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9mm short barrel

Discussion in 'Caliber Corner' started by youngbuck, Jun 17, 2010.

  1. youngbuck

    youngbuck He's Tyrone!

    Jan 4, 2010
    What kind of weight is best suited for a 3"in barrel? Im not interested in bullet expansion right now but rather what kind of variables to consider with the different grains in such a short barrel. I have a small stock pile of 147gr HST's and 127+p+ Ranger-T's. I was told the 124gr Hornady Critical Defense loads were ideal for such a short barrel but I have minimal experience with Hornady loads in general so any info would be greatly appreciated.
  2. GunFighter45ACP


    Jun 11, 2005
    D/FW, TX
    If expansion is less of an issue w/you, then I'd say to go 'heavy for caliber' & choose 1 of the premium 147gr JHPs. Generally speaking, velocity = expansion & bullet weight = penetration. A short barrel may negate a velocity advantage (such as moving upto a +P or a +P+ offering), so you might as well rely on bullet weight to get the job done for you.

  3. smoke


    Jan 11, 2000
    For me - as barrels get shorter, I tend to go down in bullet weight to gain the velocity needed for expansion.
  4. cowboy1964


    Sep 4, 2009
    Penetration always trumps expansion so if you have to compromise on one make it expansion.
  5. smoke


    Jan 11, 2000
    Until you get to the point of over-penetration. Otherwise, why not shoot pointy FMJ's and just shoot all the way through?
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010
  6. 167


    Oct 27, 2008
    Each bullet is designed to operate within a certain velocity perameter. Every round will give up some velocity out of a shorter barrel, but the heavier bullets tend to give up less overall percentage than even the hotest loaded light bullets. Heavier bullets are longer and have less powder behind them, where as lighter bullets are shorter and have more powder behind them. More powder behind the lighter bullet means it requires more time (translate more barrel length) to all be utilized in launching the bullet. Logic would say that whichever bullet has the least percentage loss of velocity is the most likely to still expand once on target because it will be the closest to its designed operational velocity. That typically is the heavier bullet.

    That being said, either of the two rounds you currently have should perform just fine out of a 3" barrel, but the 127gr +p+ will likely have greater felt recoil and much more muzzle flash, both important aspects to keep in mind when selecting a carry round.
  7. Brent10mm


    Apr 6, 2009
    Spo, W.A.
    147gr FED HST in my PF-9...