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9mm Luger Test Data – Three Starting Pet Loads

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9mm Luger Test Data – Three Starting Pet Loads to get started loading 9mm today.

I Finally got a chance to get out this weekend and get up to the mountain to play around for awhile. I didn’t have much time to spend, but I was able to get the Chronograph out and test a few pet loads in 9mm Luger that have been sitting in my Ammo box for quite awhile. Reloading is a large interest for myself, not just for the savings or the ability to develop my own loads, but for the general science that comes along with it.

8x11 Hunter Orange Diamond Pattern Pistol Target

Custom Pistol Target

In total, I had three loads that I had not documented so far and was able to test out a few 9 shot groups and record the numbers. My hope is that this sort of information will soon be able to go into the Load Data section of Bullet-Blog, along with many of the other tests and pet loads I have put together recently. I used three(3) different bullets, brass, and powder and have logged the results of testing the cartridges below. I also tested these on the Bullet-Blog Diamond Pattern 8.5×11 Printable Target. This is a target I custom created for testing and siting in Pistol Cartridges at distances of 7-25 yards and is available for free download. Unfortunately, I completely spaced taking a picture of the the targets from the test groups which is kind of a bummer, but oh well. I will make a note of it next time.

About Bullet-Blog Test Groups

You will notice in most test groups, many people use only a 5 shot test group and generate their data from these numbers as well as recording vital information like the components that were used in the load. While this should be sufficient for most, I like to take things a bit further than most if anything for the sake of having a full data set for each load I work up.

Amongst the Data I generally collect are the followng:

  • Time & Date
  • Location & Elevation
  • Wind Speed & Wind Chill (both from Start Time and Stop)
  • Weather Conditions (Sunny, Overcast, Raining, etc)
  • Humidity/Dew Point
  • Brass Type & Condition
  • Powder Manufacturer & Charge
  • Primer Manufacturer & Type
  • Bullet Manufacturer, Type with Ogive & Base info & Section Density
  • Overall Length (OAL)
  • Standard Deviation
  • Coefficient of Variation
  • Extreme Spread
  • A minimum of a 9 shot test group.

All of this data, while not always 100% necessary, paints a much more accurate representation of the cartridge performance for the conditions it was fired in. Since I do not have an indoor test facility at my disposal currently, and given many folks do their target/practice shooting outdoors, I like to record the largest amount of information as I feel it provides more long term value when I choose to revisit a load or work up to a MAX load for a specific combination of components.



Many of the loads you will see me put on Bullet-Blog in the near future are tested under multiple conditions and throughout different times of the year, to give a more accurate representation of how the cartridge performs under different circumstances. I will soon link these together to create an overall log of how the particular load develops as well as recording notes on conditions and general thoughts.

The 9mm Luger Test Data

Alright, so onto the test data. I have listed the three 9mm Luger loads I tested below, in the order I tested them along with the conditions and test results. It should be noted that the 3 loads tested were all starting loads taken from a Professional Reloading Manual or manufacturer website. I do not have MAX test data for these loads, as I have not personally worked up these loads for the gun they were tested in. When in question, please refer to your Reloading Manual or other trusted source of load data for safe max loadings.

WARNING: Loading firearm cartridges beyond MAX load data can result in serious injury or death to the operator of the firearm and others. Always use extreme caution when reloading ammunition and only use Load Data obtained from trusted and reputable resources.
[accordion title=’9mm Pistol Load Data #1′]

9mm Luger Test Data – Load #1

Details
Powder: Alliant Power Pistol, 6.0gr
Primer: Winchester WSP Small Pistol Primers
Brass: Once Fired, Federal Premium
Bullet: Berry’s Plated, 115gr FMJ RN
OAL: 1.165″
Test Firearm: Ruger SR9
Barrel Length: 4.14″
Twist: 1:10″
Test Groups: 1
Group Count: 9
Weather Conditions: Clear, Sunny
Elevation: 2590 feet
Start Time: 4:47pm
Temp: 53.8 ° F
Wind Speed: 0-4mpg, small breeze.
Wind Chill: N/A
End Time: 5:03pm
Temp: 53.7 ° F
Wind Speed: No Change
Wind Chill: N/A
TEST GROUP 1 (listed in FPS)
1184 1122 1125 1164 1153 1184 1184 1166 1175
TEST RESULTS
High Low Average Standard Deviation Extreme Spread Coefficient of Variation
1184 1122 1153 25.99 62 2.60
Load Data Notes:
This is a mildly snappy load, but still completely controllable and comfortable to shoot. There is still some headroom with this combination of components and this cartridge could be increased to be a little more potent without much more powder.

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[accordion title=’9mm Pistol Load Data #2′]

 9mm Luger Test Data – Load #2

Details
Powder: Alliant Power Pistol, 6.0gr
Primer: Winchester WSP Small Pistol Primers
Brass: Once Fired, Federal Premium
Bullet: Berry’s Plated, 115gr FMJ RN
OAL: 1.165″
Test Firearm: Ruger SR9
Barrel Length: 4.14″
Twist: 1:10″
Test Groups: 1
Group Count: 9
Weather Conditions: Clear, Sunny
Elevation: 2590 feet
Start Time: 4:47pm
Temp: 53.8 ° F
Wind Speed: 0-4mpg, small breeze.
Wind Chill: N/A
End Time: 5:03pm
Temp: 53.7 ° F
Wind Speed: No Change
Wind Chill: N/A
TEST GROUP 1 (listed in FPS)
1184 1122 1125 1164 1153 1184 1184 1166 1175
Test Results
High Low Average Standard Deviation Extreme Spread Coefficient of Variation
1184 1122 1153 25.99 62 2.60
TEST GROUP 2 (listed in FPS)
976 964 1009 986 953 967 970 975 976
High Low Average Standard Deviation Extreme Spread Coefficient of Variation
1009 953 981 16.90 56 1.69
Load Data Notes:
This was a somewhat anemic load and was a little disappointing. This would make a good practice load with the XTP projectiles, although there is very little headroom for increasing the powder charge with the large grain N320, so would not make a great Powder/Projectile combination for self defense. The powder seemed to burn very clean, especially compared to using other light loads from powders such as Hodgdon Titegroup. The second test group was somewhat better than the first in terms of Standard Deviation and Extreme Spread, although not to an impressive degree. I was having trouble with Static in the powder measure with the N320 which was causing somewhat erratic charges, having to cycle the powder charge several dozen times before it would measure accurately within +/- 0.1 grains.

[/accordion]

[accordion title=’9mm Pistol Load Data #3′]

9mm Luger Test Data – Load #3

9mm Luger Test Data – Load #1
Powder: Titegroup, 3.8gr
Primer: CCI No. 500 Small Pistol Primers
Brass: Once Fired, Federal Premium
Bullet: Xtreme 124gr FMJ RN
OAL: 1.150″
Test Firearm: Ruger SR9
Barrel Length: 4.14″
Twist: 1:10″
Test Groups: 1
Group Count: 11
Weather Conditions: Clear, Sunny
Elevation: 2590 feet
Start Time: 5:35pm
Temp: 53.3 ° F
Wind Speed: 0-4mpg, small breeze.
Wind Chill: N/A
End Time: 5:47pm
Temp: NO CHANGE
Wind Speed: No Change
Wind Chill: N/A
TEST GROUP 1 (listed in FPS)
977 965 988 978 953 955 978 962 976  989  959
TEST RESULTS
High Low Average Standard Deviation Extreme Spread Coefficient of Variation
989 953 970 12 36 1.20
Load Data Notes:
This is one of my favorite pet loads for plinking. It’s incredibly economical (about 1500+ loads per 1lb of Powder) and a breeze to shoot. I’ve fired about 300 of these from my SR9 pistol and had no feeding/ejection problems so far. It is a very light load with super light recoil which makes it very fun for plinking around. This is a great load for someone just starting out or for those that are recoil sensitive. One problem with this load is that because it is such a light load (3.8gr Titegroup) it does not burn the powder well. I noticed significant unburned powder sprinkling around when I was testing these. I may consider reworking this load to 4.0gr in the future.

[/accordion]

Conclusion

The first and third loads are pretty standard and if you have ever shot 9mm Luger will be good cartridges for plinking and recreational use. The second cartridge was me playing around with using VihtaVuori N320 under a Hornady Hollow Point, which was less than exciting in the end and I will probably not continue with this load. Powders like Power Pistol and HP38 offer much better value when loaded for 9mm Self Defense rounds. The Speer Nickel plated brass performed flawlessly however, just as you would expect and since they were such light loads, I will be reloading these again for another round of testing. As soon as time allows, I will finish putting together the Load Data section of the website and start adding this information there for others to use. This section will also be open for users to input their own load data and save it in the library. More on that to come soon.

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7 Comments

  1. I like the sound of incredibly economical, a breeze to shoot, no feeding/ejection problems, and super light recoil, all for #3. I’m interested to see if there’s less unburned powder, once you rework the load.

  2. The 9 mm always been an incredibly powerful and interesting piece of equipment. I definitely enjoy your deep and well detailed explanation of how this bullet really works. It seems like the effectiveness of this weapon is something that cannot be put under question.

  3. Yeah since you got the 9mm Parabellum vs. the 9mm Luger and then there are other 9mm rounds which I am trying to think of. It sounds like one of those things that you got to get complacent with before moving on to something else. I too wished that I could see some pics showing the groupings.

    • There’s quite a few, but the 9mm Parabellum, 9mm Luger, and 9mm NATO are all actually the same round. There are several other 9mm Cartridges out there that go by other names, but these are the same and are interchangeable. Generally when someone refers to a “9MM” however, this is the cartridge they are referring to. There are technically different standards for the NATO round, but they are mostly interchangeable and that mostly has to do with factory tolerances. The 9mm Winchester White Box ammo I wrote about is actually Milspec or “NATO” ammo.

  4. It is really good that you are explaining this stuff. Indoor would be better from what you are saying.

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