Lots of 9x19 Gold Dot / Vihtavuori data

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Zak Smith

Dec 24, 2002
Fort Collins, CO, USA.
Data from VV1 book, as republished by LoadBooks.  Fired at 5000'
elevation, 55F, sunny, windy.  CZ-75B-SA.  Control GECO 124gr 9mm:
1116 fps.  All loaded with Dillon Square Deal B.

WARNING: Loads didn't blow up my gun, but might blow up yours. Use at
your own risk.  All of these are below the MAX published in the VV1
book.  Always start at 10-15% below MAX and follow the directions in a
loading manual.

Data is listed:
  [powder] [amount] <[expected velocity]> [actual avg. velocity] ([std dev]) notes...

Five shots were fired each point to compute average velocity and
standard deviation.  Expected velocities were computed by linearizing
the two points given in VV1 for each load and then interpolating.

90gr Gold Dot, OAL= 1.060 - 1.065", new Starline cases, WSP
  N320 5.7gr <1413> 1476 (18.5) notes: all were a bit flat, but not "flattened"
  N320 5.9gr <1450> 1495 (10.7)        notice about +50 fps over published values
  N320 6.1gr <1486> 1532 (13.6)
  N320 6.3gr <1522> 1562 (11.6)

  3N37 8.0gr <1503> 1450 (13.7)
  3N37 8.2gr <1531> 1471 (13.9)
  3N37 8.4gr <1558> 1502 (15.0) notice about 50fps under published values
  3N37 8.6gr <1585> 1558 (11.1)
  3N37 8.8gr <1613> 1563 (16.0)
  3N37 9.0gr <1641> 1586 (31.0) - a bit flat
  3N37 9.1gr <1654>  -          

   I was hoping for more velocity with these loads.

115gr Gold Dot, OAL = 1.142 +/- 0.003, new Starline cases, WSP
  N320 4.6gr <1055> 1172 (11.2)
  N320 4.8gr <1059> 1193 (10.0)
  N320 5.0gr <1103> 1224 (12.1) notice about 120fps over published values, but 
  N320 5.2gr <1148> 1260 (14.4)  consistent with previous loads at 4.7gr, diff bullets
  N320 5.4gr <1192> 1286 ( 7.8) notes: no pressure signs, no flattening

  * Compare to historical data: VV-N320, West-Coast plated round-nose
    (PRN) 115gr, 1.120" and Hornady XTP 115gr to 1.100"

             PRN           XTP
     4.7-   1167 (16)     1207 (16)
     5.0-   1212 ( 6)     1248 (15)
     5.3-   1257 (17)     1302 ( 3)

  3N37 7.0gr <1316> 1264 (16.0)
  3N37 7.2gr <1340> 1275 (15.0) notice about 60fps under published values
  3N37 7.4gr <1364> 1294 (15.0)
  3N37 7.6gr <1387> 1334 ( 6.2)
  3N37 7.8gr <1411> 1344 (17.0) - a bit flat

    I was hoping for more velocity with these loads.

124gr Gold Dot, OAL = 1.142 +/- 0.003, new Starline cases, WSP
  3N37 6.7gr <1218> 1189 (25.0)
  3N37 6.9gr <1244> 1230 (15.6)
  3N37 7.1gr <1270> 1242 ( 8.6)
  3N37 7.3gr <1296> 1271 (17.0) - a bit flat

    This seems a little slow, especially from the long full-size barrel.

  * Compare to historical 3N37/124GD data:
    9x19 124GDHP, Various Brass, 1.142", 6.6gr VV-3N37, Glock19: 1177 (10.1)
    9x19 124GDHP, Various Brass, 1.142", 6.6gr VV-3N37, CZ75BSA: 1192 (10.5)

    9x19 124GDHP, New Win Brass, 1.142", 7.1gr VV-3N37, CZ75BSA: 1233 (62.7)
                                                without "flyer": 1264 (10.2)
                           Same load shot 9-27-2002, in Glock19: 1242 ( 8.7)
                           Same load shot 9-23-2002, in Glock19: 1253 (20.1)
                           Same load shot 9-27-2002, in BHP    : 1252 (10.5)

    9x19 124GDHP, New Win Brass, 1.142", 7.3gr VV-3N37, Glock19: 1299 (15.3)

    Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P Factory loads chrono to about 1310fps in this pistol.

147gr Gold Dot, OAL = 1.155 +/- 0.005, new Starline cases, WSP
  3N37 5.0gr < 954>  922 (15.0)
  3N37 5.2gr < 990>  951 ( 9.0)
  3N37 5.4gr <1026>  967 ( 7.0)
  3N37 5.6gr <1062>  979 (15.0) - up to here, no flattening
  3N37 5.7gr <1080> 1012 ( 8.0) - here on, a little flattening
  3N37 5.8gr <1098> 1033 (11.0)
  3N37 5.9gr <1116> 1056 ( 6.7) notice about 60fps under published values

  * Why is this so slow ?!
Couple more notes:

1. Since I used Winchester primers (WSP), looking at primer flatness was pretty much useless.

2. 90/N320 had no knicks from the ejector.
90/3N37 had ejector marks from 8.6gr on.
115/N320 had none.
115/3N37 had a very slight mark at 7.6gr.
124/3N37 had minor marks from 6.9gr on.
147/3N37 had minor marks from about 5.7gr on.

3. One downside of the 90gr Gold Dots is that they have a long "flat" cross-section (probably to provide purchase on the rifling) which means they have to be seated deeply at 1.06" in order to chamber without hitting the rifling.
To duplicate 7.62x25 ballistics, I'll use about 5.8gr N320. To do the same with lower pressure, about 8.3gr 3N37.

To duplicate Proload 115gr, I'll use about 5.0gr N320. To duplicate a 115gr+P load, 7.5gr - 7.6gr of 3N37.

As I knew before, to duplicate 124gr+P, use 6.8-7.1gr 3N37.

The 147gr loads below 1000fps are very easy recoiling, so would be good for plinking or new shooters. The "full power" version of this load still needs some work before I know what's going on.

WARNING: always follow MAX loads and instructions in a published load book, etc..


Great report, and very well organized for simple minds like mine. :D

I'm working up some loads in my 6.5" Blackhawk, using 9mm 100gr Speer bullets. I've never used V-V powders, but may if they come down a bit in price here. They are currently running about fifty percent higher than Hodgdon, AA, and Winchester powders. :(

Had some of the best Chinese food I've ever eaten in your town last spring, and a pretty good local beer (90 Shillings). It's almost as good as Fat Tire, which we get locally. Don't remember the name of the restaurant, but my niece worked there until she graduated from CU, and the owner is a personal friend of hers, and super nice guy.

Hope to drop in again this spring, if I can find the place.

Hi Bill,

I shoot some conventional powders in my .44RM: Unique, #2400, H110, and have tried Unique & Bullseye in 9mm.

Based on that experience, I'm sold on VV powders. They're really clean, have no flash, and meter well.

For example, I load "low power" 9mm for my girlfriend to shoot in her CZ COMPACT: a 115gr PRN with 3.4gr of VV-N320 or 3.2gr Bullseye. Both these loads give about 880 - 920 fps, for a PF around 100. The Bullseye loads have a visible football-size flash, the VV loads none.

CU? You thinking Boulder, or Fort Collins? If Fort Collins, my co-workers and I frequent "Youngs Cafe" for lunch, which has good Vietnamese food.


I've never paid much attention to muzzle flash, but those SDs your getting with N320 are really good.

The only powder I get consistent single digit SDs with, is Ramshot True Blue. Most loads with that powder are under 10, but it likes a reasonably hot loading to burn best, and the spread goes up with too light a load.

I use it in everything from 9X18 Makarov, to 45 Colt, with excellent results, and it's the best metering powder I've ever used. Additionally, it's a medium slow powder somewhere between HS6 and HS7, and it fills up the cases nicely. Also never checked that one for muzzle flash.

The college (is that CU?) and restaurant are in Ft. Collins. I'll see if I can get the name of the restaurant.

We thought seriously about moving to Ft. Collins when I left the service, but HP was not hiring at the time, and Boeing made me an offer I could not refuse. My wife's family is from Denver, and we have many friends in the area as well. Would sure have been nice to live that close.


I am pretty happy with the consistency of the VV powders- well, I've only tried N320 and 3N37 so far. Getting deviation around 10-14 is standard, and usually they dip down below 10 at the sweet spot. That same kind of consistency exists even when shooting my low-power loads in range-scrounged (mixed) brass.

The SD's I got using Unique were like 2-4X what I get with VV.

It's kind of interesting to note how the 147gr/3N37 loads had the most points under 10fps SD. I don't think it's due to no "free space" in the case volume, since most of these loads had some level of compression at the higher end. Maybe it's because the 3N37 burned more consistently with the higher mass.


I've had similar results with True Blue, in that it gives me really low SDs with 147gr bullets.

Unique was always very versatile, but one of the worst powders to meter accurately! :rolleyes:

I could never be sure if the velocity fluctuations were due to poor metering, or the powder charge itself? Hand weighing did seem to help, but was a PITA so I just gave up on that powder. Too many other fine powders on the market to waste time with powders that don't meter well.

What sort of granulation is N320, and 3N37?

Update from today. I tried each of these in both new WIN brass and new Starline brass. Also, I cinched the 147gr loads down to 1.142" from 1.155", and tested each in both a Glock19 and the CZ.

1-26-2003, 50F, cloudy, 5k' elev.

                            Glock19           CZ75BSA
control: GECO 9x19          1094 (12)         1069 (10)

90GD  1.062" 3.4gr N320       -                892.4 (18.4) - slide doesn't lock
115GD 1.120" 3.4gr N320       -                893.8 ( 5  ) - okay

147GD 1.142" 5.3gr 3N37
            Starline brass   999.7 (11.7)     1015   (23)
                                               995   (10.4)

            Win brass        993.7 (12.7)     1000   (12.5)
                                               993.5 ( 9.4)
124GD 1.142" 6.9gr 3N37
            Starline brass  1201 (14)         1239   ( 8.4)
                                              1224   ( 6  )

            Win brass       1200 ( 7.8)       1221   (10.6)

   same but 6.3gr 3N37
            Starline        1097 (17.4)       1105   (16.2)

115GD 1.120" 4.0gr N320 *-  1017 (21.2)       1006 (12.9)

90GD  1.062" 5.4gr N320 *-  1363 (17)         1403 (14.2)

All use WSP.

WARNING - information for entertainment purposes only. Always follow published loads and follow the instructions. These didn't blow up my gun, but might yours.
9.1 grains of 3237 for a max load with a 90 grain bullet out of a 9x19 while I don’t have the book that you are using neither the Vihtavuori manual dated 2/01 or the 1/2002 manual which can be found on the Vihtavuori website http://www.vihtavuori.fi/USAguide.pdf have loads configured as high as you’re mentioning.

It’s my opinion that if you want to inflict harm on yourself that’s fine but to make the kind of recommendations that you are making without knowing all the facts is completely irresponsible. For example do you have any idea of what kind of pressures your generating with those max loads that you’re recommending I think not. Anyway that’s my two cents.
I didn't actually load the 9.1gr point, as you can note from my first data report.

The 9.1gr MAX was published in both the first and second editions of the Vihtavuori manual, however, it was for a 88gr Speer JHP at the same OAL. The listed pressure for that MAX load was 36300 PSI, which still leaves a margin for error in a pistol that can comfortably digest +P (38500 psi) and NATO (43000 psi) ammo.

No argument about this load not being in the latest VV manual either.

This experiment was based off a published load, worked up from the bottom checking for pressure signs or load/velocity nonlinearity. Even the hottest of these loads looked better than factory Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P cases, for example.

I've posted appropriate warnings, in addition to the source of the load data ("VV1") used for this experiment. I don't recommend anyone try them. I have had good luck replicating factory 124gr +P loads using a slow powder (3N37) through the VV1/2 data in the past.

FWIW, I think this load (90gr) is pretty useless, and the only use I can see for 90gr JHP's is for small game, which can be done with a small dose of N320 as per the most recent VV manual.

Don't take my word for this, but supposedly WSP are much "softer" than other types of primers, for example: CCI.

There was not much gradation in the appearance of the primers in this series. Once past the powder-puffs loads (for example, the low power 115gr/N320 combos), the primers looked all about the same - essentially identical to normal-power 9mm - with only some of the most heavy loads having a little smaller radius in the primer corners.

I heard that Federal makes the softest primer and CCI the hardest.

In my WLP 10mm loads I had some nuclear loads, 2000 FPS :eek:, testing a new (for me) powder. You might have seen the thread about #107. The primers matched some of the .40 S&W level loads, 1000 FPS, in the exact same configuration. If your primers are showing noticable pressure signs you're probably way over spec in anything but high pressure magnum rounds.

I've heard of micing the case webing as a more accurate pressure indicator but I haven't experimented with this yet.
There should be some gradation in primer appearance as the loads vary from powder-puff on up to hotter loads.

Also, I usually "call it good" if the primers look "better" than factory Speer GD 124+P.

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