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Reloaded, chronoed. Now what?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Katitmail, Jun 19, 2013.

  1. Katitmail

    Katitmail Well-Known Member

    Ok. Today was my second time shooting reloads and I chronoed results to see what I have.

    Now help me understand what all this means.


    First string of 7 was self-defence rounds. Winchester 230gr JHP
    All within 876-883 fps range (erased actual string, but min max is there). As I understand - pretty tight group.

    Seconds string of 7 was my reloads. IMR PM with 200gr Reinier plated HP
    953, 981, 848, 896, 972, 953, 943

    MIN/MAX is like 100+ fps difference! Why? Bad powder? Bad powder measure? Why? Is that a "strong" load? How do I tell?


    First string was 8 of self-defence rounds. Hornady fancy HP 95gr
    955, 987, 958, 974, 981, 940, 964, 973

    All pretty close in speeds.

    Second string was my reloads. Missouri Bullet RN 93gr + Unique powder.
    866, 898, 806, 811, 881, 902, 829, 816

    Still, about 100fps difference between lo/hi!

    WHAT CONCLUSIONS should I make out of it? Am I doing something wrong?

    I use LCT press and lee disk measure.

    Makarov with my reloads was very pleasant to shoot. Soft-recoil, nice smoke :) I guess it's lube from lead bullets? Wasn't too dirty inside, but I have something in a barrel. I think it's leading..
  2. 1SOW

    1SOW Well-Known Member

    A bigger "sample" gives more meaningful data. 10 or more rds will be more reliable.
    Your Chrono likely gives "S.D." and Max Dev. which you can see in your numbers.
    An S.D. of 10 or less is good. Even some higher is fine if they shoot accurately/consistently.
    100'/sec max. dev. is much too large in my opinion.

    The ones with a fairly extreme max. Dev. "could be" powder drop variations or in the Mak large oal variations in the higher pressure rds.

    Unique doesn't always drop consistently from the LEE powder-disc system due to the large particle size. In a small case this can be troublesome.
    The disc system is extremely accurate with Ball, Flattened Ball and Small rod powders. As powder particles get bigger--especially flake powders--the drop gets less accurate with small powder drops.

    I load 9X19 but not Mak. Those 95gr bullets are barely moving---relatively. Just for grins loaded some 95gr in my 9mm. Added after checking my load records:
    95gr Sierra jfn AA#5 6.9grs 1.02"1259Avg 119.6Power Factor (LIGHT LOAD!)
    ES = 30
    SD =10

    Do regular powder-drop weight tests on you scale (Beam Scale) to confirm accurate drops. Especially in the MAK loads, test oals routinely until you confirm the range of oals being produced.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013
  3. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Did you mean IMR PB?

    Hodgdon load data lists the following for IMR PB and 200 gr bullets out of 5" test barrel.

    Since you are trying to develop match load, when I tried to develop more accurate match loads, I looked at following reloading variables:

    - Bullet weight variance (I wanted same or less than 1 grain)
    - Powder charge variance (I wanted same or less than 0.1 grain)
    - Longest working OAL to reduce high pressure gas leakage around the bullet

    Bullet - Copper plated bullets have harder alloy core that may leak more high pressure gas around the bullet especially if it is sized at jacketed bullet diameters. High pressure gas leakage will slow/reduce consistent chamber pressure build up. Due to this reason, some plated bullet manufacturers use slightly larger diameter bullets depending on the caliber and/or bullet weight. Instead of Rainier plated bullets sized at .451", you can consider using brands of bullets that are sized slightly larger to reduce high pressure gas leakage, especially if your barrel is oversized (Berry's 45 bullets are .452" and X-Treme's 45 caliber bullets are mostly .452").

    Have you weighed your Rainier plated bullets? If there is a significant variance in the bullet weights, you can try sorting the bullets and range testing the reloads by the same weight group.

    Powder - For greater accuracy, I prefer to have my powder charges vary by less than 0.1 grain. If the IMR powder is not metering consistently, as 1SOW posted, you can consider trying powders that meter more consistently in the Lee Auto Disk.

    You posted "Bad powder?" Is the age/condition of the powder in question? It should have a fresh solvent odor. If not, powder may be bad.

    Cartridge overall length - To minimize the high pressure gas leakage while the bullet jumps from the case neck to the start of rifling, I would determine the maximum cartridge overall length (OAL or COL) and use the longest working OAL your magazine and barrel will allow. You can determine the MAX OAL using the barrel drop test - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=506678

    2004 Alliant load data lists the following for 9x18 Makarov and Unique.


    Based on your chrono data for lead reloads, your powder charge may not be high enough to deform the base of the bullet to seal the bullet with the barrel. More high pressure gas leaks around the bullet, more liquefied lube will be blown out the barrel and increase smoking and may increase leading in the barrel from gas cutting/lack of lubrication.

    Although MBC 9mm Mak bullet weight is 93 gr, you could use the load data for slightly heavier bullet. Based on your chronoed velocities, you probably need to increase your powder charge. +1 on Unique and Lee Auto Disk. I get variations of ~0.2 grain on several Pro Auto Disks I have.

    Chapter 7 of Glen Fryxell's ebook covers the definition, location, cause and prevention of leading - http://www.lasc.us/Fryxell_Book_Chapter_7_Leading.htm

    With your 45 Rainier plated bullet load, you may need to reduce your powder charge (assuming you are using IMR PB powder), powder charges may not be consistent, OAL may not be ideal for your barrel or you may need to try different bullets.

    With your 9mm Makarov lead bullet load, your powder charge may not be high enough, powder charges may not be consistent, OAL may not be ideal.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2013
  4. steve4102

    steve4102 Well-Known Member

    How far was the Chrony set from the muzzle?
  5. Katitmail

    Katitmail Well-Known Member

    About 5-10 feet
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    I place mine right at 5 yards. Much closer and the muzzle blast can interfere with readings.
  7. medalguy

    medalguy Well-Known Member

    I assume (?) your chrony uses a wire. Set the chrony as far away from the muzzle as you can for best and most accurate readings. You can also use two cords to get it more than 25 feet in front of the muzzle. Military, at least US, measures 78 feet away from the muzzle to totally eliminate muzzle blast. Also be sure to weigh all your test charges and bullets, and keep them as close to the same as possible, as suggested. All the other information given is excellent.

    Oh yeah, write everything down in a spiral notebook for later review. Those string recordings will disappear from the chrony.
  8. Katitmail

    Katitmail Well-Known Member

    bds, thanks for detailed answer!



    It is consistent in "batches". When I do 5 throws and weight it - it is consistent within 0.1 from batch to batch. I didn't weight individual throws.

    Powder is fresh, made this year. If I left powder in lee measure for weeks in my garage, will it hurt?

    MAK is not picky about OAL - I have it at ~0.980
    45ACP is picky. 1.225 was good for barrel test but won't feed. I had to go down to 1.200

    Yeah.. But I like the feel of it :) I use 3.6gr of Unique.

    Ok, so I will try following:

    1. Reduce load from 5.6 to 5.4 and make 10 rounds hand-weighting them. I will also check bullet weights and try to pick similar ones. For this one I can't realy do anything about OAL :(

    2. MAK - Increase load to 3.8 and make batch of 10 weighting each load separately. Leave OAL alone. Won't weight bullets. Lot of bullets have lube all over them, not just gas check. Is that defect or I should expect this from Missouri bullets?

    Does my plan sound right?

    How important is consistency of distance between gun and chrono? Is it a big deal if it's +-1ft ?
  9. Katitmail

    Katitmail Well-Known Member

    I use ProChrono Digital. No remote. Instructions say 5ft is OK for handgun. I will try further, but as you see factory rounds show consistant results.
  10. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    I have left various powders in the Lee Pro Auto Disk hopper between reloading sessions of several weeks without noticable issues.

    For checking chrono distance, on your next range trip, set it farther and use the same factory loads. If measured velocities decrease in ES/SD, then use the chrono farther away.

    On the 45 load, you have to use the OAL that works with your pistol/barrel. In addition to the 5.4 gr load, I suggest you consider testing 5.2 gr load also. Don't worry, I think you'll make IDPA power factor even with the start charge.

    On the 9mm Mak load, you may want to load 10 rounds of 4.0 and 4.2 gr loads in addition to 3.8 gr load for the next range trip, since you are using lighter than listed bullet at longer OAL which will seat the bullet base shallower which will decrease chamber pressures.

    To rule out variations attributed to powder charge variations, you could weigh each powder charge, especially for Unique.

    Keep us posted!
  11. Katitmail

    Katitmail Well-Known Member

    Ok, I got it for 45

    About MAK.. I _want_ nice recoiling load. Why do you suggest go higher? To achieve consistency and reduce leading? I actually liked feel of it. It was nice feeling load, not sure how accurate it was though..
  12. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Well-Known Member

    OP. Did you use empties with the same brass/headstamp? Even with pistol cartridges, having greater uniformity in the size of your pressure vessel will give you greater uniformity in pressures and velocities.

    If you have settled on your powder charge, and you have used brass that weighs within 1 grain of each other, you might experiment a little with OAL. IME, unlike rifle cartridges where often one gains accuracy with longer OAL, where the bullet is closer to the lands, in auto pistols it has been my experience that a few thousandths seated deeper, but where it still cycles, will often give you a little bit better uniformity in velocity.

    As always, keep a weather eye open for pressure signs.

    It is a variable that is worth looking at.

  13. Katitmail

    Katitmail Well-Known Member

    In case of MAK - it's all once fired PPU brass (I bought factory ammo)

    I will try to make 10 "nice" loads. Will make sure OAL, powder and bullets all uniform.

    Accuracy-wise I made 100 rounds same way as in original post and they all shoot just as good as factory. Just came back from range.. And yes, they lead barrel for sure. I had 100 so I had to shoot it. I will have to bump up charge to see how it goes.

    P.S. Is there places I can buy once-fired MAK brass?
  14. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Not sure how easy it is to find once-fired 9x18 brass but you can buy new Starline 9x18 Mak brass for 500/$83.50, 1000/$142 - https://www.starlinebrass.com/brass-cases/9MM-Makarov-Brass/index.cfm

    With jacketed/plated bullets, as long as your slide cycles and spent cases extract/eject reliably, you can stop load development when you attain an acceptable level of accuracy.

    But with lead bullets, in addition to above, you want a load that won't lead or minimize leading your barrel. This means you may need to test the full range of load data from start to max to determine which charges minimize leading. If you want a nice recoiling target load at below max load data that will minimize leading, you may want to consider faster burning powders that will bump/deform the bullet base better to seal the bullet with the barrel which will reduce leading.

    What other powders do you have?
  15. Katitmail

    Katitmail Well-Known Member

    I have IMR PB, bullseye and unique
  16. jr_roosa

    jr_roosa Well-Known Member

    No, they used two screens 150 ft apart. The first screen was placed 3 feet from the muzzle, the other 153 feet. This gives you an estimate of velocity at the midpoint between the screens, which is 78 feet out.

    Hatcher's Notebook describes this in detail, page 404.

    I go about 10 feet indoors for rifle or pistol (my rifle range has some sound baffles you shoot through that protect the chrony a little) and 15 ft outdoors. I have more problems with muzzle blasts coming from the adjoining firing positions than I do from my own.

    I have had some batches run +/- 120 FPS for no really good reason. The revolver does this to me more than the autoloaders. The best I ever did was one load with a +/- of 9fps and SD of 4 with 5 grains of bullseye behind a 230gr Hornady FMJ bullet in .45 ACP. No idea why this batch was so good. I usually get a +/- of about 30 FPS and SDs between 10 and 20 with hand thrown loads and brass sorted by headstamp.

    Keep trying, and you'll get better. 100 FPS probably doesn't matter much for handgun accuracy unless you are shooting 50yd slow fire, but you can probably do better.

    Mark your cable and set it up the same every time. +/- 1 ft doesn't matter, but it's still good to get used to doing things consistently from the bench to the range. Some guys keep a brick of one lot of .22 match ammo and the same bolt rifle to verify the accuracy of their chrony every time the set up.

  17. bds

    bds Well-Known Member

    Here's a post about Unique and leading in Mak.
    I had a Russian Makarov chambered for 380Auto but never shot lead bullets out of it. Doing a quick search, many have reported success with 93/100 gr lead bullets using faster burning powders such as Bullseye/W231 without leading the barrel even for polygonal barreled CZ-82.

    2004 Alliant load data lists 3.2 gr as max charge for Bullseye at 920 fps using 100 gr LRN.

    I found these posts regarding Bullseye powder work up:

    I think this poster meant 100 gr Berry's 380 bullet and probably referenced start/max charges from Lyman #49 for 95 gr jacketed bullet - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=506122
    Here's a post of 2.6 gr with 93 gr LRN - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=6332859#post6332859
    Many are posting 3.5-3.6 gr of Bullseye as full-power loads with 93 gr LRN

    So you may want to try 2.5 - 2.6 gr as start charges and work up towards 3.4 gr and see if you can find an accurate lighter recoil target load that won't lead the barrel.

    Here are some other threads that discuss reloading for 9x18 Mak:



    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 21, 2013
  18. Katitmail

    Katitmail Well-Known Member

    I was leaving Bullseye for 9mm match loads :)

    What is Unique good for? What kind of rounds? I think people make 9mm LRN with Unique at our club.

    Ideally I want to finish this 1lb containers and than buy 8# of something I can use for everything. So far IMR PB burns very clean, very little residue. Same is Unique. My MAKAROV was much dirtier with flakes of unburnt powder after PPU Partizan ammo.

    With MAKAROV specifically there is no choice in bullets at all. I would go plated maby (since I'm new to reloading) but Berry discontinued them. Missouri bullet is the only one who makes bullets as far as I know. Price is good for cheap plinking/target load. I got 2k of them, so I have to deal with it now. Bought some chore-boy wipes as well :)
  19. Havok7416

    Havok7416 Well-Known Member

    Unique is good for all kinds of loads in a variety of pistol loads. I will actually be attempting to work up loads for my 9 Mak shortly using Unique as it's the only powder I have left on my shelf.

    There are plenty of bullets available for the 9 Mak but you do have to do some digging. Speer makes TMJs and Powder Valley (www.powdervalleyinc.com) has Berry's plated 9 Mak bullets in stock last I knew.
  20. Katitmail

    Katitmail Well-Known Member

    Nobody has MAKAROV Berrys, they discontinued it. Speer TMJ N/A anywhere I checked but even it they were - it's like $17-20 per box of 100 which doesn't make sense financially.

    At about 7c per bullet shipped Missouri bullet is the only one to make sense to load IMO

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