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Lee's load data?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JRWhit, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. JRWhit

    JRWhit Well-Known Member

    Wondering overall, Is Lee's load data pretty consistently conservative?
    I've only used it for 45 acp., but in loading a 200 gr copper plated, and a 230 gr copper jacketed bullets, It has taken near never exceed loads to reliably cycle my 1911. By comparison they are still light loads when put next to factory loads.
    Is this pretty typical of Lee's load data or is it just the bullet and powder I'm using? I've found a liking in 200 gr rainier copper plated with 5.3 gr of win 231, and a medium factory crimp. They are pretty light but I'm very happy with the accuracy.
  2. steve4102

    steve4102 Well-Known Member

    Lee does not test loads or have their own load data. All Lee data is borrowed from other sources, mostly powder manufactures.
  3. mgmorden

    mgmorden Well-Known Member

    Not only that - it's a little sparse on the details as far as what bullet and such.

    Overall Lee's book is a good thing to have around as it has a lot of variety in load data and its pretty cheap, but I wouldn't use it as a primary source. I started out with the Speer manual and have since bought the Lee, Hornady, and Lyman manuals. I like having all of them to reference but if I could keep only one I'd probably keep the Lyman.
  4. eam3clm@att.net

    eam3clm@att.net Well-Known Member

    I use lee's data as a reference when I have a generic bullet or when trying a powder that a bullet manufacture's manual doesnt list. They do not work up their own data, they just put all the data from other sources into one book. I have actually found some of their data to be on the hot side when compaired to current data.
    What you described in your post doesnt sound like an issue with the load data, but more so trying to get certin preformance with the wrong powder. If you use their data for plated bullets, remember that most of the data mirrors charge data for cast bullets, therefore their velocity will mirror cast bullets not factory jacketed bullets. Im not saying the same velocity, just close to it. You may not be able to get the reliabilty you need for a gun with one powder with a given bullet weight. Then it is time to try a different powder, or research to see if you can use more powder. Remember to work up your loads.
  5. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    As others have noted.... Lee is simply compiling load data from multiple sources... usually powder manufacturers.

    I like the way they tabulate the loads for a given bullet wt. (though not a specific bullet) ranking them by velocity... as it gives a quick guide to which powders give the best performance for that given bullet wt

    One thin for certain, you need to weigh your charges.... as the volume's given for the start loads will almost always drop a lighter charge than what is sought.

    I suspect they do this to provide conservatively safe charges for entry level reloaders, who are using Lee scoops and disks without weighing their charges.
  6. JRWhit

    JRWhit Well-Known Member

    As a newer loader I'm not after blistering speeds or anything. I'm just looking for a cheap ,accurate paper puncher. With the lead safe plated bullets,I don't plan to load them any hotter. My comparison to factory target loads was in reference to the 230 gr fmj. It wasn't as extreme as the lead safe plated but I worked the load up to the half way point between start and never exceed before it would cycle the action. Looking at the data I can see what you mean by wrong powder per bullet. What powder would be better for the copper jacket bullets.

    And also just to better help my understanding of powders. Would this affect be due to a faster burn rate of the 231,resulting in higher pressures for lower velocities? or other?
  7. readyeddy

    readyeddy Well-Known Member

    W231 is good for most 45 ACP loads including jacketed bullets. 230 grain hardball loads should have no problem reaching 800 fps using W231.
  8. dickttx

    dickttx Well-Known Member

    I load a 200gn lead RNFP with 5.0gn of HP38/231 and everything works wonderfully. Are you actually weighing your charges or are you just using the Lee tables that come with their Auto Disk measure? Those tables are pretty consistently overstated.
  9. eam3clm@att.net

    eam3clm@att.net Well-Known Member

    Let me ask just a few questions. First how old is you 1911 and who made your 1911? If it is a new gun it may take a few rounds to get everything working smoothly. The spring rate is also something to consider. If it is a new gun with a stiff recoil spring or a heavier spring it will take a higher charge to get the slide moving right. Did you buy the gun new? If you bought it used, remember that people like to "improve" their 1911, therefore they may have put in a heavier recoil spring. I don't have the ability to look up your date right now, to see how far from max charge you are, but Hp38/ 231 is a fine powder for 45acp loads. What I ment is like trying to get full velocity loads with a fast for caliber powder or using a slower powder for light loads. You shouldn't have problem with 231. I have used a lot of bullseye in my 200 grain swc 45acp loads. I get the recoil impulse to cycle my action, and I'm not having to push them fast to get my slide to cycle reliability.
  10. JRWhit

    JRWhit Well-Known Member

    I am using the auto disk, but like you said they are a little overstated. The actual weighed charge is 5.3 gn win 231. Never exceed is 5.4 gn. At this load The gun cycles good and is very accurate. I was more than impressed by just how much more accurate than factory loads. I was just curious to the fact that it took near never exceed load to get a reliable cartridge
    The handgun is a Ruger SR1911, bought new, Had about 450-500 rds put threw with factory target loads before Using my reloads. With the starting load with 231, Thre was not enough pressure to cone the bullet and gases were getting past the bullet. From there worked up to 5.3 to get accuracy/reliability.
  11. eam3clm@att.net

    eam3clm@att.net Well-Known Member

    When you say cone of the bullet Im not sure what you mean. Are you shooting hollow base bullets. I have not really followed rainer's products so I dont know if they offer them, but I know that berrys has a hollow base bullet. Also the 5.3 charge, is that with a 200 grain bullet? The reason I ask it that Hodgdon site lists a charge of 4.4 to 5.6 for a LSW. depending on your overall length you may be able to add a little more if the action is running a little sluggish. I will not advocate running max loads all the time, but you dont want to make a large run of ammo just to find out that a slight change in variables (like tempature) will make the load unfunctional. I just checked rainers sight and it stated that if no lead data was available, use a charge in the midrange for jacketed which would be 5.6 according to Hodgdon site (max load for the LSW bullet). Hodgdon lists a load of 5.2 to 5.9 for a speer jacketed hollow point at 1.155 col. The speer bulet is also plated. Now will all the information Myself and I if I were working the load up, I would run them over my chroney to see where I am at. I would also take note of where the brass ejects in relation to factory. You already said that your load is accurate and seems to cycle your gun fine and if your happy with what you have then stick with it. If you want to go a little hotter you should be ok up to around 5.6 (Rainer suggests a midrange jacketed load and 5.6 is there), but Im no expert that can test the pressure of a given load, and only you can work up the loads for your gun. If you go hotter please do a little more research and work your loads up. I load a LSW with hp38 for my 1911, but it will be a couple days before I get home to check the exact charge. If you are interested you can pm me and when I get home I will share my notes with you.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  12. GaryL

    GaryL Well-Known Member

    Agree 100%. Well, except that I don't have a Speer manual. But otherwise...

    I've found that Lee has some old powder data, which is kind of handy for when I happen to pick up some old bargain priced powder from a show.
  13. Nitride

    Nitride New Member


    I've found that as far as the chonograph is concerned. Lee's data is very close to what I get on the chrono with factory loads out of the same gun be it rifle or handgun. The loads and powder is what makes the differeance. A chrono is a priceless tool if your reloading get one, then make comparisions and you'll very quickly narrow down the load/powder combination you want to use. I ended up with loads for my 45,9mm,38/357 all very close to data listed if barrel length is the same as test data. Keep in mind that all test are done with controlled conditions and to actually reach the load data you would have to be using the exact same equipment and duplicated the controled conditions!
    Be safe and happy shooting one and all! :)
  14. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Well-Known Member

    mgmorden hit the nail on the head!

    Just remember all the powder mfgs have data available free on their websites.
    So if the books all differ, then I defer to the powder guys.
  15. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    Thats pretty normal. I'll tell you a secret, and I have had guys throw hissy fits over this in other forums, I NEVER start at the starting charge when loading for an autoloader. Its not worth the time, trouble, or components. I always start in the midrange of the load data, for the exact reason you just discovered.
  16. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    Since we're making confessions... I hardly ever start at the starting load for any of the cartridges I load for.

    There is so much info. out there, both on boards like THR and others that are dedicated to just reloading.

    You'll find that for popular cartridges (like .45 acp) there is a lot of consensus out there on what works well with specific powder and bullet combinations... especially for commonly used powders and bullets. I've found these "old faithful" loads to work very well, and as long as they are within the range of what my manuals list as safe, I have no qualms about giving them a try.

    Analogy.... my wife likes to use allrecipees.com and will often tell me "I'm trying this new recipee, with has 75,000 ladies giving it a thumbs up.

    She hasn't struck out yet.
  17. dickttx

    dickttx Well-Known Member

    Pretty much the same as ljnowell and SSN Vet said.
    Since it is very seldom that I load a bullet for which there is a loading for that exact bullet I try to find a reasonably similar one and start with a mid-range or slightly lower load. I actually try to find one in that area that hits a Lee PAD hole and is somewhat in the mid-range. In fact, since I only use HP38, I find that 5.0gn will load just about anything.:)
  18. dragon813gt

    dragon813gt Well-Known Member

    Bullet Manufacturer / Powder Manufacturer / Generic tables like Lee's.

    That's the order I use for finding load data. It just makes sense to go to the bullet manufacturer first since it's their product which they tested. I will always look at all sources and see what data they have listed. The only real "generic" data i use is from the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook. I don't use their molds so I pick a bullet design/weight that's close to what I cast.

    Brought to you by TapaTalk.
  19. JRWhit

    JRWhit Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I think I'm just over thinking a tad. I've noticed the same thing loading up 38s. Nothing to cycle but I can still tell a big difference in reduced recoil until I get to about the 1/2 way point between start and never exceed. Have to say I'm liking the hp-38 a lot better so far. It feeds much easier through the auto disc than 231 and at least thus far is cleaner burning. I think I'll be switching the 45 to it after I get through the 231.
    Thanks for all the thoughts and info. It's nice to have a place to go where someone has already experienced this stuff.
  20. dickttx

    dickttx Well-Known Member

    JRWhit, according to Hodgdon HP38 and Win 231 are the SAME powder and come out of the same hopper.

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