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Do You Have Different Loads For Different Pistols In Same Caliber?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by otisrush, Jun 5, 2019.

  1. otisrush

    otisrush Member

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    I'd like to hear what others do with regards to the following scenario.

    Although I've been loading and trying to find my "optimum" 9mm load for a few years, it feels like today was the first time it all came together: I'd settled on a load based primarily on chronograph data (little velocity variation in groups) and, frankly, I hadn't put too much time at the range focusing on adjusting sights ,really working on my technique, etc. That's what I did today and I was quite happy with the results.

    The results were out of my Walther PPQ - the 9mm I shoot the most. I only plink steel and punch paper. I love the gun...the looks....the trigger. So I have a go-to load that shoots really well out of the PPQ.

    Today I also shot that same load out of my Hi Power and the results were meh. I know the leade is longer on the Hi Power. Although I knew the PPQ load would plunk in the Hi Power I checked it anyway. No issues. But it really didn't shoot that well. The Hi Power isn't quite to safe queen status, but it's on that end of the spectrum. I absolutely love it. But I don't shoot it that often.

    So: Do folks with multiple guns in the same caliber develop and load different loads for each gun....so you truly have a load for that particular gun? Given the difference in leade between the two I'm sure what is optimized for the Hi Power will be too long for the PPQ. So that becomes a new dimension for managing my inventory, making sure I grab the right ammo, have it labeled correctly, etc.

    Just curious what others here do.

    Thanks.

    OR
     
  2. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I mostly shoot revolvers and usually a good load is a good load but not always.

    I do have 2 9mm pistols, a 1911 and a P320. I don't build different loads for each but I do change loads for different bullets. Ammo with lead bullets, FMJ bullets and JHP bullets each are made differently. It seems both my pistols even though very different like similar ammo.
     
  3. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I have a different load for my 4" .45ACP's vs my 5", and my 3 .41 revolvers and .41 rifle like different stuff. They will shoot either or, but they like specifics. It is what it is.
     
  4. santacruzdave
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    santacruzdave Contributing Member

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    As my collection of 9mm pistols grew I eventually came to the conclusion that if I wanted the most accuracy I was going to have to load for each pistol. I can make ammo that will work in all my pistols, but accuracy will suffer. After cataloging many reloads in my reloading log under "9mm", and recording the group size for each pistol in the comments sections, I've added individual tabs for each pistol and life is now easier.
     
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  5. markr6754

    markr6754 Member

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    I started out trying to have standard loads, but I have 3 different 9s, and my son has 4, and they all want their own load. I’m not about to run 7 different loads, so I went with 3 based on Barrel length. My Beretta 92FS eats anything, but really loves the higher power loads, which also run well in my Bersa Thunder 9. Anything that feels good in those pistols is hard shooting out of my Kimber Micro 9 CC, which is my shortest barrel. So she gets my lightest loads.
     
  6. MikeInOr

    MikeInOr Member

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    I have light 9mm ball loads for my Broomhandle, P08 and P38. I have ball range loads for my full size 9mm's. I have one stiff JHP Gold Dot defence load shared by my Kahr CM9 and CZ75D compact. A lighter jhp Gold Dot defence load for my smaller DB9 that is not +P rated. Some people do not see a reason to load 9mm... for me it makes perfect sense.

    For 45acp I have target loads for my 1911's. Defence loads for my XDs and XD mod2. For my Enfield revolver I have very light loads for plinking.

    Thankfully those plastic ammo boxes come in many different colors!
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
  7. AZAndy
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    AZAndy Contributing Member

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    Sure do-- I do a light .38 Special load for a S&W that's from before they were doing additional hardening on the cylinder. I also make .38 S&W with smokeless and with black powder, 'cause I have guns for that cartridge from both the 20th century and the 19th. The light .38 Special load also comes in handy for those times when I'm introducing a newcomer to shooting.
     
  8. tightgroup tiger

    tightgroup tiger Member

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    I have one load that is generic to all my 9mms and it does seem to shoot well out of all my 9mms. That load I load in bulk.
    I also have my tailor made loads for each of them but I don't load them in bulk. They are my self defense loads for my EDC.
    I don't experiment much with my 9mm. I do with my .357magnums. I have everything from barn burners to pop gun loads.

    How consistent they are over a chrono, I don't know. I don't have one. I usually work with target results and recoil impulses from my loads to determine if I like the load or not.
     
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  9. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    I second @tightgroup tiger and have a generic load I can shoot in all 9’s. They at least will go bang. I have other optimum loads per gun but rarely load them as most will do reasonable groups. I do have a second generic load that will make PF in my main and backup gun for a match. This is as important to me as is group size. And I need that extra excuse for that mike.
    If there is a significant difference in PF or groups between the main and backup gun then I use optimum loads for each.
    I tried varying COL mainly to minimize recoil for target loads (load long with the fastest powders) but didn’t see a huge difference in group sizes at the 10-20 yard range so that’s why i settled on PF mostly.
    Rifle is definitely a per gun load.
     
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  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I have a couple of different 9MM loads, but for different purposes, not specific pistols. Right now I have four different 9MM loads in plastic Midway boxes and/or metal ammo cans, but all they get shot in my 1911, my XDm, my AR, and my P-365. Although I have a tendency to shoot the "Little Lasers" (95 Gr JHPs) in pistols only.
     
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  11. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I do, I even have different loads for the same gun but for different uses.

    The projectile seems to make the largest difference (after the human & firearm) in the accuracy of pistol caliber loads.

    Pick a good bullet and it can shoot well in many different firearms, with the same load data.
     
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  12. Constrictor

    Constrictor Member

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    Absolutely I make different loads for different guns of the same caliber. that's why we reload, for accuracy.
     
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  13. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    I have so many different powders , so many bullets, so many primers, so many brands of brass and a number of different pistols. I would go even more crazy trying to make a "load" for each pistol. I load them and shoot them It makes no real difference to me. I am not winning any trophies or money and can shoot well enough.
    Of course I do change powders based on the relative humidity,temperature and height above sea level.:)
     
  14. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    I think you are just seeing that typical semiautos are not target pistols in most people's hands. If I can keep my 9mm shots on a pie plate, that's good...I killed it. Revolvers with long barrels are the guns that should shoot consistently tight groups without being too temperamental about ammo. The real variable is me. My 9mms are a Kimber Aegis 5" and an XDE. My most diverse reloading is 357 Magnum in small, medium, and large guns, always with 357 brass. That power level tailoring would be my main reason for having more than one load.
     
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  15. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

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    I run a plinker load in 44 mag with a 200 grn lasercast bullet over a mid charge of h110. It works in both my revolvers. It also went bang in my levergun, but accuracy was all over the place. My 240 grn sp ran better, and would function ok in the rifle, the revolvers love it. The 300 grn buffalo bore is a little bit heavy for lots of shooting in my short barrel sbh, but laser accurate. The same in my Redhawk. But it wouldn't cycle in the levergun. So due to bullet profile I do run at least 3-4 different loads in 44 mag.
     
  16. bds

    bds Member

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    Yes and no.

    When I load for multiple pistols of same caliber, I focus on reliability of operation first and optimal accuracy second. Since factory and aftermarket barrels have different leade length and start angle of rifling, I will use the shortest OAL with particular bullet that will reliably feed and chamber in all pistols. Then adjust the powder charge that will produce smallest group.

    But specific to compacts/subcompacts, especially for training, I will use powder charge that will reliably cycle the slide and extract/eject the spent brass while producing accuracy. But I will use lower powder charges that will reduce the felt recoil/muzzle flip so the trainee can better focus on training instead of flinching from recoil (My sessions run 4 hours and when you shoot for 4 hours, fatigue will set in and milder recoiling training load helps).

    For optimizing accuracy, especially for 40S&W with longer bullet base, I will use the longest OAL specific to the barrel to reduce gas leakage (Longer than SAAMI max like 1.142" for TCFP and 1.155" for RNFP).

    For optimizing accuracy for 9mm with shorter bullet base, while 115/124 gr FMJ/RN will work reliably in most barrels at 1.130"-1.135" OAL, greater neck tension from shorter OAL at 1.100"-1.125" will improve powder burn efficiency and chamber pressure build.

    That's the beauty of reloading as we can custom tailor our loads to suit different applications.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
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  17. tcj

    tcj Member

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    I used to, but now that age has crept up on me :eek: I don't have it in me to do multiples per caliber...of course I can't do very many full power loads any more either.

    What I settled on for my semi's were loads that were soft shooting, properly cycled the gun with stick springs and were accurate enough for me (25yards max) out of my favorite one.
     
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  18. Bartojc

    Bartojc Member

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    I load for 3 different 9mm. I have a couple different loads but they will all shoot in all 3 pistols. I do not have a load per pistol, but a different load for different bullet or powder. Sometimes a load will be more accurate in one pistol or the other but I generally find that a good load in my SR9c is also a good load in my Springfield 1911.
    I want my loads to shoot in all my pistols. It keeps thinks simpler and less confusion. I go through a lot of trial and error in the beginning of load development to make sure a load will plunk in all 3.

    -Jeff
     
  19. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    With fixed sight pistols you have to determine, by experiment, which bullet weight and velocity (almost always standard velocity, standard pressure ammunition) with which the pistol shoots to point of aim.

    For these, point of impact coincided with point of aim with a 158 grain Lead bullet with 3.5 grains Bullseye.

    3c4ymWs.jpg

    2qh3TRm.jpg

    a5Jxii3.jpg

    dRasAhw.jpg

    XJwh7va.jpg

    Now these were regulated with a 125 grain bullet. According to S&W they changed the sight regulation because the trend in self defense ammunition was to a lighter bullet.

    18EWF3N.jpg

    nQ5kk1P.jpg

    vqWLtfE.jpg

    I have shot the target load of 148 gr LWC in all of these and I have to radically adjust point of aim at 25 yards. The group will be four to six inches up (or down, don't remember) from the sights. So to hit center, I have to aim at the bottom of my plate.

    Sometimes you still have to aim off with the bullet weight the pistol was regulated for

    4G8fy7T.jpg
     
  20. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Yes. I have multiple loads for most calibers anyway. I even have loads for my 9mm Major race gun that would be quite risky in my standard service-type 9mm's (obviously they're kept completely separate, labeled, in different color/format boxes, with visibly different projectiles used, etc.).
     
  21. Chuck R.

    Chuck R. Member

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    Nope, now up to seven 9mm pistols and an AR15 in 9mm.

    They all digest the same 9mm load produced of my Dillon 650. I make the OAL to plunk in my shortest chambered gun (CZ) and then run with it. My ammo cabinet is confusing enough as it is.

    T0oOLqU.jpg
     
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  22. Tusker10mm

    Tusker10mm Member

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    At one time I had two loads for a 45ACP Comander. one for Winter and one for Summer-- those were the old days. :)
     
  23. Hanshi

    Hanshi Member

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    You bet I do. .357 loads go like this; 1150 fps loads with a 158 grain swc in the "K" frames and Python and 1450 fps in the heavy "N" frames. .38 spl is Bullseye wc loads in "J" frames and Diamondback, but 900 to 1000 fps for occasional shooting in the "K" frames.
     
  24. Ironicaintit

    Ironicaintit Member

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    I kindof used to, but not really anymore. Other than, I have some pistols are finicky with JHP, so I crafted an FMJ round to run in those. and then a JHP load that works well for the rest. Luckily, they are accurate enough and wholly reliable in the pistols I made them for.
    Maybe I'm just lazy, but organizing for a bunch of calibers is tough enough, without building subsets within a caliber.

    in .357, I'll admit I have a lot of different flavors, and know which revolver likes which load best. but that's just a happy accident.

    For rifles, yeah I do tailor each to wring the potential for the chassis it'll be run in.
     
  25. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Here are my 9MM loads. I use them in whatever 9MM I am shooting.

    That said....

    I have used 3 or 4 plated bullets and a couple of JHPs in my "Plinker" load with equal success. I have used to 90 Gr JHPs, one 88 Gr JHP, and one 95 Gr JSP in my "Little Lasers" The 88 Gr (Old Rem bullet intended for .380) wasn't overly accurate and I saved the rest for .380 or whatever. The Fed 95 Gr JSP was only OK accurate, and I will use those up in .380. The Sierra over run 90 Gr JHP (Basically a ) is super accurate. The RMR 90 Gr JHP was/is (Still have some) very accurate. I have used a number of 124 Gr JHPs for my "Full Power" loads, as well as some old Master Match 125 Gr JSPs I bought on sale at $30 per 1K (Should have bought more).

    So, the "load" can be the same powder and weight, but the bullet can be variable. With enough testing of course. Same for primers, more than one can prove suitable. After all, I'm are not talking Bullseye type accuracy, just very good accuracy that doesn't limit us. I did discover that my "Plinker" load needed .1 more grain of powder with S&B primers vs others, but only because it was on the ragged edge (Brass drops at feet) of making my 5" 1911 function.
    9MM Loads.jpg

    Little Laser...............................Little Laser...........................Plinker................................Full Load..................................Full Load
    P-365 Range Trip Pic 3.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
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