What is your favorite 45 acp handload


November 28, 2007, 11:55 AM
I am new to reloading and want a 45 acp round for my Kimber ultra carry.Which powder,How much.Which round.lead or fmj.Help out a new guy.Please

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November 28, 2007, 12:00 PM
4.5 to 5.5 grains of W231 under 230LRN, OAL 1.230 iirc. 5.5 grains is a little stout and not necessary, 4.5 works just as well in my M&P45.

There are a bunch of good powders out there, I like W231 the most, I also like Unique alright. Lots of people use Titegroup, Bullseye, and many others. Fortunately 45ACP is low pressure and forgiving so you picked a good place to start.

November 28, 2007, 12:05 PM
Welcome to the forum!

If you search the handloading forum using "ACP", you'll find days worth of reading about loading the .45 ACP.

November 28, 2007, 12:20 PM
Thank You xsquidgator. I am still not sure if reloading is for me.What is your best printed source.

November 28, 2007, 01:10 PM
I shoot the 200 grain JSWC from Hornady over 4.3 grains of Clays. C.O.L. = 1.270". CCI brass/primers.

This bullet is just amazing for accuracy:

Read the reviews for more pet loads.

The Lyman reloading manual is an excellent read for beginners.

I just started reloading a couple of years ago, and I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner. My .45acp handload is soft shooting for comfotable practice and is match accurate out of my H&K.

Start slow and simple with a single stage press or a turret press, Lee dies are an excellent value.

Hodgdon Clays is a great powder for light practice loads and it's easy to spot a double charged case.

November 28, 2007, 01:41 PM
I use a 230gr RN over 4.6-4.7 grains of titegroup, works like a charm for me. Titegroup may not be the best powder for a cold beginner, it's easy to overlook a double in a big case.

November 28, 2007, 01:51 PM
5.2grs of W231 with 230gr bullet and Winchester large primers.

November 28, 2007, 02:00 PM
I'd say Red Dot or Green Dot would be better powders for a beginner to use. They are kind of bulky.

November 28, 2007, 02:13 PM
For defense- Winchester 230gn HP from Midway. A very accurate HP.

For paper- My Bullseye load is a dream to shoot.

Bullet- Lyman 452460 SWC mould (~200gn bullets with 98% wheel weights, 2% linotype. Water quenched after moulded. Yes, these bullets are hard. Lubed and sized at .452" through a Star Lubrisizer. Lyman pistol bullet lube.
Powder- Bullseye, 3.6gns. (A lot of people push a 200gn bullet with 4gns.)
Case- WW
Primer- CCI300
Recoil spring- 15lb. (This load will not cycle a full length/tight slide with a 19lb spring)

This load is very accurate through my Kimber Custom II. This load is very close to duplicating H&G #68, with 4gns of Bullseye powder, type load/target results often viewed as the standard bullet in Bullseye shooting.

Why is this my favorite load? Because I create each and every one from start to finish. Because they go down range right where I point them.

I should probably put in a disclaimer that your mileage may vary, and that you should work your own load up, for your pistol. I will suggest that your Ultra should shoot any of the 200gn LSWC's just fine. For plinking. For defense I suggest a good hollow point of 225-240gns with the correct portion of pistol powder that will make the bullet perform properly.


November 28, 2007, 05:32 PM
My Glock 21 loves 4.5 grains of red dot under a 230 ranier...combat accurate for practice.

November 28, 2007, 08:14 PM
5.5? of W231? I though 5.3 was the max for a 230 RN? Is 5.3 pushing it or still on the safe but hot side?

November 28, 2007, 08:32 PM
Well.... all I can say is I also use 5.2gr of 231 with 230gr PLATED bullets... it is NOT a hot load by any stretch! As a data point... Speer has a starting load of 5.6gr and max of 6.2gr for 231 with a 230gr TMJ bullet.

Ol` Joe
November 28, 2007, 08:55 PM
My wifes nephew has a Kimber Ultra Carry and it comes I believe with a heavier spring then the std custom target or Colt 1911. His wouldn`t function properly with 4.5gr Titegroup under 200 gr LSWC, but worked just fine with 185gr HP Noslers and as I remember 8.7 gr of Power pistol.
Yours may not be as picky but if you have trobles with feed and ejection with mild loads you might have to raise the charge some or change bullet shape. These pistols are made more as defence arms and not so much as target shooters.

November 28, 2007, 08:55 PM
Just to throw in an alternative:

My IDPA load is 5.0 gr. of American Select under a 200 gr. LSWC. Gets me around 850 fps.

I used to shoot 5.4 gr. and that load will print a 2.5" group off the bench at 25 yds. from my SA Mil-Spec. But then I got a chronograph and found that the slug was moving at something like 950 fps, which is way more than I need to compete, so I backed it down. Haven't gotten to accuracy test it yet.


evan price
November 29, 2007, 01:02 AM
My Sig P220 and Glock 21 like 4.7 grains of Titegroup, Win LPP and range brass with a Rainier 230-gr RN plated bullet.

November 29, 2007, 01:27 AM
230 gr. Golden Saber and 7.75 (midway between .7 and .8) grains of V-V 3N37 @ 1.230" OACL. It may sound unconventional, but five rounds will go into a single hole at 50'! Velocity ain't shabby either.;)

November 29, 2007, 03:36 AM
4.5-5.0 grains of Titegroup under your choice of bullet (I prefer 200 SWC).


November 29, 2007, 04:47 AM
5.2-5.3 W231 under 230gr Rainer Plated RN
Winchester case
Winchester LP
OAL=1.260 Taper Crimped to .470-471.
POA is POI at 25 yards
Kimber Tactical Pro II.

November 29, 2007, 10:36 PM
Does it make a diff if I go OAL if 1.25 or 1.23? Does it affect pressure, reliabilty or are some guns more finicky than others. I shoot a Sig 220.

November 30, 2007, 12:46 AM
Not much in the .45 ACP becasue the pressure rating is fairly low at 21,000 PSI/19,900 CUP. If you were dealing with a 35,000 PSI + cartridge like the 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, or 10mm, pressure would be more affected by a change in OACL. With a P-220, you won't have a reliability issue with .005" of length variation. I listed 1.230" with the Golden Saber because the only source for data that I've found is from Accurate and that's the OACL they recommend.;)

November 30, 2007, 05:47 AM
Luggernut, What OAL are you using with that recipe?



November 30, 2007, 09:14 AM
Rng- 1.260" Col.

November 30, 2007, 09:14 PM
My favorite .45ACP load is 6.0gr Unique and any bullet, any primer, any case. I reload for for economy and volume shooting, the above has always met my needs witih minimal futzing around -- all I do is adjust the seating die when I get a different bullet type or brand. I try to match the COL of factory ammo that uses a similar bullet to what I'm loading. If in doubt 1.23" pretty much always works in any 45 I have.


December 1, 2007, 05:39 AM
Luggernut -- Same thing I'm using. Thanks


December 1, 2007, 09:11 AM
My favorite .45ACP load is 6.0gr Unique

Whew! Thanks Wally. I was reading thru the thread and was amazed that nobody had listed Unique in the favorites list. I've reloaded for over 25 years and that has consistently been my most accurate load behind a 200 grain LSWC (albeit a bit dirty).

December 1, 2007, 09:34 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.

12 gr Power Pistol, 152 gr LSWC, 1.275", Starline +P brass, Lee Factory crimp.
measures 1226 ~ 1257 fps with a 3.16" barrel. ~29kpsi



The Bushmaster
December 1, 2007, 09:49 AM
My favorite load for .45 ACP? 5.7 grains of W-231. Winchester cases. WLP primer. All under a 185 grain Remington JHP. 850 fps...Something a little hotter, but safe in most .45 ACP's? 6.7 grains of W-231 and everything else the same as above. 970 fps...Both accurate loads in my Colt .45 ACP.

December 1, 2007, 11:39 AM
200 grain H&G #68 style SWC, over 4.0-4.5 grns Bullseye. Accurate in all my 1911s, and cycles the slide with stock recoil springs.

December 1, 2007, 12:41 PM
5.5 Grs. W231 and any 225 to 230 Gr. lead bullet for cheap plinking.


5.7 Grs N320, Berry's 185 Gr. SWC, WLP 1.190 O.A.L.

This is one of my favorites. There are several.

8.5 Grs. AA #5, Zero 230 Gr. JHP, WLP, 1.233 O.A.L.

This is another.

I know you love W-231 Bushmaster, and for good reason, but for the hot loads you just NEED to try AA #5 or True Blue, or if you want to stick with Winchester, some WSF. I think you'll like it. ;)

December 3, 2007, 11:06 PM
Wally, Shunzu, I fired some Berry's 185 gr SWC with 6.5gr of Unique today and bulls eyed almost on every shot. I also had Some 185 HBRN's in Clays and Titegroup, and they did not fare as well. This was out of a SA SS Loaded Champ. I have found the load for this gun, if I can get it clean. How about Bullseye loads? That flammable dirt impressed me.

December 3, 2007, 11:20 PM
If you are asking members what they are using to reload .45ACP. TIME FOR YOU TO INVEST IN SOME RELOADING MANUALS..................................And come up with your own loads. Do your homework!

December 4, 2007, 09:58 AM
OK I will throw my favorite in, too.

I like 5.5 grains W231 with 200 grain LSWC. Shoots great in my 1911s.

Give it a try.

December 4, 2007, 01:18 PM
230 gr. RN FMJ or plated
Win. Brass
Win. Primer
5.8 grs. Unique
1.260 OAL
Ruger P90 & RIA 5" Govt. Runs about 800 FPS

December 4, 2007, 07:49 PM
Sure Unique is "dirty", but results are what counts, and besides I find the dirt from unique is "sooty" and wipes right off. I rarely takedown my 1911s until 1000-1500 rounds have been run thru them -- I just wipe off the crud everywhere I can reach with a rag, a dop of oil on the silde rails and back in the safe until next time.

I find Unique to burn as clean or cleaner than any of the common factory rounds in higher pressure rloads like 9mm and .40S&W.


December 4, 2007, 07:50 PM
5.3 - Win 231 - 200 LSWC

5.1 - Win 231 - 230 LRN or Rainier 230 Copper plated RN

Very reliable and accurate in ALL my .45 ACP pistols (8 different 1911's, Sig220, CZ97B) (G21 and G30 - RN only).

December 4, 2007, 08:51 PM
9.0 Grs. AA #5, Ranier 200 Gr. SWC or Hornady 200 Gr. FMJ-CT, WLP, 1.260 O.A.L.

Another good one. Reduce 10% to start.

December 4, 2007, 09:34 PM
Lots of great threads here. Im really torn between using unique or AA no. 5. Both have great things said about them. If AA is so bulky, would I get less than 1000 rounds out of a 1lb can? I really want to help prevent double charges but dont want to pay for it with a dirty powder. Will be shooting Sig 220 .45 at IDPA and basic target shooting.

I saw Unique at Sportmans $15.50 per pound. How much is #5? Is there a better place in Phoenix to buy supplies?

December 9, 2007, 09:46 AM
I wish I could find Unique that cheap. I can't find any powder for less than $18 a pound. Alot of gun stores have cut back on the amount of powder they carry. Their carrying just the most popular powders. A couple have said it was because of visits from their local fire depts.

The only primers I can find are Winchester, which is fine with me because their my favorite. But their getting hard to find lately and have soared in price to almost $28.

Large pistol primers are getting real hard to find and the gun store owners say that they have wait for them no matter how many they order. Also they said, guys that use to buy 1 or 2 boxes are buying 5-10 boxes now.

Even cast bullets are getting hard to find. There isn't any more local casting companies and one gun store owner said, we have to buy at least 500 pounds at a time and unload them and stock them and it's not worth the work.

December 9, 2007, 11:26 AM
AA is so bulky, would I get less than 1000 rounds out of a 1lb can?

1 pound of powder is 7000 Grains.

If you use 9 Grains per round it you will get 777 rounds per pound. If you use 7 Grains per pound you will get 1000 rounds per pound. If you use 5 Grains per round you will get 1400 rounds per pound, etc.

If you are strictly interested in rounds per pound, Clays is a good way to go. Other fast powders as well. Titegroup goes a long way as well. although I am not a Titegroup fan.

December 9, 2007, 12:46 PM
Bugs100, even at those rates reloading is cheaper than paying $15 per box of $45.

I just got a 4lb jug of Unique for $53, 5000 Winchester primers for $103 at the gun show and 1000 230 LRN for $75. I should be at $4-6 per 50 rounds. A hell of alot cheaper than factory ammo.

December 9, 2007, 03:30 PM
Given the choice of Unique or AA-5, I'd go with the AA-5. Cleaner burning, it meters much better, and it's very consistent. I love Unique, and burn about ten pounds of it a year, but that one's a no-brainer for me.

My newest favorite for 38 and 45ACP is WST, Winchester Super Target. Burns clean as a whistle, VERY efficient, I use 4.8 grains in the 45, which is on the hot side so work up to it.

Hey Clark, what kind of gun are you shooting that 152-grain load out of? I've got a Bersa Compact with a 3.5" fully-supported barrel, I may have to work up to that one, 8.7 grains of Power Pistol with a 200-grain SWC was pretty warm, and really LOUD! :what:


December 10, 2007, 01:56 PM
My favorite is.

230 gr. Winchester fmj-Rn
4.7 Bullseye
O.A.l. 1.260
CCI Primer

December 22, 2007, 10:12 PM
Unique is not that dirty. At least the new stuff. I just ran about 300 rounds through my 220 and it came out just like it did with HP38. cleaning it was a sinch. After hearing all these horror stories I though it would be a mess inside but it was not bad at all. The powder has metered well through my Dillon and is not expensive. Its my new favorite.

December 23, 2007, 09:35 AM
My favorite is Laser Cast 200gr LSWC, 4.1gr Clay's, WLP, at 1.240".
Next is Berry's 200gr SWC, 4.8gr Titiegroup, WLP, at 1.226".

December 23, 2007, 10:08 AM
230gr Golden Sabers pushed with 6gr Unique works good in all my .45's. 2 Ruger P97DC's, a P90DC, and a P345. The new Unique is cleaner burning than the old. :)

December 23, 2007, 10:52 AM
A Berry's 200 Gr. HP with 4.5 Grs. N310 and a WLP primer @ 1.200 O.A.L. for around 830ish FPS. Nice comfortable and very accurate load.

Another good one. If this thread keeps on going, I might run out of good ones to post. :D

December 23, 2007, 01:41 PM
From Chief-7700

Time for you to invest in some reloading books --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you are asking members what they are using to reload .45ACP. TIME FOR YOU TO INVEST IN SOME RELOADING MANUALS..................................And come up with your own loads. Do your homework!
Colt M-1911 DOB 1918, Ruger P-85 9mm, Ruger 10-22
(SSSK), Ruger Red lable over/under 20ga, Winchester Model 57 .22 and a XL-650 to feed the Colt.
Steve McQueen "We deal in lead friend" The Magnificent Seven Cira 1960

Hey Chief

Give the guy a break. I have many manuals but I like to post here to see what others are doing and having success with. If this guy is a new poster and new to reloading your stupid, terse response may have just turned him off from this site. I would suggest if you don't have anything constructive to say, don't post. I would assume that this forum is for passing around ideas and sharing information. Many people like to do that, it appears as though you don't.


December 23, 2007, 02:17 PM
dpart..... VERY well said. Happy holidays.

December 23, 2007, 07:51 PM

That was not a very nice response from you. These forums are for clueless newbies to experts alike. I have learned so much from asking questions such as these and have taken up a new hobbie because of it. I have also turned other people onto this hobbie with my limited self learned knowledge. Thats what this is all about. So take it easy and share what you know. Happy holidays.

December 23, 2007, 11:56 PM
230gr TC cast from straight ww and water dropped. 5.6 gr unique with a medium crimp. the crimp is key- too light and you'll get unburned powder.

December 23, 2007, 11:59 PM
double tap. . . three minutes later? don't see that much.

December 24, 2007, 12:15 AM
5.0 gr bullseye under a 230gr bullet.

December 24, 2007, 06:35 AM
5.7gr. of Titegroup under a 200gr. SWC is my current favorite, but I'm at the front end of this as a recent .45ACP loader. I also use 5.4 gr. of W231.

December 24, 2007, 10:16 AM
5.0 gr bullseye under a 230gr bullet.

+1 , That's my regular hardball load.

I also like:

4.2 gr Bullseye and a 200 Gr. LSWC
9.4 gr Power Pistol and a 185 Gr Nosler JHP (In case the wrong dogs come home.)

December 25, 2007, 08:18 PM
I have a bunch of loading manuals , but love these threads, it's like brain storming, and getting new ideas. Also to see if others are actually using the loads in the manuals and what guns they use them in.

December 26, 2007, 05:06 PM
I have been loading 230gr xtreme RN with 4.5 grns of Bullseye with the OAL of 1.270. Shoots great through my 1911 and XD 45

December 27, 2007, 12:22 PM
200 gr JHP, CCI large pistol primer, AA#5 9.7 gr, OAL 1.225.
Averages 920 fps from my S&W 1911 Sc, with SD of 17. 376 ft lb, functions fine. That's a max load according to several of my manuals, so work up to it. That's my carry load.

For practice with a load which has similar recoil, AA#5 9.2 gr, Rainier 185 gr plated flat point bullet, same primer. Average velocity 924 fps.

For targets in my Gold Cup with a reduced-power spring, a 200 gr LSWC with 3.7 gr Bullseye, same primer, 1.257 OAL. Very comfy to shoot and accurate.

I have used Unique 7.0 gr with the Rainier bullet as well, OAL same as the other practice load above, same primer, with good results.

Keep in mind that those chrono values are from a Commander-size pistol, so you will get higher velocities from a full-length barrel.

December 27, 2007, 10:20 PM
Khornet, what is the velocity with the unique? Thats a pretty hot load. From what I have been told 6.5 is pushing it.

December 27, 2007, 11:42 PM
I've been reloading for about 3 years. Have a half dozen books and caliber guides, but still find a need to ask what others do since none of the books have my exact combination of bullet/powder listed.

I like Bullseye. All I have been using and want to test some others.

My fav is 5.0gr Bullseye with 185gr Nosler HP.
I'm also fond of 5.3gr Bullseye with 230gr Rainer HP.

I want to find some Ramshot True Blue and Power Pistol to see how that works with these particular bullets.

Do I have to worry about plating separation with Rainer? I like mild but I would like to get close to a factory Load.

December 28, 2007, 11:54 AM
Tigagren, though I've been reloading for 35 years, I do not profess to be any sort of authority or expert. I do feel however your 5.3 gr. Bullseye load with any 230 gr. plated or jacketed bullet may be just a tad over factory ballistics ( and recoil if that's your concern ) . Alliant suggests 5 . 0 grs. max. with 230 gr. FMJ . I'd start with 4. 5 grs. myself & see what fuction and accuracy you acheive, & from there work up slightly if I thought too mild. Hope this helps. Load safe & enjoy.

December 28, 2007, 12:03 PM
Forgot to include : As long as you don't over crimp, plating seperation should not be an issue. You never want to cut the plating. My .45 acp loads taper crimp to just the point of leaving a very slight mark on the projectile, nothing deeper . Many loaders get by just fine by only crimping to the point of removing the flare on the case mouth. Hope this helps.

December 28, 2007, 02:24 PM
Geo57 Thanks for the input. I did start out at 10% under the FMJ recommendation. (4.5g), as I've seen recommendations to start with Lead bullet data or 10% under on FMJ suggestions.

I thought that the 4.5 was very mild, and started to bump it up. Maybe I did go to far... To be honest it was just fine at 4.5g. Accurate and always cycled well. I just want something that feels like my Self-defense load in my practice load.

I usually only crimp enough to take out the flare. (1/2 turn on Lee Factory Crimp Die)

Suggestions, input always welcome. I only consider myself a novice at reloading.

December 28, 2007, 04:49 PM
Tiagreen, you are quite welcome. As a side note for .45 acp loadings, for years before switching to Unique, I used Red Dot which has a burn rate pretty close to Bullseye . Alliant says 5.0 grs. of Red Dot is max w/ 230 FMJ. I settled on 4.8 for right at 800 FPS from 5 " bbls . I've loaded for oodles of different cartridges over the years, but now just 45-70, .45acp, .44 mag ( 3 different levels ) and .357 mag. ( 2 different levels ) .

December 28, 2007, 08:48 PM
My 45 load

5.2 to 5.3 gr of W231, with a 230gr RN lead bullet. Does about 850fps out of my 5" XD.

Mark whiz
December 29, 2007, 12:22 AM
For my Springfield Mil-Spec 1911, my favorite target load is:

200gr Ranier PSWC over 9.6gr of AA#5 OAL 1.258"

Shoots half inch groups all day long.

December 29, 2007, 07:12 AM
Here's another vote for 5.3-5.5 grains of 231. I use either 230 grain round nose or 200 grain long nose swc. 1.270 is a little long for some of my guns, especially in the round nose so I load to 1.230.

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