What to do when you can't find a load recipe?


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yhtomit
March 13, 2008, 07:31 PM
After years of thinking about it, and many months of prepping, I think I'm ready to reload for the first time, and I'm starting with .45 ACP, both because it's (fun/expensive) and because many people have advised me that it's a good one with which to start, because of low pressure, wide casemouth, etc. Hanging onto other brass to load when I feel ready.

- I've cleaned, tumbled and polished brass, filling up all the containers I can find for it ;) I have 2 loading trays (hold 50 apiece) with cleaned, inspected, shiny, gen-yew-ine once-fired .45ACP brass (my own, mostly from a S&W 625) at the ready, would like to start with one of these.

- Have been practicing (on factory ammo) with my electronic caliper, making sure that the numbers come out where they should, and no problems.

- Have a Lyman Pro series scale

- I have CCI large pistol primers (300 of them)

- I have one pound of Unique smokeless powder

- I've been getting comfortable with the Lee Classic press, which I've now had for several months, and used so far only to pop out primers on quite a few .45ACP cases. (I bought the kit with .45ACP dies etc. from Kempf's)

- I have bullets: 50 250gr 45ACP bullets, copper plated with lead hollow-point tips.

What I can't find: a loading recipe that covers Unique and a 250gr bullet.

Data point: The .45ACP dies from Lee come with a load sheet that includes loads for Unique and ... 240 Grain Jacketed Bullet (starting load 5.7gr) and then 260 Grain Jacketed Bullet (starting load 5.1 grain).

Similarly, the interactive data sheet on Alliant Powder's site (http://alliantpowder.com/reloaders/RecipeList.aspx?gauge=&gtypeid=1&title=Pistols%20and%20Revolvers) jumps from 240 to 260. (For which, with Federal primers and a 5" barrel, they suggest loads of 5.9 and 5.4 gr, respectively, but don't specify high, low and mid, just provide one "recipe" that applies.)

I've found a few others online, as well, but I'm pretty baffled. What I'm planning to do tonight is go buy (at the current prices, not looking forward to it) some variety of bullets for which I can find an official load recipe, but ... where do you suggest looking most effectively when you don't have an exact recipe?

For anyone else with Lee dies and the accompanying data sheet, can you explain exactly why it is that they have only certain loads with certain bullet types and weights? Between 240 and 260, I'm sure that Unique does not cease to function :) My suspicion is that Lee has compiled information supplied to them by the powder makers, who clearly are free to choose which recipes from a universe of infinite possibilities they are going to actually test out. But it sure would be nice to see fewer gaps in the chart! (The Lee data also does not distinguish as far as I can tell between different brands of primer ... I'm looking for someplace where they specify that they're thinking of a particular primer by default, but not finding it.)

Please forgive my ignorance -- trying to get into this thing with as close to zero mistakes as possible. Now off to buy bullets and yet another reloading book ;)

timothy

p.s. I would like to understand why heavier bullets need smaller power charges. Is it because they're slower to move, thus get more advantage of the expanding gases in the barrel simply by being in the barrel for longer?

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Cosmoline
March 13, 2008, 07:50 PM
What I do is take the higher and lower numbers and figure on starting somewhere in between. In this case you have some very close bullet weight recipes, so the calculation is pretty straight forward.

SlamFire1
March 13, 2008, 08:04 PM
When I do not have good load data, I search books, go to web sites, and glean what I can.

In the end, you have to jump in the dark, deep end of the swamp with your best guess. If you did your research well, you will encounter no alligators.

I use a chronograph in all my load development. I want to see what velocities I am producing across my screens. This provides data for analysis and comparison.

I have tested Unique in the 45 Auto Rim with 250 Lead Bullets. I have only tested loads in my M1917. Because it is a prewar pistol, it needs large diameter bullets to avoid leading.

I tried 6.0 grs Unique, and 6.5 grains Unique. In this lightweight pistol I found the recoil excessive, especially with the 6.5 grain load. So I stopped testing with Unique and tried something different. However, Unique shot well, and if you want to use it, I would recommend trying 5.5 grains and see if your velocities are around 750 fps.

Because I shoot 45 AR loads in this M1917 and a converted MkVI Webley, I now use a load of 255 LSWC and 3.5 grains Bullseye. This is a very mild load, shoots well, and does not stretch the top strap of the Webley.

M1917 S&W Brazilian Export 5" Barrel

250 LRN (.454) 6.0 grs Unique thrown, R-P AR cases, CCI300 primers
20-Jan-02 T = 44F
Ave Vel = 833
Std Dev = 25
ES 79.6
Low 789
High 869
N = 12
Heavy recoil, aimpt about 6" low at 25 yard. But very accurate



250 LRN (.454) 6.5 grs Unique thrown, R-P AR cases, CCI300 primers
20-Jan-02 T = 44F
Ave Vel = 888
Std Dev = 31
ES= 103.3
Low= 844
High= 947
N=12
very heavy recoil, aimpt 5 OC below target: too heavy a load


250 LRN (.454) 4.5 grs Bullseye thrown, R-P AR cases, CCI300 primers
20-Jan-02 T = 44F
Ave Vel = 754
Std Dev = 10
ES = 39.5
Low= 744
High= 783
N=14
Mild recoil, aimpt 5 OC, accurate

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