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Now you have the press and dies…what now? Choices, choices…part 2

Posted by Duane Wessels on

These posts will deal with pistol reloading only, specifically 9mmp.

OK, now you have your powder of choice, 2 more choices to make….

Bullet Type and Weight…this is a very important choice to make as it will influence your choice of powder and how you run your gun.

Are you trying to replicate your EDC load for training or are you chasing the timer?  Let’s look at your choices:

There are a few different manufactures of bullets available; I will not be getting into that as this choice is mostly a personal thing. Let’s rather look at the different weights.  The most popular weights are 115gr, 124gr and 147gr…there are more but these are the most popular and most available weights.

The 115gr is a light bullet that travels at much faster speeds. This bullet needs more powder to achieve the velocities required either for replicating an EDC load or chasing a power factor. This load will also tend to have a snappier recoil.

The 124gr is the middle ground so to speak. This load is chosen by most sport shooters that prefer a quicker slide action and getting the front sight quicker on target. This bullet can still be snappy in the recoil department but remains a very popular choice.

The 147gr is my bullet weight of choice. This load needs less powder to get to the same power factor. My EDC load is also a 147gr bullet so the choice is simple. This is the bullet weight that will have the least felt recoil. Some sport shooters do not prefer it as the slide could feel slow but for me the gains in recoil control outweighs this.  Another fact to consider is that a heavy load like the 147gr will lose less velocity if shot from a shorter barrel.  But the biggest advantage is the felt recoil; this load out of a sporting gun like a CZ Shadow has almost no recoil. It is easier on me and the gun and I can have very fast splits.

You also get Round Nose and Flat Point bullets....not much of difference except that a FP is shorter than a RN so will affect your COL but to be honest I use FP because they look cool and make nice clean holes in paper.....

Now what is this power factor thing you keep hearing? Well in the sport shooting world it is a rule to have a minimum power factor to achieve, to try and level the playing field at least in this instance.  Another reason is that most shooting sports now incorporate metal targets. A puff load is not going to take down a metal popper or activator so a minimum power factor is required.

How do you work out your power factor?

Muzzle Velocity in feet per second X bullet weight divided by 1000. Minimum required is 125 for most shooting sports.

Out of my CZ Shadow with a 4.5inch barrel my average MV is 960ft/s. So 960 x 147/1000 = 141pf

Now the same load out of my Sig Sp2022 with a 3.9inch barrel is 927ft/s. So 927x147/1000 = 136pf

Both guns will now easily factor, even on a cold morning….yes cold air will affect the muzzle velocity and drop your power factor. In IDPA most big competitions happen in the winter so we have to compensate for the drop in M/V.

The above also shows why I prefer a heavier load, the drop in M/V between the 2 guns is not that big, only 33ft/s and a barrel length difference of .6”.

So for me it makes sense to go with the heavier bullet, I achieve the same power factor with a lot less muzzle velocity and less recoil…a light bullet will need a whole lot more M/V to factor.


Now on to primers…remember this article is about 9mmp reloading.

There is no point in buying expensive primers for pistol reloading; it will not affect your load so much that you will notice it. I use S&B primers and have not had any issues with them in over 15 000 rounds.

Just make sure you get the SP primers and not the SR primers…the boxes look the same so check before you leave your favorite dealer.

I hope this will help, now go forth, practice safe reloading principles, reload lot's and go shoot more....


One final tip...Reloading will not necessarily save you money but it will allow you to shoot more!


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