Powders for .45 Auto?


September 2, 2009, 03:12 AM
Hi all,

Lately I've been loading .45 Auto with Unique. I found that loading at 6.1gr 1.265" C.O.L. and 230gr FMJRN produces the best results in my HK45. 6.3gr works pretty darn well also.

However, Unique meters terribly, and I want to switch powders once I'm out of it. I've found that I'm throwing anywhere from 5.7 to 6.3gr with very little consistency out of my Hornady LNL powder measure. As a result, unless I want to weigh each individual charge, my loads have a great deal of variation and accuracy suffers. Don't get me wrong, it's great when I can actually weigh each charge, but I'd rather just switch powders and save time.

I've heard good things about W231 and Hodgdon Titegroup. Are there any other powders of the consistency of BL-C2 or H-335 (these powders measure like a dream for me) that work well for producing what is essentially GI Ball loads of .45?

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Steve C
September 2, 2009, 03:46 AM
You may want to just get a better powder measure or if you are using a good measure with the standard metering tube you will find that the proper metering tube for pistol loads will improve the metering with Unique and all powders in general when loads are under 10 grain.

I have 2 Hornady measures, one on my LNLAP and one for my single stage loading. I also use a lot of Unque in several different cartridges. With the pistol metering insert in the Hornady measure the charge weight repeatability is so small you can't measure any difference between charges as long as the measure is operated consistantly.

September 2, 2009, 04:26 AM
So you're able to consistently throw the same charge of Unique with these inserts?

That'd actually be pretty nice if it works, it'd save me from having to work up an entirely new load... :)

September 2, 2009, 05:01 AM
I use Unique and it is pretty consistent out of my $20 Lee Perfect Powder Measure. I have two of them and thinking about getting a few more, cheap enough to just leave them loaded up with the powders I use most.

September 2, 2009, 05:39 AM
Power Pistol meters great, and is very accurate in my 9mms, and 45s:)

evan price
September 2, 2009, 05:50 AM
230 grain and 4.7 grains of titegroup flows like water and shoots great.

September 2, 2009, 07:20 AM
I find I am using W231 most of the time now. I started out and used for years Unique then went to titegroup, then 700X and finally settled on W231. Meters great and consistantly. I have been so happy, I found an 8lb keg and bought it.

September 2, 2009, 07:22 AM
I have had great luck with Hodgdon Clays. 3.9gr. for 45 acp, can meter to within .1gr. from my Lee Pro Autodisk powder dispenser.

September 2, 2009, 07:44 AM
W-231 is hard to beat for lead in .45. AA # 2 meters like water and works great for all but the really stout loads in .45 ACP. AA #5 will work for the stout loads. Universal Clays will work as well.

I also like Competition, WST, & N310 for light to medium loads. N320 will push it as hard as I want, and is as good as it gets in .45.

Marlin 45 carbine
September 2, 2009, 08:29 AM
second for PP. I've read aa5 is good but haven't tryed yet.

September 2, 2009, 09:31 AM
After 30 years, I've settled on WW231. Just can't find anything better. I still use other powders, but 231 is a mainstay for me.

And at 4.6 gns pushing a 200 LSWC @ 1.240" OAL, it's incredibly accurate, clean, soft, and produces very little smoke with grease groove bullets.

September 2, 2009, 09:58 AM
W231, HS6, #5, WSF are good powders. WSF and #5 are my favorite.

September 2, 2009, 11:17 AM
I use W231 after having used Red Dot for a while. The W231 seems a lot cleaner which translates to easier gun cleaning, plus it was all they had when I bought it.

September 3, 2009, 03:17 AM
I use mostly W231 for all my .45 Auto ammo when loading both FMJ or lead bullets. W231 meters very well and produces very accurate ammo and I always come back to it. HS-6 is also a good choice for the .45 Auto when you want a little extra velocity without pushing the pressures too high. HS-6 meters well and it's low flash. AA#5 was specifically designed for use in the .45 Auto, it works well, it's clean and it meters well. I've also used Clays but it does not meter well for me so I stopped using it even though it was accurate. I've also used Longshot with some success. I like HS-6 better so I haven't used Longshot in a while. If you try Longshot it works better with Jacketed bullets than lead bullets.

I haven't tried it yet but I hear Winchester AutoComp works great. It's supposedly clean, accurate and a low flash powder which was created for competition use.

Richard Bumpus
September 3, 2009, 08:20 AM
What is your goal in loading? For 185gr and 200gr LSWC target loads I prefer WST. For full tilt boogie HP or FMJ's I like 231. YMMV

September 3, 2009, 09:39 AM
I am just getting back into reloading since the ammo pipeline is dry.

I have found a lot of good info using WST. I have about 4 lbs left and plan to use it. It is a very clean burning powder. I will use it for .38, .38 +P and .45..
Any thoughts??

The Bushmaster
September 3, 2009, 10:08 AM
AA #7 is a good powder for the full sized (5") .45 ACP...WSF works well for the short (3") barreled .45 ACP. But W-231 is a great over-all mid range and in some cases upper range powder for .45 ACP and many other calibers including 9mmX19, .38 Special and .357 magnum (short barrel)...

September 3, 2009, 03:59 PM
Power Pistol meters great, and is very accurate in my 9mms, and 45s

I agree that it does meter great and is very accurate, although I dont use it for lead. It just doesnt work well. I get horrific fouling with it.

With my lead I usually use bullseye or 700x. I end up with a filthy gun, either way, but I dont get leading with them.

Fractal X
September 3, 2009, 11:12 PM
I had similar problems when metering small amounts of powder (10gr or less) on my LnL powder measure until I bought the pistol metering insert. Now it'll throw those charges with boring accuracy until I get tired of pulling the handle. I'd definitely recommend you look into one a pistol insert if you haven't already.

September 4, 2009, 02:02 PM
Thanks for the responses guys. I think that I am going to try W231 and Titegroup for sure, and start trying the others as I start seeing them in stock locally. I figure it can't to try out all the successful options... who knows, maybe I'll become a powder connoisseur :neener:

As far as the pistol insert goes, how exactly does that work? I've also had difficulty finding one for sale and available online - none of the local shops carry one.

EDIT: And is it the case that I should get the pistol rotor and micrometer insert, or would just the micrometer insert suffice? Obviously just an insert would be more convenient as that's easily changeable.

September 4, 2009, 02:10 PM
I use Unique for all my .45 and 9mm loads and it meters well in my Dillon SDB. I think the problem is the measure, not the powder. Try another brand of measure and see if it helps. Unique is too good a powder to switch for nothing more than a bad measure.

September 4, 2009, 02:30 PM
Don't overlook Trail Boss, it is an awesome powder in the 45 ACP.:)

September 4, 2009, 02:40 PM
I use Unique for heavier loads. I have the same metering problems everyone else has but I like the results I get. Bullseye for lighter or standard loads.

Steve C
September 4, 2009, 04:19 PM
As far as the pistol insert goes, how exactly does that work? Does it go in place of the current adjustment device?

The metering insert that comes standard with the Hornady powder measure is for throwing charges over 10 grains and larger for most powders. It is useful for heavier handgun loads and rifle loads. Handgun powders with a large of amount bulk like Trail Bos also work with the large standard meter insert.

For lighter charges the end of the standard meter needs to be screwed in close the the end of the drum wich leaves too shallow an area for small charges to flow into the chamber consistently. The pistol metering insert reduces the area of the of the drum open for powder drop and makes for a more consistent flow of powder into the chamber. The attached pictures should illusrate the differences and why the smaller meter insert works best for small charges.

The standard meter is pulled out and the pistol meter is simply inserted for loading pistol ammo. I thnk Hornady has changed their method of metering small pistol charges because they no longer offer just an insert like I've shown. Instead they now offer a pistol rotor with smaller opening in a set that changes the rotor drum and provides the insert which is different than the one I have for my measure. They also charge more for this modification than the type of unit I'm showing.

If you go to Midway Powder Measure Inserts (http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/BrowseProducts.aspx?pageNum=1&tabId=1&categoryId=19927&categoryString=9315***731***701***19640***) you can find both large and small inserts for a variety of measures.

September 4, 2009, 04:40 PM
I use Titegroup and AA #5 with good consistency from my RCBS pwoder measure for .45 ACP... 185, 200, and 230 grain JHP's and FMJ... the 200 JHP's seem to like the AA #5 better than Titegroup...


Fractal X
September 4, 2009, 06:34 PM
Yeah, for the pistol insert you need to buy the pistol sized rotor (about $30) which comes with the standard pistol insert. I found that I didn't need the extra pistol micrometer insert (another $30) as the consistency and ease of setup for the standard pistol insert was fine for me.

Link to the pistol rotor from midway: http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=164839

September 6, 2009, 02:32 PM
Thanks for the responses!

I put an order in on that new rotor/insert for my powder measure, so I'll have to see if that helps out with Unique, but even if it does, I'm going to start giving other powders a try - it'd seem foolish to just stick with one thing because it's what you're accustomed to when there are so many good options out there!

September 6, 2009, 03:05 PM
I use Universal & Tightgroup with 200 grn plated RN bullets in the 45.

September 8, 2009, 04:05 PM
The .45ACP is probably the least picky cartridge going when it comes to powder preference. There are so many that will give very good performance in this cartridge. From Bullseye to virtually all of the medium burning shotgun powders will work with the 45 not complaining at all.

It is so easy, I cannot say I have a favorite powder. I use whatever I have on hand at the time, and have worked up loads with a lot of them. Are some better than others? I don't know. Not in my hands, but maybe in someone that is a better shooter than me. They are all capable of more accuracy than I can turn in. Just stay away from the slow burners. They are for the magnums.

September 15, 2009, 07:08 PM
An old military duplication load would be 5.0gr Reddot behind a 230 gr fmjrn, or 4.8gr Reddot behind a 230gr LRN bullet . OAL 1.260

September 16, 2009, 12:17 AM
I had the same problem with Unique in my Redding model 3 with the micro pistol meter, I switched to AA#5 (as a suitable replacement) and I'm much happier now :)

September 16, 2009, 04:11 AM
Well the pistol rotor came yesterday, and so far it has definitely made an improvement with Unique.

During 20 test throws, I had an average of 6.06gr +/- .118gr, which definitely beat what the measure with the rifle insert was just randomly throwing out. It'll definitely improve the accuracy of my loads, but I have to say it'd be really nice if it threw 6.1gr every time... :p I'm still most likely going to at least give W231 a try, and maybe one other, depending on what they have in stock when I visit the store.

6.4 <-- this one is kinda scary as it's more-or-less a max load before (I assume at any rate) you enter +p territory

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