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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been trying to work up a load for the Hornady 124gr XTP's with Accurate #5 for 9mm using a 3.8" XDM and EMP.

My groups are horrible. 5 shot groups and I am lucky to get 4 on paper with either XDM or EMP. I have used the Hornady recommened powder charges (ladder test) and OAL and have been extending OAL to max. Still not touching the rifleing.

I use a previously worked up AA#5/115fmj load to warm up before shooting the test loads for XTP and can get a 2" group @ 11yds then when I switch to the XTP's they are all over the place. The tightest group I have had is 6" with XTP and the XDM.

Has anyone used AA#5 successfully with the 124gr XTP?

Edit: Using Sierra recommended powder charges with Hornady OAL. Then incrementally extending OAL to max.
 

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My 9MM/AA#5/124 grain HP data goes like this:

Ranier 124 grain HP, AA#5, 6.0 grains, Rem. 1 &1/2 primers, OAL of 1.082"

shoots very well in my 3.8" XDM and M&P FS

Have also used this except with Federal magnum small pistol primers.

Have also used this except with Berry's 124 grain HPs (not as accurate in my guns as the Rainier bullets).

All my Hornaday 124's went into the .357 SIG brass (my M&P FS .357 doesn't like the plated bullets).
 

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I have ways found the 124gr xtp an exceptionally accurate bullet. I have not tried aa#5, but other medium burners like unique, WSF & universal have been brilliant. Sub 1.5" grous at 50ft are pretty easy with several diff service grade pistols.
 

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I have used AA#5 but not in a good many years. It is not the powder I'd use here. For pure accuracy if Hornady lists it, True Blue is hard to beat. In the absence of bullet manufacturers data, I tend to use SIERRA's because thier bullets tend to have the longest shanks combined with very short OACL recommendations. Lengthening the 124 gr. XTP according to your pistol's chamber and SIERRA's data is safe to use, IMO. Lyman also lists a load where they likewise used the 125 gr. SIERRA JHP at the same OACL.

If you are attempting to make defense loads, Silhouette is about as good as it gets. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@M1A4ME--The most accurate load I have found is 5.9gr @ 1.15 OAL.

@57K--I would prefer to use some other powder but, I have 6# of AA#5 and it's still hard to find anything.

I did find some 124gr gold dots and tested them today. They were grouping much better (best was 5.9gr). I'll reload some of the XTP's and try them again.
 

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That's what worked in my pistol (3.8" XDM).

Remember, not every gun shoots the same ammo the same way.

Also, that was not anything approaching "hot" in my gun. I never use the max. load listed in the books but sometimes differences between the way the gun's parts are made/put together can make a load that works in one gun show signs of high pressure in another gun.

Be careful when reloading. Good luck.
 

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@M1A4ME--The most accurate load I have found is 5.9gr @ 1.15 OAL.

@57K--I would prefer to use some other powder but, I have 6# of AA#5 and it's still hard to find anything.

I did find some 124gr gold dots and tested them today. They were grouping much better (best was 5.9gr). I'll reload some of the XTP's and try them again.

Yep, we have to use what we can these days and I'm not saying that #5 is a bad choice, I'm saying there are better when you can find them. The XDm 3.8 is by no means a fragile pistol. Standard Pressure load data even up to the MAX Charge will not present any problems for these pistols. Check to see how long you can load the 124 gr. XTP. My thought is that around 1.122"/28.5mm should be possible but confirm that by the "plunk" test and any number of threads where we've discussed establishing the correct OACL for YOUR pistol's chamber. True Blue is similar in burn rate to #5 but it has greater pressure stablility and ballistic uniformity. Silhouette is treated to give low flash and while it's not quite as dense as True Blue or #5 it still meters very well. The majority of my 9mm load are +P with JHPs and nothing has worked better than Silhouette in accuracy and the very low standard deviations you'll get to reinforce its uniformity. I have not yet tried CFE Pistol as yet, but IMO, Hodgdon introduced it to compete with Silhouette and it also has a flash suppressant. For more $, 3N37 is very similar to Silhouette but .1 or .2 grs. slower burning depending on bullet type/weight.

Just things to keep in mind for down the road. ;)
 

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Didn't know "ladder" tests meant anything with handguns or at distances less than 250 yards.
Your gun may not "like" the bullet or the powder. Many 9x19s do a LOT better with 0.357" bullets and I have never had any issue working up a load.
The main reason to use the bullets you are, I expect, is for loading your own self-defense ammo (even simulation can be done with less expensive bullets). I find that Zero 121gn .38 Super JHP and Montana Gold 124gn JHPs are very accurate--I can't afford the expensive bullets you are using--and I don't think they are for self-defense, just target shooting.
Have you tried the max COL that fits your magazine and, if possible, just touches the lede/rifling? SAAMI max COL is an industry standard ONLY and does not apply to reloaders. Just start at the lowest starting load and work up.
AA5 is a great general-purpose powder for lots of handguns (and particularly .40S&W target loads), but it just hasn't done well for me in any of my 9x19s (two BHPs, three P-08s, two P-38s, one S&W, two CZ75s, one CZ75 clone, and one 1911).
I find best accuracy comes with Power Pistol and Silhouette. Other powders that do well are AA7 and N340.
True Blue is a great powder, but in some cartridges it is slower than Silhouette and in others it is faster. Don't know about lot-to-lot variations, just that it jumps around from 9x19, 9x21, .38 Super, .40, and .45.
 

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"Bump" is adding a response so that the thread doesn't die and more responses can be added. Since this is an older thread, NSGA probably wanted more responses before it went away again.

And... it is true that True Blue, and a good number of other powders will "change speed" (at least from the closed bomb tests used to determine their initial burn rates) if used in cartridge cases of varying sizes. That is why I like some data about pressure in the manuals that I might use for testing new powders in different size cases. True Blue is a very good powder and quite stable in a wide variety of calibers. One of its admirable qualities is its load range, but like any powder, guessing about what kind of pressure it will exhibit in various uses is not a good idea, and formulated, tested loads in the desired caliber from a reputable manual are always preferred.
 

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"Bump" is adding a response so that the thread doesn't die and more responses can be added. Since this is an older thread, NSGA probably wanted more responses before it went away again.

And... it is true that True Blue, and a good number of other powders will "change speed" (at least from the closed bomb tests used to determine their initial burn rates) if used in cartridge cases of varying sizes. That is why I like some data about pressure in the manuals that I might use for testing new powders in different size cases. True Blue is a very good powder and quite stable in a wide variety of calibers. One of its admirable qualities is its load range, but like any powder, guessing about what kind of pressure it will exhibit in various uses is not a good idea, and formulated, tested loads in the desired caliber from a reputable manual are always preferred.
Exactly right, JSG, so this should not be breaking news to any experienced reloader. All this signifies is how close they are in burn rate. Check and see if anyone is loading 9mm MAJOR in IPSC with AA#5 because they certainly do with True Blue and then it is faster burning in .45 ACP with about an ideal burn rate for full-power JHP defense loads. And True Blue is one of the most, if not THE MOST pressure stable handgun powder in existence. If you have kept up with the Ramshot powders as I have with all of their data manuals since the first, that can be proven by it's ability to hold single-digit standard deviations from low pressure rounds where my 200 gr. SWC load in .45 ACP is probably around 15,000 PSI. Ramshot's 200 gr. XTP load that gave them an SD of 6 at 17,123 PSI, I've replicated to the same exact SD while using mixed headstamp brass. Then up to the extreme of a 300 gr. Partition in .454 Casull giving 1557 FPS at 53,570 PSI with an SD of 6 as well and then does essentially the same thing with everything in-between starting from .380 up to the .454 Casull. When someone finds another powder even close to that capability, let me know. And there has NEVER been any lot variations with True Blue. In 2001, their ballistician told me that it is the powder used by FNH to load their factory 5.7 X 28mm which has a reputation for being fickle about pressure fluctuations with less than capable powders.

I like Silhouette. Use it and recommend it for 9mm up to +P, but it's not the equal of True Blue in terms of uniformity and True Blue is a naturally low flasher. This holds up even with handloads for my 2 3/4" Ruger Speed-Six in .357 Magnum. In .45 ACP, forgetaboutit. For every bullet type I load, accuracy is exceptional and I get SD's below 10 with all bullet types. Same with .40 S&W: you can squeeze more velocity out of Silhouette or 3N37, but they won't match True Blue's accuracy potential. ;)
 

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Uhmm... I don't think anyone is using AA5 for 9mm major. It is a good and useful powder, but it doesn't like to be pushed, and when it reaches its pressure limit it's done. Silhouette and True Blue, for some reason, are a lot more forgiving and one of the reasons I really like those Ramshot powders. I just got an SD of 7 today testing some RMR plated flat point 124's with 5.3grns of Silhouette. Really nice accurate and smooth shooting load in the upper mid-range of velocity for an 124grn bullet in 9mm at around 1150fps. Silhouette will take it a lot higher without breaking something if need be, but this is a pretty good "range load" which exceeds a lot of the factory stuff and is certainly more accurate than most.

I have been testing in a new gun I got about 3 weeks ago, a 5.25 XDm9. It came with about a 6lb trigger, but with a Powder River Ultimate kit and a few other springs and some fluff and buff I got it down to 3 1/2 with a nice clean break, short reset and no noticeable overtravel. A real pleasure to shoot. I could take it a little lower, but I like it where it is so I'll just shoot it. If I were still competing I would use it in Production and the other 40cal 5.25 in Limited, which has the same trigger. They are nice guns so I'm bragging on them a bit I guess, but as testbeds for new loads they are great. I only have about 3000rnds through it so far, but I know I'll never sell it.
 

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Uhmm... I don't think anyone is using AA5 for 9mm major. It is a good and useful powder, but it doesn't like to be pushed, and when it reaches its pressure limit it's done. Silhouette and True Blue, for some reason, are a lot more forgiving and one of the reasons I really like those Ramshot powders. I just got an SD of 7 today testing some RMR plated flat point 124's with 5.3grns of Silhouette. Really nice accurate and smooth shooting load in the upper mid-range of velocity for an 124grn bullet in 9mm at around 1150fps. Silhouette will take it a lot higher without breaking something if need be, but this is a pretty good "range load" which exceeds a lot of the factory stuff and is certainly more accurate than most.

I have been testing in a new gun I got about 3 weeks ago, a 5.25 XDm9. It came with about a 6lb trigger, but with a Powder River Ultimate kit and a few other springs and some fluff and buff I got it down to 3 1/2 with a nice clean break, short reset and no noticeable overtravel. A real pleasure to shoot. I could take it a little lower, but I like it where it is so I'll just shoot it. If I were still competing I would use it in Production and the other 40cal 5.25 in Limited, which has the same trigger. They are nice guns so I'm bragging on them a bit I guess, but as testbeds for new loads they are great. I only have about 3000rnds through it so far, but I know I'll never sell it.

Congrats on the new XDm 5.25, JSG! I'd have one myself, or an XD TAC in 9mm if they would just throat their barrels longer. The RMR plated load with 5.3 grs. of Silhouette giving you an SD of 7 sounds excellent. Especially since you shoot 20 round strings. Accurate and nice shooting says it all and it sounds like the longer barrel might aid in uniformity. At 1150 FPS, the SD of 7 is excellent. I usually have to push bullets harder to get SDs like that. My old standby REM 124 gr. JHP load for example at 1238 FPS gives an SD of 6 from my 4.14" SR9. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I finally got to the range and tried the 124gr xtp and 124 gr gold dots. I used the plunk test to find an oal of 1.15 for both after subtracting .020". All fed reliably.
My variable was crimp. The xtp were still around 6" @ 11yds (best group). The gold dots were 1 1/2" @ 11 yds.

I have been looking for some other powder but, still haven't found any locally.

I am primarily developing for SD loads. A lot of the match shooters here use Montana gold 124gr jhp's. So, I was also getting a general idea for matches.

I have been reloading for about 3 years. So, I'm still new. This is the part the I really enjoy. Adjusting and tinkering until you find something that works.

Thanks for the help. I can't wait to try another powder if I can ever find it.
 

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I have used a lot of Montana Gold JHP bullets in both 40S&W and 9mm. Most of my guns shoot them very accurately indeed, and if matches are what you want bulk bullets for, they are as good as any and better than most. I have had good luck with lead, coated lead, and plated bullets too. These types of bullets usually require a bit more "development time" testing different loads than jacketed bullets to wring the most out of them, but they will shoot as well or sometimes better than jacketed bullets do, and are considerably less expensive.

So, as your needs expand away from SD loadings, don't be afraid to experiment with various bullet types and shapes. You never know what YOUR gun will like the most, and you will not give up anything in accuracy once you zero in on a good load combination.

Still... I am aghast that XTP's produced such poor accuracy for you. In my experience they are very accurate bullets. Something else is going on that you should keep looking into in order to eliminate what could turn out to be a simple solution to the problems you had with XTP bullets. Good luck and keep us informed.
 

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Looking back through my chrono log the other day, I found that I mistated something in my last post. With the MG 124 gr. JHP loaded to 1.142"/29mm over Silhouette with velocity at 1163 FPS, ES was 22 with an SD of 6 in August of last year from my SR9. Been out of those for a while, got some NOSLER 124 gr. JHPs that aren't any better as far as any defense application in 9mm, anyway, and have been using PD 124 gr. JHPs that work about as well for plinkers/target.

Gonna try the SNS 125 gr. RN-SWC to replace the Blue Bullet's version that was discontinued. I'll load those with True Blue and see if I can get the same kind of accuracy with SD about as low as I may ever see at 3! 12 FPS from high to low velocity from a 10 shot string with velocity at 1122 FPS. ;)
 

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I shot some more of those SNS coated 125's today myself. They were "bookin'" though... right at 1185fps using 5.3grns of Silhouette out of my 5.25 XDm. I think the OAL was only 1.1ish though. With True Blue something like 5.1-5.2 with your 1.122 OAL should do it for low to mid 1100fps I would think. Let me know what you come up with in case I can score some True Blue myself.

PS... Ramshot posted a 9mm +P addendum to the #5 load guide. You can download it from their site. It seems to agree with some of my data with Silhouette though they claim a shorter barrel. Perhaps it will be useful for True Blue too.
 

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I shot some more of those SNS coated 125's today myself. They were "bookin'" though... right at 1185fps using 5.3grns of Silhouette out of my 5.25 XDm. I think the OAL was only 1.1ish though. With True Blue something like 5.1-5.2 with your 1.122 OAL should do it for low to mid 1100fps I would think. Let me know what you come up with in case I can score some True Blue myself.

PS... Ramshot posted a 9mm +P addendum to the #5 load guide. You can download it from their site. It seems to agree with some of my data with Silhouette though they claim a shorter barrel. Perhaps it will be useful for True Blue too.

I'm sure it's the same as the +P data they already sent me, which is slightly bizarre because they loaded +P with everything from Accurate's fastest through #7. I wouldn't bother loading Nitro 100 or Ramshot Competition in 9 x 19mm and I certainly wouldn't use them or ZIP, Solo 1000 or AA#2 for +P. I don't know what posessed them to load with these powders up to 38,500 PSI supposedly, and then there's the issue of using minimum dimension test barrels to inflate pressure for liability concerns. They won't confirm that they are doing that, but they didn't deny it either. If you look at any of their +P data and compare it to Standard Pressure data from Western, Lyman, SIERRA or SPEER you'll see that it's a bit suspect. BTW, buddy, my OACL for the 125 gr. RN-SWC style bullet is 1.142"/ 29mm rather than 1.122"/28.5mm, The charge I'm using is a little higher than Ramshot's to get 1122 FPS and there's no way my load is +P. I also would not use AA#5 for +P. True Blue would be the fastest of their powders that I would and have used and you know that Silhouette goes into most of my +P defense loads. That's not all about flash because True Blue gives very low flash without needing to be treated. Something else that's kinda funny, this last # of True Blue we got lists different calibers where they recommend True Blue like .38 and .44 Special and .45 Colt which are all pretty mild in pressure and then their last recommendation is for 9 x 19mm Law Enforcement loads. True Blue is finer grained and denser than Silhouette by 935 grams/liter vs 800 grams/liter, so Silhouette gives greater case-fill in the 9 x 19mm and the .40 S&W, not that you won't get plenty of load density with True Blue in either though. In .45 ACP where pressure is a good bit lower, True Blue is easily the better powder unless you need the screaming velocity that Silhouette is capable of with JHPs at Standard Pressure. Just don't expect it to equal True Blue in terms of accuracy and uniformity.

On the topic of burn rate we were discussing before, I was looking at LEE's Volumetric Density/Disk chart for the Pro AutoDisk powder measure yesterday and it differs from Accurate's. That combined with the fact that their charging disks/cavities rarely match charges that are actually weighed, I thought I'd remind/warn everyone to be aware that any charge disk/cavity selected should be confirmed by actually weighing charges. Here's the other thing: Ramshot has shown True Blue as faster than Silhouette in some data like the last Ramshot 4.5 load guide. The Hodgdon burn rate chart shows the same and that IS for the closed bomb test. The Western #5 load guide lists Silhouette as faster than True Blue, but that is rarely my own experience in 9mm and .45 ACP. Ramshot/Western has never listed any Magnum revolver data for Silhouette, so I don't know what the result would be there. True Blue is less sensitive to powder positioning and why True Blue is recommended where Silhouette is not. ;)
 

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I noticed the same thing 57K. It has True Blue as the equivalent of WAP, but the consensus is that Silhouette IS the clone of WAP. And yet... when they sent me data for 9X23 at my request, that data clearly shows that Silhouette is a slower powder by any measure than True Blue. They are not oceans apart, but any standard reloading guide will list Silhouette in more "robust" loadings than True Blue in the "defense calibers" used in auto pistols. Revolvers are another matter, where they seem to use True Blue more liberally even than Silhouette. Just one more data point confirming that when used in different applications, powders will show different burn rates. But for most uses, reloaders will generally find Silhouette to be the slower powder.

Your comment about powder positioning may be valid, but I don't think that's the entire story of why Silhouette is not listed for those magnum type case capacities.
 

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Meltedchip, I suspect that you may be using a load that is too hot. While it's not directly transferable I discovered with a 357 Magnum load featuring Hornady XTP's that you cannot always substitute data for a similar bullet. In my case using the data for a Speer Gold dot resulted in overpressure loads with a same weight Hornady XTP. While no harm was done, on nearly every cylinder full I had cases sticking, which required a rather firm rap on the ejector.

Looking at the Hornady manual reveal no data for the XTP with Accurate #5, the recomended powder for the 124 grain XTP is Accurate #7. Things like this can be the result of a finding of a particular powder not being suitable for the caliber or the result of not having the budget to test every combination possible. I'm sort of guessing #5 wasn't tested. Looking at Hornady's load data for AA#7 and then interpolating down to #5 based on Accurate's 357 data would indicate a load range between 5.1 and 6.0 grains for AA #5. My inclination is to start really light and work up slowly, so you should probably start out at around 4.5 grains. If you find you can't get a load to work well then it becomes somewhat obvious that the reason Hornady doesn't list this combination was because it just wasn't a usable combination.
 
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