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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been loading some 9mm for the first time. Just want some reasonably accurate loads that I can practice with and shoot steel plates. My very experienced friend said to just get 115gr bullets and I did and they work great. I've been shooting 40 and 45 for many years, no need to go for a major load in 9mm as I've got that covered. So before I buy 3K of the 115 coated I want to be sure I'm not missing out on something. What are the main uses of the various bullet weights? 115 and 147 are pretty straight forward, but what's the point of those in between?

115 - standard
124 - ?
135 - ?
147 - major power factor, I don't need that from 9mm
 

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If you're really building a (USPSA) major load for 9mm, most guys I know use 124gr fmj. I'm sure a bunch of the GT braintrust will jump in here, but in my experience, it depends on what you're doing with your rounds. For example, if you're trying to make a specific power factor (bullet weight times velocity divided by 1000) for IDPA or USPSA, some guys, like me, will like heavier bullets (147 or 165gr) driven slower, for a "flatter" gun with less "snap." More than a few guys don't like the the way the timing on those rounds feel and how it returns the sights to the target and use bullets like the 115, 124 or 135s, and the "quicker" slide cycling. It really does depend on what you're doing with the round.

While I like heavier bullets in a 1911/2011 because I can easily change recoil springs and change cycling/sight rise pretty easily, I use 115 (or lighter .380 bullets in Steel Challenge) for USPSA PCC (pistol caliber carbine), since everything is scored minor. A lot depends on how you perceive recoil and just what you're trying to accomplish with that round. With all that said, I just started trying 135 for a Walther Q5 in USPSA Carry Optics. That's one of the true beauties of reloading in that you can try a bunch of different loads that just aren't available to someone who doesn't reload.

If you're really serious about developing a major power factor load in 9mm, you really need to take a hard look at that and if you really, really need it. I don't know what kind of gun you're shooting, but unless you're shooting something like a STI Trubor/DVC, you're probably going to need to make major mods to your gun for a major round. The guys I know that shoot major 9, all use compressed loads and squeeze that 124gr bullet into the case.

I just watched a guy a couple weeks ago, at a club match, put a dot on his M&P and load rounds to somewhere around major power factor (didn't chrono them) to shoot Open. He spent most of the match with cycling/feeding issues and blowing the primers out of some of the rounds he did manage to get off. You don't want to be that guy.
 
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Heavier bullets in 9mm is NOT about major 9 pf but actually about making 9 minor without messing with springs. A heavier bullet at the same pf as a lighter bullet offers a diff recoil impulse, more straight push than snappy twist. My theory is torque generated by higher vel.
So 115gr going 1200fps x the twist rate, vs 147gr @ 860fps. The 115gr is rotating a lot faster as it leaves the bbl, inducing more torque, or twist. You'll find few high end shooters using 115gr bullets to make minor.
In a self defense load, a heavier bullet will penetrate deeper than a lighter bullet of the same design. So if you favor 147gr jhp, then practicing with 147gr makes sense. For the vel guys, many will choose a 124gr +p jhp load. A 124gr bullet at 1150fps+ is a good balance of enough mass to support expansion & give deep penetration & enough vel to cause some temp cavitation. Its nice to have choices.
 

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For the last I think 18 years my shooting has been revolved around GSSF shooting. No changing of springs unless it is a UL gun. But everything else inthe guns are stock. No worry about PF. Also all I care about is that the guns that I use for GSSF will function starting out with 12 rounds in the magazine.since all I can have in the gun in matches is 11. Since we no longer have to knock over pepper poppers I quite using 135 and 147 grain bullets. 115 grain bullets I could never get them to work mainly using Titegroup powder. 3.3 grains of TiteGroup for the 135 and 147 Now I have been using or have used 4.2 of WSF or WST. and 3.2 of Ram shot Comp. My guns have many thousands of rounds with the same RS. So if the gun does not work bump up the charge until it does but staying in what the max loads would be. My last match I tried the Ram shot. MY next match i will go back using the WST and my G26 instead of my G19. Seams like I shoot it better along with my G30.
But will be interesting to see how my Gen 5 G19 works that I just picked up Friday.
I have also used VV N320 and a few other powders.
 
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DFC, MSM, 12 Air Medals.
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Forgot to add they were all Xtreme plated bullets.
 

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No, not at all interested in major power factor load in 9mm.
115 grain - most common weight in cheap ammo-good for maintaining familiarity with your gun.

124 grain- optimum defensive bullet weight, may be most accurate in your specific gun.

135 Grain - usually found in defensive ammo.

147 grain - May produce less felt recoil. Optimum defensive bullet weight, may be most accurate in your specific gun.

I have a Belgian Browning Hi-power that "likes" 147 grain ammo much better than any other bullet weight and is by far the most accurate ammo in my gun.

Major power facto ammo is xlnt for practice if you ever plan on using your 9mm handgun for defensive purposes because it duplicates the recoil impulse of plus +P defensive ammunition.
 

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124 gr bullets are my go to in 9mm. Powder (WW231 and Unique) in my case, goes a bit further than with 115 gr bullets. Though they are fine for practice and match's. My carry ammo is 124gr,
so I'm probably bias somewhat. Accuracy with the PD 124 JHP, J Lee mentioned above is outstanding out of every Glock 9mm I own. As is ALL the RMR bullets.
 

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I've been loading some 9mm for the first time. Just want some reasonably accurate loads that I can practice with and shoot steel plates. My very experienced friend said to just get 115gr bullets and I did and they work great. I've been shooting 40 and 45 for many years, no need to go for a major load in 9mm as I've got that covered. So before I buy 3K of the 115 coated I want to be sure I'm not missing out on something. What are the main uses of the various bullet weights? 115 and 147 are pretty straight forward, but what's the point of those in between?

115 - standard
124 - ?
135 - ?
147 - major power factor, I don't need that from 9mm
My carry round is a Federal HST in 124gr, +P for the shorter barrels, normal pressure for, ah, normal barrels. :)

So I load a lot of PD 124gr JHP's for practice, they are a very accurate bullet for bulk priced fodder.
 

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For s/d loads I been using rmr 124 jhp with a max load of of be-86. For plates and practice I've went thur several k of acme 147 fp coted bullets over the last year and really like the way they recoil and accuracy is very good for my shooting needs. I may go to 147 jhp next when I shoot up the 124's .
 

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Heavier bullets going slower will meet PF requirements while having less recoil.

This is why,

125 PF for a 115 grain bullet would be 1087 fps and 302 ft/lbs of energy.

125 PF for a 147 grain bullet would be 851 fps and 236 ft/lbs of energy.

If your shooting suppressed, sub sonic rounds make less noise and once you set a speed limit the only way to gain energy is with more mass.

If you are making your own bullets, you can get 60, 115 grain bullets from 1lb of lead or 47, 147 grain bullets from the same pound.

Answer on what bullet to use? It depends...
 

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I have a Belgian Browning Hi-power that "likes" 147 grain ammo much better than any other bullet weight and is by far the most accurate ammo in my gun.

Major power facto ammo is xlnt for practice if you ever plan on using your 9mm handgun for defensive purposes because it duplicates the recoil impulse of plus +P defensive ammunition.
I think we need to differentiate between full power 9mm & 9mm major, totally diff animals.
Jm brought up good point, noise level. Subsonic rds, like 147gr, have less blast which helps with felt recoil, esoecially out of short bbl guns. 160gr in a g26 feel like 380.
 

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I think we need to differentiate between full power 9mm & 9mm major, totally diff animals.
Jm brought up good point, noise level. Subsonic rds, like 147gr, have less blast which helps with felt recoil, especially out of short bbl guns. 160gr in a g26 feel like 380.
All full power 147 grain ammo is all subsonic by virtue of the fact that it's nearly impossible to get a 147 grain bullet to go supersonic (More than 1100 fps) with the powder capacity of a 9mm case). You would need the capacity of a 357 Sig case to get above 1100 fps with a 147 grain bullet.

The full power 147 grain Federal American eagle ammo that I use in my Browning Hi-power is rated at 1000 fps and Federal HST plus +P 147 grain is only rated at 1050 fps. Remington makes a 147 grain subsonic JHP that's rated at 990 fps.

Good point that noise level effects felt recoil. Recoil is partly Psychological. if it sounds louder, that makes you think it kicks harder.
 

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All full power 147 grain ammo is all subsonic by virtue of the fact that it's nearly impossible to get a 147 grain bullet to go supersonic (More than 1100 fps) with the powder capacity of a 9mm case). You would need the capacity of a 357 Sig case to get above 1100 fps with a 147 grain bullet.

The full power 147 grain Federal American eagle ammo that I use in my Browning Hi-power is rated at 1000 fps and Federal HST plus +P 147 grain is only rated at 1050 fps. Remington makes a 147 grain subsonic JHP that's rated at 990 fps.

Good point that noise level effects felt recoil. Recoil is partly Psychological. if it sounds louder, that makes you think it kicks harder.
Agree, my point was calling full power ammo 9mm major, it is not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I gathered a few different loads from friends over the weekend and took them and some of my loads to the range today and tried to decide what I liked best out of my G23/9mm. In the end, it was the RS Competition load with a 115gr coated that I loaded up this morning. I liked the way it felt, I stayed on target, it was plenty accurate and it was the cheapest load to boot.
 

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I gathered a few different loads from friends over the weekend and took them and some of my loads to the range today and tried to decide what I liked best out of my G23/9mm. In the end, it was the RS Competition load with a 115gr coated that I loaded up this morning. I liked the way it felt, I stayed on target, it was plenty accurate and it was the cheapest load to boot.
What was your load data
 

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There's also the sub-sonic / super-sonic issue. 115gr is likely to be supersonic. 124gr may or may not be, depending on the load. 147gr wouldn't generally be. Having accidentally fired both Blazer 115gr factory ammo and my 147gr subsonic coated load without hearing protection (two incidents, years apart), I can say 147gr was LOUD, but not PAINFULLY LOUD - ears ringing for the rest of the day (like the Blazer was).
 
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