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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi All,

I am testing some 9mm reloads with HP-38. Currently we used my wife's Beretta PX 4 Storm Compact since I currently still have my LC9S Pro on lay away but I suspect that I may see the same slide cycling issue with my LC9S and my reloads.

Anyway, we were at the range today and with Blazer Brass 124 grain FMJ her PX4 cycled beautifully. We switched over to my 124 grain FMJ reloads that I worked up from Hodgdon's load data and we noticed that she would get failures to feed. Almost as if the loads did not have enough energy to cycle the slide all the way back so that it could strip a round and properly load it. I loaded five casings with 3.9, 4.0, 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3 grains of HP-38 as 4.4 grains was the max load. The max load with HP-38 produces a velocity / feet per second of 1,037 with a 4" barrel while the Blazer Brass data shows a velocity of 1,090 feet per second with a 4" barrel.

So my questions are:

1. Is it possible that the shorter 3.2" barrel of the PX4 Storm did not produce enough pressure to properly cycle the slide even at near max load of 4.3 grains of powder?

2. Should I go the max load of 4.4 grains which still produces a velocity of 53 feet per second less than the Blazer Brass.

3. Can I or should I attempt to go to perhaps 4.5 and 4.6 grains which is slightly higher than the Hodgdon max load due to the fact that the barrel on the PX Storm is 0.8 inches shorter than the Hodgdon's test barrel and the barrel my LC9s is 3.1" ?
 

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For what it's worth I shoot a Hornady 124gr FMJ and 4.4grs of HP-38.
1.140 OAL.

That load works fine in all my 9mm pistols. Very accurate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
For what it's worth I shoot a Hornady 124gr FMJ and 4.4grs of HP-38.
1.140 OAL.

That load works fine in all my 9mm pistols. Very accurate.
I wonder if the OAL has something to do with it? I went by Hogdon's OAL of 1.150
 

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I wonder if the OAL has something to do with it? I went by Hogdon's OAL of 1.150
Interesting problem. Checked a few sources.

Hornady 9 doesn't list HP38/Win231 for 124gr.

Lyman 49 only has data for 125gr JHP and lists a max load of 4.4gr Win231.

Sierra 5 shows 125gr FMJ COL 1.090 at a max load of 5.1gr Win231 generating 1100fps.

Quickload suggests that the 4.4gr load of HP38 at 1.150" COL is just under (34661) max pressure (35000) and at 1.140 it's over (35899). Switch to Win231, and 1.140 is under max (34400). The data should be the same, so perhaps this results from different batches or just different pressure measurements/data sources - dunno.

I've run Rainier 124gr PHPs (COL 1.100) using 3.9gr to 4.5gr HP38 through a CZ75 and an M&P9 with no pressure issues. All loads cycled both pistols. Unfortunately, I did not chrono those tests.

Since your Blazer Brass loads cycled the PX4 successfully, your loads aren't generating as much pressure as they do. And the Blazers should be under max pressure.

Bottom Line, I guess the first thing I'd be checking is whether you really had as much powder in the reloads as you thought. Do you think that's possible?
 

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HP-38 / W-231 is a poor choice for 9mm. Yes, it will work in most pistols but it is much faster burning than optimum. The best powders for a 9mm (all bullet weights) are Power Pistol, Universal, or Unique. They are mid-burn rate powders .... exactly what a 9mm cartridge was designed to use. Powders in the mid-burn rate take longer to burn ... giving the slide enough time for full travel while staying well under max chamber pressure. Fast burning powders run at much higher chamber pressures and burn up before the slide has a chance to move fully to the rear.
 
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I have no problems with it. Slightly different bullet though. 124 gr LRN. Mixed brass. Federal primers. 1.125 OAL. Have used from 4.1 to 4.4 gr HP38 with no issues in my LC9 and my LC9S.
 

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HP-38 / W-231 is a poor choice for 9mm. Yes, it will work in most pistols but it is much faster burning than optimum. The best powders for a 9mm (all bullet weights) are Power Pistol, Universal, or Unique. They are mid-burn rate powders .... exactly what a 9mm cartridge was designed to use. Powders in the mid-burn rate take longer to burn ... giving the slide enough time for full travel while staying well under max chamber pressure. Fast burning powders run at much higher chamber pressures and burn up before the slide has a chance to move fully to the rear.
+1!
I use to use HP-38 & TiteGroup and they worked, but switched to CFE Pistol & my results improved dramatically. With the 124 gr. Berrys plated I use, it delivers the best accuracy of the 5 powders I have tested, with Universal & Unique (Universal, TiteGroup, HP-38, Unique & CFE Pistol)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Interesting problem. Checked a few sources.

Hornady 9 doesn't list HP38/Win231 for 124gr.

Lyman 49 only has data for 125gr JHP and lists a max load of 4.4gr Win231.

Sierra 5 shows 125gr FMJ COL 1.090 at a max load of 5.1gr Win231 generating 1100fps.

Quickload suggests that the 4.4gr load of HP38 at 1.150" COL is just under (34661) max pressure (35000) and at 1.140 it's over (35899). Switch to Win231, and 1.140 is under max (34400). The data should be the same, so perhaps this results from different batches or just different pressure measurements/data sources - dunno.



I've run Rainier 124gr PHPs (COL 1.100) using 3.9gr to 4.5gr HP38 through a CZ75 and an M&P9 with no pressure issues. All loads cycled both pistols. Unfortunately, I did not chrono those tests.

Since your Blazer Brass loads cycled the PX4 successfully, your loads aren't generating as much pressure as they do. And the Blazers should be under max pressure.

Bottom Line, I guess the first thing I'd be checking is whether you really had as much powder in the reloads as you thought. Do you think that's possible?
Hi Twoboxer,

I weighed each load on a digital scale since I as working from the starting load of 4.0 grains to 4.3 grains (I loaded five cartridges for each load). But heck, that doesn't mean that the scale was off and maybe registering a higher weight than it should have been. I have a backup digital scale so I'll weigh 4.3 grains on my main scale and then see what my other scale says.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
+1! I used to use HP-38 & TiteGroup and they worked, but switched to CFE Pistol & my results improved dramatically. With the 124 gr. Berrys plated I use, it delivers the best accuracy of the 5 powders I have tested. (Universal, TiteGroup, HP-38, Unique & CFE Pistol)
I like CFE very much but in my area CFE can't be found. It's very possible that this is a powder issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hodgdon's website lists 4.8grs of HP38/231 as the maximum for a Sierra 125gr FMJ. That's with a OAL of 1.090.
Set your sights on pistol reloading data | Hodgdon Reloading

I don't have a chronograph, but I don't think my 4.4grs with a OAL of 1.140 is any where near a max load.
I'm using X-treme bullets which are not FMJ but rather plated.

That being said maybe I used the incorrect load data. I used the load data for the 124 GR. BERB HBRN TP as I was going by bullet weight. I did notice that the 125 GR. SIE FMJ does use a higher load.

So now I'm a bit confused regrading the bullet type and which load data I should be using. Could I use the load data for the Sierra 125gr FMJ for my 124 grain x-treme copper plated bullets?
 

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Since your Blazer Brass loads cycled the PX4 successfully, your loads aren't generating as much pressure as they do. And the Blazers should be under max pressure.
I don't think that's necessarily true given that the powder used in Blazer Brass is of an unknown burn rate relative to his powder. I'd think you could easily have a super fast powder (no idea if HP-38 qualifies) that has a high pressure, but that has dropped so fast it doesn't push the slide back hard once it is unlocked from the barrel.

You didn't suggest he do this, but I'd just point out that I don't think I'd inch up on the powder charge until it behaved like Blazer Brass. I don't think there's any real reason to expect they should perform the same.

Edit: Sorry, this is basically what Iowegan was saying
 

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I'm using X-treme bullets which are not FMJ but rather plated.

That being said maybe I used the incorrect load data. I used the load data for the 124 GR. BERB HBRN TP as I was going by bullet weight. I did notice that the 125 GR. SIE FMJ does use a higher load.

So now I'm a bit confused regrading the bullet type and which load data I should be using. Could I use the load data for the Sierra 125gr FMJ for my 124 grain x-treme copper plated bullets?
I have loaded Xtreme plated & load them the same as Berry's.
My load data for 124 gr. RN plated bullets & HP-38 is 4.4 gr. of powder using Winchester brass and CCI 500 SP primers & a case overall length (C.O.L.) of 1.160". That is the length that Berry's suggested & it has worked great with no feeding issues & 4.4 grains of HP-38 cycled a Ruger LC9, SR9c & a SIG SP2022 with no problems.
 

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I like CFE very much but in my area CFE can't be found. It's very possible that this is a powder issue.
On Cabela's website, they have Hodgdon's Universal, HS-6 & Winchester's Autocomp right now. I got lucky a while back at my local Cabela's & picked up 5 pounds of CFE Pistol. I have had really good luck going in the store a 1/2 hour before they close & they are stocking shelves.
 

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I don't think that's necessarily true given that the powder used in Blazer Brass is of an unknown burn rate relative to his powder. I'd think you could easily have a super fast powder (no idea if HP-38 qualifies) that has a high pressure, but that has dropped so fast it doesn't push the slide back hard once it is unlocked from the barrel.

You didn't suggest he do this, but I'd just point out that I don't think I'd inch up on the powder charge until it behaved like Blazer Brass. I don't think there's any real reason to expect they should perform the same.

Edit: Sorry, this is basically what Iowegan was saying
Thank you - hadn't considered that. And thanks to Iowegan as well. Guess I was blinded by the fact that 3.9gr easily cycled both my pistols.
 

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moakes58, Thanks for reminding me about CFE. It is a fairly new powder and is also in the medium burn rate category .... an excellent choice for 9mm ammo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
On Cabela's website, they have Hodgdon's Universal, HS-6 & Winchester's Autocomp right now. I got lucky a while back at my local Cabela's & picked up 5 pounds of CFE Pistol. I have had really good luck going in the store a 1/2 hour before they close & they are stocking shelves.
The closest Cabela's to me is about a two hour drive. I live in New Germany I mean NJ.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
moakes58, Thanks for reminding me about CFE. It is a fairly new powder and is also in the medium burn rate category .... an excellent choice for 9mm ammo.
I love CFE. I wish I could get a five pound bottle of it. But Here it's nowhere to be found.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I have loaded Xtreme plated & load them the same as Berry's.
My load data for 124 gr. RN plated bullets & HP-38 is 4.4 gr. of powder using Winchester brass and CCI 500 SP primers & a case overall length (C.O.L.) of 1.160". That is the length that Berry's suggested & it has worked great with no feeding issues & 4.4 grains of HP-38 cycled a Ruger LC9, SR9c & a SIG SP2022 with no problems.

Good to know. My max load was 4.3 grains. While to us a .1 grain difference can't be felt I have to wonder how much of a difference it makes in the gun? I'm going to go to 4.4 grains and see what happens.
 
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