Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Accidental 9mm Luger Load

In my last post I mentioned going to see my pal Steve, which beminds me of when he was learning to load a little handgun ammo. Steve isn't a shooter like I am, he is a hunter. That's kind of a shame, if he would really apply himself he'd be in the top one per cent of pure shooters and could possibly be in the elite few. He isn't all that interested, though, so he practices enough to be deadly on deer and dove.

Anyhow Steve got himself the 9mm Luger bug and bought himself a Beretta, the civilian version of the new Army gun. I bought a set of Lee dies for it and started cranking out a little ammo so he'd have some practice stuff and then a pard in the scrap metal biz came up with several five gallon bucketfuls of fully jacketed 125 grain bullets. The 9mm shooters in our little club won't EVER have do buy a 9mm bullet for practice again. Anyhow we came up with a real nice practice load, pretty much near the max load of Alliant's Herco powder for the lead bullet worked fine. The load is hot enough that every one of our nine shooters could use it but still low enough that we don't have to worry about having an overpressure event from a change in cartridge cases or primers. It's a load I still recommend to folks, 6.2 grains of Herco behind any 125 grain bullet. I've never seen a nine that wouldn't shoot it.

Then came the day we were short on Herco and, since Steve lives in town, I sent him out after some. Somehow he ended up with a big jug of Blue Dot, instead. Blue Dot is a nice powder for heavy shotshells and magnum revolvers but I've never seen it used in small capacity handgun rounds, it's just too bulky. Since the name of the game with buying powder is, you bought it, it's yours, I started looking for a way to use it. One after another of my manuals failed until I finally went on line and found that Alliant's website has a listing. This was back before we had a computer at home.

All these years later, Steve is still loading Blue Dot in the Nine. The downside is that the case is so full that we have to be real careful until the bullet is seated for fear of spilling powder all over Hell's half acre. The good news is that velocity is fine and there is no way that the bullet could ever be pushed deeper into the case, raising pressure, the powder is just too compressed.

The lesson learned is to not give up on a 'wrong' powder until we have checked every bit of information. Today, of course, that info is right at our fingertips, via the 'net. Under normal circumstances I would never run out and buy Blue Dot for loading the Nine. I kept some around for some decades, though, for loading my .357 revolver rounds and when Steve first bought that Nine I had some on my shelf, it never struck my mind to use it.

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