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Accurate 9mm pistol ammunition tips?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by eldon519, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. eldon519

    eldon519 Well-Known Member

    I am trying to cook up some accurate 9mm loads to evaluate three different pistols with (thinning the collection), and I realized that I really don't know anything about the fundamental principles of making accurate pistol ammo for a semi-automatic. For instance with a rifle things like seating the bullet close to the lands and using fire-formed cases is usually a good way to improve accuracy for a bolt gun. Are there any tricks like that for semi-automatic?

    I'm planning to make up about 5 loads:
    122 gr cast TC
    125 gr cast RN
    125 gr Rem JHP
    145 gr cast RN
    147 gr cast TC

    Probably all of them will be with Unique because I have a lot of it, I also have some Universal, some Clays, and some AA #2 or 5 (can't recall). For each gun, I was thinking of shooting three 25yd groups with each load and with each pistol (15 5-shot groups per pistol total) and evaluating from there.

    Any advice out there on ways to improve the quality of their food? FYI they are all just range guns used for slow target shooting, no combat shooting or SD.
  2. Josh45

    Josh45 Well-Known Member

    Universal is known for mid velocity.
    Clays is known for low velocity.
    Others mentioned this in another thread regarding Universal for the 9mm.
    I hope that may help you some.
  3. TheCracker

    TheCracker Well-Known Member

    Universal works great for me.

    One thing that really comes to mind is unless you are a REALLY good shot I would suggest shooting all of these from a bench with the gun on bags the best you can. Most pistols shoot way more accurate than the average shooter can shoot. Off hand ESP.

    Also my experience the 9mm projectile makes a lot more difference in accuracy than the powder.
  4. TheCracker

    TheCracker Well-Known Member

    I'll also add that in my two 9mm's, a 92f and Ruger SR9c, the most accurate bullets (off a bench and bags) that i have tried are Remington 115hp and missouri bullet co 125g small ball. The only ones that have ever shot bad were a couple 115 grain lead cast bullets that I think were just not a good fit for my barrels.
  5. Marlin 45 carbine

    Marlin 45 carbine Well-Known Member

    unique seems to be an oft-recommended powder. I've never used it but have's its easier metering brother PP.
    myself for cast I prefer red dot. more time to charge it w/the best loads howevder. I use TC slugs for most cast slugs,
  6. eldon519

    eldon519 Well-Known Member

    Do factors like seating depth play a big role in handgun accuracy? I'm mainly used to revolvers where I just crimp in the groove/cannelure. The taper crimp offers so much flexibilty in terms of COL.
  7. JO JO

    JO JO Well-Known Member

    seating depth is a huge safety factor always watch for set back and min o.a.l. you can
    try longer O.A.L. for you gun but NEVER shorter then min O.A.L.
  8. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Eldon, are you jacking us around? 5/6 cast doesn't come out of the blue most times.
  9. NuJudge

    NuJudge Well-Known Member

    Can I suggest you slug your bores? My experience with 9mm pistols is that groove diameters are all over the place, but usually run large. My Beretta and Walther pistols are worst, being almost .358".

    Chamber dimensions are all over the place too. I have a FN HiPower that will not chamber a cartridge loaded with a bullet over .356".

    I've been getting great results with Lee's Cowboy 125gr RNFP with a light load of 231. You want them to feed well and chamber freely.

  10. 1SOW

    1SOW Well-Known Member

    Two things I've noted with just pistol load "accuracy": longer oals and loads well into or a little above mid-range loads tend to be more accurate with most bullets and powders I've used. I'm not a lead bullet user.

    AA#5 will run those.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2012
  11. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I use W231 for practice to medium heavy loads. For hotter loads I like HS-6 with jacketed or lead bullets and Longshot with jacketed bullets.
  12. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Well-Known Member

    Eldon -
    While 9mm chambers are fairly standard, the un-rifled part of the barrel in front of the chamber differs wildly from maker to maker. This could mean that even with the same bullet, each pistol will do it's best with a slightly different OAL.

    Barrel length is also going to be a big player, not only because of the barrel but also the sight radius.

    I'm not sure there's a really good way to go about what you want to determine without a fancy Ransom Rest.
  13. eldon519

    eldon519 Well-Known Member

    I am not necessarily trying to conclusively determine which gun is necessarily the most mechanically accurate, but more so which one I actually shoot the best. If the main three factors of handgun accuracy are shooter ability, mechanical accuracy of the pistol, and ammunition, I am only focusing on testing my ability+the pistol's ability together because that is how I will be shooting it. For instance if I had to guess about it, I would assume my S&W1911 is probably the most mechanically accurate gun in my collection, but at the range, I tend to get better results with other handguns. Probably my best results come from my Ruger 3" SP101 which I shoot even better than its 6" GP100 big brother.

    I think for the sake of this test, I will try to load all the bullets to the max COL that will still feed in all three. I guess that may just end up favoring whichever one has the shortest freebore though.
    Certaindeaf, I'm not sure I understand your comment. Are you asking why I have selected so many cast bullets? If so, it's mainly because that is what I like to do the bulk of my shooting with for the sake of economics.

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