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A New Contender for the Heavyweight Crown?
A New Contender for the Heavyweight Crown?
We will see!
By Kevin Newberry
I’m gonna do something a bit different with this article. I’m typing in advance of doing anything except speaking with a couple of peers about some ideas regarding the potential of this bullet. You see, in the last article, I made something of an error. I overlooked an available 147 gr. JHP sold by Everglades in Florida; even while my shooting partner and I have bought, loaded and fired thousands of their 124 gr. Version 2 JHP in 9mm (below). That particular bullet is now the bullet of choice for our range/practice load, that if need be, could be pressed into service as a defense load. We’ve tested enough of them for accuracy, velocity and jacket/core integrity, having fired them into those criminal 1 gallon water jugs! This article, or maybe I should say chronicle will be something of a brief shooting diary.
This is just my small token in trying to correct a wrong. It’s very rare for me, as my friends here will tell you, that I would miss something so integral to my testing as omit an available 147 gr. JHP in “The Heavyweight Semi-Finals.” Of course, I could cheat since I used the term semi-finals, and then have more semi-finals. Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough good 147 gr. JHPs suitable for defense loads to do that. So, the title and intent of my last article will have to remain as-is while I have to admit neglect of a potential contender that I simply should have not overlooked; particularly after the satisfaction we’ve found in buying the 124 gr. Version 2 from Everglades and what we believe was the same bullet as once sold by RMR, but discontinued after they started manufacturing a different style 124 gr. JHP of their own design. I will also say that my query to Everglades might have been different from what they’re used to. Steve Bender told me straight away that the bullet in question here was intended for competition loads, not defense loads. Why don’t we see if it will serve two masters: far easier said than done in my experience.
And a shot out to a good friend in Florida who told me of his opinion that the same bullet we had been using, him included, looked to be the same bullet that hopefully isn’t going anywhere except a mailbox near you! It is the only 124 gr. JHP that we’ve felt comfortable with in replacing who knows how many Remington 124 gr. JHPs I’ve loaded over the years. I’ve loaded thousands, maybe I should be saying tens of thousands when referring to the Remington bullets. It wasn’t so long ago that we were buying these bullets in lots of thousands in bulk-quantity. I can even remember before the dark side tried to assimilate us buying the Remington 124 gr. JHP at just over $40/1000!
Thanks to al Qaeda followed by an apparently Muslim Commander-In-Chief putting an end to that, in the same fashion his political CULT would like to put an end to American Patriots being allowed to own firearms altogether!
But I digress. Today is 8/4/18 as we precede the actual testing. I haven’t even snapped a pic as yet. That will happen in the next few days.
Later this evening, I was able to reinforce my problem in using precision measuring tools that are digital. You just never can tell when they’ll fail you. In no way could I trust a digital scale the way I trust my 20+ year old balance beam. My first scale was the Lyman model with a plastic base. The issue being that it weighs to 505 grs, while precision is left to the 2 poise bars.
More than 20 years ago I felt it was time to upgrade. I wasn’t quite the Redding fanatic then that you’ll find me today, nonetheless, I was very close to ordering a Redding scale because the #2, if memory serves, was accuracy rated to 1/20th of a grain at that time. Considering that I should upgrade on everything that could improve productivity, I tried a scale from brand z instead. And by that time I had learned that most of the scales sold by the handloading tool suppliers, were mostly made by Olhaus. Unfortunately, brand z would not zero, no matter what I did in my climate controlled den. After more than a few minutes of failure, I repackaged it and shipped it back to that particular retailer/manufacturer.
In the duration of waiting for my refund I began a stricter evaluation. There just isn’t any measurement in handloading that I want to be more precise than weighing powder charges. Problem was, potentially, the scale I wanted had a plastic base rather than cast iron or aluminum. The greatest factor in its favor was its weight limit of 131 grains.
Just a few weeks back I encountered the only issue I’ve had with it in over 20 years of use, I broke the hanging portion of the completely polymer pan assembly. Everything I have ever heard about RCBS customer service has proven accurate, to include some of my friends’ experiences. Today, for anything I couldn’t get from Redding, RCBS would be my next option. But concerning my RC130 scale, I looked at other aspects than the plastic base, while I will tell you that the old Lyman scale got checked not long ago. Thank God, I had a good scale to start with. One of the things that RCBS added that wasn’t on my Lyman was that RCBS used agate bearings to interface between the plastic base and the aluminum beam. Then, even with the 131 grain limit, there are 3 different poise bars. 120 grains on the main beam, 10 grains on the secondary with the third in tenths going up to 1 grain.
Today, as far as I know, no degree plan exists for ballisticians. With my past experience with various architects and engineers from a designer’s perspective, I really don’t concern myself much as far as being some kind of pariah. Kind of like a truly professional ballistician I only got to know from phone and email conversations. That being Johan Loubser. The best who ever was in my book! Trying to be a handloading mentor has always been job #1 for me and for a very potentially dangerous hobby. Luckily for me, and having the best and most professionals friends whom I count in my personal peer group, naturally, one of them is the guy whom wears a number of different hats even before you get to his former career in law enforcement. Same deal with another whom as far as I’m concerned has contributed to the best ballistic science we have today, as well as the best I’ve ever seen in my 40+ years of handgunning; with or without my “Doubting Thomas” questions. Then there’s my shooting partner and once brother-in-law who asked for my help in using firearms to protect the ones we love. This year is kind of special. We are celebrating a quarter-of-a-century shooting together. And not once along the way did he ignore anything I could teach him, particularly handloading. There are still a couple of rounds that I load for us both, and 9 x 19mm is certainly one. He has at various times enjoyed the number of ventures I’ve pursued on Parabellum Boulevard! The number of 12 hour shifts that he still works, and he turns 54 this coming Christmas, is why I load a couple or rounds we use in great quantity.
So enough about me and my reloading cajones! By the time this article concludes I’m more than glad to let you decide those things for yourself. I say article even while I know my gracious host will not be imposing any length constrictions on me. He has been very complementary of my past articles that got kicked off with a 4 part serial novella in what seems like just yesterday, Let me also mention the other great articles that can be read on this E-mag. And their authors are some others I consider as peers.
For the rest of the article I’ll probably list more data than opinions, but there are some opinions I hold that at this exact point in time that I feel need to be addressed regarding Accurate No. 7 and available data; I’ll save that for later.
Back to my digital opinions. Of the 100 bullets I have, I was undecided about the number of bullets I would use to sample weight, diameter and length. Just recently, I replaced the digital scale’s battery; who knows how old the replacement is when I bought it? I got through only 5 samples before the scale quit due to low voltage. My digital is for weighing bullets and cases. My powder charges get weighed with the three-poise beam scale capable of weighing powder charges for any cartridge I handload, including my African and Alaskan hunting fantasies.
Evening of 8/05/18. First, let me give thanks to God for such a wonderful day. The forecast high from the NWS said 97 for today. And that ain’t bad for a lifelong Texan sitting under a very old and large Oak Tree’s shade on August the 5th. Last night, my endurance waned before I could put up the numbers for the 5 samples I measured. That would be 5 random samples from 100 bullets because after the initial 5 my digital scale stopped as mentioned previously. I’d planned to get into a more representative analysis into the extreme spread and standard deviations of the measurements. Since I was limited to 5 samples of the 100 bullet population, I’m just going to list the averages for weight, diameter and bullet length. Even with the small sample size, I still feel that it is still very representative of the entire population.
Weight, AVG: 146.7 grains.
Diameter, AVG: .355” for all bullets.
Length, AVG: .666” for 3 of the five with a +/- of .001”.
I can tell you that from being the end user, I’m more than pleased with these results. Even if I had measured all 100 bullets, I really don’t believe the averages would change by much, if at all.
Okay, now you ask what value would reinforce that other than the metrology? Before I go any farther, for those who need a mentor, which I didn’t have other than engineering math skills and reading load manuals and magazine articles before I hammered that first round into the LEE handheld re-sizing die 32+ years ago. And what I mean is that I was studying handload data for at least 5 years previous, while the actual handtool was purchased in 1980. I want this to really sink in well, especially for those who need mentor-ship. Hey, a guy that might know the absolute best way to rebuild an engine might not have the same vocation for ballistics, and vice-versa. In my first attempt in writing an article for this E-mag, Rob asked me to do a serial novella that I’m more than glad for Rob to re-post if he so desires. I could have, very fairly, been called a literary ignoramus when I hit technical college while I had close to an obsession with math and took all they had to offer. And since then I have learned to become a name dropper, especially when it comes to Rob Behr and Charles Schwartz; I consider myself, without a doubt, a student of Charles Schwartz’s ballistic science principles. And then we get to real-life experience where if I could start a ballistic science syllabus tomorrow, Rob and Charles would have to be 2/3 of the academic triumvirate. Here’s what I will predict well before loading the 1st cartridge.
Many years ago I learned that when we shoot groups from a rest, and keeping reasonable limits, we really need not be too concerned about group sizes with range distances that are different than the intended purpose of the load. Where I once fired 25 yard groups with service pistols, I benefited from the knowledge of others before any decline in my vision. At 61 now, I can assure you that I don’t see targets as well at 50′ as I used to, and not needing corrective lenses since my last eye exam that was maybe too long ago now.
When I was coming along in handloading, there were several axioms that I am glad to say, went to my file 86. Anything, and I mean ANYTHING that you can do to enhance uniformity; DO IT, within reason! Particularly when you’re making defense loads. Rifle reloading requires a higher level of precision compared to handgun reloading? BS! That one had to have come from a guy that could compete in bench-rest rifle, but maybe couldn’t have shot his way out of a wet paper bag with a handgun!
I have problems in even recognizing that the inconsistencies of different manufacturer’s 9 x 19mm cases could be so different as they now are. And my simple reason for not using a progressive reloading press today. If you do, fine. In the past, if I saw someone recommend a progressive as the press to begin with, you’ve probably noticed my disagreement with that practice. One reason I just don’t want to be involved with any gun forums, nor its reloading forum. Some of the greatest fallacies I’ve ever seen mentioned most likely came from reloading forums, and while the 1911 might be the king of autoloading pistols, I’ve seen an opposite relationship from some of its reloading “experts.”
e of my all-time favorite statements on any reloading forum (as far as mocking in jest) is, “It ain’t rocket science!” Probably the first statement I could counter with is why did the Chinese work with their discovery, gunpowder, as intensely as they did, considering the calendar, until they created rockets. What fuels them both? I suppose you could make a case against, since a bullet launched only contains its own payload. Then at a minimum it’s still artillery science if one persists unilaterally. The intended result is the same: launching a projectile at a relatively small target, while delivering a specified amount of power.
Monday night, 8/6/18. We had a power outage late this afternoon which typically drives my computer crazy for a while. So I used that time to go out to my shop to make the test rounds after settling on 5 levels for powder charges. I have a good bit of load data of my own from previous tests. One thing I hope to do here is to help others that have the same question I do. Is the newer American made #7 the same powder as previously imported #7? Unfortunately, there’s a lot of data out there that makes this inconclusive. Obviously the manuals didn’t use the Everglades 147 gr. JHP, so what will we do for data? Well, the only thing we can do in a case like this: examine bullets with similar construction paying particular attention to the length of the shank, its bearing surface, which the rifling in the barrel engraves its signature into, along with the shape of the bullet that will be exposed above the case-mouth. Thus we encounter problem #1. The Everglades 147 gr. JHP is about as appealing to me, as far as shape, as it could be. The ogive radius is long and slender; textbook in my opinion. The bullet I compare it most closely with uses a similar copper jacket with a boat-tail added to be base of the bullet that makes it really easy to place in the case for seating as well as preventing the bearing surface from being too long: the Hornady 147 gr. XTP. A bullet I have some experience with including my own chrono log and past data. The problem being that the XTP has a truncated cone shape. Definitely not a criticism on my part because with the number of them I’ve loaded and fired in different calibers, it is still one of the best bullets available to handloaders today.
So this is what I decided to do. First, I’m going to use a familiar, to me, OACL of 1.142”/29mm. For those still learning, let me say this, every load you make for a handgun and every bullet you use to make your handloads with must be checked to determine the proper OACL. Bullets can and due vary. In time, you’ll be able to look at a bullet and its ogive to get an idea if it will need to be loaded shorter than you prefer. You need a test dummy, or dummies, whatever you prefer because you’ll need to test about 5 times to ensure a consistent measurement, which is what I refer to as the Max Possible OACL. Just like you’d do with a rifle, or as I still do, anyway. You can never accept it on faith that the OACL in your data, or magazine article, is correct for your pistol barrel’s chamber length. I believe that I’ve addressed this in past articles and I encourage you to brief yourself on the test procedure. You will be seating the bullet by the pistol’s leade/throat/rifling with this procedure where a degree of finesse is recommended. Once you’ve averaged the five test lengths and ensuring they are consistent, subtract .010” from the “Max Possible” to get your handload lengths, or you can do as I do after the initial shortening of my handloads. Just drop down to the next lower .25mm which is very close to .010”. I do this for a couple of reasons: for handloaders in other countries that were smart enough to have already adopted SI measurements, and to use for adjusting OACL either longer or shorter.
Another guy that you want to ignore is the one that will tell you that small variations in OACL will have virtually no effect on velocity and other things. Here’s what they overlook: the faster a powder burns, the lesser effect it will have on velocity and therefore pressure. They tend to pressure peak with relatively small charges. But as powders slow down in burn rate, particularly those that are slower burning than Unique, or N330, if you’re a dedicated spherical handgun powder guy as I am. With the slower burn rates come greater disparity in velocity and pressure that can be dealt with when desirable by an increase in OACL. If you shorten OACL with the same powder charge used, velocity will likely be higher, and pressure will certainly be as well. Just be sure to remember that a degree of Free-Bore must be maintained between the bullet and the pistol’s throat. So, with a number of powders that I use to load different types of 9 x 19mm loads, for defense loads or practice loads at a similar velocity, I use the .010” or .25mm increment as a guide for the length that will increase/decrease velocity and pressure while ensuring I have enough free-bore by making my handloads .010” shorter than the “Max Possible.” Then you have to confirm that the case-rim does not extend beyond the barrel’s hood. Flush, or slightly below, at say, 1mm is fine. When case-rims extend beyond the barrel hood, it may cause an out-of-battery condition where the cartridge won’t be ignited, or even worse and potentially dangerous, your pistol fires rounds from an out-of-battery condition.
From the available 147 gr. JHPs, I have determined the closest match to be the 147 gr. XTP and the only effect its truncated nose shape will have is the length at which it can be loaded. Myself, I just don’t and won’t buy a 9mm pistol that has a short throat. I am not necessarily discriminating against the Nosler 147 gr. JHP, but from my experience with their 124 gr. JHP, as well as that of others in various consumer reviews, it needs .357 SIG velocity to get its job done. It is a very accurate bullet, it’s just one I can’t use, nor the 147 until I have reliable information on its performance. Its ogive is mostly near its nose which gives it a bearing surface longer than I prefer.
The first problem you’ll run into with a truncated cone shape, JHP, FMJ, Plated or cast, may be the shoulder engaging the rifling first, If that occurs, you will need a shorter OACL. The pistol I will be using for the tests is the Canik TP9sa. The TP9sa has a long throat so the only thing that could limit OACL up to the SAAMI recommended Max of 1.169” for the 9 x 19mm cartridge, is that the rounds must fit and function in your magazines. Having said that, I’ve never loaded a 9mm JHP longer than 1.161”/29.5mm, and I don’t and never have loaded FMJ. Cast, polycoated or plated will do all of the same things at lower cost while most competitors agree that JHPs are more accurate at around the same price as FMJ.
The 5 powder charges are as follows using a CCI500 Primer and different brands of once-fired cases, all with the OACL of 1.142”/29mm. One: 6.3 grs. of A #7. Two: 6.7 grs. Three: 7.0 grs. Four: 7.2 grs. and Five: 7.4 grs. I loaded 11 rounds with the last two charges so that if velocity warrants, a round will be water tested by firing into 1 – gallon jugs. 10 rounds will go over the chronograph to find average velocity, extreme spread and standard deviation. Another thing I’ll be listing is case-head expansion after the first load fired with the 6.3 gr. powder charge. This to establish a baseline before what Hornady lists as their highest pressure charge of 6.7 grs. Hornady used a 4” S&W M39 from yesteryear (like their handgun data) for testing velocity. I will be making a direct comparison of velocity by power charge. My velocity will run higher than what they chronographed with the older 4” M39. Nonetheless, I’ll be able to paint a pretty clear picture with these measurements. As of today, the only company that I believe to have correct data for Accurate #7 is Lyman. My tests certainly correspond to it. The only problem being, other than the cast load data, they used the SPEER 147 gr. TMJ. It is not technically jacketed, but rather a plating that’s near the same thickness and is relatively hard compared to other plated bullets. Thus the reason for showing the Hornady data with the lower charge being .4 grs lower than the Max listed at 6.7 grs. From there we go from theirs into my existing data for the 147 gr. XTP.
Why some people can’t understand taper crimp is something that perplexes me, so let me say this from a plumbing perspective. When you cut copper tubing with a wheel-type cutter, you’ll notice that the cut end is now smaller in diameter. So how exactly does a slight over-crimp effect accuracy? You won’t find many JHPs made for revolver rounds that don’t have a cannelure, most of which will give outstanding accuracy. So if you over-crimp by a couple of thousandths, the world won’t come to an end because your bullets have a micro-cannelure. Not so long as the case-mouth headspaces properly. And it will take some serious over-crimping before the case-mouth does not headspace correctly. Some people just have a problem with things they’ve never tried or understood before. I started posting on forums around fifteen years ago, and I can use myself as an example here. At that time I didn’t own a Sierra manual, but had plenty of experience, when I saw an eager young handloader explain this from what he had learned from his load manual. It’s really this simple, and I’ll demonstrate with the 52 test samples I made. My cases, measured within 1mm from the case-mouth, had a thickness of .011”. To get case-mouth diameter, we will need to multiply that by 2 which equals .022”, then we add the bullet diameter, .355” in this case, to get the total diameter at the case-mouth, post-seating, with no crimp applied of .377” while SAAMI allows a Max of .380” that may not fit in your chamber. And while I’m on chambers, they are the best cartridge gauges you can use. Most “case gauges” are simply go, no-go gauges. They can give a pass to a cartridge they may not work in your pistol’s chamber. OACL and case-mouth diameter are two specific examples. And even with a load that passed with your case-gauge, if it’s too long for your chamber it could still fire out-of-battery.
Okay, in a pic above I mentioned that case-mouth diameter is .376”. That is a taper crimp of .001” since the pre-crimped cartridges should measure .377”. I really don’t do much adjusting with the taper crimp die. So long as the case-mouth is reduced by .001” – .002”, they’re good to go. If I were nitpicking, say with new cases, I might trim lightly just to ensure the same length for all and dial my taper crimp in at .0015”and right in-between. Again, the simple formula is case wall thickness x 2 + Bullet dia. = pre-crimp case-mouth dia. with flare removed. Because until you’ve actually reduced the dia. of the case-mouth after seating the bullet (the pre-crimp measurement) you haven’t crimped anything. So, when you see someone type that, “you only have to use enough taper-crimp to remove the flare from the expander operation they probably don’t understand how to execute a taper crimp. It ain’t black-magic or voo-doo. I’ll also recommend REDDING’s Taper Crimp dies. They are quite unique in what they will do and how they go about it.
The best way to prevent setback of your bullets, which has been the guilty party in a number of Ka-Boom incidents, is to have good tension from the case-neck. This is a function of reducing the necks dia. when you’re resizing, while the expander should be at least .002” below jacketed bullet dia. with bullet seating being a force fit. So, hopefully you know how to test your handloads for set-back. If you don’t, you probably never made it through the first reading of your reloading manual. But if you press the bullet of the handload into your wooden bench top, or a board placed atop it, the bullet should not move further into the case. If movement is very minimal, like say .001” maybe .002”, that can usually be corrected with taper crimp. If it’s more than that, there’s a problem with your reloading dies and an over-sized expander button might be the result, or now that case-wall thicknesses vary as much as they do, it could also be your resizing die.
Also, I’ll mention that I do some case segregation, unfortunately, now that so many other shooter’s brass gets mixed in with ours at range pick up. I define them as thick and thin with .011” as the median thickness. Thin cases are .011” or less. Thick are greater than .011” which many foreign made cases are, including some Remington we’ve been picking up lately: maybe made for Remington by others, I don’t know for certain. You’ll get a handle on what brands are thick or thin after going through this a few times. When in doubt, or you encounter an unknown to you brand, use your calipers to measure. Also be aware that fired cases have a very small crimp on the case-mouth after firing. The further down the case-wall you measure with your calipers, the thicker reading you’ll get. If need be, run a few cases just barely into your expander die to straighten them out for measuring.
This is the end of the preliminaries. Now for the tests!
Fast forwarding to 8/15/18, I made a quick trip to the range to fire 11 rounds in conjunction with tweaking a load from my last article. We had some meaningful rain here, through Monday the 13th. I’m gonna skip that for a moment because today is Friday the 17th. As promised, I won’t go backward in trying to do a CYA! My mistakes, I learn from, and I don’t mind pointing them out.
And in conjunction to this report, I was sharing observations with Rob Behr and Charles Schwartz along the way in conjunction with this article and the test from 8/15/18.
The weather forecast on Thursday predicted 96 degrees for Friday’s high, a 1 degree drop from a previous forecast for 97. I was optimistic in seeing the forecasted highs getting lower. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived to the range it was 100 degrees with the heat index slightly higher. It didn’t take us long to decide to conduct the tests, then get back to some shade for a cold one!
For those who don’t remember, I’ve mentioned previously my own little dilemma when it comes to chronographing handgun loads while trying to get good groups at the same time. I don’t even concern myself with that anymore. Shooting scoped rifle loads is a different matter because the chrono is mostly out of sight, out of mind, and of no consequence. I’ve never shot any of my chronographs, but having a good view of it when I’m chronographing handgun loads is a distraction, for me anyway. If I need to shoot groups for accuracy analysis, that comes before or after chronographing. Friday 8/17/18, the chronographing came first before the water tests.
I use something as an aiming point at 50′ from the muzzle and the test pistol was the Canik TP9sa with 4.47” barrel. That pistol has now become the TP9sa Mod 2 from Canik and they changed the decocking lever to the left side of the slide only, where mine is ambidextrous. In keeping with the sf model, the barrels are now 4.46” so essentially no difference. The discontinued TP9sa also differed with its sights and the first change came with the sf model where most of the TP9 series pistols now wear the Warren Tactical rear sight. Moreover, there was one feature unique to the TP9sa’s rear sight. Regular three dots, but with a vertical line on the rear to index the front sight dot with. Some like that, some don’t. I did have to drift my rear slightly from the factory setting and when I did, I blacked out the vertical line in the center of the rear. Recently, and just out of curiosity, I removed the black to return the rear sight to how it came from the factory. Since I have an abundance of airgun targets, I sometimes use them as an aiming point for chrono work. They’re more cardboard than paper which can help when the target backboards are overdue for replacement. After the first few shots I saw several rounds impact exactly to point of aim, so I checked the alignment of the vertical bar on the rear. A lollipop, just as it’s supposed to be, so I stayed with that sight picture and gave shooting for accuracy a bit more effort. For those with no experience with the Canik pistols, I can tell you that you are not likely to get a better SAO trigger than the TP9sa, right out of the box. That is until you move up to their optics-ready competition 5.2” TP9sfx that has become very popular, very quickly with competition shooters. I have yet to see one gauged for trigger pull weight above 4# when brand new. I haven’t gauged the TP9sa but I would be surprised if it gauged over 4.5# and these pistols have stops integrated into the rear of the trigger to eliminate over-travel. Consequently, this makes reset about as short as it can be, and I’m not much of a reset snob, but I’ve yet to see anything shorter. Very much like my XD(M) .45 after I installed the Powder River Precision trigger kit that included a trigger-stop.
My apologies for drifting. The cardboard airgun targets are 5.5” square. Rings 6, 7 and 8 are black and 2.6” in outer diameter down to the 1” 9 and .5” 10 ring which are white. Good enough contrast for my 61 year-old eyes. But accuracy was not the intended purpose for the shoot, chronographing and water testing were. Once finished we didn’t waste much time in leaving. Enough so that I didn’t pull the target from the stand and one target is all I used for the 50 rounds fired over the chrono. I knew I was getting good center hits and my shooting partner told me that I had essentially shot the center of the target out. I’m very happy to report that the Everglades 147 gr. JHP bullet is an accurate one, from the first minimum load to the last maximum loads.
As I mentioned earlier, I only made extra water test loads for the 7.2 and 7.4 gr. charges of A #7 while all OACLs were 1.142”/29mm. I’m going to get to the numbers in just a minute, but there is something I’d like to share with our readers. I don’t and never have loaded FMJ in any handgun round. Back when bulk bullet prices were much better than they are today, an equivalent number of FMJ cost around the same price as JHPs. As far as economy, I just loaded cast, very few plated and more lately, poly-coated. So remember that you heard this here first: I don’t believe we are very far away from seeing lead polycoated Hollow-Points. That was done by S&W back in the 1980s with the Nyclad that used a nylon coating. When S&W got out of the ammo-biz, the Nyclad was sold to Federal. I’m not up to date with their website enough to know if the Nyclad is still available, and I would suspect that some machines were also in the deal between S&W and Federal. The 125 gr. Nyclad in 9mm, actually achieved some pretty good results in actual shootings. Don’t worry, I’ve already contacted the lead bullet maker that I feel would be a natural for making poly-coated hollow-points. I’ve used several brands over the years, but for some Target calibers, Missouri Bullet Company offers their hard-cast bullets in a softer 12 BHN version. Polycoating eliminates most of the problems associated with shooting softer alloy lead bullets. I can’t say which alloy would be best for a poly-coated defense hollow-point, but I’d start right at 12 BHN. This was actually seeing some success before poly-coating when several bullet makers were making cast hollow-points for subsonic use like .45 ACP. Some of the results were quite good. In talking to MBC, they informed me that it was mostly a matter of tooling, or the lack thereof. So once one of the well-known and respected companies starts making poly-coated hollow-points, the others will surely follow. And this gets me back on point. Until that happens, we will continue using competitively priced JHPs so long as they’re accurate. That has definitely been the case for us in using the Everglades 124 gr. Version 2 JHP, a very well made JHP. With Ramshot Silhouette, I’ve been able to get standard deviations down to around 3 FPS for 10 rounds, and in one particular case, an SD of 0! There has been no 9mm pistol we’ve fired that didn’t like that load. I’ve just tweaked it a bit by barely lowering the powder charge down to 5.6 grs for close to 1150 FPS. At that velocity, the core and jacket hold together. So, say we do get to that imaginary (or not) situation where we might find ourselves needing to get to our ammo quickly. Suppose your prime defense loads are not in easy reach, while your range/practice loads are. It could really help in knowing that your practice loads also have some defense application. Furthermore, and something I’ve discussed with Mr. Schwartz, if the core and jacket separate, so long as the penetration is the same or very close to it, you essentially have 2 separate wound channels when a bullet does separate.
I still prefer my defense load JHPs to hold together, and what I’ve been doing in my experiments is finding the highest velocity for the hollow-point bullets before separation occurs. So, with the testing behind me as far as jacket/core integrity, I’m pretty sure that I’d use two 147 gr. JHPs in my defense loads: the Gold Dot, and the XTP which until proven otherwise, the XTP is the champ in terms of highest velocity with no separation.
Here is the data for the loads at 6.3, 6.7, 7.0, 7.2 & 7.4 grs. The results are very similar to my chrono log data for the 147 gr. XTP. My data is a good bit higher than Hornady’s where 6.7 grs. of #7 achieved 1000 FPS from a 4” S&W M39. Their next lower load was 6.3 grs. so with my own data I shortened the gap by .3 grs. To 7.0 and then by .2 grs. for 7.2 and 7.4. The latter 2 I had water test loads for.
After chronographing all 50 loads, I water tested the 7.2 gr. load. Avg. velocity was 1111 FPS with an ES of 44 FPS and an SD of 14 FPS.
Now let me add another dimension I used for the testing. For this test I made sure that all of the test cases were WIN, the test being for case-head expansion. Don’t worry if you ask on a reloading forum. The different number of opinions you’ll get in reply may equal the number of respondents. My opinion comes from a company who’s been giving handload data since the hunting, or overhunting, of buffalo on the Great Plains. That being Lyman. If you don’t own at least 1 Lyman manual, it should go to the top of your shopping list! This comes from my 46th edition from the early 1980s. Lyman states that between 15,000 – 40,000 PSI, case head expansion is near linear to pressure increases. The 6.3 gr. Charge, .4 grs. Below Hornady’s highest charge shown at 6.7 grs. gave .3885” of case-head expansion.
What we might consider the load closest to factory loaded 147 gr. subsonic ammo, with 6.7 grs. of #7 case-head expansion was .390” and stayed that way throughout. So, as Rod Serling used to say in his monologue to The Twilight Zone, “submitted for your approval” Hornady’s lower charge of 6.3 grs. did not even expand the case-head beyond many factory-new cases. None of the cases up to 7.2 grs. Expanded beyond .390” while the SAAMI Max Dia. For your loaded cases is .391”. Obviously, we have some disagreement in regard to 9mm pressure and data, and I will be covering that. And what better 9mm bullet to use than a 147 gr. JHP! As far as the location for case-head dia., that is .200” above the rim. Rendering a few cartridges unusable for continued handloading, set your caliper at .200” whereby you can scribe the measurement for the case-head on the case using the rim as a guide.
While I was pleased with the accuracy potential of the Everglades 147 gr., #7 may not be the ideal powder to use which you’ll see in the following data. All loads used the CCI500 primer with an OACL of 1.142”/29mm. Cases were assorted and once-fired, with the exception of the rounds measured for case-head expansion. Those loads all used a WIN case.
Load 1: 6.3 grs. #7
Avg. 1034 FPS, ES of 22 FPS, SD of 6 FPS
Case-head dia. After firing was .3885” with all others at .390” except that the 7.4 gr. Load was not water tested after the 7.2 gr. load separated.
Load 2: 6.7 grs. #7
Avg. 1058 FPS, ES of 27 FPS, SD of 8FPS
Note: considering my longer barrel length and what I consider an excellent cold-hammer-forged barrel with conventional rifling, it’s probably on the faster side in terms of velocity and comparing to other 4.5” barrels. What I’m saying here is that if my barrel had been 4”, my average velocity would have been very comparable to the velocity recorded by Hornady. Also remember that their load is standard pressure; not +P.
Load 3: 7.0 grs. #7
Avg. 1094 FPS, ES of 37 FPS, SD of 11 FPS
Load 4: 7.2 grs. #7
Avg. 1111 FPS, ES of 44 FPS, SD of 14 FPS
Load 5: 7.4 grs. #7
Avg. 1133 FPS, ES of 42 FPS, SD of 14 FPS
I water tested with the 7.2 gr. load. Core and jacket separated, but as you’ll see, expansion was very good as well as symmetrical with an average recovered dia. of .596”. The core weighed 121.6 grs. while the jacket weight was 22.6 grs. Weighing together confirmed the total weight of 144.2 grs.
Some observations: you can see the steady increase in SD up to the two highest charges. While an SD of 14 isn’t exactly terrible, it can certainly be bettered. My thinking is to switch to another powder. From a designer’s perspective, I feel this could be corrected with some form of mechanical lock on the bullet. Maybe a cannelure farther down on the jacket and invisible below the case-mouth after seating. Since the core/jacket separated at 1111 FPS, there was no point in testing the 7.4 gr. load. To concentrate on accuracy I wouldn’t want to exceed the velocity of load #2 at 1058 FPS. As with a few of the other 147 gr. bullets from the previous article, I feel sure that I can clean this up while seeking best accuracy with Ramshot True Blue. I’m pretty sure that it will give better standard deviations. These loads are somewhat puzzling with the stats increasing the higher we get in charge-weight, Typically with #7, SDs usually get smaller as velocity increases, and while Silhouette works great for high velocity, even into +P with 124 gr. JHPs. It’s somewhat lacking when it comes to 147 gr. JHPs. But, I’ll be honest; I have no interest in subsonic 147 gr. JHP loads, so as far as duplicating factory defense loads say from 950 – 1000 FPS, Silhouette might be fine for that.
Everyone has their own sayings, and here is one of mine: For anything subsonic, it’s time for the .45 ACP. By subsonic I’m using that term generically like the ammo makers do. At sea-level, the speed of sound is actually around 1120 FPS, where so far, only the Gold Dot and XTP loads have been successful in maintaining jacket/core integrity.
And by the way, that core is still pretty close to what some recovered 124 gr. JHPs would be. So again, IMO, this bullet is capable, in a pinch, for defense use. I mentioned in the previous article that my limit for the Remington 147 gr. “Bubble Butt” JHP is 1050 FPS. I would expect that the Everglades 147 gr. JHP would work at that velocity or slightly lower as well, with no jacket/core separation. For that I would use data from the Remington 147 gr. JHP “Bubble-Butt” using Ramshot True Blue. As far as a competition load with a FPS safety factored in with a Power Factor of 130, you only need velocity at 884 FPS where most are loading with very fast burning powders for claimed lower recoil. With Hodgdon Clays no longer coming from ADI in Australia, Ramshot Competition is starting to get more use for such loads.
I hope it doesn’t appear that I’m just obsessed with Standard Deviation. But when you have good luck with accuracy with a powder that doesn’t otherwise impress? You only need to ask one more question: what do I want to do, and expect from this load? If it’s about protecting those we love, followed by concern for ourselves? There really ain’t that many people in the realm of ballistics that truly get it. Not so far as me being persuaded to follow advice that just doesn’t work for me. Some of you probably know that Standard Deviation is about uniformity, based on a mathematical evaluation from probability and statistics. So what? It just looks good on paper? The reason I may seem to obsess a bit, and I promise that I’m not a statistician, is because of my own example. I like to nit-pick as far as really tweaking a load down to best accuracy with the lowest standard deviation possible. If I wanted to get into real pressure testing, there’s a company called Pressure Trace that can help. They claim a higher level of test accuracy than the methods commonly used by data providers.
I don’t profit enough from my research to justify the cost. I’ll also say that when dealing with a topic like this, and by now I probably have a few worthy witnesses, I haven’t seen anyone trying to do what I’m searching to accomplish. Given the high sectional density of 147 gr. JHPs, higher than 180 grs. in .40 S&W/10mm and 230 gr. .45 ACP just barely, there just have not been the mistakes that were made with the first generation 147 gr. JHP defense loads. They expanded poorly, if at all, while very often over penetrating. Even to the point of civil litigation from wounded bystanders! Peter Pi was the first industry professional to address this with his Cor-Bon ammunition. Using the same type 147 gr. bullets he raised velocity to 1125 FPS and added the +P designation. In my opinion, super-sonic 147 gr. JHPs do a pretty good job in comparing to larger calibers, particularly if you calculate power factor. A few 180 gr. JHP loads in .40 S&W get close to 1000 FPS velocity. Power Factor, velocity x bullet weight / 1000 = 180PF. A 9mm 147 gr. JHP load at 1125 FPS has a power factor of 165. Lower recoil should equate to faster follow up shots.
As far as muzzle energy, the .40 load develops 400 Ft/lbs. while the heavy 9 develops 413. What about momentum you ask? .7992 Lb-seconds from the .40 vs .7343 Lb-seconds for the 147 gr. 9mm, and advantage .40 S&W. Then consider that you’ll be lucky to see 1200 FPS with a 124 gr. +P load in 9mm that would achieve .6607 Lb-seconds. Most 124 gr. +P loads will not chronograph 1200 FPS until you look at the specs from Double-Tap, Underwood or Buffalo Bore, and while some of these loads use the excellent 124 gr. Gold Dot. Momentum plays a great role in penetration, but if the JHP does not expand accordingly, over-penetration can occur. I am definitely not of the school that says “Bleed-Out” is the only reliable factor in terminal wound ballistics. Some of those guys were on the early bandwagon for subsonic, 1000 FPS or less velocity with a 147 gr. JHP. Do not underestimate the significance of the shooter who refused to die quickly from bleed-out in the 1986 Miami shootout when a 115 gr. Silver-Tip made its way to within just a few millimeters of the perp’s heart, while he went on to shoot several more agents. Later, this wound was deemed unsurvivable. Yet these proponents have more failures than success stories so long as you believe that the FBI is the ultimate authority on ballistic performance testing.
Do we really consider the stats we get from our chrono’s? I do, and I’m very happy to have one that does all of the calculations for me! I can still do all the math manually, when what I really want to know after the 1st stat we all see for average velocity, standard deviation gives us a clue about what the average was found to be, while supported by the rounds in closest proximity. Not that extreme spread isn’t useful, but that’s simply the lowest velocity round subtracted from the highest. It doesn’t tell us about how the rounds differed from the “norm”, however. Not to worry, if your model doesn’t calculate SD, there are plenty of calculators for SD on the web. Some say that 1/3 or ¼ of the extreme spread will be your standard deviation, that’s guessing.
Let’s get back to how I test, and I ain’t looking for a sale on gelatin any time soon. Hell, I’m a Texan, not an agent of the FBI! The closer the velocities are to the round that comes closest to the norm, the more likely the next round will be to the target velocity regardless of medium. I mean that if someone wanted to furnish me with 10 gel blocks, one for each chrono test, I’d certainly do it that way. But as a Texan, I also know that only the Border Patrol’s actual shooting events outnumber Texas Department of Public Safety shooting events annually, last time I looked. We have more roads than any other state in the union. What the FBI hype is all about kinda depends on what you’re prepared to believe as far as reality vs perception. The DPS was doing all of the same testing at least 10 years before the FBI. Then consider that the Texas Rangers have been protecting Texans longer than any other single LE agency in this country. Might be a good time to watch Lonesome Dove again!
So now we’ll revisit those 11 rounds I fired on Wednesday, 8/15/18. The pics as follow.
I’m glad that I got Mr. Schwartz’s opinion since he had been waiting for the results of this particular test with the 147 gr. Gold Dot. In my last article I mentioned that 1125 FPS might be the Max velocity for its threshold. I had done another test previously where the charge was .05 grs. heavier and it penetrated beyond 4 jugs and into the 5th. The recovered bullet was intact but the petals were nearly down to the shank. Penetration was too high in my opinion and recovered diameter too small. I didn’t even keep the bullet, but should have just to confirm my opinion with the Schwartz QAS, or Q-Model software program he was generous enough to send me. With the charge .05 grs. lower at 7.45, velocity was 1131 and 6 FPS beyond the goal of 1125 FPS. I was skeptical at first, but this round would not be left behind in a garbage can at the range. Running it through the Q-Model, naturally, we both got the same data. Penetration showed to be greater than 14” in 10% calibrated ordnance gelatin. Rob had a good adjective for it as well if he’d like to add it here!
I can’t close before I get to this. There are no signs of excessive pressure with these loads in my pistols. The OACL of 1.142”/29mm is the minimum length. If you have to use a shorter OACL, then you’ll need to lower the powder charge accordingly. One thing I do agree with, as advised by the folks in Western’s ballistic lab, is to compare your results to their listed velocity and pressure in their load data. All anyone need do is compare Lyman’s 9mm data for the SPEER 147 gr. TMJ. They used an OACL of 1.115” while the Western lab loaded to 1.130” which should produce slightly lower pressure, not higher pressure. The Lyman load used a Max Charge of 7.2 grs. that registered a velocity of 1014 FPS at a pressure of 29,000 CUP. SAAMI lists max pressure for the 9 x 19mm in PSI (35,000) as well as CUP (33,000). So the Lyman load is 4000 CUP below the actual pressure Max. SPEER uses the same exact data for the TMJ as they list for the same weight Gold Dot. Now look at the Western load guides or the manual for their load with A #7. Somehow a load that’s .015” longer with a 6.6 gr. charge measured 38,100 PSI, just 400 PSI below the Max for +P at 38,500 PSI per SAAMI. And as listed in this article, the Hornady manual says 6.7 grs. gave them 1000 FPS from a 4” M39. Identical to what Western got at 9mm +P pressure of 38,100 PSI. Hornady’s load is easily standard pressure, not +P!
But since they wisely recommend that we use our chronographs, I can tell you that I know from chronographing loads where the data should be much more similar to other data providers, particularly Lyman if you’re using the TMJ or Gold Dot. One reason that I included the case-head measurements. That’s probably the easiest way for handloaders to gauge over-pressure loads. I never see much change for the primers, not even evidence of primer flattening, much less cratering. I do not load 9mm Major, although I certainly know how. I do a good bit of mathematical calculation in load development, and so far I do not believe that I use any load that would be +P+ that has an unofficial but recommended maximum pressure of 40,000 PSI
God Bless, Be Safe and Good Shooting to you all,