Clays vs WST for .45 ACP


August 19, 2012, 01:42 PM
Just checking before I reorder powder. Those of you that have used Clays and WST, which powder do you prefer on the .45 ACP. I struggle with this one. The WST meters better and is a bit more velocity. The Clays is cleaner and a little softer.

As an aside, I was firing my Kimber CDP Pro II yesterday, it is about 30 months old. The thumb lever safety on the left side actually broke off. I was really ticked off. A pistol like that should not have metal fatigue on any portion of that pistol. The lever looks like pot metal where it broke. It broke just in from of the rotation pin at the furthest point to the rear of the pistol.

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August 19, 2012, 02:11 PM
Powder choice between Clays and WST for me depends on bullet choice. For Nosler 185 HP I prefer WST, about 4.7 grains. For 200 LSWC bullets I much prefer Clays, about 4.0 grains. However, given the choice, I'd pick Viht. N310 powder for the 185's over WST, about 4.3-4.5 grains.

August 19, 2012, 11:32 PM
I'd choose the powder I like shooting better. Clays it seems here. I don't get in a twist about +/- .1gr as some dudes do. And, if you can notice in your POI when action shooting, it's time to go pro.

August 19, 2012, 11:36 PM
I have no experience with WST in 45 but have shot thousands of rounds of 200 grain lead bullets over Clays. Accurate and soft shooting.

No, your Kimber should not have broken the part but that is one of many areas that they started cutting corners about 10 years ago.

August 20, 2012, 01:16 AM
In my gun, Clays is a bit more accurate, but not much. I actually like them both and find WST to be a bit less smoky with lead boolits.

August 20, 2012, 03:09 AM
don't use clays but do load with wst. good groups, soft recoil and very little smoke shooting dardas 200gr swc. aj b

August 20, 2012, 05:33 AM
Love Clays for powder puff loads(700fps) pushing 230fmj...
Sorry about the Kimber, give them a call and express your feelings in a polite manner, they may send you a replacement, to be fitted by your local smith. They may want the gun back too. The warranty covers the parts, but not shipping after the 2yrs(but I talked them into shipping mine after the written warranty was expired)

August 20, 2012, 07:14 AM
I like WST and Clays. Both good powders. I lean towards WST.

One of the first things I did with my CDP II Ultra ( was replace the thumb safety & slide catch with Wilson parts. Other quality parts would work well too. I modded the thumb safety patterned after the old Commander one and bead blasted both parts to match the slide.

August 20, 2012, 09:09 AM
Those are my two favorite powders for target loads in .45 Auto. I doubt I'd be able to tell the difference in a blind test. The biggest difference is probably the smell. :)

I prefer WST because it's also a very good powder for 9x19 (once you find load data), whereas Clays doesn't play as nicely with that caliber. If I were shooting nothing but .45 Auto, I'd probably choose between them by price or by which one metered best for me.

August 20, 2012, 11:04 AM
Thanks for the input folks. Walkalong, that is a good idea on the parts. I was extremely disappointed when the lever failed. I looked at the edge of the pot metal. I would not have expected that from Kimber. I called them this AM and got the third degree about what ammo I was shooting. I politely told them it had noting to do with this part.

I looked at Hodgdon site on three powders for the .45. I have been using both the Clays and the WST. I use HS 6 in my .40 and my 686 and really like the powder...So I looked at the stats for HS 6 for the .45. I know it is a slower powder than the others but it performs better on stats.

200 GR. CAST LSWC Hodgdon HS-6 .451" 1.225" 8.2 860 14,400 CUP 8.4 907 16,300 CUP HS 6

200 GR. CAST LSWC Winchester WST .451" 1.225" 4.4 830 15,400 PSI 5.1 910 19,900 PSI WST

200 GR. CAST LSWC Hodgdon Clays .451" 1.225" 3.6 759 11,800 CUP 4.3 888 17,000 CUP Clays

Pressure is lower on the HS 6 and the velocity higher. Sorry the columns are not labled. I tried but the program would not hold the labels in place. after the oal it is grains FPS then CUP and then the max gr and so on.

August 20, 2012, 06:08 PM
I looked at the edge of the pot metal. I would not have expected that from Kimber.It's MIM, which is used quite a bit in firearms these days. It can turn into a heated debate all by its self.

August 20, 2012, 06:26 PM
It's CHEAP MIM, which is used quite a bit in firearms these days. It can turn into a heated debate all by its self.

Fixed it for ya. ;)

August 20, 2012, 06:31 PM
See. ;)

August 20, 2012, 06:46 PM
I would not have expected that from Kimber.

Kimber is (justifiably or not) famous for revolutionizing 1911 mass production with junk parts. :)

Their slides and frames are excellent.

August 20, 2012, 09:57 PM
In 45 ACP I have used Clays, American Select, WST and VV N310. I prefer eiother WST or American Selct. In powder puff loads for Steel Challenge i opt for Trail Boss in the 600-650 fps velovity range with a 230 gr. plated bullet.

Some people swear by Kimbers and many others swear at them. I have never been fond of kimber's 1911's. For a long time the best value for the dollar in 1911's was the Dan Wesson line - currently their prices are significantly higher.

August 20, 2012, 10:12 PM
I would just as soon carry a Freedom Arms pistol if they made one small enough to conceal....but now they are bankrupt since that idiot shot himself in the leg and sued them.

Tough to beat a revolver. Truth be known, I enjoy my 686 more than any of not have to chase my

August 21, 2012, 07:27 AM
Tough to beat a revolver.
Here ( is one solution to chasing .45 ACP brass.

August 21, 2012, 08:38 AM
I like WST and Clays both. I tend to lean toward WST more than Clays since I can make minor PF for IDPA easier and it's cleaner than clays with lead. Also I have about 19lb of WST since I use it for 40s&w, and 45acp IDPA loads.

August 21, 2012, 11:02 AM
Nice, Walkalong....really nice. Can I borrow it for about 15 years?

August 21, 2012, 03:47 PM
I keep looking for a good deal in a .45acp revolver... Walkalong, that's a beauty you have there! Congrats!!!

August 21, 2012, 06:54 PM
Can I borrow itSwing by Bama and we'll take it out for a spin. I wish I had never sold my 625. :o

August 21, 2012, 07:17 PM
I'm shooting a 625 and enjoy Clays with a 225 grain cast bullet.
The 200 grain loads with WST felt snappier. Some like the faster feeling of a 200 grain bullet.

August 21, 2012, 08:37 PM
I use clays for the lighter target loads and 231 for the heaver stuff, both with Rainier 230 gr. plated.

August 22, 2012, 11:06 AM
Swing by Bama and we'll take it out for a spin. I wish I had never sold my 625. :o
Walkalong, I might do that. I take frequent motorcycle trips...usually head west though but of late, have had to go east because of my wife's mother's poor health. What part of Bama do you live?

I have a 686 that I really do enjoy and just purchased a LCR +P for my wife to carry in her purse. Actually, I stuff it in a pocket once in a while....nice little point and shoot pistol.

August 23, 2012, 07:54 PM
I found both powders to shoot about the same but I get the least bore leading in 45 ACP with 200 gr. Laser Cast SWC's using WST compared to ANYTHING else ... Clays and ... VVN310, Titegroup, Bullseye. VV is a close second.

the count
August 23, 2012, 08:24 PM
All I can tell you is stay away from Clays if you need to cycle autos with strong springs. I once loaded 9mm rounds with Clays (almost top of the loading table) and they only caused failures with a KelTec Sub 2000. Switched to with everything.

PS When I hear people saying 'but Bulsleye doesn't burn clean...' I say so what, is this a eco friendly test? Its a GUN, it makes smoke, and you must clean it anyway. :-)

August 23, 2012, 09:54 PM
Very true. It's not like you're going to find a powder that burns so clean you don't have to clean your gun at the end of the day. The absolute best powder I have ever seen for .45 ACP was the old Winchester 452AA. WST is what they replaced it with and I have used many 4 lb. kegs of it. I also really like Bullseye and have found some loads that are unbelievably accurate in my guns with it. The only powders under my bench for .45 ACP are Bullsye and WST.

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