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i know it is unsafe to put to much powder in a 9mm case but is it unsafe to put a small amount in the case?my book calls for 6.1 gr as a starting place for vv3n37.i am using a 115 gr fmj.i only put 5.3 gr as a starting point.it works great in my lightweight p11 9mm kel-tec.i wanted a load that would not beat me up with this lightweight gun.do you think that 5.3 is safe
swabjocky
 

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Dont know about the "Vit" but I have heard this of fast burning powers like "Bullseye" but the charges were very very low like .5-1.0gr.
 

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Reduced loads of pistol powder are perfectly safe, and are useful for training and target practice. Auto pistols need a minimum power level to function, and it is interesting to find that level. I particularly like 3.6 grains of Bullseye with a 124 grain lead bullet for a light load in the 9mm. Velocity is a bit over 1000 fps. It is a good load for introducing people to auto pistols.
 

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Just to get my oar in the water ...

Usually, the "risk" you run from light loads doesn't manifest itself until you load so low that the bullet won't exit the barrel. I feel pretty confident that, in an auto, anything that will cycle the action is fine.

A good while ago - maybe 20 years? - there was a fair amount of discussion about detonation. Some powders, SR4756 being commonly mentioned first, were suspected of detonating sometimes when loaded too lightly.

I never saw where that question was put to rest finally. It seemed to fade away without anyone proving or disproving the whole concept of detonation.

Other than that (possibly mythical) risk, I think you are safe with any load that makes a hole in the target and/or cycles your action.


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If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
 

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I use 3.5 gr Bullseye with a 125 gr lead bullet (Lyman #356402) for my practice 9mm load. The suggested starting load is 3.7 gr, so I'm below minimum. This is a nice easy load. If you have novice shooter or a wife shooting, it won't scare them away.

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johnnyb
A slow hit beats a fast miss
 

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I use light loads myself in the .45--below those listed as a starting point in many manuals--and have never had a problem.

Having said that, my understanding is that very light loads are supposed to be risky. Smokeless powder is a low explosive manufactured from high explosives (nitrocellulose and nitroglycerine). The manufacturing process creates a low explosive that is intended to burn progressively--from the back (primer end) to front with pressures increasing as it goes. Very light loads bypass this intended burn rate. The powder is so little that it does not even come close to filling the case. With the barrel horizontal during firing, the top of the powder is even with or below the flash hole, and all of the powder is ignited simultaneously by the primer. This will change the performance of the powder and result in unpredictable pressures.

This could be dangerous. As I say, I haven't experienced any KBs with light loads, but apparently it is a risk.
 
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