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Reloading 9mm


In today’s shooting world, the 9mm is the most common caliber of choice for pistol shooters. In a semi-auto pistol, the magazine size averages 17 rounds. While the 9mm’s stopping power doesn’t come near to that of the .45, the advancements of ballistics research coupled with the large number of available rounds in one magazine makes it a very formidable weapon of choice. Most are surprised to know, however, the when George Luger designed the 9mm round, his emphasis was on wounding and not killing the enemy.

The 9mm, whose technical name is 9x19mm, is also called the 9mm Luger or the 9mm Parabellum. It was originally adopted by the German Army in 1908 as the cartridge for the famous Luger pistol. Following the first World War, it was quickly adopted by countries and law enforcement agencies around the globe. Sine, It has become the world's most popular pistol cartridge with most of the militaries of the world, including all of the NATO countries, having some form of this caliber in use. It is also used by many police agencies, including the FBI.

The 9mm uses standard .355" bullets, generally from 100 to 147 grains in weight. The standard NATO load uses a 124 grain FMJ bullet. The various 115 grain JHP bullets are generally the top choice for civilian personal defense, while the 124 grain bullets usually provide the best all-around performance. The 147 grain bullets were originally intended for use in sub-sonic submachine gun loads but have become popular with the heavy bullet crowd for use in pistols. The bullet makers have responded with high quality 147 grain JHP bullets such as the Hornady XTP and Speer Gold Dot.

Remington ballistics tables (Federal and Winchester are similar) for the standard 115 grain JHP load show a muzzle velocity (MV) of 1155 fps and a muzzle energy (ME) of 341 ft. lbs. The trajectory of this load shows a midrange rise of .9" over 50 yards, and 3.9" over 100 yards. The 9x19 is one of the best auto pistol cartridges for long range shooting.

The reloader can do quite well with the 9mm, seeing as there is a vast array of different components available. There are plenty of .355" bullets available, and a number of common powders that work well in the cartridge. What I have discovered is that a powder with a medium burn rate seems to work best in my 9mms, though you might find other wise, depending on the other components you choose.

According to the Speer Reloading Manual Number 13, their popular 115 grain bullets can be driven to a MV of 1166 fps by 5.6 grains of Unique powder, and 1244 fps by 6.3 grains of Unique. Their 124 grain bullets can be driven to a MV of 1159 fps by 8.0 grains of HS7 powder, and 1249 fps by 8.9 grains of HS7. This is a pretty good field load for a 9x19 pistol.

The 147 grain Speer bullets can be driven to a MV of 845 fps by 5.0 grains of HS6 powder, and 956 fps by 5.6 grains of HS6. These Speer loads used Speer cases, CCI 500 primers and were chronographed in a 4" pistol barrel.

As with all semi-auto firearms that are mag-fed, it is always important to take into consideration the overall case length with seating your bullet. IT’s best to find the maximum case length your gun will accept by feeding a “dummy” bullet into your chamber; this would be a bullet with no primer or powder, simply just the bullet seated in the brass casing. This will give you an exact measurement of the headspace in your gun’s chamber.