How Good Are They? Berry’s 124 Gr. HBRN-TP 9mm Bullet – Ultimate Reloader

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I’ve long trusted Berry’s plated bullets for economical practice loads — but how accurate are they? Today we find out if you have to forgo accuracy for lower cost! 

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About the Berry’s 9mm 124 Grain .356” HBRN-TP Bullet

Berry’s has been making bullets since 1961 and produces over 60 different types of copper-plated handgun and rifle bullets. These bullets are less expensive than jacketed bullets and shoot cleanly with little barrel fouling in handguns. 

The 9mm 124 grain HBRN thick plate bullet is intended as a budget-friendly bullet for target shooting. Purchased in quantity, I’ve found them available for as little as nine cents each! This saves about a nickel per shot over most 9mm FMJ bullets. Many 9mm shooters are high volume shooters and handloaders. Some matches require hundreds of rounds of ammunition per day so saving a nickel with each pull of the trigger can add up! 

From Berry’s

The 9mm Luger has become one of the most popular handguns in the United States. Shooters find this caliber to be an exceptional option for self-defense, target shooting, and other recreational uses. With manageable recoil and surprising muzzle velocity for its size, 9mm ammunition has a lot of practical uses for inexperienced and experienced shooters alike. 

Interested in loading your own 9mm ammo? This 9mm 124 gr hollow base round nose thick plate bullet is the perfect place to start. Our bullets start with a swaged lead core and are then electroplated with copper to their final bullet weight with no lead exposure left. They are then re-struck to precise specifications to ensure a solid bond and provide consistency across every round. Our bullets are indoor range safe, incredibly accurate, and loved by users everywhere. Find out today why Berry’s Superior Plated Bullets® are the finest bonded copper-jacketed bullets on the market.

Bullet O.A.L.: .612″

Cartridge Name: 9mm

Cartridge O.A.L.: 1.150″

Max Velocity: 1500 fps

    • Load data for our Superior Plated Bullets® can be found in any manual or on any powder manufacturer’s website.
    • Cast or jacketed data with the same grain weight and profile will work with our bullets.
    • You can use a taper or a roll crimp.
    • Don’t over crimp the brass after seating. This causes bullet core separation, leading to increased copper fouling and accuracy issues.
    • Don’t exceed the recommended maximum velocities listed. This creates bullet core separation and accuracy issues.

The 124 grain weight is right in the middle of the typical weights of 9mm bullets which mostly range from 115 to 147 grains. Sometimes messing with either very light or very heavy for caliber bullets leads to handloading complications. The 124 grain weight lands right in the middle and poses no problems for the handloader. 

The round nose of this bullet assures easy feeding in most 9mm semi-auto pistols. We’ve fired it in a variety of handguns from CANiK, Kimber, Beretta, and GLOCK. It functioned with 100% reliability from all of them. The hollow base is a time-honored design that appeared well over a century ago. The design tends to expand or “obdurate” to fit a bore particularly well. This can lead to increased accuracy. 

The 9mm 124 grain HBRN thick plate bullet can handle 1,500 fps muzzle velocity— far more than our 9mm loads can produce. Berry’s states that any load data for lead or jacketed bullets can be used, but always start low and carefully work up towards heavier charges, keeping watch for any high pressure signs. The loads used for this article are from Hodgdon’s reloading data center and worked very well for us with no undue pressure signs. Hodgdon does show some loads specifically for the Berry’s bullets. A taper crimp should be used with these bullets both to avoid breaking the plating and to ensure reliable feeding. 

Lab Results

Kyle Shields weighed and measured ten bullets from the box. I was impressed with the consistency of this budget-friendly bullet.

We think of the bullet diameter as a particularly important dimension, and found only a 0.0001” standard deviation.

This consistency exceeds that of some premium-grade rifle match bullets we’ve measured! This speaks highly of Berry’s quality control during manufacturing. 

Loads and Tests

Looking to produce quality handloads with good velocity and accuracy, I selected two powders I’ve been quite pleased with in the past: Hodgdon CFE Pistol and Ramshot Silhouette. I loaded all the rounds in Hornady brass with CCI 500 primers. I used Lyman dies on an All-American 8 turret press, using four dies so that I could seat the bullet and apply a taper crimp to the case in a separate step. The taper crimp is a great way for the cartridge case to firmly hold the bullet without breaking the plating and ensures smooth feeding. We planned three different tests: velocity, accuracy, and shootability. 

About the CANiK TP9 SFx

The Canik TP9 SFx was new to me, as was the Vortex red dot sight. Gavin previously tested this gun in the Ransom Rest, comparing it to a GLOCK 17.  It’s an impressive pistol with a 20+1 capacity. (18-round magazines are also available.)

This full-size pistol is surprisingly lightweight — a full 10 ounces lighter than my usual 1911 pistols with a 5.2” barrel. It has a comfortable grip and comes with multiple backstraps to better fit different hands. The high-visibility sights gather light and appear to “glow” even when modest lighting is available. The pistol is optics-ready, requiring no trips to the machine shop to fit a red-dot sight. 

From CANiK:

The CANiK TP9 SFx 9mm, semi-automatic pistol features an integrated safety and comes standard with a smooth trigger take-up, crisp break, and short reset. It’s cut for mounting a red dot, however if iron sights are your thing, the TP9 SFx has you covered with a high-visibility fiber optic front sight and blacked out rear sight for quick sight alignment and target acquisition.

Includes:

    • NEW Patented Retention Holster
    • NEW Barrel and slide have an ultra-durable Tungsten-Grey Cerakote®-over-Nitride on the colored models
    • Short reset Single-Action trigger design with nickel-coated action components
    • Optics-ready slide with four adapter plates that accept the markets most popular reflex sights, plus an ambidextrous charging handle
    • Warren Tactical sights with red and green fiber optic front sight
    • Weight-reducing front and rear slide serrations for positive-traction handling
    • Accessory under-barrel rail
    • Extended slide release for easier engagement during competition
    • Side reversible magazine catch with additional sizes of release buttons and alternate backstraps for a custom fit
    • Two magazines, magazine loader, and cleaning kit
    • Available with 20-round or 10-round magazines and a Vortex reflex sight
    • MSRP: $549

Chronograph Results

I compared my two loads, 5.0 grains of CFE Pistol and 5.8 grains of Ramshot Silhouette, to factory Remington 124 grain FMJ ammunition.

I thought the CFE Pistol load would be a lighter load, but its velocity and single-digit SD both surprised and impressed me. The Silhouette load was clearly our velocity champ, producing a great 1241 fps from the TP9 SFx.

It also had a very tight single digit SD. Both loads had a tighter SD than the 124 grain Remington FMJ factory ammo. All produced similar velocities.

Ransom Rest Results

The Ransom Rest has been available for decades and is the international standard for determining accuracy by eliminating human error. This allows you to compare various handloads with no bias. The rest is a one-time investment but you do need gun-specific grip inserts. 

I have to admit that this was my very first experience using a Ransom Rest, and I suspect that as I use it more, I’ll be able to get better results from it. There are always intricacies to working with a new system. I’m not convinced that I did a great job of setting up and using the Ransom Rest, so please take my accuracy results for what they are — me learning to use the rest. 

What I did observe was that both of our handloads performed similarly at 15 yards, with nearly identical group sizes. Both of them were more accurate than the Remington factory ammunition. 

Steel Target Impressions

The really fun part of our testing came after the chronograph and Ransom Rest session. We headed over to the array of D-M steel rock chuck targets from the Pistol Run-n-Gun stage of the Rock Chuck Olympics .

I walked through the course, acutely aware that I move slower than our younger competitors did last summer. I was also acutely aware that I was not particularly familiar with the pistol or the optic. All the same, I came away with some solid impressions of our handloads. 

Both loads are very useful,  producing  velocity and power similar  to typical duty or self-defense ammunition. These are not “light” target loads — they are full power handloads, but recoil was still incredibly mild from the CANiK TP9 SFx. They were fun to shoot and very reliable in our testing. 

Conclusion

My goal was to handload the Berry’s 124 grain Round Nose Hollow Base Thick Plate bullet to emulate typical 9mm target or practice ammunition. I achieved this! Our ammunition proved to be reliable, functioning 100% throughout all of our tests, and produced excellent chronograph data. It was easy to shoot and I recommend it for any 9mm semi-auto in good condition. 

The inexpensive bullet contributes to the low cost of these handloads, making them attractive for high volume practice. Although I loaded our ammo on a turret press, everything assembled easily, and both fine-grained powders flowed very nicely through a mechanical powder measure. I suspect they would also meter well from a progressive machine. 

The question remains: are they accurate enough for use in a speed steel match? I think so, but time will tell. What are your thoughts? Please drop your comments on the YouTube video! 

Get the Gear

Berry’s 9mm .356 Diameter 124 Grain HBRN-TP at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Hornady 9mm Unprimed Pistol Brass at Midsouth Shooters Supply

CCI #500 Small Pistol Primers at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Hodgdon CFE Pistol Smokeless Powder at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Ramshot Silhouette Pistol Powder at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Remington 9mm 124 Grain Ammunition at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Lyman 9mm Luger Carbide Full Length 3 Die Set at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Lyman 9mm Luger Taper Crimp Die at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Lyman All-American 8-Turret Press at Midsouth Shooters Supply

CANiK TP9 SFx

Garmin Xero C1 Pro at Creedmoor Sports and Midsouth Shooters Supply

D-M Targets (get your Rock Chuck Targets HERE)

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Thanks,
Guy Miner

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