Reloading for Kahr CW45


Tony k
February 13, 2014, 09:48 AM
So my first trip to the range with my new Kahr had mixed results. I won't rehash it all here, but for background see this thread:

Suffice it to say that I had major issues with Silverstate 230 LRNs going in to battery and failing to feed at an oal of 1.265, whereas I had much better results with xtreme 230 plated LRNs at an oal of 1.260.

I thought the problem was that I had not sufficiently crimped the silverstates. Wrong!

The throat on a CW45 is very short. It was failing to go in to battery because the bullet was contacting the rifling. Granted, 1.265 is long, but the published max oal for 45acp is 1.275.

I colored and plunk tested:
Silverstate 230 LRNs at 1.265
Xtreme plated RNs at 1.260
Zero 230 FMJ RN at 1.260


the Silverstates lodged on the rifling. I had to gently leverage off the case rim to get it out of the chamber. The coloring indicated that the bullet was contacting the rifling on the leading edge of the bearing surface.

the xtremes passed the plunk test. no bullet/ rifling contact

The zeros made contact with the rifling, but not as severely as the silverstates. The coloring indicated that the contact was near the rear of the ogive.

Note to self: every reloading manual says to work up new loads every time you change a component (this includes the firearm!). Each of these bullets has a slightly different ogive profile, and the Kahr has a shorter throad than the PT1911. Self, you are a knucklehead :banghead:

I'm gonna test the xtremes over 4.9grains of 700x loaded to a length of 1.25. I'll post the results.

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February 13, 2014, 10:19 AM
I too have to load shorter COL for my CW45. Mine likes 1.24 with Berrys 230 RN. Accurate Powder website shows 1.237 for that bullet

February 13, 2014, 11:49 PM
Interesting. Both my XD 45 and CW45 plunk test just fine with Berry's plated 230gr FMJ @1.260

February 14, 2014, 02:41 AM
I have the same problem with my cw40. I have to crimp hard and seat cast bullets pretty deep to get them to run. The gun is going back to kahr because its so bad that it chokes on even factory ammo.

Tony k
February 14, 2014, 10:35 AM
Well... I got impatient. Instead of loading up what I said I was going to do originally, I ran out last night and shot 100 rounds of this:

xtreme 230gr plated RN
5.0gr 700x
mixed cases--all tumbled smooth, but some brown with tarnish
WLP primers
OAL 1.260

First 70 or so ran like a top. After that:

one failure to go in to battery
one failure to eject (one of those brown tarnished cases I mentioned)

Then I had a strange issue where the gun jammed open on the third round, two times in a row. I think that's a magazine issue I'll address in a different section.

But to address my initial point. I'm pretty convinced that Kahrs like shorter OALs. Next week I'll try 1.25 and 1.24 and see how they do.

February 14, 2014, 10:52 AM
I skimmed your other thread. Sorry but I have experienced so many disappointments with Kahr, I would send it back. 380, 9mm and 45 yes I have been there and no I do not have their T shirt!

GW Staar
February 14, 2014, 11:17 AM
I have the two extremes of pistols chambered for 40 S&W. Tested both for carry-ability......500 rounds of misc. factory without cleaning. One fed everything I shoved in it, never skipped a beat. The other, fed 180gr flat-nosed solids about 90%, Gold percent......IOW's not something I'd trust to carry. The guns, Ruger SR40, Kahr SW40. Besides, the kahr is hard to print a group with.....reminds me of a snubby.

You can work with the Kahr, tailoring reloads that work pretty reliable up it's ramp, but it takes some effort. Getting it to shoot anywhere near SR40 accuracy, well that may take a miracle. One other thing.....Kahrs require a break-in period before they work anywhere near reliable......the Ruger doesn't.

Note: The comment about Gold Dots, was about factory ammo.....the Kahr mangled the hollow tips before they even made it to the chamber. I mean mangled! Couldn't even chamber them by hand. I called Kahr about that and got a canned answer and zero help.

Just read the thread you linked to topside.......most interesting. Especially about the mags. Maybe I'll play with that. But this is NOT an out-of-the-box carry gun.

One thing I do like is it's simplicity......few parts....easy to if one can get it to shoot every time.

Tony k
February 14, 2014, 12:28 PM
Round count is now up to 315
I'm not disapointed YET, Rule3, But I'm getting there.

So Glock's motto is "Glock:Perfection." I'm thinking Kahr's could be "Kahr:Got a Dremel?" :D Or maybe Kahr:Life's a crapshoot...just like our guns.

But I digress...

I thnk you're right GW Staar. My Kahr is definately not an out of the box reliable gun. To be fair though, I'm definately not following Kahr's recommendations (but don't all companys say not to use reloads?). I might be singing a different tune if I had started out with a few hundred rounds of winchester white box fmj, rather than loads taylored to a different gun altogether.

February 14, 2014, 05:47 PM
If the gun does not work, no amount of firing and fluffing and buffing (Kel Tec) will make it better.

The whole break in crap is just that crap. A gun should work out of the box. It may be tight and loosen up a bit but complete failures, FTfeed, Fail to Fire, Fail o eject etc is just not righ especially for an expensive gun.

Of course it is up to you but list all the things it does, tell them you shot 250 rounds of some factory ammo and have them fix the damn thing.

Usually it starts with "polish feed ramp" gun still doesn't work, then its replace, recoil spring, then replace barrel, etc etc. I went through it to many times!

Once they function they are nice guns.

Jesse Heywood
February 14, 2014, 11:10 PM
I recently purchased a CW9. I was having some of the same issues during the first 100 rounds. Then I read this thread.
Proper prep of a new Kahr (
After following the instructions, I had no more problems.
Another thread on issues with the 45
CW45 (and other poly 45): issues and fixes (

Tony k
February 21, 2014, 08:59 PM
I finally loaded up some shorter loads 230grain xtreme plated round nose over 6grains unique. 50 at 1.230 oal, and 50 at 1.240 oal.


February 21, 2014, 09:12 PM
Ah, that's good!

Your new gun is finally broken in.

And will now feed the first loads you loaded too!


December 29, 2014, 04:15 PM
I know Im a little late to the party but I wanted to chime in on the subject. One thing that I noticed with my Kahr cw45 is if there is even the slightest roll to the crimp that the round will not chamber. I think that the chamber is so tight that slightest bulge that the roll creates prevents the round from fully chambering. I don't roll crimp my 45 acp but I think I had a couple cases that were a little long and the case got rolled slightly on them.

Tony k
December 30, 2014, 12:44 AM
I ended up having to send the gun in the op back to kahr because the front frame rails were too short. I sent it with a list of the problems I originally had including the fact that the gun didn't like "long" oal. It came back about two months later with a new frame and a few other unspecified fixes. It now works flawlessly with any oal for ball ammo but it's doesn't like Winchester factory self defense ammo.

The lessons learned regarding oal are still valid

The gun also has over 2000 rounds through it now. It's pretty forgiving about crimp variation.

January 5, 2015, 10:32 AM
I have a Kahr CW 45 I picked up a while ago thru a trade deal (brand new)I have not shot it a lot yet, but what I have shot thru it GI ball was the most reliable. I did have some FTF problems with reloads.
After looking over all the recommended fixes at Kahr Talk. I am considering selling it and getting something that works right out of the box.
I feel I should not have to rework it to make it reliable.

January 5, 2015, 10:46 AM
I've had similar experience with 9mm Zero bullets. I have to seat them shorter than other brands because of their "fatter" profile. I've not used any Silverstate bullets, but the same may be true for them. Glad you worked it out.

January 5, 2015, 11:02 AM
Bullet profile makes a HUGE difference. I can set the Xtreme 45 at the full SAAMI 1.275 length, and still be more than 0.030 away from the lands in my Witness pistol, but the RMR 230 TP I can't seat much over 1.200.

I have a Kahr CM40 and it has been reliable for me. I did have an issue with a broken follower in a mag, but Kahr sent me some replacement followers. The gun would still operate ok, it just became difficult to load the mag.

As for the slide locking back before the mag is empty, I had that happen but realized I was holding my thumb close to the slide release, and was probably bumping it when shooting. I changed my grip slightly and never had the problem again.

Tony k
January 6, 2015, 12:06 AM
When in doubt, do the plunk test. Correction: do the plunk test when ever you have a new bullet/ pistol combination. Kahrs won't fire when slightly out of battery, which I think makes for a safer firearm. Correct me if I'm wrong, but other gun designs can fire when slightly out of battery. AR platforms? Glocks? On another current thread in the autoloader handgun section of THR there is some discussion about what causes kabooms, and the myth that glocks have a higher rate of KBs than other guns.

I'm skeptical that there is some magical flaw with Glocks, but realoads with long oal + ability to fire when 1/8" out of battery= unsupported case=possible kaboom. I suspect it is most often caused by poor reloading practices/ not making certain that a particular reload combo is safe in a given gun.

There's a reason we develop loads taylored to specific guns, and it ain't just for accuracy. We also develop firearm-specific loads for reliability and safety, right? HA. listen to me pontificate like some kind of expert. I've been reloading for all of two years. But I will say that I've learned a lot of lessons working up loads for this CW45.

Karl969, I wouldn't ditch your CW45 just yet. Check to make sure your front frame rails are not too short, and make sure the mag follower is not hitting the mag release (causes nosedive jams). Do the 200 round break in, then test some factory SD ammo.

IMO, if you are looking for an easy to conceal single stack 45, the CW45 fills that niche quite well.

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