Boberg XR9-S Bullet Pull Test

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For those not aware of the 9mm Boberg XR9-S or other Boberg products, please visit Boberg Arms at to get acquainted. Their design has a ‘very unique’ way of loading a round into the chamber, and seeing how it works will go a long way in understanding this article.


To test for both both bullet pullout, and whether adding additional crimp would improve the results, a series of 3 tests each was conducted with both factory ammunition and the same factory ammunition additionally crimped with a Lee Breech Lock Hand Press and a Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die. According to Boberg Arms, a pullout distance of .020″ and above should be considered incompatible with the Boberg XR9-S. A complete list of compatible ammunition is listed on the Boberg website’s Forum.



Test Results:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

CCI Blazer Brass, 115gr FMJ .023 .018  
Corbon, 115gr +P JHP .018 .018  
Federal Premium Law Enforce. HST, 124gr HP .001 .001 ü
Hornady Custom XTP, 124gr JHP .001 .003 ü
Hornady Critical Defense, 115gr JHP .000 .002 ü
Hornady Critical Duty, 135gr JHP .009 ü
PMC Bronze, 115gr FMJ .000 .001  
Precision One, 115gr FMJ .027 —   
Rattlesnake, 115gr FMJ .020 Separations  
Remington Golden Saber, 124gr +P JHP .001 .002 Groove
Speer Gold Dot, 115gr JHP .008
Speer Lawman, 115gr FMJ .021 Separations  
Underwood Bonded, 124gr +P FMJ .020 .018  


The results are confusing and mostly the reverse of what I expected, like showing more ‘pull-out’ distance following the additional crimp, and where only a couple actually improved by doing so, but not by much. There could be several reasons for this, such as whether or not the bullets had an anti-friction coating applied, the ‘neck tension’, and the bullet jacket weight. The surface condition inside of neck seems to also play a role, such as how well they were cleaned.  However, that doesn’t explain why the non-crimped tests mostly provided better results as is!  As you can see, the top results came from those that use bullets with a cannelure. The Remington Golden Saber has a small groove ring around the bullet, but even at that, the results were nearly as good during this test, although, it had fared worse in past testing. I also read on the Boberg Arms Forum that someone had a separation with the Golden Saber. It used to be my favorite carry choice because they fed very well, but now I carry Hornady Custom XTP or the Hornady Critical Defense, which feed just as well. I’m also looking at the Federal Premium as a carry candidate, but I need more range time with those for more assurance. The PMC Bronze FMJ fared so well, that I’m going to have to check out their offerings and test their defensive ammo as well. It could be that I have just found my new favorite range ammo! Good thing, too, since I have plenty of it!


So now it’s on to more research to try and find out why these results are what they are. If you know, please share! The only thoughts I came up with is that once the ‘factory’ runs ammo through their seating/crimping methods, that applying a secondary crimp may bellow out or weaken the area below the crimp and soften the factory neck tension? Or, perhaps bullets with heavier copper jackets crimp more securely or have a greater degree of neck tension? Just wag’ing out loud… For now, my thought on what to choose for the highest degree of reliability are those that are crimped into a cannelure. It doesn’t explain the great results with the PMC Bronze, so I pulled one apart to discover a healthy amount of bonding agent. It was tough as nails to pull apart compared to the others, so if their QC is consistent with that method, it’s a decent alternative to the cannelure. 


Cannelure pics:

 Federal Premium HST      Hornady XTP & CD







As for the XR9-S, it’s not only a small and lightweight 7+1 +P rated pocket gun, but it’s a real shooter! If the “shoot a little, carry a lot” or “it’s not a range gun”excuse for poor performance raises an eyebrow, and you want to shoot your carry piece as often as you want, and know the gun can take it, and has less recoil than anything in it’s class, then the Boberg XR9-S is for you. Putting up with a compatible ammunition list is really no big deal as there are many to choose from. It’s there to be a guide from the experiences of others. 



  1. Not all similarly branded 9mm ammo is the same. Hornady XTP is cannelured only in the 115gr variety, whereas their 90gr, 124gr, and 147gr XTP bullets are not. Their Critical Duty and Critical Defense ammo has a cannelure in all bullet weights. Federal Premium HST has a cannelure, whereas Federal Hydra Shock does not, and the HST is only available in 124gr.


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