My first load...


October 7, 2011, 08:46 PM
Ok guys and gals, I am so close to loading my first ammo I can feel the pistol recoil in my hand! My situation is I acquired a Dillon 550 and assorted extras from an estate sale which for the last month or so I have been trying to sort out, identify and understand. It seems I am getting close but I have a couple questions...
1.) I have read threads about conflicting data from different reload books. I am reading several books, all printed in the '80's, as well as the small manual which is caliber specific. There are starting loads for my specific scenario which range from 4.0 to 5.0 grains. 20% variance seems like a lot to me, so much so that I worry about starting with the minimum loading I can find. There are also variances in the OAL published.
Here is what I am working with:
45 acp
230 gr fmj
Rather than ask what load to use, as I can understand why some would hesitate for liability reasons, does anyone see a problem with this for starters: 4.3 grain hp-38 and OAL 1.25"?
2.) I have some lrn bullets that came with the press and the weights are inconsistent. The ones I weighed range from 215 - 221. Do I separate them, closest to 215 and closest to 220?
3.) What is the most comprehensive load manual for handguns in your experience?

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October 7, 2011, 08:53 PM
sometimes it is hard to find the exact specs for the bullet you are using

the COAL may be different as not all 230 grain JHPs are the same

the variance in weights may be from different types of lead or mixture of that went into the casting, I have never cast my own.

I usually use the load data from the bullet manufacturers web sites if they offer them and then the powder makers sites too

as they say, start low and work your way up

October 7, 2011, 09:31 PM
Welcome aboard !

WeeWana gave you some good advice.

• If you are shooting a 1911 style gun, then the OALs are pretty much set in concrete and well known. Go to the bullet maker's web site. Most everyone assumes when you reload 45ACP that it's for a 1911, but you need to say.

• If you are loading for a modern 45ACP like a Glock or SIG then you may have more freedom with the OAL because the feeding action is tuned a little better. You'll simply have to experiment and find out, or post specific questions.

• Put the lead bullets aside. Lead is cheap, but IMHO not the place to start reloading. Find some plated bullets, like Berry Mfg, and get 100 of those to start. Then when your personal reloading process is refined and you are ready to add more steps, then load the lead.

• Any gun can be picky about bullet nose shape. DON'T get carried away and order 1000 bullets without shooting 50 first. It's a great way to end up with a room for of bullets you can't shoot. Ask specifics here.

• The problem with your load is that you are quoting FMJ (full metal jacket), but you are inquiring about Lead RN. Use lead loading data for lead, and jacketed loading data for FMJ. And never mix the 2.

• OAL and the amount of powder are the main contributors to chamber pressure. And chamber pressure is ALWAYS our over-riding concern. So you always quote a powder load with an OAL. When you look back I think you'll see that the rounds with more powder also have a longer OAL.

• The best overall load manual is the Lyman #49. More loads for more bullet types in more calibers. It also has the most lead bullet data. There is poll data taken about a year ago here. Look it up. BTW... it's available in paperback and hard bound, so shop carefully to know what you're getting.

Hope this helps! ;)

October 7, 2011, 10:08 PM
I will try to be more specific with my questions. I will be reloading for a FNP-45. The FNP-45 is a little picky with ammo, WWB specifically, and it seems the problem is variances with the COAL and the longer ones hanging in the magazine.
I bought Hornady 230 grain FMJ because the lead bullets I have varied in weight and for the first batch I wanted to rule out the bullet being a problem. Berry's plated will be my next purchase. I will be loading the Hornady FMJ for now and when comfortable load the lead bullets.
I have found data on the components I will use. The problem is some of it conflicts! I need to find one manual, such as Lymans, and stick with it.
Thanks for the help.

October 7, 2011, 10:30 PM
Jeff -
You can get the data you need from the Hodgdon web site. They show correct loads/OALs for the Hornady bullets because that's what they tested with.

230 GR. HDY FMJ FP Winchester 231 .451" 1.200" 4.2 751 13,800 CUP 5.3 832 16,800 CUP
230 GR. HDY FMJ FP Hodgdon HP-38 .451" 1.200" 4.2 751 13,800 CUP 5.3 832 16,800 CUP

You can use data for Hodgdon HP-38 or Win231 interchangeably (as the data above proves) because they are the same powder.

If you want more load breakdown, then I advise the Hornady reloading manual.

Note that Berry has a 185gr Hollow Base RN with the same exterior shape and feeding characteristics as the 230gr RN. The lighter bullet will save you some money and load to the same OALs as the 230gr.

You may want to try and produce ammo more exactly to a particular OAL, say the 1.200" as given above. With your gun and a low-to-medium load, try the feeding with 10 rounds each loaded at minus .010", minus .020", plus .010" and plus .020". That won't be harmful, but should give you more feedback on what OAL you gun loves. Tuning the ammo to the gun is what reloading is all about.


October 7, 2011, 10:56 PM
Great info rfwobbly, thanks again.

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