Author Topic: Load advice on 45 ACP  (Read 3953 times)

Offline MilSpecIA

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Load advice on 45 ACP
« on: June 11, 2013, 03:32:02 PM »
So I'm ready to load some .45 ACP for the first time using Bullseye powder and 185gr Hornady bullets. When I check the load data on in my book it gives me one set of numbers, but then I cross check it against the manufacturer - which gives me a totally different set of numbers.

So which load data do I go with, and does anyone know a good recipe that works for 185gr bullet w/Bullseye powder?

Offline Steve Cover

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Re: Load advice on 45 ACP
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2013, 12:01:34 AM »
You will need to work up a load that your 45 likes.

NEVER start with any listed maximum load.
You will probably discover that your firearm performs best at upper midrange loads instead of max loads anyway.

Max Loads.... IF YOU NEED MORE POWER, GET A BIGGER GUN .. DON'T BLOW UP THE ONE YOU HAVE.

ALWAY start at the listed starting load and work up... study the section about load development in your reloading manual.
If you don't understand working up a load, you should not try to reload until you do.

As to why the manuals don't match each other:

All guns are a bit different.
The loads listed in each manual were developed in a different gun than the gun used for the other manual.
Chamber and barrels will never be exactly the same.

Bullets are different, both in the amount of bearing surface that rides the rifling and the jacket material.
Loads developed with different bullets (even the same weight) will be slightly different.

This and the powders used to develop the loads are not likely to be from the same production lot and vary slightly.

So, start at the lowest listed starting load and carefully work up increasing the charge weight a little at a time.

Hope this helps,

Steve

Offline cohutt

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Re: Load advice on 45 ACP
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2013, 07:24:38 PM »
So I'm ready to load some .45 ACP for the first time using Bullseye powder and 185gr Hornady bullets. When I check the load data on in my book it gives me one set of numbers, but then I cross check it against the manufacturer - which gives me a totally different set of numbers.

So which load data do I go with, and does anyone know a good recipe that works for 185gr bullet w/Bullseye powder?

Short answer-

Use the manufacturer's most current load data

http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/powderlist.aspx?page=/reloaders/powderlist.aspx&type=1&powderid=1&cartridge=35


Offline NWPilgrim

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Re: Load advice on 45 ACP
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2013, 11:10:34 AM »
Steve Cover has great advice above.

If you are using generic bullets, that is standard weights and design such as FMJ, or lead round nose then I would use the powder manufacturer's data as a starting point and work up.  As Steve says you are likely to find the best load is high mid-range and not necessarily the maximum.

The exception to this is for non-standard bullets that are are longer or shorter or different ogive shape than standard.  Hollowpoints, all copper, and some cast lead designs (semi-wadcutter) often fall into this exception category. These may require non-standard seating depths and therefore special load data (usually lighter than standard). In this case I would use the bullet manufacturer data.  Lyman has a special Cast Bullet manual that is very good, and their #49 has about 3/4 of the cast loads as in their cast Bullet manual.  Barnes publishes a manual for their all copper, Hornady covers the XTP hollowpoint, Speer covers the Speer Gold Dot HP, and most manuals and powder manufacturer data will cover a mix of FMJ and HP and some lead.

If your Hornady bullets are the XTP, then I would definitely use the Hornady manual.  If they are FMJ then either the Hornady manual or the Alliant data.

Offline Bradbn4

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Re: Load advice on 45 ACP
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2013, 07:13:28 PM »
When I worked up my lower weight loads for 45 acp I looked at a few different manuals, looked at the pistol / barrel length they used.  Also note the plating style can significantly impact performance.

So what numbers would I chose?

I like to start at the bottom of the scale - about 10% above minimum.  Re-load maybe 25 shots using magnum primers.

Do I have to use magnum primers? Nope, using this primer style was just something someone told me once about reloading light loads to get a some what more consistent performance on target loads.   Can I tell the difference between magnum and non-magnum primers?  I can't - but then I load in the middle of the performance band. 

Note:  A few years back bulleye was re-formulated so some really old books are setup for that style powder.  If I remember, the old powder was slightly faster burning, so min/max loads would be some what lighter in weight.

My fav bullet style is 200 grain SWC in lead. Why?  Because they are easy to find and make wonderful holes in paper.

Offline cohutt

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Re: Load advice on 45 ACP
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2013, 07:50:21 PM »
+1 on the 200g lswc

Offline Mortblanc

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Re: Load advice on 45 ACP
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2013, 07:03:02 AM »
I also have used the 200gn SWC for more than 40 years but for a different reason.

I find that 185 gn  slugs will not reliably function in my pistols, especially unaltered pistols.

The longer nose of the 200 gn swc allows it to feed through almost any pistol one picks up.

It might not seem like a real concern if you are shooting a heavily modified wondergun, but in a survival situation where the ammo needs to work in any and every pistol available, or if you have separate CCW guns and target guns, it becomes a real issue. 

Additionally, I stopped shooting Bullseye after finding that I could get a double charge in most pistol cases without overflow.  This was a concern to me due to the volume of loading one does when reloading pistol cartridges, especially when using a progressive press where one is not touching the cartridge at every stage of the process.  Bullseye offers zero room for error.

To my knowledge BE is still the fastest burning powder offered to the reloader.

The smaller the required charge the cheaper the cartridge, but it also means the smaller the charge the less room for error before going over max.  The slightest mistake with BE is intolerable.

I also reload a wide variety of pistol cartridges and BE does not cover all calibers well.  When ordering in bulk or storing for preps being able to use one powder in multiple calibers is an asset.