Posts Tagged ‘reloading’

Just follow the manual and you’ll be fine…

October 24, 2012

…or, I Get Referrals, “best 180 grain handload for 10mm with accurate no.9”.

Make with the clicky. To be honest I didn’t have that much experience with the 180-grain bullets. The ones I ran with were the plated bullets, but they did just fine; as I recall, I was getting about 1170-1180 fps with 12.5 grains. My favorite bullet was the 155-grain Hornady XTP. I loaded those in front of about 14.8 grains, good for about 1370 feet per second. I ran them through a Kimber Stainless Target II and a Dan Wesson Razorback, both very accurate guns. I think my fave was the Dan Wesson. Sure miss that gun…

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Thursday Evening 1911 Musings: Dan Wesson vs. Kimber

December 7, 2007

So I’ve gotten some hits from the search Dan Wesson vs. Kimber. Some thoughts, as one who owns pistols from both manufacturers…
I’d almost bet money that the folks who search for something like this are in the market for a 10mm 1911, so I’ll just focus my commentary on those. I think that vis-a-vis the Kimbers, the Dan Wesson pistol plays the same role as the Springfield does — that is, the DW 1911 is just as good of a pistol as the Kimber for less money, as you’ll see if you check out my previous postings on the Dan Wesson Razorback I recently picked up. See here and here.
Now, with that said, as far as the 10mm goes, there is one big difference between the Kimber Stainless Target II and the Dan Wesson Razorback — the former has a ramped and fully supported barrel, while the latter has a traditional barrel, albeit one that has a generous bit of throating. (I seem to recall someone saying the 10mm Pointman Seven had a ramped & supported barrel but am not 100% certain on that.) Now, how much of a difference this makes would probably depend on your personal habits more than anything else — what kinds of bullets you use, what kinds of loads you drive through the gun, how many times you reload your brass, that sort of thing. As for me, the most risky thing I ever did with my Kimber was with (I think) twice-fired Federal American Eagle brass, a CCI large pistol primer and 14.8 grains of Accurate Arms No. 9 behind a 155-grain Hornady XTP. That’s a half-grain over the minimum load, and even with that minimum load I was getting flattened primers — albeit with no other signs of high pressure such as bulged brass. With the RZ’s traditional barrel it might have been different, I don’t know. (For the record, that particular combo was good for about 1370 fps on average out of the Kimber. Bet it’d make for a hell of a defense round…) Maybe those concerns could be at least somewhat mitigated by using only virgin brass for hot loads, but then that’s a good idea anyway. I am sure I was pushing the envelope with that twice-fired brass, especially if what I’ve heard about the Hornady XTP is true — that it’s a high-friction bullet design, which makes for increased pressure. That would certainly explain away the flattened primers I was getting even with the minimum loads.
But, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — don’t drink the Kimber Kool-Aid. I love both my Kimbers and would certainly buy another, but in my experience, to say they’re better than at least Dan Wesson or Springfield is to have fallen for the marketing hype, even in the case of the 10mm, so to speak. Buy any of them and you’ll have made a great choice.

Dirty Range Fun

October 3, 2007

not THAT kinda dirty, just keep readin’…
So last weekend I loaded up a few more rounds of 10mm, as I had a few more primers here and there I needed to put to good use as well as some more Berry’s 180-grain plated flat-nose bullets.
I had a few left over from the last range trip with the 10mm…it’s been a few weeks since I’ve taken the 10mm out, because I nailed my Shooting Chrony as I was testing a load I’d worked up before I even got the first reading on how hot it was. But I ordered a new one late last week and it came in Monday, so today I took it to the range to see how it worked out. I picked up another Shooting Chrony, but I took a step up to the Alpha model, the red one that will hold one 2- to 32-shot string and calculates average velocity, standard deviation and extreme spread. I took about 60 rounds today, with the following specs:

Case: Federal and a few Winchesters, three times fired
Bullet: Berry’s 180-grain plated flat-nose
Charge: 12.1 grains of Accurate Arms No. 9
Primer: Remington 2 1/2 (large pistol)
OAL: 1.260″

Firearm: Kimber Stainless Target II

The only difference between this load and what I’ve loaded before was the primers, as I’d been using CCI large pistol primers before. And there was a bit of difference that I could see, from both the velocity readings and inspection of the pistol after shooting.
The load with the CCI primer was running just over 1150 fps on average, with individual shots running anywhere from 1120 to 1190, while the load with the Remingtons was running about 1120. I only took a seven-shot string, but the load was amazingly consistent through the string, anywhere from 1115 to 1128 feet per second; that’s the lowest extreme spread I’ve had with ANY load I’ve worked up. I don’t know how it would have changed if I had taken a longer string; maybe I’ll try that next time out and see how it works.
But then again, I might not. The lower velocity I could deal with — that much could be remedied with a higher charge, as examination of the cases showed it was running at about-normal pressures — but it seems that not all the powder is burning, as the gun was a good bit dirtier when I was finished shooting than it usually is. I suppose one could also try magnum primers — I’ve read of people using them a lot with the 10mm — but I just don’t know if I want to try that with a stock gun, as it’ll ramp up both pressure and velocity if what I’ve been told is right. In any event, other than the dirty gun, it was a fun range day. But to twist the old saying, even a bad day at the range beats a good day at work. Better too that I managed to recover well over half my brass. I think I recovered about 50 out of 65, and it didn’t take me that long either. Maybe I’m gettin’ better at that too!

My Rights Day Purchase…

August 28, 2007

…will be a box of Berry’s plated 180-grain 10mm flat-nosed bullets to reload for my Kimber. Tomorrow, I’ll load some more in addition to the remainder of the last box I loaded this weekend, and go out and shoot them if it doesn’t rain. They make for a great little plinking load behind 12.1 grains of Accurate No. 9. I’d go hotter, but for three things: they’re plated bullets, which means you can’t drive them too fast lest you strip the plating off and lead the barrel; I’ll be using Remington primers instead of CCI, which basically means the prudent thing to do is start again with the minimum load; and this will be firing No. 3 for my current batch of brass. Still, though, with a hollow-point it’d make a pretty decent defensive load if it has the same ballistics as the last batch of Berry’s that I drove downrange, at ~1150 fps and ~528 ft-lb. of energy. We’ll see how it works — with luck it’ll be tomorrow…

Cheap Sunday Range Fun

August 5, 2007

…relatively speaking, anyway…
I got a call Friday afternoon from BZ Gun & Repair in Groves. The clerk told me he had gotten some Berry’s 180-grain .40S&W/10mm bullets in if I was interested in them. Never heard of ’em before. So I did some research. Come to find out they were copper-plated instead of copper-jacketed. Which means, of course, that you can’t drive ’em as fast as a jacketed bullet because the plating could come off and you’d get leading. I’d seen some conflicting reports of how fast one could load them to before getting adverse effects, anywhere from 1100 to 1300 feet per second — and one brave soul was loading them to about fourteen-and-a-half, with what I am guessing was .357 Magnum, with no leading. ‘Least that’s what he said. Anyway, I bit the bullet, so to speak, and swung by there yesterday morning to pick some up. Just a box of 100, to experiment with. Later I sat down at my bench and loaded 50 rounds, with the most conservative data I could find for my components. Finished product:

Cartridge: 10mm Auto
Case: Federal twice-fired American Eagle
Bullet: 180-grain plated flat-nose
Powder Charge: 12.1 grains of Accurate Arms No. 9
Primer: CCI large pistol
OAL: 1.260″

I took it to the range this morning, with my Kimber Stainless Target II. Accurate rated that load for 1086 fps, albeit with a different bullet, and I was thinking it would shoot faster than that rating as did the 155-grain Hornady XTPs I’ve been using so far. I figured right. I took a 20-shot string and was averaging 1153.35 feet per second, with a low of 1112 and high of 1190. Only two of the shots were below 1120, though, and if you take those out it works out to about 1157 fps, with most of the shots running between 1130 and 1170. Very nice, and accurate, little midrange plinking load, runs about even with the Remington UMCs’ 1150 fps. Seems like the recoil was a little heavier with these than with the 155-grainers, even though the latter was running about 200 fps faster. But it was still very manageable, with, just as important, no leading. I think I’ve found a winner here, for about $20 for a box of 100 completed rounds; it could go lower than that, of course, if I order components in bulk. Beats the living hell out of $25 for a box of 50. The more I roll my own, the more I like it!

More Shooting Fun

July 4, 2007

So a couple of weeks ago I loaded some more ammunition for the Kimber Stainless Target II and it was off to the range day before yesterday with it. Lucky for me I beat the rain…
155-grain Hornady XTPs in front of 14.3 grains of Accurate No. 9 for a muzzle velocity of about 1350 fps, give or take 5-10 fps. Monday I was averaging about 1346.2 fps, but with an extreme spread big enough to drive a truck through…83 fps, which means I was driving them out at anywhere from 1300 to 1383 fps. I think I might have narrowed down the problem a little bit, though
I’ve heard people say here and there that if you put a tighter crimp on the round, it helps to cut down on that, so I tried that and still it didn’t help. Not sure when I’ll be doing it, but some gun mods will be in the future..flat-bottom firing pin stop, stiffer mainspring & recoil spring to delay unlocking. I’ve heard all those help as well, with another benefit — slowing down the slide so it doesn’t throw the brass so far. I recovered about half of mine yesterday, which was pretty good, but still I wish I could have done better. Such is life, though…and the fun with the 10mm is more than worth chasing the empties. 😉

Memorial Day Range Fun

May 30, 2007

With what, you ask? Why, the Kimber 10mm and more real 10mm ammo, what else?
Saturday morning I sat down and took my last batch of once-fired brass and loaded it, a little bit hotter than what I’ve done before, and Monday morning it was off to the range. Once again, the specs:

Case — Remington nickel-plated
Bullet — 155-grain Hornady XTP
Load — 14.8 gr. Accurate Arms No. 9
Primer — CCI large pistol

The load was 0.5 grains higher than the minimum in the Accurate Arms data sheet. I think that’s about as high as I’d be willing to go with the once-fired; anything higher and I’d rather go with virgin brass just to be safe, at least at this point. And right now it’s more about load development than anything else; I usually set up the target at the 7-yard mark and set up the chrony at the 3-yard mark, and this week was no exception. So I started blasting, and the results were quite impressive, as they’ve been so far with my particular components.
The average velocity was 1371 feet per second, with an extreme spread of 58 fps and a high of 1399 fps and just over half the shots running between 1360 and 1380 fps. So we’re running just about on par with the Georgia Arms 155-grain Gold Dot at 1375. And the Kimber ate every one. I must admit, that was a concern of mine initially, that I would be doing something wrong and have problems with jams, especially with the Kimber’s tight tolerances. So far my fears have been unfounded, and the load was very comfortable to boot. No doubt it’s different with a heavier bullet, but I’d have to say that particular combination would be just about the perfect middle ground between the 9mm Parabellum and the .45acp. And every time I shoot it, I am that much more mystified as to why the .40Short&Weak overtook the 10mm as the accepted middle-bore autopistol cartridge. It works, but still, it’s such a shame that the 10mm was relegated to niche status.
Before I go any further, though, the gun will get some stiffer springs and a Shok-Buff — at least a recoil spring, maybe a mainspring as well, and a flat-bottom firing pin stop. (I’ve heard those help with cutting down on standard deviation, too.) I’d really rather not be posting here some horrible day about cracks in the frame or that sort of thing…

More Homemade 10mm Fun!

April 28, 2007

So I rolled some more 10mm last week when I was off, and today I took it out to see how it’d do — same load I took out last week. For the record:

155-gr. Hornady XTP
14.3 gr. Accurate Arms No. 9
1.250″ OAL

I did, however, have a better setup for the chrony this week, namely a little tripod from Walmart to mount it on further out from where I was shooting.
I got out there, got the chronograph set up initially about 8 ft. from the muzzle, loaded the mags and started blasting away at the 7-yard mark — one ragged hole, with a couple of stray shots here and there. Muzzle velocities from 8 feet, in feet per second:

1352
1338
1362
1345
1339
1328
1338
1353
1356
1328

Average:1,343.9 fps
ES: 34 fps

I was a little suspicious still, though, considering Accurate rates my load at 1244 fps. So, I moved the Shooting Chrony back a couple of feet, diffusers in place, and reeled off some more.

Velocities @ 10 ft:
1374
1366
1331
1343
1353
1335
1345
1350
1359
1347
1394
1393
1343
1345
1311
1366
1295
1359

Average: 1350.5 fps
ES: 63 fps

Velocities @ 20 feet:
1288
1345
1345
1310
1356
1374
1343
1343
1355

Average: 1339.8 fps
ES: 86 fps

I don’t know how the extreme spread got wider as I moved the Chrony back; it might have something to do with premature unlocking on some shots, maybe a stiffer recoil spring might help, I don’t know. In any event, though, I found the XTPs quite manageable even at those velocities — if indeed they were accurate. Perhaps a stiffer spring might help with diagnosis. In any event, it was yet another successful outing. I think I’m getting the hang of this handloading thing. 😉

First Handloads Downrange…

April 22, 2007

…and both my Kimber Stainless Target II and I are in one piece, and I for one am raring to go again!
As mentioned earlier, I made some 10mm ammunition early last week on my RCBS turret press, and yesterday and this morning I sat down and made some more. Specs once again, for the record:

Bullet: 155-grain Hornady XTP
Load: 14.3 grains of Accurate Arms No. 9
Primer: CCI 300 Large Pistol
OAL: 1.250″

I checked the weight of the charge and the OAL several times before I went out to the range with my ammo, but still I was nervous, wondering: Would I have a misfire? What if I had a bullet seated too deep? Or an excessive charge? Maybe that’s normal for first-timers, but in any case I need not have worried. The gun ran like a champ, ate every last one of them. Granted, I only took about 40 rounds, but I was still worried — at first. I got to the range, put a round in the mag, put it in the gun, thought, here goes nothin’.
BOOM!
Ok, that wasn’t so bad, gun and I are still in one piece, let’s try it again…and again! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! Just like any other day at the range, hey, not so bad, and the gun’s still more accurate than I am.
I wasn’t so much testing for accuracy today, though; I just wanted to see how the gun would run with my homemade ammo, and what kind of speeds I was getting. Which is where things got interesting.
The load was the minimum according to the Accurate data, rated at 1244 fps. But the chronograph told quite a different tale. I clocked several shots, and here’s what I got (all in fps):

1337
1511
1451
1483
1435
1459
1530
1447

The readings above 1500 fps are suspect, I would think, as is the 1337 fps reading, as all the rest were fairly close to one another — from 1451 to 1483 fps, that seems fairly consistent, but we’ll see what happens on the next range trip. I am thinking it’s pretty accurate because I didn’t have too much light — in fact, I got error messages on a few shots because it was saying I was using the diffusers on a cloudy day — and the diffusers weren’t installed.
In any event, it was a smashing success. I can’t wait to load and shoot some more.

First Rounds

April 17, 2007

So I spent all day yesterday, well, most of the afternoon anyway, tinkering with my turret press to figure it out. Made some dry runs with the primer feeding system seating dead primers back in to get a feel for how it worked, got the powder dispenser set up, and at about 5:15 yesterday afternoon, I made my first five rounds.


155-grain Hornady XTPs, loaded behind 14.3 grains of Accurate Arms No. 9 and a CCI large pistol primer for a muzzle velocity of 1,244 fps. I don’t have a chrony yet, but I am going to take care of that this week.
I suppose some people might have called it work, but I thought it was fun. I gotta admit, it really gave me a sense of pride that I could do that. I can’t wait to shoot them….it’s gonna have to wait, though, because I have work all this week, and I’d rather get a chronograph first so I can drive them across it and see how my handiwork is. There was only one deviation from the Accurate info, a CCI primer instead of Winchester. I’ll be going out Sunday or Monday, probably. More info to come.
🙂