Need Help with .45 ACP Round


May 19, 2010, 03:52 PM
Hey guys,

So here's my issue. I made some .45 rounds for my 1911. 4.9gn of Unique under a 230gn plated Rainier bullet. OAL is between 1.261 and 1.265. Problem is that it won't cycle the action. So at first I thought maybe they're a little light, however every time I cycle the action manually, unburnt powder comes out also. So that lets me know that there's not enough pressure. I got home, checked the OAL on a random sample and they seemed fine.

Please help.

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May 19, 2010, 04:10 PM
I think your lookin a little light on your powder charge.
Hope you didn't load to many...

May 19, 2010, 04:13 PM
I thought the same thing, but wouldn't what's in there burn off? I loaded 100. I guess I'll manually cycle through them and up the charge in the next batch.

May 19, 2010, 04:19 PM
"I thought the same thing, but wouldn't what's in there burn off? "

Not if the charge was so low on the pressure range it couldn't all be lite off.

May 19, 2010, 04:28 PM
4.9gr of Unique is lite, but not that lite. It shouldn't have issue cycling a 1911 slide unles it was greatly oversprung.

What method did you use to measure the charge? Beam or electronic scale? Dipper?

May 19, 2010, 05:50 PM
I think 4.9 Unique is a little light. My Lee Manual indicates starting load of 6 grains.

May 19, 2010, 06:07 PM
4.9 grs. of Unique with that projectile is in fact very light and below the minimum charges given for all data I have. If I were you, I'd load a mag full with 5.4 grs, test drive & work up carefully. I have used 5.7 grs. of Unique under 230 plated and 1.26 " OAL in .45acp with great results. It is considered a medium power load , runs about 800 FPS from 5" bbls., and is about .5 gr under what many consider full throttle.

May 19, 2010, 06:13 PM
As others have posted, it's plain and simply too light. (For really light loads you need faster powders than Unique if you have any chance of cycling the action. Some powders just don't burn well under low pressure, regardless of burn speed, but the faster powders, in general, burn better at low pressure than medium speed powders)

Speer #13 shows a minimum of 5.5 with a 230 Gr jacketed bullet with a maximum of 6.5. (728 & 832 FPS)

They show 5.4 and 6.0 with their 230 Gr Gold Dot bullet. (721 & 806 FPS)

I would go to at least 5.2 to start.

Mad Chemist
May 19, 2010, 06:13 PM
I load my .45 softball lead round with 5.5gr of Unique.
I think 4.9 is a little too light for a fmj bullet.

In my experience, while using Unique, light loads relative to case volume frequently leave unburned powder behind.

May 19, 2010, 06:24 PM
I used a Frankford Arsenal electronic scale. I know it's frequently off so re-zero it every other day to make sure that it's as accurate as possible.

May 19, 2010, 06:36 PM
Agreed, too light. I am using 6.0 gr. of Unique for a similar bullet (HSM Custom 230 gr. FMJ). Cycles a 5in Springfield XD without a problem.

On a related note, does anyone have a suggestion as to an alternate powder for this application? Unique meters like crap for me. I think the size of the flakes is the problem.

May 19, 2010, 07:00 PM
Universal , AA # 5....note that data between them and Unique is NOT exact

May 19, 2010, 07:39 PM

I use the same bullet with Unique in my Kimber TLE II. I started with 5.5gns which cycled the action fine. After working up the load I have settled on 6.5gns of Unique. Cycles the action fine every time and shoots pretty good.

You should be fine with a bit hotter load.


May 19, 2010, 09:58 PM
I'll bump up the load. The reason I tried such a light load was because I was taking my ex shooting and didn't want to scare her away. Figured a nice light .45 would be perfect.

Maj Dad
May 19, 2010, 10:08 PM
As the owner of a 1911 you can tailor your recoil springs to the load - Wolff & Brownell's have reduced power springs for light loads that I have used for years for centerfire pistol matches with 185 gr WCs and the like. If you like that load want to use it for punching paper or plinking, get a light (13-15 lb in my experience) spring, and you can switch back to the factory weight at will. One of the neat things about 1911s... :cool:

May 19, 2010, 10:16 PM
I tried an interesting little test ( last weekend with light loads. I was surprised how light it went and still cycled. (Faster powder)

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