Not enough powder W231 & .45 ACP?


Steve H
March 15, 2008, 05:58 PM
I just loaded up 50 rounds of 45 ACP. According to the Hodgen web site the starting load for a 230 gr FMJ is 4.2 grs & a OAL of 1.200" I went with the following:
230gr Winchester JHP
4.5 grs
1.230 OAL
the OAL was based on some factory WWB

AFTER loading up this batch I looked in some of my older reloading manuals and see that they suggest around 5.3 grains as a low end starting point.....................pretty big difference from them and what the Hodgen site states!!!!

Am I too low in the powder?????????????

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March 15, 2008, 06:07 PM
Seems awlful low to me. With that charge you ought to be able to watch your bullets fly through the air. 5.4 gr of 231 under Montana Gold 230 gr jacketed gave me 790 fps out of my Para SSP.

Take Care


Steve H
March 15, 2008, 06:23 PM
Hodgen is claiming 751 fps with this load..............

I don't want to stick one in the tube. Should I pull 'em?????

March 15, 2008, 07:10 PM
They will shoot. They will be very light. I load 230 Gr ball at 1.265 myself. Just make sure you see a bullet hit something every shot. If you are not comfortable with that, pull them.

W-231 data has been castrated by Hodgdon.

I recently ran a test with W-231 in response to a Q in a thread here. I loaded 5.5 Grs W-231 and Magtech 230 Gr FMJ's @ 1.265 O.A.L. with WLP primers.

It gave

5" barrel - 789 Avg FPS
4 1/4" barrel - 741 Avg FPS
3" barrel - 722 Avg FPS

Steve H
March 15, 2008, 07:20 PM
W-231 data has been castrated by Hodgdon.

After reading my older reloading books it SURE SEEMS THAT WAY!!!!!

I think it's time to give up on the powder mfg's web sites and go back to reading the books.

March 15, 2008, 07:34 PM
Yeah that's strange. I use 5.2gr 231 with a 230 plated bullet... it just makes major power factor- about 725ft/sec maybe a little more. For matches I'll use 5.3gr for good margin. 4.5gr would seem like a cream puff!

FYI my COL is 1.255" if I recall correctly, WLP. Gun is full size 1911.

March 15, 2008, 09:02 PM
Don't worry about bullets sticking in the bore. Zero chance of that happening with your load.

The best sign of a weak load is your gun not cycling after each shot. If your gun cycles OK, then don't pull the loads. Shoot 'em empty.

March 15, 2008, 09:51 PM
My Lee Modern Reloading manual shows a lot lighter charge of 231, compared to my Speer#18. I load 5.4gr 231, with 230gr Win hps, runs about 800fps:)

evan price
March 16, 2008, 01:42 AM
According to my 1991 Winchester 11th edition components guide, they called out 5.6 grains of W231 to hit 795 fps and 17K cup with a 230-gr projectile.

IN my 2006 Winchester guide they call out 5.3 of W231 to hit 834 fps and 16.9k cup with a 230-gr projo...

MMm'kay. .3 less powder = 40 fps increase at same pressure?

March 16, 2008, 01:46 AM
Powder formulations change over the years. AS always, it's best to start low and work a load up. If one has a chronograph, it can be quite useful. I wouldn't necessarily assume the powder of today is the same as ten years ago. Most things aren't.


March 16, 2008, 05:35 AM
Published fps data are generally pretty optimistic, but Hodgdon's numbers are a bad joke. I subtract 15% as a rule of thumb.

March 16, 2008, 07:40 AM
I loaded some of those 4.5 W231 loads with 230 grain lead roundnose. They are very comfortable to shoot for anyone you are trying to introduce to big bore handguns who is afraid of recoil. But it won't work the action in some guns, not enough energy, and you can just about see the bullets arcing their way down range.

March 16, 2008, 09:17 AM
if you look at Winchester's online load chart they show lower W231 of 4.2gr starting load.

I run 5.1 to 5.2 in my 230FMJ rounds, plenty for target.

Steve H
March 16, 2008, 09:38 AM
if you look at Winchester's online load chart they show lower W231 of 4.2gr starting load.

That's where I got the load info to start with. I almost want to think that there is a mistake in the online info.......

Jim Watson
March 16, 2008, 10:52 AM
Typical modern extra cautious starting load. It also has to do with the bullet they used. Note the 1.200" OAL. For some reason, Hodgdon uses the 230 grain Hornady flat point which seats deeper in the case than a roundnose, reducing powder space and increasing pressure for a given load.

It will not stick a bullet or hurt your gun. The worst will be that it will not cycle the action. Try what you have loaded and see if it works. If it does, great, you have a mild practice load. If it doesn't, boost the load as required.
Velocity will be nearer 650 fps than 750.

March 16, 2008, 11:31 AM
I loaded some very light 45 ACPs with W-231 like that. The charge was not enough to cycle the action of my G-21C, so I thought I'd shoot them from my 625. The load was so light that the cases did not expand enough to make a good seal and I got a ton of soot all over the gun. There was also a very large amount of unburnt powder to add to the mess. It was pretty yucky... :o

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