Category Archives: Reloading Data
When I bought all that reloading equipment off Dock, I got a bunch of components as well: lots of Winchester FMJ bullets. The trouble is, I have been having a dog of a time trying to find information about them for running numbers. You look at the Winchester website and while it lists the products, it doesn’t list information like their ballistic coefficients.
But I think I have found them. Winchester has their own ballistics calculator and it’s pretty neat. I haven’t used it much because the data in the app is purely Winchester products, so it’s not that generally applicable. However, it’s that very product-centric setup that yielded results! I just plugged in their products and this is what it yielded.
Winchester 30 caliber (.308″), 147 grain FMJ BT bullets (WB762147N) have a B.C. of
Winchester 22 caliber (.224″) 55 grain FMJ bullets (WB556MC55) have a B.C. of
So that’s what the app told me, and I can only assume it’s right, tho I may be making a small leap in determining all of this. But it seems about right given other bullets of those same profiles.
Just recording it here for posterity sake.
Updated: James Rummel reposted my search for information. Thanx, James!
The thing is, the best way to get this information is to go straight to the horse’s mouth. When I first did this well, I knew that was the right thing to do, but I just couldn’t find a phone number. After James’ post I figured I should try again.
After more Google work I was able to find the phone number for Winchester Ammunition (800-356-2666). I called, pressed “3″ for technical questions, and left a message asking for the data. When/if I receive a callback, I’ll update it here.
Updated 2: When I left a voice mail at Winchester it said I’d get a callback within a business day. I didn’t hear back today so I called again. This time the phone message changed to say they were out for Christmas vacation, back January 3. Well, that explains why I didn’t get the callback. Cool that they get 2 weeks off. I’ll set a reminder for myself and call back first week of January.
Updated 3: It’s January 3, 2011 and I called Winchester at the above number. I asked for the B.C.’s of those 2 bullets and received them! I updated the above entry with strikthru’s and the proper numbers.
So, the B.C. listed in their little online calculator is for whatever bullet is in their loaded ammunition, which apparently is slightly different from the bullets they sell as components. I guess? Kinda curious how they’re different numbers, but there you go. I would have liked to discussed this further on the phone with the gentleman, but it was their first day back after 2 weeks vacation and they were VERY busy playing catch-up, so I got my information, wished him a Happy New Year, thanked him, and hung up. So, there you go.
I was able to chronograph those primer modifications I made to my basic 9mm plinking load recipe. I had previously collected some performance data on that load, and that somewhat influenced how I did things on this go around.
I shot these the morning of 5 July 2010 @ the Austin Rifle Club. It was about 75º out, 94% humidity, altitude was 449′ above sea level, winds calm and the day generally pleasant.
I used a PACT MKIV XP timer/chronograph to record the data, with the chrono set about 10′ from the muzzle. All shots were off a heavy steel benchrest. I shot two guns: both Springfield XD-9′s, one with a 4″ barrel and one with a 5″ barrel. I did that because most of my previous data was out of the 4″ barrel and I wanted to get more data on what that extra inch of barrel would give me. I shot 10 rounds out of each gun over the chronograph screens, however not all strings recorded all 10 shots for whatever reason the chrono didn’t get it. Still, I feel enough shots went over the chrono to give me enough of an idea of how the load and modification performed.
The point of this exercise was to test out primer modifications. The say every time you change a component you need to retest to ensure all is good, thus here we are. My basic recipe is: Berry’s 9mm TMJ RN 115 grain bullet; 4.5 grains Titegroup; mixed used brass cases; 1.135″ overall length; and Remington small pistol primers. Previously I tried out changing the bullet, and as expected there wasn’t much difference. This time around I have another bullet change (Precision Delta) but more importantly a primer change. So I ran 5 different loads:
- The base original recipe (with 11 secret herbs and spices)
- The base original recipe, but swapping a Precision Delta 115 grain FMJ ball copper jacket bullet.
- Base + PD bullet + Winchester small pistol primer (WSP)
- Base + PD bullet + Federal small pistol primer (#100)
- Base + PD bullet + Wolf small pistol primers
I also wanted a baseline factory load that was closer to the sort of load I was going for, so I ran some good old Winchester White Box (9mm 115 grain FMJ’s) for that purpose. And since I had some carry ammo that I needed to cycle out, I ran some Gold Dots over the chrono just because I could.
Winchester White Box
|Avg. Velocity (mean)||1160.9 fps|
|Std Dev Coefficient of Variation||1.575%|
|Mean Absolute Deviation||13.45|
|MAD Coefficient of Variation||1.159%|
|Avg. Velocity (mean)||1217.04 fps|
|Std Dev Coefficient of Variation||1.474%|
|Mean Absolute Deviation||14.392|
|MAD Coefficient of Variation||1.183%|
|Avg. Velocity (mean)||1149.689 fps|
|Std Dev Coefficient of Variation||1.291%|
|Mean Absolute Deviation||12.104|
|MAD Coefficient of Variation||1.053%|
|Avg. Velocity (mean)||1201.45 fps|
|Std Dev Coefficient of Variation||1.131%|
|Mean Absolute Deviation||9.97|
|MAD Coefficient of Variation||0.83%|
Base Recipe + PD Bullet
|Avg. Velocity (mean)||1137.97 fps|
|Std Dev Coefficient of Variation||1.303%|
|Mean Absolute Deviation||11.79|
|MAD Coefficient of Variation||1.036%|
|Avg. Velocity (mean)||1193.012 fps|
|Std Dev Coefficient of Variation||0.831%|
|Mean Absolute Deviation||7.562|
|MAD Coefficient of Variation||0.634%|
Base + PD Bullet + Winchester Primer
|Avg. Velocity (mean)||1149.967 fps|
|Std Dev Coefficient of Variation||0.96%|
|Mean Absolute Deviation||9.17|
|MAD Coefficient of Variation||0.797%|
|Avg. Velocity (mean)||1199.289 fps|
|Std Dev Coefficient of Variation||0.833%|
|Mean Absolute Deviation||8.452|
|MAD Coefficient of Variation||0.705%|
Base Recipe + PD Bullet + Federal Primer
|Avg. Velocity (mean)||1135.66 fps|
|Std Dev Coefficient of Variation||0.885%|
|Mean Absolute Deviation||8.412|
|MAD Coefficient of Variation||0.741%|
|Avg. Velocity (mean)||1189.257 fps|
|Std Dev Coefficient of Variation||0.821%|
|Mean Absolute Deviation||6.661|
|MAD Coefficient of Variation||0.56%|
Base Recipe + PD Bullet + Wolf Primer
|Avg. Velocity (mean)||1134.871 fps|
|Std Dev Coefficient of Variation||1.407%|
|Mean Absolute Deviation||13.147|
|MAD Coefficient of Variation||1.158%|
|Avg. Velocity (mean)||1187.511 fps|
|Std Dev Coefficient of Variation||0.835%|
|Mean Absolute Deviation||8.057|
|MAD Coefficient of Variation||0.678%|
Speer Gold Dot 9mm 124 grain +P
5″ gun (15 rounds)
|Avg. Velocity (mean)||1248.571 fps|
|Std Dev Coefficient of Variation||1.1%|
|Mean Absolute Deviation||11.89|
|MAD Coefficient of Variation||0.952%|
I’m quite pleased with the results.
Last time I did tests, the only factory load I had to compare to was 124 grain American Eagle, which due to the bullet weight difference wasn’t apples-to-apples comparison. But based upon what I saw then I figured that my load just a hair under a factory load and the above data bears that out. I’m fine with that, it’s close enough.
The 5″ barrel gives about 50 fps more than the 4″ barrel. Due to this consistent behavior, in the future I’ll just test with one gun and do a little math if I really want to know how the other barrel will do.
Overall, the results were as I expected they would be: the changes didn’t amount to much.
Changing to the Precision Delta bullet didn’t change much, which is good. I’ve got a lot of PD bullets to use, and given that they’ve been running well and load well (compared to the troubles I’ve had with the Berry’s bullets) and are about the least expensive bullets to buy (especially in bulk), I’m sure I’ll stick with PD bullets for the foreseeable future. Consider my plinking load recipe officially changed. One thing to consider on that front is I explicitly was trying to stay under 1200 fps because of the limits of the Berry’s bullets; but now that I’ll be using not-Berry’s bullets, I could start to change the load up for more velocity… but given the purpose of what this load is for? I see little reason to do that right now. This load is working well so why mess with it?
Changing primers didn’t seem to amount to much. One could argue the Federal primers gave me the most consistency, but this is such a small data set (20 rounds with each primer, 10 of each out of each gun) that I’m not ready to say “Federal primers are more consistent” as a general statement. I will say that now that I’m out of Remington primers I’ll probably use the Federal primers because the box they come in is HUGE and I wouldn’t mind reclaiming some shelf space.
It was nice to see the load, on the whole, performed very consistently (look at the MAD CV), even more consistent than the factory loads. It’s also interesting to note that out of the 5″ barrel there was even more consistency. I’ve been wanting to move to the 5″ gun in general, and this just nudges me further in that direction.
Accuracy was acceptable for the guns and the intended purpose of the gun and these loads. Nothing here is “match grade”, I don’t expect to put ‘em through the same hole at 25 yards. It was all good enough for the intent.
All in all, I’m pleased with the results. Onward!
If you reload/handload your own ammunition, could you do me a favor and reply/comment on this for me?
If you keep logs of your loads, what data do you record and how do you record it, especially over time?
For instance, I might start out writing down the original recipe (e.g. Precision Delta 9mm 115 grain FMJ; 4.5 grains Titegroup powder; COAL 1.135″; mixed used cases; Remington small pistol primers) along with any other data I might feel is relevant about it (e.g. “half crimp” with a Lee taper crimp). Then I’ll go out and chronograph the load, do some accuracy tests with it, or whatever. I’d record things like the temperature, altitude, any other notes about the weather and range conditions. I’ll record what gun I used. And of course, I’ll record all the FPS that I get. If the chrono does the statistics for me I’ll record those else crunch those numbers later.
So, that’s “one entry”.
But then how about over time? For instance, do you ever chronograph it again? perhaps you check a hunting load in the heat of the summer but then again in the cold of winter to see how it varies and performs. Would you log this as a separate entry entirely in your log book? or just another entry under that load’s data?
So I guess what I’m wanting is, what data do you record? and how do you organize your data?
Please feel free to comment a length. The more detail the better.
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. The 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.
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
Average Speed: 1144.6 fps
Standard Deviation: 12.4
Average Speed: 1138.3 fps
Standard Deviation: 16.7
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
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!
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.
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.
Now I need to crank out as much of it as a can… couple thousand rounds, at least.
Those 9mm reloads I did? I tried them out today.
Bullet: Berry’s plated 9mm 115 grain RN DS
Primer: Remington 1.5 Small Pistol
Cases: Whatever used 9mm cases I have
Powder: Titegroup 4.5 grains
The only case prep was cleaning the cases (dry vibratory case tumbler), then of course a resize and decap. No trimming, no primer pocket cleaning, nothing like that. I used a taper crimp and I know varying case lengths can affect the crimp, but I’m just looking to make a basic plinking/target load that I can shoot in quantity.
I ran about 40 rounds through two of my XD-9′s. Worked just fine. I tried them side-by-side with some Federal American Eagle factory loads and I couldn’t tell a difference in accuracy, how the ammo fed, how the gun felt, how the brass ejected, how the spent brass looked. I’m sure there’s a difference somewhere, but I couldn’t notice. I’m sure if I pulled out a chrono I’d see something. Yes, I’ll chrono things eventually.
Anyway, the above seems to work like a charm, or at least Good Enough™. The 2000 rounds that I need to reload prior to Tom Givens’ next visit in October? I’m going to get started on it now.
Updated: Here’s the performance data.
Updated 2: As you could see in the performance data, this same load recipe was tried out with bullets other than the Berry’s. I have used Hornady 115 grain 9mm FMJ RN, and Speer 115 grain 9mm TMJ. Recently (I’m writing this on 15 June 2010, but this was alluded to in the performance data entry) I’ve moving away from using the Berry’s and instead using 115 grain 9mm FMJ’s from Precision Delta. A couple of reasons. First, the Berry’s would have some troubles during reload… I’d go to seat the bullet and the bullet wouldn’t seat right, shaving the side of the bullet or seating in a manner other than straight and centered. It caused too many wasted bullets. Plus, while the Berry’s is the cheapest of what I can find locally, the Precision Delta is overall FAR less expensive; and when buying the Precision Delta in large bulk quantities, the price differential is even greater. As of this writing I’ve yet to run the Precision Delta through the chronograph, but in general shooting the feel and results are about the same. I’ll eventually do more specific testing.
Updated 3: I’ve been able to run the Precision Delta’s over a chronograph, as well as changing primers. All of that data is here.
As expected, not a lot of performance change. Consequently, my general 9mm plinking recipe will now be:
Bullet: Precision Delta 9mm 115 grain FMJ ball copper jacket (but all the 9mm 115 grain FMJ/TMJ’s I’ve tried have worked with similar results).
Primer: Remington 1.5 Small Pistol (I’ve also tried Winchester, Federal, and Wolf small pistol primers and they’ve all worked with about similar results).
Cases: Whatever used 9mm cases I have
Powder: Titegroup 4.5 grains
Updated 4: It’s been almost 2 years since I came up with this recipe, and it’s still working well for me. The specific bullet, the specific primer, as you can see (if you trace through all the postings with the load data and chrono results) doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of difference so I go with what’s cheap or available.
I wanted to add that this ammo has been run through numerous guns without any known hiccups. Sure it worked in my XD’s, but over the past year or two I’ve had to loan some ammo, a magazine full here or there, to students in classes. I didn’t keep track of all the guns, but we see the gamut in classes and I’m unaware of any hiccups. And of course, it’s run through all my guns and I’ve had nary a hiccup. I’d say this is turning out to be a nicely proven load.
Of course, if you opt to use it, YMMV. Insert disclaimer here.
I realized after loading a bunch that the powder drop was actually dropping 3.7 grains of Titegroup. I’m on the really low end of things so I didn’t think it’d make that much of a difference, but I swore one time at the range those loads felt a little snappier. So I reloaded a bunch more .38 making sure to load it at 3.5 grains.
At the range this morning I tried out both loads side-by-side. I don’t have any chrono results, but I can say I felt a hint more snap in the 3.7 grains vs. the 3.5 grains. And there’s something that wants to say the 3.7 might have been a hair more accurate, but I didn’t have enough on hand to really make that determination.
Nevertheless, 3.5 or 3.7 didn’t make too much practical difference in how things felt. I’m going to run my supply down (should be easy with next month’s snub class), and when I begin .38 loads again, I’m going to try it at the 3.7 grains and see how it goes.
Anyway, at this point I’m pretty satisfied with my .38 recipe. I’m sure I’ll experiment more in the future, different powders, different bullets, different lengths and so on. But for now, what I have works and is good enough to go forward.
I opted to try using the Ladder Test for this next stage of the process.
Primer — CCI #41
Brass — Remington used (2x fired at this point). 1.750″ trim length, flash holes deburred, primer pockets uniformed
Bullet — Barnes TSX .224″ 62 grain
COAL — 2.250″ (taken from Barnes #4 manual)
Powder — Varget
The big change here is using Varget. I have 30 rounds loaded. There are 10 “steps” of powder, from 23.7 grains up to 25.5 grains in 0.2 grain increments. There are 3 rounds of each charge weight.
I went to the local indoor range to try things out, because 1. it was nearby, 2. I can shoot at 100 yards and not have to worry about wind and other conditions; weather right now isn’t that ideal. Downside is I can’t chronograph things, but I’m not considering that vital at this point. Once I figure where things look accurate enough then I’ll chrono.
I don’t know what to make of the results.
If I look at the pictures from the ladder article, what I should see is the greater the charge weight, thus the more velocity, thus the higher (vertically) the impact should be on the paper; that the holes in the paper should “climb” as I go up in charge weight. That didn’t exactly happen. Shots from the lightest charge weight ended up shooting the highest.
Furthermore, I was unsure about shooting only 3 rounds because inevitably you’ll get 2 good shots and 1 that screws things up, and I certainly got that; two would be close, then one would be off somewhere else. I read that statistically 7 is the best number to use as it best balances giving enough worthwhile statistical data but also keeps the amount of components used to a minimum. I just have to be mindful of my component consumption, plus the ladder test article said to go with 3, so that’s what I did.
If I look at where the shots clustered….
25.5 grains produced a 3-shot 1/2″ vertical group. Note that for this test vertical is what we care about, but even with that the 25.5 grain group was the overall tightest with the 3 shots literally stacked atop each other and touching. I can cover the group with a nickel.
As I read online, I see others shooting similar situations (62 grain TSX, Varget, and even shooting out of 1:9 twist AR’s), that they’ll have good results with 25.0 grains. I’ve also read of good success using 26.4 grains which generated almost 2900 fps from a 16″ barrel, and another using 27.5 grains out of a Bushmaster SS varmint (getting 3400 fps). But note 25.5 grains is the listed max in the Barnes manual and those last 2 greatly exceed that. Of course, they all were shooting out of a 5.56 chambered rifle, so they can handle the additional pressure.
That said, as I look at the vertical window, 25.5 certainly gave me the best overall performance. 25.1 grains looks to also have promise. Anything much below that seems to not provide that great of results. But this appears to be consistent with what I’ve been told, that Varget tends to come into its own when pushed closer to the max. One possible reason? When you get up in charge weight it starts to cause a compressed load, which apparently helps Varget.
What I think I may do at this point is start at 25.1 and load in 0.1 grain increments up to 25.5 (I don’t feel like going past max, if I don’t have to). But this time, I’ll load 5 rounds or maybe 7 depending on my component count. The point being to try to get a bit more statistical spread than what 3 rounds can give me. See how that goes.
In related news, the Varget does feel different from TAC. There’s not a massive difference, but the TAC feels a bit snappier than the Varget. Or it could just be how I was feeling today.
Sometimes the day doesn’t give you what you want, but does give you what you need.
I wanted to spend the day in the garage reloading.
Instead, I spent a good portion of the day 1. cleaning the house, 2. playing Horse-opoly with Daughter, 3. napping. I got what I needed.
However, I did get some things done today, so here’s part 1.
Now that I’ve settled upon a .38 Special load, I thought it’d be good to give it its own entry for ease of finding it.
This is a recipe for .38 Special (not +P). The goal is for a plinking/practice load. Something that doesn’t cost too much. I don’t want it to be a high power load so I can shoot a lot of them in a practice session or a class, but I also don’t want it too wimpy because I’d like it to still have some oomph so practice sessions don’t get too comfortable and have too much of a leap towards self-defense ammo.
The gun used is a Smith & Wesson 442 snub nose revolver with a 2″ (well, 1 7/8″) barrel.
I may no guarantees about this data. Use at your own risk. You assume all responsibility for yourself and your actions. Your mileage may vary.
Bullet — Berry’s Manufacturing Preferred Plated Pistol Bullet, .38 caliber, 158 grain, round nose (RN), double-struck (DS)
Powder — Hodgdon Titegroup, 3.5 grains
Primer — Remington 1 1/2 small pistol primer
Case — CBC (Magtech) brass, used
Cartridge Overall Length — 1.510″
Crimp — “light” Lee Factory crimp
In my testing that produced a velocity of 581 feet-per-second, which is reasonable for a 158 grain bullet and compared well against a Magtech factory load (158 grain LRN). Again remember, this is standard .38 Special NOT .38 Special +P.
Note as well, this is merely one recipe. Over time I may change it or just switch to something else entirely. But as of this writing, it’s what I’m using for my plinking loads.