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Developing this "proper" load

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Katitmail, Apr 26, 2013.

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  1. Katitmail

    Katitmail Member

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    I'm also starting reloading. Didn't want to hijack other post. Press is on order, collecting my brass for awhile. Got 1000 124gr bullets, traded another 1000 for 2000 primers :)
    Just need powder but I hope it will come in at about same time with my press (have some on backorder).

    I want to keep everything simple. I shoot 45ACP, 9mm and 9MAK. 9mm is what I use for IDPA so I ordered press for this caliber.

    I read books, forums, etc. I'm mechanical so I don't anticipate any problem with actual loading. My questions is how to get that "proper" round developed and stick to it.

    Keeping that in mind I have 8lb Unique on B/O - seems like good all around powder. 124gr for 9mm is seems like what my gun was designed for so I'm going to try to deal with this particular weight.

    I want to develop 125000+ power load that works best for my gun. How do I know? I understand that I start low on powder, but how do I speed up process? I was thinking about loading 10 rounds with min weight, bump 0.2gr and do 10 more rounds and so on. Than borrow chrono and check how it's doing? Also probably need to shoot from a rest to judge accuracy.

    Goal is to get something I like and crank quantities of it :) How do you develop this load you like with least amount of trips to range?
     
  2. bds

    bds Member

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    With a given bullet and powder, you can identify the accurate load for your pistol in as little as one range trip.

    After you determine the max OAL using the barrel drop test and the working OAL that will reliably feed from the magazine, load 10 rounds of each 0.1 gr powder increments from start to max charge using published load data (if you have more than one load data, use the lowest start/max charges).

    On range day, set up your target and pistol rest and first determine the powder charge load that will start to reliably cycle the slide.

    Then carefully monitor the accuracy trends of your shot groups and select the most accurate charges to chrono to determine power factor compliance.

    I usually conduct 2-3 range trips to verify repeatability of my accurate loads before I deem them "very accurate" loads.
     
  3. Katitmail

    Katitmail Member

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    Thanks bds!

    What is OAL? Dimension? I was just going to load "standard" dimension

    Is 10 rounds enough to tell? I'm always shooting factory ammo so I guess I will see myself when slide is sluggish?

    Does it mean that accurate charges won't be close to each other in weight?

    Also, if I load up to "MAX" - can you tell when shooting that it becomes "too much" for a gun? Or published MAX loads should be safe? Is it possible that I will have to disassemble cartridges?
     
  4. bds

    bds Member

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    OAL is the "overall length" of the cartridge and also called COAL "case/cartridge overall length"

    Here's SAAMI definition under "length, overall/overall length" - "Ammunition: The greatest dimension of a loaded cartridge, i.e., from face of the head to the tip of the bullet for centerfire or rimfire or to the crimp for shotshells or blanks"


    You are in luck. If you are loading 9mm 124/125 gr in FMJ or RN plated, 1.125"-1.135" OAL will usually work in most pistols. But if you want optimal accuracy (especially for match shooting), you would want to use the longest OAL that will work for your pistol. Why? Closer the bearing surface of the bullet (part of bullet base that rides the rifling) is to the start of rifling when the primer ignites the powder charge, less high pressure gas will leak around the bullet and build more consistent chamber pressures, which will results in more consistent muzzle velocities and ultimately produce smaller shot groups we call accuracy.


    With some bullet/powder combination, start charge won't produce enough force to push the slide all the way back to extract the spent case and/or the spent case will stove pipe. You'll note reliable slide cycling when you have reliable spent case extraction/ejection and feeding/chambering of next round from the magazine. 10 rounds will give you two 5 round shot groups or three 3 round shot groups with a spare.

    I usually test my reloads at 7-10-15 yards with reference of 1"-2"-3" shot groups for typical factory semi-auto pistols. For me, very accurate loads will produce around 1" shot groups at 15 yards - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=7266869#post7266869



    IMHO, Slower burn rate than W231/HP-38/Unique powders tend to produce optimal accuracy at high-to-near max load data and faster burn rate powders than W231/HP-38 can start to produce accuracy at mid-to-high range load data. With some powder/charge loads, accuracy trend will continue to improve towards max charge and with some other powder/charge loads, accuracy will plateau at mid-range load data.

    For meeting power factor (PF), once you have identified which powder charge starts to produce accuracy, you just need to use the lowest powder charge load that will meet the 125 PF velocity. Many match shooters will add a little more to achieve like 130 PF to account for lower velocities caused by factors such as lower ambient temperature.


    This is why my motto is "Accuracy is everything and holes on target speak volumes." If the particular bullet/powder/charge combination is producing consistent chamber pressures/muzzle velocities, it will produce consistently small shot groups.

    As you conduct your powder work up, once you identify accurate shot groups, you can stop the powder work up if you know you met the PF velocity with a chrono. If the chono testing cannot be done at the same range trip, then you can record the accuracy at mid-to-high range load data and stop and later verify the velocity of the loads with the chrono. Usually, it's relatively easy to meet 125 PF (1000 fps with 125 gr bullet) with 124/125 gr bullets. As an example below, W231/HP-38 with 125 gr FMJ bullet will meet 125 PF with the start charge.
     
  5. Katitmail

    Katitmail Member

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    Live and learn! I didn't know that but it makes perfect sense.

    What do you think about my choice of Unique? I just wanted to get 1 powder I would use for all my pistols (45ACP, 9mm and 9MAK)

    And what do you think about my choice of 124gr bullet? I read somewhere that my HK P7 was designed for 124gr. In addition to accuracy I'm looking at lowest-recoiling round that will make PF. I don't want to wear gun and waste powder just to make bigger "bang" :)
     
  6. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    "Published max" is probably safe but probably not the most accurate. It's quite likely not the same in every manual, or even any two. I've never had a published starting load fail to reliably cycle the slide or be grossly inaccurate in any pistol in any chambering.

    For the 9mm rounds I load (for CZ 75s), the best accuracy is at about 85% of "max" with just about every bullet from 115-gr plated to 125-gr lead to 147-gr JHP. Given that a lot of bullets have to be loaded a little short (in OAL terms) for the CZs, that's probably around 90% of the pressure I'd get at "max" powder charge.

    My process for 9mm with a new bullet or new powder is to load a mag worth (15-16) at starting charge, a mag at +.2 grains, +.4 grains, and so on up to about 85% of max and test. At the range, I shoot a five-shot group at the lowest charge, then go up an increment and shoot five, etc. by just swapping mags. Lather, rinse, repeat. That way, I can shoot and analyze three groups at each charge, minimizing the chances that a really good group or a really bad group is anomalous. Of course, it takes a well organized set of targets to keep it all straight.

    Unless my groups are still improving at 85%, I don't go higher. I've never been able to tell any difference at .1-grain increments.
     
  7. bds

    bds Member

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    < Flame suit on > :D

    While Unique is an "awesome" powder that will just about do anything well, for match loads which often operate at lower velocities, I prefer faster burning powders than W231/HP-38.

    For my powder measures (Lee Pro Auto Disk), Unique has metered with .2+ gr charge-to-charge variation while W231/HP-38/Bullseye/Titegroup/Clays/WST metered within .1 gr variation.

    But really, Unique is a "great" powder. ;)

    My recommendation would be to test different powders and select the powder that produces the smallest shot groups consistently for your pistol/barrel.
     
  8. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    Total agreement here. I would also say that I dont like unique if the chargeweight is less than 7 or so grains. Under that and the powder measures tend to give erratic results. The bigger the charge the more consistent the drop.

    I would also say, even though the OP is a beginning reloader, I would load from the absolute bottom of the load data. Say, for example, the data range is 4.2-5.2, I would probably start at 4.5 or so. I have never found those lowest numbers to be the best loads.
     
  9. Katitmail

    Katitmail Member

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    It will be very impractical for me to "try different powders". I don't really know that much about all this stuff to tell. I picked powder by looking at my Lyman reloading manual. Seems like BullsEye and Unique is on a list everywhere and in "bold" on some rounds I might load.

    It seems like it takes less BullsEye than Unique, so I picked Unique as "my" powder because it will be easy to see when I monitor for double/no charge.

    I'm not sure about measuring - seems like different people have different opinions and different powder measures like different powders? I ordered Dillon if it makes difference.

    Powder is on B/O so I can change my mind, but not sure. Here is another question for you guys :)

    Since I'm shooting P7 it suffers this "heat" problem. Not a problem for me on matches since it needs about 40 rapid rounds to get hot but anyway. Is there powder or trick that potentially might lower temperature?

    Gas get's into cylinder - this is what heats it up but maybe there is faster/slower powder that can make a difference?
     
  10. Matt Dillon

    Matt Dillon Member

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    Be sure to get a Wilson case gauge on 9mm.
     
  11. Katitmail

    Katitmail Member

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    I ordered one from Dillon. But it's not not a case gauge, I think it's whole "round" gauge.
     
  12. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    For straightwall pistol, your bbl chamber is the most important "case gage".
    Every pistol chamber is a "different" case gage.
    For example, XDs and CZs have a shorter chamber than other stock autos.

    If the cartridge will "drop into" the naked bbl and hit the case mouth with a clink. Then by hand you can spin the cartridge, it'll run the cartridge if it fits in the mags.
     
  13. bds

    bds Member

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    You picked a bad time to start reloading as most popular powders are very difficult to locate right now. When I started match shooting, I tested Bullseye, Clays, W231, Universal, HS-6 and WSF for 9mm/45ACP and later tested other powders when I switched my match caliber to 40S&W. It's really too bad that you can't try different powders first. Here's why.

    On one hand, there is the aspect of absolute accuracy of a particular powder over another fired slowly from a pistol rest (like bullseye match shooting). On the other hand for action pistol shooting (USPSA/IDPA) where fast double taps are utilized, depending on the pistol/barrel/recoil spring used, different powder/charge loads produced different recoil "pulse" that made shooting variable. With some pistol/powder loads, I found my shooting "rhythm" incompatible with the "tap taps" of double taps. Some other pistol/powder loads produced too much abrupt or recoil pulse that forced me to focus more on recoil recovery than the stage targets.

    What I realized was that match shooting and match loads were very personal and different match shooters preferred different recoil characteristics that affected how fast and how well they shot. It would be difficult for me to tell you how a particular powder/charge load will shoot for you and your pistol. The only way you can determine that is to do comparison range tests, preferably using a timed mock match stage.

    Personally, between Bullseye and Unique, I would choose Bullseye.


    I am not familiar with that pistol used in match shooting application so perhaps someone else can answer. You could consider wearing shooting gloves to help with the heat problem.

    As to powder selection for low heat? Don't use Titegroup if heat is your problem. :D

    Perhaps you could get some match load ideas from this BE "9mm pet load" thread (you'll note some very different powder/charge loads as I mentioned above and some match shooters change their match loads like changing underwear :eek:) - http://www.brianenos.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=89264
     
  14. noylj

    noylj Member

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    >OAL is the "overall length" of the cartridge and also called COAL "case/cartridge overall length"

    And the industry uses COL. Not OAL and NOT COAL.
    OP: you really should be buying and reading some loading manuals right now.
     
  15. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Well, Since you borrowed a Chrono you will have an easy time of it.

    Since you are looking for the minor power factor of 125, the formula is:
    Bullet weight in grains, times velocity in FPS, divided by 1000.

    You will need to push that 124gr bullet to 1009 fps to make minor. Once you achieve that velocity you can try to find the best load for accuracy which might be higher than 1009 or right around that velocity.

    The Alliant site is showing a Max charge under a 124gr Gold Dot bullet as 5.8gr of unique. That load is reported to generate 1180 fps from a 4" barrel. Using the 10% rule the starting charge should be 5.2gr Unique. Start there and check the rounds over the Chrono and increase the powder charge as needed. If you're lucky the load that's a little over Minor will also be accurate.

    Good luck...
     
  16. bds

    bds Member

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    Sorry, I have used OAL most of my reloading years and it kinda stuck (BTW, Lyman #49 uses the term "OAL" and Alliant also uses "OAL" for their load data). I know some reloaders used the term COAL but I could work towards "COL" as used by Hodgdon and Accurate in their load data (still like OAL better). :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
  17. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    Thats the least of our vocabulary problems in this hobby.
     
  18. Katitmail

    Katitmail Member

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    Honestly I'm not on a level where I can tell a difference :) I guess with a time if I experiment I will get it, but right now it's not an option.


    Will try BullsEye than. What is other powders I should look at for pistol cartridges? I know only those two by name and there is bunch of other by numbers that I have no idea about..
    At least it seems that everybody (almost) on BE forum agreed on 124gr bullet
     
  19. bds

    bds Member

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    Yes. For me, the lighter 115 gr FMJ/plated bullet needs to be pushed at high-to-near max load data to produce optimal accuracy and to reliably cycle the slides on stiffer recoil springed semi-autos. The heavier 124/125 gr FMJ/plated bullets can produce accuracy at mid-to-high range load data that will meet 9mm minor 125 PF and still reliably cycle the slides on stiffer recoil springed semi-autos.

    To start out for 9mm, I would suggest Winchester 231 or Hodgdon HP-38 (same exact powder) as a good lower pressure target load powder but like so many other popular powders, it is very difficult to obtain right now. As expressed in the BE "Pet 9mm loads" thread, there are many popular powders for 9mm minor 125 PF loads: Hodgdon Clays, Hodgdon Titegroup, Accurate Solo 1000, Vihtavuori N320, Winchester 231/Hodgdon HP-38, Hodgdon Universal, Winchester WSF.
     
  20. bds

    bds Member

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    I also started out reloading for 9mm and 45ACP. Like you, I also read reloading books and talked to other match shooters about what the "best" match load was. And while they all had their favorite match loads, they suggested I test different powders and charge loads in my match pistols to select the "right" load for me.

    Fortunately for me, my local USPSA match shooters were very approachable and allowed me to try their match loads with their various match pistols. Some of them even admitted that they selected their match loads not necessarily based on "absolute" accuracy but by lowest cost to reload (unlike bullseye match shooting where utmost accuracy is required, action pistol match shooting like USPSA/IDPA does not require that level of accuracy).

    My initial powder selection was based on the other match shooters' comments and I tested Bullseye, Clays, Titegroup, W231/HP-38, Universal, HS-6 and WSF. I ended up choosing W231. While it did not produce as accurate loads as other powders, it was plenty accurate enough and I liked the recoil "pulse" it produced for double taps. I have tested and used other powders for match shooting and you may transition through several different powders and bullets before you settle with a load you like.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
  21. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    If people can say "LONG" Colt I can say OAL!!! :neener:
     
  22. Katitmail

    Katitmail Member

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    I was today at gun store and they didn't have any of the powders mentioned. I got can of IMR PB - they suggested for 9mm. Any info on this powder?
     
  23. noylj

    noylj Member

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    Bullet Weight Powder Weight Velocity Note P.F. COL
    L-CN 125 PB 2.9 908 Start 114 1.125
    L-RN 121 PB 3.2 872 Start 106
    Magma L-RN 126 PB 3.4 887 V. Acc. 112 1.110
    L-RN 121 PB 3.4 915 Start 111
    LCN 125 PB 3.4 1004 Max 126 1.125
    Magma L-RN 126 PB 3.4 887 Acc 112 1.110
    Hdy swaged Lead 124 PB 3.5 847 V. Acc. 105 1.130
    Hdy swaged Lead 124 PB 3.5 847 V. Acc. 105 1.130
    L-RN 121 PB 3.5 940 Start 114
    Hdy swaged Lead 124 PB 4.0 948 V. Acc. 118 1.130
    Hdy swaged Lead 124 PB 4.0 948 Acc 118 1.130
    SAECO L-SWC 125 PB 4.0 970 Acc 121 1.090
    SAECO L-SWC 125 PB 4.0 970 Acc 121 1.090
    Alberts swaged Lead 125 PB 4.0 944 118 1.110
    Alberts swaged Lead 125 PB 4.0 944 118 1.110
    Magma L-RN 126 PB 4.0 1017 128 1.110
    Magma L-RN 126 PB 4.0 1017 128 1.110
    L-RN 121 PB 4.1 1106 Max 134
    L-CFP 121 PB 4.3 1095 Max 132
    L-RN 121 PB 4.3 1090 Max 132
    Sie FMJ 125 PB 3.2 887 Start 111 1.090
    Sie FMJ 125 PB 3.6 974 Max 122 1.090
    Spr SP 125 PB 4.2 997 Start 125
    J-all 124 PB 4.4 945 Start 117
    Spr SP 125 PB 4.7 1081 135
    J-all, Rem MC 124 PB 4.9 1050 Max 130 1.135
    Spr SP 125 PB 5.2 1135 Max 142
     
  24. Katitmail

    Katitmail Member

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    I'm sorry, not sure how to read this data :( I have plated 124 bullets from RMR. What weight I should use for start?
     
  25. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    With RMR plated bullets, I would load using 124/125gr RN (round nose) FMJ data starting low and working up to mid-range loads.

    Load data will provide the OAL/COL/COAL :)D) "THEY" used to test "Their" loads. That oal is the "MINIMUM" oal , LONGER IS OKAY>

    It will also supply a MAX amount of powder to be used and a "starting load" / minimum amount of powder where you start at. Then add .1/.2 grains of powder at a time in a few cartridges (maybe just 5 each) and the .1/.2 grs more, etc until you get to the mid-range of the powder loads they give.

    Example for Win 231 and a 125gr FMJ bullet from the HOGDON loading site on-line:

    125 GR. SIE FMJ Winchester 231 .355" 1.090" (4.4 1009 ) 24,600 CUP ( 4.8 1088) 28,800 CUP
    To get 129-130PF APPROX. 4.6 grs ()MID-RANGE) should get approximately what you're looking for.: 1.048 FPS

    Unique is not a great powder for minor PF. You didn't say what powder system you are getting with what press, but unique is large flake powder that doesn't drop consistent light loads from 'some' powder systems, like the Lee Disc system and others.
    A little faster ball powder or small rod powder is consistent in all powder systems.
    It will also burn cleaner with light loads.

    As bds recommended, Win 231/Hp-38 will work, but even that will be a little sooty below 130PF. ; but it meters well and it's hard to make big mistakes with---like a double charge. It will take over a half case of powder to get your bullet speed right, so you can't accidentally drop "TWO" full charges in one 9mm case.

    Read those loading manuals. It's not rocket science, but like anything, there is a learning curve. Keep asking questions.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2013
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