP was the first large American Police Agency to adopt autoloading pistols for standard issue.

I would certainly not argue with the statement by - - They also required that every officer carry it on their right hip and no magazine pouches were allowed on the Sam Brown belt, since it messed up the "look". I don't know if these rules were changed later, but that was how they started out. Well, okay, I might nit pick the statement just a tiny bit, but we could easily be discussing different time frames.

During the middle 1960s, when I got my first badge, I owned a near-new S&W Model 39-nada. Certainly I was NOT allowed to carry my 9mm on duty. I clearly recall a couple of articles I read at the time. ISP issued a nice-looking cross-draw flap holster, worn just to the left of the belt buckle. Photos showed a Trooper lifting the flap with left hand and making a smooth draw with his right.

Also, one piece in Guns mazgazine specified that ISP had contracted with Winchester for a bunch of very high velocity 100 GRAIN Power-Point JSP ammo. I don't believe they publicized the velocity of the new issue ammo, I do recall they said not to bother asking; Winchester would NOT sell this ammo to anyone without a state purchase order. I'd be VERY suprised if that light bullet load didnt crack 1000 fps.

I hasten to add that I didn't keep up with developments thereafter. ISP may indeed have switched to strong-side draw within the next several years. Also, that was very much a time of change for high performance ammunition. I think it most UNLIKELY that ISP has stuck with that original cartridge loading.

Reloader Fred, it must have been a hoot, working with the S&W project specialist on developing their DA autos.

I've owned several models 39, but was never interested in the 59-series. I'm still looking for one of the old ISP cross-draw holsters, with which to display my current M39-2. ;)


November 30, 2010, 08:12 PM
RidgewayCo makes an important point about barrel length, My SW 6906 launches a H115XTP at 1150 with 5.2 Gr of W231. Same load from my P85 is 1250, It's a very moderate load for both of my guns and not the ideal powder for highest velocity.

November 30, 2010, 08:13 PM
I shoot 'production' class 9mm( 'minor' 130 power factor--1050'/sec with a 124gr bullet).

A friend shoots 9mm "MAJOR", and worked up to a load using compressed Silhouette Powder. His first run was 184PF or about 1600'/sec with a 115gr fmjrn bullet. Just a wee bit hot. Minimum PF for 9mm MAJOR is 165 or about 1450'/sec with a 115gr bullet.

He doesn't reuse his spent cases.

RidgewayCQ: He promised he always paints his cases black---:eek::D

November 30, 2010, 08:43 PM
And I hope nobody else reuses his spent cases either...

Steve C
November 30, 2010, 11:01 PM
1,300 fps with a 115gr in a 9mm isn't that hard to do.

Sierra circa 1990 lists 6.4grs of Unique at 1,300 fps. I've chrono'd 6.0grs of Unique behind a Remington 115gr JHP @ 1,257 fps from a Walther P1 so 6.4grs sounds right for 1,300 fps.

Factory Fiocchi 115gr JHP Italian manufactured ran 1,288 fps from my Glock 19 and it wasn't marked as +P.

December 1, 2010, 01:44 AM
I don't know of any powder available to reloaders that will push a 115gr jacketed bullet to 1300 fps without going over SAAMI pressure limits. Just because I don't know of a powder that will do so doesn't mean it's not available, just that I don't know of one.

I've gotten the highest velocity with a 124gr FMJ bullet in a 9mm when I've used HS-6 or Longshot. Many powders will get you in the 1200+ area but 1300 is really pushing it. (Blue Dot is hot too)

December 1, 2010, 01:45 AM
Johnny Guest,

The two days I spent working across the bench from Joe Norman were two of the best of my career. I was rangemaster at the time, responsible for all firearms training for 600 Sworn Deputies, 300 Reserve Deputies and taught classes in the academy at the local Community College. Mr. Norman was well into his 70's by that time and had been retired for awhile. He and Henry Perez, of Cheshire & Perez, the California distributors for S&W at the time, came to my range and brought enough parts to replace 5 parts in each Model 59 and replace the followers for 3 magazines for each gun. We had about 300 Model 59's at the time, since we had a choice of either the Model 59, Model 19, or we could carry our own firearm of those two models. I still carried my 6" Model 19 at that time, but later switched to my 6" Model 57 when we finally got a Sheriff who understood sidearms..

Mr. Norman and I worked on guns for two days, and then he left me with the rest of the parts and the guns that hadn't been upgraded yet, so he could go to another department and train their armorer/rangemaster to do what he had taught me.

It was interesting to hear him explain how the Model 39 came to be. He told me it was for an expected U.S. Air Force contract that never developed. I've read stories that say it was for a U.S. Army contract, but he definately told me it was the Air Force. He explained how S&W had asked him to make the Model 39 into a double stack, since they wanted to go after U.S. Law Enforcement sales with a 9mm handgun, but didn't feel like the Model 39 had enough capacity to make it worthwhile for departments to turn loose of their old standby revolvers. He said he was satisfied with the slide and barrel, so all he had to do was design a frame that used it, along with a double stack magazine, which he did. He said the Model 52 came later as a competitor for the Bullseye Competition that was going strong between the various services. He said the challenge was to get the rimmed case and full wadcutter to feed reliably, and he was able to work it out.

As you and I well know, this was long before computers, so it was all done on drafting boards and making prototypes, trying each idea until he was able to get it to work. Most stories credit the executives of S&W for bringing out the various models of handguns, but it was the designers and engineers who really made them work. Henry Perez, who I knew pretty well, and still have a 2.5" Model 66 he sold me at his cost as a present when I was promoted to Sergeant, told me that Joe Norman was the brains behind those guns. He said Joe was very well respected among the old time S&W employees, enough so that they recommended that S&W approach him to solve the feeding problems with the Model 59, which he did.

To this day, I can look at a Model 59 and tell if it's been upgraded or not, just by looking at the barrel bushing and extractor. Like you say, "ah, the olden days".........

Hope this helps.


December 1, 2010, 08:53 PM
We used the 92F with 115 GR HYDRO SHOCKS then went to +P and started to break locking blocks.........FYI Went to the 40 a month later.

December 1, 2010, 09:17 PM
Speaking of SW M39s, the Hornady 4th Ed lists that model (4" barrel) as their 9mm test pistol. They got a 115gr FMJ to 1250fps with 5.9gr AA#2 (max load), and 1350fps with 6.1gr AA #2 with a 90gr HP/XTP (max load). With the right gun, either of those could easily do another 50fps.

Jim Watson
December 1, 2010, 09:31 PM
I got a 115 gr JHP 9mm up to 1296 fps with a rather top load of HS6. I won't post it because I don't know where it came from.

December 2, 2010, 01:14 AM
I got a 115 gr JHP 9mm up to 1296 fps with a rather top load of HS6. I won't post it because I don't know where it came from.
That confirms my above guess that either HS-6 or Longshot might have a chance of generating ~1300 fps with a 115gr bullet in a 9mm.

Johnny Guest
December 2, 2010, 01:59 AM
ReloaderFred - -
Thanks for sharing that historical sketch with us. Perhaps if I'd had that advantage, I'd have been a lot more excited about the M59. I well remember when they first appeared, and couldn't wait to get hold of one. By the time I did, though, there was A LOT of bad word-of-mouth being traded around about 'em. I'll have to admit that my testing was limited to about four types of ammo: Remington factory 124 fmj, Canadian FMJ that came in 64-round boxes, Winchester wartime smg ammo, and a limited bunch of Norma 124 gr. JHP. This latter had a lot of exposed lead at the nose, and it was hardly suprising when it didn't work well. Didn't work thru my 39, nor a wartime Belgian Browning HP. But, even the excellent Canadian and the Rem commercial usually didn't go through a full magazine without a malfunction. I can't claim this was an exhaustive test. It convinced me that, while I'd happily trust my safety to my M39, or even the old, somewhat ratty, BHP, I didn't care to carry a 59 on my own expense.

December 2, 2010, 03:10 AM
Johnny Guest,

The first Model 59's wouldn't even feed the Smith & Wesson branded ammunition (which was made by Fiocchi) reliably. Our duty load, and that of the Bakersfield PD, was the Winchester 100 gr. Soft Point, which also had a lot of exposed lead, but was the round which fed the "most" reliably in those early guns. After the upgraded parts that Joe Norman brought to us were installed, they were very reliable. We later went to the Winchester Silver Tip, and that proved to be very, very good ammunition. In every shooting we had, it performed just as designed.

After I installed the new barrel bushing, extractor, extractor spring, guide rod and followers in all the magazines, I had to test fire all the guns and magazines. Each magazine had to fire 5 rounds without any failures before it would pass, and they all did. Each gun had 3 magazines, times 15 rounds, times a little over 300 guns, which equals a minimum of 4,500 rounds of 9mm ammunition that I had to shoot. Fortunately, the gunsmiths at Cheshire & Perez showed me how to "finger fire" the 59. If it hadn't been for that, I would have been tied up for a long, long time just doing the shooting. By "finger firing" them, once I had the magazines loaded, I could test fire a gun with all three magazines in about 30 seconds per gun, if I really tried, but realistically, it took about a minute per gun.

It was still a lot of shooting, and a lot of tearing guns apart and putting them back together, and during this, I also trained other rangemasters from other departments to do the same. I would take in a batch of guns on the Deputies' days off, and have them repaired, test fired and ready for service by the time they came back to work. I spent some late nights working on them, but was able to keep up with it until they were all done. Then I started on the guys' personal Model 59's and 39's. I don't have a clue how many I finally converted and tested, but it was a bunch. LEO price for a Model 59 at that time was about $115.00 or so. I bought one, kept it for about a year, and then sold it when I was offered $250.00 for it. Since then, I've acquired two Model 59's, one blue and one nickel, a Model 39-2, and a Model 639. Of those, my 39-2 is my favorite, and I'll get them out of the safe every year or so and shoot them, just for old times sake.

One of the retirees in my retired cops group contacted me recently and said he has a Model 59 and a Model 39 he wants to sell, so I'll probably end up with those, too.

Hope this helps.


Jesse Heywood
December 2, 2010, 04:14 AM
I'm barely old enough to remember when the 39 came out. I do recall fondling a 59 at the Ft Worth show, but not having the green paper in my wallet needed to purchase the gun.

Thanks for the old war stories.

December 2, 2010, 11:43 AM
I shoot 'production' class 9mm( 'minor' 130 power factor--1050'/sec with a 124gr bullet).

A friend shoots 9mm "MAJOR", and worked up to a load using compressed Silhouette Powder. His first run was 184PF or about 1600'/sec with a 115gr fmjrn bullet. Just a wee bit hot. Minimum PF for 9mm MAJOR is 165 or about 1450'/sec with a 115gr bullet.

He doesn't reuse his spent cases.

Why is it that your post survives but mine got deleted?

Power Pistol is more forgiving than Silhouette in terms of pressure. A 115 doing 1300 FPS using PP only generates 41000 PSI with is on the light side of +P+ and nowhere near MAJOR.

Is it because I referenced Clark. Is Clark a four letter word? It looks like a five letter word to me.

December 11, 2010, 11:59 AM
Those loads are truly incredible when you push a 115 grain bullet to 1300 your producing 959 foot pounds which i beleive speaks for the 9's possibilities as a personal defense gun

December 11, 2010, 01:05 PM
In most quality 9MM pistols, with 4 inches or more of barrel, 1300 FPS is easily attainable by CAREFULLY I repeat,[B] CAREFULLY working up with AAC#7, HS-6, and Herco.

I've worked up to 1350, safely and backed down to 1300.

I like case life as one indicator of pressure. If I can load a case 3 or more times without the pocket loosening, I consider the load safe.

But I don't normally reload +P+ loaded cases after working up the load.

SAAMI spec is not a good indicator for the 9MM, because it was set for old military klunkers like the Glisenti. C.I.P is more appropriate, since it's the closer to the NATO standard.

MY Glock, Beretta, and several SIGs have fired thousands of +P+ 115/1300 rounds with no apparent damage or undue wear.

December 11, 2010, 01:14 PM
Umm... AveryJ, check your math. A 115gr bullet at 1300 fps is producing 431.5 ft-lbs of energy.

The formula I use for energy (and everyone seems to have their own...) is the velocity (in fps) squared (1300 x 1300), divided by 450,436, times the bullet weight in grains (x 115). The entire formula would be:

Velocity x Velocity ............................ 1300 x 1300
---------------------- X Bullet Weight => ----------------- X 115
7000 x 2 x 32.174 ............................... 450,436

In this equation, 7000 is the correction from grains to pounds, and 32.174 is acceleration due to gravity. In my experience, people use a different constant depending on what force they ascribe to gravity.

(Anyone who wants to correct these terms or numbers please feel free! I'm not a physicist, nor do I play one on TV...)

December 11, 2010, 09:24 PM
I shoot with an older gentleman who develops loads for Georgia Arms. He showed me some ammo they have called 355 Super. It's 9x19, but due to very high pressures they dare not mark it as "Luger". They had special brass made with the 355 Super marking.

It's used for "9 Major" in compensated 1911 guns. During our conversation he pointed to my SP-01 and said it would blow my gun up.

December 12, 2010, 02:30 AM
RidgwayCO is correct, a 115gr bullet traveling at 1300 fps delivers 431.5 ft/lbs of energy, not 959 ft/lbs of energy.

December 12, 2010, 12:09 PM
Rfwobbly, the "355 Super" is a trademark load of Atlanta Arms and Ammo. It's simply a 9mm Major load.

Folks, it's really easy to load a 115gr to 1300+ fps safely. Load to the SAAMI max OAL of 1.170" and use Auto Comp. We load it for competitors and the pressure is at or below SAAMI +P pressure. I've reloaded the same brass loaded this way about 6 times and it still measured fine.

Harley Quinn
December 12, 2010, 02:26 PM
Go with a G22 and put a 357 Sig barrel in it:D Or just go 357 Sig imho...

Then load that one up to +P if you are looking for speed out of a 9mm:confused: same old story take a round and pistol and push them to the limits create a problem when none is really there:rolleyes:

December 12, 2010, 02:40 PM
How about cut down 38 Super case to 9x19 length and shoot them out of Glock 22 with 9mm conversion barrel?

The extra metal around the chamber/barrel area should provide more pressure margin in addition to the 38 Super case?

December 12, 2010, 02:52 PM
The destructive point of a Glock 9mm barrel is in excess of 80,000 psi. No need to worry about chamber strength.

Zak Smith
December 12, 2010, 03:12 PM
1300 fps is not a super hot load with 115's. The old VV book listed a 124 at 1295 fps using 3N37.

Jim Watson
December 12, 2010, 03:20 PM
VV lists a lot of stuff but I never got the advertised velocity.

Blind Bat
December 12, 2010, 05:30 PM
5.0gr of TG under a 90gr Sinterfire Frangible gets me an avg of 1428fps out of my G34. ;)

Zak Smith
December 12, 2010, 05:34 PM
Here ya go
90gr Gold Dot data to 1586 fps and other data for 115, 124, and 147

December 12, 2010, 05:43 PM
1300fps is easy, my major 9 loads push 115 grain JHP's across the screens at over 1450 fps. There is quite a bit of data on brianenos.com loading 9mm to major PF.

CSA 357
December 12, 2010, 05:43 PM
im getting around 1250 fps with unique and 115 jhp

December 12, 2010, 07:08 PM
6.4gr Power Pistol, 115gr Zero HPs, 1500fps;)

Sorry, shot from RRA 16" carbine:o

Thanks atblis, meant to include that tid bit of info!

December 12, 2010, 07:57 PM
6.4gr Power Pistol, 115gr Zero HPs, 1500fps
Huh? I've loaded the max listed by Alliant, which is 6.7 gr, and I didn't get anywhere near that. Is this out of a carbine?

December 12, 2010, 08:55 PM
At the time of which we speak, the early '60s, handgun ballistics were going through a time of great upheaval and revolutionary change.

Speer's first venture into expanding 9mm bullets involved their 125-grain soft-pointed roundnose. Their manual of the day recommended a certain charge of Herco which filled the case right to the brim and which was HEAVILY compressed by the 125RN bullet.....I had to actually dig the powder out of the case after pulling a bullet.

This load, according to the handbook, developed 1330fps from a standard 4" M39....with 125 grains, remember, not 115. I believe the quoted speed, because I chronoed the same load (yes, in 1970)in my Browning Hi-power. From its 4&5/8" barrel, it was traveling at an average of 1360 fps.

Note that these speeds are VERY close to the the highly-regarded .357 Magnum service load of that time, which was a 125 at just over 1300 from a 4" barrel,

....and then some folks claim that a 9mmP is a "mouse gun"! Not me, bro---that Browning with 14 rounds of Speer 125s was the equivalent of more than TWO fully-loaded S&W 19s, which rode in a lot of police holsters then.

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