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loads for semi-autos

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by gantry, Feb 7, 2010.

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  1. gantry

    gantry Member

    Feb 7, 2010
    Anyone who has experience with autoloaders know that they can be finicky. It takes a little while to find the right load that each pistol performs best with. Usually one can expend a lot of time and money finding the "right load" for a particular pistol.
    My question is, why can't the manufacturers provide some technical information that informs the new owner what kinds of loads the pistol may operate best with?
    It may be bullets weights, and or types of bullets. I think I am not the only one around here who thinks he would appreciate this kind of knowledge when he initially purchases an autoloader.
  2. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    Elbert County, CO
    A good pistol should feed and fire damn near anything. And this has been my experience. The only ammo I ever could fault was old Norma 170 gr. 10mm, and it wouldn't run for crap in 3 of my 4 10mm guns, and had a few failures in the 1006 too. That's an ammo problem.

    Even my 1911's, as much as people try to make you believe are unreliable with anything but ball ammo, run just fine with 185,200, 230 and 240 grain HP's, +P or not.

    The idea that autoloaders only like certain types of ammo has been blown way out of proportion somehow.
  3. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

    Jun 5, 2006
    In a part of Utah that resembles Tattooine.
    Because they can't. Every pistol is different.

    And it doesn't matter. If say, Springfield Armory and Winchester got together, and did a special edition XD that was 'designed for' a customized super fantastic Winchester defensive load in whatever caliber, and they do a booth at the SHOT show, and run ads on the hunting channels, are you going to trust your life to it without testing it yourself?

    It doesn't matter how predictable the combination is. Before you trust your life to it, you need to run (at least) 200 malfunction free rounds through it. If you get to #187 and you get a failure to eject, start over. If the factory guarantees functionality with a particular load, and you are in a defensive shooting and you get killed because you couldn't clear an FTF fast enough, what are you going to do, sue them?
  4. Oyeboten

    Oyeboten Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    More fun to learn the-hard-way...and by experiment.

    The few Automatics I have been used to, feed and functioned with a wide variety of Bullet types and loadings just fine...so, I never encountered any finnikyness.

    I got an early 1940s "STAR" 9mm Luger awhile back, and it has troubles with the Cartridges being kinda short for the width of the Magazine, which is same width as 9mm Largo Cartridges...Bullet would strip off with another under and behind it jumping on through, jamming the operation, preventing the Slide from closing.

    Oye...this is the only trouble I have ever encountered, and, I am bummed-out about it, the 'STAR' is so nice in every other way, it's sad it has this problem.

    Ramp shape and angle, Magazine top-lips, angle the Cartridge is in when the Slide strips it off into the Barrel's Chamber...the shape of the Bullet Head in respect to these, can play a role for sure...
  5. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    Apr 29, 2006
    California - San Francisco Bay Area
    Actually, I've not found that to be the case at all. I shoot mostly semi-autos and mostly 1911s, but I have and have had quite a few. I've also probably put over 100,000 down range with 1911s. Mine have performed well with any quality, within spec, ammunition, factory or my handloads.

    That said, I still test any gun I would consider using for self defense with a variety of ammunition I would use. But the only issue I've had was one 1911 that didn't seem to like the old Eldorado Starfires in .45 ACP.
  6. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

    Jan 10, 2010
    Northwest Coast
    I think the problem has more to do with the ammunition manufacturers than gun makers. I believe gun makers do thorough tests at the factory to ensure their firearms function well, but we have experienced some bad factory ammuntion over the years as mentioned by many THR posters (upside down primer, no flash hole, inconsistent powder charge, etc.)

    Factory ammunitions are loaded on commercial high speed machines that do make errors and if proper quality measures are not in place, us consumers pay the price. Keep in mind that many ammunition company have been working 24/7 the past several years and those workers got to be tired.

    That's why I reload.
  7. Comanche180

    Comanche180 Member

    Jan 11, 2008
    Except for one, all my handguns are semi auto. I have only had one that had a problem with one make of JHP ammo. The 1911 even likes LSWC ammo. So my experience doesn't match GANTRY's assertion.
  8. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Member

    Mar 7, 2007
    The Land of Bowie, Crockett, Travis & Houston
    The answer is "liability." Read any manual and it will say "do not use with reloads" or some such lingo. No way are they going to give specs for a reloader to quote.

  9. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    The end of the road between Sodom and Gomorrah Tex
    I've owned finicky autoloaders. I got rid of 'em and got Rugers.
  10. butters

    butters Member

    Mar 28, 2008
    I have 4 semi-autos (Hi-Point 9mm, Firestorm Mini 9mm, LCP and Beretta model 70 - 22lr) and other than a mag issue with my Hi-Point that caused lots of feed issues, all of them have had no issues with ammo. I think I had one stove pipe with my Beretta that was most likely due to me not cleaning it forever. That said I have yet to try any JHP in the LCP since it doesn't seem to exist anywhere.

    My point is I have shot many rounds of ammo of different types from lots of different manufacturers in all my semi-autos with no issues that I would attribute to ammo.

    Most handguns (even my Hi-Point after the mag issues were cleared up) should handle any ammo of reasonable quality.

    As nice as it would be, it would be impossible for gun makers to test everything in their pistols.
  11. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

    Mar 10, 2009
    When I started handloading 9mm I tried several loads of win231 to see what would operate the slide.

    For the bullet mass I was using, anythiing below 3.9 grains of Win231 would not reliable operate the taurus99 slide. 3.9 would operate it fine (and was the lowest load listed on at least one reloading manual); so I went with 4.2 to be on the safe side, and still well below the maximum in the reload manual.

    Chrono'd it and the velocity was right where the book said it would be.

    My experience with commercial ammo is that it will be near the top of the reloading manual as far as velocity goes. Sometimes I just don't want that much recoil for my target sessions.
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