Polygonal Barrel .45 Handloading ?'s


March 8, 2008, 10:28 PM
I am very new to reloading, and I want to reaload .45 ACP for my H&K USP Tactical. Unfortunately, the more I read, the more I am approaching this with trepidation. I am confused about what kind of bullets will work with my polygonal barrel (swaged, cast, etc.).

I want to load a relatively slow, plinking round with 185gr Hornady XTP's. Are the XTP's a suitable bullet for the polygonal barrel? I want to use that bullet specifically hopefully moving around 800fps. Are there any problems going that route? Again, I'm really a handloading rookie, and I would appreciate/benefit from any advice that could be offered. Thanks

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evan price
March 9, 2008, 12:23 AM
First: You will hear people say that H&K and Glock (polygonal rifled barrels) should NEVER have lead bullets shot through them because they will clog with lead and possibly Kaboom.
If one used a soft alloy and loaded them hot and then shot the gun enough that they built up a lot of lead, and never ever cleaned it, it might happen. Maybe.

I will testify that I shot thousands of Ultramax reloaded ammo with lead projos in my Glocks with never a problem, and I currently reload .45 ACP 230-grain lead for both my Sig P220 and Glock 21. I use a hard alloy, load on the conservative side (under 1000 fps) and clean my guns regularly. I have not had any leading buildup personally. Sometimes after a long session with hotter loads there may be a smidge by the chamber. But nothing that I would consider even slightly worrying.

The Hornady XTP will give you absolutely no trouble at all, most reloading manuals will call out specs for this bullet by name.

Load at 10% under book max and then work up to where you want the load to be in terms of accuracy and cycling your gun.

5.1 grains of Hodgdon HP38 or Win 231 will get you about 775 FPS or a little more according to Hodgdon.

Personally I tried 185 RNFP's in my Sig and didn't like them. I prefer the big heavy slow 230-grain roundball the cartridge was designed around.

March 9, 2008, 07:16 PM
Thanks for the advice I really appreciate it.

Maybe I'm approaching this the wrong way, thinking the 185gr loaded slow will kick less than a 230gr load moving slow. I want to get down close to where the gun almost won't cycle, just to feel what it's like. Any other suggestions? Thanks

March 9, 2008, 08:23 PM
KSUperDuty, you'll see a lot of conflicting information about lead and polygonal rifling. I decided not to shoot lead in my Glocks not because of what people say, but because of what Glock says.

I did not feel like researching the science behind their warning, but since I don't think Glock has any reason to lie to me on this topic, I'll take their word for it and I'll stick with jacketed bullets.

To paraphrase the late great Gale McMillan who posted on this very topic a few years ago at The Firing Line:

"If you have not had problems with lead and polygonal rifling, just be patient."

March 9, 2008, 08:42 PM
Try to make those statements on Glock Talk or HK Pro Boards, but be sure to have your "depends" on, a good flame suit, a gallon of pepto, and a good platter on which to serve up crow. :neener:

OH, and if you read any of your pistol manuals, you will find them saying something to the effect that "shooting reloaded ammo in these weapons will void the warrantee". So don't shoot your reloads either.

Nowhere Man
March 9, 2008, 09:42 PM
I called Glock myself and asked about shooting lead out of a Glock barrel. What I was told is, Glock does not recommend shooting lead bullets. Soft lead can lead to clogging of the barrel. Since the "average person" cannot visualy tell if the bullet they are firing is hard lead or soft lead, you cannot tell how many rounds you can fire before it becomes unsafe.


evan price
March 9, 2008, 10:49 PM
As to the 185's shooting softer- yes, they will, when loaded lightly. F=MA after all, and a lighter bullet loaded to a higher pressure will accelerate more thus getting you more force. Mt 230-gr loads are actually pussycats, and a good-sized gun like your H&K will not pose significant recoil problems.

Re: NowhereMan's assertion:

Try to scratch a lead projo with your fingernail:

If it scratches, it's soft. If it does not scratch, it's hard.

Also ask your caster what alloy he uses. If he says "?" odds are it might be soft.

These are both things an "average person" can easily perform.

As I said before, I shot thousands through my Glocks, no problems.

March 13, 2008, 02:11 PM
Thanks for the help Evan

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