9mm load recipe – plinking/target load – performance data

So I have my basic 9mm load recipe for a plinking/target load.

Briefly: Berrys 9mm 115 grain plated RN DS bullet, Remington 1.5 small pistol primer, mixed used brass cases, COAL 1.135″, 4.5 grains Titegroup powder. Reloaded on my Hornady Lock-n-Load AP.

I actually had some other bullets and figured why not try out the recipe with those bullets as well. I also made it with Hornady’s 115 grain 9mm FMJ RN bullets, and with some Speer 115 grain 9mm TMJ bullets. Just basic bullets.

I ran them through a chronograph. It was fairly humid today, and temps were probably was in the 50′s when I did the chrono. This was done out at the A-Zone Range. Thanx to Karl Rehn for letting me use his PACT Timer/Chrono setup with the fancy new screens.

Most shots were done out of a Springfield XD-9 with a 4″ barrel. 10 shot strings. ┬áThe chrono was about 10′ away from the muzzle. I won’t give all the statistics because frankly I’m not interested in typing up all that data. :-)

The Data

Federal American Eagle, 9mm 124 grain

This was the only factory ammo I had on me, and I wanted to shoot it to have some sort of baseline comparison. The one bummer is it has 124 grain bullets vs. the 115 grain bullets. Also, I believe I only shot 5 rounds in this particular string, so the numbers aren’t exactly apples-to-apples comparison.

Average Speed: 1128.4 fps
Standard Deviation: 5.9

Berry’s bullets

Average Speed: 1144.6 fps
Standard Deviation: 12.4

Hornady bullets

Average Speed: 1138.3 fps
Standard Deviation: 16.7

Speer bullets

Average Speed: 1158.6 fps
Standard Deviation: 14.8

Berry’s bullets, but out of a 5″ XD-9

Average Speed: 1208.2 fps
Standard Deviation: 13.2

Federal American Eagle, out of a 5″ XD-9

Average Speed: 1162.2 fps
Standard Deviation: 12.5

Data Analysis

My load performs about the same as the factory load, which means that my load would probably be a little underpowered compared to a factory load with a 115 grain bullet. When shooting my reload, that’s about how it feels. It feels very close to factory ammo, just a hair less.

Given the speeds that I’m seeing, this load is certainly about maximum for the Berry’s plated bullets as they’re not supposed to go over 1200 fps. Sure I could perhaps bump up the powder by a tenth of a grain or two to push the Berry’s to their edge, but that’d only be if I was going to shoot this ammo out of a specific gun (like the 4″). Since I want a general purpose load, I’m going to leave things where they are else any more would certainly push things over the limit in the 5″ gun.

I was happy to see the standard deviations were pretty low. The coefficient of variation is just a hair over 1%, with the Hornady bullets being the worst at 1.47%, which is most acceptable to me.

This load would be suitable for IPSC competition, as it does make the minimum power factor. It flirts with the minimum, but the easy way around that? Use the 5″ gun to get a bit more velocity. Using the 5″ gun would be better anyways since it’ll manage the recoil a bit better plus longer sight radius and so on.

I was also surprised to see that overall the Berry’s bullets performed best. Certainly they’re the cheapest bullets of the lot and that they did so well? Great!

Other Performance

I used my reloads to take an advanced shooting class. I never had a problem in terms of failures to feed, eject, or what have you. Everything ran like a champ and I never once had to even think about the fact I was running my reloads instead of factory ammo. The quality was good.

Accuracy was quite nice too. In the class we were shooting from 3 yards out to 25 yards, including groups at 25 yards. The bullets always went where I told them to go… even if I messed up and told them to go somewhere I didn’t intend (e.g. yanked the trigger). In fact, after the class Karl shot my totally stock factory XD-9 5″ from 25 yards for groups using my reloads and things were pretty tight. I forget the exact group size… maybe 2-3″? Not too shabby, especially with a factory trigger and sights.

Conclusion

I’m keeping this load recipe. It seems to run well for me.

Of course over time, some other things will probably change, like trying different primers because well.. that’s what was available for purchase at the time. And I’m sure as soon as I run out of all the bullets I have I’m going to try Precision Delta. I suspect the recipe will run just fine… certainly the raw data will change, but performance will be more or less the same.

I’m happy!

Now I need to crank out as much of it as a can… couple thousand rounds, at least.

Updated: I made some modifications to the load and that additional data can be found here.

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