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Yet another range trip this morning with the focus on seeing how the XD-S performed with the factory striker spring back in the slide. Results were very good.
Using my buddy's 230 gr lead RN reloads, the same lot that gave me failure to fire issues during my last range trip, I opened another box of 50 and proceeded to run through a variety of drills. 50 rounds later, no failures of any kind. I've no doubt the PRP striker spring is border line. I realize it is not the job of the striker spring to compensate for the possibility of an improperly seated primer. However, I've nothing to gain by relying on an aftermarket spring in this case. I don't know for sure if the reloads in question had improperly seated primers or not. I couldn't visually see any detectable difference (I looked at a lot of those rounds today from the box) but then I'm not sure if I could reliably detect a primer that might be slightly unseated due to a little primer pocket carbon. How much does it take...a thousandth of an inch, perhaps two thousandths? All I can say is that the same batch of ammo that previously yielded an 8 to 10% failure rate gave me no problems this morning. Final decision....I'll keep the factory striker spring in the slide.
While I don't intend on carrying my XD-S with some type of cast bullet, I've found that if a pistol is going to have feeding issues, it seems to be more common with lead bullets rather than with plated or jacketed rounds. Perhaps the lead bullet experiences more drag when sliding up the feed ramp. As such, I brought a couple of boxes of lead bullets with me on this trip.
The aforementioned 230gr lead round nose reloads were loaded on the higher side of what the factory Blazer rounds were clocking out of the XD-S. These reloads were hitting the chronograph at 812 FPS. Not bad coming out of a barrel that is just 3.3" long, which includes the chamber too. Standard deviation was 12.4 FPS on a small sample (5 shots) with an extreme spread of 35 FPS. There were no feeding or ejection issues with this box of 50 reloads.
Back in the '70s, I shot a lot of my own cast bullets through my Series 70 1911. I was using the 195 grain Lyman bullet shown in the above cartridge. I was loading 3.5 grains of Bullseye under it and overall, it made a cheap enough load for my 1911 to shoot. I was in the service back then and wasn't making much each payday. When I showed this to a fellow shooter at the range today, he remarked...."That little XD feeds that thing?" I smiled and said it had just eaten a box of them....and the best part, they were loaded back in the late '70s no less. I ran them over my chronograph and they were sailing past the sky screens at just 621 FPS. Not a barn burner for sure. The best part.....the brass arced about 18 inches up into the air and landed less than 3 feet away from my right foot. Really easy to pick up.
The point I'm trying to make here is that these ultra light loads using a semi-wadcutter style bullet functioned flawlessly when fired with the XD-S. The shooter that questioned the XD-S cycling properly with this bullet ran a magazine against his steel targets he had set up in the bay next to mine. His wife asked if she could shoot just one bullet....but liked it so much she emptied the magazine and was smiling afterwards. At that point, he told me I had to use the XD-S on the steel so I ran his major power factor .45ACP hardball loads. Worked like a champ.
At that point, I walked back over to my shooting bay and finished up the morning with a magazine of my Hornady carry ammo, the 200 grain JHP/XTP load that claims 900 FPS at the muzzle. Using my chronograph, five rounds out of the XD-S's 3.3" barrel managed to get me 851 FPS with a SD of 12.7 and an ES of 37.9. Good enough....that short little barrel isn't really giving up all that much, in my opinion.
So....that's the end of this update for now. When I get my holster,
I'll include it in the case/holster section of the site and put a link to it in
this section. Without a doubt, I'm quite impressed with the XD-S as were
my friends at the range today. It is accurate, pleasant to shoot, and
pretty much a bucket load of fun no matter how you use it. I'll be keeping
this one for a long, long time.