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Old 08-27-2019, 08:15 AM   #1
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9mm carbines at distance

It's no secret that I'm a fan of handgun-caliber carbines; both semiauto caliber and magnum handgun caliber. Most of the time (but not always) they get more of a power boost than most people realize or admit. But even though I like them for close-in stuff, I never really looked into longer-range use of PCC's until fairly recently, when debating how & where to lay out a range at home.

I knew that up close, a 9mm carbine does pretty well with decent ammo, with even generic white box WW-USA stuff running surprisingly close to 600 ft/lbs and better stuff doing (no surprise) even better. But when I started looking into drop and energy at distance I was somewhat surprised. Zero'ed at 100 yards, a simple, non-plus-p 115-grain JHP leaving the gun at 1505-1520 fps will be dead on at roughly 20, never more than 2 inches above line of sight at any point, on target at 100, and roughly 23-24 inches low at 200 yards.



Energy-wise, the carbine at 100 yards roughly equals the muzzle energy of the same load from a service pistol at the muzzle; roughly 350 ft/lbs. And out to 200 yards will still have approximately 85-90% of the power as the same load fired from a small gun like a CM9. Not something I'm going to deer hunt at 200 yards with, but I was surprised to see that it held that much out to that distance.

This is from Buffalo Bore's site, with their +P+ 115-grain JHP. Their claimed velocity from a handgun (1600 fps) is pretty close to in line with what a carbine gets with a JHP load of the same weight. They claim 1600 fps, and from the carbine I get 1505 with the USA 115 JHP and 1610 with the Corbon 115 JHP, so their claimed 1600 falls in between.



We Americans tend to be somewhat power-mad when it comes to our firearm calibers, like Tim the Toolman constantly seeking "more power". But looking back with some historical perspective, even the much-maligned 9mm carbine is actually more powerful than a surprising number of guns that were used as hunting rifles for a long time. Think of all the deer taken with the old .32-20 and even .25-20 lever actions - the 9mm carbine buries the .25-20 power-wise, and HUGELY buries the weaker .32-20 even worse, with numerous 9mm loads (from the carbine) actually doubling the power of the .32-20. Yet for a lot of years, those guns put food on the table for a lot of people.

For a more stark comparison, even the vaunted and mighty .45-70 buffalo rifle was only roughly twice as powerful as the puny and maligned 9mm carbine is; and that gun was used for 1200-2000 lb prairie monsters.

While the 223/556 will still be my primary defensive long gun caliber, but it's interesting to know the actual facts about what other calibers are capable of.
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Old 08-27-2019, 10:12 AM   #2
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That's surprising to say the least. I zero'd my Ruger at 25 yards and was punching good, but not great groups at 100 yards. Just punching paper I really never thought about how much energy the 9MM would have at longer ranges. It makes perfect though. Think of the M-1 Carbine shooting a 110 Grain bullet. Always thought to be perfectly adequate out to 300 yards. In my experience 200 yards is more like it, but still the .30 carbine is little more than a pistol cartridge itself. A little more respect for the 9 MM carbine now. Thanks for the post.
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Old 08-27-2019, 11:24 AM   #3
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Recently I've watched a number of You tube videos on the Ruger PC Carbine. It looks like a very impressive piece of kit that could be very effective as a defensive carbine in a closed in urban environment. Personally I would feel uncomfortable engaging a perpetrator past 75 yards though.
 
 
Old 08-27-2019, 12:57 PM   #4
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Fwiw, a screen shot of one of the 9mm chrono pages on my main gun-stuff spreadsheet.


The lighter, faster loads definitely get a higher percentage of boost than the big, heavy stuff. They also get a higher percentage boost than a lot of folks realize or admit. I've often read, or heard on youtube, people stating with seeming authority, "you can get about 20% increase in power fom a 9mm carbine, compared to a pistol", and that's just rubbish. With one load (the absolute worst performer increase-wise) I got a stunning 1.2% increase. With some, I've gotten 55-70% of increase; with one (USA 115 BEB) I got a surprising 81% increase (carbine vs G19), and with most I've gotten around 40% or so.

So the constantly-quoted "20%" silliness is something I have to assume is people simply repeating things they've read or heard somewhere. I know it's not reality, because I've taken the time to actually run a lot of rounds over a chronograph from carbine size down to tiny CM/PM size, and have actually seen what they do; rather than just hearing about it somewhere.


{edit - to clarify, those numbers are the averages of strings of five shots each, of each load from each gun. The individual shot-to-shot info is on another page; this is a summary page to make things less cumbersome when reading.}

Last edited by John in AR; 08-27-2019 at 01:14 PM.
 
Old 08-27-2019, 01:49 PM   #5
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Have a JR Carbine take down model, uses Gluck mags that amazes me every time I shoot it. Red dot on it, sighted at 75 yards. Son has scope (3x9 of some kind) on his non take down, it will out shoot mine but younger eyes an scope make the differance. Some day might try a scope on mine. Thought about getting one in 45acp.
Cast 120gr. Lee TC bullet with 4.5 gr. Unique.
 
Old 08-27-2019, 02:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBassMan View Post
Have a JR Carbine take down model, uses Gluck mags that amazes me every time I shoot it. Red dot on it, sighted at 75 yards...
I love my takedown JRC. I don't get to shoot it much lately, because I don't shoot any guns very much lately, but it always impresses.


May put the dot on a lower mount someday, but that was what I had on hand at the time and it works pretty well as-is.
 
Old 08-27-2019, 03:45 PM   #7
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Changed grip on mine to Magpul with storage compartment so I have all the Allen wrenches for takedown. Cheap azz case lost the straps with weight of 17 an 33 rd mags. Stays under seat of my truck all the time. Thought about getting a Gluck 9mm to go along with it but just can't stand the thought of one! Too bad the JR will not take the Browning HP mags.
 
Old 08-27-2019, 04:33 PM   #8
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Fun and serious gun! Hard part is loading the mags. And keeping them loaded!
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:40 PM   #9
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Has anyone tried the JR Carbine with cast lead bullets?
 
Old 08-28-2019, 05:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garand View Post
Has anyone tried the JR Carbine with cast lead bullets?
Haven't, sorry. All I've run thru mine have been factory fmj and 115 jhp so far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBassMan View Post
Changed grip on mine to Magpul with storage compartment so I have all the Allen wrenches for takedown.
That's a heck of an idea. I may use that. Might be that even the factory grip with a rubber plug would work; thanks for the idea.
 
Old 08-28-2019, 05:31 AM   #11
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120gr. Lee cast with 6 cavity mold. lubed with carnauba blue lube. Never any sign of leading or any kind of jam. Mine has never had a jacketed bullet in it. 4.5 gr. Unique. Load is accurate in all my nines. Use a Star press to load them.

In the above pictures, can see the cast bullets.

Just looked on their website, 45 conversion is on sale, might have to order one.
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Last edited by BigBassMan; 08-28-2019 at 06:46 AM.
 
Old 08-29-2019, 05:52 AM   #12
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Just to clarify - when talking about the numbers that the WW-USA white box stuff gets, I'm talking about their JHP. The WW-USA white box fmj of the same weight, it's noticeably slower.

The 115 JHP runs 1505.4 from the carbine, but the 115 FMJ only averages 1323.8; 579 ft/lbs for the JHP and 447 for the FMJ. The velocity advantage of the JHP held true among all the guns I've clocked them in, not just the carbine. I guess that's another reason to actually test and measure rather than just stick with logical-seeming assumptions.
 
Old 08-29-2019, 10:47 AM   #13
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Dang I really miss my UZI Carbine.
 
Old 08-29-2019, 12:03 PM   #14
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Dang I really miss my UZI Carbine.
Never used one of those; they just always looked awkward to me for some reason. Turns out, I'll unexpectedly be taking my little 9mm 'carbine' (that the ATF labels a pistol) this weekend when going to visit some of my wife's relatives in a large city. Was going to take the .300bk pistol, but it's started having reliability issues - I suspect due to the adjustable gas block - so the 9mm is going in its place.


Not nearly as powerful/capable as the .300 pistol, but reliability trumps power in my book. Plus this shares ammo with my carry glock, for whatever that's worth.
 
Old 08-30-2019, 08:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in AR View Post
Never used one of those; they just always looked awkward to me for some reason. Turns out, I'll unexpectedly be taking my little 9mm 'carbine' (that the ATF labels a pistol) this weekend when going to visit some of my wife's relatives in a large city. Was going to take the .300bk pistol, but it's started having reliability issues - I suspect due to the adjustable gas block - so the 9mm is going in its place.


Not nearly as powerful/capable as the .300 pistol, but reliability trumps power in my book. Plus this shares ammo with my carry glock, for whatever that's worth.
My .300 pistol has been flawless, but I pretty much only run it suppressed.

Still have a lower that I'm trying to decide what build on top of it. I keep looking at a .458 or a .450, because, well I can... but then I think of doing something line a 9mm or even a .45...

not because I have a need, but seems like it would be fun to build one of those (or maybe get some more lowers and build all of them )
 
Old 08-30-2019, 12:16 PM   #16
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The only issue I ever had with the UZI was weight.

And yes they do appear awkward but they are pretty well ballanced as most of the weight is settled right above the grip. Plus in the grip especially if you have a 32rd magazine inserted. Myself I always liked the 25rd one better. Easier to carry on the belt and less likely to get in the way when in the gun. The only real big drawbacks were or are the short sight radius and the inability to mount a modern optic. Although I had toyed with the idea of a custom made mount on the barrel itself for a red dot.
 
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