bolt action .45 ACP rifle


November 20, 2006, 03:44 PM
I built a sort-of Delisle carbine with a 21.5" non-silenced, 1" OD bull barrel on a Lee Enfield No. 4 Mk. 1 action. The chamber has minimal headspace and fully supports the case wall all the way to the case head. So, the only unsupported surface is in the web area.

I am currently getting [DELETED] fps with 230gr. cast bullets using [DELETED] grains of Blue Dot, but that load doesn't burn very clean. I do get some leading so I'm switching to jacketed bullets in 185 and 230 grain.

I was thinking W296 or H110 might be good candidates but I've read that they like magnum primers and tight crimps - since the ACP doesn't use a roll crimp this leads me to think they're better powders for my .454 Casull... What about Lil' Gun? Any advice on good powders to use to get the most horsepower I can out of this rifle? I'd like to take full advantage of the strong action, fully-supported case, and long barrel but it's a rather small case capacity.


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November 20, 2006, 04:21 PM
Cool. That might be a decent neighborhood watch gun around here. Maybe better as a semiauto, but hell, my 'assault rifle' is a levergun.

November 20, 2006, 04:26 PM
How about Power Pistol or Titegroup?

TN Shooter
November 20, 2006, 05:29 PM
Hi Navy-

I think you might be in unchartered waters. I have been experimenting with slower burning powders in my Marlin Camp 45 carbine, but I have been unable to find any specific info for .45 carbine loads.

To date, my best results have been with Power Pistol. However, your situation is different with the bolt gun vs. my blowback semi-auto. I would definitely try 2400 and Lil Gun and and maybe H110/W-296. I would definitely stick with the jacketed bullets. Be especially careful with the H-110/W-296 because those powders are dangerous with reduced loads.

I have had great results with Lil Gun in my Marlin .357 magnum carbine. It seems to deliver great velocity with lower chamber pressures.

Good luck, and please keep us posted!

TN Shooter

November 20, 2006, 05:48 PM
Navy Guns, That sounds like an interesting rifle. As for loads, I may be wrong but think you'll find that 296 and 110 are way to slow burning for the short .45 ACP case. That could possibly be why your loads of Blue Dot are not clean burning. Like Tn Shooter says, you are in uncharted waters.

November 20, 2006, 08:29 PM
I use Blue Dot with good results in 9mm for my 995 carbine. You would probably want to use as slow burning a powder as you can.

November 20, 2006, 09:07 PM
You may have good luck with IMR Hi-Skor 800x, as long as your powder measure can handle grains the size of dinner plates.

November 20, 2006, 10:31 PM
Uncharted waters, eh? No kidding! My only leanings were towards published powders for other straight walled cartridges (.357 and .44 Mag, and maybe .410 bore) for carbines; but I don't know if any one of the powders listed might be a better starting point than another. That's the kicker - big expansion ratio with a long barrel and a small case capacity.

.45 +p, .45 super and .460 Rowland loads are all based on ~5" barrels. .357 and .44 Mag loads are all based on larger case capacity. I suppose there's nothing much to do but try several powders for each candidate bullet, work up slowly and carefully, and be sure to wear my polycarbonate goggles...

I bought a box of 185 grain Speer Gold Dot bullets today to try out - load data suggests that they should be seated to 1.200" OAL with 15.8 grains of water capacity in the case. Would any other brand 185 grain jacketed bullet yield a larger capacity? At these potential velocities I don't think the hollow point would make much difference to a ground hog, white tail, felon, etc.

Keep the ideas coming! I'm new to theHighRoad - used to troll the site long ago before it died. I'm glad to see some familiar handles on this site...

November 20, 2006, 11:39 PM
Try 7.5 grains of Unique, always shot well for me fast and clean.

November 22, 2006, 01:28 PM
Just called a tech rep at Hodgdon - he said H110 probably wouldn't work well in this application and recommended Long Shot instead. At least I can use the H110 for my .454...

November 22, 2006, 04:55 PM
I put a Shilen .452 bull barrel on a 1903 Turk Mauser 6 years ago that weighs 17 pounds with scope.

I have found that 230 gr FMJ bullets are the way to go for accuracy. I am using Montana Gold 230 gr FMJ.

The 460 Rowland data with standard 45acp brass is a good starting point for me.

I use large rifle primers.

I have tried H110, but not enough will fit in the case and it does not compress.

AA#5, LONGSHOT, and Power Pistol have published 460 Rowland data at 38,000 c.u.p.

The 45acp case head is good for more pressure. Maybe not 65,000 psi like the rating for similar case heads in 22-250 or .270, but more than 38,000 c.u.p.

The last time I shot it, I got a 4" 20 shot group at 100 meters with rapid fire. I could hear the bullet hit the plywood 100 meters away, while wearing hearing protection. I can see the holes with a 4x scope. I can see the plywood pieces fly out the back of the target with the 4x scope. Everyone likes to shoot it. Carrying it from the car to the bench is hard.

highlander 5
November 22, 2006, 06:13 PM
H110 and WW 296 are way to slow for 45acp as they are for magnum class pistol cartridges. Unique,Universal Clays,Blue Dot and Power Pistol might be better choices.

November 22, 2006, 08:47 PM
Reads like you have a lot of steel around the chamber if your barrel is 1" OD. I would lean toward the clays powders for that. Clean and Clays (not the universal or international) in a 5" 1911 is pushing 230gr over 900fps. W/plated bullets.
I am guessing that rifle is a very fun gun as long as it shoots clean.

lee n. field
November 22, 2006, 10:32 PM
What are you doing for a magazine (or is this single shot)?

November 29, 2006, 12:15 PM
Magazine - my first one was custom. I removed the follower and spring from the old magazine and cut a hole for a 1911 magazine. I had a friend at the local machine shop MIG weld the magazines together in the correct location. It's kind of cool because the empty cases drop down into the Enfield magazine behind the 1911 magazine so I don't have to look for them in the grass.

I finally bought the magazine adapter available from Rhineland Arms which allows me to use plain 1911 magazines. Sometimes I take the magazine out completely and use it like a single shot, too.

BTW - you can get a .45 conversion kit from Rhineland for the Enfield or Mauser, so I think there might be others out there interested in this subject...

November 29, 2006, 09:58 PM
I built mine single shot in 1999 and have really enjoyed it.

Some ask, "What good is it?"

The answer is, "Everyone loves to shoot it at the range, even strangers. Big holes, little cost, little kick, little noise and the barrel stays cool and unfouled."

I don't know of anyone who got a 45acp bolt action rifle and did not like it.

November 30, 2006, 08:41 AM
I'd love to find the load that will allow me to put a 185 grain JHP into a woodchuck at 2,000 fps. :evil:

I see that Rhineland is getting ready to sell a kit for .45 WinMag conversions but I like the challenge of working with the ACP.

December 1, 2006, 12:05 AM
I find that the 185 gr do not group like the 230 gr.

December 1, 2006, 12:49 AM
Though my Marlin camp .45 acp 7.5 grns of Unique behind a Nosler 185 grn jhp is my favorite :)

December 1, 2006, 01:01 AM
Here's my contribution. I built my bolt gun on an 1888 Loewy Commision Mauser,chopped mil stock and a Thompson 16" MG barrel I got from Gun Parts Corp. It's been modded to take a 1911 mag. My best load so far(clean,low recoil,1" at 50yds) is with Lil'Gun/CCI LPM primer and either a 230FMJ or Speer #4479 bullet. Groups were shot using a 1moa red dot optic sight and rest.
Navy_guns, I see that your grains/FPS were deleted. IIRC I am loading 1 gr of Lil'Gun less than your Blue Dot and getting 200fps less, but I am running jacketed bullets.
The Speer 4479 is an exposed lead nose,225gr,JHP. Makes a mess of turtles,jacks and coyotes. Looking forward to trying it on hogs and deer.

December 1, 2006, 10:34 PM
You could deepen the chamber to Winmag and get your buddy to weld up a carbine mag to feed it. That would sure take care of that case capacity issue, muzzle velocity and would increase the "aint nobody got one in my neighborhood coolness factor"

Rhineland builds them on mauser actions and sells kits. I would think that the enfield action would be strong enough, but AM Not an expert by any means. the Rhineland kit is only 145, and I have been thinking about getting one and a junker action to build one up too.

good luck with it.

December 3, 2006, 09:03 PM
I would deepen the chamber from 45acp and shoot 45WM, but the range is only 100 yards long.

I could thread and chamber the other end of the barrel.

December 4, 2006, 08:05 AM

Hmmm... I shot 10 rounds of my Blue Dot cast loads (230 gr TC Lee bullet)over the Chrony on Sunday and got an average velocity of 1,579 fps. I shot 10 rounds with the same powder charge using 230 gr Hornady XTP's and got an average 1,499 fps. I know that my cast bullets are coming in lighter than 230 grains because they're WW alloy, but I thought the old saying was that cast bullets usually go slower with the same powder charge because they require less force to engrave and don't build pressure as quickly. I wouldn't think a few grains on the bullet weight would account for 80 fps.

I loaded what I believe are decent "starting loads" (for a bolt-action rifle, that is) with H110, W296, Lil' Gun, and Long Shot yesterday but I ran out of daylight. I'll post some more results as I get them...

December 5, 2006, 09:10 AM
When I started loading .45 I think I was using either bluedot or greendot. Either way, the fouling was horrid. After talking to a few people about it, they suggested Hodgdon Clays, I've been using it ever since. Max (from Hodgdon) is 4.0 grains behind a 230gr FMJ-RN. I usually load a bit light (around 3.6-3.7) and I can regularly keep the bullets in a pie plate at 50 yards with my pistol. I've had really good luck with the Armscorp 230gr FMJ-RN I get from a local distributor.

December 6, 2006, 08:22 AM
Since they end up getting deleted, I'm not going to mention specific charge weights, but I did get some testing done yesterday in 5-shot batches so I thought I'd share...

The W296, Lil' Gun, and H110 were stinkers. Even with "most" of the case capacity behind the 185gr Gold Dots filled with powder, they all had very irregular velocity and a lot of unburned powder remaining in the case and in the barrel. The Lil' Gun was the worst because it flowed propellant back around the case and out the action. I was shooting single-shot with the magazine left out and I could feel the powder spraying back out of the action (another good reason for shooting glasses and long sleeves!). Upon extraction, you could see powder and carbon stuck on the OUTSIDE of the case. The W296 did this too but not as bad.

My first set of loads averaged 1093 fps (297 ES) for Lil' Gun, 1003 fps (328 ES) for W296, and 1227 fps (152 ES) for H110. I figured the problems might improve with higher charge weights (heard H110 loads shouldn't be reduced by more than 3% or you get ignition problems) and the H110 was the least crappy of those three powders so I upped the load by 2 grains. The second try averaged 1395 fps with only 72 fps extreme spread. Better, but still very dirty with a lot of unburned powder left in the case and barrel. Conclusion? Not good powders for this cartridge/bullet combo. I'm not giving up on them yet - I'll still have another try with 230 grain bullets but...

Long Shot - Oh boy, it was like night and day! It burned super clean and gave very good velocity and repeatibility. PM me for the real loads, but: starting charge gave an average 1786 fps (29 ES). Increasing 0.5 grains gave 1818 fps (10 ES), adding another 0.3 grains gave 1854 fps (15 ES), and adding yet another 0.3 grains gave 1856 (25 ES). This is similar to what I found with my Blue Dot load - you get velocity increases with powder increases that begin to flatten out quite a bit. The Long Shot loads I tested spanned 1.1 grains total but I think the third one (initial plus 0.8 grains) is where I'd stop for this bullet. Since the powder was very clean and consistent (low extreme spreads) I'm definitely going to try it with other bullet weights.

I'm still not at 2,000 fps with that 185 grain JHP but then again there's still a lot more powders out there I can try... :)

December 8, 2006, 01:58 AM
Navy, what kind of primers are you using? I'm using CCI large pistol magnum primers. The mag primers,230gr jacketed bullets and LilGun produce a clean load in my rifle. Regular primers DO leave unburned powder and soot on the cases. When you have time, please PM your Power Pistol load info to me .


December 8, 2006, 08:06 AM
I was using standard primers which I'm sure could be contributing to the poor ignition of those 3 powders. Plus, I think a heavier bullet will give better results. I do plan to revisit those powders with 230 grain bullets and I'll have to pick up a brick of magnum primers before I jump into it.

December 8, 2006, 08:10 AM
D'oh! In my other post I did sing the praises of Power Pistol, didn't I? <sigh>... I've been looking at too many load recipes and burn rate charts lately. I don't even OWN any Power Pistol powder!

I meant to say that I had good results with LONG SHOT! I'll go back and edit my earlier post...

December 8, 2006, 10:45 AM
CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

I have used and exceeded the Hodgdon LONGSHOT 460 Rowland data in my 98 Mauser 45acp rifle:

January 5, 2007, 08:24 AM
CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

Now that the holidays are behind us, I got a chance to try out some Herco loads yesterday with the 185 grain Gold Dots. I did pick up a brick of magnum primers for future use, but these loads were still using standard primers...

Started at 8.5 grains Herco and worked up in .5 grain steps to 10.0 grains. The lighter loads had some unburned residue left in the barrel, moderate sooting on the outside of the cases, and somewhat erratic velocities. All three conditions improved steadily with increasing powder charges. At 10.0 grains, the spread was pretty small (don't have my notes in front of me) and the velocity averaged out right at 1,400 fps. Herco is a pretty bulky powder and there's not much empty case left at 10.0 grains. It's still a long way off from the performance I got with Long Shot (I don't think another .5 grains is going to buy me 400 fps!) so it's just an academic exercise at this point.

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