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Which is easier on the 1911 faster or slower powder?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ClarkEMyers, Dec 10, 2004.

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  1. ClarkEMyers

    ClarkEMyers Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    A stone's throw from Henry's Fork
    IIRC Earl Naramore in "Principles and Practice..." suggested using the fastest powder to produce the desired velocity was easiest on the 1911. Was he correct?

    As I understand it Naramore suggested using Bullseye whenever Bullseye would produce the desired velocity; moving to Unique only for higher energy levels.

    Of course there were fewer powders to choose from. Those were the days when light loads were all Bullseye and heavy loads almost all Unique.

    Has better understanding changed his analysis? Expanded his list of powders but left the analysis unchanged?

    My understanding - I could easily be wrong; he could have been superseded - of Naramore's point was that a higher quicker pressure peak was followed by more time/distance for the recoil spring to damp the slide movement thus the slide would impact with more energy transferred to the spring and less to the frame at full recoil.

    Obviously Newton is not cheated and any spring energy is recovered over time and passed on.

    Still gas guns like the 1100 do hurt the shoulder less (than solid frame) with the same shotshells so there may be something to the timing notions?

    The powder choice rule might be true but for other reasons?

    Any thoughts? Any tests?
  2. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Houston, TX
    I am no expert.....

    With that in mind, my 20 odd years of reloading has seemed to indicate that to get the maximum life out of the gun, the lowest pressure, slowest burning powder seams, in general (note the weeny words there) to give the gun the least amount of abuse.

    With that in mind, yes I shoot a lot of bullseye out of my 1911 45's. Its accurate with 230 grn fmjs. Lately though I have been working up a power-pistol load that is doing as well if not better. Also Unique and Universal clays are more accurate with 185 jhp's, then titegroup or bullseye.

    I guess the way to put it, is in my next powder order (tomorrow) I will order only one lb of bullseye and 4 lbs of unique, 4 lbs of power pistol and at least 4 lbs of AA7. Basically I have been getting better results with more accuracy with the slower powders.

    My hypothesis is that loading density is playing a role here. Slower powders fill the case more and are more consistent "burns". Just a hypothesis mind you.....
  3. NavajoNPaleFace

    NavajoNPaleFace Member

    Nov 7, 2003
    Too Dang Hot, Arizona
    I would think that whatever powder that gives higher velocities (resulting from high pressures) would be harder on guns than loads with lesser pressures....regardless of the burn rate.
  4. stans

    stans Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    central Virginia
    In reality I think any powder that gives the desired velocity without exceeding SAAMI spec pressure is going to be fine and not cause undue wear. In theory, the powder that gives the desired velocity at the lowest pressure will improve the longevity of the brass and perhaps the firearm as well. The downside to using the slowest powder is that the slower powders may not burn efficiently, consistantly and/or cleanly at low pressure, so there is a trade off.
  5. MoNsTeR

    MoNsTeR Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Lakewood, CO
    Achieving the same velocity with a faster powder feels softer on the shooter, so I wouldn't be surprised if it were easier on the gun too. Honestly though, I don't think it matters as much as loading to a reasonable velocity in the first place.
  6. BigG

    BigG Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    It seems to my educated wrist that similar power loads with UNIQUE (slower) kick gentler than with BULLSEYE (faster powder) YMMV.
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