A while back I made up some .40 S&W loads with “Gold Dot® Short Barrel®” bullets (it appears they have been discontinued) and then did velocity and milk jug penetration tests. I was very pleased with them.
A couple days ago I received an email from Drew Rinella. Here is part of it:
I met you very briefly a couple/few years ago at a Boomer shoot, so it was cool to find your site while researching low velocity results for speer gold dots. I saw that people were giving you shit in the comments about your low velocity 40 s&w gold dot SB loadings. I want to let you know that my terminal performance testing results have so far been great with loading the standard 147 gr 9mm gold dot at a low velocity.
I like the properties of the 147 grain 9mm gold dot bullet but I have always been frustrated by the challenging recoil impulse and inconsistent accuracy with their factory loading at nearly 1000 fps muzzle velocity, so I’ve been experimenting with loading at lower velocities. Despite the fact that they do not yet market a SB version of this bullet, I received an email back from that factory recommending a minimum of 850 fps for consistent expansion.
4.3 grains of Silhouette gave me 885 fps from a Glock 17. This was the most accurate and softest shooting load I tested which gave me the min recommended velocity. With this velocity I get consistent penetration of 4 water filled milk jugs, with the bullet puncturing a small hole into and bouncing off of the 5th jug. Assuming a 1.8x ratio of water to ballistic gel this slightly exceeds the FBI standard of 12″ ballistic gel.
Test #1: 2 layers denim
Penetrated 4 full milk jugs; bullet fully intact with signs of stress on the petals Expansion 0.525″
Weight 147.5 grains
Test #2: 4 layers denim
Penetrated 4 full milk jugs; one petal ripped off and stayed in first milk jug; signs of stress on remaining petals Expansion 0.563″
Weight 143.8 grains
As soon as the kids can drink more milk I’ll be testing with more materials including quilted denim, metal, wood, wallboard, and glass. I hypothesize less expansion and deeper penetration through these barriers based on observations of online video testing of factory loadings with this bullet, which I don’t necessarily consider to be a bad thing.
Silhouette was one of the few powders my thrower was able to throw consistently at these low charge volumes, and gave me a small red fireball with some yellow sparks in low light shooting. CFE Pistol (my favorite powder for nearly everything else) wouldn’t throw consistently. Titegroup accuracy was very poor. AA#2 & 5 were consistent but wouldn’t give me the velocity I wanted without going into +P or +P+ territory.
Hornady XTP 147 grain at low velocity wouldn’t open up and looked like I could reload it and shoot it again. I definitely think Gold Dot is the way to go when downloading self defense rounds.
I figured there had to be other powders which would give the desired velocity so I went looking through all the sources on my book shelf. Here is a complete list of the powders for 9mm, 147 grain bullets, which yield velocities in the range of 850 feet per second.
Powder weight is in grains. Expected velocities are in feet per second. Some of the data is quite old and you should verify it with your own loading manuals or online to make sure the data is current and I have not made a catastrophic typo.
|Powder||C.O.L.||Minimum Load||Velocity||Maximum Load||Velocity|