Universal in 45LC

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by LeftyRed, May 15, 2021.

  1. LeftyRed

    LeftyRed Member

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    Like others, I’m limited to what I can get for powder these days. I picked up some Universal, used it in the pass for several semi pistol calibers and 38 Special. Now I’m mostly 44 Special and 45LC these days.

    The question I have is I have seen the loading up to 9grs under a 250gr LFN in an Italian SAA clone, in older loadings books from the 80s. But the recent Lee book I have shows just 7.8grs as maximum. And the website shows the same. So is it that much hotter now?

    Lefty
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2021
  2. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    Yes, there has been a change with Universal, as you discovered. I’m not sure exactly when the change occurred, but I think maybe 2012 to 2015 timeframe.

    In 2015 when checking load tables while prepping to load 45 ACP, I was surprised to learn the load I had been using for years was now 1/2 grain over using “new” Universal.

    In 45 Colt I’ve used “new” Universal with 200 to 255 grain cast bullets. Really clean and consistent burning. For my Smith & Wesson Model 25 with 6” barrel using 255 grain Kieth Hi-Tek coated bullets, 9 grains of Universal will be about 1000 fps and 8 grains will be about 800 fps.

    For your clone, I’d stay with 7 or 8 grains, IMO.
     
  3. dgod
    • Contributing Member

    dgod Contributing Member

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    Looking at load data online, your 200 gr bullets are in range for 6.8 - 7.9
    The 255 gr bullets are on at 7.3 - 9.2.

    I suggest you reduce max by 10% and work up to the max.

    Good Luck.
    Dan
     
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  4. Pat Riot
    • Contributing Member

    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    @Ru4real is correct. Universal used to be Universal Clays. Something in the powder was changed. I have never quite heard or read what or was changed, but I would only use data printed / published after around 2015 with regard powder labeled “Universal” (only).
    A lot of old load data has recipes that the current data does not match. That is what made me cautious of using it.
    I pretty much use Universal exclusively. I use Hodgdon data online and their printed book and I use the Hornady 10th edition manual. The Hornady manual has more detailed information on loads than the Hodgdon site or their printed annual manual, but the Hodgdon site snd manual have Universal recipes that Hornady does not. Also, Hornady lists velocities from more realistic test barrel lengths. Hodgdon has a lot of pistol data derived from using 7.5” and 10” barrels. Hornady will use 4”, 5” etc in their data. Keep that in mind and look at test barrel lengths in each of their data.

    Here is a link for Hodgdon’s annual manual. It can be found cheaper on other reloading sites.
    https://shop.hodgdon.com/official-gear/2021-annual-manual

    Here is Hodgdon’s link for load recipes ::
    https://www.hodgdonreloading.com/

    I load .45 Colt with Universal. I load 205 and 255 grain Bear Creek Supply bullets with it, mostly for Cowboy Action Shooting and for target shooting and plinking.

    I have found that lighter loads with the 205 grain bullets have a lot of unburnt powder. That doesn’t seem to be the case with 255 grain bullets.

    I have 3 loads for 205 grain bullets that are accurate in my revolvers chambered in .45 Colt with Universal powder.
    - 6.9 grains for CAS. Soft shooting. Accurate, but you may find some flakes of unburnt powder. Their lightest load is 6.4 grains. Lots of unburnt powder flakes.

    - 7.7 grains. Accurate. Clicks at around 900 FPS from a 7.5” barrel per Hodgdon and Hornady. Accurate in all 3 of my revolvers - Ruger Vaquero 7.5”, Ruger New Vaquero 5.5” and S&W 25 Classic 6.5”

    - 8.7 grains Very accurate from my S&W 25. Clocks at around 1025 FPS from a 7.5” barrel per Hornady.

    With 255 grain bullets I have found that 7.2 grains of Universal is accurate in all three of my revolvers.
    To be honest I haven’t shot a lot of 255 grain bullets with Universal, but so far in my testing the load above is most accurate in some limited tests I did going on .2 grain increments from 6.6 grains to 7.6 grains. I need to do some more testing as I ran these loads shooting one handed unsupported.

    I use Universal powder for 9mm, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .45 ACP and .45 Colt. I started using it during the last ammo buying frenzy in 2016/2017. I used to use Unique but could find nine, but Universal was available do I bought that. I have been using it ever since.

    Oh, one more thing. I use 200 and 250 grain data for 205 and 255 grain bullets. I just do not use their recommended “maximum” loads so I always stay one or two tenths of a grain below max for fear of going over recommended pressures. Some folks like to push things. I do not.

    I think you will like Universal. It’s a good all around powder.
     
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  5. LeftyRed

    LeftyRed Member

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    Thanks, I just hate all the “new” powders out there.

    I have no fear my clones can handle the 9 grains, they are well made. But I’m also not going to run them like my BHs.

    Thank you all, Pat just ordered the Hornady manual.

    Lefty
     
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  6. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I personally like Trail Boss for large cavernous formerly black powder rounds. It's volume makes sure of no double or tripple charge. Just another personal layer of safety. When things come back you might want to try some also. I have used some fast pistol powders and found erattic igniton unless I lifted the barrel between shots or used filler to keep the propellant near the primer. Just look out for these problems too.
     
  7. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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  8. Hondo 60
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    Hondo 60 Member

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    I've used Universal In all manner of pistol caliber hand loads.
    Not bad but Ive found other powders that I like a little better.
    BUT every gun is different, so you may find it's the cat's meow for your gun or guns
     
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  9. BBarn

    BBarn Member

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    For the last several years, Universal has been sourced from Canada. Prior to that it was sourced from Australia. The sourcing change may have driven the changes to loading data.
     
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