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Is there an advantage to minor vs Major ammo at a falling steel match?


Cbritt
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I am about to start loading up ammo for a falling steel match (not steel challenge).  I was going to load up a lighter load, in the 140-150ish PF range for the match. But after a discussion with another shooter I’m thinking there’s no real advantage to a lower power factor because the major ammo drives down the steel faster. At this match there are normally several “stacks” of steel. Thoughts? 

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be way too many variables to answer,,  How many stacks ? you talking like mutiple rear falling poppers in a row ? I guess a bunch heavier ammo might be better, but less and lighter ammo probably better. Also how much movement,  how far are the transitions ? I am guessing a limited 40 gun ? How much will different loads screw with your timing ? 
In my case when I shot the occassional outlaw, falling steel or IDPA, I followed the below formula for my 40.
Take my 180 gr major load..
DO NOTHING else to my charge, press, dies, powder, OAL or anything other than change to the same brand , same profile bullet in 155gr.
I'd end up with a 145 ish pf load with similar feel, same point of impact, same spring set in gun, but a little less recoil... Probably what I would do in your case.

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Not sure why you’re worried about the steel falling faster, if you call the shot you should be transitioning to the next target and not waiting for it to fall. The advantage of major PF on full size poppers is that a hit anywhere on the steel will make it fall. A low hit on minor might not do the job.

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So while I have a major and minor load for my Open gun, all my minor load is taking the edge off the major power factor. It's still a pretty hefty load as far as 9mm goes and that's to make the compensated gun function. 

 

If you are worried about steel falling you're talking revolver puff load realm here. Any semi auto load that functions the gun is going to knock down steel. 

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My Open Major load used a 124 JHP.  For falling steel matches I substituted 115's for about a 150 PF.  This was with an STI Match Master.  The "steel" load was softer and almost as flat.  It was a great load until the slide cracked on the MM.  

On stages with stacked full size poppers hiding small poppers, it was faster to clean the large poppers and then engage the smalls.

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The advantage to Minor PF is typically quicker follow up shots on steel and hopefully faster transitions.  Steel is usually 'proofed' to a very low PF ~119PF. 

Try a Minor load if you want, just don't go ridiculously low.

 

The 155gr swap is a good tip for 40S&W.

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Falling faster IS a benefit when steel is stacked behind the first target.  This is ESPECIALLY true for forward falling steel.

 

When I shot Limited my major load was 180 @ 172 PF.  Minor was 180 @ 144 PF.  Both shot to the same POI.

 

For uncompensated 9mm I use only 147gr for all steel.  Same for PCC.  My Open major load exceeds the limit on steel, so I shoot a 124 at 145~150ish PF.  Shoots flat and same POI.

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On 10/18/2022 at 6:14 PM, Cbritt said:

I am about to start loading up ammo for a falling steel match (not steel challenge).  I was going to load up a lighter load, in the 140-150ish PF range for the match. But after a discussion with another shooter I’m thinking there’s no real advantage to a lower power factor because the major ammo drives down the steel faster. At this match there are normally several “stacks” of steel. Thoughts? 

I'd stick with your major loads. They work the comp very well

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A minor load will more than likely be easier to shoot quicker at falling steel.  I’ve shot a lot of falling steel matches with minor and a lot of uspsa open with major. a lighter load is easier to shoot steel fast than major. 140pf is a good place to aim. The best load I found a while back testing light loads and different powder / bullet combos was a medium burn rate and a light bullet in the 140pf range. Winchester with Wst was a very nice minor load. But it will take experimenting to see if your open major gun will even run light steel loads. Some guns setup for major won’t run too light of a load. Play around with it if you have the time. I think you’ll find going with a lighter than major load will be beneficial 

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