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W231 and .45 ACP

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Hizzoner, Dec 11, 2011.

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  1. Hizzoner

    Hizzoner Member

    Jun 21, 2011
    Upstate NY
    I have been using BE for a while because I had a bunch of it.
    I typically load 4.6g of BE behind a 200g LSWC with a COL 0f 1.25" and do pretty well with it.
    Anyway, I recently got some W231 and was going to work up a 200g LSWC load.
    In the process of looking through my manuals I came across some confusing load data.
    Winchester (and Lee) give starter loads of 4.4g and a Max of 5.6g. with a COL of 1.225
    Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook 4th Ed. shows a starter of 5.4g and a Max of 6.1g. with a COL of 1.235"
    That seems to be a LARGE discrepancy.
    I have a hard time believing that .010 of COL would make THAT much difference.

    The Lyman also shows a max of 6.0g of BE and a COL of 1.235" which sounds pretty wicked to me.
    Lyman also says that would be as a "potentially most accurate load" ???
    Lee 2nd Ed shows a max of 4.6g of BE with a COL of 1.19.


    BTW, I can't load my MB 200g LSWC shorter than 1.25 and have ANY bullet shoulder above the case mouth.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2011
  2. ImjinScout

    ImjinScout Member

    Sep 26, 2011
    I have been reloading the Berry's 200gr SWC's with HP-38, same as the W231, my load has been 5.3-5.4 grs with a COL of 1.250. They have all been fine, hope this helps
  3. mbopp

    mbopp Member

    Aug 10, 2009
    Upstate NY
    If you're using 4.6gr of BE then 5.3gr or so of W231 should be an equivalent load. I run 5.5gr of HP38 (same as W231) behind a cast 200gr SWC.
  4. James2

    James2 Member

    Nov 27, 2009
    Northern Utah
    I like W231 in the 45Auto. I have not loaded any 200 gr bullets though. My Hornady manual says for the 200 gr Lead bullet 5.2 to 6.5 gr of W231.

    I know the different sources of loading data do vary. The people who did the testing are just telling us what they found in their testing in their test barrels. We can expect to find things to be a little different in our guns.

    This is why it is always stressed to start at the start load and work up. I think it is good to do this no matter whose data you are looking at.

    Judging from what everyone else is reporting, I think you are good to go with the published start load in any of the manuals you mention. Work it up from there.
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Nov 20, 2006
    W-231 and .45 ACP are like bread and butter, toast and jam, bacon and eggs, they just work well together.
  6. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

    May 25, 2011
    Piney Woods of East Texas
    I use WST for my low to mid loads on Berrys 200gr FN and less (185 HBRN), burns cleaner than Bullseye. 231 works with a lot of calibers but not always the best.
  7. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    I rarely load a 200gr bullet in the 45 Auto but when I do i use a charge of 5.5gr W231. I use the same charge weight for any 230gr bullet in the 45 Auto too.

    I really like W231/HP-38 for the .45 Auto. (and most other handgun calibers too)
  8. bds
    • Contributing Member

    bds Member

    Jan 10, 2010
    Northwest Coast
    Anyone getting hungry? :D

    As many posted, it seems 5.0-5.5 gr of W231/HP-38 produce the accuracy "sweet spot" and reliable slide cycling depending on pistol type, barrel length, groove diameter, recoil spring rate, leade length, OAL, etc.

    My Sig 1911 TacPac has very quick start of rifling with almost no leade and I must load shorter than 1.245" OAL for reliable feeding/chambering without hitting the rifling.

    Comparison picture next to PMC 230 gr FMJ round and next to MBC 230 gr RN bullet.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  9. Striker Fired

    Striker Fired Member

    Oct 30, 2011
    Thats how mt Kart barrel is,makes it a pain with swc's.
  10. JDGray

    JDGray Member

    Sep 16, 2005
    SW MI.
    I've noticed the same thing on W231 data, I can tell you the conservative data has been surpassed safely in my guns, and now use the other data;)
  11. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

    Mar 10, 2010
    Using as reference the current manuals from Lyman, Hornady, and Speer there are seven different cartridge over all lengths (AKA-COAL) specified for various forms of the 200Gr-SWC. The COAL measurements specified in inches 1.61, 1.190, 1.200, 1.225, 1.235, 1.245, and 1.275. Designations included Cast LSWC, LSWC, SWC-TM, and FMJ-C/T.

    Powder charges with W231 depending on manufactures style/type of 200Gr-SWC varied. Of the seven the one with the minimum starting powder charge was 4.0Grs-W231 and the one with the maximum ending powder charge was 6.3Grs.

    For the two styles I’m currently employing Rainer Ballistics and Berrys the COAL is 1.195". Berrys recommended COAL is 1.180"/ 1.200". The powder charge that I use is 5.5grs of W231 with mixed head stamp cases, WLP or CCI-LP primers (which also applies to 225gr-TC cast and 230gr FMJ).

    In 1911series pistols Government Models the standard (for me) 16# recoil spring functions with out being problematic at the specified charge weight of 5.5grs of W231.

    As for taper crimp .469"Ø - .472"Ø appears to be the accepted norm.

    The transition from magazine to chambering standard Colt and Springfield OEM magazines of recent manufacture are satisfactory. Aftermarket magazines CMC Power Mag or Metalform are also satisfactory.
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    There used to be a lot of 5.7 gr W231 + 200 gr SWC 1.25 OAL shot at IPSC.
    That is heavier than required to match 4.6 gr of Bull.
  13. elwoodm

    elwoodm Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    north carolina
    i see hangingrock has done his homework. i just started loading hornadys 185gr swc fmj and have the hornady reloading manual. i have learned that coal can be tricky in large diameter bullets. it changes fps and loading ability. see what the loading books say and use this as a good place to start but check your bullets profile and your guns barrel profile to find out your min and max on coal. then you can find the sweet spot for that load knowing all the parameters. this came from finding a mistake in lee manual for coal with xtp bullets.the min coal wouldnt fit in the chamber of my gun.
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