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Thread: Need help with 9mm load and Win 231

  1. #1
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    Need help with 9mm load and Win 231

    I have a Smith 952 in 9mm. I looked at Lee, Lyman, Midway's 9mm load book and a few other manuals to get starting and max loads.
    My pistol will kick the brass at 4.0gr of 231, under a 122gr LFP cast bullet, but the load won't lock back the slide on the last round. I bumped the load to 4.1gr thru 4.3. At 4.3, it will occasionally lock back.
    My concern is that in some of the manuals I've consulted, I'm starting to get toward max loads if I go much further. I'd rather not do that.
    Lyman's mentions 4.4 gr as max for a 120gr lead alloy bullet with 231. Another type of allow bullet of the same weight is shown at 4.1gr of 231 is the top. And a jacketed 125 gr bullet's load maxes out at 4.4gr of 231.
    I was speaking with the Smith tech on the phone and he's a reloader. He consulted the Hornady book and said my load is light at the max listed there is 5.2gr of 231.
    With a match the weekend after next, I'd rather start at ground zero with load development.
    Any of you guys out there work out a good load for 231 in this bullet weight?
    The Smith 952 is modelled after a 1911 and it has a heavy stainless steel slide to push.
    I'd like a nice accurate load, but right now, will be satisfied with a safe load that will also lock back a heavy slide without being hot.
    Can anyone give me an idea of which of the of the competing load data is right? Anyone use a 122gr cast lead bullet with 231? Can I increase the load more without getting close to hot?
    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Looking at the Hodgdon book it shows 4.8max of 231 and HP-38 for a 125 grain FMJ. I understand that both powders are the same. Another book shows 5.1 max of HP-38. I worked up loads for a stainless Ruger P94 a few years back and remember having the same troubles with a light load(around 4.4) and ended at 4.7 for 115 FMJ. IIRC the starting loads around 4.4 would behave quite differently with the muzzle up vs muzzle down, probably due to the powder being up against the primer or bullet.

    Sounds like you are barely up to the starting load. Without signs of over pressure, I would keep going.


  3. #3
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    Lightweight lead 9mm is kind of problematical on both function and accuracy.

    I got reasonable results with the 125 Speer swaged and 4.4 gr of HP38 (same as W231) in my Colt. Another guy here liked those 122 flatpoints and tinkered with gun and load til it sort of worked, but I don't know what load he ended up with.

    In the short run, I would accept the Smith rep's account and increase the load until I got slide lock.

    In the long run, I would consider using jacketed bullets or a heavier cast bullet - I have had good results from the 145 grain roundnose as made by Laser Cast and a few others. There are more 147 gr cast flatpoints that will do as well, if they feed in that gun. I have seen some 135 grain bullets advertised but have not tried them; 10-12 grains more weight might or might not make a difference.

    If you are determined to use the 122, you might have to go to a lighter recoil spring to get slide lock with a load that does not scare you.

    Oh, by the way, the 952 is not modeled on the 1911, there are few similarities and no interchangeability. The 952 is based on the 52, which was developed from the 39, which was a competitor for the Colt Commander in the 9mm Army trials of the 1950s.
    I have a few facts and a lot of opinions.

  4. #4
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    PA, USA
    I use a charge of 4.4gr W231 in my 9mm target rounds but not for a 1911 style 9mm pistol. When using something that heavy you might want to use a different powder. I found HS-6 and Longshot to be better choices when loading for pistols with a heavy slide. My son's favorite 9mm rounds are made with Longshot and a 125gr FMJ bullet. I like Longshot with Jacketed bullets and HS-6 with lead bullets. Also, COAL is important when loading the 9mm. If you are seating the bullet out further than the tested load in the manual you will loose pressure and possibly cause the problem you're having. In that case you will need to seat the bullet to specs or increase the charge slightly.

    Winchester just came out with a new powder for use in the 38 Super, 9mm, 40 S&W and .45 Auto. Their new AutoComp powder is supposed to be very clean and accurate too. You might want to give it a try.

    Good luck finding a load that will operate reliably in your pistol.
    Remember boys and girls, gun control only prevents law abiding Americans from owning guns because the BGs dont obey the laws, no matter how restrictive or lenient the laws are!

  5. #5
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    125 gr speer JHP

    Using 125 gr speer HP in 9mm does anone show a good win231 load. Looking at the other threads I see FMJ in that weight but not JHP. Looking, I would guess 4.4 gr with COL about 113. I am a newbie and I'd rather not guess. These are my first reloads other than 124 gr lead. What would you guys buy for a loading manual, concentrating on 9mm and .38 spec. I sure don't care for the lee cd.

  6. #6
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    PA, USA
    Welcome to the forum arkieron.

    If the weight and profile are similar for two bullets of the same diameter you can use the data for the FMJ bullet with the JHP bullet you have. you may have to adjust the COAL if the FMJ bullet had a round nose but if it's flat like a JHP bullet the data OAL will probably be the same. As long as you start with the Min charge and work your way up to the Max charge looking for obvious signs of high pressure you will be fine.

    Using correct data for rifle bullets is more critical than handgun rounds. With all the new bullets on the market they can cause extremely high pressure because of the added contact surface of some newer bullets when compared to older ones, especially the all Copper bullets. Handgun bullets are much less a problem.
    Remember boys and girls, gun control only prevents law abiding Americans from owning guns because the BGs dont obey the laws, no matter how restrictive or lenient the laws are!

  7. #7
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    Searching for a Smith & Wesson 952 in 9mm

    I have been searching for a Smith 952 and can find no supplier that has any. You have succeded and please let me know where I can buy one.


  8. #8
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    Ummmm... Why are you looking for a heavier load to lock the slide back?

    Other causes?

    Too strong a recoil spring
    Too weak a magazine spring
    Worn or bent ledge on the mag follower(s)
    Worn mag release catch, allowing the mag to be below where it's supposed to be
    Worn slide magazine catch cutout or the catch itself (seems most likely to me)
    Weak plunger spring or worn plunger....


    Did you check these parts out, among other possibilities?

    Terry, 230RN
    "Gun control is not about public safety, crime reduction, or 'the children.' Gun control is about power. The people have it, and the government would rather they didn't." (An internet poster, not myself.)

  9. #9
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    South Texas Coast

    find a 952

    Jeff, look at this site. They usually have a 952 or sometimes two or three.

  10. #10
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    SW PA
    Light-weight lead bullets in the 9mm can cause the conundrum of needing to drive them fast enough to cause leading when you get the pistol to work. Been there, done that.

    My solution was (as suggested above) to go with a cast 147 from Lyman which drops out of my mold near 154. I can use 3.8 WW231 for low to mid 900's and perfect function in all my guns with no leading. Very accurate bullet that flies well downrange too from the carbines.

  11. #11
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    south AZ
    You have a 952. Lucky you. Wish I had one.
    I would expect that your gun, coming right from the Performance Center, is still tight and needs some breaking in. Buy a box or two of factory ammo and see if the slide locks back. If you want S&W to look at it, you need to report what it does with factory ammo.
    I would expect that after a few hundred rounds, these will smooth up and the slide will lock back.
    I have attached my compilation of load data from various manuals and magazines. As you can see, a good starting load and where the maximum load is varies depending on conditions that are not controlled between the sources and may not pertain to your gun either.

    Bullet Weight Powder Weight Velocity Start/Max Power Factor
    L-CFP 121 231/HP38 2.9 963 Start 117
    L-RN 121 231/HP38 3.0 1010 Start 122
    L-RN 124 231/HP38 3.3 910 Start 113
    Lead 124 231/HP38 3.6 Start 0
    Speer L-RN 125 231/HP38 3.8 911 Start 114
    Speer L-RN 125 231/HP38 3.9 917 Start 115
    L-CN 125 231/HP38 3.9 1009 Start 126
    SAECO 377 123 231/HP38 4.0 999 poor accuracy 123
    L-RN 124 231/HP38 4.0 1035 Max 128
    Plated 124 231/HP38 4.0 Accurate
    Speer L-RN 125 231/HP38 4.1 982 Max 123
    L-RN 121 231/HP38 4.1 1148 Max 139
    Speer L-RN 125 231/HP38 4.2 995 Max 124
    L-CN 125 231/HP38 4.4 1086 Max 136
    L-CFP 121 231/HP38 4.4 1264 Max 153
    L-CFN 124 231/HP38 4.5 1015 Start 126
    RCBS 9mm-125-RN 123 231/HP38 4.5 1034 127
    Lee 356-125-2R 126 231/HP38 4.5 1052 poor accuracy 133
    L-RN 125 231/HP38 4.6 1104 Start 138
    L-RN 125 231/HP38 4.7 1094 Start 137
    L-CFN 124 231/HP38 5.0 1135 MaX 141
    L-RN 125 231/HP38 5.0 1130 Max 141
    Lyman 356402 120 231/HP38 5.0 1195 143
    L-RN 125 231/HP38 5.1 1122 Max 140
    Lyman 356402 120 231/HP38 5.5 1250 150
    L-FP 124 231/HP38 3.6-4.1 Accurate

  12. #12
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    Zero 135

    I had some issues with function. I wanted a load that would run in everything. 4 HK's, Keltec, S&W, M11, and AR.
    The 135 grain Zero over 4.0 gr of 231 does it.

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