45ACP: 185 vs 200 vs 230 gr.


January 2, 2007, 12:46 AM
For light, low recoil loads, what do you prefer?

I'm going to experiment w/ 230gr RN w/ 3.9gr WST and
200gr LSWC w/ 4.2gr WST.

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January 2, 2007, 01:07 AM
I like the 200 for punching paper. Accuracy is everything a 230 will give, feeding is a little more forgiving than a 185, recoil is enough to operate a stadard sprung gun. There isn't much to dislike about 200's.

WST is a good powder as long as you don't need to make a certain power level. It is very temperature sensitive. Other than that it shoots great.

January 2, 2007, 01:08 AM
A cast 239 grain RN or FP with 4.5 grains of Bullseye is an excellent target load. 200's are ok, but the 185's can give you feeding problems due to the short OAL. Remember that .45's require a taper crimp only. Aids feeding.

Mark whiz
January 2, 2007, 01:16 AM
I too vote for a 200gr bullet - as those work best in my 1911-A1 Mil-Spec.
The 1911 was originally designed for 200gr bullets, and it shows in my case anyway.

I have been using 200gr Ranier plated SWCs with 4.7gr of WST or 9.6gr of AA#5. The WST is a real light shooter, it feeds well for me but much less of a charge tends to promote ejection and feeding issues. The AA#5 charge is VERY accurate for me, but runs about 350fps faster than the WST charge.

January 2, 2007, 08:18 AM
I would have to say the 200gr. JSWC or LSWC is what my 1911's like the most. I do find shooting the 230gr. LRN nice too.

January 2, 2007, 09:30 AM
the 185's can give you feeding problems due to the short OAL.I've shot 1000's of 185's over various charges of Bullseye and never had a problem with feeding in 20+ 1911's.

The Bushmaster
January 2, 2007, 09:52 AM
Me too Halvey. That's all I shoot in my Colt .45ACP is 185 grain JHPs and have never had a failure to feed. My favorite load is 5.7 grains of W-231 with an OAL of 1.200 to 1.250. For a little less felt recoil drop it to 5.0 grains of W-231.

January 2, 2007, 10:03 AM
I've been shooting Berry's 185 Gr. SWC at 1.190 with no problems. Not sure I like it better than the 200 though. Just trying it out. First time in 20+ yrs. I've shot 185 Gr. in the .45. It's been all 200 to 250. I like the 230 at moderate velocity for plinking. Shot 230 Gr. lead for years.

January 2, 2007, 11:48 AM
Just a couple of weeks ago, looking for a superlight load for my wife to use in a .45 1911, I tried my two basic target loads:
230gr RNTMJ Rainier, 3.5gr WST, 600fps;
185gr RNHB Berry's, 4.5gr WST, 700fps.
Both required a light recoil spring in the ten-pound range.
I could not tell any meaningful difference in felt recoil. If either one was softer, it was the 230gr one. Both run very close to 100% for me. Both run okay, about 90-93%, in regular guns with regular springs. Looser guns with more tired springs of course do better.
The Berry's load ran slightly more reliably for my wife, whose grip is terrible (and she won't put forth the effort to improve it).
The USPSA boys say heavy bullet/fast powder kicks the least on non-ported guns. After this and several other tries, I now agree.
WST is my choice as it is both the quietest, least blasty powder, and also seems to be softer in recoil as well.

January 2, 2007, 09:31 PM
The Berry 185 grain Hollow Base Round Nose plated bullets can be assembled into rounds with the same OAL and similar profile as standard military style ammo.
This solved feeding issues for me using a light and inexpensive bullet.

For plinking, I use 5.1 grains of TiteGroup which yields about 800 fps in a 5" 1911.
You can go quite a bit slower if you want to run with a weaker spring.
I have gone as low as 4.5 gr of TG for just over 700 fps.

For a hotter load with the 185 HBRN, I use 5.8 gr of TG for about 900 fps.
This just makes major power factor and is slow enough to be OK with plated bullets.
This would be a BIG MISTAKE !

Of course, you chould cross check all loading suggestions and follow the directions of the component manufacturers when you develop your loads.

Have fun !


January 2, 2007, 10:29 PM
If you want real low felt recoil, try an even lighter bullet. A gunsmith suggested a Valiant 160gr LSWC loaded on 4.4(+)gr bullseye powder. Has been great when tested it at 25yards so far. I'm planning to test it next up to 4.8gr to find a good load for 50yards.

BTW, these are intended for Bullseye shooting...ie paper punching!

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