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Winchester 231 for .45 ACP loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by jediagh, Apr 30, 2012.

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  1. jediagh

    jediagh Member

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    Completed my first 50 loads for my 1911 this past weekend and they all worked.

    Powder: Winchester 231
    Primer: CCI Large Pistol
    Bullet: 230gr FMJ from Roze Distribution, Inc. - Zero Bullets and Ammunition
    Brass: Federal (range pick ups)

    My lyman reloading book 49th edition along with the one book, one caliber book series for the .45ACP advised of loads in the following range.

    5.0 to 5.7 grains with 5.8 being the MAX.

    Winchester shows:
    230 GR. HDY FMJ FP Winchester 231 .451" 1.200" 4.2 751 13,800 CUP 5.3 832 16,800 CUP

    I did 10 rounds each at 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4 and they all worked.
    I prefer the way the 5.0 felt (recoil wise) vs the others. Actually when my friend loaded my 1911 and I fired (thus no idea which load I was firing) I could not tell the different between 5 and 5.1 but could feel more kick with the 5.2+.

    In any case now on to my question.
    Why does Winchester show 4.2 for suggestion with a MAX of 5.3 yet the other books show a higher max? I'm going to load up 4.9 to 4.2 now and try those to see if the gun works (ie. cycles) and see how those feel vs the 5.0 I am using right now.

    Seems to me that 4.2 is just too little powder?
     
  2. dap22

    dap22 Member

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    5.1 G of W231 has been my go to recipe for 45 ACP for many years because it's comfortable and reasonably accurate. I generally use something in the 185-200g FMJ's.

    As to your question, there seems to be no real standard in the reloading arena. Different books say different things, sometimes a bit contradictory at that. I've learned to look at as many reloading books and manuals as I can and interpolate what I feel is a good starting point and work my loads up as you've done.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2012
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Some data showed W-231 all the way to 6.2 Grs, but in my experience anything over about 5.7/8 gets real snappy and unpleasant to shoot, plus it is pretty hot.

    5.8 should be real close to 840 FPS, depending on the barrel and barrel length.

    5.0 for a nice range load, and 5.5 for serious practice.
     
  4. jediagh

    jediagh Member

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    So should I even bother going down to 4.3 and work up or just stay at 5?
    I just want to plink with the ammo.
     
  5. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    4.3 Grs is awfully light. If you want to go lighter try 4.8, or maybe 4.6. If you go lower than that you may have cycling problems, depending on the gun.

    My powder puff .45 ACP load that cycles my 1911's and my ZC 97 will not budge the slide on a Taurus PT-145. Turns it into a single shot.
     
  6. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Different bullets, different test equipment.

    Lyman #49 is using a 230 Speer TMJ (Total Metal Jacket) plated bullet in a 5" pressure test fixture.

    Hodgdon/Win is using a Hornady 230 FMJ-FP jacketed bullet with a longer bearing surface, in a 5" unknown barrel.

    rc
     
  7. gahunter12

    gahunter12 Member

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    My favorite W231 load for 45acp is 5.2gr under 230gr RN plated @ OAL:1.260". I really like 4.8 gr of 231 with the same bullet and OAL, but it's very dirty. My lead loads have 4.7 gr of W231 under 230gr LRN. If you really want a low recoil and clean load try out WST. Oh my word! 4.2gr of WST under the same 230gr RN Plated at OAL:1.260" is very light and clean. All these loads are very accurate.
     
  8. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    I agree, for really light .45 loads WST is better suited than W-231, as is N-310 as well.

    I really like WST. Very useful stuff.
     
  9. mbopp

    mbopp Member

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    My experience with W231 and 200gr cast SWC's:
    4.7gr - a light target load, dirty though.
    5.3gr - my normal, everyday use load
    5.7gr - my MAX load, about as much as I or the gun want to handle.
     
  10. jediagh

    jediagh Member

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    Thanks all I did notice that the W231 is very dirt at least with the 50 - 5.4 loads that I had. I think I'll try 4.6 - 4.9 and see how those act up.
     
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    You may find this interesting.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=523172

    I thought I had proved you could not stick a round in a 1911 and cycle the slide, but it has been pointed out to me by extremely 1911 knowledgeable folks (Like 1911 Tuner), that you can indeed do so, but that everything has to be just right.
     
  12. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    The difference between the Winchester and Lyman load data is the OAL of the round. An OAL of only 1.200" is awfully short IMO. I think the OAL in the Lyman manual is something like 1.270" which would account for the powder differences.

    I load 5.5gr W231 under a 230gr FMJ bullet with an OAL of between 1.255" and 1.265" depending on the pistol. That is my favorite .45 ACP round...
     
  13. RainDodger

    RainDodger Member

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    For literally decades, I have loaded 5.6 grains of 231 under a jacketed 230 grain FMJ. OAL is 1.273. It has worked flawlessly in many gov't model pistols and is as accurate as I am. Back when I developed the load, it was below a max load. It's pretty stout, but easily manageable. I've reloaded the brass countless times... I generally lose the brass before there's any reason to toss it out.
     
  14. 4895

    4895 Member

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    The most likely answer to the OP question is regarding cartridge OAL. 1.200" is a short case that will likely feed in any .45 auto known to man and function flawlessly. The pressure builds up quicker and higher in a case with less free space due to shorter OAL (1.200"). This is why you use less powder to achieve the same velocity at a given level. With a longer OAL, you need a bit more powder to achieve the same power level.

    The internals of a pistol round are similar to a racing engine. The piston comes up to the cylinder head and "compresses" the air/fuel mixture which is ignited by either compression (diesel engine) or spark plug (gasoline). When you change the piston height (high dome racing piston), you lower the area of compression and your compression ratio raises dramatically. When you make the combustion chamber in your cylinder head smaller, you raise compression from a smaller combustion area. The terms "quench" and "squish" are used in relation to burning all of the fuel with relation to maximum compression per ignition cycle. If you burn all of your powder, your "engine" has good quench, efficient burning. The larger the bullet you seat, and the deeper it seats, it has better "squish" and promotes good "quench". Compressed charges tend to burn cleaner than low charges of fast powder for the reasons I mentioned above.

    What you might do is seat a bullet in an empty, resized, deprimed case, and check to see when the pistol starts to have jam problems. Example, seat the bullet at 1.220", 1.240", 1.260", etc. and load in the magazine. Lock the slide back and insert the magazine. Depress the slide lock lever and allow the slide to slam forward and attempt to load the said bullets. When it starts to malfuntion, you can narrow down the OAL. Say it stops at 1.280" but not 1.260". Load a 1.270" and keep trying to know where it likes the oal.

    Once you have a good idea where it should be, use load data intended for the closest OAL and powder charge. You will have built a 45 caliber auto round specifically for that firearm. Record your findings and load to your hearts content. Shoot straight and pay attention to different OAL in publishings. The pressures at different OAL can very greatly, especially if using a very fast pistol powder. Good luck
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  15. jediagh

    jediagh Member

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    Thank you 4895! That really helps me out! I'll give it a try and see what I come up with. When I did my first 50 reloads I mesures a few of them to max sure they were under the MAX OAL but that was it. They all were.

    Using a RCBS Rock Chucker single stage press with the following process/dies.
    1) Clean the brass in a tumbler
    2) Lee pocket primer tool to clean the primer pocket
    3) Lee resizing die
    4) Lee expansion die with poweder drop (not dropping powder then)
    5) Measure out each powder charge with Hordany digital scale
    6) Seat bullet with Lee die
    7) Use Lee FCD
    8) Tested each round in a lyman case guage

    They all "fit" in #8 but they were all a bit too tall before step 7 as I tried a few in the case guage.

    Jedi
     
  16. Nappers

    Nappers Member

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    5.1 W-231
    230gr Hornady XTP hollow points
    Winchester Brass (or whatever you have, I also use freebies at the range)
    Remington LP Primers

    Good stuff.
     
  17. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Member

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    I use 5.0gr of 231 for both LRN and jacketed 230 ball rounds.My XDm full size in 45acp love the load in LRN,very accurate.
     
  18. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    You did nothing wrong but that sounds like a lot of work to do to just load .45 Auto ammo. You are adding a few steps many reloaders don't do on handgun ammo.

    I never clean primer pockets on handgun ammo and I drop the powder on your step 4 from a powder measure. I also don't check every round in a case gauge. Check a few rounds in the beginning to check your setup and call it good... (IMO of course) BTW, the Lee FCD shouldn't change the OAL. Is that what you meant?
     
  19. Fishslayer

    Fishslayer Member

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    I've used W231 in .45ACP & wound up going back to Bullseye.

    At 4.2gr of 231 I wouldn't be surprised to encounter cycling issues.
     
  20. TonyT

    TonyT Member

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    I always use the powder manufacturers pressure tested loading data as a guide for my reloads.
     
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