Your .45 ACP OAL.


ed dixon
August 21, 2003, 07:43 PM
I've got my new SA Mil-Spec, am geared up for handloading .45 ACP and have about 300 cases that are sized, expanded and primed. I'm going to make small quantities (10-20) of some different OALs, as I'm anticipating that this might be the finicky part of getting this new addition to cycle well. So... what's your OAL for your 1911 cartridges? Did you find one that's been long-term reliable and stick with it or do you still futz around every so often? Does a change in powder type or weight ever necessitate a change in OAL?

I made up a few powderless/primerless rounds at 1.23" and they seem to work pretty well when I cycle them by hand, but I'm aware I may need to play with this some when I try to get charged rounds to work well.

Thanks. Ed

If you enjoyed reading about "Your .45 ACP OAL." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
August 21, 2003, 08:52 PM
1.23 inch is a good OAL; it should work even in the Para Ordnance pistol, which is a very good gun with a very poor magazine.

Check some factory ammo; you'll see their OAL is nowhere near the SAAMI max of 1.275".

Jim Watson
August 21, 2003, 09:58 PM
Uh, what bullet style?
I load 230 FMJ slightly shorter than GI, 1.26" but every different bullet has its own optimum OAL, as influenced by the gun. And 1.250" does NOT automatically work for EVERY one of the SWCs on the market.

August 21, 2003, 10:00 PM
Actually, I've measured some S&B 230 gr. FMJ rounds at about 1.270".

As for my 45ACP reloads, my particular pistols (a CZ 97B and a SA Mil-Spec 1911) seem to like them at between 1.265" and 1.270". My standard recipe calls for a Rainier 230 gr. RN-TMJ projectile over 5.6 gr. of Universal Clays at an OAL of 1.270", with a light taper crimp. This load feeds perfectly in the 97B and also in the Mil-Spec after I replaced the factory mags with ones made by Mec-Gar. (The factory SA mags would often fail to feed the last round.)

Hope that helps!


August 21, 2003, 10:08 PM
I stay around 1.23-25" for my 230 FMJ, it keeps pressures up with lighter charge weights and pressure = clean and consistent burns. With 200 lead SWC I load to around 1.26. My favorite 45 just does not care what length they are, it shoots them all really well so long as they are CONSISTENT. There is no magic OAL, and 45 is probably THE most forgiving pistol round when accuracy is the goal.

August 27, 2003, 09:53 PM
H&G 68
5.3Grs W-231
OAL 1.240+-.002

August 28, 2003, 08:07 AM
I've been very happy with 1.25-1.26 for my FMJ rounds in .45. It seems to be the length that works best in my collection of .45's.

August 28, 2003, 10:37 AM
1.265 to 1.270 has worked well for me. I've found the crimp, at least in some of my tight chambered guns, to be more important than OAL for reliability. Get one of those Dillon case gages, if your round will drop into it and sit flush - it should function fine in your pistol. You can use the barrel of your gun for that test too - I find the case easier to work with.

August 28, 2003, 12:04 PM
For years I've loaded H&G#68 clones (200 gr SWC) so I had about a 32nd of an inch or so of shoulder protruding past the brass. This allows the round to set its own headspace, and has worked for me for 30 years, and about a ton of wheel weights...:D


t driver
August 30, 2003, 12:01 AM
I use an OAL of 1.235" - 1.240" With Rainer 230 grain plated round nose bullets.
This is loaded over either 8.2 gr of HS-6 or 4.4 gr of Win Super Target.
I haven't had any trouble in my Kimber Eclipse or my Brother In Law's Colt Gold Cup Series 80. We both use Chip McCormick mags.

Gary H
August 30, 2003, 04:17 PM
I second the overall case gauge. Midway sells their own brand cheap. Short of that, duplicating factory ammo that works for you isn't a bad way to go. Unless, you need the last bit of accuracy.

August 31, 2003, 12:12 AM
I measured my factory plinking load of choice, Winchester white box 230 gr. FMJ at 1.250.

I load to 1.254 cuz I got tired of fiddling with the die. :D

It works.

If you enjoyed reading about "Your .45 ACP OAL." here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!