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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a Dillon RL550B to start handloading 9mm to actually start practicing and I'm looking for a good starting point. I really hate to waste time, so what powder, primer and bullet do you use and why?

I'll be using my ammo in an XDm Competition for 3-gun and IPSC/USPSA. I need the bullet to knock down steel with some authority.

So, whatcha got?
 

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I just bought a Dillon RL550B to start handloading 9mm to actually start practicing and I'm looking for a good starting point. I really hate to waste time, so what powder, primer and bullet do you use and why?

I'll be using my ammo in an XDm Competition for 3-gun and IPSC/USPSA. I need the bullet to knock down steel with some authority.

So, whatcha got?
Well... A lot of us have data but right now it's all about the powders you may have on hand or can get. Generally for steel I think I would favor 147grn bullets but a lot of guys also shoot 124/125grn as well. For me lately, steel practice has been with 147grn SNS coated RNFP types using 4.3grns of Silhouette @ 1.11 OAL or so, but good luck finding that powder right now. In my 5.25 this gives me about 967fps (142.2 PF) which I like but many would say is a bit too brisk for just shooting steel. If you go too low with a full power recoil spring in a lot of guns you can't run the gun so I like to be in the low 140's PF, but that's just me.

So tell us what powders you might have and maybe some of us would be able to help you out more.
 

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You're going to have to experiment. Different guns "like" different loads most of the time.

My 3.8 XDM 9MM likes 124 grain HPs with AA#5 powder (which I've run out of).

My S&W M&P FS 9MM likes 147 grain HPS with AA#5 powder.

MY CZ PO9 9MM (so far, limited number of rounds but I've shot 115, 124 and 147 HPs through it) does its best groups with 115 grain HPs (Georgia Arms reloads, but I'm working on some of my own).

You've also got to consider what is reliable in the gun. My 147 grain lead loads work in all my 9MM's except my Browning. It just won't feed them reliably. I tried, shorter, longer, in between, it just won't feed all 15 rounds out of the magazine without jamming up at least 3 times if not 4 times.

I use any primers I can get. Mostly Federal, then CCI, then Remington and Tula small pistol primers. My CZs will even eat Tula small rifle primers with no problems (can't say that for the M&Ps).

I've used AA#5 (mostly), Red Dot (1 lb.), and even some Bullseye for 9MM loads. Just started experimenting with some other powders but haven't shot any of the rounds yet.

I've used Berry's bullets (plated 124 HPs), Hornady (124 HPs), Rainier (plated 147 HPs), and Missouri Bullets (147 grain LTC). I just started experimenting with some 115 and 125 grain HPs from Precision Delta but haven't fired any of them yet.

In my guns the Rainier bullets gave me better accuracy than the Berry's bullets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, to answer questions to clarify, I don't have any powders right now. I'm looking for ideal loads if conditions were perfect and the powders were available. The ultimate goal is that a bucket list item for me is to make the trip to Idaho and shoot the MGM Ironman 3-gun match and I understand that they get creative with their stages. I want to be able to put the steel down with a little bit of authority (well, as much authority as the 9mm can muster).

I've been reloading .308 precision and accurate (not quite "precision") 6.8 SPC as well as subsonic 6.8 for several years, but I understand that pistol reloading is probably a different animal. I just wanna know what has worked well for you...especially if you shoot an XD or XDm.

I've recently learned that the XD chambers can be "tight" meaning that the lands are closer to the chamber than something like a Glock or M&P, so OAL is more "sensitive" and I should be more careful about OAL.
 

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Ball powders, like the AA#5 will give you more consistent powder charges out of just about any powder measure vs. flake powders. I'm using flake powders because that's why I have now that my 8 lb. jug of AA#5 has run out.

You can still get good accuracy using flake powders (Unique, Red Dot, Blue Dot, Herco, etc) but they charge will vary more than when using a good ball powder.

My two 9MM XDMs have never failed to feed anything I've put in the magazine. FMJ, hollow points or lead. Those Missouri Bullets 147 grain lead bullets feed and shoot great. I've just bought a box of their new coated lead bullets but I haven't had a chance to shoot them yet.

Not sure the XDM is sensitive to bullet length. I first check to see if the seated depth allows the round to fit in and feed out of the magazine and then check the fit in the chamber. So far, with my two XDMs, if it fits in the magazine, it feeds out of and chambers just fine. I've not had a single malfunction of any kind with either XDM. Can't say that for the M&Ps or the Glock.
 

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Well, to answer questions to clarify, I don't have any powders right now. I'm looking for ideal loads if conditions were perfect and the powders were available. The ultimate goal is that a bucket list item for me is to make the trip to Idaho and shoot the MGM Ironman 3-gun match and I understand that they get creative with their stages. I want to be able to put the steel down with a little bit of authority (well, as much authority as the 9mm can muster).

I've been reloading .308 precision and accurate (not quite "precision") 6.8 SPC as well as subsonic 6.8 for several years, but I understand that pistol reloading is probably a different animal. I just wanna know what has worked well for you...especially if you shoot an XD or XDm.

I've recently learned that the XD chambers can be "tight" meaning that the lands are closer to the chamber than something like a Glock or M&P, so OAL is more "sensitive" and I should be more careful about OAL.
147s seem to be the most popular for making minor PF. I like Silhouette in 9 x 19mm defense loads but for comp I'd use True Blue. Good luck finding any! Its burn rate is close to AA#5 but it's more uniform and will give you better accuracy. It's also a very dense and fine grained spherical (ball-type) powder.

One way you can deal with the short chamber issue is with 125 gr. RN bullets of the SWC type where the shank of the bullet above the shoulder is smaller in diameter and won't contact the throat. Like JSG, I really like the coated bullets. Haven't used any 147s yet but built a load wqith Blue Bullet's 125 gr. RN-SWC using True Blue. It is very accurate but velocity at 1122 FPS is too fast with a PF of 140. This load gave me an SD of 3! from my 4.14" SR9. Slowing it down to 1108 FPS (138.5 PF) with 6.0 grs. of True Blue using an OACL of 1.142", SD was 8. I ve also loaded this bullet with WST where 4.7 grs. gave a velocity of 1027 FPS (128.4 PF) with the same OACL but with an SD of 13, you'd probably need to go to at least 4.8 grs. to have a safety factor over the 125 PF minimum. If it were me, I'd use 147 gr. coated bullets over True Blue thats very well suited to loading around 130 PF or a little higher depending on the SD and looking at the Lyman data. ;)
 

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I run a 5.25" for competition. I reload with a 147gr S&S FP no lube groove coated bullet. I use a variety of primers but 4.8gr of AA#5 with a 1.10" OAL works well in my gun. I tried to go longer but at the 1.30" length the bullet gets pressed into the lands.

If my stockpile of AA#5 is depleted I will be switching to True Blue. I ran some Bullseye but found it to be smokey.
 

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I run a 5.25" for competition. I reload with a 147gr S&S FP no lube groove coated bullet. I use a variety of primers but 4.8gr of AA#5 with a 1.10" OAL works well in my gun. I tried to go longer but at the 1.30" length the bullet gets pressed into the lands.

If my stockpile of AA#5 is depleted I will be switching to True Blue. I ran some Bullseye but found it to be smokey.
Yeah, if the 147 is truncated cone shape they require a shorter OACL. Many reloaders get smoke with Bullseye and cast bullets and switching to coated helps. Blue Bullet's dropped the 125 I was using but luckily, SNS has it. The Lyman #356637 has a rounded ogive but a flat point and they loaded short at 1.058" and 4.7 grs. of True Blue is the Start Charge. Lengthening that bullet to 1.100" I wouldn't go below 4.8 grs. and I'd probably start at 4.9 grs. ;)
 

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4.6 gr behind 124 gr plated .... production division with XD9 .... but I would not trust some smuck on internet, you need to work up a load in your gun
 

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I run a 5.25" for competition. I reload with a 147gr S&S FP no lube groove coated bullet. I use a variety of primers but 4.8gr of AA#5 with a 1.10" OAL works well in my gun. I tried to go longer but at the 1.30" length the bullet gets pressed into the lands.

If my stockpile of AA#5 is depleted I will be switching to True Blue. I ran some Bullseye but found it to be smokey.
This is the same bullet in the same gun using the same OAL as I use but of course I used Silhouette and you use AA5 which is still a good powder if you can get it. The SNS coasted 147 is a very good bullet in most 9mm guns. I get excellent accuracy out of it in all my XD types.

@ LocoGringo... The chamber of the XDm 5.25 is not especially tight (tight actually refers to its diameter, not its length) though it is a bit shorter than some to the lands. This is normally referred to as "throat length". Thus the use of 1.1 or so with the 147 SNS bullets because of the fatter ogive of that bullet. You will encounter this with many bullets using XD type pistols. For some reason Springfield seems to believe that their guns will be more accurate using the shorter length to the rifling measured from the end of where the case is stopped by the chamber iteself. Personally, I could go for a distance to the lands about .015 longer, but the XD's all shoot very well as it is so just be watchful of the OAL data from the books and if you have to go shorter or longer for your guns using a particular bullet then adjust load densities up or down accordingly, especially if they vary by more than say .010 if you are near the maximums for the powder you are using. Otherwise, at lower densities it won't matter much at that variance. As always, the chronograph will tell you via the velocity readings just how close you are to "book" pressures and you can carefully adjust powder weight from there.
 

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Xtreme 147gr over 3.5 of N320 is what I use. Longest OAL that will fiction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
4.6 gr behind 124 gr plated .... production division with XD9 .... but I would not trust some smuck on internet, you need to work up a load in your gun
I would definintely work up my own load...you're absolutely right. I'm just looking for info for the best components to begin with rather than trying almost every combination possible from scratch...basically, I'm trying not to reinvent the wheel.

Edit: Oh, and 4.6 grains of what powder?
 

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My Xdm 3.8 likes heavier bullets so I use Berrys 147 rn over 5.4 g aa #5, loaded shorter than expected and crimped. I don't have my book in front of me but I will update on the coal.
 

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I use 4.0gr of Titegroup pushing Xtreme 124gr plated pills out of my 5.25. I use this load for Steel/3gun and USPSA. Love it
 

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125LCN bullet - cheap. I like the montana gold dot better but couldn't get it so tried lead. 1/2 the price. accuracy at 50 yards is different..at 25 not much, at 15 none I can see.
I shoot some IDPA and a PPC league over the summer.
I like W231 but couldn't get it so have bullseye from loading 38s. works fine. Got some TG too, may try that in 38 as the SASS folks love it, but I got 8 lbs of BE...so I'm good for a long time I think.
Shooting lead I stay toward the lower end of the load range.
My XDm is find..same load in my SW MP9 hits low left by some 6" at 12 yards. Yes, THAT far off. The Montana gold dot load I had worked in both, but I could tweak it for each a bit better.
Have to work a good lead load for it.

Primers are 95% winchester as that's what I can get locally.
 

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I use 4.0gr of Titegroup pushing Xtreme 124gr plated pills out of my 5.25. I use this load for Steel/3gun and USPSA. Love it
Xtreme 147gr over 3.5 of N320 is what I use. Longest OAL that will fiction.
I too have used both of these bullets with very good results. I even used the RMR/Extreme 147's in loadings for 9X23 at around 1200fps and they still shot very well at pressures at or near 45,000 psi. Though a bit more expensive than coated lead, these more heavily plated than the "average" plated bullets are still very good choices in a lot of applications.
 

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125LCN bullet - cheap. I like the montana gold dot better but couldn't get it so tried lead. 1/2 the price. accuracy at 50 yards is different..at 25 not much, at 15 none I can see.
I shoot some IDPA and a PPC league over the summer.
I like W231 but couldn't get it so have bullseye from loading 38s. works fine. Got some TG too, may try that in 38 as the SASS folks love it, but I got 8 lbs of BE...so I'm good for a long time I think.
Shooting lead I stay toward the lower end of the load range.
My XDm is find..same load in my SW MP9 hits low left by some 6" at 12 yards. Yes, THAT far off. The Montana gold dot load I had worked in both, but I could tweak it for each a bit better.
Have to work a good lead load for it.

Primers are 95% winchester as that's what I can get locally.
Another of my favorites... the Montana Gold bullet (Not Gold Dot, which is a Speer self defense bullet) is a staple for a lot of the gun gamers. They, and Zero bullets (when you can get them) are noted for excellent accuracy with a variety of powders.

Although lead is a little more "touchy" as to crimp, OAL, and powder selection, I have no doubt that most lead bullets can be made to shoot very well indeed at almost any range once you lock into a load that suits your gun and the bullet.
 

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For action shooting games, heavier bullets loaded with fast powders will give you the softest recoil impulse.
In USPSA production division, the most popular bullet weights in 9mm are 147 and 124/5 loaded with faster powders like N320, TiteGroup, 231, etc, but a lot of us have switched to “shotgun” powders that are cheaper when you buy in bulk and normally easier to find like (WST, WSF, Solo 1000, Red Dot, etc.) Finding load data may be harder with powders like these but now a days, you buy what you can find and make work.

That said, my “go to” 9mm load is the Bear Creek 147 gr. FP loaded with 3.7 gr. WST @1.135 OAL. I normally go through 3-5K a year of this load and it functions perfectly in all my 9mms from my Shield to my AR. It’s not perfect, as WST is reverse temperature sensitive, (i.e. It produces more velocity when it’s sub freezing and less when it’s above 80 degrees) but my chronograph is the only one that can notice a difference.

Hope this helps.

Jeff
 
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