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Finally got a chronograph and my .45ACP reloads are slower than I expected

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by nitesite, Dec 9, 2006.

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  1. nitesite

    nitesite Member

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    Today I found out some surprising results when shooting two of my .45ACP guns. I finally have a chronograph with a printer and the velocities I got seem a bit low compared to what I was expecting.

    Guns: Springfield Armory 1911A1 5" and an XD-45 4"

    Load: Hornady 230-gr LRN, 5.0-gr Titegroup, CCI primers, altitude 669', temp 55-degrees (ammo closer to room temperature)

    From the 5" 1911 I got the following data:

    Lo - 763
    Hi - 789
    Av - 778
    ES - 26
    SD - 9.94

    From the 4" XD-45 I got the following data:

    Lo - 730
    Hi - 761
    Av - 750
    ES - 31
    SD - 12

    My Lyman Manual led me to believe that a maximum load of 5.1-gr Titegroup would get me 841 fps from a five-inch barrel with the LRN bullet, so it seems like 5.0-gr of Titegroup should go 825.

    What would you suggest to bump up the average velocity a bit? There are no signs of overpressure in my current load.

    Do my ES and SD numbers suggest I could do better? I'm using an electronic digital scale and checking the throw weights often. I think the numbers are fairly good; am I wrong?

    Truthfully, I am happy that the 4" gun is close to the same velocities as the 5" gun. Loading for the 4" gun was one reason I chose Titegroup since it is a fast powder. Would I be better off to select a different powder for the 5" gun?

    Thanks, guys!
     
  2. Jay29

    Jay29 Member

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    Here is my thread from glocktalk.com. Hope you learn something. I did.


    UPDATE on Duplicating the king of the street...

    Federal's Hi-Shok 125 grn. JHP (C357B). This load is rated at 96% one shot stops according to Evan Marshall's statistics.
    I bought a package of 20 from a local gunshop.

    It gives it's statistics on the back of the box:

    Muzzle Velocity: 1450 fps
    Muzzle Energy: 580 ft-lbs.

    Seems kind of impressive to me. Let's see what the numbers are when I ran them through my Ruger GP100 (4 inch barrel).

    Average of 6 shots:

    Low: 1262
    High: 1333
    Average: 1293 Average ft-lbs: 463
    Extreme Spread: 70.10
    Standard Deviation: 31.54

    I can easily match these numbers and even beat them. I cannot safely reach 1450 fps in my Ruger, however.

    Lessons Learned:

    1.) Don't believe factory ballistics as Gospel. Buy a box and chrony them yourself in your own gun.

    2.) Don't believe the reloading manuals either in terms of fps. Compare ACTUAL ballistics to ACTUAL ballistics. Real world to real world.

    3.) From now on, I will chrony EVERYTHING for the truth.


    I hope someone will learn from this.
     
  3. shooting on a shoestring

    shooting on a shoestring Member

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    A chronograph can humble any gun

    I've had my eyes opened to how overstated most published data is. If you look at pub'ed data most is from really long barrels and I suspect minimum diameter test barrels.

    However, 778 and 750 fps are respectable for .45acp. Yes you can and I expect you will step on the gas pedal a little, maybe get another 100 fps, but for what? Titegroup, is great for the lighter end of the velocity curve as is my favorite Bullseye, but they will not give you the ultimate in velocity. Look to Blue Dot. Its got a reputation for getting lots of velocity with still smallish charge weights (which you will need for the short acp cases).

    As for the difference or rather virtually the same velocity for a 4" vs 5", you've just discovered why snubby revolvers work. Roughly 80% or so of velocity in handguns is developed in the first 2 to 3 inches. Therefore there's a bigger difference between 2" and 4" barrels and not so much between 4" and say 6".

    I have often chrono'ed other peoples guns at the range and I've never had anyone be surprised they have more velocity than expected. Most like you, are disappointed...or should I say educated. Its the advertisement world coliding with the real world. But you know what, the guns still shoot, and 230 gr at 750 will do real damage.
     
  4. Dark Helmet

    Dark Helmet Member

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    Your ES and SD are good - if you don't really need the velocity I would'nt worry about it. If it shoots good don't worry about it!!
     
  5. vesmcd

    vesmcd Member

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    In 17 years of reloading, I have yet to see a load that went as fast out my firearm as was printed in the manual.
     
  6. JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone

    JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone Member

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    Your numbers look good. If you really want more velocity, Win231 would be my chioce. Tightgroup and Bullseye for slower target rounds. You should be able to get near 900fps with those bullets with 231 or Unique.

    -Steve
     
  7. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    nitesite, I responded to your post on the S&W forum.

    Good advice, the manuals are just a guide, factory balistics are under highly controled conditions and are an average from their equipment but should be sowewhat representative.

    There are slow guns and there are fast guns. I have a 8-3/8" S&W M27 that shoots slower than my 6" Colt Trooper MKIII. I have a 4" S&W M67 that shoots the same .38 spl loads 50 to 70 fps faster than my 4" S&W M66 and pretty much the same velocity as my Ruger 4-5/8" BH.

    FWIW I use a .357 mag load of 13.8grs of Blue Dot and CCI 550 small pistol magnum primer with just about any 125 gr bullet for 1,450 fps + out of a 4" barrel. The Hornady XTP was 1,490 fps from the 6" trooper and 1,365 fps from a 3-1/2" M27. Different day same load with a Remington 125gr GS ran 1,485 fps from the 4" M66.

    Loads from my Government Model, Combat Commander and Sig220 all chrono the same +/-less than 10fps despite barrel length differences and the longer barrel isn't always the fastest.
     
  8. IDriveB5

    IDriveB5 Member

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    Whats the accuracy of the average chronograph out there?
     
  9. HSMITH

    HSMITH Member

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    A couple percent, but then you have to factor in the lighting, setup and user, all of that.

    Once you have a chrono and screw things up a few times you will be able to use it within the couple percent error factor.

    I can get well over 1500 FPS out of a 4" M19 with 125 grain JHP bullets:what: :what: Out of a gun with a tight barrel/cylinder gap, a longer barrel and tight throats they might be close to the book values, but if 1600 won't do it 1800 probably won't either. Fun to play with at any rate though.
     
  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I like to shoot 185 Gr. bullets at around 900 FPS, 200 gr. bullets at around 850 FPS and 230 Gr. bullets at around 800 FPS. If the load will do this at about 80 degrees I'm happy.

    My current favorite 185 Gr. load is 6.3 Grs. AA #2 behind a Berry's SWC & @ 1.190 O.A.L. Accurate, clean. This will give around 900 fps.

    My current favorite 200 Gr. load is 6.7 grs. of Universal Clays or 8.7 grs. of AA # 5 behind a Hornady FMJ-CT or a Ranier SWC @ 1.260 or a Berry's HP @ 1.200 O.A.L.. These will give around 850 fps. Haven't tried AA#2 yet.

    My current favorite 230 Gr. load is 5.4 grs. AA # 2 behind a Berry's RN or a Zero JHP @ 1.265 & 1.245 respectively. These will give around 800 fps.

    These velocities are out of my 4" Kimber CDP. My 3" CDP generally loses 20 to 40 fps with identical loads.

    I'm looking forward to trying some N320. N310 did real well but is too fast burning to achieve the velocities I wanted. Its great for slower target loads for 230 & 200 gr. bullets. Showed high pressure signs TOO EARLY with 185 gr bullets for me.

    All loads are safe in my guns with my loading procedures. Check reloading manuals to check my figures! Reduce 10% to start!
     
  11. fineredmist

    fineredmist Member

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    If you contact one or more of the ammo manufactures and ask why their numbers are so much higher than yours you will get a big line of bs. They have more reasons why and no matter how hard you try you will not consistently dupilicate their results. It reality their numbers don't matter, what matters is the performance you get from your gun. Live with it and enjoy your guns and shooting. Don't chase windmills as it is a waste of your time and energy.
     
  12. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    You are shooting very consistent (low SD and ES) loads!

    They ain't that hot, of course. For a little more umph, try good old Bullseye. To really get down to things, +P fast, try Unique.
     
  13. Ol` Joe

    Ol` Joe Member

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    Like the others state, the barrel lenght you have vs the one used in forming the data.
    The barrel and chamber diamentions, temp, component lots and accuracy of the equipment used will cause variations in results.
    Manual writers also very often "average up" their velocities. That is they use 50 or 100 fps increments in the book to report velocity. They always go to the next 50-100 fps from where they are, (760 fps becomes 800 fps) never down to the last one (750 fps).
    You can likely add 15 fps to your velocity if the screens are at the normal 10-15 ft from muzzle position to get a truer "muzzle velocity".
    The hobby loaders cronyies of all makes are accurate to about 0.5% and should not be much of a factor. That would work out to about +/- 4 fps with a 800 fps load.
    The biggest difference in my opinion is in your barrel vs the SAAMI spec barrel the data writers used. Speer claims to check velocity in an accual firearm after development in test barrels to report their velocity. This is likely why their numbers seem slow at times compared to other manuals although I`ve questioned some the rifle velocity numbers at times too. Lyman uses a "universal reciever and 5" test barrel" to develope and croney their data.
     
  14. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    You will be hard pressed to get over 800 to 850 or even 900 fps using a 230 grain bullet without meeting or exceeding the maximum powder charge. BE VERY CAREFUL AT THESE POWDER WEIGHTS...There are several powders that will meet 850 fps, BUT as I said. You will be at maximum loadings. If you want your .45 ACP to go faster. Drop to a 185 grain bullet. W-231 is a good choice for a "fast" powder. Watch your pressure signs though.
     
  15. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    The only pressure sign that might show up in a case with the working pressure of the .45ACP is maybe a little case head swelling. That's why I like using chronographs when developing loads, helps me understand where I'm at and what I'm doing with the load.

    I don't have a 230 grain load. I shoot mostly a 200 grain tumble lube Lee SWC. It's real accurate and easy and quick to cast. I have the pot heating as I type this. :D I get about 900 fps from my Ruger P90 with that bullet and bullseye in a not too hot load.
     
  16. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Hummm "MCgunner" Must be Marine Corp.:D

    MCgunner... You are correct about the low working pressures of the .45 ACP. Not knowing what experience that nitesite has at reloading the veneralbe .45 ACP. I would prefer to error on the side of caution as I have seen blown out .45 ACP cases that were loaded too high. Not to mention a .45 ACP factory load that must have been double charged at the factory that I ran through my Colt.

    Again I will remind nitesite to watch his pressure signs.:scrutiny:
     
  17. nitesite

    nitesite Member

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    Thank you all for your suggestions and comments!
     
  18. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    If you are looking for top velocity at safe pressures try AA # 5. It was designed for the .45 and works quite well.

    I bought my chrono to check velocities, but one thing I have found the chrono usefull for is judgeing recoil vs velocity. It suprised me.
    It's interesting to find a heavier recoiling load which is slower than one with less recoil. An eye opener for me.

    For years I just shot 5.5 grs. W231 and any 225 to 230 gr. lead bullet and was happy as a clam.
    I decided to stop shooting lead and started experimenting. Part of the fun. Eventually you will settle on something you like and just shoot it.

    Bullets and powders i've tried in the .45 in the last two years.

    Raniers, Berry's, Zero, Hornady, Remington, Precision, Bear Creek, Hmmmm

    W231, AA #2, AA #5, Unique, Universal Clays, Clays, American Select, Blue Dot, N310, N340. gonna try N320 & N330

    Reloading is not a chore nor do we save money. It is fun and allows us to shoot more and taylor our loads to suite us.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2006
  19. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    You know, after I signed up and took that handle, I thought about that someone might think that, MC, marine corp. :D Actually, I ride motorcycles. LOL

    Just sayin' at the low pressures, you're not going to get classic pressure signs like swelled primer pockets or sticky extraction or the like. The one pressure sign you have to look at is how much the case head is swelling into the feed ramp area and you DO wanna watch out and keep that to a minimum! Some throated guns will give more swelling than others, but you don't want that case rupturing from excessive pressure. I do agree to watch for that. Don't get carried away at maximum listed loads, be careful and work up to it. It don't help that on a lot of 1911s, the feed ramp has been throated out for function with hollowpoints and there's not as much support for the case, either. A lot of 1911 shooters trying to "make major" with their 9x19s and 38 supers found out that lesson.

    Low pressure rounds like the .45 demand you stay on the safe side. To me, a higher pressure round like the .357 is safer to approach maximum with. You'll start to get sticky extraction. Your primer pockets will stretch out after a couple of reloads of the case. It gives you more warning of impending doom. :D You can't push the .45 too far safely, that's a fact.
     
  20. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Member

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    For an extra margin of safety I like to load my "hot" ammo in +P cases for the extra webbing. You loose a little case capacity but the brass is much much stronger. With max load data I've gotten some pretty nice loads in +P brass with Tite-Group, but that was with a light 185 gr HP. Pushing the big 230s there's better powder than Tite-Group. I agree with the others that if it's accuracte ammo, you've found a good load.

    Another thing to watch out for in load data is much of the published data is from test barrels. A locking breech solid barrel of the specified length, like a Contender bolted to a bench. No gas leakage or energy absorbed through recoil movement or working an action. So every bit of energy is used to add velocity to the bullet. Bolt a high-grade tight barrel to a concrete footing and you'll probably hit the numbers they list, or close to it.
     
  21. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Aah...Black Snowman...I have weighed +P, +P+ against standard cases and they weigh the same give or take a few grains. I don't think there is a difference in any of them except to let the non-reloader know he is about to place a +P in his handgun. Please check it out. I could be wrong, but....:D

    As noted by the "edit" note I went back into my loading/gun room and lit off my scale (RCBS Electronic) and weighed some standard .38 Spec. and some +P .38 Spec. Both R-P. The standard weighed 64.8 to 68.2 and the +P were 64.7 to 66.8 on average. Your results may differ...But I doubt it. The manufactures did this so someone wouldn't put a +P into a handgun that couldn't withstand the higher presures of a +P or +P+. Other then that the cases are the same except for the head stamp
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2006
  22. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    MC Gunner

    And I was hoping for a good rousing discussion on the credits of the Marines (who I respect) and the Sailors (who I was one).:D
     
  23. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    whoops
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2006
  24. 280PLUS

    280PLUS Member

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    +1 but only for 5 years. :D
     
  25. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Member

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    Ah, Clark had posted some cross-sections of brass across the same mfg through differant stampings and showed 45 ACP and 45 Super to be the same but 45 ACP +P to be thicker in the web. I can't remember the brand he used off-hand for the cross-sections.

    Also keep in mind brass with the same weight can have it distributed much differantly. The +P it was thinner at the bottom around the primer pocket to make up for the lost case volume. So, more chance of a loose primer pocket, but harder to blow out the case.

    Another example is the big ta-do over Federal brass having thick walls and thin webbing resulting in lots of cases of head seperation for high-power shooters reloading near or at maximum. It came up in this very forum a while back.
     
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