9mm Luger +P by NOVX

I hope I’m not repeating old news here, but in case some don’t get the American Rifleman, NovX has a full-page ad about their “new” 9mm ammunition which uses a stainless steel case and a light, fluted bullet that has a muzzle velocity of 1,655 FPS, therefore producing better performance on target than a .45 ACP. (Here we go again!) Rather than me going into details, see the web site at NovXammo.com. Note the slightly different muzzle velocities given. The ARX is the high-performance bullet, but the cartridge is also offered with a “training/target” roundnose bullet. Both versions are in stock and available at Midway.com where I just ordered a couple of boxes of each type. The cases are said to be stainless, but aluminum is also mentioned. Maybe the bottom of the case is stainless for strength and the side walls are aluminum. I’ll know in about a week.

The European readers of this forum are happy to have received the October issue of the American Rifleman a few days ago. The November issue (to which I assume you are referring) will take about another month.

Yes, the November 2017 issue, page 9. Makes me wonder whether the NRA has an “e” version of the magazine like the IAA does.

That’s the Polycase ARX plastic / copper frangible load which they have done a Ruger branded line of for a while now. The good news is that NOVX has a custom headstamp on the SST case, shown at the bottom of the thread here: SHELL SHOCK TECH Two Piece 9MM Cases

The NRA does offer an E-magazine. I think in all of their publications, but for sure The Rifleman.

I don’t take it because I like to read in places other than my computer so haven’t seen it so can’t comment on the quality.

These ARX style bullets, I had a local (AZ) retired (world renowned) forensic scientist at the house a month ago & had a couple of boxes of Ruger Polycase ARX brand.45 ammunition on the cabinet.
His comment was those things just spin & drill a hole. Not a very favorable comment for a self defense load. Guess you have to hit bone for them to really work.

Pete - they are definitely ballistically inferior to typical exanding hollow points like Gold Dot & HST or almost any hollow point or defensive rd for that matter, but their niche is apparently in being reduced ricochet frangible, and being lead-free, for whatever that is worth. I dont think they quite achieve the sort of cavitating soft-tissue churning action as the Lehigh Xtreme Defender, or the G9 EHP. Relative to typical copper / tin frangible bullets, I would think they are no better, and are more or less a novelty of an idea which has certainly worked up to a point, but which will probably fade out as the Hornady Zombie-Max and G2 RIP have.

I got the cartridges from Midway and have been trying to figure out why they are made as they are with the strange 2-piece cases. I sectioned a couple of the cases after pulling the bullets with an old fashioned inertia puller, which took a lot of hard whacking to get the bullet to finally come out. Then I noticed that the case had opened up a bit from all the inertia trying to pull it apart. See the bottom case below. Makes me wonder whether repeated recoil on the cartridges loaded in magazines might have the same effect.

The cases are interesting, with a stainless steel body attached to a nickel-plated aluminum “primer holder.” The primer cups are nickel-plated brass. It’s interesting that the basic technique of holding the two case parts together is about the same as the old British Boxer rounds with separate bases. I wonder what advantage there is to this. How could it possibly improve performance in any way?

There are normal loads and +P loads. The normal headstamps are just like the one DKConfiguration shows in his link above except that the “+P” is not included.

The company’s web site, novxammo.com, has excellent pics of the cartridges and the unique boxes. These have a little compartment under the lid with a cellophane window and there is a real, live “bonus” round inside, a feature I’ve never seen on any other box. Midway has these in stock today. I’ll have a box of each at SLICS 18, so if you just want a round or two, you won’t have to but a whole box of 26 or 51.

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Mel - you are joining the ranks of our top sectioners!
Lovely job. If I did this, it would look like I cut them with
a dull machete!

John Moss

Mel, I think the gas pressure will keep the case body firmly attached to the case head.

Very nice sectioning!

These shells have been re-loaded for up to 50 times. There are videos of guys doing it & I talked to Mr. Anderson (owner of Anderson Arms) at the shot show this year (Jan. 2017) & he said he had personally done it 50 times.

I understand that stainless steel is stronger than brass, but why have the complexity of a 2-piece case with aluminum as the base? And then nickel plate the aluminum. If many reloads are the goal, why not just make the whole thing as one piece out of stainless? And why tout “High performance … greater than a .45 ACP” if the reason for the design is many reloads?

O’Conner “Steel Head” cartridge cases were designed for many reloads, and that was their big selling point. But their case bodies were normal cartridge brass while the bases/heads were strong stainless steel. Somebody’s backwards.

Hi Mel
Apparently the stainless steel used after being fired very quickly goes back to it’s original shape with no sticking to the chamber and almost no stretching. Thus easy extraction. Brass cases expand but do not go back to the same degree of original shape as these. Also brass cases usually need case-length trimming after only a few firings, not so with these.

So Aluminum is OK for the heads as easy extraction.

Can’t answer you questions about Hi performance or greater than .45 ACP’s

Drawing cases from stainless steel could be a challenge and would be wery “tool intensive” (technology & wear).
As it is here the case body is made from a seamless piece of tube, a very different and uncomplicated process.
Stainless steel is way less plastic than brass and also way more elastic and ductile.

To what I understood (also from Lew) these cases can be used (i.e. fired) with higher pressures than normal. Maybe this is what is referred to as better performance than a .45 ACP.

I am not sure if the case heads are really Nickel plated.

EOD, The two I sectioned have nickel-plated aluminum case heads, inside and out, which makes sense. I suppose that with many reloads being a selling point, plating the heads would prevent corrosion and sticky extraction in the die or chamber. Wish I had a chronograph.

Mel, Nickel plated Aluminum is then a new feature in the business. Very good to know!

They were also offering colored ones which then must be anodized aluminum.
I guess there we can exclude a Nickel plating.

Just found this image in the web. Now I wonder as I have never seen colored Nickel platings:


There are a number of reasons for this case construction. Probably the best is that these cases are considerably cheaper to make and sell than brass cases given the high price of brass. A second is that the stainless steel case body does not require resizing when reloaded and as I remember is guaranteed for 100 reloadings. By the way, the case head is made of aircraft grade aluminum.

About a year ago, I spoke to one of the early users of these cases. This company was developing a special load for military use at well over +P+ pressure. As I understand, they loaded some of these cases to over 80,000psi (proof pressure is about 35,000 psi). Each case was loaded and fired 10 times at this pressure with no measureable impact on the cases! This information came from a guy at the company who did the testing.

The photo above posted by EOD is of an earlier version of the case which was not sold. Some of these early cases were made into dummies but none were sold for loading. The production cases have been sold in a number of colors, particularly early on but today most seem to have plain aluminum heads or silver colored plated heads (based on their appearance).

Seems to me this is a pretty interesting step forward in case design. We will see how it succeedsin the market!


Mel, thanks for the sectioning. Well done!

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EOD; I’m going to just assume that the nice pic you show of the colored bases has cartridges with anodized, not colored nickel-plated, bases. Mainhardt at MBA did the same thing with some aluminum Gyrojets just to make them look “sexy.”

You can also obtain colored nickel plated aluminum using electrophoretic lacquers. It is a common practice in the metal industry these days.