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Thread: Interesting Observation: 9mm Semi-Auto vs. .38 Special Revolver Knockdown Power

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    Senior Member BamaT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    BHG, here is an interesting article, particularly if you do reloading: Reloading Heavy Bullets in 9mm Luger @ Shooting Times, 2015.
    Interesting article, thanks for sharing.

    I haven’t shot any kind of match in a couple of years I guess, but when I was shooting IDPA and steel plate, I very much preferred 147 grain hard cast bullets at a moderate velocity of 850 to 875 fps using Accurate #2. I invariably found the 147 loads not only more accurate, but also had the “push” feel versus snap of the higher velocity lighter bullets. Just anecdotal evidence involving my guns, but generally I find factory 147 ammo the most accurate, and 124 better than 115.

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    Senior Member BamaT's Avatar
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    Slight correction to my previous post, I meant to say factory ammo AND handloads were more accurate with 147, 124, and 115 in that order.

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    Senior Member Blackhawkgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaT View Post
    Slight correction to my previous post, I meant to say factory ammo AND handloads were more accurate with 147, 124, and 115 in that order.
    I did not get to test them this time out, but I bought some hotter loads for the 9mm and the .38 special in different brands to test next time. If I am going to be competing with activator targets, I want something that will knock them down the first time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackhawkgirl View Post
    I did not get to test them this time out, but I bought some hotter loads for the 9mm and the .38 special in different brands to test next time. If I am going to be competing with activator targets, I want something that will knock them down the first time.
    We've all seen the reports of how designer bullets in smaller calibers are "just as good" as larger, heavier bullets. And some designers of fast and light bullets did (and still do) produce good results in real world situations. Yes, many agencies are going back to 9mm, although their reasons include more than just effectiveness. Still, at some point the basic laws of physics will come into play.

    If you can, beg, borrow or buy some steel and shoot it many times with different loads. You will soon see what moves the steel. (If you have to shoot a live target, you want the target to know its been shot.)

    I'll attach below a photo of an old style steel rotator. These are easy to spin with .45, not bad with a .40, and take some doing with a 9mm. The newer style are heavier and harder to spin. Again, easy enough with .45, but very difficult with 9mm. Granted, gun games are not the same as social encounters, but they can teach us something. A long time ago they taught me that .45 hits harder than 9mm. It still does!

    John W in SC

    Farnam Rotator 3.jpg

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    Asst. Administrator ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BamaT View Post
    Slight correction to my previous post, I meant to say factory ammo AND handloads were more accurate with 147, 124, and 115 in that order.
    In my own experience, in mid-weight / mid-to-large-sized all-steel sidearms (ie, the CZ 75b), I've found that typically 124gr is most-accurate, followed by 147gr and then 115gr. Varies a little by the brand/load, but typically that's what I've seen.

    In other platforms, other than mid-weight / mid-to-large-sized sidearms, typically shorter-barrel units and the sub-compact varieties, I agree with your results. I, too, have found the heavier weights tend to be more accurate. Don't know whether that's because most of the loads tend to be a bit more conservative with the heavier bullets, or what.

    Haven't ever done reloading for my own sidearms, so I can't say what impact load calibration might have, on a given weight. I suspect that the balance, bore-axis, length and weight of a given sidearm would come into play sufficiently for a certain load to be perfect and other loads to be less-accurate. But, that's only a guess, given what I've seen across many dozens of different 9mm cartridges over the decades, in a very great number of different guns. Would be interesting to toy around with the loads on a given sidearm, finding that dead-nuts accurate load for the gun. Spendy, but interesting.
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    Senior Member BamaT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    In my own experience, in mid-weight / mid-to-large-sized all-steel sidearms (ie, the CZ 75b), I've found that typically 124gr is most-accurate, followed by 147gr and then 115gr. Varies a little by the brand/load, but typically that's what I've seen.

    In other platforms, other than mid-weight / mid-to-large-sized sidearms, typically shorter-barrel units and the sub-compact varieties, I agree with your results. I, too, have found the heavier weights tend to be more accurate. Don't know whether that's because most of the loads tend to be a bit more conservative with the heavier bullets, or what.

    Haven't ever done reloading for my own sidearms, so I can't say what impact load calibration might have, on a given weight. I suspect that the balance, bore-axis, length and weight of a given sidearm would come into play sufficiently for a certain load to be perfect and other loads to be less-accurate. But, that's only a guess, given what I've seen across many dozens of different 9mm cartridges over the decades, in a very great number of different guns. Would be interesting to toy around with the loads on a given sidearm, finding that dead-nuts accurate load for the gun. Spendy, but interesting.
    There are so many variables to accuracy it would take an incredibly large amount of testing with a specific gun to determine the absolute most accurate load for that gun, given all the different bullet weights and styles, different powders and powder burning characteristics, bullet seating depth and primers. My testing has certainly been far from totally exhaustive, but i’ve had fairly consistent results in my 9’s with the testing I’ve done. It would be nice to have the time (and money) to do really exhaustive testing!

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