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9mm Major Powder Recommendations


SJBriggs
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Morning, all. I'm looking to eventually move into open division and I'm looking to get some powder recommendations. I've spoken to a few shooters at my local club, but due to the current shortages, I'd like to get some additional recommendations. When I get everything set up, I'll be switching my Honcho over to the 9mm open configuration, and I'll be shooting 125 gr JHP. I know it's a tall order, but I'm looking for a powder that: a) isn't overly temperature sensitive, b) won't fill up the case too high, c) is easy to load in my Dillon 750, d) shoots clean, and e) isn't too snappy.

 

Recommendations that I've gotten so far are N340, N350, and Autocomp. If there is anything else that fits my bill, I'd love to hear it. Powder is getting hard to find now too...

 

Thanks in advance!

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1 hour ago, superdude said:

Some 'common' 9 Major powders are shown in this article;

 

https://www.ssusa.org/articles/2018/1/9/how-to-use-9-major-in-a-short-barrel/

Good article, thank you for the link. 

 

Thanks all for the replies. Now it's just a matter of finding powder and working up a load. I think the hard part will be finding the powder! Nothing in stock...

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13 minutes ago, jstagn said:

Buy 1lb of each of the top recommendation, maybe top 3 and try each. You could always use the rest for practice.

 

That's the plan. I was able to find a pound of Autocomp and N340 ($$$). Silhouette and HS6 seem to be sold out online, however, I think a local shop has some HS6 in stock. Power Pistol is also pretty scarce.

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Buying a pound of each is an exercise in futility.  Been there, done that.  Waste of time.  That being said, I would not have known it was a waste of time if I hadn't done that.

 

Here is the drill.  The 9mm case is capacity constrained.  You can go for soft, or flat, but not both at the same time.  Or you can go for a little of each.

 

Most of the people who shoot the fast powders like Silhouette and WAC do so under 124gr bullets because the case is not so full the powder spills out when the shell plate turns.  That doesn't help flatness or softness.  You want as much gas as you can get to work your ports and baffles.  That requires slow powders.  George nailed it above.  AA7 or SWMP powders are the way to go.  The do not fill so much they spill when loading, AND they are very compressible.  So if you have to load short for some reason you can.  Try that with 3N38.

 

One of the other things you try not to do in 9mm major is blow up the gun.  N340 is way to fast for major.  I know you want to shoot 125s, but I'll recommend you also try 115s.  My major load is 10.2gr SWMP under a 115 HAP for 169 PF.  It is not a compressed load at 1.161" OAL and it does not spill.  AA7 is the same powder, just manufactured in the US.  When my SWMP is gone I'm switching to AA7.  They seem to be more consistent lot to lot.

 

Rather than attach a picture showing how full each powder fills the case, I'll link to the article that included it.  Read the article, look at the charts, and then narrow down your powder search.  Just remember, a higher weigh of powder makes more gas, which means softer, flatter or some of each.  Welcome to Open.

 

https://www.ssusa.org/articles/2018/1/9/how-to-use-9-major-in-a-short-barrel/ 

Edited by zzt
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5 hours ago, zzt said:

Buying a pound of each is an exercise in futility.  Been there, done that.  Waste of time.  That being said, I would not have known it was a waste of time if I hadn't done that.

 

Here is the drill.  The 9mm case is capacity constrained.  You can go for soft, or flat, but not both at the same time.  Or you can go for a little of each.

 

Most of the people who shoot the fast powders like Silhouette and WAC do so under 124gr bullets because the case is not so full the powder spills out when the shell plate turns.  That doesn't help flatness or softness.  You want as much gas as you can get to work your ports and baffles.  That requires slow powders.  George nailed it above.  AA7 or SWMP powders are the way to go.  The do not fill so much they spill when loading, AND they are very compressible.  So if you have to load short for some reason you can.  Try that with 3N38.

 

One of the other things you try not to do in 9mm major is blow up the gun.  N340 is way to fast for major.  I know you want to shoot 125s, but I'll recommend you also try 115s.  My major load is 10.2gr SWMP under a 115 HAP for 169 PF.  It is not a compressed load at 1.161" OAL and it does not spill.  AA7 is the same powder, just manufactured in the US.  When my SWMP is gone I'm switching to AA7.  They seem to be more consistent lot to lot.

 

Rather than attach a picture showing how full each powder fills the case, I'll link to the article that included it.  Read the article, look at the charts, and then narrow down your powder search.  Just remember, a higher weigh of powder makes more gas, which means softer, flatter or some of each.  Welcome to Open.

 

https://www.ssusa.org/articles/2018/1/9/how-to-use-9-major-in-a-short-barrel/ 

Great info, man. Thank you for thoughtful reply. Yeah, longevity of the gun is definitely a consideration. I'm not planning on replacing slides every year, and I will be loading lower PF rounds for practice. I've actually heard that Autocomp can be hard on guns. A couple guys at my club were cracking slides every couple years when using Autocomp. When they switched powders, no more cracked slides. There's a lot to that equation, however. 

 

I'll try out some 115s when I get them on hand. 125 is what I currently have, and they seem to be the more popular slug. Have to start somewhere. Yeah, open life...

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7 hours ago, SJBriggs said:

Great info, man. Thank you for thoughtful reply. Yeah, longevity of the gun is definitely a consideration. I'm not planning on replacing slides every year, and I will be loading lower PF rounds for practice. I've actually heard that Autocomp can be hard on guns. A couple guys at my club were cracking slides every couple years when using Autocomp. When they switched powders, no more cracked slides. There's a lot to that equation, however. 

 

I'll try out some 115s when I get them on hand. 125 is what I currently have, and they seem to be the more popular slug. Have to start somewhere. Yeah, open life...

Been running Autocomp for years in two guns at 173 PF. One cracked slide but it was an STI slide from their bad batch that was cracking regularly. They replaced it free of charge.

  FYI, I wouldn’t load lighter loads for practice. The gun will not handle nearly the same. Develop a good MAJOR load and load just that load for all shooting.

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When I ran 9maj. I did the whole buy a pound of each as well. I also found it to be a waste of time as well, and it ended up coming down to 3 commonly mentioned powders. 

Autocomp, AA7, 3n37. I ended up using autocomp first and then AA7. I changed because of availability at the time and just never changed. I actually liked 3n37 the best but the cost and availability made it easy to choose one of the others. 

 

 

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I ran a very unscientific experiment with powders this past summer.  I used, AutoComp, CFE Pistol, HS-6, Shooter's World Auto Pistol and Shooter's World Major Pistol.  I made about 100 rounds of each.  Did some chrono testing to make sure they were all around the 170PF mark.  Now, AC and CFE are pretty much the same as are HS-6 and SWAP, but it's what I had on hand so it's what I used. 

I did doubles drills with each type from 7 yards, no draw so my grip would be solid/consistent for each mag.  Groups were virtually identical, softball sized, center A-zone.  One by one, I could feel a bit of difference between them, nothing huge one way or the other, dot was consistent in an up and down pattern.   Then I slow fired a mag of each from 10 yards, again no draw with a solid grip.  The difference was slightly more noticeable in feel, but again not a big deal and didn't greatly favor one over the other.  Final test was to put 10 rounds of each load into a bucket, shake it up a little and load two mags for a match the next day.  And what I can say for certain is that under match pressure, I couldn't tell you which load was which.  Not a single one stood out for a good or bad reason, they were identical for all intents and purposes.  Dot behaved the same, recoil impulse seemed similar enough not to notice, and my scores were no different than the normally would have been.   So I've decided that I'll use CFE and AC since those require the least amount of powder per round and they seem to shoot the cleanest.  A bad grip is going to impact accuracy a hell of a lot more than powder choice.

 

I'm no guru this is just my $.00002 worth.

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Well, I have a different take.  I can certainly understand how someone with good grip strength sees little difference between powders at the same PF.  I'm not one of those guys.

 

I'm 73 with injuries to both hands and right arm (I'm right handed).  On a good day I can barely close the grip on a 75 lb. grip exerciser.  I can absolutely tell the differences between powders.  I go for flat, so I'll take the harder hit to my hand.  With a very efficient 3-chamber, 6-venturi comp and two 3/16" poppels I need as much gas as I can get.

 

To give you a comparison, my buddy shoots 124s over CFE @ 170PF.  When I fire his load the muzzle is sky high.  When I fire my load the muzzle climbs way less.  My splits are fast.  I'm often asked at matches what powder I use, because the see how little muzzle rise I get.

 

Now my buddy is a welder.  His grip strength is phenomenal.  He can crush an apple in his hand.  When he shoots his gun the muzzle rises.  When he shoots mine the gun doesn't move.

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