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45 ACP Minimum overall length?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by luxone, Dec 27, 2003.

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  1. luxone

    luxone Member

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    I just started reloading last night. I am wondering if there is a minimum overall length for .45 ACP. My Speer manual only gives an over all length of 1.275. When I press mine to 1.275 they won't eject when I try and cycle them through my gun, they get hung up between the breech face and the opening. I have to take them down to a length of approximately 1.225 to get them to eject freely. I am using Hornaday XTP .230 Grain, hollow point bullets. Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    When the rounds get short like that, I would get really really worried about pressures.

    If it were me, and I decided that 1.225 was the lenght I wanted, I would load up some very very light loads (like 5 rounds) and then work my way up in about .1 grn increments till I achieved standard velocities for the bullet weight.

    To me, 1.225 is just way to short. I can load to 1.275 on my Baer PII with no problems in ejection or extraction of live rounds. 1.272 is max on my CZ97B only because the bullet hits the leade.

    Can you try it again and just be sure???????
     
  3. Arub

    Arub Member

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    Some of the popular priced ammo (S&B and Winchester USA) measure out at 1.260 OAL. What powder are you loading? Alliant specs down to 1.230 for a 230/JHP. You may want to swap powder if what you are loading specs out 1.275 and your pistol can't digest it. 1.275" does seem on the long side.
     
  4. luxone

    luxone Member

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    Thanks for the help so far. I am using Unique.
     
  5. luxone

    luxone Member

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    I see that the Alliant website shows a minimum overall length of 1.230 w/ a 6.4 grain charge weight. I am only using a 5.6 grain charge weight and getting an OAL of 1.225. Do you think I can get away with a little less length since I have a lighter load?
    Thanks
     
  6. Dave R

    Dave R Member

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    Different bullets have different shapes. The Speer manual only gives you the correct lengths for Speer bullets. You need another source for proper length for the the Hornaday bullets.

    Sounds like the Hornaday is "blunter" and therefore can be loaded shorter.

    You might try measuring how far the Speer bullet goes into the case at proper length. Then measure "backward" on the XTP and see what the overall length would be with the same amount of bullet in the case.

    I have no idea if that's "proper procedure" or not, but it seems to me it would prevent an over-pressure situation from having too much bullet in the case.
     
  7. 308win

    308win Member

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    Luxone - At the risk of stating the obvious, your overall length may cause hangups on ejection of unfired rounds but you shouldn't have any problem with expended rounds. I would be leery of OAL under spec as you are reducing the effective case volume which should result in increased pressures especially with the faster powders such as Unique.
     
  8. stans

    stans Member

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    Unfired rounds can get caught in the ejection port when using an extended ejector. Often, what occurs, is the round hits the ejector before the tip of the bullet has cleared the barrel hood. Also, some slides have ejection ports that are bit shorter than others. OAL should not exceed the maximum published and needs to be adjusted so that rounds fit properly in the magazines and feed reliably.
     
  9. 45Badger

    45Badger Member

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    "When I press mine to 1.275 they won't eject when I try and cycle them through my gun, they get hung up between the breech face and the opening. I have to take them down to a length of approximately 1.225 to get them to eject freely. I am using Hornaday XTP .230 Grain, hollow point bullets. "

    1.225" seems short, but I don't think this is necessarily a problem. 1.275" typically is length for 230 gr. FMJ. MANY other bullet shapes give lower OALs.

    Can't tell from your post - Have you tried firing these rounds? How do they feed/cycle "live"? What gun are you shooting them in?

    IF it's a 1911, it's pretty hard to accurately simulate force and speed of slide movement back in recoil, and forward under spring pressure. You may want to assemble gun without recoil spring, and slowly and smoothly cycle slide. You'll be better able see and feel any hangups in feeding, extraction, and ejection.

    I had Gold Cup with a Wilson barrel that was a "finicky eater" and had a hell of a time getting a light bullseye load worked up to feed, shoot accurately, extract, and eject reliable. Somebody suggested making up 5 dummy rounds of different OALs and cycling through "springless" gun. Worked like a charm.


    Good luck.
     
  10. Paul "Fitz" Jones

    Paul "Fitz" Jones Moderator - Emeritus

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    Minimum Length

    My minimum OAL is determined by reliable feeding of the bullet used. A 180 grain .45acp California Saeco #451 bullet is really short but feeds reliably in my Colt Gold Cup.
    There is only one place for the bullet to be to be taper crimped.
     
  11. Desert Dog

    Desert Dog Member

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    You are fine. I load Hornady 230 XTP's to 1.21" OAL. XTP's have a flat short FP profile.

    Now, if you are pushing 230 FMJ's to 1.225" then I would be worried...
     
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