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.45 ACP bullet weight starting point

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by M-14, Aug 22, 2020.

  1. M-14

    M-14 Member

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    A wide open question I know. I have owned a 1911 for a very long time but never shot it much and always with ball 230's.

    I have slowly collected things to reload it finally and am trying to decide on bullet weight to start with, I was thinking 200gr..Any thoughts, and why?
     
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  2. mcb

    mcb Member

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    230 gr has always been the "classic" 45 ACP load for the 1911. I would start there. Move down to 200 or 185 if you want but its hard to beat the good-old 230 gr.

    If your 1911 has fixed sights then it will likely be regulated for the 230 gr bullet. Hard to beat the 230gr RN for reliable feeding in any 1911.
     
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  3. Erief0g
    • Contributing Member

    Erief0g Contributing Member

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    I've used 185 buttons from Missouri bullet. Extreme 200gr swc. And regular ball projectiles.

    What to start with is a tough one. I only fire them from my sig 1911 full size.

    Feeding issues with your gun will indicate the best bullet for you vs your frustration level.

    Make sure you load dummy rounds. A step further from my problems with the extreme bullets was feed issues on first two or three rounds with a full mag only. So a full mag of dummy rounds or add enough ball ammo to simulate.

    Also if you have feeding issues pay attention to oal.
    Many will say when seating just a thumbnail thickness above the shoulder is good to go. This held true for the incredibly accurate and affordable 185 hitek mbc pills. With the extreme bullets I had to seat them much longer for feeding which felt opposite of what I original thought.
     
  4. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    I like 230gr in 45. Just feels better to me. It’s kinda fun to shoot light 185’s but I probably won’t buy more
     
  5. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I've been a 230grn full-house .45 guy for 35 years... but my tune has changed a bit since I went to 4" pistols, and, particularly, an alloy version. My new favorite is 200grn bullets in the 900fps'ish range. If all you are doing is poking paper or tin cans, it doesn't really make any difference.
     
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  6. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I would add... hard to beat a 200grn RN as well, the bullet OAL difference is minimal. The only place I got into trouble was with the 200grn SWC's, one pistol in particular didn't feed those very well, and my Kahr CW45 not at all.
     
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  7. drband

    drband Member

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    I use my 1911 govt model for range plinking. I started with 230gr plated, but now I use 200gr coated LSWCs exclusively. about 750fps, and they make nice round holes in paper targets! Recoil is light.
     
  8. M-14

    M-14 Member

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    I hadn't thought of the fixed sight thing, but I have low profile adjustable. It is full size and all my mags are real GI taper, and I don't really have any need or interest in anything other than RN.
     
  9. Erief0g
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    Erief0g Contributing Member

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    I only went to the swc so that when punching paper the holes were perfect and I could see groups better. The ball ammo tore the paper to much and the ragged holes made it tougher to see.

    If only looking for round nose the 230 ball is a nice go to. I usually keep 2000 on hand and load up with bullseye in varying grains depending on the shoot.
     
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  10. forty_caliber

    forty_caliber Member

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    I run 230gr JHP's for defensive rounds in my EDC, and 230gr LRN or FMJ for practice ammo. 185gr in the .45 Super for speed. I can push them to around 1400fps in that chambering.

    Kind of depends on your use case. Are you just plinking, competing, or looking for EDC loads?

    .40
     
  11. Texas10mm

    Texas10mm member

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    95% of the ammo run through my 45 pistols is a 200 gr SWC over 3.6 gr Clays.

    It's a nice soft shooting load and very accurate.

    I did shoot some 230 gr Hornady XTP over 6.6 gr CFE Pistol yesterday. Those were quite the handful out of a LW Commander.
     
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  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Wanna make it go bang and have fun? any 200 to 230 Gr bullet.

    Want really accurate? 200 Gr SWC (Lots of options) or 185 Gr JHP (Nosler or Zero)

    I've tried all kinds of things, most would out shoot me.

    6 .45 Crimps Pic 1.JPG
     
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  13. Otto

    Otto Member

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    200 grain what? SWC, RN, HP, RS? Lead, plated, jacketed, coated? Specifics matter.
     
  14. Project355

    Project355 Member

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    If you are just interested in making holes in paper or things headed to the junk pile anyway, I suggest getting what's least expensive, and available, in today's market.

    The 45ACP was designed for a 230g RN bullet, so you can't go "wrong" with that. There used to be some heavier stuff out there, and there's always the lighter bullets as well. We used to cast, load and sell hundred of thousands 200g SWC yearly at the range years ago. Was our 2nd best seller (behind 38sp). We used 231 for powder and got about 800fps out them, which seemed to cycle everything and made for an enjoyable shoot. Very few complaints about those. Actually, only 9mm had complaints... and eventually we fixed that. But that's another story.

    Let me go a step further. One thing to look at is slide velocity. You'll have to run the numbers, but the principle of Conservation of Momentum applies. That is, the bullet weight, the charge weight, half the recoil spring weight x the velocity of the bullet will equal the velocity of the slide + barrel x their weight.

    Momentum is simply mass (weight, here on earth) x velocity. So run the numbers for the momentum of a 230 grain bullet at 860fps, and try to keep the momentum of lighter bullets at, or perhaps slightly under, that figure, and you'll do ok as far as cycling, wear, overall shooting is concerned. When I mentioned spring weight, I'm speaking about its physical weight, not its "stiffness". Light bullets leave the barrel sooner (faster bullet) so the effect is for lighter bullets to shoot lower by a bit, but usually someone who's reloading has the mental ability to apply compensation... ;)

    Within a fairly wide range of limits, the 45acp is actually pretty forgiving, if the pistol is more or less stock. Bullseye shooters, race gun shooters have specialized weapons, and that calls for specialized loads. You didn't really specify.
     
  15. mdi

    mdi Member

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    When someone is starting to reload a new to them cartridge, I often suggest they start with a classic, tried and true load. For a 45 ACP that would be a 230 gr FMJ or cast RN over a load of Bullseye for about 800 fps (or find an equivalent load with another powder in his reloading manual). One doesn't have to stay with this load very long, just long enough to figger out the finer points of loading for a specific cartridge and the 45 ACP has been reloaded 8.41 BIZILLION times and all problems have been worked out and solutions are easy to find...
     
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  16. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    I have a Lee 230-grain Mould, the tumble lube design. Nowadays I powder coat the bullets and that's about all I shoot.
     
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  17. dcarr

    dcarr Member

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    Been shooting 230gr rn (mostly Berry) in 45acp last 2 years. Have a Blackhawk with convertable cylinder so different set of problems than your 1911. Could not find anything other than 230 rn to fit the cylinder. That said I checked my log , I've tried a few different powders and they all did well after I tinkered with the load some. Tightgroup, trailboss, cfe, clean shot, hs-6,clay, universal. Love to shoot and reload the 45acp and 45 colt for that matter, leave nice big holes I can see , if a bit ragged. In amongst my .45acp brass I have both those needing small pistol and those needing large pistol primers so gives me some supply lattitude.
     
  18. rg1

    rg1 Member

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    The 185 gr. weight with my Colt's have caused a few short strokes and failure to feed the next round? Possibly my loads or spring rates too strong and not holding the pistol tight enough.. I'd stay with 230 grain bullets or 200 gr. but not 185's.
     
  19. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    All I shoot any more is 185gr or 200gr LSWC from MBC 12bhn. I use WST 4.1-4.2gr gives around 675 fps. Just punching holes in paper.
     
  20. M-14

    M-14 Member

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    You must have missed this one.

     
  21. M-14

    M-14 Member

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    From what I have seen here, it has confirmed my suspicions that 200gr will be fine, and 185's might be problematic all depending of course. I just ordered 500 200gr RNCP to start out with. Thanks.
     
  22. M-14

    M-14 Member

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    I have a pretty good supply of Blazer Brass to "unload" and they use small primers, so when I ordered some brass, I got all small. Plus it's one less primer to buy.
    I have used Berrys and was quite satisfied with them, but X-Treme has been really good to me, not to say me in particular, I'm sure they are for everyone. But anyway they are my "go to" until I have to look elsewhere.
     
  23. DukeConnor

    DukeConnor Member

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    I cast 200 grain semi wadcutters. 200 is 30 grains less lead and the paper doesn't know the difference.
     
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  24. mdi

    mdi Member

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    Hmmm. M-14's post reminded me I'm running low on large pistol primers and haven't seen any at the local vendors. But I do have 200 small primed 45 ACP cases I bought for an experiment I did a few years ago and I have plenty of small pistol primers on hand. I batch load so I normally process some cases up to priming and store them waiting for a powder charge and bullet so I have about 200 primed and ready 45 ACP LP cases in the cabinet. I'll be OK for quite a while...

    I cast most of my handgun bullets and do like my Lee 200 gr SWC with standard lube grooves and it shoots quite well in guns that will feed it 100%, but my Ruger P90 chokes on them about 25% of the time. The SWC feeds good in my 1911 and HP carbine and is accurate with a variety of loads from mild to near max of a few different powders...

    (this isn't counting my "Just in Case" stash; I keep about 1,000 rounds of my JIC loads on hand, a 230 gr FMJ over a classic charge of Bullseye for about 850 fps. It feeds and fires flawlessly in all my 45 ACP guns)
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2020
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  25. BWS

    BWS Member

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    My commander(avatar) dotes on the Lyman 452488 195g,and 3.5g of 700X loaded and tuned to a slight "jam" on OAL. Out to almost 50 yds,if you don't hit exactly where it's pointed,it isn't the gun/load.

    My two 5" Colts prefer the #68 H&G 200 with 5g 231. They're good to 75yds,on clay pigeons thrown up on the berm.Revolvers take over on higher end loads.

    Carried the commander today on a hike/hunt,and with it's "X" killing accuracy didn't feel the least bit undergunned for short range varmint action.
     
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