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.356 bullet questions


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First time posting. New hand/reloader. Loading for USPSA and IDPA Minor PF.

 

I’ve slugged both of my barrels and came up with the following:

CZ TSO: .3555-.356

Glock 17 Gen 5: .355-.3555

 

I want to make sure it makes sense (both safety and function) to use a few bullets.

 

Hornady HAP 125gr. .356

Berry’s 115gr RN .356

Berry’s 115gr. HBRN Thick Plate .356

 

And if so, what powders can you recommend?

 

Thanks!

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All those bullets should work but I would look for cheaper options available in your area (coated lead?). As for powder you can go with any of the usual suspects (Sport Pistol, Clean Shot, WSF, CFE Pistol, Titegroup, HP-38/231, N320 etc.).

Edited by 4n2t0
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I also need help determining OAL for the Berrys HBRN TP 115gr. Since it measures .574 published length. I measured them to be average .575 (.573- .576, with most .575) That seems to be a bit more length than what most books show for 115gr. RN.

 

The only bullet I can find that matches that length is the Speer #3995 115gr. TMJ RN. Speer lists a tested COAL of 1.135

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I also need help determining OAL for the Berrys HBRN TP 115gr. Since it measures .574 published length. I measured them to be average .575 (.573- .576, with most .575) That seems to be a bit more length than what most books show for 115gr. RN.
 
The only bullet I can find that matches that length is the Speer #3995 115gr. TMJ RN. Speer lists a tested COAL of 1.135



It will be necessary to determine what max COAL is for both of your guns with each bullet. I start with a charge weight well below max, and set my seater die up for book max coal or longer. Load one round and drop it in the chamber of you disassembled pistol. It should drop in and make a Plunk (hence the name Plunk Test). Then drop out freely when you turn the barrel upside down. I keep dropping my OAL until I pass the plunk test, then go in .010” for tolerance.

This should be a good starting load. Well below max, and a coal that is .010” off the lands. I load up enough to function test the pistol and determine velocity. I then start increasing the powder to get the velocity I want.

Please note that there is a substantial increase in pressure as the COAL gets shorter. That’s why I start fairly low on the first load, besides I try to get the softest load that will cycle and make power factor. Since you are new I would start with an easy powder... you want one that has a wide band between min and max, and nearly fills the entire case. CFE-Pistol has those characteristics and I use it for many loads.


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do a search (upper right side) for "plunk test" every bullet will be different.

Pressure does not increase  as much as some believe. Start low and work up .

Powder may depend on what you can get.Wear you are changes availability. 

First time loader stay away from tight group.   Good starting powders are Bulls eye,

Sport Pistol W231/HP38, WSF, N320,N330 there are others.Depends on what you can get.

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What is the issue with Titegroup? It’s all I have right now out of the recommended powders. I have CFE and n320 on order but it probably won’t be here for a couple weeks I would guess.

This will be my 5th batch of handloads. So definitely a beginner, but I have loaded successfully and tested around 250rds without a failure or issue. I am checking for signs of over pressure and using a chronograph. Powder is measured by hand and using a single stage press. Using new star line brass. This would be my first time using Titegroup. I’ve loaded with PowerPistol and ACc#7. The Acc#7 was pretty dirty.

For titegroup, I was planning on starting at 4.1gn (with the 115gr berrys) and doing increments of 0.1gn down to 3.5.


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Volume that tight group takes up is minimal. very easy to triple charge and still not be at the volume the others take up correctly charged.

TG has a tendency to clump up  and stick (static cling) .Just about every first time loader has issues with this powder.If you have it and happy

use it.

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12 minutes ago, mpmo said:

For titegroup, I was planning on starting at 4.1gn (with the 115gr berrys) and doing increments of 0.1gn down to 3.5.

You would start at 3.5 and work up to 4.0.       Not  start at 4.1 and go down.

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44 minutes ago, mpmo said:

What is the issue with Titegroup? It’s all I have right now out of the recommended powders. I have CFE and n320 on order but it probably won’t be here for a couple weeks I would guess.

 

Nothing wrong with TG at all. It is used by many very successfully. I switched to Sport Pistol because it runs cleaner and a little cooler.

 

I would recommend picking one powder, unless it becomes unavailable, and use it. Switching powders requires recalibrating your powder drop, chronoing new loads, checking for accuracy and all that detailed stuff. It's far nicer to find a powder which provides the performance desired and load away.

 

BTW as has been stated many times over on this forum, when running minor PF changing the OAL, pressure is really not important or something to worry about.

Edited by HesedTech
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You would start at 3.5 and work up to 4.0.       Not  start at 4.1 and go down.

Ok. This makes sense. I was just going off the advise to start at the minimum of book formula you are using and go from there.
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The HAP plunked at max OAL in the CZ barrel? I'm surprised. Don't forget to check magazine function.

 

 

The Barry’s passed plunk. Haven’t tried the 125 HAP yet. Thanks for the video!

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Longest OAL on my CZ’s is 1.080 shortest is 1.050”. At the shortest length, using the same mild load I started to see substantially further ejection distance and a minor amount of pressure distortion on the primer. Not enough for concern, merely noteworthy.


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Longest OAL on my CZ’s is 1.080 shortest is 1.050”. At the shortest length, using the same mild load I started to see substantially further ejection distance and a minor amount of pressure distortion on the primer. Not enough for concern, merely noteworthy.


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That seems like such a short tolerance! Did you mean 1.180 at the longest? Wouldn’t that mean that it wouldn’t feed any factory ammo? I measured some factory ammo I have and blazer was around 1.156 pretty consistent and federal was between 1.120-1.156 (in one box!)


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10 minutes ago, mpmo said:


That seems like such a short tolerance! Did you mean 1.180 at the longest? Wouldn’t that mean that it wouldn’t feed any factory ammo? I measured some factory ammo I have and blazer was around 1.156 pretty consistent and federal was between 1.120-1.156 (in one box!)


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No, he probably meant 1.08.

 

I load a 147gr thick plate bullet at the same length for my CZ (1.08ish). Remember, it's all about bullet profile. Factory ammo is usually loaded with "clearance friendly" bullet profiles. Measuring a factory round is useless unless you're using the exact same components, which isn't very likely.

Edited by 4n2t0
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No, he probably meant 1.08.

 

I load a 147gr thick plate bullet at the same length for my CZ (1.08ish). Remember, it's all about bullet profile. Factory ammo is usually loaded with "clearance friendly" bullet profiles. Measuring a factory round is useless unless you're using the exact same components, which isn't very likely.

 

 

Exactly, reviewing my notes I use Xtreme 125gr coated flat point bullets (1.090”), Nosler 125 grain JHP (approximately 1.080”), and 125 grain polymer coated FP (1.055”).

 

To be 100% honest, I don’t spend much time thinking about it. I find my plunk depth, add about .010”, then make sure I’m about in the middle of the charge range. Then I burn a magazine worth over the chronograph and also confirm the group is less than 2 inches at 20 yards.

 

 

It would be different if I was shooting bullseye, or trying to make 9mm Major.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, terrapin said:

To be 100% honest, I don’t spend much time thinking about it. I find my plunk depth, add about .010”, then make sure I’m about in the middle of the charge range. Then I burn a magazine worth over the chronograph and also confirm the group is less than 2 inches at 20 yards.

 

It would be different if I was shooting bullseye, or trying to make 9mm Major.

 

Well said.

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Tested today.  Went well.  No over pressure.  Several of the lighter loads were too soft.  Barely spit out the brass, travelled maybe a foot.  But the loads that made PF ejected a decent distance, maybe 6-8 feet.  There was a sizable jump in fps/pf when I went from 4.0 to 4.1 gr in the TSO.  Jumped from 125 average to 129 average.  Here are the two that just made PF.

 

CZ TSO, OAL 1.135, 4.0Gr. Titegroup

image.png.29bd68153fdaf8dc3d01c4b34b8f657f.png

 

 

Glock 17 Gen5, OAL 1.135, 4.1Gr. Titegroup

image.png.4262f91417f085bd6063ca2df0513a4d.png

 

 

image.png

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Those look like fine numbers... and you can still type so I’m guessing you still have ten fingers. Win win

You’ll generally find that people lean towards 147 grain bullets for competition. It’s claimed they shoot softer. I’ve been shooting 124s and 125s because they are currently more available. (Plus, physics still says a lighter bullet will have less recoil, but perception says otherwise).

I don’t have numbers for titegroup and 115s, but I shoot 125s with 4.1 grains... you might have more room if you want some cushion.

I always confirm that the load has enough snort to lock back the slide on an empty mag.


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  • 3 weeks later...

More good info here. I gotta come back later to watch that plunk video. Searching for “plunk test” just got me a lot of references to it, but not an actual explanation. I’ve been loading for 25 years and never did it. Might be time to try, just because.


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For almost 50 years, I have shot 0.357" jacketed bullets in my 9x19 and .38 Super guns. About 50 years ago, you could not find a .355" bullet in the gun stores, as folks didn't shoot 9x19 back then. The 9x19 was just getting somewhat popular due to the S&W M39. All reloaders were happily shooting 0.357-0.358" bullets without any issue.

It just doesn't matter. For lead bullets, I make sure that the bullets diameter is always at least 0.001" over actual barrel groove diameter, so I shoot bullet from 0.356-0.359". Guess what? About 40 years ago I ran tests and found that shooting UNSIZED lead bullet was actually more accurate and I just cast my bullets and used them. The 9mm/.38 bullets were 0.358-0.3595" out of the molds.

If I were you, I would not worry about the groove diameter for jacketed bullets and use any 0.355-0.357" bullets I could find (and stock up on what works best for YOU). For lead bullets, a bit bigger than actual groove diameter the rule.

I sort of love when 9mm bullets are out of stock, as I simply order .38 bullets and go on my merry way.

147+gn bullets in 9x19 became popular because there was perceived to be less movement of the slide up and down, so you were on target faster. I found that for me, the faster slide action of 115-124gn bullets returned the sights to the target faster than the slower movement of the 147gn bullets.

I shoot .45 Auto more accurately than .22 LR. Why? Don't know, but I think I just don't concentrate as much when shooting a .22. So, what to train with? You got it—the .22. YMMV

Never believe "one size fits all."

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On 7/12/2020 at 7:49 AM, mpmo said:

I also need help determining OAL for the Berrys HBRN TP 115gr. Since it measures .574 published length. I measured them to be average .575 (.573- .576, with most .575) That seems to be a bit more length than what most books show for 115gr. RN.

 

The only bullet I can find that matches that length is the Speer #3995 115gr. TMJ RN. Speer lists a tested COAL of 1.135

 

I see no one caught this, so . . . the Berry's HBRN bullet might seem long for its weight because it has a hollow base. 

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On 7/29/2020 at 5:36 AM, Cuz said:

More good info here. I gotta come back later to watch that plunk video. Searching for “plunk test” just got me a lot of references to it, but not an actual explanation. I’ve been loading for 25 years and never did it. Might be time to try, just because.


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Is this helpful?:  https://www.shootingtimes.com/editorial/reloading-tips-the-plunk-test/99389

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