Favorite .45ACP powder


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Dudemeister
October 7, 2012, 12:28 AM
As the title says, What is your favorite powder for .45ACP.

I just started loading this particular caliber, and tried some of the powders I already had. I was using 200gr. hollow base round nose lead from Bear Creek and tested a few rounds today.

5.0gr. Unique.


Pros: Very consistent, meters well through my Layman #55. Very accurate at 15yds. reliable cycling and light recoil
Cons: Dirty. Nearly every shot got some powder residue blow-back on my hands and sometimes my face


5.0gr. Titegroup


Pros: Much cleaner than Unique, reliable cycling, a bit more recoil than Unique, but still pretty easy on the hands.
Cons: Does not meter well, has a tendency to "gum up" the Layman measure. Inconsistent drops vary as much as 0.3-0.4gr. which translated into inaccurate shots and variable felt recoil.

4.5gr. Trail Boss


Pros: Very consistent, meters well, and nearly fills the case which makes it impossible to double charge (unlike Titegroup which you can easily double charge and not even notice). Reliable cycling and light recoil. Accuracy is OK, but not as good as unique
Cons: Cleaner than Unique but not as clean as Titegroup, occasional random shot flier


So what is your favorite powder load? I'm looking for a relatively mild load to use with lead bullets, but I want it clean and accurate.

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srtolly
October 7, 2012, 12:39 AM
I don't use lead at this time but I use 5.5gr of Unique with a Berry's 200gr hp.

Dudemeister
October 7, 2012, 12:48 AM
I don't use lead at this time but I use 5.5gr of Unique with a Berry's 200gr hp.
Did you find it to be dirty?

gunlaw
October 7, 2012, 12:51 AM
Try AA#5. Bulleseye and HP-38 work well also.

bds
October 7, 2012, 01:01 AM
what is your favorite powder load? I'm looking for a relatively mild load to use with lead bullets, but I want it clean and accurate.

5.0 gr W231/HP-38 with 200 gr LSWC

Very accurate, milder recoil, fairly clean burning, no unburnt powder residue on face/hands, meters very consistently.


4.0 gr Promo/Red Dot with 200 gr LSWC (using 2004 Red Dot target load data (glarp.atk.com/2004/2004Catalogs/2004AlliantPowderSM.pdf) as indicated by Alliant (http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/powder/promo.aspx))

Very accurate, light recoil, fairly clean burning, no unburnt powder residue on face/hands, can meter less consistently depending on powder measure used.

PO2Hammer
October 7, 2012, 01:09 AM
VV N310. (target loads only!)
Superb accuracy, white glove clean. I get extreme spreads of only 10 to 15 fps using charges thrown from my Redding 10X. Not as bulky as Unique, but better than Titegroup.
It's faster than I like, but I got a great deal on a couple pounds of it, so I use it in my SWC loads.
Would love to try N320 as an all around .45 auto powder.
Titegroup is fantastic with jacketed loads IME.
I visually confirm every powder charge, so I don't fuss over load density much in the .45 acp.

rsrocket1
October 7, 2012, 01:20 AM
5.0gr. Unique.
Pros: Very consistent, meters well through my Layman #55. Very accurate at 15yds. reliable cycling and light recoil
Cons: Dirty. Nearly every shot got some powder residue blow-back on my hands and sometimes my face

No wonder. Your load pressure is way too light for Unique (or most any powder) to burn cleanly. If you seated your bullets to 0.275", your pressure is only 11,000 psi. If you seated any shallower, you may be down in the 8,000 psi range. My first loads were about 4g Unique under a 230g LRN bullet and I had the same problems. When I got the loads (and pressures) up to where they belong, the Unique burned much more completely and the cases expanded to seal off the blowback nicely. You could also see an underpressure load when you get sooty cases.

If you want light recoil, use a faster powder like Trail Boss, Clays, Red Dot. They build up pressures quickly, burn completely and produce low velocity low recoil rounds. Slower powders like Unique/Universal/Power Pistol are meant for full pressure, higher velocity loads. The nice thing about Clays is that even at underpressure loads, it still leaves very little residue although virtually any pistol load is enough to burn Clays completely. The downside is when folks try to get the bullets to go faster, Clays builds up to max SAAMI pressure before you can get the bullet to move very fast.

gspn
October 7, 2012, 01:21 AM
I guess i need to branch out. The first powder i ever used was bullseye and i dont think i ever tried another powder.

ArchAngelCD
October 7, 2012, 01:26 AM
W231/HP-38 and the .45 Auto are a match made in heaven IMO. (the powder I use most times)
or
AA#5 was specifically designed for use in the .45 Auto.

bds
October 7, 2012, 01:33 AM
BTW, OP wants mild lead loads that are clean and accurate. ;)
I'm looking for a relatively mild load to use with lead bullets, but I want it clean and accurate.

Double_J
October 7, 2012, 01:42 AM
accurate arms #5 is perfect for .45 acp. HP38 and I no longer get along after an overcharge batch. it is easy to overcharge.

KansasSasquatch
October 7, 2012, 01:43 AM
I've only used W231, Unique, and Bullseye so far. Unique with a good charge is still mild on recoil, burns pretty clean, and is very accurate. Bullseye seems to give a more snappy recoil, burns a little cleaner, and is slightly more accurate for me with slow aimed fire but seems less accurate during rapid fire. W231 for me has kinda been in the middle of those as far as cleanliness and recoil but I don't find it as accurate as either. I'm personally going to use up what Bullseye and W231 I have left and stick with Unique after that, at least until I find some other powder I like better. And with Unique the residue that is left on the cases is removed quite easily compared to the other two. It almost doesn't need to be tumbled, more like wiped off quickly.

1KPerDay
October 7, 2012, 01:44 AM
Red Dot for me. I've gone through 5 lbs now. Love it.

ColtPythonElite
October 7, 2012, 01:52 AM
Unique for lead. Power Pistol for jacketed/plated.

cpt-t
October 7, 2012, 02:01 AM
I have been using WIN 231 for several years. It is clean, drops good, low recoil, and very accurate for me. I use 4 1/2 to 5 grains of WIN 231 WITH 230 GR lead or jacketed bullets.
My Son and I buy WIN 231 in 8 lb bottles. We both like it. ken

Dudemeister
October 7, 2012, 02:09 AM
No wonder. Your load pressure is way too light for Unique (or most any powder) to burn cleanly. If you seated your bullets to 0.275", your pressure is only 11,000 psi. If you seated any shallower, you may be down in the 8,000 psi range. My first loads were about 4g Unique under a 230g LRN bullet and I had the same problems. When I got the loads (and pressures) up to where they belong, the Unique burned much more completely and the cases expanded to seal off the blowback nicely. You could also see an underpressure load when you get sooty cases.

If you want light recoil, use a faster powder like Trail Boss, Clays, Red Dot. They build up pressures quickly, burn completely and produce low velocity low recoil rounds. Slower powders like Unique/Universal/Power Pistol are meant for full pressure, higher velocity loads. The nice thing about Clays is that even at underpressure loads, it still leaves very little residue although virtually any pistol load is enough to burn Clays completely. The downside is when folks try to get the bullets to go faster, Clays builds up to max SAAMI pressure before you can get the bullet to move very fast.

I am seating these bullets down to 1.24". If I seat the bullet down to 1.275" OAL, the bullet hits the grooves in the Sig 1911 barrel and doesn't seat properly. The grooves in the Sig 1911 barrel start very abruptly, they have almost no bevel.

The cases are not particularly sooty. I will try to up the load. According to the Lee loading data, 5.4gr. is the max. load for Unique, and I'm trying to stay away from max loads.

I already tried Trail Boss, and it wasn't bad, but I liked the Unique accuracy better.

rsrocket1
October 7, 2012, 02:10 AM
I think it was bds who did an extensive round of testing with Alliant Promo (cheap alternative to Red Dot). That powder will burn clean at low recoil velocities. I also do recommend Clays.

As for me, I am happy with Bullseye gspn, it produces good strong loads and burns completely at about 20% less weights than Unique.

By 2 standard powders for pistols are Clays for light loads and Bullseye for normal loads. I save the Power Pistol for full strength loads and when I want to make a nice bright muzzle blasts.

ljnowell
October 7, 2012, 02:12 AM
I can load just about anything in 45acp with two powders, AA#2 and Power Pistol. AA#2 for all my lead loads and light jacketed and Power Pistol for max effort jacketed loads.

Josh45
October 7, 2012, 02:15 AM
W-231.
It takes care of most needs.

joneb
October 7, 2012, 02:33 AM
I have had good results with Bullseye, W231 and AA#5 in 45acp. When the Bullseye runs out I will try AA#2, I think #2would be good in 45acp and 38spl for target loads.

bds
October 7, 2012, 03:00 AM
I think it was bds who did an extensive round of testing with Alliant Promo (cheap alternative to Red Dot). That powder will burn clean at low recoil velocities.
Well, I did some load testing (but I don't think extensive ;)) as some in my "group buy" wanted to see how Promo did in 9mm, 40S&W and 45ACP (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=518185).

2004 Alliant Red Dot load data for 200 gr LSWC (Missouri 12 BHN Bullseye #1) with 4.0 gr Promo using M&P45 with a trigger job (http://www.burwellguns.com/M&Ptriggerjob1.htm) - http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=578444

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=131638&stc=1&d=1291482509

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=131639&stc=1&d=1291482509


This is with tumble lubed 200 gr SWC and 4.0 gr Promo off my range bag. 0.5" center-to-center initial 3-shot test group at 7 yards and 1.5" 5-shot group at 15 yards using Sig 1911 TacPac.

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=173051&stc=1&d=1349626865

Shimitup
October 7, 2012, 03:34 AM
One of my pet loads is 5gr W231, also Bullseye at 4.5gr. Both with Missouri Bulleye #1 with excellent results.

ljnowell
October 7, 2012, 03:53 AM
When the Bullseye runs out I will try AA#2, I think #2would be good in 45acp and 38spl for target loads.

Great choice, I load a Missouri Bullet 23 softball over 5.5gr AA#2.

ArchAngelCD
October 7, 2012, 04:57 AM
If we are talking pet loads, I charge 5.5gr W231 under and 230gr bullet, both lead and jacketed. That is my goto load for the 45 Auto. I charge either the same 5.5gr W231 or 5.6gr W231 under a 200gr SWC bullet on the rare times i use a 2000gr bullet...

ljnowell
October 7, 2012, 05:23 AM
If we are talking pet loads, I charge 5.5gr W231 under and 230gr bullet, both lead and jacketed. That is my goto load for the 45 Auto. I charge either the same 5.5gr W231 or 5.6gr W231 under a 200gr SWC bullet on the rare times i use a 2000gr bullet...

I see you are up late tonite to ArchAngel. I gotta ask man, what kinda COAL are you loading those 2000gr SWCs at? You must have one heck of a long leade going into the rifling!

jluther820
October 7, 2012, 06:44 AM
I have tried a ton of powders through the whole range of charges. my process was to chrono each and keep the cases for a comparison of cleanliness, etc. I shoot a 200 gr lswc. The top for cleanliness an soft recoil were Trail Boss, clays, solo 1000 in that order. (I did have a bad batch of solo 1000 so look out). The other powders were all much more dirty such as WSF and wst. I can't remember all the others, but when I run out of clays and tb, I'll probably pick the lowest cost per round as I think tb might be hi due to its fluffiness.

JLDickmon
October 7, 2012, 09:17 AM
In a heart beat..
Vihtavouri N340

published data for nearly every bullet available.

I shoot 200 gr lead trunc cone and 230 hardball, normally

GaryL
October 7, 2012, 04:12 PM
If I'm going for accuracy and not caring about a few unburnt flakes, Herco is a dandy powder in 45 acp.

Red Cent
October 7, 2012, 04:30 PM
I use American Select for everythng. SASS revolvers, rifle, shotgun. And I load the 45 Colt and 45ACP for Wild Bunch. 5gr AS with a 200gr bullet puts it around 785-790fps. Need a power factor of 150.

"Our newest "ultra clean" burning premium powder makes a versatile target load and superior 1-oz. load for improving clay target scores. Great for Cowboy Action handgun loading, too!
•Designed for 12 gauge target loads
•Optimal recoil and patterns
•Great pistol powder, too"

http://www.alliantpowder.com/products/powder/american_select.aspx

blarby
October 7, 2012, 05:12 PM
Thats some fine shootin !

You have the same tight match chamber my wife has in her Royal II, but with the addition of a better trigger job.

I'm glad the results you are having shows that the Mo bullet / powder combination gives you and I the same results.

1KPerDay
October 7, 2012, 06:00 PM
If I'm going for accuracy and not caring about a few unburnt flakes, Herco is a dandy powder in 45 acp. Can you direct me to some favorite loads? I have 4 lbs of Herco ready to go.

tglazie
October 7, 2012, 06:28 PM
Its a tossup between HP38/W231 and N320.

I did just order a 4# jug of N320 though, but mostly because I know I can always get HP38/W231 local.

Both are deadly accurate, N320 is just a tad cleaner and for me has a smoother recoil.

CZ57
October 7, 2012, 07:00 PM
My favorite powder for the .45 ACP is a newer one. Ramshot ZIP is close in burn rate to W-231 but yields less smoke with cast loads, burns cleaner and has higher performance capability when you load up jacketed bullets. I use 6.0 grs. of ZIP with both the Missouri Bullet 200 gr. SWC as well as the 230 gr. ZERO JHP.

As Walkalong can confirm with a pic he puts up from time to time, ZIP and W-231 are almost identical in appearance. ZIP is from Belgium. I have been using Ramshot powders since they first became available. Mostly as a replacement for the expensive Vihta Vouri powders I had been using and there lies the bonus; Ramshot powders are about the least expensive on the market. For those that don't have the latest SIERRA manual, I can report that with their 200 gr. "Match" bullet, the "Tournament Master", ZIP yielded the highest accuracy among all of the powders tested in .45 ACP. www.ramshot.com ;)

tglazie
October 7, 2012, 07:45 PM
Good call on the ZIP. Excellent powder. I dont stock it but would not hesitate to use it anywhere I use HP38/W231 or N320

Walkalong
October 7, 2012, 07:55 PM
Absolute favorite?

N310 for light target, N320 for medium loads, and N340 for full power jacketed stuff.

Other favorites. AA #2, W-231, Zip, Solo 1000 for light to medium stuff, and then AA #5 for full power jacketed stuff. True Blue is one I would like to try for full power stuff with 230 Gr jacketed, I just haven't ever gotten around to it.

The best thing about reloading the .45 ACP is that it's so easy to get a good load it makes you look like a genius right away. :)

bdejong11129
October 7, 2012, 08:59 PM
If we are talking pet loads, I charge 5.5gr W231 under and 230gr bullet, both lead and jacketed. That is my goto load for the 45 Auto. I charge either the same 5.5gr W231 or 5.6gr W231 under a 200gr SWC bullet on the rare times i use a 200gr bullet...

+100 on this one. I have used both unique and bulls eye before a friend of mine had me try Win231. I am not looking back. I can use Win231 for my 45, 9mm, and 38 special loads. I like having one powder in the loading room. Makes it easy for loading and easy for ordering.

I use 5.3 under 185gr Berry's hollow base and they are very accurate with acceptable recoil. Unique used to leave some flakes on my hand. It may have been due to my low loads but that problem is now gone.

Main benefit is one powder for all of my loads.. priceless..

Disclaimer-this is my opinion and yours may vary... I am not a troll or attempting in anyway to steer the conversation in a negative way.

GaryL
October 7, 2012, 09:56 PM
Can you direct me to some favorite loads? I have 4 lbs of Herco ready to go.Sure
*Caution* - the following data exceeds max in some manuals - use at your own risk

Now that we have that out of the way, just happen to have a target here that looks like the pattern is right around 2" at 25yds. I have written on it 185gr HBRN (Berry's), 7.5gr Herco, 1.20" OAL.

My Hornady manual lists a max of 6.9gr Herco with 185gr HP/XTP.
My Alliant manual lists a max of 8.2gr Herco with 185gr JHP.

AnthonyRSS
October 7, 2012, 11:39 PM
I use 5.0gr of Titegroup behind a 230gr LRN. I find it to meter consistently well and shoot fine. I don't play around much with the plinking load but I have loaded up some with Power Pistol. Loaded some hot rounds with Blue Dot.

1KPerDay
October 8, 2012, 01:58 PM
Sure
*Caution* - the following data exceeds max in some manuals - use at your own risk

Now that we have that out of the way, just happen to have a target here that looks like the pattern is right around 2" at 25yds. I have written on it 185gr HBRN (Berry's), 7.5gr Herco, 1.20" OAL.

My Hornady manual lists a max of 6.9gr Herco with 185gr HP/XTP.
My Alliant manual lists a max of 8.2gr Herco with 185gr JHP.
Thanks.

blarby
October 13, 2012, 03:46 PM
I'd like to add one last bit :

"clean and accurate" I believe, is much more a function of your chosen bullet, than it is with your chosen powder.

The cleanest powder with the most accurate charge load for your cartridge will yield messy, inaccurate shooting with the wrong lead projectile.

The "right" lead projectile is a matter of some debate and happenstance- but I would have to do extensive testing across all of these powders, with 5 or 6 bullets to determine which one was best for me.

cfullgraf
October 13, 2012, 04:17 PM
700-X

FROGO207
October 13, 2012, 10:51 PM
I am with Chuck----700-X is best and will add that Promo is a really close second with Lead, plated and Jacketed bullets.

Dudemeister
October 13, 2012, 11:45 PM
I just got back from the range, where I shot 100 rounds of a new recipe.

Someone mentioned that Trail Boss would burn cleaner if the load were upped a bit, so this time I went for 5gr. instead of 4.5gr. The results were very disappointing.

Much dirtier than before, sooty cartridges, filthy hands, and accuracy went into the toilet. 3-4 shots right on the mark, one way off, another 2 OK then another one 4-5 inches off. And all this at 10 and 15 yards!

I really don't know what that was all about, but it went like that for 100 rounds.

So I'll relegate Trail Boss to my 30-30 and the .45LC, and move on. Next I'll try some Clays. I used it before in the .45LC and thought it was pretty good.

One of my local gun stores is closing down (the owner is retiring), so he's discounting everything. I bought 5 cans of Trail Boss and 3 cans of Clays from him for $12 and $15 per can respectively. I wanted to get some W231 and some RedDot, but he had ran out.

James2
October 14, 2012, 12:03 AM
I have not been loading for 45 ACP for very long. I have had good luck with W231 and Unique. I haven't tried most of the other powders mentioned. I just don't want to have such a big powder inventory. Unique is one powder I have had on hand since I started loading many years ago. It is versatile. If I had to pick a favorite at this point, I guess its W231 for the 45 ACP.

Hondo 60
October 14, 2012, 12:40 AM
5.0gr. Titegroup

Pros: Much cleaner than Unique, reliable cycling, a bit more recoil than Unique, but still pretty easy on the hands.
Cons: Does not meter well, has a tendency to "gum up" the Layman measure. Inconsistent drops vary as much as 0.3-0.4gr. which translated into inaccurate shots and variable felt recoil.


Hmmm curious.
I have NOT seen the inconsistent drops.
I use a Dillon powder measure & get +-.1 gr.
At 4.7 grains, it will reliably cycle my 1911.
Has a nice soft recoil & about 775-825 fps across my chronograph.

For a bit more energy I'll use 9 gr of AA5.
That'll get me 850-900 fps

The above data is all with a 200 gr LRNFP

orionengnr
October 14, 2012, 02:09 AM
I have only been doing this for about four years (seems like the day before yesterday).

The vast majority of my hand loads have been using .45 acp 200 gr lead SWCs and a Dillon (started with a 450, then moved to a 550).
All loads are nominally 5gr, give or take a small bit.

--I started with W231, which was very satisfactory.
--Being the tinkerer that I am, I then tried Bullseye, which also worked fine.
--I then tried Unique, which burned fine but was less precise in metering.
--I got a great deal on a bulk purchase (12 lbs) of Green Dot and have been using it ever since.

In my admittedly limited experience, I believe the Green Dot is a bit softer-shooting and every bit as accurate as any of the others.

My friend shoots .45 acp with Bullseye. He is happy with it, but I "think" I can tell the difference, and his seem just a bit snappier.

I don't know if you hand load any other cartridges. If you do, that might be a factor. being able to buy an 8-lb jug is a money saver, so if you load sevearal cartridges, and can find a powder that works with several, so much the better.

Bottom line--you have a lot of choices with .45 acp. It and the .38 Spl are (respectively) probably two of the most forgiving choices in semi auto and revolver hand loader's cartridges. Try a pound of this, a pound of that, and when you find something you really like, buy an 8-lb jug.

Enjoy.

Best regards, Rich

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