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First 9mm Carry Pistol - 124 vs 147 jhp?

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by Quackerbacker, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. Quackerbacker

    Quackerbacker Springfield, OR Active Member

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    Hi all.

    Tough to believe but the Beretta Nano i picked up yesterday is my first 9mm carry pistol (had a kel-tec p-11 for a few weeks, doesn't count). I've only owned 380 and 40 in various platforms.

    Is there any consensus on which is the better stopper between 124 & 147gr JHP ammunition?

    Also, i like to roll my own, what's a good JHP round with decent performance/value ratio? XTP?

    All opinions welcome.
     
  2. revjen45

    revjen45 Snohomish County Well-Known Member

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    Use what works reliably in your gun. Reliability trumps the difference in performance between specific loads any day. The Nano is pretty small - 147 gr may have snappy recoil.
     
  3. Quackerbacker

    Quackerbacker Springfield, OR Active Member

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    I suppose you're right, but let's assume both being equally reliable, which is the better stopper?

    So far, the only issues i know about the Nano are some early guns had trouble extracting low power 115gr practice ammunition.
     
  4. RBid

    RBid Wilsonville, OR Well-Known Member

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    147 is less snappy than 124 (even standard pressure), generally speaking.

    As to which is a better stopper... Both. Given the same product line, the difference is going to be something like .02" expansion traded for .5" penetration or similar. The 147 will usually expand marginally less, but penetrate marginally more.

    I favor 147gr Gold Dots, but acknowledge that it's splitting hairs.
     
  5. Netspirit

    Netspirit Bellevue, WA Active Member

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    I assume the barrel is about 3 inch long?

    If that is the case, use 147gr. Lighter bullets exit that short barrel too fast, before all the powder burns out, wasting some energy.

    Since this is a carry gun, you never know where you may have to use it, but you can be pretty sure you will not have your ear protection on. 147gr is a subsonic round and the damage to your hearing (esp. indoors) will be just a bit less.
     
  6. kukusya

    kukusya King County Wa Active Member

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    LEO only approve 147gr to use on duty. Most LEO using Winchester ranger ammo. Yes it is snappy but get use to it
     
  7. iGun

    iGun Pacific NW Active Member

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    Just pick any load from the list below and you should be fine. I like the subsonic HST 147s for a defensive load.
    Thoughts on Service Pistols, along with Duty and Self-Defense Ammo Recommendations - M4Carbine.net Forums
    9 mm:
    Barnes XPB 115 gr JHP (copper bullet)
    Federal Tactical 124 gr JHP (LE9T1)
    Federal HST 124 gr +P JHP (P9HST3)
    Remington Golden Saber bonded 124 gr +P JHP (GSB9MMD)
    Speer Gold Dot 124 gr +P JHP
    Winchester Ranger-T 124 gr +P JHP (RA9124TP)
    Winchester 124 gr +P bonded JHP (RA9BA)
    Winchester Ranger-T 127 gr +P+ JHP (RA9TA)
    Federal Tactical 135 gr +P JHP (LE9T5)
    Federal HST 147 gr JHP (P9HST2)
    Remington Golden Saber 147 gr JHP (GS9MMC)
    Speer Gold Dot 147 gr JHP
    Winchester Ranger-T 147 gr JHP (RA9T)
    Winchester 147 gr bonded JHP (RA9B/Q4364)
     
    206thsense and (deleted member) like this.
  8. strick

    strick McMinnville Oregon Member

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    Why are you "rolling" your "own" self defense rounds? Does not sound like a good choice to me. Just buy factory JHP. I use Remington Golden Saber 147gr 9mm.
     
  9. Oklahomie

    Oklahomie Marysville Active Member

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    I hear the HST's are the bee's knees, they weren't easy to find before this whole ammo crisis started so best of luck finding a reasonably priced box.
    What about Hornady Critical Defense/Duty rounds? They have the soft material in the hollow point cavity to aid expansion.
     
  10. Solomon

    Solomon Vancouver Active Member

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    Nothing you said here is actually true. For example, the NYPD issues Speer Gold Dot 9mm 124gr +p.

    OP - Youtube is full of gelatin tests for various 9mm defense loads. User tnoutdoors9 specifically has some great stuff.

    In 124gr I prefer the Speer Gold Dot +p (my usual carry load). In 147gr the Federal HST (standard pressure) is great.
     
  11. Quackerbacker

    Quackerbacker Springfield, OR Active Member

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    That's a good question. The highly abreviated answer is that i like to practice with what i carry. For my .40sw i load Hornady XTP's.
     
  12. RBid

    RBid Wilsonville, OR Well-Known Member

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    3/3 sentences in this post are wrong.

    Speer Gold Dot 124 +P are possibly the most widely used 9mm round among LE. As has been said, NYPD uses it, and I know it gets use in my home state-- Portland PD carries it, among other departments.

    As for the 147 being snappy... No. It's often softer to shoot than other rounds.

    It seems as though you're making the (ultra common) mistake of thinking that "grains" refers to gun powder. "Grains" is a unit of weight used to reference the weight of the slug. 147 is a relatively heavy slug with a lower charge.
     
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  13. EJ20Legacy

    EJ20Legacy Spokane Area Member

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    I carry Federal HST 147 grain in my Nano. Standard pressure 147, although they also make a +P in 147 flavor. I have the +P in 124 but prefer the 147, as basically all testing shows that the 147 penetrates deeper more reliably and deflects on barriers less. HST will expand reliably at a huge range of velocities and the 147 is perfectly suited for a short barrel like the Nano's.

    In answer to the OP's original question of what is better between 124 and 147, we have seen A LOT of people/departments/agencies concurring that heavy-for-caliber is best due to increased penetration. Light and fast was the rage for a while (maximum kinetic energy) but now people are sticking to the heavy bullets that have more momentum.

    All that said, I DO NOT agree with comments saying that the heavier bullets shoot softer or recoil less or are less snappy than lighter bullets. This is absolutely not true. While subjective opinion can come into play in cases like this, a bullet with more mass recoils harder. I think some of the lighter rounds are often +P or +P+ and people end up comparing that to 147 grain standard pressure, which isn't fair. If you take rounds with the same powder loads and one is ~85 grain (which you can find in 9mm... usually solid copper hollow points), one is 115 grain, and one is 147 grain you will feel a very clear increase in kick as you go from light to heavy. Lack of recoil has always been one of the prime selling points for choosing light, fast ammo over heavy, slower ammo. Shooting that ridiculous DoubleTap derringer (DoubleTap Range Tests: SUCCESS! Important ammo note w/ the Tactical Pocket Pistol - YouTube) everyone could CLEARLY feel that the 147 grain brands kicked harder than the 115 grain brands, and I'm citing this gun because it's so thin and light that the recoil is much clearer than with most pistols so you can really feel minor differences in ammo power. Anyway, heavier kicking harder than lighter is always going to be the case assuming similar powder loads. It's also very noticeable with bolt/lever action rifles, revolvers, shotguns, etc... I load up 7/8 ounce shot for my wife and beginners to use in my O/U shotgun and 1 1/8 ounce shot for me for sporting clays purposes. Exact same powder loads, same wads, same hulls, etc. The heavier load kicks very noticeably harder. More inertia to overcome equates to a harder push back on the gun.


    BTW the 147 grain HST is very controllable in the Nano and is very accurate.
     
  14. Smitty79

    Smitty79 Tigard Member

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    Heavier bullets shoot softer for the same power factor. In a self defense role, no one cares about power factor, it's an IDPA/IPSC thing. At same muzzle velocity, 147 is snappier. I am surprised not to see Hornady Critical Defense on the list. Everything I have read about is that it's a superior defense round. It also tends to feed better than JHP. This is particularly important in a pocket gun.
     
  15. strick

    strick McMinnville Oregon Member

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    The benefit of using the 147 over the 124 is the 147 is sub-sonic, that is one less sound that is going to affect your hearing.
     
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  16. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    Heavier bullets have more recoil. That is not opinion, it is fact. Of course that is with all other things being equal. For example, I cast 155 gr. SWC and 140 gr. TC bullets for .357 magnum. I use a charge of 14.0 gr.'s of 2400 and a standard primer for both bullets for 1,300 fps with the 155 and 1,425 with the 140. The 155 has enough additional recoil that it is noticeable. That is not an anomaly, it is the norm.

    I personally would use a 147 for defense if I still carried a 9mm. Winchester Rangers would top my list with Hornady XTP's, Rem. Golden Saber's, Speer Gold Dot and Federal HST shortly behind. These days, ammo quality is so much better that all of the top lines are more than reliable.
     
  17. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    Portland seems to have reasonable, uh, "success" with 147 gr HST's.
     
  18. Solomon

    Solomon Vancouver Active Member

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    They're very soft shooting and expand reliably. They also tend to lack the damage/expansion and/or penetration of comparable Gold Dot or HST loads. They're a fine round but I prefer something with a bit more oomph.
     
  19. Nick Burkhardt

    Nick Burkhardt NE Oregon Well-Known Member

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  20. RBid

    RBid Wilsonville, OR Well-Known Member

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    That third line is the snag, because all other things are rarely equal. Basic physics tell us that it takes more push to move a heavier bullet the same speed as a lighter bullet, but that's not what we actually get in most manufactured ammunition.

    Among Speer rounds, I find the 147 and 180 rounds to be softer shooting than their lighter, higher velocity siblings.
     
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