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Handgun Ammo with Virtually Zero Muzzle Flash

Filed in Articles, Powder, Reloading Ammo by on December 2, 2014 0 Comments • views: 6021

By George Helser

Years ago I read an article on the amazing stopping power of CORBON 9mm Luger +P 115 gr JHP ammo. The manufacturer claims 1350 fps which equals 466 ft-lbs. I chronographed it and here are the results:

Glock 26, 3.46” barrel = 1280 FPS
S&W M39, 4” barrel = 1320 FPS
HK MP5 8.9” barrel = 1457 FPS

So, the advertised 1350 FPS seems reasonable for a pistol barrel 4” or better. This is what I would call Full Power 9mm ammo!

Here is what this CORBON ammo does on a melon compared to some 45 ACP ammo:

Four Melons were EQUALLY spaced before shooting with the following (left to right):

  1. 45 ACP 230 gr FMJ
  2. 45 ACP 230 gr JHP
  3. 45 ACP 185 gr JHP
  4. CORBON 9mm 115 gr JHP

NOTE the melon on the right not only sustained the most damage from the CORBON round, it went airborne and landed about 16” to the right.

corbon9mmI evaluated the CORBON 9mm ammo further for defensive purposes. It cycled my pistols reliably. It is by far the cleanest burning 9mm ammo I have ever shot.

I test all my defensive handgun ammo for muzzle flash at night. I was stunned when I saw this CORBON ammo has virtually zero muzzle flash. No flash was observed by the shooter. Looking from the side, two feet away, a faint orange glow could be observed. Just the skin of a very small plume was glowing a dull orange. You had to be close up and looking directly at the muzzle to see a faint hollow orange glow. WOW!!!

In terms of energy, low flash and low fouling, this CORBON round is ideal for my defensive purposes. I like to practice with what I carry but at around $1 per round, and practicing regularly, I hoped to find a powder I could use to duplicate the CORBON results. I went on shooting forums seeking suggestions on a powder which would give virtually zero flash. I received a lot of suggestions but after buying a lot of different powders and testing each one at night I saw a lot of muzzle flash. Then someone recommended a brand of powder I never heard of before. VihtaVuori from Finland. At the time, I found only one shop in the Phoenix area who stocked the VV-N340 powder I wanted to try. EUREKA! I was able to duplicate the CORBON velocity, low fouling and virtually zero muzzle flash. I tested this handload extensively since it was a +P load. Have you ever heard of frying an egg on pavement in Phoenix in the summer? At 115F air temperature, anything under the sun tends to get very hot. I store extra magazines in the car and the car gets very hot. Will high temperature be a problem with this +P ammo? On a 115F day, I put some of my handloads in the sun for a while. They shot fine, cycled flawlessly and primers did not show signs of excess pressure.

I have loaded about 5000 rounds of this practice ammo which closely duplicates the velocity, low fouling and low flash of the CORBON 9mm Luger +P 115 gr JHP ammo:

  • Remington (RP) 9mm brass
  • Hornady 115 gr JHP XTP bullets
  • 6.0 gr VV-N340 powder
  • CCI 500 primer
  • Overall Cartridge length: 1.080”
  • 1300 FPS depending on pistol and barrel length
  • Virtually zero muzzle flash

Depending on the brass and the pistol, you will be lucky to get 10 cycles with +P pressure.

I have also tested VV-V340 powder in other handgun calibers with similar results, in most cases:

 40 S&W

  • Winchester 40 S&W brass
  • Hornady 155 gr JHP XTP bullets
  • 7.1 gr VV-N340 powder
  • CCI 500 primer
  • Overall Cartridge length: 1.126”
  • 1160 FPS in HK USP Compact 3.58” barrel
  • Virtually zero muzzle flash

In Comparison:

  • Winchester 40 S&W brass
  • Nosler 135 gr JHP bullets
  • 8.3 gr VV-N340 powder
  • CCI 500 primer
  • Overall Cartridge length: 1.126”
  • 1280 FPS in HK USP Compact 3.58” barrel
  • THIS LOAD PRODUCED A BLINDING WHITE MUZZLE FLASH AT NIGHT!

It seems this powder needs to achieve sufficient pressure to burn clean and have low flash. Light bullets and low charges burn dirty and bright with VV-N340.

357 SIG

  • Remington (RP) and Speer 357 SIG brass
  • Hornady 115 gr JHP XTP bullets
  • 7.6 gr VV-N340 powder
  • CCI 500 primer
  • Overall Cartridge length: 1.140”
  • 1400 FPS in HK USP Compact 3.58” barrel
  • Virtually zero muzzle flash

I have loaded about 5000 rounds of this type. I retire the brass after ten cycles but it might go much longer. 357 SIG brass is designed for very high pressure.

 45 ACP

  • Remington (RP) 45 ACP brass
  • Hornady 185 gr JHP XTP bullets
  • 8.0 gr VV-N340 powder
  • FED 150 or CCI 300 primer
  • Overall Cartridge length: 1.210”
  • 1185 FPS in HK MK23 5.87” barrel
  • Virtually zero muzzle flash

I have loaded about 1000 rounds of this type with good results.

  • Remington (RP) 45 ACP brass
  • Hornady 230 gr FMJ bullets
  • 6.4 gr VV-N340 powder
  • FED 150 or CCI 300 primer
  • Overall Cartridge length: 1.260”
  • 925 FPS in HK MK23 5.87” barrel (expect 850 FPS in M1911)
  • Virtually zero muzzle flash

I have loaded about 3000 rounds of this type with good results.

This duplicates the velocity of military ball ammo. You could load hotter.

230 gr 45 ACP is ideal for suppressed shooting since it is subsonic. This clean burning powder will minimize fouling and erosion of your suppressor.

 

USUAL DISCLAIMERS ABOUT HANDLOADING!

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