VV N105 testing in warm 45 Colt and .357 magnum

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Joe Texas, May 21, 2021.

  1. Joe Texas

    Joe Texas Member

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    I’ve been on a kick lately of experimenting with different VV powders in handgun cartridges. It’s been fun. 1# of N105 arrived yesterday. I loaded 3 ladders - 2 in 45 Colt, 1 in .357 magnum. I hope to go shoot them and report results on here today. I’ll shoot them from 20” Henrys @ 50 yards for accuracy and velocity. I’ll load more of the winners and chrono from revolver later. Usually the most accurate loads in my rifles are also pretty good to outstanding from my revolvers.

    Here are the particulars:
    45 Colt
    225 FTX
    Winchester brass trimmed to 1.210
    WLP primers
    5 rounds each N105 @ 15.7, 16.0, 16.3, 16.6, 16.9, 17.2
    COAL 1.60

    45 Colt
    250 XTP
    Winchester brass trimmed to 1.265
    WLP primers
    5 rounds each N105 @ same charges as above
    COAL 1.575

    .357 Magnum
    Zero 158 jhc
    Starline brass trimmed to 1.28
    Federal sp magnum primers
    5 rounds each N105 in .2 increments from 10.1 - 11.9
    COAL 1.585

    * side note - to empty .357 brass I shot a box of 50 125 xtp over 8.4 grains W-231 I had stashed. I used my 4.2” GP100 (fiber optic sights) with my arms resting on my range bag for stability. 25 of them went into a 2” circle @ 15 yards. The other 25 stayed in a 6” circle @ 25 yards and most joined the 15 yard group. Not too shabby for me. I highly recommend this combo for mild SD or light hunting from a carbine. Felt recoil is just a bit above what you would expect from .38 special +P. 1306 fps from 4.2”, 1581 fps from 20”.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2021
  2. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Curious... what's the rifling twist on your Henry?
     
  3. Joe Texas

    Joe Texas Member

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    1:16 according to their spec sheet.
     
  4. Joe Texas

    Joe Texas Member

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    Range report: Not acceptable
    • Velocity increase from 3N38 was negligible.
    • Accuracy was not good. I wouldn’t want to keep any of the loads tested.
    • SD’s were pretty high compared to orher powders w/same components.

    For you armchair quarterbacks:

    1)The powder had a date from 2017 though I just bought it new from Powder Valley. It smells like Varget. Could it be bad?

    2)The weirdest part was that with every .45 Colt group the first round’s POI was an inch or two high. Then, the others would start to group - kind of. The .357 groups were more normal but the first round was about 100 fps slower every time. I would maybe attribute that to time between groups except that’s never happened with any test ever with those guns. Hot or cold, after they are fouled, they keep a similar POI.

    3) Maybe N105 likes legit magnum primers? It’s a tiny stick powder.

    4) I crimped the rounds with a LFC die at a little over 3/4 turn from case mouth - like I always do with great success.

    You’ll just have to trust that my shooting and loading process aren’t terribly flawed while making your expert diagnosis. I’m just gonna have to conclude that 3N38 is better suited for what I’m doing and AA#9 or 2400 are better still.

    *FWiW - N110 is THE best powder I’ve used in .357 at 2400 type velocities. W-296 has proven just as accurate though - at higher velos of course. 3N38 was awesome in 9mm and .45 Colt for me as well. N135 is my favorite .223 powder w/69 SMKs. N105 though - today it gave me the most disappointing reloading day I’ve ever had. What sucks the most about it is that I thought the heavens were gonna open and N105 was gonna deliver the magic bullet in .45 Colt. If this is how it’s gonna be, I may as well join the “8.5 grains of Unique is all you need you whippersnapper” crowd.

    I’ll add target pics and velocity #s later.....maybe. First, I’m gonna go apologize to my jug of AA#9 for thinking I had to go elsewhere when all the good lovin’ was right here at home the whole time.

    ‘Merica!
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2021
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  5. Joe Texas

    Joe Texas Member

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    B32D93C4-A896-49ED-AD0E-CA1196424F71.jpeg 0D9B0A22-F057-4D1C-95D2-FF79CDB7EE87.jpeg 4599CF58-E573-4926-BC7C-E5227166AEC7.jpeg A45227C0-C67B-42E1-9F51-DC163C17EE04.jpeg
     
  6. Joe Texas

    Joe Texas Member

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    I went back and looked at my AA#9 targets with the same components. Every group was better than my best one today.
     
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  7. black mamba

    black mamba Member

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    That is disappointing! Perhaps N105 is better suited to the heavier bullets. At least in several handguns, I never got any accuracy from 225 FTXs. What are some of your better 3N38 loads for 45 Colt handguns?
     
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  8. Joe Texas

    Joe Texas Member

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    15.0 3N38 with either 225 FTX (1283 pistol/1477 rifle) or 250 XTP (1190/1312) shot lights out in my rifle and Vaquero.

    16.3 grains of N105 gave me 1449 from the rifle with the 225 and 1328 with the 250 today.

    12.3 3N37 250 xtp or 12.1 3N37 225 FTX same.

    26.0 W-296 250 xtp almost holds 1” @ 100 yards from my rifle.

    I’m gonna attach a pic of the AA#9 target I referenced.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 22, 2021
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  9. Joe Texas

    Joe Texas Member

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    image.jpg
     
  10. Joe Texas

    Joe Texas Member

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    So......setbacks can spur learning and growth.

    i went back and checked data, my chrono logs, ect.

    Apparently I’ve never tried AA#9 with the overpriced 225 FTX bullet. That’s next.

    Also, I never tested 3N38 w/125 grain xtps in .357 magnum. That should be an ideal combo.

    The disappointment w/N105 only served to highlight how well AA#9 and 3N38 have performed.

    Who knows, maybe the N105 will be useful for something down the road. Maybe I’ll try it with lead heavies like Black Mamba suggested.

    Man, I love me some straight-walled pistol cartridges.
     
  11. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Don't fight it... just let it happen.

    Well, and sometimes you have to work with a powder to find it's happy place. I had the very same experience with IMR4227. I bought it during the last drought, because it was on the shelf. Preliminary tests in the .41MAG were extremely disappointing... poor velocity, poor groups, stinky smell... and, if you can believe it, messier than a Unique mid-range load. I decided to burn it up, loading it for a weekend steel shoot I was going to in WY... I ramped up the charge a bit, for the Marlin 1894, and loaded up 800 rounds. Once I got to WY and started shooting it, as you say... the Heavens opened, the angels sang, and the lead rainbow appeared... that is, the arc described by 215grn of lead reaching 500 or 600 yards to clobber the steel pipe. NOW I understood how IMR4227 operates.. I've tried since then to use it differently... in pistol loads, with light bullets, with less than a full case. NO. As the Big Bopper said... "Baby, you know what I like!"

    You may have to work with your new powder a bit to see where it's happy place is. In the end, however, you may decide it doesn't work for your intended purpose, or the cost of components to hunt for a load are not worth it, and particularly if you already have a powder or two that work without problems.
     
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  12. Joe Texas

    Joe Texas Member

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    Thanks for the insightful response Charlie! I would have a hard time hitting something 500-600 yards away with my .308. That’s some fine shooting!(lobbing?)

    My goal was to have a 1250 ish fps revolver round with moderate recoil that also was less than 2 MOA from my Henry at close to 1500 fps. 225 FTX over 15.0 grains of 3N38 is really close. The felt recoil in my Vaquero is just a hair above pleasant. That load is among my most accurate Vaquero loads to date. It groups well from the Henry.

    21.1 grains of AA#9 will do that with a 250 xtp. The recoil in the Vaquero is a bit much though. Velocity has a cost. I guess I can’t cheat Sir Issac.(Newton’s 3rd law - every action has an equal and opposite reaction.)

    I thought N105 would give a little more velocity at less pressure. It did but without the accuracy I wanted from the rifle. Accuracy in the revolver isn’t as much of an issue because my standards are lower. If I can hold 6” at 25 yards, I’m satisfied. All of my accurate rifle loads can do that easily from the Vaquero. Most will hold 2” at 15 yards. I am the weak link on longer handgun shots.

    After looking at VVs data closer, + Black Mamba’s experience, I think N105 may be better suited when paired with heavy bullets or maybe lead bullets in 45 Colt. In my experience with my guns, every powder I’ve tried has been capable of grouping 250 grain xtps except N105.

    I’m also wondering if an even lighter bullet would be the way to go. A 200 grain jhp might just be the ticket. Problem is, as far as I know, I don’t think a .452 200 grain jhp exists. They are all .451 or .4515. Noslers at that diameter spray out of my Henry. Plus, those bullets may not hold together at carbine velocities.

    That brings me to lead. Lead moves faster at less pressure and can be more accurate if sized right. Lead could do what I’m asking easier and cheaper. I guess I just like the idea of an expanding bullet even though I know that a big chunk o’ lead would probably do all I’m asking a projectile to do.

    Truth is, I’m not much of a hunter so the theoretical aspect of load performance and the experimenting with different components is most of the fun for me. As it is, when fired from a realistic distance, any of my .45 Colt loads would hit what they are aimed at and stop just about anything that needs stopping. There’s no practical reason to keep trying new stuff.

    Hi, I’m Joe and I’m addicted to reloading.
     
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  13. Reeferman

    Reeferman Member

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    The only handgun caliber I could make 105 work in was 44 magnum and even then it wasn’t that great. A9 and HS6 was way better in 357, 44 magnum and 45 Colt.
     
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  14. Joe Texas

    Joe Texas Member

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    Yesterday I saw a .452 200 grain FTX intended for use in the .460 Smith and Wesson. On the box it recommended velocities from 800 - 2000 fps. Hmmm. Surely the difference is jacket thickness. I wonder if my Henry would stabilize it? It may be worth trying w/AA#9, 2400 (if I had any), N110 or 3N38.
     
  15. Joe Texas

    Joe Texas Member

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    PSA: Lost in this discussion was a discovery that may help those trying the FTX and XTP with the same powder:

    I found that in every case that the accurate charge with the FTX was either identical to my XTP charge or just a couple of tenths lower.

    * This is because the brass used with the 225 FTX is trimmed to 1.21 in order to achieve a 1.60 COAL. The shorter brass acts as a pressure equalizer between the two bullets of differing weights. In other words, when loading at Ruger only pressures, you can use 250 XTP data for your powder of choice.

    * As always: Make sure your gun can handle the extra (above SAMMI) pressure. Work up slowly. Use a chronograph. Look for signs of over pressure. Stop, drop, and roll. Turn around, don’t drown. Don’t run with scissors. Lastly, if you need more oomph than your .45 Colt is designed to give, consider a .454 Casull or .44 Magnum......or just load a 255 grain Keith over 8.5 grains of Unique. That’s the load Jesus uses to kill the devil in Revelation, right?
     
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  16. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    There is some speculation, however, that Jesus actually used a .41MAG... 9.0grn Unique under a 220grn Keith cast. The real issue is whether or not he used a gas check... I don't think so, but I'm not that much of a biblical scholar.

    After I read your previous post, I wondered if someone didn't make jacketed .452" bullets for the big boomers, so that makes sense. I don't see any reason why your Henry wouldn't stabilize that bullet, given the rifling twist.
     
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  17. Joe Texas

    Joe Texas Member

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    Lol
     
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