SWC for Semi-automatics


April 8, 2010, 12:00 AM
This evening I was at the book store reading a magazine on Handguns by Massad F. Ayoob. He wrote a review of the Ed Brown Signature series .45 ACP 1911. In the article he states that he tested it with among other shells, a box of 200gr SWC from Blackhills.

Recently, I was trying to reload berry’s 200gr SWC and was told that SWC are not used in semi-automatics. Has anyone ever used 200gr SWC from Blackhills? Is there something unique about them? Has anybody loaded 200gr SWC for a semi-automatic?
Thanks for any information.


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April 8, 2010, 12:07 AM
Been reloading 200gr SWC 45ACP for the past 15+ years with very happy and accurate results. Makes the biggest clean round holes on match targets bar none.

JimGun, now get ready for the onslaught of SWC supporter comments. :D

April 8, 2010, 12:19 AM
Who told you SWC are not used in semi-automatics? That person needs a beating!

April 8, 2010, 12:51 AM
I use Semi-wadcutter bullets in 9x19, .38 Super, .40 S&W, 10mm, .400 Cor-Bon and .45 acp. I've been loading them for as long as I can remember and they shoot just fine, as long as the pistol is set up for them.

Hope this helps.


April 8, 2010, 08:34 AM

The secret is in the COAL....

I was an avid Lead Round nose in all my semi-automatics because I had so much feeding issues with SWC until a friend showed me the light! And the light was the right COAL....:D

Thank you

April 8, 2010, 09:58 AM
Buddy that builds High dollar Custom 1911's uses a 185lswc as his main test bullet. He will mix 3/4 differnt rounds to a mag but says as a rule if it'll run 185 lswc it'll run everything

April 8, 2010, 09:59 AM
if the "light" is the COAL, what is the COAL for Berry's 200 gr SWC .45?


April 8, 2010, 10:08 AM
"if the "light" is the COAL, what is the COAL for Berry's 200 gr SWC .45?"

My gun isn't your gun. For your proper OAL you need to do as most of the rest of us do, make a dummy round that looks too long, test if for feeding from the magazine. If it won't go, seat it deeper until it does.

Some pistol feed ramps will not tolerate some SWC flat points while they will others. All we can do it try what we have and see.

April 8, 2010, 10:15 AM
what is the COAL for Berry's 200 gr SWC .45?
That depends on the gun/barrel you use. Make a dummy round (no powder/primer) at the normal OAL for 45ACP (1.25") and check to see if the feeding/chambering from the magazine is reliable.

If not, gradually seat the bullet deeper until you have reliable feeding/chambering - I normally seat my 200gr SWC with the lead shoulder showing slightly less than 1/16" above the case neck. Depending on the bullet profile, you may need to increase the OAL for reliable feeding/chambering.

Check out walkalong's excellent thread for determining max OAL - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=506678

April 8, 2010, 10:24 AM
Now you know one thing for sure, the guy you heard from knows next to nothing about guns. Thousands of 200 gr swc through my .45 autos over the past 5 years. I load them so that the shoulder is about a thumbnail thickness above the rim.

April 8, 2010, 10:37 AM
robctwo is right on the money. ("I load them so that the shoulder is about a thumbnail thickness above the rim.") If you load your SWC bullets so there is 1-2 thickness' of lead exposed above the mouth of the case you won't have any problems, provided of course your pistol is set up to run SWC's.

I've run nearly 50,000 45 ACP SWC's through my wad gun in the last 10 years and the only times I had problems was before the above hint was shared with me.


April 8, 2010, 11:13 AM
Some pistols won't shoot SWC bullets, since they're made as "service" pistols, and as such are made to feed round nose or hollowpoint bullets. My .45 acp XD is one of those and I don't even try to get it to feed a bullet it wasn't designed to digest. On the other hand, all my Witnesses will feed them, along with my 1911's, as long as the OAL is correct.

Hope this helps.


April 8, 2010, 12:18 PM
Recently, I was trying to reload berry’s 200gr SWC and was told that SWC are not used in semi-automatics.

That probably explains why my best groups at 25 seldom measure less than two inches...unless I use the bench.

April 8, 2010, 11:13 PM
See for yourself. Just about everything I read online said my XD45 would not feed SWCs. Just for $%#* and giggles, I tried some Bear Ck. molys in it, and they fed like butter. Who knew?

April 8, 2010, 11:26 PM
it was an .45 XD I was loading for. I never tried them in my Colt 1911. I am a newbie at a lot of this, but isn't a 1911 a "service" pistol, as well?

April 8, 2010, 11:45 PM
I think the 1911 has performed more "service" than any of them.

Go to a bullseye match and see if you'll find any other bullet besides a SWC.

April 8, 2010, 11:47 PM
I should add that my XD will not feed uncoated SWCs, so if I want to shoot that bullet, it's gotta be pretty slick. Otherwise I load RN or RNFP lead, which feeds fine. The 1911 I once owned ate everything I fed it, as long as the OAL was just so.

April 9, 2010, 07:33 AM
I have been loading 200 Gr SWC's of various makers at 1.260 to 1.265 with good results. It would be a good starting point at least for the Berrys, which I have not used. Still have plenty of other .45 bullets.

April 9, 2010, 04:41 PM
In the 1980s when I was shooting and re-loading a lot, I put endless rounds of plain or soft Alloy Lead Semi-Wads through my 1914 Colt Model 1911 .45 ACP Commercial, and, through my Sporting Model Colt .38 ACP...never had a feeding issue once far as I recall.

It is a good idea make up some Dummy Rounds, no powder, no Primer, light crimp, to test what an individual Pistol likes best for the OAL with a specific Bullet...which probably is what I did...

Of course, when Loading Lead Bullets for Autoloaders, always inspect finished Rounds for any accidental Lead shavings clinging to the Cartridge lips...as these, if present, can occasion an inconvenient or embarassing Jam with a stuck short-of-Battery Slide, in the Lead shaving preventing a full chambering of the Round.

April 9, 2010, 06:05 PM
When I set up a pistol I make sure it will feed an empty case. If yours will do that nothing will trip it up.

April 9, 2010, 08:15 PM
I support SWC for plinking. Run fine in my pistols.

Ky Larry
April 9, 2010, 10:24 PM
robctwo nailed it. Thousands of 200gr lswc thru my my Kimber Custom Defender II. Any case except A-Merc, 5.1gr AA#2,CCI LP primer. Very accurate and soft shooting.

April 9, 2010, 11:48 PM
When I set up a pistol I make sure it will feed an empty case. If yours will do that nothing will trip it up.

That sounds fine and dandy but it won't work with the XD. The problem with that one isn't the feeding part, but rather the extraction. The base of the empty case hangs up on the edge of the SWC driving band of the next round in the magazine. This brings things to a stop pretty quick, even if the gun is capable of feeding empties. Bellow is an illustration provided by Straightshooter on XDTalk that is better than 1000 words...


April 10, 2010, 12:09 AM
The base of the empty case hangs up on the edge of the SWC driving band of the next round in the magazine.
Sport45, thanks for the picture (it sure is worth 1000 words).

I did a quick edit of the picture to show how the bottom of the slides are in other pistols that function well with SWC. If you notice the blue line, this is an angled extension of the slide feed rib on all of my slides. This angled extension pushes the round in the magazine down as the slide moves backward to eject the spent case - the base of the spent case clears the shoulder/neck of the bullet in the magazine (regardless whether the bullet is RN or SWC).

So, is Springfield XDs the only guns with this problem? None of my 1911s, 45 Glocks and even the Taurus Mil Pro PT145 had any problem shooting the 200gr SWC.

Sport45 or other owners of XD, can you verify that XDs indeed have FLAT slide feed rib? Appreciate the response in advance.


April 10, 2010, 02:19 AM
I have yet to load a SWC bullet for my 1911, not because I don't want to but because I load for so many different handgun/rifle calibers I just don't have the time to spend on loading a new bullet of a different profile. I know the LRN bullets I use right now work so until I have the time I'm sticking with it. I even have a box of 500 200gr SWC Magnus bullets sitting on my reloading bench right now. (recently given to me by a family member)

April 10, 2010, 07:53 AM
I have been shooting 155grn lead swc in my XD.Just started casting and hve been working up different loads.shot hundreds so far.

April 10, 2010, 08:29 AM
You're one of the lucky few. Enjoy it!

April 10, 2010, 11:10 PM
Sport45, while I was at the range this afternoon shooting the test loads for "Barrel Leading Question" thread, I checked the slide feed lip of the XD pistols. The range staff confirmed that all the XD pistols have FLAT slide feed rib and will cause ejection problems when shooting SWC bullets.

I field stripped several XD models and it was true. Of course, all the other pistol models we checked (1911s, Glock, Sig, S&W, Taurus, etc.) had the angled slide feed rib extensions.

shootinxd, can you verify for us whether your slide feed rib is flat of angled? = PM sent =

Posted by Sport45 of XD slide feed rib:

Edited picture of slide feed rib of my pistols clearing SWC bullet shoulder:

April 11, 2010, 10:06 AM
shootinxd, thanks for the PMs - His XD slide feed rib is confirmed as flat (just as my finding at the range yesterday).

I did not draw the picture - Sport45 pasted it from the XD talk forum. I did edit the bottom picture to show how my pistols' slide feed ribs are like to clear the SWC bullet shoulder - I added titles for each picture to clarify.

Copy of PM:
Yes, I caught the typo "lip" and meant "rib" (already changed on my post).

No, the range staff confirmed as flat rib near the breachhead of the slide (where the case base is held by the extractor). The XD slide rib is angled towards the back of the slide and not forward, like most pistols. This works with most bullet profiles that does not have a sholulder at the case neck, but they reported shooters having extraction issues with SWC bullets.

Since you reported you successfully shot SWC bullets, I was asking if XD reworked the slide rib or what has worked for you. Perhaps your bullet is not seated as deep near the case neck and therefore the spent case base is "riding" on the top of the bullet shoulder instead of bumping into the case neck.

Would appreciate your comments, perhaps to help other XD reloaders.

April 11, 2010, 10:44 AM
Hi All,
I shoot a 145grn lead swc cast from a lee mold,actual is aprox155grn.I seat to coal of 1.085-1.089.I have tried several powders but still lookin for the combo.I have shot at least 300 rnds and no feed or ejection issues.I have 2 XD's in 40 cal,both have worked just fine.I hope this helps,its nice to give back to so many that have helped me.
Thanks Jim

April 14, 2010, 12:46 PM
A lot of people have made a lot of good points. One thing I will point out. The standard (if you will) is an HG 68 copy. That is the standard profile for a 200 gr LSWC. Most makers mold their bullets close to that profile.

I use 1.250" in my 1911's for a number of different manufactures 200 gr LSWC's. Some like Walkalong use 1.260-1.265.

However, the berry's is a different design than the HG 68. It is shorter. I tried forever to make them run smooth. I eventually sent them back and traded them for the berry 200 gr HP. Those worked a lot better.

I also tried extreme 200 gr plated SWC's and had good success with them. So, hope this helps a bit. I don't remember what I used for my coal with the berry's 200 gr SWC but a tried a whole lot of different ones w/o success.

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