1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Published 45 ACP Data Confusion

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by OregonJohnny, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. OregonJohnny

    OregonJohnny Well-Known Member

    I am about to start building up .45 ACP loads with Hornady 230-grain FMJ-FP bullets and Hodgdon Longshot powder. I'd like to slowly build up to max data to try and get about 900-925 f/s out of a 5" 1911. But here is the problem -

    Hodgdon's published data on their website, using these exact Hornady bullets says: start - 6.3gr - 848 f/s - 14,100CUP; max - 6.8gr - 908 f/s - 17,200CUP. They don't list a barrel length. They are one of the few sources for .45 Super data, which they list as the same start load, with a max of - 7.3gr - 959 f/s - 19,800CUP.

    The Hornady 8th edition manual lists the following data with these exact bullets from a 5" barrel: start - 6.1gr - 700 f/s; max - 7.4gr - 900 f/s.

    So Hornady's data for max charge in .45ACP goes above what Hodgdon lists as .45 Super! :scrutiny: And yet, this max Hornady data only does 900 f/s, whereas the Hodgdon data shows .1 grain less will get you 959 f/s, but listed in .45 Super territory.

    To add to my confusion, Hornady does not list pressures in their data. And on top of that, I can find the SAAMI pressure limits for .45ACP in PSI only, but Hodgdon's data is listed in CUP.

    I do not want to go over max data, but I do want to build up right to the limit, to get at or slightly above 900 f/s. Please help.

  2. NeuseRvrRat

    NeuseRvrRat Well-Known Member

    anytime you're developing a load you should start low and work up. inspect all your spent cases for pressure signs. is this your first time reloading?
  3. jr_roosa

    jr_roosa Well-Known Member

    I get 900 with power pistol. Check the Hornady data and watch your velocity with a chrony. I ended up north of 1000 with the Hornady manual max load, which is way too hot for my tastes.

  4. OregonJohnny

    OregonJohnny Well-Known Member

    No. ;)

    Yes, of course. Thank you. That's why I said:

    I'd love to try Power Pistol, but unfortunately it is not available anywhere near me. I don't like the idea of paying the hazard fee to order it online. Longshot and HS-6 are the only powders available locally that show up near the top end of published 45 ACP data. I bought Longshot.
  5. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    One of the joys of reloading is the variances of data between sources. Different equipment, different bullets, different powder lots, different this, different that, different lawyers and more all lead to variable data.

    And your gun will be different again.

    This why the recommendation to work up the load.

    If you are trying to hit a particular velocity target, you will need a chronograph. You cannot estimate it based on any published data.

    And even then, you gun may not reach the desired velocity before bumping the pressure limits.

    Hope this helps.
  6. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

  7. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    Any 230 grain loads at or above 900 fps is going to be hard on a M1911.

    Pressure signs in a 1911, unless you are bulging the case sides, such as in the 9mm cases below, I don't know what you are going to see. It is not that high pressure of a round.

    Hot loads will peen a frame.

    The original military load, from 1910, was a 230 FMJ with 5.0 grains Bullseye at 800 fps. That is hardball.

    You can increase the velocity as much as you want, but 800 fps is a lot easier on the gun.

    Hot 9mm loads



    Amerc ammunition in a Glock

  8. OregonJohnny

    OregonJohnny Well-Known Member

    I do have a chronograph, and it has definitely become my most valuable tool when building different loads.

    Well, since the average factory .45ACP +P 230-grain round is rated at 950 f/s from a 1911, I don't think 925 f/s is a crazy goal. I'm not planning on putting hundreds of these rounds through my gun. I'd like to work up to it, ensure it's safe and feeds reliably, then carry it when out in the woods. Plus, I'm using an all-steel, full-size S&W 1911, with a Wilson 18.5 lb. recoil spring and a shock buffer.

    I'm not trying to build a target load. I use Bullseye for that, pushing 230-grain XTPs around 800. This would be a "rarely-used" round, optimized for outdoor uses. I just want to know why there is such a huge discrepancy in maximum load data from 2 different manuals, when using the same powder and exact same bullet.

    Keep in mind, 900 f/s using this bullet and this powder is listed in both manuals, within SAAMI pressure specs. These aren't atomic +P+ loads...
  9. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    IMO Longshot is too slow a powder for use in the .45 Auto. I'm not crazy about HS-6 either but I think you would have gotten better results with it over Longshot. Longshot has it's uses but not in a small case capacity low pressure round like the .45 Auto.

    If you can find any AA#5 I feel it will get you where you want to be. It was specifically designed for use in the .45 Auto and it works quite well. I use mostly W231 but it won't deliver the velocity you're looking for without excessive pressures.
  10. OregonJohnny

    OregonJohnny Well-Known Member

    The Accurate Arms data shows a max charge of 8.7 grains of #5 to get a 230-gr. FMJ moving at 927 f/s from a 5" barrel. Wouldn't that mean it's slower than Longshot, since it only takes somewhere between 6.8 and 7.4 grains of Longshot to do the same thing? Maybe my logic is way off. I thought the heavier the charge needed, the slower the burn rate of the powder.

    Edit: Actually, I just found a pretty thorough chart showing burn rates. Although it doesn't include AA#5, it has Longshot right next to AA#7, so I'm guessing #5 must be a little faster than Longshot.
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Not crazy, but it is going to be hard on a 1911, of any quality.
  12. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Well-Known Member

    The third variable is the test barrel used to test the rounds. Was that exactly the same?
  13. OregonJohnny

    OregonJohnny Well-Known Member

    The Hornady manual states their data is based on a 5" barrel. No specific barrel is listed on the Hodgden website.

    Yeah, that's why I don't want to make this load my standard target shooting load. Just an occasional woods load.
  14. noylj

    noylj Well-Known Member

    Why are you trying to push max loads?
    Remember, loading manual data ONLY pertains to what they got with their gun and components.
    Your gun is different--maybe very little and maybe quite a bit.
    Always start loading at the LOWEST starting load you can find and work your way up.
    The 1911 was designed for a 16# spring with a standard weight slide. Trying for heavier loads and using a heavier recoil spring will cause the slide to close at higher speed than standard and it will peen the frame/slide.
    If you have virgin brass, you can shoot factory ammo of the same head stamp and measure the case bulge about 1/4" above the extractor groove and use that as an additional comparison for determining a max load.
  15. Striker Fired

    Striker Fired Well-Known Member

    When playing around with Quickload ,I've noticed that temperature plays a pretty big part of the whole package also.I've seen loads that at 40F produce say 900fps within pressures ,at 80F it will produce 975fps and be just over pressure(or sometimes not over ,just the powder burnt more efficient).

    For a certain velocity you would have to chrono your loads as you work up till you felt a need to stop,and do it at the temp(+/- maybe 10F).Then and onlt then will you know what a given powder/bullet/gun combo will produce.

    I don't like it when people say a certain powder is "too slow" for 45.I've found many good loads using such powders.There is no cutoff burn rate in ANY caliber, just at a certain rate ,case capacity and burn efficiency starts to go down the tubes.
  16. jr_roosa

    jr_roosa Well-Known Member

    That is a bummer. It really is a drag when the fee is as much as the pound of powder. I'd just keep an eye out next time you are traveling and pick up a pound, or even have one of your buddies grab some on a road trip. Most of the big shops around here have power pistol. On the other hand, a pound will last you just about forever if it's an infrequently used load.

    Next time I'm in Oregon, I'll try to remember to bring you a pound. It might be a few years.

  17. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Well-Known Member

    Once again, the data posted by different manufacturers will vary. There are bunches of reasons. It is the way it is. Accept it.

    Then to top it off, your firearm will probably perform slightly different from the fire arms or test barrels that the manufacturers used.

    It is the way it is. Accept it.

    Be grateful that you have two sets of data for your powder and bullet even if they vary slightly. You know from the get go a data range that is safe, the higher minimum load to the lower maximum load.

    Unless you have your own pressure testing equipment, the published pressure data is not really useful. You cannot generate data to compare to the published pressure data.

    So, start a test process and work up the load to your desired velocity. Start at one of the published minimums, 5 or 10 rounds, and make additional batches increasing the powder .2 to .5 grains per batch. Make the incremental change smaller when you approach the published maximum. (others may suggest different changes in powder charge levels)

    Shoot and chronograph the loads watching for over pressure signs in the process and decide what powder charge is right for your firearm and desires.

    Many have recommended that 900+ fps is hard on an M1911 and I agree. But it is your firearm and if pressure levels are safe, then it is your choice.
  18. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I forgot to mention this before. Why are you looking for such a high velocity? The .45 Auto has been doing it's job with a 230gr bullet @~800 fps for 100 years now. Big and slow works like in the 45-70.

    New shooters feel they need .338 SUPER-DUPER-MONSTER-MAGNUM round pushing a 300gr bullet @ 3000+ fps to kill a Mule Deer. Back in the day a 400gr lead bullet going ~1400 fps from a 45-70 easily took down a Buffalo. When did Deer become so tough to kill? ;) I actually saw a post recently asking if a 150gr bullet from a .308 Win would be good enough to take a White Tail Deer! WOW, really...

    Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you are thinking the same way about the .45 Auto. I'm just curious as to why you are looking for so much velocity? I see no reason to reinvent the wheel, especially a 100 year old wheel that still works well.

    I feel this push to high velocity handgun ammo is just another way for the ammo companies to charge more for something we really don't need. Just look at .38 Special +P ammo but that's whole nother discussion!
  19. OregonJohnny

    OregonJohnny Well-Known Member

    OK, I think everyone is getting the wrong impression. I don't want to experiment with dangerous loads. I don't want to go over published max data. I don't want to turn the .45ACP into a bear hunting round. If 900 f/s with 230-grain FMJ bullets from a 5" barrel is so risky, why is there so much factory 230-grain JHP ammo out there rated at 950? I know these are considered +P loads, but they are safe to use in all modern guns in good condition, in limited amounts.

    Basically, I think the flat point FMJ bullets are better straight-line penetrators than round nose. The only factory 230-grain FMJ-FP ammo I can find is Buffalo Bore's +P round rated at 981 f/s. Surely this is a great outdoor defensive round, but of course it's extremely expensive, and hard on a gun.

    All I'm trying to do is get the same bullet moving at a more modest 900-925 f/s. Again - this velocity with this bullet is listed in all 3 manuals I own, well within SAAMI pressure limits. It is possible, and it is not considered dangerous or over-pressure by Hornady, Lee, or Speer.

    My question was simply why the max load data was so different between 2 manuals when using the exact same components. I think we've hit a wall, here. It seems like whenever someone asks, "How do I get X bullet moving at Y velocity with Z powder?", the most common answer is, "Why would you want to?"

    I'll just proceed slowly, and with caution, checking all my loads over a chronograph, and looking out for signs of over pressure.

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  20. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Well-Known Member

    Different barrel and measuring equipment, lawyers input.

Share This Page