Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: How do you work up an accurate handgun load?

  1. #1
    Site Supporter
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Illinois

    How do you work up an accurate handgun load?

    Alright, so this may be a multifaceted answer, but I've been handloading for a bit now and haven't quite seen the same level of accuracy with my handloads as I have with factory stuff. I mostly shoot 9mm nowadays, .356 sized SNS 124gr coated bullets with about 4.0gr of titegroup (I've got a lot of leftovers from when I was trying to find stuff in the 2012ish powder shortages though so that'll be different every pound or so of powder I go through until I standardize on one.)

    Usually I don't care much. I don't need a lot of accuracy for gamer stuff, but I like having the peace of mind that it's really just that I suck.

    So what process do you guys work up for the handload that "your gun likes"? Do you start with a powder charge and start playing with OAL's? Do you start with an OAL and start playing with a powder charge? Is there something else that I'm missing here like crimp/bullet diameter or to play around with different powders? Also how do you measure crimp? I've been playing around with it on my dies and I'm trying to find the happy medium that has the bullet firmly in place but not scraping off the bullet coating.

    I'm not looking to add a huge amount of extra effort, but I've got a progressive press inbound and I plan on using a lot more handloads for practice/matches because money.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Asuncion, Paraguay
    In most auto handgun calibers the guns are pretty forgiving.

    The most important thing is the bullet, if it is sized properly to your barrel, chances are that a normal OAL, with decent crimp (this is not negotiable), will shoot well with a powder dose that gives mid range velocity and pressure. Then play a little with the OAL and the powder dose.

    I live in south america, where we don't have lots of powder options, and I've never had any trouble getting very consistent, reliable and accurate loads for my handguns with just about any suitable powder.

  3. #3
    Member Les Pepperoni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Chicagoland
    ^^ That's some good advice, right there.

    My advice:

    1.) Select a bullet weight and powder combination that you know will work.
    124's? OK. Titegroup? OK. (personally, I've seen a bit too much smoke outta TG and SNS's old Gold coating... They had a bad batch a bit ago...)

    2.) Select a decent OAL and stick with it, 1.110"-1.120" sounds alright.

    3.) Start at .6 under the average powder charge and work up to just .2 over. 4.0Gr seems ok. 3.4, 3.6, 3.8, 4.0, 4.2.
    Load ~20 of each. Shoot the first 12, in groups of 3, off of bags at a 15-20 yard target with a consistent aim point. (E.g. you want to evaluate the "group", not your accuracy.) The charge that gives you the tightest group for that bullet weight and OAL is probably what you want to load with.
    Pull one pc every 5-6 loadings and check that the powder drop is giving you a consistent charge drop.

    4.) Shoot the next 8 from each charge grouping in groups of 4, offhand and evaluate the feel, recoil, etc. It might be that the most accurate load is too much. If so, just compromise and take the next lowest bracket.

    5.) If you're shooting IDPA or USPSA, get a chrono and check that you're pet load is making PF.

    My experience:
    I've found that some of the low-volume, quick burning powders have a sweet spot. Just bumping the charge up or down a notch for your bullet could make a big difference. Hence loading the "spread" of charges. It is nice too - you get in, get done, get data quickly.

    Some known good loads:
    HP38 and a 147.
    WST and a 124 moly.
    AA2 or AA5 and 124 or 147's
    Anything Vihtavouri.

    You'll find that some of the slower powders may produce better groups, but most of those are too "stout" where you begin to notice it.
    I mean, 6.5gr Power Pistol in a 115gr 9mm is amazingly accurate, blasty as hell and is just barely making power factor for USPSA.
    Need Bullets? Use promo code "HTFU" at SNS for a 1-time 5% discount.

  4. #4
    Site Supporter
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Illinois
    Thanks Les!

    Damn tho..I've got an 8lb jug of power pistol...which is the single largest collection of powder I have

    A full mag of flashbangs comin up!

  5. #5
    Member Les Pepperoni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Quote Originally Posted by 45dotACP View Post
    Thanks Les!

    Damn tho..I've got an 8lb jug of power pistol...which is the single largest collection of powder I have

    A full mag of flashbangs comin up!
    You can download it a good bit... It is pretty versatile stuff. (CFE is almost like PowerPistol, really, btw...)

    Buy a pack of 115's and try that kitten out slow-fire... I'm amazed at how accurate that kitten was, actually...
    Last edited by Les Pepperoni; 12-30-2016 at 01:08 AM. Reason: Drunk posting and swearing.. .
    Need Bullets? Use promo code "HTFU" at SNS for a 1-time 5% discount.

  6. #6
    On my Rl550, OAL didn't seem to make much of a difference with both 124 and 147gr in terms of accuracy. I use frontier plated bullets. I'm more anal about rifle loading than handgun though.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Asuncion, Paraguay
    When you shoot for groups (step 3 in Les Pepperoni list above), it is very important to know your limitations. I have some friends that think that X charge is magical while Y is crap, but in reality they were trying to measure fractions of an inch with a ruler in feet

    It is important to establish a honest baseline accuracy for your pistol.

  8. #8
    Member Les Pepperoni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Quote Originally Posted by TiroFijo View Post
    When you shoot for groups (step 3 in Les Pepperoni list above), it is very important to know your limitations. I have some friends that think that X charge is magical while Y is crap, but in reality they were trying to measure fractions of an inch with a ruler in feet

    It is important to establish a honest baseline accuracy for your pistol.
    45DotAcp, what TiroFijo is trying to tell you, in English: "Don't suck. Use your MantisX"

    LOL

    Need Bullets? Use promo code "HTFU" at SNS for a 1-time 5% discount.

  9. #9
    Member SecondsCount's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Utah, USA
    In my HKs, the Precision Delta 124 HP shoots the best with powders such as WSF, N320, and Ramshot Silhouette, but I have shot some really good groups out of my 1911s using quality cast 200 grain wadcutters and a fast powder like Clays or WST.

    Like already stated, the quality of the bullet makes the biggest difference in my experience.
    -Seconds Count. Misses Don't-

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

TLG 1970–2016 RIPRampageForTheCure.org