Saturday, January 16, 2016

"Major Nine"

Recent Comment:

"BTW, I need to discuss technical aspects of Major Power 9mm, can you email me @ ............@........."

It's interesting that I've received a couple of questions about "Major Nine" recently.

This is probably in reference to a dialogue I had with someone who wanted to discuss the question of 9mm Parabellum being legally definable as a "Major Power" cartridge in USPSA competition.

(Note: 9mm is usually classified as 'minor power', based on the velocity-to-bullet weight ration) by IPSC.    USPSA has allowed 9mm Parabellum to be classified is a "Major Power" cartridge, when it meets certain velocity/bullet-weight criteria as determined by a chronograph.   It's a little bit complicated, but there have been 'convincing' arguments presented that the 9mm can be loaded to much 'heavier' parameters SAFELY when fired in a modern pistol with a fully-supported chamber.)
The difference between "MAJOR" and "MINOR" power in USPSA/IPSC competition is that there are five scoring zones on the standard targets (both the "metric" and the "Classic" target, and they are:
A-zone .... always worth 5 points
B-zone and C-zone ... worth 4 points in major power and 3 points in minor power.
D-zone ... worth 2 points in major power and 1 point in minor power.

The question of MAJOR NINE is a little confusing, but it does allow people to shoot for higher hit-points with a 9mm pistol (if it has a fully supported barrel).

Personally, I'm not happy with the light-weight engineering of the 9mm Parabellum cartridge, but I can understand why some people would wish to work for higher hit-points by using this technical variation on the rules.

I do, however, think it's prone to abuse, and that developing a load which meets velocity standards for Major Power is an exercise which only very experienced reloaders should attempt.  Having said that, the corallary is that people with less experience, who are not as likely to develop a load for 9mm Major by baby-steps while testing each increment against a chronograph ... is a recipe for misadventure, at best.

And in closing, I will NOT suggest gunpowder brands or powder weights, loads for specific bullet weights or designs, pressure limits, velocity limits or any OTHER criteria for reloading your own ammunition for MAJOR NINE>

In the first place I'm not qualified; in the second place, it very much depends on so many variables of powder burn rates, powder measure, bullet shape and weight, firearm configurations etc. that it is a question best lft to the experts.  Not to me.

And in the second place, the ammunition which may (or may not) be perfectly safe
 -for variations on the term 'safe'- in one firearm may not be at all consistent in another of exactly the same make and model, but a different vintage.

And in the third place, if you choose to blow up your gun by attempting to use a reloading formula developed by a stranger under conditions you don't understand, or aren't aware of, then I do choose not to be any part of that process.


Anonymous said...

Why 9mm major, when 9x21 or 38 super work the comp even better and are safer to reload?

Rivrdog said...

Jerry, let me know when you get your comment posting sorted out. I wrote one for this post, but it has been rejected. I keep getting the overlength error, even though it's not overlength.


Jerry The Geek said...

Dawg, it was overlength!
Note: I'm willing to post the entire commentary as an article. We'll talk about this, okay? And yes, I think that the Major Nine project is definitely worth spending some time on ... as long as it's your time.