I am brand new to reloading and 45 is one of my favorite calibers due to having several 1911's. Could yall give me some pros, cons, preferences, to the different grain size bullet I could pick from to reload. The main ones I am debating between are 180 vs 185 vs 200 vs 230. Thanks for any help or insight. Roll Tide
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December 23, 2012, 11:43 AM
I like shooting 200 gr LSWC over Unique. Mild, accurate load, economical too.
December 23, 2012, 11:46 AM
I like 230gr in my 1911. But I will be trying some 185gr SWC when I get them loaded. I get mine from Falcon Bullets (www.falconbullets.com).
December 23, 2012, 11:50 AM
I like Berry's 230gr. FMJ round nose, with 4.7gr of Bullseye powder, and 1.263" OAL. I've also loaded Berrys semi wad cutters and load/feed well with my HKs.
I like the 230's better, as I like recoil.
December 23, 2012, 11:53 AM
While 230 RN will provide the most reliable feeding/chambering, 200 gr SWC provides the similar length of bearing surface and ogive contact points during feeding/chambering. 200 gr SWC is my favorite 45ACP bullet for target loads that are very accurate and often priced much lower due to less bullet weight and popularity. For pistols that won't reliably feed 200 gr SWC, many reloaders use 200 gr RNFP bullet instead.
I use factory Remington Golden Saber 185 gr JHP for SD/HD purposes due to higher muzzle velocity/energy rating over the 230 gr JHP and use the same bulk bullets to load practice JHP rounds.
Berry's 185 gr hollow base RN provides similar nose profile as 230 gr RN due to the hollow cavity in the base and I load to the same OAL as the 230 gr RN. This bullet provides the same reliable feeding/chambering as 230 gr RN at lower cost and less felt recoil.
December 23, 2012, 12:07 PM
I shot a lot of Conventional (Bullseye) pistol in the 80's and 90's using 200gr Lee or H&G SWCs and W231. The lighter bullet allows quicker recoil recovery than heavier bullets in the rapids and some shooters use the 185gr for this reason.
SWCs leave a sharper hole in a target making for easier scoring than RN.
December 23, 2012, 12:08 PM
I normally shoot LRN 200gr over Bullseye. Missouri Bullet makes a nice one. They work great. I have an XD45 Compact w/5" bbl. They are accurate and recoil is very manageable. My wife loves em as well. Roll Tide from AK. Grew up in Alabama, been active duty no for many, many years.
December 23, 2012, 12:09 PM
Keep in mind that the 1911 was designed to use the 230g round nose. Startthere and experiment with different powders. Bullseye and Unique are the old standbys. I have also had good results with 231. AA#2,AA#5, even power pistol gave good performance. Also try the 225g Round nose flat point cast bullet available from many of the casting companies. The 45 acp is very easy to load. Have fun.
December 23, 2012, 01:04 PM
230 RN is fast, easy livin- and feeds reliably in any platform when loaded properly.
The SWC/ HP/ XTP/BBBS/*insert flavor of the week here* All have advantages and disadvantages over the 230. I'm not going to list them all...you would die of old age during the dissertation. Stay tuned- someone will.
When experimenting with hybrid designs; bullet length, crimp dimension, magazine choice, feed ramp polish and angle, powder charge, and sometimes the tidal impact flow will have a dramatic impact on your functionality.
As a new loader, I would master 230 on the platform you have and use the most before venturing "into the woods" so to speak.
Move on to 200 SWC's once you know how all of the variables of your platform, magazine choice, and chosen powder charge will effect the 200- and what you will need to change during the transition.
Your eventual final choice will more than likely be dictated by the chosen use of your cartridges, your desire to be able to use ammunition between platforms seamlessly, and your point in the economy spectrum.
Personally, I ended up right back where I started : 230 RN. My ammo feeds a lot of mouths of late, and some of those are picky eaters. Lo and behold, everyone likes mac'n cheese.
YMMV, and have fun !
December 23, 2012, 01:13 PM
First, 45 ACP is a very forgiving, low pressure cartridge with tons of load data out there.
If you're starting fresh with all new components, I'd start with a few proven winners. For lead bullets, after a bit of experimentation, I've settled on Oregon Trail Laser Cast 200 grain LSWC over 4.0 grains of Hodgdon Clays powder. Overall length will depend somewhat on your pistol, but somewhere very close to 1.250 will feed in just about everything. If you have feeding issues, I've found slightly shorter, towards 1.240 cures them in more finicky pistols.
For jacketed loads, I've settled on Nosler Custom Competition hollow points in 185 grain over 4.4 grains of Vihtavuori N-310. Going below 4.2 grains will cause cycling problems. N-310 is a fast powder with a narrow range to work within and can show pressure with small increases. 4.4-4.5 in 185 weight jacketed is about all I'd go. OAL should be right around 1.210 if I recall. Good luck.
December 23, 2012, 01:54 PM
I load 230 grain bullets, 230 FMJ-RN (various manufacturers), Hornady 230 XTP-HP, and 230 gr. Rem. Golden Sabers. I use Unique and AA#5 for all with both CCI 300's and RP 2 1/2 primers. 8-8.2 grains of AA#5 or 6-6.5 grains of Unique. Start low and work up. 230 gr. FMJ's are loaded to 1.250-1.260" and 230 HP's to 1.230" oal and they chamber in all my 45's. This link has a detailed pic of how to use your barrel for a case gauge. Couple of posts down. http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?99465-Barrel-as-a-Case-Gauge
December 23, 2012, 01:55 PM
I prefer Montana Gold bullets...they ship free ...with a minimum order.
I've tried other grain sizes.../ been reloading .45 acp for about 35 yrs...but I keep coming back to the 230gr FMJ RN...its just a better bullet.../ I found the lighter bullets - with higher velocities typically have more snap to the recoil than I liked....and tradition and the 230gr bullet just won out long term.
December 23, 2012, 03:07 PM
I"m partial to the Zero brand .230gr in both RN and JHP. Quality jacketed bullets and decent price.
Silhouette is my choice of powder. It's meters fine, and you can get over 900fps is you wanted while still not being at max load...
December 23, 2012, 03:21 PM
230 grain FMJRN and AA#5.
December 23, 2012, 07:37 PM
Another vote for 230 grain RN. Either FMJ or lead will work fine in any of my 45 ACP firearms --Commander length to the AO Thompson. I use 700-X because I have several 8 pounders of the stuff to use up and it works well for me with either lead or FMJ. Lately I have also been using X-Treme plated 230 grain RN bullets and they work fine as well.
December 23, 2012, 07:42 PM
I like Speer 200 LSWC over 5 grains of w231 out of an all steel Kimber 5" 1911
December 23, 2012, 07:56 PM
I'd start with a 230gr Lead RN bullet. Very easy and forgiving to load. AA#2, AA#5, Flaming Dirt (AKA Unique), and a dozen other powders will work well. The .45 ACP is,IMHO, a very easy round to load. Follow your manuals,take your time, and you'll do fine.
December 23, 2012, 09:23 PM
I pretty much have settled on 230 RN bullets in the 45 ACP M1911s. I have never had much luck with anything else that does not have the same shape.
Recently, I did buy some plated SWCs to try again but have not gotten around to it yet. I keep feel like i am missing something by not shooting the SWCs. I do have 45 ACP revolver now in case they do not work in the M1911.
Lots of folks have success with all sorts of different bullet shapes in the M1911, so I guess it is me and my M1911s.
December 23, 2012, 09:54 PM
Upstater hit the nail on the head. 5.0 of W231 behind a 200 Gr. LSWC like a H&G #68 is a comfortable load and will cycle most all 1911's. If you are going to pack this and use for defense 7.3 of Unique will do the job with the same bullet and take care of most any problem that might arrize.
Always consult your loading manuals prior to taking anybody's word on a load.
Steel Horse Rider
December 23, 2012, 10:05 PM
You have chosen wisely, the .45 ACP is an easy round to reload. I would recommend staying with a round nose bullet in the 200 or 230 weight until you gain some experience. I have loaded and shot semi-wadcutters in my .45 caliber pistols but they are finicky about the seating depth with the SWC rounds. If the transition from the magazine to the feeding ramp isn't smooth and the bullet is a little deep they won't feed correctly. No reason to add difficulty to what should be a fun learning experience.
December 23, 2012, 10:07 PM
I have shot weights in .45 ACP from 185 to 250 Gr. I have two types of 185, two types of 200, and 230 Gr rounds loaded right now. If I had to pick one for all time, it would be probably 200 Gr.
December 23, 2012, 10:13 PM
The gun was designed to work with the 230 FMJ-RN.
The only other bullet in a SWC that hits the feed ramp and upper chamber area in the same place during the transition from mag to chamber is the 200 H&G #68 and similar from RCBS & Lyman molds.
Lee mold designers had not a clue about the H&G #68 SWC nose shape that matches the 230 RN-FMJ the guns were made to feed.
December 23, 2012, 10:49 PM
I like the Missouri Bullet company softballs 230 grain round nose over unique. I have a lot of hp38/win231 to try as soon as that runs out. 45 has been pretty easy for me. Loaded and shot a lot of it. I also like Precision Deltas 230 rn fmj. They were a good price when I bought them 3 years ago, dont know the price now though.
December 23, 2012, 10:57 PM
I load a H&G #78 225gr SWC over 3.5-4grs of Bullseye depending on whether its for a 1911 or a 625. I think this bullet is more accurate than the #68 or the #130. It shoots half inch groups at 15 yards off a benchrest out of guns that pattern with factory ball ammo. Must be voodoo. The only issue it has to be loaded short, to about 1.166" OAL in order to chamber. It may cause feeding issues in some guns.
December 23, 2012, 11:26 PM
200gr RN Rainier Ballistics plated bullets
Unique, Bullseye, or W231, loaders choice.
Cheap, easy, and accurate once you find a load your guns like.
For me middle of the road FMJ data works very well with the 200gr Rainier bullets (or Berry's) in my old 1911, my XD 4", and my Dad's XD 5".
December 23, 2012, 11:34 PM
I like the FlatHead from Missouri Bullet, myself..
December 24, 2012, 12:19 AM
I'm a big fan of using the bullet weight that the round was developed to shoot.
I load a 230gr FMJ bullet over 5.5gr W231.
I load a 230gr LRN bullet over 5.5gr W231.
I should probably give the 200gr SWC a try because they are cheaper to shoot but I'm a stick-in-the-mud!
December 24, 2012, 09:01 AM
I use Missouri 200 GR SWC and 4 gr of bullseye. No problems with my Kimber Raptor II
December 24, 2012, 01:42 PM
230 gr Cast lead RN My favorite in the 45 ACP as well as 45 Colt. I use Accurate No. 5 and have tried Titegroup. All are fine but my favorite is the A#5 and 230 LRN boolit.
December 24, 2012, 02:26 PM
I use 230gr Ranier plated bullets and they work just fine for range time. I use 700X that I also use for reloading 12ga and it works well also. Although, probably not a lot of folks use 700X for pistol.
December 24, 2012, 03:05 PM
Berrys has an awesome 185gr Round nose hollow base that Chambers perfectly, Has a long base so it holds nicely in the case and is economical due to its reduced weight. I use them all the time and they work great in the 45. The hollow base is not an issue at all.
Disclaimer-this is my opinion and yours may vary.
December 24, 2012, 04:04 PM
I don't really buy into the "shoot what the gun was designed to shoot" mentality. While any round nosed ball ammo will be more forgiving to a larger variety of guns in theory, in practice I've yet to find a modern 45 Auto that won't feed a properly prepared 200 gr LSWC. In fact, considering most modern manufacturers design their guns for defensive rounds, the 185 HP is quite easy to feed in most guns. I think the problem is that with the large difference in abilities of the reloading population in general makes the 230 FMJ seem easier because it's somewhat more forgiving than others. In reality, it's fairly starightforward to get any bullet weight to shoot out of most guns.
December 24, 2012, 04:24 PM
Also, Montana gold makes a super 230gr hp bullet that had worked perfectly in all my 1911 guns no matter the size. It just costs more due to the added weight. I have also used a SWC profile with no issues. However, I just like the look of the good old hard ball ammo.-:-)
Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk 2
December 24, 2012, 04:57 PM
Heavy bullets generally produce more recoil but penatrate better. ??
December 24, 2012, 06:46 PM
185gr LSWCHP's over 4.6gr Bullseye. 200gr LSWC's over 4.6gr Bullseye. I also like 230gr LRN over 4.5gr W231 but they don't leave nice clean holes in the paper like the SWC's do.
December 25, 2012, 12:15 AM
I like the 200gr SWC in lead and plated flavors for punching paper. 4.2gr of Green Dot makes for a soft shooting accurate round.
Lately I've been trying out a 200gr RNHB from Bear Creek over 4.8gr of Green Dot with good results.
Green Dot is just a tad slower than Bullseye and load data are usually very close but Green Dot has a lot more bulk than Bullseye.
230gr Hornady XTP over 5gr of Bullseye is a go to load for many. Works well for me.
December 25, 2012, 09:25 AM
Once you are confortable reloading ball try your hand with MBC's 200 gr. LSWC chances are your gun will love them and so will you. I load them with 231 or WST and run through about 8,000 a year.
I you want to reload plated bullets there are several out there. I have tried Berry's and they are ok but the best plated bullet I have run across is X-treme bullets. They are the only plated I use now for 45, 357 & 38's.
You will load them using jacketed data sine they have a thicker skin then the average plated bullet.
December 25, 2012, 09:45 PM
I like the 230gr LRN with 5.4gr of WIN 231 or HP38 for plinking. I now get my bullets from www.falconbullets.com. Good product and close to me.
December 25, 2012, 10:07 PM
I use mostly 200 grain LSWC or 200 grain plated SWC over 4.0 grains of Clays, but more recently have been trying 5.0 grains of Titegroup with pretty good results.
December 25, 2012, 11:27 PM
I'm using a 200 gr lswc over 4.4 grs of titegroup and could not ask for a better shooting bullet
December 26, 2012, 12:51 PM
"some pros, cons, preferences, to the different grain size bullet I could pick from to reload. The main ones I am debating between are 180 vs 185 vs 200 vs 230."
What your uses are will influence your need/s.
For 'work', requirement may state 'Jacketed'. For playing, the most inexpensive may be the ticket.
The finished round MUST feed and MUST be safe! If these two criteria are not met, fix it before you continue.
Now to the point.
Round nose (most are not actually round but are rounded) generally feed the best in all weapons (I'm talking about standard 1911 types and the new/er replacement types).
SWC, semi wad cutter, cut targets cleaner, are or can be softer on the shooter/weapon and in general some what better accuracy.
Hollow pointed bullets are to transfer energies better.
Bullet weights. Heavy is slower. Lighter is faster. Yes, upping the charge will push that 230 grain bullet fast. It also ups the recoil and slows follow up shots. (I have never been able to get the best accuracy with heavy loaded 230 ball.)
Everyone has or will have an opinion and that is good. So here is mine. I have loaded 230 full patched bullets and was not excited with them. I have cast and loaded 225 lead round nose, they feed very well. Other than that, just OK. I have loaded 185 grain JHC to impressive velocities but not accuracy. I prefer lead 200 grain SWC. They are easy on the weapon and me. Accuracy is better than others. Energy transfer with the flatter/softer nose is very good. AND they are cheaper!
I load 5.6 grains of 231 under 200 lead SWCs with standard LP primers, any brass and get, depending on the weapon, 860 FPS to 890 FPS from a 5 inch barrel. No leading, clean loads. These are (depending upon your loading data source) on the warm side. They work and have worked for me for the last 35 or so years. I was using Olin 230 before 231 came out.
Determine what you need, what you want and what your weapon/s will best utilize and go for it.
December 26, 2012, 01:02 PM
I like the 200 grain RNFPBB (Round Nose Flat Point Beveled Base) bullet or the 200 grain lead SWC (Semi Wadcutter). The RNFPBB is easy to load with the beveled base, lighter weight for reduced cost and recoil, and the round nose feeds great in any 1911 I have tried it in.
The SWC makes pretty round holes in paper.
I have been using Hodgdon Clays for many years but you have to be careful of bullet setback which can cause pressure spikes. 3.9 grains under a 200 grain lead SWC makes for an accurate and soft shooting load.
Recently I picked up some WST that I am going to try.
December 26, 2012, 01:26 PM
My go to practice round is a 200 gr SWC from Precision Bullets (The Black Bullet). I put 5.6gr Win 231 behind it and average about 850fps from my 4" Kimbers. I buy these by the case of 2250 per. Little or no lead build up in the barrels and I always finish the day with a Mag full of hardball to make the cleaning easier. As far as accuracy I have put 8 through a 1" hole at 15yds from the bench.
As a side note regarding feeding issues: When I first got my Kimbers (an Eclipse and HD Pro) they both had problems feeding the SWC. I took them to a Gunsmith friend of mine and He noted that the Jump Gap from the feed ramp to the barrel throat was out of spec on Both. It should be .030 and they were less than .010 of an inch. I had them both fixed and I have not had a FTF for any type of bullet configuration since.
December 26, 2012, 02:37 PM
don't really buy into the "shoot what the gun was designed to shoot" mentality. While any round nosed ball ammo will be more forgiving to a larger variety of guns in theory, in practice I've yet to find a modern 45 Auto that won't feed a properly prepared 200 gr LSWC.
Springfield Armory XD45. The XDm does I have been told but I can personally promise you my 4" service CANNOT. You will have to beat the damn slide open it will lock up so tight.
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