Help with 9mm powder

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by packetloss, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. packetloss

    packetloss Member

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    I guess I'm kind of looking for a holy grail 9mm powder that is accurate, clean and a smooth recoil profile, preferably with low-medium target loads.

    So far I've tried CFE Pistol, Bullseye, True Blue and Clean shot (DS032).

    CFE Pistol has been accurate, recoil and recoil profile is not an issue (it's quite smooth), however it's crazy dirty. Soot all over my cases, and my gun looks like a piece of charcoal after 200 rounds. Folks have said it cleans up with higher loads, but I took it up all the way to Hogdon max and it didn't clean up much for me. I do, however, use it in .357 sig and .40 S&W and love it for those. It's clean with them, it's accurate and I like the recoil profile using medium loads.

    I don't have any more Bullseye but from what I recall, it was only slightly cleaner than CFE-Pistol.

    True Blue was much cleaner than CFE (but still much dirtier than clean shot) and the recoil profile and accuracy was good too (so depending on other recommendations this one might be as good as it gets for me).

    Clean Shot is really clean. I can probably go through 1000 rounds and the gun will look clean. Recoil was extremely light, however, the recoil impulse is so sudden that it was causing me issues with accuracy. I could probably get past this with more acclimation, however, I don't think it will ever mix well with me shooting .357 sig, .40 or 9mm factory defensive rounds with slower powders.

    Is there a powder for 9mm that will check off all my boxes?
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  2. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    Would you specify your loads with primer, powder qty and bullet seating depth. That may help identify your issues. I have used CFE Pistol in the past and generally found it to shoot pretty good in 9mm, but I could recommend others if I understood you load a little better.
     
  3. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    If you are looking at low-mid target loads, you should be looking at WSF/BE-86 and faster burning powders as slower burning powders tend to produce accuracy at high to near max load data.

    Take a look at this Speer load data that is sorted by higher velocity to lower velocity and you should be able to separate out better suitable powders by velocities they achieve (With 124 gr bullet, you want to look around 1050 fps for 130 power factor loads ... And if that velocity is high-to-near max range, powder burn efficiency will likely be better than 1050 fps being near start charges that will produce more sooty loads that may not be accurate).

    9mm 124 gr - https://reloading-data.speer-ammo.com/downloads/speer/reloading-pdfs/Handgun/9mm_caliber_355-366_dia/9mm_Luger__124_rev1.pdf


    These are groupings of pistol powders I use by burn rate. For lighter target 9mm loads, you want to use W231/HP-38/Sport Pistol and faster powders. For full power higher velocity loads, WSF/BE-86 and slower burning powders.

    Faster burning pistol powders:

    E3 - Competition - Nitro 100 - N310 - Norma R1

    Red Dot/Promo - IMR Red - Clays - 700X - Bullseye - Vectan Ba 10 - IMR Target - TiteGroup - Vectan AS - Am. Select - Solo 1000 - WST - International - Trail Boss - N320 - Vectan Ba 9.5 - No. 2 - Clean Shot/Lovex D032.03

    W231/HP-38 - Zip - Sport Pistol - Green Dot - IMR Green - W244

    Slower burning pistol powders
    :

    Unique - Universal - IMR Unequal - Vectan Ba 9 - BE-86 - Power Pistol - N330 - Vectan A1 - Herco - Vectan A0 - WSF - N340 - 800X

    No. 5 - Auto Pistol/Lovex D036-03 - True Blue - HS6 - AutoComp - Ultimate Pistol/Lovex D036-07 - CFE Pistol - Silhouette - 3N37

    N350 - 3N38 - IMR Blue - W572 - Blue Dot - No. 7 - Major Pistol/Lovex D037-01 - Vectan Ba 7.5 - Pro Reach - Long Shot - 2400

    Enforcer - No. 9 - Heavy Pistol/Lovex D037-02 - 4100 - Steel - Norma R123 - N110 - Lil'Gun - W296/H110 - 300-MP - 11FS - Vectan Ba 6.5 - H4227​


    9mm powder that is accurate, clean burning with smooth recoil profile, preferably with low-medium target loads?

    Note: While faster burning powders tend to produce more snappy recoil, if you are looking at light target loads, even fast burning powders like Bullseye, Red Dot/Promo, etc. can produce manageable/less snappy recoil loads when start to mid-range load data are used (With many of these powders' start/max being around .5 gr). With slower burning powders that produce less snappy recoil, since optimal accuracy is often achieved at near max/max load data, total/sum of felt recoil could be more.​

    For low-medium target loads, I would consider these: WST, Target, Titegroup, Sport Pistol, N320, W231/HP-38, WSF, BE-86. (BTW, here's thread on WST with published load data - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/wst-winchester-super-target-published-load-data-for-9mm.870180/)

    If I had to choose one powder, W231/HP-38, Sport Pistol or N320. BTW, these are powders I like and use:
    • W231/HP-38 - Used to be my reference powder for 9mm (Now Sport Pistol) as it metered with around .1 gr variance, produced good accuracy but is temperature sensitive if needing to make power factor and limited in achieving velocity.
    • Titegroup - Yeah, I like Titegroup for 9mm as it produces more accurate loads than W231/HP-38, meters comparable, less temperature sensitive, achieves higher velocities.
    • IMR Target - While larger flake powder that doesn't meter as well as W231/HP-38 with .2+ gr variance, produces more accurate target loads.
    • Sport Pistol - Meters with less than .05 gr variance for me, cleaner burning.
    • Promo - The "reblended" powder meters better, cheapest powder, produces decent accuracy for general purpose range load that is good for carbine loads using blow back action (less sooty cases than slower burning than W231/HP-38).
    • WSF - My reference powder for full power loads that meters around .1 gr variance, produces good accuracy even at lower mid level load data but reverse temperature sensitive.
    • BE-86 - My new reference powder for full power loads that meters well, produces better accuracy than my reference loads. If you shoot 40S&W also, my new favorite 40S&W powder.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  4. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Vitavouri powders are the cleanest burning pistol powders that I have shot.

    For 9mm I use various burn rates depending on what I am doing and firearm. For VV powders in 9mm, I have use as fast as N310 to as slow as 3N37.
     
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  5. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    I like WSF.
    One of the reasons is the recoil impulse. (more push less snap)
    My match load is 4.4-4.5gr of WSF with a RMR 124gr MPR around 1040fps.
    (under listed start charge but still decent case fill and I have shot 10000+ of them, wihth no issues)

    A faster powder Clean Shot will have a "snappier" recoil fell than a slower powder, some people don't care but you mentioned you preferred a slower impulse
    As far as 9mm Clean shot is on the fast end of the range, CFE-P is on the slow side.
    As you discovered with True Blue something more in the middle of the range would be a good choice for what you are after.
    So maybe something faster than True blue but slower than Clean Shot (Clean shot is rumored to be the same as AA#2)
    HP38/W231 (same powder different label) or W244 might be a good choice.
    If you want to spend a few extra $ N330 works well in 9mm and is very clean.
    (N320 is about the same speed as clean shot so N330 or N340 would be a better choice)

    Sport Pistol might also be a good choice, but is on the faster side.

    Burn speed # is the first column. (varies by chart but for example)
    26 Accurate Arms No. 2 (think Clean Shot)
    27 Ramshot Zip
    28 Hodgdon HP-38
    29 Winchester 231
    30 Alliant 20/28
    31 Alliant Unique
    32 Hodgdon UNIVERSAL
    33 IMR, Co IMR UNEQUAL
    34 Alliant Power Pistol
    35 VihtaVuori N330
    36 Alliant Herco
    37 Winchester WSF
    38 VihtaVuori N340
    39 Hodgdon Hi-Skor 800-X
    40 Ramshot True Blue
    41 Accurate Arms No. 5
    42 Hodgdon HS-6
    43 Winchester AutoComp
    44 Hodgdon CFE Pistol

    BE86 is not on this chart but it's burn speed is around Power Pistol.
    Lots of people like it for 9mm.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  6. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

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    my recommendation would be Power Pistol. it does all you ask in my experience, but more in the medium-high range. I personally use Bullseye in the light range. Its dirty, but the dirt tends to break off easily and doesn't tie up the gun at all. For really light loads I use Red dot, and its not too dirty.
     
  7. fxvr5

    fxvr5 Member

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    One way to a much cleaner gun is to use lead-free primers.
     
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  8. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    For 115/124 grainers it's hard to beat W231 for easy recoil and less muzzle blast.
    It will do top end on 115s.
     
  9. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    3.9 to 4.0 grains of tightgroup with 115 grain rmr bullets at 1.090 are my accurate plinking loads. They burn clean and have very mild recoil.
     
  10. NMexJim

    NMexJim Member

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    I like Accurate #2, especially for short barrels. Fast burn and you won't get max velocity. VV N330, BE-86, True Blue as already mentioned.
     
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  11. packetloss

    packetloss Member

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    Thanks everyone for the advice and suggestions. I'm still going through and digesting everyone's suggestions. I've seen several suggestions on WSF, W231, Power Pistol and VV330 so will probably start with those if I can find them and see how it goes.

    (for 9mm)
    CCI #500 SPP, For bullets i've tried 115 gr hi-tek coated with CFE 5.1g - 5.4g, with OAL as high as 1.15 and down to 1.11.
    With 115 FMJ i've tried 5.3 up through 5.7. OAL 1.12. I'm most likely going to stick to 115 and 124 FMJ/TMJ/CMJ.

    With True Blue I was at 5.3gr
    With Cleanshot I was at 4.0gr

    Yes, that seems to be what I'm looking for. I will go through all your notes and links. Thanks for all the details.

    Now that is something I'd like to try especially from a health perspective. Unfortunately right now I haven't been able to find any. Will be at the top of my list if things return to normal.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  12. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    BE86 and Power pistol are close, BE86 is less flashy than Power Pistol if it matters to you, I think it might be a bit cleaner as well.
    Out of the ones you listed above N330 will be the cleanest, but about 50% more cost wise and harder to find at your LGS, not normally an issue when ordering. (of course things are crazy now)

    Accuracy wise for me WSF and N330 were to close to call, N330 was cleaner but more $.
    Both felt about the same recoil impulse wise.

    Please let us know what you get and how it works out for you.
     
  13. joneb

    joneb Member

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    For a light 9x19 load as mentioned Accurate #2 would be worth a try, I use #2 mostly for 9x18 Makarov but it should work well for light loaded 9x19. I find #2 is a cleaner and better metering than Bullseye. #2 will likely be easier to find than W-231 and Bullseye just my 2 cents.
     
  14. KYregular

    KYregular Member

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    CFE pistol has always been a clean shooter for me, perhaps the soot on your cases are produced because the case is not sealing completely due to a light charge. CFE P usually performs better in mid to upper loads. My go to powder if I could only have one is BE86 however. Clean, accurate, and very little if any discrepancy in a one tenth variance either way in grain weight.
     
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  15. Shak3s1977

    Shak3s1977 Member

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    I'm a big fan of True Blue in 9mm with 115gr fmj. I think it meters great (which gives excellent chrono numbers), burns plenty clean for me, and is reasonably priced around here. Makes for very accurate loads.

    I will agree with the lead free primers being the biggest part to a clean load. I read a article about Federal lead free primers, I believe. It was amazing how clean the guns were compared to regular primers.

    To me it doesn't matter that much. I'll shoot 300 to 500 rounds at the range, then go home and clean the gun. If it still shoots good with that amount of rounds in one trip, with no malfunctions, then it's clean enough. Finding the accurate load, at the power level I like is the most important to me.
     
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  16. Dudedog
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    Dudedog Contributing Member

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    OP
    AA#2 is good stuff but same speed as clean shot, think you want something slower.
    Rumors are Clean shot (and it's Lovex counterpart) are the same powder as AA#2. (I don't know this rumor if any one knows for sure it would be interesting to find out....)
     
  17. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Currently, I use True Blue in my 9x19. I have about the same experiences as Shak3s1977.
     
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  18. mrawesome22-250

    mrawesome22-250 Member

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    Once I put BE-86 through its paces, my search for the best 9x19 powder was over.

    According to Alliant, BE-86 is widely used in factory SD ammo and I see why. Good stuff.
     
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  19. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    I’m not sure what you’re aiming for, a low-mid target load will never duplicate an SD load for recoil or perceived recoil. I haven’t tried Clean Shot but sounds like it’s like Titegroup which is pretty clean but the recoil impulse can be high. You may want to try a heavier bullet at the same PF, that’s another way to skin the cat rather than jump powders. Competition shooters want the right recoil to get those follow up shots as soon as possible, you’ll often see very heavy (147, 165) with the lightest charge of the fastest powder to achieve a minor PF. You may also need to adjust the recoil spring for reliable cycling. None of that will duplicate SD charges though. For me personally, I load a lot of ASP and it does check off all your metrics, at least in my guns. I’ve learned trigger control and grip should be independent of what you’re chambering. Good luck.
     
  20. packetloss

    packetloss Member

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    Thanks. Will add BE86 to my list as well as sport pistol, for 50% more I probably won't try N330 unless I make it through all the others. Now just have to see if I can find these available. Hopefully my LGS will have some 1lb canisters of some of these.

    Where does sport pistol sit on the burn rate chart compared to clean shot and TG? Haven't been able to find any charts with it listed.
     
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  21. packetloss

    packetloss Member

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    I'm not trying to replicate the recoil of an SD load, but rather keep the profile closer. I recently shot .40 s&w for a month using CFE-P and when I switched back to 9mm with clean shot, despite it having barely any recoil compared to .40, my groups were not tight. I loaded up some 9mm with CFE and didn't have any issues with my groups. After a few hundred rounds with clean shot, they tightened back up. While the recoil with clean shot is significantly lower than even 9mm with CFE and certainly .40, it was also significantly snappier and I suspect it was messing up my muscle memory. I did mention this to one of the instructors at my range and he said it was common if switching between extremes of very fast burning and very slow burning powders.
     
  22. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I DON'T like TiteGroup...but... I will admit it's a very good 9mm powder for midrange loads. It has a high nitro content, so it can be tricky when you near max loads and pressures, but it produces very good 9mm service ammo, and it seems to last forever.

    Many people are now recommending BE-86... I don't care for it, particularly in the 9mm where I got incomplete burn with it beyond a specific charge range in my shorter-barreled 9mm's. I think it's too slow if that's what you are loading for... just my personal experience. I did not work with it very long, I loaded it into the mid-range published data at book OAL, but then started having problems with it, so it's possible I gave up on it too soon.
     
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  23. Zendude

    Zendude Member

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    I can also vouch for how clean Accurate #2 shoots in 9mm. With that in mind, Accurate #5 or #7 would be worth a try for a slower powder.
     
  24. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I haven't rung the changes on powders, being happy with HP38/W231 for a long time and getting by with Bullseye when between kegs of Ball powder. I have tried others occasionally and with all the recommendations of Power Pistol you should know that its blast and flash make it a Manly Powder.
     
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  25. Tcruse

    Tcruse Member

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    CFE is probably the cleanest of any of the powders you listed in my experience. For 124g coated, about 5.1g seems about right.
    Have use both Clean Shot and some of the other powders from this source. Be very careful in that I found there are big differences from can to can.
     
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