Starting 9mm, have some questions

ballman6711

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I got a bunch of 9mm bullets and about a half bucket of brass last year, along with dies, and am finally going to load some 9mm. My bullets are Berry's 124gr RN, .356 dia. Powders I have are:

W231
Auto Comp
VV N320
VV 3N38
Nitro 100 NF
Hi Skor 700x (enough to make 150~200 rds, not enough to waste time developing a load)

Charge weights are all over the place, as are OAL's. I've been researching this for a few weeks, and just keep scratching my head on where to start.

So of the powders I have which powder would you use? Or would you use a different powder? I'm not against buying a pound of something else if I can find it locally, but buying just a single pound online wouldn't be worth it to me, and I don't want to buy multiple pounds in case I don't like it. Also, do you have a preferred data source for 9mm? I have 8 or 9 books to reference as well as online data. Finally, Berry's FAQ page states that you can use data for any FMJ, Lead, or Plated bullet provided certain conditions are met, such as same weight and observing a speed limit. Which data set do you use, jacketed, lead, or plated?

Gun is a S&W 639 and rounds would be used for killing paper and occasional steel ringing out to 25 yards or so max, usually about 10~15 yards.

Thanks all!

chris
 
I reload 9MM for range and plinking for myself and my grandkids. I usually buy 124 grain bullets from RMR or lately have been buying 124 grain TC from MBC. I have been using 4.3 grains of Winchester 231 or 4.0 grains of VV N-320. I shoot these out of a couple of Glocks, a Springfield EMP, Beretta 92 and a couple of Kahrs. I’ve been doing these loads for so long I don’t remember where they came from. They work well in every gun I’ve tried them in, are easy to shoot and very accurate out to my usual max distance of 20 yards.
 
I got a bunch of 9mm bullets and about a half bucket of brass last year, along with dies, and am finally going to load some 9mm. My bullets are Berry's 124gr RN, .356 dia. Powders I have are:

W231
Auto Comp
VV N320
VV 3N38
Nitro 100 NF
Hi Skor 700x (enough to make 150~200 rds, not enough to waste time developing a load)

Charge weights are all over the place, as are OAL's. I've been researching this for a few weeks, and just keep scratching my head on where to start.

So of the powders I have which powder would you use? Or would you use a different powder? I'm not against buying a pound of something else if I can find it locally, but buying just a single pound online wouldn't be worth it to me, and I don't want to buy multiple pounds in case I don't like it. Also, do you have a preferred data source for 9mm? I have 8 or 9 books to reference as well as online data. Finally, Berry's FAQ page states that you can use data for any FMJ, Lead, or Plated bullet provided certain conditions are met, such as same weight and observing a speed limit. Which data set do you use, jacketed, lead, or plated?

Gun is a S&W 639 and rounds would be used for killing paper and occasional steel ringing out to 25 yards or so max, usually about 10~15 yards.

Thanks all!

chris
Wish I could offer specific help but can only offer this developed over several years:

Of your powders I only use W231

I use Berry’s 115 plated RN not 124, sorry

As Berry’s suggests, I use data for plated or FMJ or TMJ or lead interchangeably and got it from:

Speer bullets, Lyman, Gun Guides, and Hodgon itself

For my pistols I always and only use 1.135” after trying several others.
 
@CQB45ACP I wouldn't bother loading 9mm at all given the current price and the fact that I haven't shot my 9mm in over 20 years, but I bought everything my nephew-in-law had for reloading and most of it was for 9mm so I thought I would give it a go. 1K bullets, a couple K of brass, and I have plenty of spp so I thought why not. The only thing extra I had to buy was a shell holder.

For my pistols I always and only use 1.135” after trying several others.
I was leaning toward 1.135" OAL as well, that's what Speer had online and in their book. I made a few dummy rounds and at that length they chamber and eject fine, and after chambering each one ten times the most setback I had was .002", so my dies are set.

Would you mind if I ask for your load specifics? You can PM me if you'd rather not post it in public. Thanks.

chris
 
I got a bunch of 9mm bullets and about a half bucket of brass last year, along with dies, and am finally going to load some 9mm. My bullets are Berry's 124gr RN, .356 dia. Powders I have are:

W231
Auto Comp
VV N320
VV 3N38
Nitro 100 NF
Hi Skor 700x (enough to make 150~200 rds, not enough to waste time developing a load)

Charge weights are all over the place, as are OAL's. I've been researching this for a few weeks, and just keep scratching my head on where to start.

So of the powders I have which powder would you use? Or would you use a different powder? I'm not against buying a pound of something else if I can find it locally, but buying just a single pound online wouldn't be worth it to me, and I don't want to buy multiple pounds in case I don't like it. Also, do you have a preferred data source for 9mm? I have 8 or 9 books to reference as well as online data. Finally, Berry's FAQ page states that you can use data for any FMJ, Lead, or Plated bullet provided certain conditions are met, such as same weight and observing a speed limit. Which data set do you use, jacketed, lead, or plated?

Gun is a S&W 639 and rounds would be used for killing paper and occasional steel ringing out to 25 yards or so max, usually about 10~15 yards.

Thanks all!

chris
Of the powders you have AutoComp and W231 are superb choices. I used Winchester (pre-Hodgdon Borgisation) for starting loads and worked up to around mid-level. I’m currently only loading for a few 9’s - not my favorite cartridge - including a CZ75Compact, a Beretta 92FS, and a Hungarian HiPower. Three very different chambers and actions.

Good luck!
 
Of the powders you have AutoComp and W231 are superb choices
I was thinking I might try to develop a load using both powders. I have a full unopened pound of Auto Comp and about 4 1/2 pounds of W231.

Any load suggestions for the Auto Comp?

I should have also mentioned earlier that I also have a box of Acme 115gr FP, .355 dia. as well. I thought I would work with the 124's first, and try the 115's at a later date.

I’m currently only loading for a few 9’s - not my favorite cartridge -
Not really mine either, doing it to learn and try something new. I prefer 45acp in my 1911.

chris
 
I was thinking I might try to develop a load using both powders. I have a full unopened pound of Auto Comp and about 4 1/2 pounds of W231.

Any load suggestions for the Auto Comp?

I should have also mentioned earlier that I also have a box of Acme 115gr FP, .355 dia. as well. I thought I would work with the 124's first, and try the 115's at a later date.


Not really mine either, doing it to learn and try something new. I prefer 45acp in my 1911.

chris
I think this is okay to post since it is essentially an advertisement and meant for broader distribution. Hope so.
Start here:
 

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I was thinking I might try to develop a load using both powders. I have a full unopened pound of Auto Comp and about 4 1/2 pounds of W231.

Any load suggestions for the Auto Comp?

I should have also mentioned earlier that I also have a box of Acme 115gr FP, .355 dia. as well. I thought I would work with the 124's first, and try the 115's at a later date.


Not really mine either, doing it to learn and try something new. I prefer 45acp in my 1911.

chris
For W231, 3.5-4.5gr will run the range from barely cycles to pretty darn hot with a 124/125gr plated/coated.
 
Thanks @GeoDudeFlorida for that! I had found that 125 LCN data on Hodgdon's site, it's a bit lower than Speer's 124 TMJ data, but it's also a bit shorter at 1.125" vs. 1.135".

The more I learn the less I know, lol!

But I primed 700 pieces of brass a few days ago, and today I sorted out and flaired 50 pieces of FC brass. I'll charge five at each charge with both powders for my ladder test, and hopefully get to the range within a week or so to test them. That's the plan anyway.

chris
 
@CQB45ACP I wouldn't bother loading 9mm at all given the current price and the fact that I haven't shot my 9mm in over 20 years, but I bought everything my nephew-in-law had for reloading and most of it was for 9mm so I thought I would give it a go. 1K bullets, a couple K of brass, and I have plenty of spp so I thought why not. The only thing extra I had to buy was a shell holder.


I was leaning toward 1.135" OAL as well, that's what Speer had online and in their book. I made a few dummy rounds and at that length they chamber and eject fine, and after chambering each one ten times the most setback I had was .002", so my dies are set.

Would you mind if I ask for your load specifics? You can PM me if you'd rather not post it in public. Thanks.

chris
Again this is for plated 115RN not 124gr

I use 4.5gr W231 @1.135”

Range published by Speer is 4.4-4.9 and Hornady is 4.1-4.7 (but at 1.100”)

Coincidently I use same with Sport Pistol
 
Again this is for plated 115RN not 124gr

I use 4.5gr W231 @1.135”

Range published by Speer is 4.4-4.9 and Hornady is 4.1-4.7 (but at 1.100”)

Coincidently I use same with Sport Pistol
Thank you! I have those Acme 115gr that my reloading buddy bought and didn't like, so he gave them to me. That's why I asked. I'll get to them at some point.

Once I get a load developed I write all the data on a 3x5 card and laminate it, then it go's into a little plastic box for future use. The lamination keeps the cards from getting torn up when handling and should protect them if they get wet. It's easier to grab a load from there than to go back through all my reloading notes. And I keep it organized by caliber, which means if I want to load say .223 I just flip back to that and there's all my developed loads. Kind of like a Rolodex (doe's anyone use those anymore?).

chris
 
5.0 gr AutoComp with a 124gr RMR Match Winner @ 1.10”. Velocity ~ 1100 fps.
Very accurate, soft shooting, minimal blast and it meters well.
Your Berry’s 124gr will work but better groups are gained with a MW, HAP or XTP.
Thanks for that. I'll work with the Berry's for now since that is what I have, but if I decide to stick with 9mm I plan on getting something better. Hits at 10 yards should be easy enough even with this old gun, lol!

Getting a lot of good info here today. I could have just went ahead and loaded it, but I wanted to see what people here think. Lot's of experience and good info on THR. Thanks everyone.

chris
 
Thanks for that. I'll work with the Berry's for now since that is what I have, but if I decide to stick with 9mm I plan on getting something better. Hits at 10 yards should be easy enough even with this old gun, lol!

Getting a lot of good info here today. I could have just went ahead and loaded it, but I wanted to see what people here think. Lot's of experience and good info on THR. Thanks everyone.

chris
I bought a 500 count box of the ACME 125gr Greenies and found I had to seat them to 1.060” to feed in any of my pistols. They have a really wide, short meplat. I highly recommend plunking. 👍
 
The only powder I've used that you list is 700X, and I hate it, way too fluffy to accurately meter in my Uniflow. The only load I've used for it under both cast and jacketed was 4 gr of 700X, and my notes say snappy recoil. Those were from a few years ago. I gave away my last can of 700X.
 
What guns?

Ensure you are not loading too long for your gun's chamber. Make up some dummy rounds and do the "plunk and twist" test.

My CZs need to be 1.115 or shorter, except one that has to be less than 1.090".

I have used Titegroup, Bulleye and W231. 4.2gr of 231 works fine with a lead or coated 124gr.

Manuals? I start with the powder manufacturer then compare it to a few other sources, knowing some tend to come in lower than others.
 
I haven’t used Berrys 124, but minimum-ish loads of W231 worked well with 115 and 147 grain Berrys bullets. I pushed some Acme 125 green bullets with W231 too. I loaded those as low as 2.7 grains but had to seat the bullets pretty deep to get enough pressure to run my pistols. Accuracy was good as long as you don’t mind a straight pull bolt action instead of an automatic pistol.
 
With Berrys you have to be 100% on the bullet ID. The Round Nose, (specifically the Hollow Base Round Nose Thick Plate), I loaded with a COAL of 1.160, for use in CZ pistols. With the Target Hollow Point, with that terrible sharp ogive, they had to come down, WAY down, 1.02 was a good COAL.
 
I’m going go be the odd man out as usual. One of my favorite loads is 4.2 grains of 700X behind a 115 grain FMJ. Because it’s cheap and usually the last powder on the shelf when things dry up. For 124 grain bullets I use True Blue.
The W231 is an excellent choice.
While it’s not really economically advantageous to load 9mm, it is a good caliber to start out on simply because there are loads of loads and information out there and components are easy to find.
Happy loading and be safe.
 
I’m going go be the odd man out as usual. One of my favorite loads is 4.2 grains of 700X behind a 115 grain FMJ. Because it’s cheap and usually the last powder on the shelf when things dry up. For 124 grain bullets I use True Blue.
The W231 is an excellent choice.
While it’s not really economically advantageous to load 9mm, it is a good caliber to start out on simply because there are loads of loads and information out there and components are easy to find.
Happy loading and be safe.
Unfortunately this time around 700X has been AWOL. I think that’s partly because Hodgdon was planning to retire it before the… what are we calling it now? Is plandemic still okay? Anyway. 700X was slated for retirement and there haven’t been any signs of new production. It may not recover.
 
Brass can be very different between brands. Flash hole also.

Die- RCBS & Lee carbide apply the normal taper to the brass, after sizing. RCBS has an M type expander. Helps straight line seating.
My die set is RCBS, and I have the expander adjusted so I can feel the M step doing it's job.

The brass being different is an interesting comment. I said I separated out fifty pieces of FC brass, but it was really a mix of FC and .FC., which are both Federal brass but feel very different when expanding. I could tell which headstamp I was expanding because the FC was harder/stiffer, which would make it seem as though the brass could be thicker or slightly taller. I didn't bother to take any measurements.

I'm actually heading to the range today, my buddy called late yesterday to see if I wanted to go. So I may have a report later on today.

chris
 
I load 9mm for competition so I’m shooting for a PF of 130ish. You may decide to keep it lighter than that, so the gun cycles reliably.
I started with Berry’s and Rainers, at the time used lead data but with a stuck bullet I switched to jacketed data. If you stay below jacketed max, it’ll be fine. I just used published data to determine the load, and the COL was based on the adage of loading long with the faster powder. Of the ones you listed I prefer N320. Autocomp is a good powder but used mainly by the open shooters who need a lot of gas to feed their compensators so they can cheat and reduce muzzle flip :) . Sport Pistol, which you don’t have, is pretty close to N320 and what I load most. My second choice of powders you have would be W231. I’ve never tried Nitro but would if I had some and just use published data.
I run mixed brass so it’s an assortment of all the Federal variations - I think there are like 5, and just about everyone else’s. There are differences in brass, but with lighter target loads at closer distances, it doesn’t come in to play.
 
My die set is RCBS, and I have the expander adjusted so I can feel the M step doing it's job.

The brass being different is an interesting comment. I said I separated out fifty pieces of FC brass, but it was really a mix of FC and .FC., which are both Federal brass but feel very different when expanding. I could tell which headstamp I was expanding because the FC was harder/stiffer, which would make it seem as though the brass could be thicker or slightly taller. I didn't bother to take any measurements.

I'm actually heading to the range today, my buddy called late yesterday to see if I wanted to go. So I may have a report later on today.

chris
Those F.C. & FC do seem different (and maybe the dozen other Federal headstamps) but I've never been able to figure out why, not that I've spent a lot of time trying. Neither AFTE nor IAA websites are helpful.

I doubt it's vintage because I find too many of each.

So, instead, I speculate it's the physical location of production because Federal manufactures ammo or has manufactured on their behalf in Minnesota, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Yugoslavia, maybe more. I don't know if those disparate locations produce their own cases/brass, but my theory would require they do.

But, back to our story, before I began using Winchester only cases, I separated Federal headstamps by sub-species. Why? Because I load by hand and try for the most consistent feel I can get. Does it make a difference? Does to me.

Have fun at the range--kinda chilly out today.
 
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