What load do you use?


September 10, 2011, 03:42 PM
I am getting ready to load some 45 ACO 230 gr. RN (Precision Delta). I have looked up load data using WIN 231 and found the following:

Hodgdon (Winchester): 4.3 gr - 5.3 gr

Lyman: 5.2 gr - 5.8 gr

Speer: 5.6 gr - 6.2 gr

What the heck kind of range is that and which load should I trust?

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September 10, 2011, 03:59 PM
Without going to my manuals and looking, is the OAL the same on all?

I always use three sources of reference when developing a new load. Generally if ALL things are the same(bullet profile, primers, OAL) I'll average them out and start in the middle. Coupla of my revolvers have tight throats so I know I need to start lower. ALL current published load recipes should be safe in a modern firearm, but still, one should start low and work their way up.

Miata Mike
September 10, 2011, 04:00 PM
I am thinking I would go with the powder manufactures specs first for 2 reasons: They make the stuff and it is the lowest starting point.

Don't make many of the lowest powder loads since there may be ejection and feeding issues. Work your way up until you are happy.

September 10, 2011, 04:13 PM
I use the Speer data and OAL with that bullet. 6.0 grs HP 38, 1.260 OAL

Hodgdon load is for a 230 FP with a OAL of 1.200

September 10, 2011, 04:21 PM
The Speer data is fine, but I suspect you will find anything over 5.8 (Lyman Data) quite snappy

September 10, 2011, 05:34 PM
5.7/5.8 grains of WW231/HP38 and a 230 grain jacketed FMJ gets right at 820-840 fps from most 5" barrels, so if you might want to work up to "GI style" loads with your combo of components, the charge weights I state will do that.

FWIW, 6.1 grains of WW231, a 230 grain Speer Gold Dot fired from my SIG P220's 4.4" barrel, chronographs right at 820 fps avg, es 13, sd 5.

September 10, 2011, 06:39 PM
Every manual says to start with the lowest starting load. The implication, to me, is to use several sources and STARET WITH THE LOWEST. It seems exceedingly clear to me. No test barrel is the same and no two guns are the same. All any company can report is what they found using their equipment. What you find using your gun can be very different.
It was so much easier back in the '60s when data was NOT so available and we knew we had to work up loads on our own and we learned how. As such, look for any one who has been loading for more that 30 years and you will find that have LOTS of manuals and reference them all the time.
You should start with 4.3 gn and work up to a load that performs for you. In general, one wants accuracy. In general, accuracy is not found close to a max load.
Here is my load compilation from years of manuals:
Bullet Weight Powder Weight Velocity Start/Max Power Factor COL
FMJ 230 231/HP38 4.2 751 Start 173 1.200
FMJ 230 231/HP38 4.6 600 Start 138
JHP 230 231/HP38 4.8 740 Start 170
FMJ 230 231/HP38 4.9 695 Start 160
FMJ 230 231/HP38 4.9 750 Start 173
FMJ 230 231/HP38 5.0 Mil. Ball Ammo 0
HP-XTP, FMJ-RN, HAP, FMJ-FP 230 231/HP38 5.0 700 Start 161
FMJ 230 231/HP38 5.0 825 190 1.285
FMJ 230 231/HP38 5.0 0
JHP 230 231/HP38 5.1 785 Max 181
Hdy FMJ 230 231/HP38 5.2 817 188
Hdy FMJ 230 231/HP38 5.2 812 187
FMJ 230 231/HP38 5.3 832 Max 191 1.200
RN 230 231/HP38 5.3 787 181
FMJ 230 231/HP38 5.4 0
FMJ 230 231/HP38 5.4 0 1.230
FMJ/TMC 230 231/HP38 5.5 788 Start 181
TMJ 230 231/HP38 5.6 789 Start 181 1.260
FMJ/TMC 230 231/HP38 5.6 792 Start 182
HP-XTP, FMJ-RN, HAP, FMJ-FP 230 231/HP38 5.7 800 Max 184
FMJ 230 231/HP38 5.7 830 Max 191
FMJ 230 231/HP38 5.7 850 Max 196
Sierra FMJ 230 231/HP38 6.0 954 +P 219
FMJ 230 231/HP38 6.0 800 Max 184
FMJ/TMC 230 231/HP38 6.1 866 Max 199
TMJ 230 231/HP38 6.2 858 Max 197 1.260
FMJ/TMC 230 231/HP38 6.2 865
Max 199

You may find 5.5gn is a very good load, but START at the LOWEST starting load your references show.

September 10, 2011, 07:53 PM
Can't say I would start with 4.3 grains of WW231/HP38... This data is from Hodgdon, and in my experience testing their data over a chronograph, many times shows them to be absolutely the most optimistic with their velocity to an almost absurd level, where newish Alliant data for me agrees pretty well, and some Speer data actually chronographs significantly faster than listed with same/nearly same barrel length.

Ironic, but the data Hodgdon directly copies from their Australian derived supplier seems better. I can all but assure you that 4.3 grains of WW231/HP38 will get about 590-615 fps using a jacketed 230 grain bullet... If that works for you, then all would seem well, but I would at least start at 4.8/4.9 grains and go from there. Also, some of the listed data seems a bit squirrely, at least with what I am seeing not knowing any other variables. For example:

FMJ 230 231/HP38 4.2 751 Start 173 1.200
FMJ 230 231/HP38 4.6 600 Start 138

Is the 751, 751 fps w/4.2 grains, and 600 fps with 4.6 grains???

Lastly to put numbers on my own testing, 5.5 grains of WW231 and a 225 grain Mastercast.net TC lead bullet shot from my P220 got:

5.5 grains WW231 CCI 300 MC 225 TC
776 779 761 775 768 AV 771 ES 18 SD7

Experience will demonstrate that lead bullets usually shoot a bit "faster" for a given weight over jacketed, so that should be noted here, if a jacketed bullet were to be substituted.

September 10, 2011, 08:10 PM
Can't say I would start with 4.3 grains of WW231/HP38...

4.0 Grs of W231 and a 200 Gr JSWC gave me 601 FPS from a 5" 1911 & 4.5 Grs W231 with the same gave me 665 FPS.


4.3 and a 230 Gr plated or jacketed bullet is quite low. 5.0 is a better place to start. (At least 4.8)

September 11, 2011, 09:53 AM
Taking in all the great info from the responders I chose to start with the Speer data.

Precision Delta 230gr FMJ RN, OAL: 1.26, WIN 231, FED 150, WIN Brass

5.6gn, 5.8gn & 6.0gn loads to start with.

Based on the above do you feel these are good safe loads to start with?

Hondo 60
September 11, 2011, 09:59 AM
Look at the OAL of each data set & figure out what YOUR OAL will be.

Then the data starts to make more sense.

Hodgdon's OAL is 1.200. If that's your OAL, I'd use their data seeing they make the powder.

September 11, 2011, 10:11 AM
Hodgdons data was for a flat point.

I would have only loaded 5.0 to start, and maybe some 5.2 as well, if you have not already loaded them.....

September 11, 2011, 10:15 AM
Just from my view, i think it depends on what you want to do with them.
I dont look for the hottest load i can get. I dont design SD rounds while reloading. I leave that to factory.
With that said, I find that most auto loads are more accurate from the starting range to the mid-point. accuracy starts to drop a bit from there. I also dont like beating up my guns with hotter rounds, So that's another proponent for me staying low-mid range. Less powder a few more rounds per lb of powder.
Hornady lists 5.0 - 5.7.
The lyman and hornady are pretty close.
if it were me, id do 5.0, 5.2, 5.4 and 5.6
Ill i'll bet you'll find the 5.2 or the 5.4 feel and shoot the best. YMMV of course.

Let us know how it goes

September 11, 2011, 10:34 AM
Although I see nothing "wrong" with using the Speer data, you might drop to 5.4 grains to start, see how accuracy and functioning are, and go from there. Since the Precision Delta bullet is not the actual bullet tested with the Speer data, it would not hurt to start a smidge lower. Not exactly sure of how exactly the ogive of the PD RN matches to typical "GI style" 230 RN FMJ like WW or Remington, but if very close, the 1.26" OAL seems reasonable. Had it been a TC or HP style, 1.20" would be closer to ideal in my experience, but again, all guns are a rule unto themselves. My GI spec 1911 will not chamber 230 Gold Dots seated to 1.20", that my long leade P220 does with ease.

If you get the chance, you might try to find a copy of the now out of print MidwaUSA's LoadMAP for .45 ACP. This is an incredible piece of work, and they really did some extreme testing of nearly every bullet available at the time (1998 or so). The MAP stands for Maximum Average Pressure, and that is exactly what they did in great detail using modern equipment, giving pressure results per charge weight. FWIW, Every 230 grain FMJ RN they used, has a max charge a few 1/10's above 6.0 grains (some as high as 6.5 grains of WW231), and still did not exceed the SAAMI 21k psi max allowed chamber pressure for std pressure .45 auto.

My friend and fellow THR member MAXM, writes for the Italian version of Handloader magazine, and has a fully equipped CIP ballistics lab at his disposal to verify data. He wrote an incredibly in depth analysis and testing of WW231/HP38 concerning .45 Auto ammo, and his results were very much in line with the Midway loadMAP data. Bottom line for me; any well assembled ammo using the bullets you mention and worked up max Speer data would be safe in any soundly made/maintained .45 Auto pistol. How accurate they are, well that's another story, and only until bullets meet paper will you know.

September 11, 2011, 06:30 PM
"What the heck kind of range is that and which load should I trust? "

You can bet it's the results each test facility got using their components and their firearms. No component change we can make will make as much difference as the gun it's fired in and ours is another variable they can't predict.

So, which do you 'trust'? Trust nothing you haven't properly worked up to in YOUR gun!

September 12, 2011, 01:02 PM
I would like to thank everyone for their feedback. It is greatly appreciated.
Thanks again

September 12, 2011, 01:32 PM
OK, you've got Precision Delta bullets and a Hodgon powder. Speer and Lyman don't manufacture either of them so, go with the Hodgon data. Reloading manuals differ in their data because of different testing equipment (some use universal receivers, some use real guns), components may be different even if bullets are same weight, powder lots may vary, and testing method will vary also. I'm sure you'd be safe using any starting load and work up watching for pressure problems: that's why they're called "starting loads"...

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