Federal 115-grain JHP (C9BP) and the Hi Power
In this day of "designer" bullets and extremely potent defensive loads, the old stalwart standard factory round for the 9mm Hi Power is frequently spoken of in derisive terms. True, it is "old technology," doesn't have a nickled case and is certainly not the fastest load in this 9mm bullet weight, but it did offer quite a bit and I personally think it still does. Let's take a closer look at this ammunition when fired from the Browning Hi Power. The last chronograph work done with this load from a Hi Power resulted in an average velocity of 1177 ft/sec, quite close to the advertised 1180 ft/sec. It sometimes expands in 10% ballistic gelatin after passing through 4-layers of denim, but sometimes not and it expands to varying degrees when fired through this "worst case" barrier. In bare gelatin, it usually penetrates about 10 1/2 to 11", depending upon who is doing the testing and with what handgun.
I think that's pretty good considering that the cartridge has another very nice attribute: feed reliability. Several years ago, Federal changed the bullet's ogive such that it's very rounded and almost always feeds even in "picky" pistols.
The Federal 115-grain standard pressure JHP is still available. It's rounded bullet profile, skived bullet jacket, and accuracy are characteristics I've found appealing over the years and still do.
This round does not use flash retardant powders as do many law enforcement, self-defense loads today. I've never had a problem with it. I have used this ammunition at night while varmint hunting in near complete darkness except for either a flashlight or hand-held spotlight. I was not blinded or my vision noticeably impaired by this load's bright, white flash.
From long term use, I can recall only two Hi Powers that gave indifferent groups using Federal C9BP. Most gave very good to excellent, but these two pistols would group decently with it, but not so tightly as did most of the others.
I've seen this load used on coyote from the Hi Power and it stopped the thing almost immediately. A friend shot one running at about 15 yards and hit it just behind the animal's right shoulder. It ran about 2 yards and folded up. I was pretty surprised at this, as I'd frequently seen these animals take some pretty severe rifle round hits and run fairly significant distances. By the way, this happened at night and my buddy was using a flashlight while shooting. The muzzle flash did not blind him. I've used this load on varying size critters on occasion and have no complaints. I have not seen a man shot with this load. I suspect it would "work" fine.
Fired into water from a Browning Hi Power, the jacket normally separates from the expanded bullet, but this is true with many bullets so tested. At impact, the water's more easily able to get between the jacket and the lead bullet, causing separation more often than when fired into tissue or ballistic gelatin.
Impacting water jugs at a bit under 1200 ft/sec, this Federal 115-grain JHP expanded very well. I think it remains a viable defensive load to this day and am not be afraid to either recommend it or use it myself.
So why might this load be of any interest to the average Hi Power user? Well, some folks just don't like to use +P in their Hi Powers. In the older Hi Powers having the "humped" feed ramp, other than the FMJ round nose shape bullet can cause feeding problems and the Federal 9BP can provide a very decent defensive load for either or both of these scenarios.
These groups were fired from a Mk III 9mm Hi Power at 15 yards. The Federal C9BP groups are at the bottom. The group on the left had flyers due to me so I shot another group that is shown at the lower right. I still managed to through a called flyer!
From another Hi Power, the Federal C9BP 5-shot group is seen at the upper left of the picture.
Though possibly not the best choice in defensive 9mm Hi Power ammo, it still remains a good one.