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Old December 18, 2014, 01:34 PM   #1
tbui127
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Need help on first reload

Hello Everyone,

I was able to get a couple of # of titegroup and winchester large pistol primers, so I am going to begin my first reload. I have the Hornady Lock and Load AP press set up already. Tumbled, Deprimed, Resized, and Primed 200 45 ACP brass yesterday to get everything going.

I will be shooting my Remington R1 1911 and Glock 36 (45ACP)

Hornady 185 Grain HP/XTP will be arriving today as part of the Press' Rebate.

Based on the Hornady's Reloading Manual, the load data is as follow

5.5g-6.1gr with 1.213 COL

Hodgdon's Website said starting load is 5.0 gr and max is 5.5 gr with 1.135 COL

I am looking for guidance and suggestions on my first load.
Which data should I use?
what should my COL be?
the brass have different head stamps. will that be a problem?

Thank you in advance

Last edited by tbui127; December 18, 2014 at 01:40 PM.
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Old December 18, 2014, 01:56 PM   #2
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Good for you!

You have brought back memories from oh so long ago. I was so nervous and there was no such thing as an "internet" to get the tremendous amount of assistance you will receive from this group. I've never seen anything but high end professional assistance from this site. However, the old way is still, I believe, a very safe and reliable way. I bought three different reloading sources and compared them to each other. Start low and work up. For about $100 you get reliable chronograph results and paper targets are cheep. This data gets compared to what's here and in your books. When I hit the thing I was shooting at with the first bullet I reloaded, I was ecstatic for a week. The only bad-ish thing is the addiction that follows. You may want to consider a part time job.
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Old December 18, 2014, 01:59 PM   #3
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Make a dummy round and set OAL. Then do a plunk test to confirm reliable feeding.


Start low and work up on your powder charges. Make say 5 each using Hodgon data (since it's the lower end) increasing in .2gr increments and make up to 3 different charges to test. Example 5 each at 5.0gr, 5each at 5.2gr, etc. Remember to confirm charge weights, constancy in powder drops, and look for pressure signs when actually testing.

Head stamps may have different volumes because of case thickness etc. however if you start low and work up the small variance should not cause you any problems. Remember work up the load, double check charge weights and plunk test.

If the dummy round doesn't fit well then double check crimp to insure there is enough and not to much that it bulges the case below the crimp.
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Old December 18, 2014, 02:18 PM   #4
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Start low before you move up the ladder..
Triple check the charge you're dropping versus the data.
Plunk like above, to make sure your OAL is peachy.
Fire away.
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Old December 18, 2014, 02:28 PM   #5
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Different head stamps won't be noticeable when shooting, with a low-pressure round like the .45 auto. You may notice a difference in seating your primers. You've already primed, but in the future you will need to check range pick-up for small primer pockets; not all .45 auto are made for large primers. I'd try each published length and load a few rounds starting at the start load and laddering up, to see what your guns like and what shoots best for you. Good luck, have fun and stay safe.
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Old December 18, 2014, 02:46 PM   #6
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Jes a couple thoughts. I would start with the lightest load, and load to the longest OAL for the particular bullet you're using. Seat to chosen OAL, then "plunk test" a bunch, mebbe some dummies. If you're not getting a good "plunk" and proper depth, decrease OAL. Use just enough taper crimp to straighten out the flare (I use a taper crimp die to "de-flare" only, no "crimp").

When I start reloading for a new-to-me cartridge, I usually go with tried and true data. For instance my first 45 ACP reloads were with 230 gr. FMJ bullets over Bullseye. Bizillions of rounds using these components have been reloaded and all problems worked out and info readily available. When I got reloading "classic" 45 ACP ammo down pat, which doesn't take long, I went to alternate components (195 LSWC, 200 gr. LSWC, light JHP, different powders and primers, etc.). Worked quite well for me as the quirks for the particular cartridge have become familiar...
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Old December 18, 2014, 03:23 PM   #7
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The Hodgdon 185gr load data is for a JSWC bullet, not a XTP bullet. I doubt you could use that OAL without pushing an XTP bullet into the case.

In general, I like to load as long as I can and still insure totally reliable feed but remember, it's a good practice to try and have at least a caliber length in the case mouth. (I hope I explained that well enough) Like said above, the "plunk test" is your guide. IMO if you have the bullet manufacturers load data for their bullet, that is the best data to use. Hornady tested their bullet with that data and in this case, the powder manufacturers load data is not a good choice because the bullets are not the same profile.
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Old December 18, 2014, 03:50 PM   #8
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I found out yesterday that some of the 45 brass had small primers. Kinda messed me up a little bit but I bounced back from it

Correct me if I'm wrong, a plunk test with a dummy round is when I put a dummy round that is already seated but not tapered into the barrel of my guns and if the rim is flushed or a little bit under the top end of the barrel without the bullet touching the rifling area then its a good OAL round?

Before the plunk test i have to set the COL to 1.213 per the hornady's reloading manual? And if the plunk test is not good, i'll have to slightly decrease the COL but reseating the bullet?. once the COL and plunk test is good that's when I'll taper crimp the round correct?

So should I use hornady's load data for their bullets then? if so ill be loading

5 rounds of 5.5 grains start with 1.213 col
5 rounds of 5.7 grains start with 1.213 col
5 rounds of 5.9 grains start with 1.213 col and decrease col if needed per the plunk test.

I just took the barrel out of the 1911 and put a brass in. is a fully loaded round suppose to chamber like this?



Sorry for all the small questions. I just want to make sure that im 100% getting this as this is a critical step.

Last edited by tbui127; December 18, 2014 at 04:08 PM.
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Old December 18, 2014, 04:03 PM   #9
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Not sure what you mean tapered. Oh crimp, I got you. Yes, go ahead and crimp...do everything that you're going to do when you actually load them, except powder/primer for the plunk test.

And yes on the flushish being a good sign...


I just look for this primarily though--if you turn the barrel upside down and it falls out of the barrel no problem? Then you're good to go.
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Old December 18, 2014, 04:03 PM   #10
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That's the right approach, start low and work up. I normally step at 0.1 gr on pistol charges, due to the narrow load range. I load 10 each, start shooting the low and step up after you examine the brass for indication of high pressure. I don't think you will see any on a low pressure round like the 45acp.

If you end up with a shorter OAL due to the way your leads are cut in your barrel your max will be lower. Since you have 2 guns check in each. Then fit to the tighter one.
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Old December 18, 2014, 05:57 PM   #11
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And dont get something that Im known to get sometimes-Analysis paralysis, dont get to caught up on every little thing. Important to be careful, Im not saying dont be. But you're probably safe if the primer is in correctly, you have the right charge, and your neck tension is sufficient (bench test).

Im in no way trying to say you are, but worrying about the appropriate taper crimp for 3 days (like I did) is really not getting you anywhere, and probably doesnt mean much in regards to your safety, if you get my drift.
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Old December 18, 2014, 08:02 PM   #12
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I think you will find the Hornady OAL to put the bullet about as deep as it can go. Still, it is a good idea to do the plunk test just to make sure.

Notice the Hodgdon OAL is much shorter, hence the lower powder charge as well. A longer OAL results in less pressure, so the powder charge can usually go a little higher.

Your ladder load idea looks good, but I would start a little lower since there is a disparity between the load data you referenced. I would start at 5.3.

About the only pressure signs you can get with 45acp brass is low pressure. If the side of the casings come out very black, that would indicate too low a pressure since the brass did not expand to form a gas seal. The best indication for high pressure would be to observe how far the brass is ejected. Use the distance of factory loads as a baseline.

I started out reloading months before I bought a chronograph. I can't imagine working up new loads now without one. If you don't have one, buy one. I think it would be the best $100 you can spend for your reloading hobby. I always go to try my ladder loads with a max velocity to expect. I never exceed that number.

Good luck!

Last edited by Toprudder; December 20, 2014 at 12:07 AM.
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Old December 18, 2014, 08:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
And dont get something that Im known to get sometimes-Analysis paralysis, dont get to caught up on every little thing. Important to be careful, Im not saying dont be. But you're probably safe if the primer is in correctly, you have the right charge, and your neck tension is sufficient (bench test).

Im in no way trying to say you are, but worrying about the appropriate taper crimp for 3 days (like I did) is really not getting you anywhere, and probably doesnt mean much in regards to your safety, if you get my drift.
I'm with Potatohead on this one. Safety is important but don't over think it. Cover your bases and proceed.
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Old December 18, 2014, 11:09 PM   #14
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I loaded 30 rounds tonight. COL 1.213

10 rounds with 5.3gr
10 rounds with 5.5gr
10 rounds with 5.7gr.

two rounds didn't pass the plunk test. the two rounds were a tight fit even tough it was a little bit under the flush portion of the barrel. What could be the reason? i tried to crimp it a little more but it didnt work.

i loaded all 30 rounds in my glock 36 and they all fed and ejected fine

Ill look into the chronograph, what do you recommend?


Last edited by tbui127; December 18, 2014 at 11:44 PM.
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Old December 18, 2014, 11:39 PM   #15
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I just took the barrel out of the 1911 and put a brass in. is a fully loaded round suppose to chamber like this?
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=506678
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Old December 18, 2014, 11:52 PM   #16
tbui127
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Originally Posted by Walkalong View Post
Thanks! Helped out a lot. Learned something new everyday.
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Old December 19, 2014, 01:19 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by tbui127 View Post
Ill look into the chronograph, what do you recommend?
I have a Caldwell and love it. If you have a smartphone that is compatible with it, that is what I recommend.
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Old December 19, 2014, 10:07 AM   #18
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Just out of curiosity what did your inspection of the cases and recoil tell you about the loads? Having all 30 feed and function fine is at least half the battle and congrats!
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Old December 19, 2014, 10:32 PM   #19
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Went to the range today. I think it was a success. Shot at 10-15 yards with my 1911. Below are the results. I was scared to shoot the rounds at first but happy that everything turned out fine.

5.3 grains


5.5 grains


5.7 grains



What are your thoughts? How do I know which is good for my gun? It seems like 5.7 is accurate. should I go up to 5.9 then 6.1 which is the max load or stick with 5.7?
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Old December 19, 2014, 10:43 PM   #20
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Kind of hard to tell in the pics...a lot of subjectivity and variables involved with all of this so no magical formulas will give you a concrete answer every time.

But As you do it more and more, you end up getting a sense of when you're really onto something. That's just my opinion.
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Old December 19, 2014, 10:51 PM   #21
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The crimp was the hardest part for me initially. Invest in digital calipers and confirm the brass moiuths are .469 to .471 with the bullet seated. Make a few dummy cartridges and give them the afore mentioned plunk tests.

The real story is that you acquired tight group powder. May the rest of your reloading experiences be so lucky.


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Old December 19, 2014, 11:11 PM   #22
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The trend I'M seeing is tighter groups w/higher charge weight, but (and this is important) if you shot the lower charge weight rounds first, your marksmanship might have improved as you were "warming up" to shooting, and the tighter groups might be MORE related to that, than to the charge weights. If you are well and truly certain that "warming up" was not a big factor, I'D say you might try pushing it a little harder. Can you increase your powder charge in increments of 0.1 grain? As you approach maximum charges, it's
prudent to get there as gradually as possible.

Did your reloads seem to burn more cleanly as charge weight increased? Titegroup MAY burn cleanly enough that you won't notice a trend. I've never used it.
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Old December 19, 2014, 11:57 PM   #23
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@Potatohead, you're right, I'll just have to keep shooting and see if things will turn out. I'm sure i'll be able to be able to understand my reloads better the more I shoot.

@edfardos, .469 to .471 after the bullet is seated and crimped? or just seated alone?

@Kosh75287, I shot my ar15 and 9mm before I shot my reloads so I guess I was a little warmed up. I tried to keep a steady aim on the same sight picture with the 30 reloads. The first one was bad, but then the shotgroup got tighter. My friend did say he felt a better kick with the 5.7 grain reloads. He said it was a difference between the 5.5 and 5.7.

As far as to check how well the reloads burn, do I just compare the brass and see which is cleaner?

Last edited by tbui127; December 20, 2014 at 12:04 AM.
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Old December 20, 2014, 12:50 PM   #24
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Like someone was getting at above, ejection and recoil are good indicators if things are going well IMO. (and of course if the little holes in the target are appearing close to your POA )
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Old December 20, 2014, 02:25 PM   #25
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If you want to fine tune for accuracy. Shoot your gun using a rest to get the best grouping you can. Then pick the best and shoot 0.1gr to each side of it. Then reevaluate which is the best load. Some guns are sensitive to OAL and some not.

My custom 1911 with a Kart barrel will shoot 1" groups at 25 yrds with the right loads. This is with LSWC and WST low BE loads. The best I have got so far out of plated is 1" groups at 10 yrds. They are just no where as accurate as the LSWC are. I'm still playing with the charge and powders trying to find that magic spot. I can get good groups using XTP but those are too expensive for normal practice.
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