Need help with .45 ACP target load development


The Wiry Irishman
September 2, 2009, 05:19 PM
I'm about to start working up a target load for bullseye competition for my 1911. I'm using 200gr. Lasercast SWCs, and will be using Bullseye powder.

I just got my press set up for correct OAL, and opened up my Lyman's 49th to start dialing in my powder measure, and I've run into some confusion. They have two 200gr SWC bullet types. The first is a flat base with two lube grooves. They list the OAL as 1.161" and a suggested starting load of 3.5gr Bullseye. The second is a bevel base with one lube groove (the Lasercast bullets are of this type) with an OAL of 1.235" and a suggested starting load of 4.9gr Bullseye. The discrepancy in starting loads is what I'm confused about. The list the velocity at starting load for the bevel base bullet as 840 fps, way above what I've heard most people shoot bullseye with. I've shot a friend's target loads through their gun with very excellent results, his load is 4 gr Bullseye, 1.25" OAL, and the exact same bullets I'm using. That's .9gr under the suggested starting load AND a longer OAL. The 645fps velocity listed with the 3.5gr starting load for the flat base bullet seems more in line with typical target velocities, and I'd love to start there. The question is, how low can I safely go with my bullets? Am I likely to run into pressure spike problems if I start from the lower flat base load data?

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September 2, 2009, 05:44 PM
I would suggest between 4.2 grains for around 750 FPS.

Some guns won't cycle with 3.5 grains unless you change to a very light recoil spring.
Then some guns won't cycle with a very light recoil spring.

The 645fps velocity listed seems more in line with typical target velocities,Too slow, too much barrel dwell time before the bullet clears the muzzle for you to move the gun around.

The classic old NRA Bullseye match loads typically ran 700 - 750 in both .38 Spl & .45 ACP.
A nicely honed balance between bore dwell time and light recoil.


September 2, 2009, 06:35 PM
The following load data is straight from Oregon Trail (LaserCast):

"Target" Load for NRA Bullseye
200 gr LSWC
3.6 grains Bullseye
OAL: 1.250
Velocity: ~700 fps

Like RC, I would recommend a lighter recoil spring. My 1911 likes a 13 lb recoil spring and a 19 lb mainspring with this load. YMMV.

The Wiry Irishman
September 2, 2009, 08:59 PM
Thanks guys!

I have a variety of lighter recoil springs on hand just in case.

Jim Watson
September 2, 2009, 11:21 PM
My FLG used to testfire and sight in guns with a 200 gr SWC and 4.0 of Bull.
It would cycle a smooth gun with 16 lb recoil spring.

Oh, by the way, printed OAL doesn't mean squat unless it is for the SAME bullet.
The usual commercial cast SWC bullet like Laser Cast is made in a Magma casting machine with a copy of the old Hensley & Gibbs #68 mould. The Lyman 452630 is not the same.

The Wiry Irishman
September 2, 2009, 11:33 PM
Oh, by the way, printed OAL doesn't mean squat unless it is for the SAME bullet.
The usual commercial cast SWC bullet like Laser Cast is made in a Magma casting machine with a copy of the old Hensley & Gibbs #68 mould. The Lyman 452630 is not the same.

I just meant that the lasercast had the most similar construction. I figured I'd use the printed OAL as a guide, then futz with it and see what hand-cycled best in my gun. It looks like 1.22 is it.

The Wiry Irishman
September 5, 2009, 10:14 PM
Loaded up 20 each in .1 grain increments from 3.6 to 4.5 grains today. Shot ten rested and ten standing of each. Had excellent results from 3.8 to 4.2. Suprisingly, my gun cycled everything, even the 3.6gr with the stock 18.5# spring.

September 6, 2009, 01:23 PM
Ive always been a fan of Bullseye under the 200gr LSWC H&G bullet.

It was always 1.25" OAL 4grs for paper punching and 5grs for everything else. Cycled 5" guns with 16 and 18.5lb recoil springs with 19 and 21lb mainsprings.

September 20, 2009, 10:07 PM
I have recently run into the same issue with my 200 gr SWC while reading the Lyman manual #49. I have some bullets casted by, which are also bevel base, single groove. I loaded up a small batch at 5.2 of Bullseye, which appears comfortably below the max of 6.0.

Do people see any problem with this? I am loading them to 1.235 as recommended in the manual. They were dropping into the case gauge no problem once completed, although I haven't tried cycling them through the action yet.

September 21, 2009, 07:45 AM
Load the OAL so there is no end play if possible, depend on how the barrel is chambered. Lead bullets can just touch the rifling for better accuracy. 3.8gr of bullseye gives me around 700fps and works well in my Series 70 Gold Cup.

Marlin 45 carbine
September 21, 2009, 08:07 AM
BEye is one of the best powders to load cast slugs.
I use 5gr under a 200gr LSW to 'whack' 6" steel discs at 30'.
makes a satisfying noise.

September 21, 2009, 02:23 PM
Hello Wiry Irishman
I have had excellent performance with loads similar to 243winxb loads.
195 grn and 200 grn cast bullets with 3.0 grns up to 4.5 Bullseye. In a Gold Cup and MarkIV S 70 used reduced springs (11lb)with a buffer. Adjusted loading dies so COL to fit the barrel.
Enjoy and best wishes.

September 22, 2009, 09:58 PM
243winxb, thanks a lot for posting that picture.

double d
September 23, 2009, 02:52 PM
I have been loading 4.0 of Bullseye behind Precision 200 gr LSWC
for paper punching. I load to 1.242" coal for a S&W 945. I tried these
bullets in a S&W 625 this week, and ended up with a forcing cone
full of lead. Makes me think I need to raise the powder charge for
the revolver. Does anyone know the BHN rating for Precision 200 LSWC?

Jeff H
September 23, 2009, 03:07 PM
Here's what Alliant's website has to say about the 45ACP and 200g LSWC.

September 23, 2009, 03:55 PM
Yeah, I saw what Alliant said. Given that even the Lyman manual lists max loads of 5.6 or 6 (and Hornady with 6.3) of Bullseye, it seems to me like this is their target recommendation, as opposed to MAX load, and they just didn't label it that way. Of course, these are the same people who don't even bother giving a recommendation for a 230 LRN load, when 4.6 (or is it 5) of Bullseye under a 230 LRN is a "classic" hardball load.

I wish someone would tell me it is "ok" to fire off my 5.2 gr of Bullseye loads. I really do need to get a chronograph.

September 23, 2009, 04:02 PM
Heres the thing.
Apples & Oranges.

Alliant is showing data for the Speer 200 SWC soft-swaged, dry-lubed bullet.

Lyman is showing data for cast & lubed bullets made from Lyman #2 alloy, which is harder and able to stand more velocity without leading.


September 23, 2009, 04:17 PM
Excellent point. I feel pretty confident that my bullets strongly resemble the ones which the Lyman manual say run from 4.9 to 6 for Bullseye. I may just shoot a few and see how far the empties fly and check for pressure problems, and save the rest for after I get a chronograph.

But I've seen many sources say 6 gr max for 200 LSWC and Bullseye.

I am really starting to "get it" when it comes for the need to work up, chronograph, measure, etc. I am officially getting beyond the beginner's desire to just fill up a couple of boxes of ammo and get to the range.

Jeff H
September 23, 2009, 04:54 PM
I'm not currently reloading 45acp, but I will in the near future. I'm thinking I'll probably load around the 4.5-5 grain mark for 200g LSWC and see how they go. I'm looking for something with just a little less kick than factory ammo so I'm not chasing my brass all over the range. :D

September 23, 2009, 08:22 PM
I use 4.0 grains of Tightgroup under a 200 grain hard lead SWC from Friendswood Bullet Co. (On the net.) TG seems to work much like Bullseye but burns much cleaner IMHO.


September 24, 2009, 10:55 PM
4.0 gr of Bullseye with a 200 gr cast bullet in my 625 and my Ed Brown.

September 24, 2009, 11:12 PM
I'm trying to use up all the Clays I have so I can load Bullseye exclusively.

Clays performs great in 38 & 45, but Bullseye will do anything Clays will do plus it's a whole lot more versatile and it doesn't mind being "pushed" if you so desire.

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