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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been trying to find a proper load for 124gr Gold Dot JHP 9mm for my sub-compact, and haven't been having much luck. The load data that I can find are all from 4" barrels.

When I say "proper" load, I base that from ballistic results using FBI protocol out of a 3" barrel for expansion and penetration into ballistics gel. Depending upon the brand and load of ammo, there is a consistent drop in velocity (50-100 fps) between a 4" and 3" barrel. The velocity for the Speer Gold Dot bullets seems to be quite important. From all the test videos that I've been able to find, it seems that the Gold Dot has to have a minimum velocity in the 1100 fps range in order for the bullet to fully expand reliably and perform the way it is intended. Gold Dot 124gr +P and 124gr +P Short Barrel ammunition both tested well, with average velocities of 1100 and 1125 fps.

The velocity becomes a challenge with a 3" barrel. I've only found 2 manufacturer approved powders that appear will have the necessary velocity: Blue Dot and Unique. The velocity listings for the load data are with 4" barrels, so I have to realize that there will be less velocity out of my 3" barrel. Blue Dot with a 7.9 gr load (max load) lists at 1238 fps. I'm guessing that a 7.6 or 7.7 gr load will get me in the 1175 fps range (out of a 4" barrel) which.....subtracting the velocity drop out of a 3" barrel, should get me in the neighborhood of 1100 fps.

Problem is, I don't have access to a chronometer and my Nozzler load manual doesn't have any listings for any of this, and I haven't been able to find anything online.

All in all, I'm quite frustrated, and don't think I will ever buy any "pocket gun" again.

I carry Federal HST 124 gr, which performs excellently out of the 3" barrel. But at $1.75 per round and limited availability, it's impossible to stockpile any number of these, let alone any practice with actual carry ammo. I have 1000 Gold Dot 124 gr heads to load, and am trying to find a safe load that will get the velocity the bullet head needs for expansion.

Any suggestions?
 

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There is no such thing as a proper load for a sub compact. They are designed to run on std pressure 9mm, that is available in the loading manuals. Work up to about 75% of max, your sub should run fine there. You'll never match 4" vel in a 3" gun, neither does the factory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
There is no such thing as a proper load for a sub compact. They are designed to run on std pressure 9mm, that is available in the loading manuals. Work up to about 75% of max, your sub should run fine there. You'll never match 4" vel in a 3" gun, neither does the factory.
Proper as in fast enough to get optimal/reasonable/reliable expansion and penetration. Too slow of a load and the Gold Dot night as well be a fmj. From the multitude of test videos I've watched, the velocity needs to be in the 1100 fps range. GD 124gr +P and +P Short Barrel results from 3" barrel are fast enough. Test results from standard pressure 124gr GD out of 3" barrel were less than stellar and not something I would trust my life with in a self defense situation.
 

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Proper as in fast enough to get optimal/reasonable/reliable expansion and penetration. Too slow of a load and the Gold Dot night as well be a fmj. From the multitude of test videos I've watched, the velocity needs to be in the 1100 fps range. GD 124gr +P and +P Short Barrel results from 3" barrel are fast enough. Test results from standard pressure 124gr GD out of 3" barrel were less than stellar and not something I would trust my life with in a self defense situation.
First I don't load my sd ammo, no real point. 2nd, 124gr GD will expand down to 1100fps, even 1050fps. Pretty easy to achieve with several powders,even In a 3" bbl. WSF, unique, ramshot sil, power pistol, longshot, all will get you 1100fps in a 3" bbl. you will get quite a flash & blast out of LS & pp, blue dot as well, but you'll get to 1100fps.
 

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All of my XD Compact models are 40's, so I can't tell you absolutely what speed you will get. However, Fred has given you several powders which will do the job. I did test some e3 in a friend's XDs 3.3" gun which gave about 1050fps using 3.6grns of the stuff (a moderate load) using an SNS LRN bullet and about 1093fps out of my 4" Service model(I was actually testing e3 for smoke with lead bullets at the time), but a GDHP will yield slightly less velocity but still in the neighborhood. What I am trying to get at here is that other powders like Silhouette, and Longshot will certainly achieve acceptable velocities out of your XD Compact with an 124grn bullet, although I think you can even get there with Unique. Again, you will need to be up the ladder a bit from mid-range, more like 3/4 to 7/8 of maximum to get to where you want to go with velocity, but it certainly is achievable. Short barreled guns are "expert's guns" in more ways than one. They require more careful handling to shoot well, and they also require a bit more care in reloading or ammo selection to get the most out of them. Different powders will result in different velocity spreads between a 3" and 4" gun, but few of them will result in a loss of 100fps... it's usually more like 50-60fps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the info. The reason I was thinking along the lines of Blue Dot as opposed to Unique is I don't like using max loads. I think I might be able to get the needed velocity out of a mid range load ( between mid and 75%), and that it would give me more wiggle room to dial in the charge. I was just asking if anybody has any loads they've used with GDHP out of a sub compact, and what their results were.

I'm not worried about flash, because I have a different home defense weapon for use at night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I need to get my post count up to 10 so I can post links and videos from the tests that I've found on ammunition and 3" barrels.
 

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Proper as in fast enough to get optimal/reasonable/reliable expansion and penetration. Too slow of a load and the Gold Dot night as well be a fmj. From the multitude of test videos I've watched, the velocity needs to be in the 1100 fps range. GD 124gr +P and +P Short Barrel results from 3" barrel are fast enough. Test results from standard pressure 124gr GD out of 3" barrel were less than stellar and not something I would trust my life with in a self defense situation.
The lead can be made to be softer or harder to better control expansion and penetration. slower bullets need softer lead so that they expand reliably. faster bullets need harder lead so that they expand quickly, but not over expand and fragment.

believe it or not, there is some engineering that goes into the production of SD projectiles. they are not all the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The lead can be made to be softer or harder to better control expansion and penetration. slower bullets need softer lead so that they expand reliably. faster bullets need harder lead so that they expand quickly, but not over expand and fragment.

believe it or not, there is some engineering that goes into the production of SD projectiles. they are not all the same.
They definitely aren't your grandfathers HPs, that's for sure.

I like the Gold Dots for reloading (I bought 1000 of them for $300), just need to get the velocity right. I wish I knew what load they used for their 124gr +P, because that worked much better out of the 3" barrel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Different powders will result in different velocity spreads between a 3" and 4" gun, but few of them will result in a loss of 100fps... it's usually more like 50-60fps.
Speer lists velocity for their 124gr @ 1150 fps: Detail Page for Part # 23618

The test results from the video from the 3" barrel averaged 1031 fps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9UxDu4smlI&list=PLgNSGOEQko_M90AMdRCDMgd-w4Yozc27i&index=6

Speer lists velocity for their 124gr +P @ 1220 fps: http://www.speer-ammo.com/ballistics/detail.aspx?loadNo=23617

Test results out of 3" barrels are closer to a 1110 fps average:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JetKe1CTAY&list=PLR1aaUn5HrAddzu4I_1B_DEkq-uiBjYt6&index=10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCn2Q6rnvX4&index=20&list=PLR1aaUn5HrAddzu4I_1B_DEkq-uiBjYt6
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjRcV0eTohs
 

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You are beating a dead horse. 100 ft per second more or less isn't going to make the gold dot bullets performance change enough that the person you shoot can tell the difference. I haven't heard any bad guys say "your bullets are too slow, you should have had a 4" barrel", as they were falling to the pavement.:p
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
100 ft per second more or less isn't going to make the gold dot bullets performance change enough that the person you shoot can tell the difference.
Test results say quite differently. Statistical over peneteation due to lack of expansion concerns me when it comes to SD ammunition. If I wanted to carry fmjs.......

But anyways, I found what I was looking for.
 

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The lead can be made to be softer or harder to better control expansion and penetration. slower bullets need softer lead so that they expand reliably. faster bullets need harder lead so that they expand quickly, but not over expand and fragment.

believe it or not, there is some engineering that goes into the production of SD projectiles. they are not all the same.
There are vel windows though, JHP or LHP. It's all about the design & alloy. Notice in the 45, less than 50fps made a diff.

 

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While I will grant that Speer's PREDICTED speed (my own and other's testing have shown that you hardly ever get the predicted speed in a 4" gun either) in whatever length barrel they test in, and the actual chrono speed of the same round in a 3" barrel is significantly different, I still say that well crafted ammo using powder of the correct speed will result in a much smaller FPS spread than that.

So... using a powder like e3 all the way up to more medium powders like Unique or Universal will result in tighter comparative velocity spreads. Even slower powders like Silhouette through Longshot may not burn completely in the barrel, but they have enough "oomph" to propel your Gold Dots to speeds adequate for full expansion even in the short barrel, though they will go faster in a longer one.

You are not going to get 1200fps out of your 3" barrel, but you can, with several powders, get 1100+fps out of it which should be "good enough" for your bullet.
 

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First, let me say that I agree with several school's of thought here.

Now I'll say that I make my own defense ammo and have done so for many years. It follows a similar philosophy as shooting "Match Grade" ammo. I trust mine more than I trust theirs. Both in accuracy and quality control.

I've loaded many 9mm rounds with the flake powders like Power Pistol and back farther with Blue Dot and the 9mm's former pressure rating of 35,700 CUP that is very near today's standard of 38,500 PSI for 9mm +P. Most all of the flake powders that have the potential for very high velocity are going to produce very bright muzzle-flash when fired in the dark. The exception would be Alliant's newer BE-86, that like Power Pistol, is a variant of Bullseye. I have not used it and can't recommend it, but BE-86 is treated for low-flash.

Still though, there are advantages in using denser spherical powders. Ramshot Silhouette and Hodgdon CFE Pistol are also chemically treated to give low flash. They are also similar to each other in regard to burn rate and my Silhouette loads up into the +P range, simply work. I really don't have a need to use CFE Pistol until I were to run out of proven powders.

Part of the problem will be data, and since you've decided on the Gold Dot bullet, I would get a SPEER manual. We can make all kinds of comparisons as far as lead alloy and jacket types like Fred has shown with different alloy cast bullets and your tests with the HST. What makes the Gold Dot different is that it is not truly jacketed in the conventional sense like the HST. It gets its bonding by the copper plating being fused to the core. SPEER is the undisputed leader in this technology that actually pre-dates the Gold Dot design that has simply taken a proven process and improved on it.

For a factory load in the XD9sc, I would trust the 124 gr. +P Short Barrel Gold Dot because it's core alloy is made for the lower velocity. Unfortunately, that bullet isn't available to handloaders so far as I know. What you're saying about the 124 gr. +P Gold Dot being overrated at 1220 FPS from a 4" barrel, I can reinforce and will with actual chrono data from 3 pistols and 10 shot strings.

1. SR9, 4.14": 1174 FPS, ES 61 & SD at 17 FPS.

2. SR9c, 3.5": 1116 FPS, ES 56 & SD at 21 FPS.

3. S&W Shield 3.?": 1089 FPS, ES 66 & SD at 19 FPS.

IMO, all 3 velocities are in the Gold Dot's performance envelope as others have stated. The one thing that can easily be improved are the Extreme Spreads and Standard Deviations. It may sound like over-kill, but I want every round in the magazine to perform like the first round fired with as little velocity spread as possible, or in comparison to expansion and penetration tests I've performed with all of my defense loads pretty regularly. Nit pickin'? Maybe, but no defense load can be "Too Good" for me, personally.

I do not have the SPEER manual, but JSG has told me in the past that it's warmer than SIERRA's which is pretty close to Lyman's. I use SIERRA and Lyman data for standard pressure reference. Since SPEER makes and loads the Gold Dot in their data, it will be best for their bullet, IMO. Some are put off by SPEER's lack of pressure ratings, but there's no way in our liability driven society that those loads aren't being pressure tested. SPEER and SIERRA simply choose not to give pressure ratings and list in order of highest to lowest velocity or charge-weight. Lyman does give pressure ratings and why I always say that every handloader needs at least 1 Lyman manual. NOSLER data is probably some of the lightest available, and then it is for their Cup & Core jacketed bullets.

Getting back to powders, low flash is a priority for me. I only want enough to get a flash sight picture of the front sight and no more. Like I said, I use Silhouette, but I also use V-V 3N37 which is fairly low flash without being treated. It is capable of producing very high velocity at more stable pressure than flake powders. Same with Silhouette. BUT, in this case, if SPEER lists data for Ramshot True Blue, it is the powder I'd use for the XD sc. It's pressure stability is great enough that I believe it will hold velocity better in going from a 4" to a 3" barrel. I would work up fairly quickly, meaning only 5 rounds at each charge increase up to the MAX Charge. True Blue is stable even above 40,000 PSI in 9mm MAJOR loads, it's not going to have any issues at standard pressure, 35,000 PSI. It's very dense and fine grained. Nothing meters better which helps with charge-weight uniformity and it's a naturally low flasher due to its density and physical size. To take that a step farther, it's the powder I use for my 2 3/4" Speed-Six loads in .357 Magnum and even then, flash is about as low as it can be while uniformity and accuracy are excellent. If it isn't available to you and Silhouette or 3N37 are, both are excellent, but again, it's gonna depend on whose data you're looking at. In this case I'd be looking at SPEER's. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you very much. That was more than I hoped for. It is good to see another set of data points in reference to velocity drop being close to 100 fps. Even with the velocity drop, the +P is moving fast enough for the bullet to perform as intended. 100 fps drop in standard pressure rounds is enough to make me question their reliability (would be in the 1000 fps or maybe even less range).

Like I said, I have a different primary weapon for home defense, so flash was never a large concern, and I carry in public with HST's. That being said, I'm in no hurry to load these, so if I can get the needed velocity with a lower flash powder, I'll buy some. The Gold Dots I am loading are more for future 'rainy days'.

I don't meter my flake powders, instead using a volume scoop and weighing every single charge. Yes, that's very time consuming, but I load to help kill time, so it really doesn't bother me. A question about spherical powders. I thought that I read somewhere that they are more difficult to ignite, and that magnum primers were recommended. Is that right or was that more for cold climates?
 

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As to the difficulty to ignite thing... Like 57K, I find Silhouette to be a very useful powder for many of the same reasons. It is a pretty dense spherical powder, and using standard primers in a variety of loadings in various calibers, I have never noted any difficulty with ignition. I use a chrono with ALL my load testing and have for years. In all that time, Silhouette (and all the other sphericals I have used) have always given very good SD and ES figures with standard primers. You would not get those results with inconsistent ignition. The only primers Silhouette didn't like were some "green" primers made without the use of fulmate of lead (the common ingredient in most primers). Those were weak and only high nitroglycerine powders like TiteGroup could be used with them with any consistency of ignition. Any reference to weak ignition with ball powders may be older ones associated with rifle rounds, which use much slower powders that are harder to ignite to begin with. More modern ball rifle powders do not seem to suffer from the same problems as were formerly sometimes reported when they first were used years ago. Reloading manuals printed today will tell you what primers they get best results with, but with pistols this is seldom a problem.

57K's reference to True Blue is most likely highly viable for your use, since True Blue would seem to be a spherical "Unique" like powder whose burn rate in a short barrel might make it ideal for your experiments. Sadly, True Blue is as rare as a crossbreed between a Pegasus and a Unicorn at this time. However, should you encounter some, it may be your best bet, along with Silhouette or 3N37 if you find them first, to get you where you want to go. All three are very "linear" powders that can be pushed, should it be necessary, without going crazy at the high end.
 
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