What handloads have you found that shoot well in the 9mm Hi Power? I have used the loads listed below for years with no problems, as have others I know. Still, it is a recommended practice to start at least 10% below listed figures and work up. Folks using these loads do so at their own risk. Average velocities listed are based on 10-shot averages approximately 10' from the chronograph screens.
Factory Ball Duplication Loads:
Rainier 124-grain Plated Round Nose
6.9 grains Blue Dot
Winchester Small Pistol Primer
Federal, Winchester, or TZZ cases
Average Velocity: 1166 ft/sec
If using Rainier's plated bullets in 9mm and they have the flat base rather than the "restruck" (concave) base, use powders no faster than AA5 or AA7. I had best luck with Blue Dot. The reason is that in the 9mm, the faster powder's pressure spikes in combination with the small case capacity cause the rear edges of the bullet plating to sometimes break off, resulting in extremely poor accuracy. I had great problems with this until I spoke with the good folks at Rainier. The slower powders like Blue Dot work fine with either the flat or concave base 9mm bullets, but faster powders should not be used except with the newer concave bullets. This load groups well for me from Hi Powers with standard or Bar-Sto barrels as well as theCZ-75 and STI pistols.
The Rucker Cast Truncated Cone or Flat Point can be substituted for the Rainier with the appropriate change in length overall. Velocities out of the standard Hi Power are generally in about the same ballpark, running about 1130 ft/sec. For me, this load has been more consistently accurate in a wider number of pistols than the plated bullet.
Here are some groups in which the mentioned handloads' groups are shown along with a couple of factory loads.
The bulk of my shooting, particularly in the past has been with expanding bullets, namely a 115-grain Sierra PJHP ("Power Jacket Hollow Point"), its predecessor, JHP ("Jacketed Hollow Point," which is the same bullet as the PJHP except for being without the skives visible in the PJHP jacket), and Sierra's original JHC ("Jacketed Hollow Cavity"). Sierra continually tweaked the original design into one of the most aggressive expanding bullets available. These are also available in the lighter 90-grain weight. I found that any of the three 115-grain versions shot well over 6.0-grains of Unique. In the past, these normally averaged between 1272 and 1288 ft/sec with monotonous regularity, but the last couple of batches I chronographed had 1240 ft/sec average velocity. The PJHP is the same bullet used by Corbon in their super-fast +P 1350 ft/sec factory load. This bullet has never failed to expand in animals I've shot with it, usually fragmenting a bit as well. The jacket has routinely separated from the lead bullet. I cleanly killed three Texas whitetail deer using this load with the old JHC bullet. None of the deer required more than one shot and all were shot just behind the shoulder about a third of the way up from the bottom of the chest. None were excited and none of the shots were over 30 yards, with two being considerably closer. The bullets did not exit on broadside shots. This load has been used on raccoons, fox, coyotes, and a ton of jackrabbits. Seems to work fine and has expanded in all of the animals listed.
These are three handloaded 9mm rounds I've had success with over the long term. From left to right, the bullets used are: Hornady 124-grain XTP, Speer 124-grain Gold Dot Hollow Point, and the Sierra 115-grain PJHP. I've had extremely good luck with these in terms of accuracy, reliability in the Hi Power, and terminal effect on various animals. (The dark bullet shown with the handloaded XTP has been moly-coated. This does allow for about 40-ft/sec higher velocity with the same 6.0 grain Unique load. Accuracy was not affected.)
Sierra 115-grain PJHP
6.2 grains Unique
Winchester or Federal Small Pistol Primer
Federal, Winchester, TZZ, or Starline Cases
Average Velocity: 1244 ft/sec
These days, I've pretty well gone over completely to the slightly heavier 124-grain JHP bullets as I find them to be more accurate in my Hi Powers and other 9mm pistols (for the most part) at longer distances. Velocities in some cases are the same as with the 115-grain bullets, but usually a bit slower. A maximum effort 124-grain JHP handload from the Hi Power with a factory barrel will be between 1250 and 1300 ft/sec.
These are all loaded over 6.0 grain Unique. I don't have data for other powder charges as I continue to use the Unique that served well for decades. I also have many pounds of the stuff. Some don't really like it as it's "dirty" and others complain about its not metering as consistently as some other powders. While the "new" Unique is cleaner, I had no problems with the "old," and don't consider it much of a real problem. It is true that Unique does NOT meter as well as some other powders. For me, I've found that at ranges of 25 or 30 yards, it really doesn't matter. Most of the time, hand thrown powder charges varies about 0.02 grain and extreme spreads are in the 60-ft/sec range. These still wallow out a hole when I do my part. I have hand weighed some charges and the extreme spread is normally cut in about half.
I have no problem with folks using more "meter friendly" powders. I suggest trying for velocities in the 1200 to 1250 ft/sec range as I've found that most of my pistols group really well in this area. I'd see which powder let me do this while being farthest from the maximum loading.
This is the handload I use the most. I put a very light taper crimp on all handloaded 9mm ammo. It's just enough to remove all of the flare from expanding the case mouth for bullet seating with maybe a very, very slight inward curve. This is an extremely accurate load out of every Hi Power I've tried it in, including the FN Competition Model. It groups very well from the CZ-75 and SIG-P210 as well. If I could only have one handload in 9mm, it would be this one. Despite its not being so aggressive an expander as the Sierra and some other brands of JHP bullets, do not under estimate what this bullet can do. It has proven very effective on small to medium animals including Texas deerů assuming proper placement.
Hornady 124-grain XTP
6.0 grains Unique
Winchester or Federal Small Pistol Primer
Federal, Winchester, Starline, or IMI Cases
Average Velocity: 1243 ft/sec
Notice that with 0.2 grain less powder than the Unique powder charge for Sierra's 115-grain PJHP, we get the same velocity. I can only assume that the slightly-heavier XTP allows for more efficient or complete burning than the Sierra does, at least with Unique in that charge range. Though I've not done it yet, I suspect that Sierra's 125-grain 9mm PJHP might make a very nice bullet for folks liking the "turn-inside-out" expansion thing. Corbon's 125-grain +P JHP uses this bullet and it has proven a bullet capable of very fine accuracy.
These 15-yard targets fired with handloaded 9mm ammo from a standard Mk III 9mm with factory barrel provide more accuracy than I can muster in the field. Both of these loads are moving at over 1200 ft/sec when leaving the Hi Power barrel.
I've also had good luck substituting the Speer 124-grain Gold Dot Hollow Point for the XTP in the same weight. The average velocity when the round is loaded to a LOA of 1.12" is 1234 ft/sec with an extreme spread of less than 20 ft/sec!
Though I don't use the lighter bullets much anymore, I also had good accuracy with Sierra's 90-grain PJHP loaded over 5 to 5.2-grains Bullseye. I don't have the exact velocity figures, but it was somewhere in the 1300 ft/sec range. I truly prefer the 115-124-grain JHP bullets.
I've not tried the 147-grain bullets in handloaded 9mm rounds, but am told that some extremely accurate loads are there for folks wanting to try. Unfortunately, I have no help to offer in this bullet weight.
I've also had very good luck in terms of accuracy when using Remington's 115-grain JHP loaded over from about 5.8 to 6.2 grains of Unique. Velocities will be in the 1170 to 1240 ft/sec area and normally this particular bullet groups well with a variety of charges from the Hi Power.
None of these loads are "light," and while fairly "warm," I've had no problems with them damaging either my Hi Powers, CZ-75s, FN Competition, SIG P-210 or HK P7 over the longer term. I do use 18.5 lb. conventional recoil springs in my Hi Powers and a conventional 18 lb. spring in my CZ-75 for shooting standard, +P, or warm handloads.
Some folks opine that with the plethora of cheap factory ammunition around, there's little if any reason to load for 9mm. I disagree. I do enjoy reloading still, but more importantly appreciate being able to tailor a load specifically for my particular pistol or pistols.
As mentioned earlier, these handloads shot very well in my CZ-75 handguns, too. It's nice to have a load that groups not only in the Hi Power, but also in this gun, as I seem to note Hi Power owners being fans of the CZ as well.
Again, the safe and prudent thing to do if trying these loads is to work up to them in your pistol or pistols from about a 10% lower starting point.
Best and good shooting.