In episode 78 of the podcast I mentioned that I had loaded up and shot my first reloads. I loaded a bunch of 125gr round nose bullets from The Blue Bullets (local NC company, you should support them) over some Unique powder that I picked up from Lucky 13 Cast Bullets (also a local NC company, you should support them too) and headed off to the Monday night Action Pistol match at the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center. It was a little unnerving shooting my reloads for the first time in a match setting, with all of my friends looking on behind me, but all went well.
I did a lot of reading about load data, but I couldn’t find anything for shooting these particular bullets, so I looked up a bunch of minimum loads for Unique powder with a 125gr bullet, and sort of just averaged them together for a starting load. I had more trouble trying to find a good overall length for the cartridge. After a bunch of looking, I basically just ended up going with one of the longer published lengths (1.14″) and tested it in the Glock 17 and my M&P Pro 9mm by dropping it into the chamber before the match. The rounds dropped into the chamber, and slid right back out without trouble, but I didn’t actually chamber them with the slide, just dropped them into the chamber to see how they fit. The Glock 17 had no problem, the rounds dropped in, and fell right out. The M&P must have a little shorter chamber, and the rounds were a little tighter than the Glock, but they still fell out.
I shot the match with the Glock 17, and all was well on Monday. I just happy to leave the range with all my fingers intact, and I was ecstatic that all the rounds left the pistol and hit the targets…
Over the next couple days I loaded up another 175 of these to take to the range on Thursday night. After waiting a while for a lane at the WCFETC, I just wanted to get the testing done. I setup some targets at 7 yards and started blasting away:
- Glock 17 – No problem
- S&W M&P Shield 9mm – No problem
- S&W M&P Pro 9mm – Rounds shot just fine, but when attempting to unload the pistol, it turns out that the 1.14″ overall length was too long. The bullet was just engaging the rifling in the barrel, making getting the round out of the chamber tough.
- Springfield XDs 9mm – Same issue as the M&P Pro
I came home from the range and started loading up some dummy rounds at various lengths, and spent some time racking them into and out of the chambers of the various pistols. It seems that 1.125″ will be the next best overall length to try. I’ve got 20 of them loaded now to try out, just need to get them to the range and see how they do.