VihtaVuori...9mm..115gr ...1427fps ... 4"barrel ...36300psi?????

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Aug 7, 2003
Kansas City, Kansas

Title says it all.

I just bought "The Complete Reloading Manual for the 9mm Luger" 2000 edition that lists a VihtaVuori 3N37 load of 7.9gr under a 115gr XTP with an OAL of 1.142" producing 1427fps out of a 4" barrel with 36300psi... anybody got experience with this load? This is the first time I have ever run across a published "+p" loading.

The packet also shows 7.3gr of 3N37 propelling a 124gr FMJ at 1295fps with 36300psi... OAL again at 1.142".
The manual lists 6.6gr of n340 shoots a 115gr XTP at 1362fps... again at 36300fps. Same OAL.

Crazy stuff, I might just email VV and ask them if this data is accurate!
Honestly, I don't see what the fuss is with 36k+ in a 9mm case. I believe SAAMI-spec is 35k psi, so they're not too far off of the mark. True +P is around 37,500-38k psi, IIRC. I think the Euro-spec (I can't recall the name of the proofing-body) is right around 37k. It's not like it's a .45 ACP we're dealing with at these pressure levels... :)
The true 9mm SAAMI spec is 37,400. Why most reloading manuals list it as 35,000 or even 34,000 is beyond me. I have seen loads that mention "average" or "peak" pressure, and this may be where the discrepency lies. The SAAMI spec may be 35,000 psi average with a 37,400psi maximum peak.

While I haven't loaded the 115 grain load with 3N37, I have played with their 95gr load which is supposed to clock near 1,600. The primers lose their pretty little rounded shape with that load, but 1,500 looks safe.
According to an article the 2003 Hodgdon Annual manual/magazine they've begun retesting old CUP data with much more modern and accurate equipment and found that pressures in the 9mm weren't going as high as the CUP testing methods indicated and so there were able to up the recommended loads safely.

This was by far the exception. Many loads they re-tested were found to be over spec by the CUP data and that's one of the reason you'll see major discrepencies between manuals and genereally want to go with as current a manual as you can get. Normally data listed in PSI will be more accurate than that listed in CUP.

IIRC the article stated that CUP measures at the case mouth and so they have to interpolate the pressure inside the case and that's why you see the lower pressure numbers in CUP data.
The limit for 9x19 +P is 38,500 PSI.

That old VV book does list some real hot loads, and you won't find them in the latest VV book, nor any other reference.

Here is a thread I posted on TFL about a year ago: Some full-power 9x19 data (124/VV-3N37). And this one on THR from earlier this year: Lots of 9x19 Gold Dot / Vihtavuori data .

VV-3N37 is the stuff if you want hot 9x19 loads. If you are going to attempt this endeavor, you must be careful and prudent. Always start much below max and only work up if pressure signs are acceptible. Double-check with a chrono.

Note that OAL (over all cartridge length) is CRITICAL with these loads. Do not go under the spec'd value (1.142") and increase that to the maximum length that will feed and chamber in your guns without hanging up in the mag, feedramp, or impact the barrel's lands. Why do you think .38Super can handle higher loads? -- It starts off with more internal volume.

Be safe.

I have loaded 9mm and .45 with N320, N340, N350, and 3N37.
Nothing has chronographed up to the Vihtavouri book claim or even close to it. Good powders but their literature is optimistic or the CIP test barrels are very tight and slick.
In the threads I posted links to, there is lots of data I produced using a Glock 19 and a CZ-75B, for 3N37 and N320. In the second thread, you can easily see which loads were close to the published velocities, and which ones weren't.

Of all, the 124gr / 3N37 loads were the closest to the published data. At the max-load point, it was within like 10fps.

I usually make a note if the flash is noticable to the shooter, and none of those were particularly flashy -- of course, the sun is real bright and the sky clear up here at 5000' elevation so you'd need some nuclear blast to yield a visible flash during daytime. In other words, nothing like Bullseye in 9x19, even.

For the 90gr Gold Dots designed for .380Auto loaded for 9x19, I like the VV-N320 load at 1400fps. It has low-power recoil, but should be hell on plates, paper, or small game. I don't have my data handy, but I think it's around 5.2gr N320.

You can honestly reproduce factory Speer Gold Dot 124gr+P -- which shoots just around 1300fps in my pistols -- with VV-3N37.

For non-nuclear 9x19 loads, just use Titegroup and save money.

I've also used the max "normal" pressure level loads of 3N37 and 90gr GDs. They were pretty loud, had only slight recoil, and were very accurate. (I managed 1" at 15yd... much better than usual) I dont think the 90gr would be good for much more than hitting paper though.
I'm thinking crows, or rabbits...

Actually, the 90gr@1400-some fps is essentially identical to 7.62x25 ballistics. I think we chrono'd the 85gr Chinese 7.62x25 at 1470fps or so.

CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

Vihtavuori book: 115 gr., 1.124", 6.9 gr. 3N37, 1322 fps

My Kel-Tec P11 test: 115 gr. 1.168", RP primed brass:
1) 9.8 pierced primer, 42% overload
2) 10.2 gr. case bulge, 48% overload

So let me start by saying "Screw SAAMI".

There, got THAT outtatheway.

Next, I might say something about 3N37 and 115g/124g 9x19: use CCI500's, new quality cases (I prefer IMI), SIZED, and be very very careful which launch platform you choose.
It is capable of making Major in my 4.25" guns, but I know what I'm doing kinda.
It's my favorite 9x19 'stoopid' powder, and it offers a low flash signature, too.

Just because data gets published doesn't mean you should use it.

ps 3N37 works great for me in heavy-jacketed 357, too. in certain guns.

Please, safety first.
(Ain't that a dichotomy?)
I agree with Jim Watson. I've tested many loads using N340 and 3N37 in 9mm and I can't even close to Vihtavouri's manual's FPS. It is nice powder to work with.
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