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Questions about Unique and .45 officers model.

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Whirlwind06, Jan 2, 2007.

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  1. Whirlwind06

    Whirlwind06 Member

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    Loaded 100 rounds of 230 grain Rainer plated bullets with. .5cc of unique. If I remember correctly that supposed to equate to 5.1 grains. (don't have the conversion chart in front of me) Took the load data right out of the Lee load book. (according to the book this is the max load for it) The OAL was about 1.265

    Ran these through my 1911 officer model with 3.5 inch barrel. Most didn't have enough power to cycle the slide. A few would almost eject but not quite. I noticed that it seemed like there was still powder burning in the case. The case would stove pipe and sparks were shooting out of the case. When I cleaned my pistol it very dirty. Looked like a lot of unburnt powder all through the gun.

    When I finished hand cycling the 1911 about 100 times I bought a box of factory loads and they ran just fine. The factory loads had a lot more kick then my hand loads.


    The questions, is the short barrel the problem? Is the load just to weak? Did not crimp them enough or over crimp them? Bad powder? bad primer? moisture in the cases?


    Thanks.
     
  2. cherryriver

    cherryriver Member

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    Alliant says 6.0gr of Unique is the top end for a 230gr FMJ. According to other plated bullet manufacturers (and my own experience), a plated bullet usually wants to be loaded at near-FMJ levels.
    It would seem you'd need to be in the 5.8-6.0gr range to get full pressure, combustion, and function.
    The symptoms you describe are indicative of too-low pressure and incomplete combustion.
    If you want light loads, use Bullseye or WST. Unique is more of a mid-range powder.
    On the other hand, the .45ACP was designed from the start to be loaded with Bullseye, so that should be a clue that this cartridge likes faster stuff, if you have a choice.
    Work your way up towards that 6.0 mark carefully and it should run perfect.
    .45ACP likes a minimal crimp, preferably tapered, so that the case can headspace on the mouth. Case compression holding the bullet is key, so your sizing die should tighten the case up enough to hold the bullet you're using fairly tightly.
     
  3. marlin.357

    marlin.357 Member

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    Sure seems like your on the low side if the slide won't cycle. Also flirting with a bullet stuck in the bore.

    I've always found Lee's estimates on the low side. 0.5cc gives me about 4 g. I get 5.1 g with the 0.66 cc cavity.

    Since powder density can vary lot to lot, I suggest you weigh your loads an not rely on my data.

    I believe Rainier suggests using lead loading data or jacked data less 10% if lead data is not available. That would be 5.0 g from the Alliant web site.
     
  4. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    Do you not have a scale of some sort? I'd ever trust using the powder dippers and would prefer to use a scale to weigh charges. You can get a bar scale pretty cheap. In my opinion it would be a very good investment.

    I use Unique with lead bullets in .45 acp. Sounds like your undercharged.
     
  5. treebeard

    treebeard Member

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    I recently shot some Meister Bullets 230gr. LRN with 5.1 grains of Unique out of my 4.25" Dan Wesson. The slide action was slow, but it cycled fine. I plan on going to about 5.7-5.8 grains on my next batch. Accuracy was pretty darn good for that low of a load.
     
  6. wcwhitey

    wcwhitey Member

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    200 Grain Hard Cast SWC over 5.6 grains (750 fps) of Unique has been my standard load for years. They cycle both my Springfield and my Brother in laws Gold Cup with no issues. Light recoil but enough umph to cycle reliably. I have loaded up to 6.0 grains (800 fps) when shooting was intended for a metal bowling pin machine but but I saw no increase in accuracy. 6.0 Grains with 230 FMJ (800 fps)is roughly a factory ball equivalent. My Sierra book starts are 5.1 at 700 fps and ends at 6.8 900 fps (max load) for the Unique with a 230 GR FMJ.:) Bill
     
  7. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    My guess would be that the Lee is throwing lite and 5.1grs of Unique is pretty lite to begin with. Your probably throwing around 4.6 grs or maybe even less. Its been my experience that the Lees charts are optomistic or maybe just on the safe side with their volumetric weight estimates. I've never been able to cram enought powder in their scoops and get the weight they said it should be.
     
  8. Devon

    Devon Member

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    I've used 4.1 gr. of Unique (and weighed every charge on my beam scale) behind 155 gr. swc. That load barely worked the slide on my commander, however it did drop the cases nicely at my feet. I do seem to recall a lot of unburned powder. With a 230 gr. plated you should be nearer to the 5.8 or 6.0 gr. loads. I gone as high as 6.3 gr. behing a 230 gr. jacketed ball, weighing each charge as well, they were a handful but burned clean.
     
  9. HSMITH

    HSMITH Member

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    Don't reload without a scale. The Lee scale is only about $20 and well worth a safety and sanity check when reloading.

    Reloading without a scale to check what is actually being thrown is haphazard at best and could be dangerous.

    Sorry to lecture, but you really need a scale!
     
  10. JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone

    JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone Member

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    Not to sound like a broken record...

    Buy a scale and weigh your charges. That's what 99% of the rest of us do and the other 1% aren't beginners.

    The other thing to do is compare your loads.. Look at the crimp of the factory loads and compare them to yours. What concerns me is that you mentioned unburnt powder. And sparks. It seems more like an over charge, but with not enough crimp. Either of which could have been very dangerous.

    What alarms me more is that you kept shooting these reloads. You need to get with an experienced reloading buddy and analyze what you're doing wrong. If anything. You mention moisture. Is there a reason you think your powder may be wet? Is the powder old? You don't mention what primer you used or how you primed the brass.

    Asking us, without any of us looking at things in person is going to get you a ton of different answers.

    Loading for an Officer's ACP, is no different than loading for a full sized 1911. You'll just lose a bit of velocity because of the shorter barrel. People responding here with their favorite 45 loads do you no good. And, not having correct reloading data, " If I remember correctly that supposed to equate to 5.1 grains. (don't have the conversion chart in front of me) Took the load data right out of the Lee load book.", There are conversion tables available on the Internet. Never go by memory. And never load a maximum charge unless you've built up to it in a given firearm. And a max charge in a short barrelled Officer's ACP won't make it have full sized 1911 performance.

    You need a scale, and you need to have your reloads looked at by someone that knows what they're looking at. If nothing else, discuss this with your local rangemaster. Give him a few that you've made. Let him pull the bullet, weigh the charge, inspect the brass, show him the primers you're using, how they're seated. Everything.

    And for heaven sake don't shoot any of your reloads until you've gotten some answers.

    Don't be discouraged. Reloading is a very enjoyable hobby. But don't go into it cheaply. I cannot stress it more, Read. More than one reloading manual. Each one is written differently. But they all have the same message. Safety.

    *****

    Looking back at one of your September threads, where you shot your first 100 reloads with different powder. AA#7. What have you done differently with these Unique loads than you did with the AA loads? Same bullet? Same Brass? Same Primers? Same die adjustment/seat/crimp? Same Pistol?

    If the only thing that has changed is the powder, then some previous questions apply. Unique is a dirtier powder to burn, but should function as well as AA#7.

    If the powder is good. Then I have to go back to the charge weight.

    -Steve
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2007
  11. Whirlwind06

    Whirlwind06 Member

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    I have a scale on the way. I'm slowly building up the equipment I need. I thought the dippers would be enough for basic reloading. Apparently not.

    I made the original post while I was at work. That's why I was going by memory. I double and triple check myself all though the process. The only thing different was the powder and the powder is new. I'm using CCI primers. besides the powder the only thing I did different is the setting on the factory crimp die. The last couple sets of reloads, I have had feeding problems. Where the some of the rounds would not quite go completely into the chamber. If I pushed on the slide a little bit it would go into battery. So I'm trying not bell out the brass as much and work on my finial crimp.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2007
  12. JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone

    JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone Member

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    Now we're gettin somewhere!

    There's no such thing as too much information. Belling the case enough to allow relatively easy insertion of a new bullet on top of a charge of powder isn't as critical as you may think. Sure, belling too much does stress the brass and will make it wear out prematurely.

    "besides the powder the only thing I did different is the setting on the factory crimp die." One thing I'll stress is to not change more than one thing at a time if you can. As you get more experienced in reloading you can get away with this, but early on, it's best not to.

    After seat/crimp, if you test feed any that won't just slip in with less than the weight of the loaded round or so of pressure, then I'll bet that you're belling enough so the bullet will fit/start in the case easily, but not crimping the case enough once the bullet is seated. You said some loads wouldn't feed into the chamber.. (Take your barrel out of the pistol. Just drop a round in. If it doesn't freefall in, then stop when the front edge of the case meets the end of the chamber, test with a bit more crimp until it does. Too much crimp won't allow proper headspacing, so you have to find that happy medium between where they're tight and too loose.), TAPER crimp 45acp. (sorry, I don't own "factory crimp dies")

    This explains the incredibly light recoil and just barely cycling the action.

    I suggest that you read the sticky in this forum about head space for .45acp.

    Remember, as you screw your die in for more crimp, that the bullet seat depth will also need to be adjusted. (if you're using a two process seat/crimp die at one station) Measure your OACL to be sure you're within spec for that bullet.

    And as others have illuded, Weigh your powder charges for safety and consistency.

    You're gittin there. Don't give up.

    -Steve
     
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