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9mm 147gr - Jacketed

I just got done testing the 3N38 with the 147g xtp in my Glock 17 and here's the rundown. 55 degrees this morning, bout 30% humidity, our elev. is 1,640 ft.
Win. brass .748 oal, win. primers, 6.9g 3N38, 147g xtp, COAL 1.142. 10 rd. average through the chrono was 1140 fps. Had zero signs of pressure.


Great job Nate. Those are most encouraging results. I was just on the VihtaVuori site and you have matched the max powder load and LOA. I note the test data calls for a 4" bbl. It's possible that getting the called for 1207 fps is a mix of higher ambient temp and more bullet resistance. Just a guess though.

I any case, outstanding results. Guess I have to look harder for th 3N38 and try it myself.


(notes from Bill on surface area of bullets)

the Speer #14 shows a 1000 fps load at standard pressure. But you are totally correct.... based on bullets. I spent a couple months wrestling with the Precision Delta 147gr fmj tc bullet. When all was done the best I could get with it was a bit over 900 fps. While it is likely a very accurate bullet, it is VERY invasive in the case and has the maximum possible area touching the barrel. Both factors make for either very high pressures or very low velocities. The 147gr Golden Saber hp is about as invasive as the Precision Delta bullet but has far less surface area bearing against the barrel. The down side is the jacket materal is brass and much harder to push down the barrel. I did finally end up with a 1000 fps load with this. I won't swear it's not a +P load but I don't think so.

The Speer Gold Dot has less surface bearing area than the PD but more than the Golden Saber. Being that the jacket is pure copper, friction/drag in the barrel is way down over either the PD or the Golden Saber. Hence my question. With 147gr bullets in the little high pressure 9mm case, every bullet is a law unto itself.

To the best of my knowledge, with the possible exception of Corbon, no one loads a 9mm 147-gr. load that is above standard pressure. Winchester Ranger SXT, the LE-Only, stuff is +P+ in 127-gr, but standard pressure in 147-grs.

Current 147-gr. loads do seem to work better than older versions. Gold Dot, Winchester Ranger, and Golden Sabers seem to work well. Most of these have velocities hovering around the 1000 ft/sec lever when fired from a Browning Hi Power.

I personally prefer the 127-gr. +P+ Ranger T load. Were I unable to use that, I'd go with the Speer 124-gr. Gold Dot +P. Both offer velocities a bit over 1200 ft/sec and both penetrate quite well.

Not being a big fan of the 147's in the nine, I've tried but three or four brands in the Hi Power and CZ-75 and they all functioned fine.

9 mm Major:

147 grain Hornady XTP jacketed hollowpoint bullet
6.7 grains Vihtavuori 3N38 powder (6.9 grains max)
Winchester small pistol primer
COAL = 1.142"

This load can make "Major" if I were to use it for such purposes, where that 147 grain bullet screams out at 1195 fps. No, this isn't an error, and I've tested this with 25 rounds through the chrony.

I also use this as a bowling pin shooting load, and can surprise many people who think that the 9 mm is no good for such games (I still prefer my 10 mm for that, though). Well into 357 Sig territory here with this bullet weight.

This load is also a tad below the SAAMI max pressure of 35000 psi. 3N38 is a relatively new powder to the scene, but it's already rapidly becoming my choice of (safe) hotrodding powder, now that Hodgdon is discontinuing Longshot. The only BIG problem is that Vihtavuori 3N38 is VERY hard to find, especially from the local dealers. I don't really want to order from online, unless I can make a relatively large order, since the hazmat charges apply.

Its difficult to get the 147 grainers above subsonic velocity within the limits of the 9mm case safely. I would guess the chamber pressures would be way beyond SAAMI specs. +P = 10% above, when you see +P+ it means NO LIMIT...You’d kind of be on your own in uncharted waters, if the risk of a kaboom is worth it, build your way up slowly. As I mentioned, it CAN probably be done but I wouldn't want to be the one to do it. I would also suggest shooting something this hot out of a steel gun and not a polymer framed gun. Competition shooters in Open class have worked the 9mm to its extreme to get Major Power Factor scoring out of something designed for minor. I don't think many of them use the 147 (I could be wrong) but instead go for the increased velocity a lighter bullet will give them. (Power factor is bullet weight x velocity /1000).

I like the 9mm for what it is, if I wanted a little more I would go with a 38 Super or move up to 40SW, 45GAP or 45ACP.


There are only three powders that I will ever use to hotrod a 147 grainer (beyond 1050 fps), in this order of preference:

1) Vihtavuori 3N38
2) Alliant Power Pistol
3) Vihtavouri 3N37

The only powder I'll use to go beyond 1100 fps is Vihtavuori 3N38. I did a good bit of scouting for such recipes, and this is the only powder that can hit over 1200 fps without entering +P territory. Even then, I really can't play around much with it, since 3N38 is expensive, and very hard to find.

Some folks have suggested trying Accurate Arms #9, but the big problem with that is the bulk of the powder; it's a very slow burning pistol powder, and you can't cram enough powder in there, even with a compressed charge (and that's also something I strongly dislike).

I just don't like the idea of exceeding SAAMI standard pressure in my own handloads, even though the brass and guns are more than capable of handling the 38,500 psi limit of a +P cartridge. No need for turbo charging here, although it's somewhat like putting premium racing fuel into a passenger car (and works).

Arnisandyz, from what I've seen, most folks who do try to hotrod their 9 mm cartridges to hit major, use 147 grainers. To hit that magical number of 165,000 on the power factor, makes it extremely difficult for the 124 grainers, since you would need a velocity of 1331 fps to attain this feat. Not entirely impossible, but very difficult, even with VV 3N38. To do this requires a powder charge that I will not share, simply for the sake of safety. While it worked safely in my guns, with my components, etc., I would cringe at the idea of someone trying to fire one of these babies through an old Helwan, or Radom.

A 115 grainer would require 1435 fps or more, and that's even more difficult.

With a 147 grainer, you only need 1123 fps, and that can certainly be done with the above three powders, although using Power Pistol or 3N37 would be creeping into +P territory, while 3N38 keeps you in comfortably in standard pressure territory.

6.3gr Ap-100 under a Topscore 145gr RN loaded to 1.154 goes 168P/F in a G17 with 4 port comp.
This is loaded with Win Small pistol primers.

Should go higher P/F in the longer G17L.

Trevor Baily


If you're locked into Blue Dot, I can't help you, but if you check out Brian Enos' forum, you'll find than many of the top shooters like Ramshot Silhouette for 9mm.

With a 147 gr bullet, 4.3 gr of Silhouette gives me 870 fps and total reliability in my G17 & G19. You can go to 4.5 which Ramshot lists at 930 fps. Some guys go much hotter, but I don't need the extra speed.

BTW, Silhouette is that same as Winchester's Action Pistol powder according to the Ramshot reps at this year's S.H.O.T. Show, so you can use WAP load data.

If I were to inventory load the G17 for self defense it would be 147gr Wincheter JHP notched/3N38/Federal primers - 5 shot strings;

1164fps/442fpe, ES 09fps, SD 03fps, 2"w/i X @25yds - doesn't get much better than this.

147gr Golden Saber
1127fps/415fpe, ES 24fps, SD 09fps;

147gr XTP
1151fps/432fpe, ES 08fps, SD 03fps.

A second chronograph test using CCI 500 primers, Winchester 147gr JHP;
#2 Chrono test, 30 meters - 3.735" group compares with 2" w/i X.
1148fps/430fpe, ES 06fps, SD 02fps.

147gr Golden Saber #2 test, 3.525" group @30 meters;
1117fps/407fpe, ES 07fps, SD 02fps

147gr XTP
1138fps/423fpe, ES 24fps, SD 08fps

Very consistent powder with three different bullet designs.

Double Tap comparison G17 - Gold Dot 147gr @ 1135fps / 421ft. lbs.

Same powder/primer combination .40S&W/165gr GS from a Beretta M96 chronographs out at 1310fps/629fpe, that's on the heels of 10mm power. Fired from a CX4-Storm and the numbers are 1510fps/835fpe

I don't use 147gr. 9x19, so I've not kept up with what the "majors" are doing with it, velocity-wise, but I know that Mike McNett at Double Tap is running it pretty hot, and I'd sure be willing to depend on his loads. Cor-Bon, too, for that matter.

Back when I was shooting lots of IPSC, when folks first started loading "Major 9" loads, and Major required a PF of 175, I loaded some 147gr. bullets up to 1220 fps. with AA#7, from a stock Glock 17. (DO NOT TRY THIS, kids!). 1100fps from your 2" 940 equates to the same from roughly a 3.5" auto, so it should be doable plenty safely.


I have tested two factory 147 grain 9mm loads, the Corbon +P and the Federal Hydra-Shok. From a 4.05" barrel the Corbon averaged 1061 FPS and the Federal 948 fps.

A quick glance at my Midway catalog tells me that the only two "factories" that are loading 147 gr. 9mm bullets with any good velocity are Buffalo Bore and Double Tap, with 1175 and 1135 FPS quoted. Both loads use the Gold Dot and I'd prefer either of these to any of the lighter bullet weight loads.

I load the Zero 147 gr which looks identical to me to the Hornady, I have loaded the Hornady as well. I use WSF or 231. Both work great. wsf 4.0 oal 1.125, 231 3.7 1.125 oal. I shoot them out of an xd tactical and have had zero problems, they shoot soft and they easily make power factor. I have shot 2 2,000 round two day tactical courses without one fail to feed or fire. 2 years of ipsc and zero problems. 231 works great for me and my gun.

Hornady's 4th Edition says 5.1 - 6.6grn. AA#7 for 147grn. slugs in a 9mm. Velocities range from 800-1000fps.

My own experience with the bullet weight using AA#7 was in developing 9mm major loads for a G17 & 34 with pin shooting in mind.

Once-fired WW cases
Federal SP primers
7.5grns. AA#7
Berry's 147grn. RN
COAL 1.150"
Velocity 1160fps (10 shot average)

This is a stout load but my 17 and 34 handle it with ease. Also runs well in a BHP but I use a 20lb. recoil spring to help dampen recoil and stress on the gun. Cases last three reloads before primer pockets get a bit loose. Accuracy is quite good.

I tried AA7 with some 147's and it was not a light recoil load at all. Tightgroup is good (but not great). I am using Solo1000 now. Very low recoil, very low smoke, fills the case bigtime for a fast powder. Very happy.

I didn't like AA7 in 9mm with anything but 115 grain bullets, rifle primers (CCI400) and +P or 9mm Major pressure levels. Otherwise the velocity was never what the published data said it would be, and it burned kind of dirty (at least dirtier than I expected it to be) and there were always unburned granules of powder left inside my gun after shooting.

I had better luck with full power loads using Blue Dot in 9mm and standard small pistol primers. Blue Dot is very sensitive with magnum primers.

In my experience AA7 comes alive in the 40k - 50k psi pressure levels... very predictable, very clean and super accurate. I love it in 9x23 Winchester loads.

The Speer #14 manual lists their 147 fmj @ 1.130" with AA7 and 6.1 - 6.8 MAX. for velocities of 867 - 961 fps.