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Softball loads for old 1911

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by jr_roosa, Mar 18, 2008.

  1. jr_roosa

    jr_roosa Well-Known Member

    I have an old 1911 that I probably shouldn't shoot anymore. It's plenty safe, but it's all original except for the finish, and if it cracks I'll be really sad. On the other hand, I think having a gun I can't shoot is like having a dog that won't come when he's called. I'm thinking that if I shoot it occasionally with soft handloads and it does crack, I'll at least know I did what I could.

    What's the softest softball load you guys have ever had work in a 1911?

    It's got the original GI ramp and throat, so a bullet that looks most like ball is best.

    I have a 16lb recoil spring in it now, and I could easily swap it for a lighter one, although I think that the lighter springs do a worse job at protecting the slide...I have to think about if that's true.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. loadedround

    loadedround Well-Known Member

    The standard "soft ball" or target load for the 45 ACP is a 200 gr LSWC bullet/4.2 gr Bullseye/std LP primer. You may substitute 4.6 gr of 231 if you so desire. Either load will give you approx. 740 fps and low recoil. If you are not using a target pistol or a Colt Gold Cup you may need a lighter recoil spring for 100% functioning. Hope this info helps you out. :)
  3. hotwheelz

    hotwheelz Well-Known Member

    3.8- 4.2gr of Titegroup behind a 200gr swc seems easy going. 3.5gr of Red-Dot is on the lighter side with 200gr swc
  4. Fourbits

    Fourbits Well-Known Member

    I've used 3.8 to 4.0 Bullseye with 200 grain LSWC's for years. I'm currently using a 16lb spring in an old accurized Ithica 1911 with no function problems.
  5. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Well-Known Member

    200gr LSWC loaded to 1.265 OAL over 5.0 gr unique is a powder puff. will barely cycle on a fresh 16lb spring.

    you said ball though- I'm currently cooking one up. right now i'm at a 230gr tc with 5.0 gr unique loaded as long as it'll go and still get stuffed into the mag. I think I can go down to 4.7 or so, but haven't played with it enough yet. alliants website says 5.0 gr w/ a 230gr bullet will do 790 fps, but I don't believe it.

    they list 5.0 as the max for the target load, but my gun definately will not cycle 4.5 gr

    ps 5.0 gr according to their data, runs 11,800 PSI factory ball looks to run right about 16,000 PSI, so your definately easing off on pressure here.

    UPDATE- COLOR ME HUMBLE! your thread got me thinking- so i've been spending the last couple hours seeing how low my gun will cycle. I'm at 4.5 gr and still cycling fine. I have 4.3 and 4.1 gr loaded and am about to go try them

    4.5 is the listed minimum- I do not advocate going outside the realm of published load data unless you fully understand the risks and take responsibility for your own actions.

    I'll report back with findings.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2008
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Put a Wilson Shok-Buff washer in it.

    If it will still eject, it will save the frame for any impact damage that might eventually crack it.

    Sometimes, a stock ejector won't work reliably because of the slightly shorter slide travel, but it's worth a try.

    If you wanted to use them and your GI ejector doesn't work, it's a pretty simple matter to put an extended ejector in it.

  7. jr_roosa

    jr_roosa Well-Known Member

    Somewhat unreliable feeding is something I'll tolearte to a point.

    If it won't cycle far enough back to hit the ejector, I guess that would really fit the bill for a load that would protect the slide and frame, huh?

    I am concerened about bullets not leaving the barrel (well, more concerned with the bullet AFTER the one that doesn't leave the barrel), but I get the sense that comes from no powder in the case, not low charges. Am I wrong on that? I definitely would be on the lookout for squibs no matter what, even with factory loads.

  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    No, a squib can just as easily be due to a very low powder charge as to no charge at all.

  9. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Well-Known Member

    4.5 seems to be the minimum. under that and tons of unburned powder and failure to eject cases. Enjoy!
  10. jr_roosa

    jr_roosa Well-Known Member

    Well it sounds like I have a good starting point.

    Thanks for your help everybody.

  11. jr_roosa

    jr_roosa Well-Known Member

    Hey, that post made me a senior member.

    If that's not scary, I don't know what is.

  12. Wilburt

    Wilburt Well-Known Member

    I recomend that too. i put one in my kimber when trying very light loads. The only thing is that i have to use the slide release button.... not enough travel to rack the slide back to chamber the fresh round.
  13. Khornet

    Khornet Well-Known Member

    With 185 or 200 gr

    lead bullets, I've shot thousands of loads with Bullsye 3.4 gr with no problem and great accuracy. I had to put a lighter spring in, but no biggie.

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