Chronograph results & stats – 9mm plinking load, primer modifications

I went to the range.

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.

Performance Data

General Information

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.

Load Information

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:

  1. The base original recipe (with 11 secret herbs and spices)
  2. The base original recipe, but swapping a Precision Delta 115 grain FMJ ball copper jacket bullet.
  3. Base + PD bullet + Winchester small pistol primer (WSP)
  4. Base + PD bullet + Federal small pistol primer (#100)
  5. 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.

The Data

Winchester White Box

4″ gun

Avg. Velocity (mean) 1160.9 fps
Standard Deviation 18.285
Std Dev Coefficient of Variation 1.575%
Mean Absolute Deviation 13.45
MAD Coefficient of Variation 1.159%

5″ gun

Avg. Velocity (mean) 1217.04 fps
Standard Deviation 17.934
Std Dev Coefficient of Variation 1.474%
Mean Absolute Deviation 14.392
MAD Coefficient of Variation 1.183%

Base Recipe

4″ gun

Avg. Velocity (mean) 1149.689 fps
Standard Deviation 14.842
Std Dev Coefficient of Variation 1.291%
Mean Absolute Deviation 12.104
MAD Coefficient of Variation 1.053%

5″ gun

Avg. Velocity (mean) 1201.45 fps
Standard Deviation 13.585
Std Dev Coefficient of Variation 1.131%
Mean Absolute Deviation 9.97
MAD Coefficient of Variation 0.83%

Base Recipe + PD Bullet

4″ gun

Avg. Velocity (mean) 1137.97 fps
Standard Deviation 14.824
Std Dev Coefficient of Variation 1.303%
Mean Absolute Deviation 11.79
MAD Coefficient of Variation 1.036%

5″ gun

Avg. Velocity (mean) 1193.012 fps
Standard Deviation 9.917
Std Dev Coefficient of Variation 0.831%
Mean Absolute Deviation 7.562
MAD Coefficient of Variation 0.634%

Base + PD Bullet + Winchester Primer

4″ gun

Avg. Velocity (mean) 1149.967 fps
Standard Deviation 11.041
Std Dev Coefficient of Variation 0.96%
Mean Absolute Deviation 9.17
MAD Coefficient of Variation 0.797%

5″ gun

Avg. Velocity (mean) 1199.289 fps
Standard Deviation 9.996
Std Dev Coefficient of Variation 0.833%
Mean Absolute Deviation 8.452
MAD Coefficient of Variation 0.705%

Base Recipe + PD Bullet + Federal Primer

4″ gun

Avg. Velocity (mean) 1135.66 fps
Standard Deviation 10.05
Std Dev Coefficient of Variation 0.885%
Mean Absolute Deviation 8.412
MAD Coefficient of Variation 0.741%

5″ gun

Avg. Velocity (mean) 1189.257 fps
Standard Deviation 9.769
Std Dev Coefficient of Variation 0.821%
Mean Absolute Deviation 6.661
MAD Coefficient of Variation 0.56%

Base Recipe + PD Bullet + Wolf Primer

4″ gun

Avg. Velocity (mean) 1134.871 fps
Standard Deviation 15.973
Std Dev Coefficient of Variation 1.407%
Mean Absolute Deviation 13.147
MAD Coefficient of Variation 1.158%

5″ gun

Avg. Velocity (mean) 1187.511 fps
Standard Deviation 9.92
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
Standard Deviation 13.74
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!

17 thoughts on “Chronograph results & stats – 9mm plinking load, primer modifications

  1. Pingback: Back from the range « Stuff From Hsoi

  2. Pingback: 9mm reload modifications « Stuff From Hsoi

  3. Pingback: 9mm load recipe – plinking/target load – Berry’s bullets, Titegroup powder « Stuff From Hsoi

  4. Are you sure you don’t just plug yourself into your mac at night? Does having a mac just make you smarter or something? I didn’t see that in the brochure.

  5. Pingback: 10,000+ « Stuff From Hsoi

  6. Nice info. So, I’ve been looking into reloading and in comparing the blue and red AP machines, I’m reading I-net statements suggesting each has about +/- .3 grains variability in powder dispensed. Esp. when you start production. Since that’s about 7% deviation relative to 4.5 gr. I’m wondering if you do anything special to handle that, or maybe your powder drops have been more consistent than I’ve been reading. BTW Chebechev said a sample size that’s a little over 30 is enough for somewhat dependable SD’s, so in aggregate your 5″ results look encouraging. Seems hard to find 9mm recipes so I really appreciate your work!

    • I must admit it’s been a while since I’ve been at my reloading bench. I didn’t realize there was a blue Hornady Lock-n-Load press! Or are you meaning you’re comparing a Dillion Precision press vs. the Hornady Lock-n-Load?

      I’ll say this.

      If I had a chance to do it all over again, I’d go with a Dillon (at least a 650, tho at this stage of my game I’d love a 1050 and work to have as much automation as possible). The Hornady is nice, but the aftermarket for the Dillon is just massive. A lot of problems, issues, etc. that you run into get easily solved because of the massive market share Dillon has.

      Then I’d say whatever recipe you try, you just have to consider your situation may wind up different. So, try something out, understand the risks involved, and then measure your own results and adjust accordingly.

      • Hey thanks for the reply! I realize the final responsibility for reloading choices is up to me. No problem there. Still great to hear about your experiences and I appreciate the precision with which you tried to record your results. Also appreciate your thoughts on the Dillon vs Hornaday. 5 stations seem best, so I was also thinking about the 650. Do you happen to remember how consistent such AP machines are on powder amounts? I was also thinking about looking into different burn rates to see if something that ramps up slower might get more acceleration out of the extra inch. On the other hand seems like an extra 50 fps or so is what I’ve seen elsewhere for 5″ vs. 4″. I also like the economy of 4.5 titegroup though, and anything approaching 1200 fps is plenty fast if your goal is to practice, practice, practice. Thanks for the tip about PD bullets. Their price is still looking good.

        • I can’t comment on consistency of Dillion, but I expect pretty good. The Hornady seemed pretty consistent. I did some testing early on and was satisified with the results, and the performance of my loads gives me confidence it’s pretty consistent — at least, my setup.

          And yeah, the barrel length will give you about that much fps difference.

          In the end, all depends what you’re reloading for. e.g. if a “gamer” load, as long as you make power factor, then probably only “just” making it so you can keep recoil as manageable as possible. Or, if you’re say trying to replicate a self-defense load so your self-defense practice (and sights setup) is as close to your carry load as possible (so you can practice same recoil impulse, ensuring POI vs POA is consistent, etc.).

          • I see. There really is a lot to this. Did some more research and see that Titegroup is a small ball rolled into a small flake. A shape that they say will “meter” well compared to, say, a large flake (makes sense). Going to have to learn about the games. Just started shooting end of May. Just moved from a 22 to a 9 two weeks ago. Came back from the range today with a 10 group pattern of 9 within 2.5 inches and one flier at 7 yds. Which is getting close to what I can do with my 22. Takes longer though w 9. Hands are still a little shaky and scared at times. Bigger bang but getting used to it. It’s all about practice .. right? One last question: What would you expect to get from a 1050 that you couldn’t really get from a 650? Just speed? Seems like the bouncing head design on the 1050 would limit your powder dispenser options. Thanks again for the great post. After looking into it, I might try to work up some recipes w Titegroup myself. We’ll see. (Still a newb.)

            • Sorry. Seems your comment got logged as spam. By chance I happened to browse my spam logs and found it.

              Welcome to the club. 🙂 Sounds like you’re progressing well. Practice for sure.

              The big thing about the 1050 is more stations, thus you can do a little bit more, and then when you put automation onto it you can really roll.

  7. Wow! Shot my first homemade/ i.e. reloaded bullets today. What a “rush”, great sense of accomplishment. 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 4.4 & 4.5 gr of titegroup. In that order. Went with the Berrys. 4.2 seemed the most accurate, but at that point I wasn’t as fatigued. Avg fps was 1062/sd 24.3 16rds. 4.5 was 1144/17.1. Learned something: 4.0 & 4.1 was filthy. I’ve got a long OAL to keep ogive within .20 of rifling. Crimp margin is probably smaller than store bought. I’m thinking the lower charges don’t expand the case fast enough to seal off the brass and some smoke is escaping around the brass. Too bad its sooty cause it shoots real smooth. Stayed with the Berry’s which I had already bought. Dillon seater puts a little ring on the tip sometimes but Redding Pro comp seater does not. Redding seems to key off the ogive more than bullet tip, so OAL will occasionally vary up to around .006, but mostly stays the same. I like the idea of keying off the ogive and focusing on dist. to rifling. So I used the Redding. Have to leave a margin however to keep tip from exceeding SAAMI length on the long tipped ones. Longer than SAAMI can get stuck in mag if turned the wrong way. Going to try the Berry hollow based ones next. Thicker plating supposedly allows up to 1500 fps, (not sure I’ll ever need that) longer skirt may block smoke leakage on lower charges and I probably really need a longer crimp margin with this design. I also think the aerodynamics of that shape have a lot of promise.

    Did a lot of reading, before choosing to experiment with the particular design that I did, for my needs and my gun. Leaves a lot of chamber space which I thought might help manage pressure spikes. Since I’m still a novice I thought it couldn’t hurt. Still learning. YMMV.

    Thanks for posting your experiences. They provided me with another source of inspiration. Making your own ammo turns out to be way cool. Even seems to be more accurate. Got some good groups.

    Haven’t bought a press yet. Did about 96 rds for the testing above using a $36 Lee hand-press, which I’ll keep for depriming later.

    Since I haven’t yet bought the AP loading press, let me ask: You said more stations than five makes 1050 seem appealing. 5 seems like a lot, but then I’m only into handguns for now. Beyond 5 what would somebody do with the extra stations?

    • Sounds like you’ve been doing a lot of researching. Crazy how much there is in this, isn’t there?

      It is a lot of fun, and yes I agree — I felt that my reloads ran a lot better than a lot of the factory ammo out there. Alas, it’s been a while since I had time to sit at the bench (thus my dreams of automation), so I’ve just had to use factory ammo for a while.

      As for extra stations, well… just getting started the 650 is probably going to be quite sufficient for you. But you might find this useful:

  8. By the way, I used a Coldwell Chrony for the above. Under $100, so I wasn’t sure, but it seemed to work quite well. Hooked up to phone to record groups and that part wasn’t to hard either. Must have looked really “official” out there at the range. Another excuse to buy cool gadgets .. Right?

  9. Hey I think I see what you mean about more stations. Kind of like horsepower in a sports car: There’s never enough! (at least that’s what I hear). Think I’ll probably go with the 650. Could probably learn to love the LNL as well, but it seems like none of these run perfectly, so after market tweaks might help. Still not liking how the shell plate is supposed to “snap” into position on the 650, spilling powder on some recipes, but I guess there are tweaks for that. And maybe that action keeps the machine precise.

    Thanks again for sharing your Titegroup design. Turns out it meters well and and I’m seeing some other benefits as well. I added some things to fit my gun and to work up to it. And I later found some other tg recipes to compare and verify but your original recipes, and illustrations of it’s consistency got me started. As much as people shoot 9mm you would think there would be more 9 recipes out there.

    Thanks !

    • Yeah, the Dillon isn’t perfect, but having the largest market you’ll also find the most solutions AND support AND workarounds out there. Honestly, if I could start all over again, I’d go Dillon.

      Glad the Titegroup is working well for you! BTW, I have used other bullets and primers with this same basic recipe and had fine results.

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