Sport Pistol powder in 45acp.

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Toprudder, Dec 18, 2019.

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  1. Toprudder
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    Toprudder Contributing Member

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    Decided to try out the new Sport Pistol powder from Alliant, in 45acp.

    I went through my normal process of working up loads, using plated 200gn and 230gn RN bullets. With the 200gn bullets (seated to 1.245") I had a charge range of 5.4 to 6.2, and with the 230gn bullets (seated to 1.260") a range of 4.8 to 5.6. For my initial loads, I used large primer brass and Winchester WLP primers. Nothing out of the ordinary during the testing, except I noticed the standard deviation was not as good as I was hoping, anywhere from 24.0 to 48.3.

    Then I moved to further testing, to compare results with various primer types. The first batches were 200gn bullets and 6.2gn powder, using Winchester WLP and CCI-300 large primers, along with Winchester WSP, Winchester WSPM, CCI-500, and CCI-550 primers. The results were not what I expected. There was a very large difference in velocity between the WLP and WSP primers, nearly 200fps. Also, the CCI-550 small magnums were actually slower than the CCI-500 small regular primers. I thought I must have made a mistake when I labeled the rounds, and got them mixed up. So, I made yet another batch and was careful to check drop weights and properly label/mark the primers. I also loaded two different lots of CCI-550 primers. Here is what I got:

    RMR 200gn RN bullets, seated to 1.245", 6.2gn Sport Pistol powder. 10 rounds each. Measured with a Labradar, outdoor range with target at 25 yards.

    Winchester WLP, 797fps, 40.2sd, 132.7es.
    Winchester WSP, 545.2fps, 66.6sd, 224es. (first round did not eject).
    Winchester WSPM, 839.8fps, 49.9sd, 146.7es.
    CCI-500, 746.0fps, 63.8sd, 206.1es.
    CCI-550 Lot# E01V22, 682.8fps, 65.6sd, 219.5es.
    CCI-550 Lot# H07V42, 731.3fps, 76.1sd, 247.8es.
    Rem 6.5, 713.1fps, 52.7sd, 163.8es. (Remington small rifle primers)

    Clearly, this powder is sensitive to primer types, more than any other powder I have tried. But I have to believe that the large extreme spreads may possibly be from case position sensitivity, as the powder does not completely fill the empty space in the case when the bullet is seated. I will do more testing in 38spl to see if this is the case, doing my usual powder-forward test (hold the gun barrel-down before bringing it up on target).

    I initially tested the loads at an indoor range with a Labradar, and thought that the ceiling baffles may have been causing problems with the signal reflecting back from the bullets. So, I tested with my Caldwell optical chrono at the outdoor range, along with the Labradar for the final measurements listed above.

    Since I was initially having doubts about the validity of the chrono readings, I have decided that in the future I will have a known load that I will use as a control group, to verify the test setup, before I test any unknown loads.
     
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  2. alfsauve

    alfsauve Member

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    I tested a pound of Sport Pistol during the recent powder scarcity. Not impressed. Though I admit to only trying it in .38spl and 9mm. And the problems I had were with light loads (bullseye light) in .38spl cases.
     
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  3. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    I bought a pound of SportPistol for the .45ACP as well... I've not had a chance to test it, yet... that's a project for this spring. My goal was to find a replacement for Unique in the .45ACP that would work well enough in the 9mm. I have not had very good results with BE-86 in my very limited testing... so I thought I would give SportPistol a try. I found your different results with different primers pretty interesting... I'll be curious if you are able to expand on that soon.

    I learned to do that many years ago. My base model, 25 year old Chrony is a tempermental little guy, and I always 'prove' the setup with a known factory load or handload before I get all serious with research loads.
     
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  4. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Wow, those are some huge ES numbers. I haven't tried SP in .45 ACP, but I have in 9MM and it works great with good numbers.
     
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  5. Ruger 15151

    Ruger 15151 Member

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  6. Erief0g

    Erief0g Member

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    I've read enough of walkalong tests I put 8lbs on the shelf of sport pistol, after my right lb of titegroup was used up. Still using bullseye for 45 and sport pistol for 9mm.

    Great results and accuracy for my needs with those combos
     
  7. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    My range worksheets always have a “calibrate” string prior to my test workup loads. When I transitioned to the LabRadar, I compared the calibration strings to my prior CE chrono and the results were very close, like 13 FPS for the 9mm blazer.

    I did a rough comparison of WST and ASP with WLP vs CCI300 in once fired WIN HS brass. This was in a 625 and I was aiming for a 170PF. RMR had some pulled 230 RN and HP plated on sale so I used those. They were 6 shots groups, from a hand rest with no elevating the gun between shots so whatever recoil action moving the powder between shots.

    4.4 WST, 230 RMR RN Pull, WIN HS, CCI300, 1.255”
    AVG 712, SD 20
    4.4 WST, 230 RMR RN Pull, WIN HS, WLP, 1.255”
    AVG 739, SD 10
    4.4 WST, 230 RMR HP Pull, WIN HS, CCI300, 1.245”
    AVG 742, SD 18
    4.4 WST, 230 RMR HP Pull, WIN HS, WLP, 1.245”
    AVG 744, SD 11
    4.8 ASP, 230 RMR RN Pull, WIN HS, CCI300, 1.255”
    AVG 723, SD 23
    4.8 ASP, 230 RMR RN Pull, WIN HS, WLP, 1.255”
    AVG 762, SD 13
    4.8 ASP, 230 RMR HP Pull, WIN HS, CCI300, 1.245”
    AVG 742, SD 15
    4.8 ASP, 230 RMR HP Pull, WIN HS, WLP, 1.245”
    AVG 751, SD 31

    With the exception of the last two strings, the WLP resulted in a bit higher velocity with a decreased SD. But again, this was a 6 shot test so all the statistical gurus just relax, I was only trying to see if I was in the ballpark for a major load in my 625 and if I had to switch primers, would I still be major.
    Groups were between dime and quarter size at 10 yards. Any of these loads, with this gun, shoot way better than my capabilities so I was pleased with the results.
     
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  8. Toprudder
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    Toprudder Contributing Member

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    I was able to make it to the range to do some more testing with Sport Pistol.

    I made up some 45acp test rounds, all using 6.2gn powder, 200gn plated bullets, and WLP primers. I used my Chargemaster to dispense the powder, so the loads were reasonably uniform. I shot 10 rounds, the first 5 were “powder forward”, I held the gun barrel-down before shooting. The last 5 were powder rear.

    The overall stats for all 10 shots were 828.9 avg, 74.0sd, 204.8es.

    The first 5, powder forward: 761.6 avg, 23.8sd, 63.0es.

    The last 5, powder rear: 895.8 avg, 22.9sd, 59.0es.

    Difference between forward/rear = 134.2 fps.

    If not for the case-position sensitivity, the stats are acceptable, but overall they are not, IMHO.

    I also made some test loads in 357 mag, were I saw an average of about 85 fps difference between forward/rear. I’ve seen a lot worse powders. I suspect the heavy roll crimp helped mitigate the position sensitivity.
     
  9. lordpaxman

    lordpaxman Member

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    I recently moved so my Reloading’s on hold for a bit, but I’ll look and see if I have some reloaded rounds with SP. If so, I can try a position test, I just don’t know when that will be given the other “moving” things going on.
    While those stats aren’t impressive, it depends on what you intend for these reloads and if they are precise. For me, it’s a bit too much ES to use for competition, I’d need to hit a really high PF to insure all loads pass the chrono stage.
    I rechecked my data and for the last string in my last post, there was one round that was slow, if I throw that out, the SD drops to 10.
    I also checked my records and have some data for SP and 200gr BB SWC rounds. I didn’t do a primer test on those, but the data from the same gun has SD’s in the 10-30 range, for CCI300 primers and WIN brass.
    I’m not trying to sell SP for .45, I’d rather load WST anyway, but it’s one of those nagging questions of what variable or variables causes these discrepancies. My crimp is using a Lee FCD just to remove the bell, and there’s really good neck tension with only a few thousandths setback at worst.
    What brass are you using and how many times has it been fired? Could it be neck tension that’s being an issue here for inconsistent ignition? With the same components and your favorite .45 powder, are you seeing better stats?
     
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  10. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Agreed, that's poor in .45 ACP.
    Me too, 85 is good in .357 cases.

    I tried 4.5 grs of Sport Pistol under an X-Treme 158 Gr SWC in .357 cases and got an average 744 powder back, 553, powder forward, and 667 powder level.
    More powder would have done better, or at least it usually does. (11-17 & sunny, forgot to post temp, likely in the 80s)
     
  11. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Really. Have you checked to see if you are experiencing bullet setback?

    Since most of us conduct range test with pistol held flat, for auto loading pistols, powder charge should be powder forward when the round is chambered.

    I don't see the need for powder rear testing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2019
  12. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    With revolvers it can make a big difference, something that shows up really ugly at long distance.

    Auto calibers are not nearly as vulnerable as there isn't as much empty space and the powder is banged around a lot chambering, so I would think most often the powder is more level than anything else, and most do fairly well with many powders without showing a big FPS difference PB vs PF, which is why I found @Toprudder's numbers really unusual. Like wow unusual.
     
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  14. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    My reaction was the same, wow.

    Yes, very unusual and hence why I asked about chrono verification with factory ammo.
     
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  15. Toprudder
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    Toprudder Contributing Member

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    Initial tests were with once fired Speer brass, from a batch I had sorted and primed a long time ago. This batch has been used for all my load workups for a couple of years now. I have not seen results like this previously. I used the last of this batch up and had to used mixed brass for the last test, where I performed the powder forward test. Yes, with other powders, I have seen much better results.

    Yes. With the components used, and in the gun used for testing, bullet setback has never been an issue.

    There is a lot going on during the firing, recoil, and chambering of a round. I have to believe that the position of the powder afterwards will be somewhat random. My powder forward test clearly shows that the standard deviation and extreme spreads return to somewhat normal numbers when starting with a known powder position. This would indicate to me that powder forward testing may need to be performed.

    This last trip, I decided to fire some known rounds to verify the chrono setup (a Labrador). I used some 40 S&W loads using Titegroup powder, where I saw a SD of 7.0 and ES of 23, and close to the expected velocity based on previous tests.
     
  16. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Yes, I have a staple of factory ammos I use for that purpose... not only does running it across the screens prove my chrono is setup and working like it should, but I also have an idea of the kind of groups I expect out of it.. again, before I start launching unknown handloads across the screens or printing them on paper, that eliminates general problems with the firearm, first.
     
  17. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    That's good.

    But the ES numbers are quite large. Any guesses, especially if you are not experiencing significant bullet setback?
     
  18. Toprudder
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    Toprudder Contributing Member

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    Powder position sensitivity is the big factor, I believe. When starting with the powder in a known position, the spread wasn’t bad, but wasn’t great, either. With that last batch using mixed brass, it could be a neck tension problem.

    Looking at all the data (powder-forward test, and primer comparisons) it seems this powder has some ignition issues, that could be aggravated by small variations in neck tension.

    I think I will make some loads using the same components but with powders I’ve had good luck with in the past, just to rule out neck tension. I also want to try some 230 gn bullets seated a little deeper, which should give more neck tension and possibly improve ignition.
     
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  19. Toprudder
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    Toprudder Contributing Member

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    I made up some more test loads. This time, I ran 230gn bullets instead of 200, thinking that with the bullet seated deeper in the case, the neck tension would be greater and might help the results. I made up a batch with Winchester large primers, and another with Win small primers. This time, I used all Speer brass, for both size primers.

    At the same time, I made up a batch each of my two favorite powders for 45acp - Clays, and BE86, using 200gn plated RMR bullets. Both using Speer large primer brass and Win large primers.

    I made 15 rounds of each batch, and when I tested them, I ran 5 shots from a level position, then I ran 5 powder forward (starting with the barrel down) and the last 5 were powder rear (starting with the barrel up).

    Sport Pistol 5.4gn, Xtreme 230 plated bullets, seated to 1.260".
    Win WLP primers
    All 15 shots - 768.6avg, 53.7sd, 178.8es
    Level - 768.8avg, 27.5sd, 70.0es
    Forward - 712.0avg, 35.8sd, 100.0es
    Rear - 824.8avg, 11.4sd, 31.0es

    Sport Pistol and WLP primers, forward/rear difference - 112.8fps

    Sport Pistol 5.4gn, Xtreme 230 plated bullets, seated to 1.260".
    Win WSP primers
    All 15 shots - 683.0avg, 71.1sd, 224.0es
    Level - 676.8avg, 18.7sd, 44.0es
    Forward - 620.8avg, 46.8sd, 123.0es
    Rear - 751.6avg, 66.1sd, 155es

    Sport Pistol and WSP primers, forward/rear difference - 130.8fps

    Average velocity difference between large/small primers
    Powder level - 92.0fps
    Powder Forward - 91.2fps
    Powder Rear - 73.2fps

    Conclusion is that the heavier 230gn bullets showed less, but still significant, velocity differences than the lighter 200gn bullets.
    The extreme spreads were better with the heavier bullets.
    Overall, large primers showed better extreme spreads than the small primers.

    For comparison, I ran two other powders with the 200gn bullets.

    BE86 6.7gn, RMR 200 RN plated, seated to 1.245"
    Win LP primers
    All 15 shots - 831.8avg, 21.0sd, 67.8es (not bad for powder forward/rear test).
    Level - 820.8avg, 4.9sd, 12.0es
    Forward - 818.4avg, 18.9sd, 42.0es
    Rear - 856.2avg, 6.1sd, 16.0es.

    BE86 Powder foward/rear difference - 37.8fps

    Clays 4.6gn, RMR 200 RN plated, seated to 1.245"
    Win LP primers
    Overall - 759.5avg, 28.0sd, 93.3es
    Level - 760.0avg, 12.8sd, 33.0es
    Forward - 725.5avg, 17.1sd, 40.0es
    Rear - 786.4avg, 11.4sd, 28.0es

    Clays Powder forward/rear difference - 60.9fps


    Before I shot any of the above, I ran my control group loads of 40 S&W, and was within 4 fps of the last time I shot them. Today was about 10 degrees warmer, which may account for the difference. Unseasonable weather here, 72F in the middle of the afternoon.

    I'm just not liking the Sport Pistol powder for 45acp. I think I will move on to 9mm and 40S&W to see how it performs with those calibers. I think the higher pressure and smaller case volumes will improve things.
     
  20. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    Have you shot any for group size? Many of us seen small groups produced even though SD were large.

    Member vaalpens tested Berry's 200 gr RS loaded to 1.175" with Sig P220 and got the following groups even though SD were 31 and 13.9 - https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/sport-pistol-with-45-acp.833277/#post-10777605

    Berrys 200 gr RS
    Sport Pistol, 5.3 gr
    Velocities: 771, 796, 807, 746, 735
    SD: 31
    Grouping @ 15 yd: 0.53"

    [​IMG]


    Berrys 200 gr RS
    Sport Pistol 5.6 gr
    SD: 13.9
    Velocities: 828, 795, 810, 828, 812
    Grouping @ 15 yd: 0.51"

    [​IMG]
     
  21. murf

    murf Member

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    I have had the same es numbers (over a 200 fps swing) when testing powder forward/back with hs-6 in my 45 long colt chambered blackhawk. I switched to unique as that is the least position sensitive loading for that caliber/bullet combo (255 gn. rnfp).

    suggest you use a different powder.

    luck,

    murf
     
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  22. Toprudder
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    Toprudder Contributing Member

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    Yes, when I did check for accuracy, it looked good across the charge range, but I have used other powders that I felt were at least as good, without the large extreme spreads.
     
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  23. LiveLife

    LiveLife Member

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    I have done 9mm testing with Sport Pistol with good results.

    May do some testing in 45ACP with reference to W231/HP-38.

    I have 45ACP conversion for my JR Carbine so I can do carbine testing along with Sig 1911.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2019
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  24. Toprudder
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    Toprudder Contributing Member

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    A little more information on Sport Pistol, but this time in 9mm for comparison.

    RMR 115 RN Plated, Winchester small pistol primers, seated to 1.145”. Shot from Witness Elite 4.75” barrel. 10 shots each.

    4.3gn, 1075fps, 35.0sd, 94.3es
    4.5gn, 1113fps, 18.3sd, 65.0es
    4.7gn, 1154fps, 14.0sd, 46.3es
    4.8gn, 1177fps, 9.2sd, 22.5es.

    It looks like Sport Pistol is much happier at the higher pressure.

    Just for my own curiosity, I made a total of 20 rounds of the 4.5gn charge. The 10 above were all shot from level, as normal. The other 10 I used to do a powder forward test, below are the results. (5 powder forward, 5 powder rear)

    Forward: 1099fps, 18.0sd, 46.0es
    Rear: 1153fps, 8.3sd, 22.0es.

    So, there is some position sensitivity, but not enough to raise any concern. Looks like I will be using up the rest in 9mm.
     
  25. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    That's disappointing.
     
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