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Favorite 45 ACP loads

This is a discussion on Favorite 45 ACP loads within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; To all of the guys that shoot 45 Auto, do you have any favorite 45 ACP loads that you would care to share? I've been ...


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Old July 15th, 2008, 04:18 PM   #1
 
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Favorite 45 ACP loads

To all of the guys that shoot 45 Auto, do you have any favorite 45 ACP loads that you would care to share? I've been doing a lot of reading lately and it seems that the old standby powders like Bullseye and 231 and being replaced by many reloaders with Clays and Titegroup.



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Old July 15th, 2008, 05:03 PM   #2
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Bullitholz, There are a lot of powders that will give excellent performance in a 45 ACP. The factory standard for a 230 gr FMJ is 850 fps. I use 5.8 gr of Unique with a 230 gr LRN or 6.5 gr of Unique for a 230 gr FMJ to get 850 fps. My normal hard ball target load is 5.9 gr of Unique (800 fps). There's absolutely nothing wrong with Bullseye, 231, Clays, Red Dot, Green Dot, Tightgroup and AA#5. They all have fast to medium burn rates and will work quite well while staying under the max allowable chamber pressure. These same powders also work well with lighter bullets.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 08:40 PM   #3
 
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I like 7.5Gr of Unique under a 185Gr Nosler HP. It just makes major power factor and cranks out about 970-980fps in a 5" barrel. It is also very accurate in my Ruger Vacquero.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 11:12 AM   #4
 
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For paper and steel plates my favorite is a 200gr SWC over 4grs of Bullseye. Very accurate and mild in the hand. Some folks claim the powder is too dirty, but I've always enjoyed the smell of "Ole #9"....
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Old July 16th, 2008, 01:18 PM   #5
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I have had good accuracy with a 185 Gold Dot HP over 8.0 gr of Power Pistol.
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Old July 16th, 2008, 04:13 PM   #6
 
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A Lee TL230gr round nose is what I cast and shoot.
6.5 gr. Unique. Very accurate. Too hot, got recipe out of a gun rag and don't use it any longer. Lyman only manual to get close to it with their 225gr design.
5.3 W231 good load
4.5 Bullseye good load
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Old July 18th, 2008, 03:14 AM   #7
 
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I really enjoy shooting my favorite .45 ACP load:
200 gr lead RNFP powered by 5.1 grains of Unique, with the OAL set to 1.210. Very accurate, and smooth cycling round after round.

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Old July 19th, 2008, 07:35 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
My normal hard ball target load is 5.9 gr of Unique (800 fps).
Iowegan thanks for all of the info but this one got me to wondering....just what bullet does he shoot in front of 5.9 grains of Unique anyway?

One of my current favorites is 5.6 of Unique pushing a 200 LSWC, seems to work pretty well. Another is 5.9 of W231 pushing a 230 LRN.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 10:07 AM   #9
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Bullitholz, That would be a "hard ball", AKA 230 gr FMJ. I would think your 200 gr LSWC w/5.6 gr Unique would be on the low side for slide thrust. In other words, does it have enough thrust to operate the action? In my 1911s, I'll put in a 10 lb recoil spring (16 lb is normal) and shoot 3 gr of Bullseye under a 200 gr LSWC. Probably the most accurate 45 ACP load I've ever shot.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 11:32 AM   #10
 
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Thanks Iowegan, the 5.6 load actually cycles the slides on both my Smith 4506(new barrel and a new wolf 14 lb. recoil spring recently installed BTW) and my Smith M&P45 just fine. I never thought that this was considered a light load to tell you the truth as the loading data I have(current info not old load data) indicates that when using Unique, 5.6 would be a mid range load going 850 fps.

I would love to get a chronograph but I don't have a convenient outdoors shooting location to set one up for use. Currently all I can do is go with what the published data shows or what others shooting similar loads, and chronoing them claim their velocities to be.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 01:33 PM   #11
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Bullitholz, When you are dealing with Semi-auto loads, you have to keep the energy level up so the slide will be pushed all the way back to cycle. I'll dig through my notes if you want the actual thrust formula but for now, muzzle energy will do.

The 45 ACP was designed around a 230 gr bullet @ 850 fps (369 ft lbs of energy). As bullet weight decreases, velocity must increase to maintain thrust. A 200 gr bullet at 800 fps only generates 284 ft lbs, so that would be considered a light target load. The factory velocity for 200 gr bullets ranges from 940fps (393 ft lbs) to 1000 fps for a +P load (444 ft lbs).

The standard recoil spring is intended for power levels of 370 ft lbs + or - 10% or about 330 to 407 ft lbs. When power levels are above or below these numbers. the recoil spring should be changed accordingly. 1 lb of spring tension for each 23 ft lb of energy. So ... your 200 gr load should have a 12 lb recoil spring, however if your guns are cycling properly, forget all the above.

Last edited by Iowegan; July 19th, 2008 at 03:47 PM.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 07:35 PM   #12
 
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I seem to be well down on the energy curve. I've been satisfied with 4.3 gr Bullseye and 5.3 gr W231 with 200 gr lswc and 200 gr cmj rounds. I shot 5.5 gr W231 with 185gr lswc's today. Accuracy was fair.

I haven't had any problems with the slide on my Pt1911. I had some lighter loads of 185gr that my P90 didn't like that I didn't see on the 1911.

After reading this, I may go up a bit on my loads.
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Old July 19th, 2008, 08:10 PM   #13
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greener, 1911s are wonderful guns. You can buy a set of recoil springs in 2 lb increments from 10 to 22 lbs (for full sized 19121s) and cover about any 45 ACP load ever made. Accuracy is optimum when the slide gets full travel. This is evidenced by how far the spent cases are thrown (extremely scientific). They should land about 3 feet to the side when the proper weight recoil spring is installed. If the cases barely dribble out, I can almost guarantee you will get some malfunctions and accuracy will be less than optimum. The worst thing you can do with any 45 ACP pistol is to shoot loads where the brass flies too far. This means a couple things ... you are wasting muzzle velocity and you are beating up your gun.

As for accuracy ... if the recoil spring is the right tension, you can get superb accuracy with most any load. Lead bullets weighing 200 gr or more tend to shoot the best, however; my 185 Gold Dot JHPs running 1000 fps shoot real straight too. Seems the worst accuracy comes from lighter bullets at slower velocities.
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Old July 20th, 2008, 08:33 AM   #14
 
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I got a bunch of 230gr Lee tl over 6.5 gr of unique loaded. I shoot them out of a SA GI45 and a Interarms SilverCup both full size guns. My brass falls better than 3' away. Should get 18lb( Heavier) springs or pull bullets and start over.
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Old July 20th, 2008, 09:08 AM   #15
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rusty, The 3 ft distance is just a guide. Your extractor tension will affect how far the brass is flung too. As for your load ... it's definitely on the hot side. 5.8 gr of Unique is at the max end of chamber pressure (21,000 psi) for a 230 gr lead bullet so I'd tone them down a bit. 6.5 gr of Unique is the max charge weight for a jacketed 230 gr bullet ... maybe you used the wrong chart.

Lead bullets seal in the bore much better than jacketed bullets so it takes less powder to propel them to the same velocity. Additionally, chamber pressure will be higher with lead bullets because there is virtually no loss due to "blow-by" like there is with jacketed bullets.
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