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Excellent metering powders for 45ACP

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by civilian75, Feb 15, 2011.

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  1. civilian75

    civilian75 Member

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    Summary
    Need help finding an accurate load for 45ACP. In this thread I want to focus on metering, but keeping in perspective the ultimate goal: accuracy. In this thread, my goal is:
    - Develop a good working metering definition for “excellent” v. “ok” v. “crappy”
    - Find what is the best metering powder for 45ACP that will, in order of priority:
    o yield excellent accuracy;
    o be reliable,
    o clean,
    o cost effective, and
    o accessible

    Background: this is the boring part about myself and where I come from. You are welcome to skip it. I have been reloading for just over 2 years. I started wwith rifle calibers (308Win, 7.62x39, 7.62x54R, 223Rem, and 45-70). About 6 months ago, I took up my first handgun caliber, 357Magnum, and most recently, 45ACP. I never paid too much attention to metering. I always weighted all my loads. But now, for 45ACP, I see that the next step will soon be a progressive press. Metering now comes to the forefront.

    Objective: I want to work up loads for medium loads for target practicing and a bit hotter for matches. I am not into matches, yet, but I expect to get involved before the end of this year. I am already involved in silhouette lever action rifle matches.

    Platform: full size 1911 or a P220. I do not yet know much about match rules, etc, so I want to keep my options open. I own a milspec 1911 and this year I will buy another 45ACP, depending on the applicable match rules. But that is not the topic of this discussion. Emphasis is on full size, ~5in bbl, and probably a modern design auto-loader.

    Bullets: right now I am working with Hornady 230gr HAP, but I am flexible. Yet, for the purpose of this discussion, let’s stick to 200-230gr copper jacketed bullets. I will probably load 200gr for target practice, and 230gr for matches, at least until I know better.

    Powder measure: RCBS uniflow
    Press: RCBS single stage

    Metering success criteria: I can get data about a powder metering in either of two ways: aks your opinion, of buy a bunch of 1lb jugs and start metering. But, before I go off doing anything, I need to develop a success criteria. For starters, I will just ask for your opinion. This is what I think a good metering criteria could be, based on a 5.0gr nominal load:
    - excellent: meters 5.0gr 90% of the time, 5% 4.9gr, and 5% 5.1
    - ok: meters 5.0gr 80% of the time, +/- 0.1gr 15% of the time, and +/- 0.2gr 5% of the time
    - mediocre: everything else.
    What do I want to know from you:
    1. Is this criteria sound? If not, what critera do you suggest?
    2. Am I over rationalizing the metering issue? If yes, then, explain.

    Best metering powders: This is short list of powders I’ve seen other people. This is what I would like you to do: first, rate the powder metering using the criteria above. If you do not agree with the criteria, provide the criteria you used. Second, rank the powders in terms of accuracy, staring with “1” as the most accurate and so on. Accuracy ranking must be relevant to the bullets I am targeting (read above). If you do not have experience with a powder, just skip it.
    Powders:
    Universal Clays
    Bullseye
    HS-6
    W231
    WST
    Power Pistol
    VV340
    VV350
    Titegroup

    Post example #1:
    Post example #2:
    Post example #3:

    In summary, let me know what you think about my metering assessing criteria and about the powders you have used for 45ACP reloading. Sorry for the long post. :)
    Thanks
    Civvy
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Try some proven powders and test on target. Forget about metering etc. The proof is on the target. If you find a couple of extremely accurate loads and one powder meters better, by all means use it if that matter to you. Same thing for cleaner.
     
  3. smurf hunter

    smurf hunter Member

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    Since you seem technically inclined, I should point out that metering variations are largely dependent on density of the powder.

    For example, with my .357mag loads I've recently started using Trail Boss for cowboy plinking loads. It's so "fluffy", that you can visually notice a few 0.10 grains. Even with its odd donut shape, this attribute makes it meter very well, because the net variation in weight is really tight.

    On the other hand I've used dense ball powders like AutoComp. This meters well mechanically, BUT with a mediocre powder measure system, subtle things like humidity or static electricity can cause +/-0.10 grain variations.

    That's not the end of the world, but if I'm at or near a max charge with a JHP, that could be pushing my luck.

    Weight is what the recipe calls for. Establish a system for powder measuring that gets you a consistently weighted charge.
     
  4. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    AA#2. The best metering powder I have ever used in pistols. It also is the powder used in my best 45acp load, that will shoot 1 ragged hole groups out to 15 yards easy.
     
  5. altitude_19

    altitude_19 Member

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    Accurate #2 for me as well. I don't use the same bullets, but my #2 loads are VERY consistent (many within 2 FPS of eachother) and it's pretty easy to clean even after a couple hundred rounds. It's has a nice smoooooth flow to it.
     
  6. traveling1253

    traveling1253 Member

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    Hodgdon HP-38 and Ramshot True Blue both meter dead-on every single throw through my Uniflow after initial charge setting. Hodgdon Longshot meters pretty good, I usually weigh every tenth charge on a RCBS 5-0-5 and when using Longshot the needle may not be dead-on zero but it will be less than .1gr either way. Only three powders I have used so far.
     
  7. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I have used other powders for various reasons but if good metering is a major criterion, I have not found anything to beat Win 231/HP-38 (same stuff.) AA #2 and WST are as good, but not better.

    Any of these ball process powders will serve you well with good accuracy as well as good metering if IF IF you are shooting IPSC(USPSA) or IDPA and must make a power factor of around 90% of factory.
    If you are to be shooting midrange type ammo at Bullseye or Steel, then uniform metering on the bench comes in second to uniform burning in the gun. For such as that, look at Clays, Solo 1000, or good old Bullseye. Flake powders may not run as well through the measure but they will be adequate and will burn more consistently in the gun at light load levels.

    This does not make sense. Shoot the same weight bullet throughout. Your P220 will thank you for roundnose bullets and it sure won't hurt in a 1911. A 1911 will do well with semiwadcutters or can be made to if it is reluctant to start with.
     
  8. civilian75

    civilian75 Member

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    Thank you all. This is all good feedback, not exactly what I expected :p, but still very good feedback.

    I have not picked yet, but I am leaning towards PPC for a number of reasons. I have yet to find if PCC has any power factor rules so for now I'll assume it follows IPSC and IDPA rules.

    Understand that I started reloading rifle. I've ended up with a cabinet full of rifle powders, many of them I have no use for any more. I already had Titegroup so that's what I am working with for now. Does the job but I am not happy with the way it meters in my Uniflow, at least when I compare it to AA2400.

    AA#2 is not too easy to find locally, but Win231 is. I'd like to hear about VV powders. They are great with rifle but can't find locally. And I abhor :cuss: them HAZMAT fees! Bottom line, ordering VV must be well justified.

    My milspec SA1911A1 is not as accurate as I wished it'd be but it is reliable, with the right ammo and magazines, of course. Since I am hell bent on getting a P220 this year, I'll kill two birds with one stone.:D
     
  9. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    For plated or jacketed bullets, I use Power Pistol. In both my Hornady and RCBS Uniflow it throws right to the tenth probaby better than 95% of the time. It burns clean and gives good accuracy with the two bullets I have used it most with...Berry's plated 230 RN and Berry's plated 200 SWC....While I like a good metering powder, I also find that a tenth or two of a grain either way doesn't make any difference unless you are trying to load max loads and don't want to over charge. WIth that said, I use a lot of Unique, especially with cast bullets. Matter of fact, I've loaded 800 this week and was perfectly satisfied with how the powder metered.
     

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  10. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Your screen name indicates possiblity of a problem there.
    PPC is predominantly run by NRA these days. I don't know if the old Police Marksman's Association has much if any involvement any more.
    For all their gun rights efforts, they are rather PC and are opposed to American Commoners shooting at humanoid targets. They do not admit "civilians" to PPC competition. Maybe you have a local league that will let you shoot with the cops. If so, it is a fine and demanding event.
     
  11. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

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    +1. Ultimately, holes on target is the final judge.

    You want to hear something interesting? :D Years ago, for match powder, I started out with HS-6 and WSF, but what I found from other more seasoned match shooters is that unless you shoot Bullseye matches, your typical USPSA/IDPA match stages will benefit more from shaving time, not increasing accuracy.

    This may be contradictory but hear me out. USPSA "A" zone rectangle is about the size of 1/2 sheet of 8x11 copy paper. For average target setup distance of 7-15 yards, most powder/pistols are capable of hitting this target size with repeatable consistency. I moved to using W231/HP38 as my match powder because the faster burn allowed me to shoot faster double-taps and it produced very accurate loads. Titegroup is a popular match powder and some like it because it will use .2-.5 gr less per charge than W231/HP38 while making major/minor PF.

    For many USPSA/IDPA match shooters who have a lot of trigger time, ultimate accuracy is not that critical as cost of reloading as most powders in the Bullseye (fast) to HS-6 (slower) will produce "good enough" accuracy. If you find a powder/charge combo for your particular pistol/barrel/recoil spring setup you are happy with, then trigger time with deliberate stage practice is the primary thing that's going to improve your stage time and score. Of course, as Walkalong posted, you can only determine this by testing some powder/charge loads and shooting in your pistols.

    +1 with Jim's post. I try to duplicate my Montana Gold FMJ match loads with plated/lead loads using same weight bullets and powder charge that produces almost same POA/POI and felt recoil. This way, your practice time will directly transfer to match performance. I shot 40S&W 180/155 gr for USPSA matches and like you, currently thinking about shooting 200 gr 45ACP (I have a 4.5" M&P45 that is outshooting Glock 22 that I used for match shooting).


    5.0 gr of W231/HP38 with 200 gr LSWC produces consistent 1" shot groups at 7-15 yards out of various 1911s off hand. It cycles the slides reliably, it is fairly clean (but if you shoot several hundred rounds per practice/match session, you'll need to clean your pistol regardless), HP38 is reasonably cost effective at $108/8lbs at Powder Valley (Titegroup is $104/8lbs) and readily accessible.

    W231/HP38 meter very well. Perhaps you can start with one pound containers and see how you like the powder. If you want to do a comparison, I would suggest Titegroup and WST.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
  12. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

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    It will be hard to beat W231/HP38 for medium target loads.

    I would suggest Montana Gold 200-230 gr FMJ RN with lead base for match grade bullet. The lead base obturate better and produces more consistent chamber pressure for more accurate loads. If you do some forum searching, you'll find that 200 gr lead SWC is a proven accurate bullet.
     
  13. JoeDaddy

    JoeDaddy Member

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    In 45 ACP I have used unique, bullseye, powerpistol, blue dot, 231/HP38 and titegroup. In my Lyman measure, in order of metering consistency:
    BEST:
    1. Bullseye
    2. Powerpistol
    3,4 231/HP38 and Titegroup
    5,6 Unique and Bluedot

    1-4 are all very good and should meet your needs, with the exception of titegroup, in that it is very dense and will fill a case about 1/3 full of powder. This should not be an issue with single stage loading, but I'd be a little uncomfortable with it in a progressive (personally).

    Cleanliness:
    1. Titegroup
    2. Powerpistol
    3. Bullseye
    4. HP38/231
    5. Bluedot
    6. Unique

    Titegroup by far is the cleanest of these powders in my loadings and pistol.

    But I agree with the other posters that accuracy probably has many other factors associated with it. Titegroup seems to give the least amount of felt recoil of all the powders I have tried, but my favorite powder to load is bullseye in 45ACP.
     
  14. CZ57

    CZ57 member

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    A powder very much like 231 but cleaner burning and great metering is Ramshot ZIP. Sierra used it to develop their most accurate load with the 200 gr. FPJ.;)
     
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I agree. Zip shoots great at really low velocities in .45.

    When I tested powders with lead in .45 ACP years ago, nothing out shot W-231. Of course, there are more powders these days.


    W-231 & Zip. Interesting.

    Bullseye, AA #2, WST, W-231, Solo 1000, Zip, N310, N320. (In no particular order) If one of these doesn't shoot well for you, you have a problem.
     
  16. mnhntr

    mnhntr Member

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    I load and shoot alot of .45acp and so far my favorite two powders are A#5 and Tightgroup. I am trying some bullseye in the spring so I may change my mind but this is what I have found so far. I also use the RCBS uniflow.
     
  17. Cop Bob

    Cop Bob Member

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    For Target

    700-X is a good choice for clean and consistent target loads. it meters very well. Flake powder like unique and Bullseye. Little bit goes a long way, and more forgiving than Bullseye on pressures.
     
  18. pocketchange

    pocketchange Member

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    200gr LSWC, Bullseye (4.6g), CCI 300, w/OAL 1.2"
    Shoots well, cleans up easily, measures well enough with this lite a load to not create many problems and is a good starting point. OAL to be adjusted to suit your needs.
     
  19. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    700x is good for clean and accurate loads, but its the exact opposite of good metering. Its like running corn flakes through a powder measure. No comparison at all to a ball powder. Heck, there isnt even a comparison to it and bullseye, it meters way worse. Thats the reason most people get away from it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Yep, 700X is very clean, and does shoot well, but meters poorly. I do not worry about the poor metering since it shoots well. (And I picked up a 5 lb can for $50. It shot the best with lead in .44 Spl, so I jumped on that deal.)
     
  21. bloominonion

    bloominonion Member

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    I have been loading 6.0gn of Universal with 200gn Plated RN for my brother's Sig P220 Equinox.

    5.2 gn was good accuracy, poor cycling.
    5.6 gn was poor accuracy, good cycling.
    6.0 gn was great accuracy, reliable cycling.

    The Universal meters relatively well in the Lee Auto disk. Although I have noticed it meters better in the little disks than it does in the adjustable charge bar. I usually see a charge max variance of +- 0.2 gn with the adjustable bar, and +-0.1 with the disks. No clue why it differs like that.


    Also, I wanted to say that it would be cool to put a list of powders together with a survey ranking result (metering, rate of burn, accuracy, cleanliness) as a sticky or at least a ink to info like that for people who are newer to reloading. There seems to be very little to help a person choose their first powders. I know if I had better resources/options, I probably would have chosen differently. --sorry for the side topic...ish
     
  22. ralph2

    ralph2 Member

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    +1 aa #2
     
  23. MasterBlaster75

    MasterBlaster75 Member

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    Universal Clays is super accurate, meters perfectly(very small flake powder) and is very clean. It is very close to unique.
    I don't have a 45 but it is my fav handgun powder for 9mm and light 44 mag loads.
     
  24. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Metering? Metering?

    Why give a flip about how the powder meters? The first and foremost issue is how well does it shoot.

    If it shoots well, functions perfectly, that is all I need.

    I also chronograph the stuff. I like Bullseye, all my loads are thrown on a Dillion 550B. No weighing of individual charges for me. Set the measure based on an average of ten throws and I am off an loading.

    Now look at my data. Across a wide charge spread, all conducted in testing, just look how tight the SD and ES are with Bullseye. Almost rifle quality.

    That is something I like. A powder that is not sensitive to powder charge.

    Also one that gives the mechanism a quick hard kick, with pressure dropping rapidly at unlock. That way my gun is not subjected to frame peening from a slide going back too fast. Had that happen once. My new Colt Combat Elite was improperly manufacturered. Unlock occurred too early in the pressure cycle and that fast moving slide peened the frame out.

    W231 is also a good choice.

    Metering? People who worry about metering have too much time on their hands. :neener:


    Code:
    [SIZE="3"]Kimber Custom Classic M1911
    
    230 LFN Bull-X 3.5 grs Bullseye Mixed Brass WLP		
    OAL 1.20"	taper crimp .469"
    8-Jan-06	T = 61 °F
    Ave Vel =	643.6				
    Std Dev =	14.07			
    ES =	63.63			
    High = 	679.9		 		
    Low =	616.3				
    N =	32				 
          shot a little high Pistol cycled each shot
    
    
    
    230 LFN Bull-X 4.0 grs Bullseye Mixed Brass WLP		
    		
    OAL 1.20"	taper crimp .469"
    8-Jan-06	T = 61 °F
    
    Ave Vel =	715.9				
    Std Dev =	11.45			
    ES =	48.32		 		
    High = 	742.9		 		
    Low =	694.8				
    N =	32				 
    shot a little low
    
    					
    230 gr LRN 4.0 grs Bullseye Mixed Brass WLP		
    	
    OAL 1.250"	 taper crimp .469"
    
    29-Jan-06 T = 68  °F	
    Ave Vel =	698.8				
    Std Dev =	10.19		
    ES =	36.33		 		
    High = 	713.5				
    Low =	677.1				
    N =	28				 
    Little High =  put close point of aim V. Accurate
    		
    230 gr LRN  4.5 grs Bullseye Mixed Brass WLP		
    21-Jun-06 T = 97  °F	
    OAL 1.250" taper crimp .469"	
    Ave Vel = 805.2		
    Std Dev =11.4		
    ES=54.08		
    High=836.9		 
    Low=782.8		 
           N =32
    
    200 LSWC 4.0 grs Bullseye Mixed cases WLP 		
    21-Jun-06 T = 97 °F		
    Ave Vel =	748.2		
    Std Dev =	10.86			
    ES =	41.52			
    High =   	763.2			
    Low =	721.7			
    N =	22			
    Mild recoil, very accurate, excellent target load. [/SIZE]
     
  25. soloban

    soloban Member

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    I use PowerPistol in my Gov't size 1911 with 230 Gr FMJs. I find it to be clean and very consistent with the meter. And, as an added bonus it has a black pepper smell to it when fired. Unlike the cat-urine smell you get with IMR rifle powders. I've used 700x in my .45ACP loads as well. Concur with previous poster and their Corn Flake comparison.
     
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