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Thread: USPSA Ammo Questions

  1. #1
    Site Supporter Paul D's Avatar
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    Question USPSA Ammo Questions

    I am thinking about getting into USPSA production and/or carry optics and I would like to ask the knowledgeable some questions about ammo. I currently reload on my Dillon 650 (or buy when priced right) 115 grain 9mm ammo for my Glocks and other 9 mm guns. Right now I am using 115 gr Berry's RN with Titegroup 4.5 gr. I am willing to get a separate toolhead set up for a specific load outside what I already have.

    1) I've noticed that more that half of the USPSA 9 mm shooters use 147 grain bullets (instead of 115/124). Any competitive advantage to this? Lower snappiness due to heavier bullet?

    2) Do you guys use plated bullets for practice and use a different bullet (ie fully jacketed match) for competition? What is your favorite brand of bullets?

    3) Do you load differently for practice vs match? More QA with match ammo or it's the same thing.

    4) If I do not have time to reload; what is the best factory load for 147 grain match ammo?

    By the way, I just handled a Walther Q5. The ergos and trigger on that gun is soooo much better than a Glock. I might use that as a dedicated gamer gun instead of a G34 MOS.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    I like Speer Lawman 147 gr TMJ if I donít have time to load, but I have no idea what itís USPSA power factor is.

  3. #3
    Yes, for the same power factor, 147 vs 115 is supposed to be felt softer.

    I don't reload. My match ammo is 115 gr Federal Am Eagle. It clocks at 130-133 PF, is consistent and I've no issues with accuracy. Another option is 124 Am Eagle suppressor ammo but I feel that it is too close for comfort at 125-127 PF. Some people like 124 gr Am Eagle which is very consistent and clocks at 140 PF. I've shot it and found no appreciable performance difference vs milder loads. I presume that gun matters too since I've been shooting mostly 3 lbs 9 mm gun lately. However, I am about to go Glock and my recent runs with this and even hotter 9 mm ammo (Speer Lawman 115) didn't suggest much difference either. Like Duelist, I've shot a bunch of 147 gr Lawman, as well as 147 gr Federal and while I like the ammo, I feel that 115 Fed is still softer shooting. If I wanted to buy a 147 gr match load, I'd go to Atlanta Arms.
    Last edited by YVK; 07-28-2018 at 11:24 PM.
    ďWell," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul D View Post
    I am thinking about getting into USPSA production and/or carry optics and I would like to ask the knowledgeable some questions about ammo. I currently reload on my Dillon 650 (or buy when priced right) 115 grain 9mm ammo for my Glocks and other 9 mm guns. Right now I am using 115 gr Berry's RN with Titegroup 4.5 gr. I am willing to get a separate toolhead set up for a specific load outside what I already have.

    1) I've noticed that more that half of the USPSA 9 mm shooters use 147 grain bullets (instead of 115/124). Any competitive advantage to this? Lower snappiness due to heavier bullet?
    See below
    2) Do you guys use plated bullets for practice and use a different bullet (ie fully jacketed match) for competition? What is your favorite brand of bullets?
    See below
    3) Do you load differently for practice vs match? More QA with match ammo or it's the same thing.
    Same
    4) If I do not have time to reload; what is the best factory load for 147 grain match ammo?
    Federal AE
    By the way, I just handled a Walther Q5. The ergos and trigger on that gun is soooo much better than a Glock. I might use that as a dedicated gamer gun instead of a G34 MOS.
    My SIL has a Q5 and it's a hell of a gun. Great trigger right out of the box and a tack driver. Just watch the bullet profile as they use the original german chamber specs and have a short leade compared to US guns and Glock.
    I reload, so there is that.

    147 just doesn't feel near as snappy as 115. In my 9 Pro the brass just dribbles over the slide and falls at my feet with 147 coated hardcast and WST powder or Alliant e3 which isn't temp sensitive at all in my experience. I took a class with this load in this gun and one of the instructors said they sound like "bunny farts". This ammo makes about 132PF, of course depending on individual chrono. If you shoot very fast splits you'll probably like 124s better, as the real go fast folks will have to wait on the slide to cycle with 147s and it causes them heartburn. 115s have more problems knocking down steel than any other for some odd reason but, they shoot flat.

    I shunned plated and plain lead (uncoated) bullets a long time ago. I'm running coated hardcast because they are just about as clean as plated, and smoke waayyyy less than uncoated lead but a little more than jacketed and they are cheaper. If you run a coated bullet make sure you get them sized .356, I will even run Hornady HAPs at .356 if I happen to find them. I would only shoot them for level 2 or 3 matches and would still be fine with my coated at those matches too. Rocky Mountain Reloading has a really thick plated bullet out that I hear shoots really well. They may be worth a look but I just don't like loading plated, it's too easy to break that coating on the Berrys and especially the Xtremes and they are a crapshoot as to whether they'll be accurate in your gun. I buy coated knowing they will shoot straight. My favorite is ACME because I've grown to love their 122 NLG (no lube groove) bullet. It works in 9mm and my .357 Sig for training. When all my heavys are gone this is my bullet. Bayou, BBI, Missouri, S&S, and Acme are all good to go and they all use the High-Tek coating and it works fabulous. Bayou has about the biggest selection out there. Blue Bullets are a huge sponsor of USPSA but their coating (not High-Tek, they use something else) will leave your hands blue which is irritating to me but, their bullets shoot good too.

    For jacketed I prefer Precision Delta or sometimes Montana Gold but you gotta by in bulk to get the discount, they're not real competitive price wise if you don't and PD shoot just as good if not better.
    Last edited by Spartan1980; 07-29-2018 at 12:10 AM.

  5. #5
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    147's feel "softer" to me but when I compare to 124/5 on the timer there is no difference.

    Generally I shoot and practice with the same stuff of whatever I have loaded up at the time....

    It all goes into the same box. Whatever I pull out for a match I will run through the case gauge.
    A71593

  6. #6
    I like the softer impulse of 147s, and I feel it tracks better, ie easier to follow the sights under recoil.

    When I started the sport, I cast bullets from wheel weights. It was the only way I could afford to shoot. Today Iím better off, so I only shoot jacketed if I can help it.

    During the last bullet shortage, I tried some plated. They were good at first, but then I got a bad batch. This really sucks when you load thousands at a clip.

  7. #7
    I shoot American Eagle 115 for practice and matches, and buy it from SGammo.

    I love the Walther Q5, although I find getting 22 rounds in the Glock mags with Taran baseplates is an advantage. If you go Walther, I would consider direct milling a five inch PPQ, as I believe MOS systems are harder on optics.
    Likes pretty much everything in every caliber.

  8. #8
    In general I find that the heavier the bullet the softer the feel. This is most noticeable in lighter guns like Glocks. As the gun gets heavier it becomes less noticeable to almost negligible. In any given course of fire or drill shooting performance differences are basically imperceptible. But over high round count practices or matches the fatigue of shooting sharper impulsed rounds can add up to minor decreased performance. By minor I mean a really small increase in "bad" shots. Maybe 5 out of 600, hard to say. I also find it slightly easier to track soghts with a softer round.

  9. #9
    Wag more, Bark less RJ's Avatar
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    On topic, I am a noob to USPSA but it does seem to me that 147 knocks down Steel a bit more reliably than 115...for you more experienced shooters, would that be a consideration?

    Or does 115 have enough zip that shot placement matters more (which I suspect) and I'm imagining it based on a grand total of 4 matches lifetime?
    Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught.
    ó J. C. Watts

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich_Jenkins View Post
    On topic, I am a noob to USPSA but it does seem to me that 147 knocks down Steel a bit more reliably than 115...for you more experienced shooters, would that be a consideration?

    Or does 115 have enough zip that shot placement matters more (which I suspect) and I'm imagining it based on a grand total of 4 matches lifetime?
    The 147s seem more consistent on edge and low hits, particularly on any thing that is retained by a spring or rusty bolt (Texas star/ plate racks)

    I have had no trouble with some of my lighter 115 loads and had trouble with factory +P. I think like everything else in shooting "bullets do funny things"

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