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Old 03-21-2020, 03:26 PM
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Default An acceptable recipe?

In order to avoid going stir crazy with the lock down that my state has imposed, I plan to engage in some reloading. I would like an opinion on a 9mm load. (Yes, I am aware that in normal circumstances, reloading 9mm is not economically viable, but I have the components, bullets were purchased almost 20 years ago at a good price). While I have reloaded for almost 45 years, this is my first venture with the 9mm Luger, and I will soon be asking a similar question concerning 380s.

I am looking at loading 9mm Luger, using 5.0gr of Unique under a 115gr FMJ. Hornady is showing that this combination would push the bullet at about 1100 fps. Top charge of Unique with this bullet is 5.4gr.

Normally, I would load about 20 rounds and test them for function and groups; however, with the COVID19 travel restrictions in place, my normal routine is not an option.

Do my fellow reloaders feel that this is a reasonable recipe that should would be both safe, provide consistent cycling, and have a reasonable level of accuracy? This load would be fired in either a Glock 17 Gen 5, a Sig P320 Xcompact, or my old S&W 439.

Thanks in advance for your opinions!
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Old 03-21-2020, 03:48 PM
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That load should serve you just fine

For decades now I have been loading the hard cast 121 grain conical bullets over 5.5 grains of unique
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Old 03-21-2020, 04:03 PM
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If you're willing to cast your own its economical. 50 bucks of wheel weights usually is enough for 6500 to 7000 9mms. Casting is kinda tedious to me so I just use two molds at once. That way I don't have time to get bored
Sorry, never used unique when I bought bullets for 9mm so I can't comment.
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Old 03-21-2020, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrrifleman View Post
(Yes, I am aware that in normal circumstances, reloading 9mm is not economically viable, but I have the components, bullets were purchased almost 20 years ago at a good price).
Side track... but alas, I like conversations on the subject.

Don't know where this fallacy began life. Even before the dreaded COVID, 9mm factory ammo that is decent and brass cased from a known manufacturer couldn't be bought at retail for under $8 a box, before tax. Even ordered online by the case that would be a fine price and difficult to beat.

When we consider that 9mm brass is the single most plentiful, available and easy to get brass on the globe, that right there makes 9mm a fantastic candidate for handloading. And for folks that cast their own bullets, you can argue the price of loaded 9mm down to a couple dollars.

But I don't even cast and I think my boxes of 50 rounds check in around $5 each. And experience has shown me again and again that my loads are better than base flavors of 9mm ball. I'm not talking chi-com junk, I mean Win White Box, CCI-Blazer, Magtech, Rem-UMC, etc etc, the known volume range fodder.

9mm has been economically viable to handloaders since the 1990's and perhaps before.

For anyone annoyed at my thread drift, here's a closing that is specifically on point:

My most trusted source for published and lab tested data with Alliant powders is the 2005 edition of the Alliant printed book. In it, 5.5gr is the published max load for Unique under a 115gr FMJ returning 1,168fps, 33,200 PSI. This guide suggests starting 10% under, so 4.9 or 5.0gr to start.

If I were you and wanted to make ammo, even though I knew I couldn't test right away, I'd still make it in three levels. 4.9gr, 5.2gr and 5.5gr, and whenever that range trip comes, I would test each one. One thing I would never EVER do is pick a load and roll a hundred or many hundreds only to find out later that it's a lousy load.
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Old 03-21-2020, 04:34 PM
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I am set up (materiel-wise) for casting. I actually have somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 pounds of wheelweights. Unfortunately, I haven't cast anything since I became disabled, but that will change shortly. I have even set myself up to powder coat, so I can shoot cast bullets in my Glock.
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Old 03-21-2020, 04:48 PM
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@Sevens,

Personally, I don't subscribe to the belief that 9mm (factory) negates the savings of reloading. I know that my handloads can be put together (especially with my cast bullets) for about a dollar or two a box. Fortunately, last summer, I decided to lay in a supply of has checks for 357s, and amassed about 6k. I even lucked out last month and won a Lyman 4 cavity 358156 mold for my 357s.

My reloading priority will be: 9mm hardball, 45 hardball, then my 223 long-range loads. 308 F class ammo will follow with 7 Rem Mag following up the rear. Then I will bunker down and split my time around household chores and casting!
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Old 03-21-2020, 05:58 PM
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Lyman #45 lists 5.5 grains of Unique as the best powder charge for a number of bullets (they didn't test 115 grain) but that should be fantastic in your gun. I had a 39-2 in the 70's & 80's and used 4.8 of WW231 with a 115 and a 126 cast bullets. Loaded them in batches of 5000 once I got a progressive! (Good fodder for the full auto! which is a No-No in NJ!) There are still a few thousand at a friends home, just waiting to be used.

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Old 03-21-2020, 07:12 PM
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I don't know where you data is coming from but it is a lot different than mine.

In me short barrel C9 postol with a 115gr FMJ plated bullet with a OAL of 1.14" your starting load does 1019 over my chrony.

A full load of Unique will do 1263fps with a 1.12" OAL from my Speer data book.

A load of Bullseye with a 115gr bullet is around 1 -1.3 grs. less per load, if you want to save money, in the long road with target loads.
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Old 03-21-2020, 10:41 PM
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I used to just pick a load for my handguns and go to town. But I have gone to working up loads for accuracy in my handguns (always have done this for my rifles). It does make a difference in the final accuracy. The major pain comes about when you are running several guns in the same cartridge, as loads that work in one may not be optimum in the others.
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:31 AM
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Personally, never had too much luck having Unique measure accurately for 9mm charges. Switched to Bullseye and WW231 for all 9mm needs when we reloaded for them back in the 1980s.

I reserve Unique for heavier charges using cast bullets in 38-44 and Mid Range 357 Mag loads.

Alliant Powder seems to be pushing its new “Sport Pistol” powder nowadays for 9mm.

Hey, good luck back there in NJ. I have a few friends left in the region. Hang tough and be safe.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:24 PM
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Every data point is diff. 5.0gr of unique under a 115gr FMJ is quite mild actually. Alliant goes to 6gr so look at more data ref.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 38SPL HV View Post
Personally, never had too much luck having Unique measure accurately for 9mm charges. Switched to Bullseye and WW231 for all 9mm needs when we reloaded for them back in the 1980s.

I reserve Unique for heavier charges using cast bullets in 38-44 and Mid Range 357 Mag loads.

Alliant Powder seems to be pushing its new “Sport Pistol” powder nowadays for 9mm.

Hey, good luck back there in NJ. I have a few friends left in the region. Hang tough and be safe.
For max loads, unique can be very accurate in 9mm, especially with lead bullets.
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Old 03-24-2020, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonPagan View Post
If you're willing to cast your own its economical. 50 bucks of wheel weights usually is enough for 6500 to 7000 9mms. Casting is kinda tedious to me so I just use two molds at once. That way I don't have time to get bored
Sorry, never used unique when I bought bullets for 9mm so I can't comment.
Well depend on how many ww you get for $50, but yeah making your own is easier than learning to safely reload.
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:45 PM
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When you get to the 380s, we load 115gr Hornady XTPs and FMJs.
Load Bullseye as per Lymans 49th XTP data with the COL being different.
N320 is used as well.
When time permits I'll load some Penn 9mm/120gr .355" TCBB PC dummies and hope they fit.
Penns 380/100 grainers TCBB are loaded and are very accurate.... offhand when leaning against a palm tree.

have fun
stay safe
RT

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Old 03-26-2020, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by lrrifleman View Post
Do my fellow reloaders feel that this is a reasonable recipe that should would be both safe, provide consistent cycling, and have a reasonable level of accuracy? This load would be fired in either a Glock 17 Gen 5, a Sig P320 Xcompact, or my old S&W 439.
That powder charge shouldn't be problem but a key item you didn't mention, which is important with any autoloader, especially when you'll be shooting the ammo in three different pistols, is COAL".

Make sure you select a COAL" that passes the plunk test in each pistol's chamber AND loads/feeds smoothly from each pistol's magazines.

Definitely don't want to load up a bunch & it not be compatible in all of them.

Accuracy is going to be dependent on each pistol. No guarantee each will find any one load optimal.

.
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Old 03-26-2020, 08:33 AM
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5.0 grains will get you proper cycling (unless you gun is a P-08 Luger)
so the charge is good . I use 4.7 and get function in 4 different 9mm's .
Bullet seating depth is your next critical dimension . I make up a few dummy cases , no powder, no primer , to work out proper depth.
Just going by a book number may not get it...test it with the dummies .
Load them into a magazine , stand over the bed and hand cycle the action ...if they cycle , feed and eject ...only then start loading up a big batch ...
Do Not load up several hundred without making darn sure they will hand cycle, smoothly from clip , into chamber and extract cleanly .

I keep the dummies and use to set my seating and crimping dies next time I want to load that bullet .... they come in handy for that.
Gary
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Old 03-26-2020, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 38SPL HV View Post
Personally, never had too much luck having Unique measure accurately for 9mm charges. Switched to Bullseye and WW231 for all 9mm needs when we reloaded for them back in the 1980s.

I reserve Unique for heavier charges using cast bullets in 38-44 and Mid Range 357 Mag loads.

Alliant Powder seems to be pushing its new “Sport Pistol” powder nowadays for 9mm.

Hey, good luck back there in NJ. I have a few friends left in the region. Hang tough and be safe.
As 38SPL HV point out Unique has poor metering properties, so poor that I reserve it for loading 20 gage shotshells. Specifically the standard deviation for Unique in a Volume powder measure is 0.17 grains. Multiply that by 3 and you have a 6 sigma variation of +/- 0.51 grains. As a result some of your thrown charges will weigh in at 5.6 grains and some will weigh 4.6 grains. If all you have to use is that Unique I urge you to hand weigh every single charge. While it is time consuming you have the time to do it and in about 100 charges thrown you will come to understand that Statistics do NOT lie.
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Old 03-27-2020, 02:03 AM
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Default I've been using Unique since the 60's

OMG, that's ridiculous. Some how a powder that's been around for over 100 years isn't good enough (anymore) for use in a pistol because it doesn't measure properly?

I've never experienced a load, using Unique, that caused me to conclude it was unacceptable due to inconsistent charges.

I currently load off a digital scale & double check it's reading to a beam scale that's setup along side it each time I handload.

It's not my #1 powder but it's one of the four powders I mainly use, & will keep using.

.
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