Lead vs FMJ for .45 ACP


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davers
October 15, 2011, 12:51 PM
Hey gang!!

I'm looking to save a bit more money shooting my .45 ACP. I'm looking at maybe picking up 225 grain RN lead bullets as opposed to the 230 grain FMJ. My question is, is it different loading lead compared to FMJ? Any different techniques other than what the manual says?

Thanks for any tips!!

Dave

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rsrocket1
October 15, 2011, 01:02 PM
For lead, you need to to use load data for lead instead of FMJ, but that should be obvious. In reality, if you are shooting mid range loads, you can check, but you could very likely shoot the same load for either.

It's usually a good idea to slightly flare the case mouth prior to seating a lead bullet to avoid shaving the lead as you seat it. If you see crescent shaped lead slivers laying around, you need to flare more. I use a post seating crimping die (Lee FCD) to remove the flare and I don't crimp. I don't have any problems with bullet setback and find that the natural case neck tension is all that is needed to hold the bullet in place.

With 45ACP, you will likely not be worried about leading in your barrel from too high a bullet speed (lead at the muzzle end), but if you are getting lead in the barrel on the chamber end, it is probably from gas cutting and too low of a chamber pressure. If that happens you may need to raise the charge closer to the max than the min or switch to a faster powder.

The nice thing about lead is that once you find a good load, your barrels will last a very long time and it's usually cheaper to shoot (way cheaper if you decide to cast your own bullets).

davers
October 15, 2011, 01:06 PM
Thanks for the advice rsrocket1!

Dave

Fishslayer
October 15, 2011, 01:30 PM
Lead boolits are usually .452" vice .451" for jacketed. As mentioned, you might need a little more flair.

Also watch your seating die. Many combine the de-flaring operation here. If the die closes the case mouth too soon you can also shave lead which can cause chambering issues.

oldreloader
October 15, 2011, 01:48 PM
Since I started loading lead I haven't bought a jacketed or plated bullet for 9MM or 45ACP and don't intend too.

mdi
October 15, 2011, 02:56 PM
My Ruger P90 has mebbe 29 jacketed bullets shot through it and my RIA 1911 has had about 21 (I had one box of factory stuff and shot them in my guns when I first got them). Now all they shoot is lead. Lyman's 225 gr. LRN and Lee's 230 gr TC cover most of my 45 ACP shooting ('cause those are the molds I have). I tumble lube with Recluses' 45-45-10 and pan lube with Speed Green, and size to .452" Make sure the cases are flared enough to seat the bullets and I don't crimp, I just deflare with a taper crimp die. I've never needed to use a post seating size die, I just adjust my dies so my ammo passes the "thunk test" jes fine...

CraigC
October 15, 2011, 02:58 PM
For lead, you need to to use load data for lead instead of FMJ, but that should be obvious. In reality, if you are shooting mid range loads, you can check, but you could very likely shoot the same load for either.
Data 'can' be completely interchangeable between jacketed and cast. Just don't expect lead velocity out of jacketed bullets.

Walkalong
October 15, 2011, 05:12 PM
Another option. The .45 200 Gr SWC shoots great.

http://www.precisionbullets.com/

Shade Tree Welder
October 15, 2011, 05:52 PM
I cast my own bullets for .45 ACP from used wheel weights. Load data
should be available from any powder manufacturer for lead bullets, look on
their website. You, in general, wanna keep your pressures/velocities down
with lead bullets to minimize leading in the barrel.

davers
October 15, 2011, 06:24 PM
Thanks for all the great info guys!! I should have started reloading years ago..this is fun!! :D

Dave

glockky
October 15, 2011, 08:55 PM
I shoot only lead in mine now and love it. I cant get 1000 230gr ball for $66. Thats hard to beat.

steve4102
October 16, 2011, 09:54 AM
I'm with Walkalong here, give the 200gr LSWC a try. Fantastic bullet in my 1911's.

BTW, what pistol are you loading for? Might make a difference on bullet design and shape.

35 Whelen
October 16, 2011, 04:03 PM
SinceI started loading lead I haven't bought a jacketed or played bullet for 9MM or 45ACP and don't intend too.


Ditto here. You can use jacketed data with lead bullets, as lead bullets are much more "malleable" than jacketed thus creating lower pressure with like loads.

35W

bds
October 16, 2011, 04:53 PM
You can use jacketed data with lead bullets, as lead bullets are much more "malleable" than jacketed thus creating lower pressure with like loads.
Actually I believe it's the opposite. There's a lot of high pressure gas leakage around the jacketed bullet and rifling voids to warrant use of more powder charge to generate the same SAAMI average max pressures (this is worse with JHP bullets with no exposed lead base that will expand during powder ignition).

With the larger diameter and softer bullet base (say .452" vs .451" for .451" barrel), proper bullet-to-barrel fit will produce less high pressure gas leakage and will require less powder to make the same chamber pressure, thus most lead load data runs lower than jacketed load data.

I always use lead load data for lead bullets.

Maj Dad
October 16, 2011, 10:25 PM
Actually I believe it's the opposite. There's a lot of high pressure gas leakage around the jacketed bullet and rifling voids to warrant use of more powder charge to generate the same SAAMI average max pressures (this is worse with JHP bullets with no exposed lead base that will expand during powder ignition).


If you look at the loading manuals you will see that maximum pistol-caliber loads for jacketed bullets generally are lower than for lead bullets of a similar weight, variations as a result of bullet design notwithstanding. Lead bullets have a lower coefficient of friction (i.e., are "more slippery") than copper-jacketed bullets and therefore result in a lower pressure for a given load, smokeless powder depending on confinement to generate pressure. For example, the maximum load of W296/H110 for 240 gr JHPs is 24 gr and for 240 lead SWC it is 25 gr. I do not extrapolate this to a generalization and rely on manuals for guidance - I value my hands & eyes too much to get philosophical with gunpowder... :scrutiny:

35 Whelen
October 17, 2011, 12:08 AM
Actually I believe it's the opposite. There's a lot of high pressure gas leakage around the jacketed bullet and rifling voids to warrant use of more powder charge to generate the same SAAMI average max pressures (this is worse with JHP bullets with no exposed lead base that will expand during powder ignition).



Hmmm...interesting theory. I've never seen signs of expanding gas leaking around a bullet that was being fired in a barrel for which it was intended.

My original statement regarding powder charges for lead vs. jacketed was based on my own handloading and chronographing experience. Prior to getting into bullet casting I loaded Speer and Hornady 200 gr. HP's and Hornady 230 gr. FP's and RN's. I later switched to all cast bullets using various 200 gr. SWC's and 230 gr. FP's (truncated cone) and RN's. I primarily used Unique with all bullets mentioned.
A comparison of my chronograph data with loads for both jacketed and lead bullets of like weights and like powder charges always showed an increase in velocity with the lead bullets.

35W

ljnowell
October 17, 2011, 12:22 AM
If you look at the loading manuals you will see that maximum pistol-caliber loads for jacketed bullets generally are lower than for lead bullets of a similar weight, variations as a result of bullet design notwithstanding. Lead bullets have a lower coefficient of friction (i.e., are "more slippery") than copper-jacketed bullets and therefore result in a lower pressure for a given load, smokeless powder depending on confinement to generate pressure. For example, the maximum load of W296/H110 for 240 gr JHPs is 24 gr and for 240 lead SWC it is 25 gr. I do not extrapolate this to a generalization and rely on manuals for guidance - I value my hands & eyes too much to get philosophical with gunpowder...


Virtually all load data for the pistol calibers I load for do not have Lead bullet loads having higher charge weights than jacketed.

jcwit
October 17, 2011, 12:29 AM
I'll use jacketed bullet data to load for lead bullets, but also start at the low end and work up for accuracy. Never get near the high end as arthur in the wrists and hands hurts to much.

ljnowell
October 17, 2011, 12:33 AM
I'll use jacketed bullet data to load for lead bullets, but also start at the low end and work up for accuracy. Never get near the high end as arthur in the wrists and hands hurts to much. Some of my lead loadings far exceed any published load, but I still cant think of a single load that i have seen in any caliber that I reload for that a lead bullet of the same weight has a higher published charge weight than a jacketed.

jcwit
October 17, 2011, 01:05 AM
I phrased the last sentence wrong:

Never get near the high end as arthur in the wrists and hands hurts to much.

Should read "I" never get near ect., ect.

Sorry bout that.

35 Whelen
October 17, 2011, 01:06 AM
Virtually all load data for the pistol calibers I load for do not have Lead bullet loads having higher charge weights than jacketed.


Have you checked one of the newer Lyman manuals? I have a 49th Edition and it has extensive data for both lead and jacketed.

35W

bds
October 17, 2011, 02:42 AM
Since we are talking about 45ACP, on page 380 of Lyman #49 it shows that cast bullets they used were sized at .451" instead of the typical .452" because they used .450" groove diameter test barrel.

Which means both the lead and jacketed bullet diameters were the same .451" and may explain why the load data were close and even slightly higher for lead bullets.

If the test barrel groove diameter was .451" and lead bullet diameter .452" (with jacketed .451"), my guess would be the load data would have been less for the larger diameter .452".

--------------

The following shows for Alliant powders and 45ACP (load data doesn't indicate bullet diameters used):

200 gr Speer GDHP Bullseye 5.8 gr OAL 1.2 (934 fps)
200 gr Speer LSWC Bullseye 4.6 gr OAL 1.19 (807 fps)

200 gr Speer GDHP Unique 7.3 gr OAL 1.2 (984 fps)
200 gr Speer LSWC Unique 5.4 gr OAL 1.19 (790 fps)

--------------

The following shows for Hodgdon powders and 45ACP (Note that Hodgdon also used same .451" diameter for both jacketed and lead bullets with different OAL):

200 gr Speer JHP W231 451" OAL 1.155" 5.9 gr (906 fps) 16,700 CUP
200 gr LSWC W231 .451" OAL 1.225" 5.6 gr (914 fps) 16,900 CUP

200 gr Speer JHP Universal 451" OAL 1.155" 6.2 gr (949 fps) 17,200 CUP
200 gr LSWC Universal .451" OAL 1.225" 6.3 (962 fps) 16,800 CUP

200 gr Speer JHP WSF .451" OAL 1.155" 6.8 gr (929 fps) 16,700 CUP
200 gr LSWC WSF .451" OAL 1.225" 6.7 gr (970 fps) 19,400 PSI

-----------------

I don't know any reloader who sizes their lead 45ACP bullet down to .451" as most barrels are .451". Since most of us use larger .452" diameter lead bullets for .451" groove diameter barrels, it would warrant lower powder charges than load data tested with .451" diameter bullet. At least, that's my opinion. I rather fault on safety side than not.

USSR
October 17, 2011, 09:12 AM
I don't know any reloader who sizes their lead 45ACP bullet down to .451" as most barrels are .451".

Well, you do now.:) My Gold Cup has a tight throat and doesn't like .452 cast bullets.

Don

Blue68f100
October 17, 2011, 10:16 AM
One other thing that has not been mentioned is check the size of your barrel. I have a 9mm that is actually a .357 and not the std .356. Slug your barrel and get this size that is 0.001" larger. This will save you a lot of trouble down the road when shooting lead.

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