The caliber that almost was...
The discussion that evolved from the poll regarding caliber preference brought out some good points and got me to thinking about calibers that are less common than the typical ones we think of in self defense firearms. I tend to enjoy some calibers that are less popular, due to many reasons, that some of our other participants may or may not be familiar with. One of my favorite odd-ball cartridges is the 9x23 Winchester.
For those of you not familiar with the 9x23, it dates back to the early seventies, when Jeff Cooper cut down .223 brass, stuffed it full of powder, topped it off with 9mm 125grn bullet and stuck it in a handgun and dubbed it the 9mm Super Cooper. The result was a full size 1911 driving that bullet to velocities approaching 1500fps. The cartridge has been through several periods of interest, with the most recent being in about the mid 1990s when it actually went into production from Winchester, with both Colt and Springfield offering a limited run of guns to shoot it in. Unfortunately, for many reasons, the cartridge was not a success. This is a cartridge that had real potential in a lot of different applications, that I am truly sorry to see go away.
I came into possession of one of the Colt guns in 1998 and started experimenting with handloads as well as factory loads. The factory Winchester ammo clocked right at 1400fps with their 125grn silvertip bullet. I don't care whether you like 9mm or not, THAT'S IMPRESSIVE!!! Doing the math, that's comes out to 543.96 foot pounds of energy. As there was very little reloading data that I could find for this round, handloads became a matter of careful experimentation. I learned early on that the colt pistol had a generous chamber that lead to a few split cases. I did the only thing I could think of to do...I ordered a chamber reamer from Clymer cut to my specs, and a Bar-sto barrel and went to work fitting them to the Colt. That solved the split case problem, and allowed the experiment to continue. After a great deal of trial and error, I came up with a load using Accurate arms #9 that would drive the Speer Gold Dot bullet to 1520fps from a 5" Government model gun. This matches many and exceeds some .357 magnum loads fired from a 6" revolver. Pretty cool stuff. Oh and by the way, the gun held 10 rounds in the mag too. Anyway, the 9x23 fell victim to many things and is now a thing of the past for most shooters. I have not tried to find brass recently, but my last attempt ended with me cutting down .223 brass and resizing it, just as ole Colonel Cooper did at the outset.
I am not sure that there is much of a need for the 9x23, but it was an interesting cartridge that I think would have made a fine self defense or law enforcement round. It was both powerful and easy to shoot, with mild recoil.
so how bout it guys, any of you like to play with obsolete or odd-ball cartridges??