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Old October 8, 2013, 11:03 PM   #1
cheezhed
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Win 231 and 230 grain bullets

I want to use some some 230 grain Speer round nose bullets that I bought a long time ago using some Win 231 that I bought at about the same time. My Speer reloading manual #12 lists a load for this combo at 5.6-6.2 grains @ 1.260 C.O.A.L. Is this a hot load by today's load books standard or is it a normal pressure one? If you have a load that use these components could you share your experiences.
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Old October 8, 2013, 11:27 PM   #2
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I do. The Speer #14 has 5.6g the max for 231. It's a bit of a fast powder for a 230g bullet, but it definitely works.

I personally load it at 5.2g's. It's a good, consistent, accurate round.
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Old October 9, 2013, 09:22 AM   #3
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The Speer #14 has 5.6g the max for 231. It's a bit of a fast powder for a 230g bullet, but it definitely works.
If referring to .45 ACP, 230 g; HP38/W231 wouldn't seem so fast compared to the nominal Bullseye, would it? I do feel that Bullseye is rather fast for 230 FMJ, at least intuitively, but W231 might make a good fall back rather than a peer in burn rate. I bring back the Bullseye for lead bullets, for which the faster powder seems to work really well without being run hot.

p.s. my assumption is that the Speer bullets in question are not lead, but Gold Dots or some such jacketed/plated.
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Old October 9, 2013, 09:50 AM   #4
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I am use 5.9 of 231 with 230 grain bullets and do not have any issues in any of my 1911s. My favorite target and hunting load for the 45 is 6.1 of 231 with a 200 grain cast gas checked SWC.

Good luck.
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Old October 9, 2013, 10:31 AM   #5
Mike Irwin
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That load is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than what the Hodgdon reloading data center shows for either jacketed or lead 230-gr. bullets with WW 231.
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Old October 9, 2013, 11:04 AM   #6
Charles S
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Quote:
That load is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than what the Hodgdon reloading data center shows for either jacketed or lead 230-gr. bullets with WW 231
I believe it is higher than most current manuals recommend.

Agreed! However it is a load from an older Lyman manual (quite a bit older). I have noted newer manuals have lowered the recommended load by several grains. However I have never had a problem in any of my 1911s or my S&W 45 autos, or revolvers and have been using these loads for a long time.

I guess I should have said, I would not recommend these loads to others based upon the new data.
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Old October 9, 2013, 11:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
I am use 5.9 of 231 with 230 grain bullets and do not have any issues in any of my 1911s. My favorite target and hunting load for the 45 is 6.1 of 231 with a 200 grain cast gas checked SWC.
Interesting that you hunt with a .45 ACP, and so hot that it requires a gas checked bullet.
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Old October 9, 2013, 12:06 PM   #8
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I want my 230 FMJ’s to be just at 800 fps in a M1911. Commercial loads are often faster, but the original 1910 load for the 45 ACP was a 230 FMJ going at 800 fps, propelled by 5.0 grains of Bullseye. In my chronograph testing, 5.5 grs W231 gets me there with a 230 FMJ bullet. I have posted several chronograph sessions, you can see that velocities, given the same Dillion 550B made ammunition, vary, depending on the day, depending on factors I don’t understand.

You can see the velocity difference between a SIG P220 and my Kimber classic.

In my opinion, OAL is primarily important for function. I used to set it based on when the bullet touched the lands and the cartridge base was level with the barrel hood. Then, I found, that chambers varied, and ammunition that was perfect with one pistol, would jam in another with a shorter throat profile. So I set my OAL short enough to feed and extract through everything. I also found no particular difference in accuracy. So, I set my OAL for function.


Code:
Kimber Custom Classic			
					
230 FMJ (GI)  5.5 grs W231 Mixed Brass WLP
OAL 1.265" taper crimp .469"
			
4-Sep-05	T = 92 °F	
	
Ave Vel =782.5				
Std Dev =22.64				
ES =	87.93				
High = 822.9				
Low =	735				
N =	28				 
					
230 FMJ (GI)  5.5 grs W231 Mixed Brass WLP
OAL 1.265" taper crimp .469”	
			
8-Jan-06	T = 61 °F
		
Ave Vel =802.9				
Std Dev =17.8				
ES =	53.67				
High = 831.1				
Low =	777.5				
N =	9				 
					
					
230 FMJ (GI)  5.5 grs W231 Mixed Brass WLP
OAL 1.265 taper crimp .469"	
		
18-Mar-07	T = 62 °F
			
Ave Vel =780.5				
Std Dev =14.17		 	 	 
ES =	51.66				
High = 798.7				
Low =	747				 
N =	23				 
	

230 gr FMJ (R-P) 5.0 grs Bullseye 99' & 2005 mixed lot Mixed Brass WLP 
OAL 1.265"	taper crimp .469"
12-Dec-11	 T= 53  °F		
					
Ave Vel =793.5				
Std Dev =18.92				
ES =	61.99				
High = 817.4				
Low =	755.4				
N =	16


				
SIG SAUER P220 			
				
230 FMJ  5.5 grs W231  Mixed brass WLP 

OAL 1.265"  taper crimp 0.469"

23-Apr-11	T = 75 °F	
		
Ave Vel =	760.5			
Std Dev =13.56			
ES =	43.15			
High =  787.9			
Low =	744.7			
N =	17			
				
			
230 FMJ Aquila Factory 		
19-Jun-11	T = 87 °F		
Ave Vel =	822.1		
Std Dev =10.58		
ES =	23.84		
High =  834		
Low =	810		
N =	6		

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Old October 9, 2013, 12:08 PM   #9
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Charles,

Older manuals often have data developed by pressure sign rather than by pressure measurement. Unfortunately, brass signs can change with brass brands, so you might get a different indication.

Of the manuals that do show pressure, a lot of them are still done using copper crushers. These instruments simply are not very consistent, as the spread in results in the table taken from a SAAMI test, below, shows. So what has happened in many instances is that as manufacturers gradually move over to the more consistent Piezo transducer systems of measurement, they discover the copper crusher measurements they made in the past actually run high when checked on the more modern apparatus.



That said, I also don't think people realize how much wiggle room there is in SAAMI pressures. The SAAMI MAP (maximum average pressure) is the number you normally see published. It is a number intended to be used as a manufacturing control, and is the average peak pressure for a single 10 round sample taken when the ammo is freshly loaded. SAAMI has a separate number, the MPSM (maximum probable sample mean) which is about 8% higher that is allowed for a 10 round sample average taken as the ammo lot ages. The maximum extreme individual load pressure that is allowed as an extreme variance is up close to proof pressure. Also, the MAP assumes a 4% standard deviation, which handloaders can beat.

So, the bottom line is a lot of judgment calls are involved in setting load limits. Western powders suggests lowering any maximum rifle load 10% and any maximum handgun cartridge load 15% as a starting point, then working up and watching for pressure signs in your particular gun.
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Old October 9, 2013, 12:17 PM   #10
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Are these the Speer swaged lead 230 gr RN or the Speer Jackedted 230 gr RN bullets? If they are the swaged lead jobbies, they are quite soft and will tend to lead your barrel at velocities much over 800 fps. I've loaded these with 5.2 grs of 231 which pushes them around 750 fps.
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Old October 9, 2013, 01:56 PM   #11
Jim Watson
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At one time the Army's intuition was that Bullseye was just fine for .45 ACP.

I use it for light loads, it gives less velocity variation down around 600 fps.

Otherwise I load W231/HP38 for all non-magnum pistol calibers.
It will take at or near the maximum to equal hardball, though.
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Old October 9, 2013, 03:23 PM   #12
Mike Irwin
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"At one time the Army's intuition was that Bullseye was just fine for .45 ACP."

It was also different from what we call Bullseye today.

As originally introduced by Laflin & Rand, the original Bullseye powder was supposedly the screenings, or fines, from manufacture of L&R's Infalliable shotshell powder. (That's contested by a L&R historian who has examined samples of the old powders, and who makes a compelling argument that the only difference was in how the powder was granulated.)

This was a non-canister powder used originally to load military .38 Long Colt and .45 Long Colt cartridges.

Around 1904 Bullseye introduced Bullseye as a commercial product for reloaders and also because demand for the powder was outstripping production.

What most people don't know?

Infalliable (which was taken off the reloading market in the 1930s, but which is still manufactured for the industry today), Bullseye, and Unique, which was introduced about 1902, are the exact same powder.

The only difference is the size of the granules, which controlled the burning rate.
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Old October 9, 2013, 04:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
p.s. my assumption is that the Speer bullets in question are not lead
My assumption is that the bullets of question were lead. I guess the OP didn't specify.
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Old October 9, 2013, 06:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Around 1904 Bullseye introduced Bullseye as a commercial product
And did they change again by 1911? Or was Bullseye standardized by then.
I have read the sweepings (screenings, punchings) story but did not know it had been challenged.

As far as powders of the same chemistry but different granulation, Alliant tells us that Power Pistol is the retail sales name for Bullseye 84. And now they have B.E. 86 announced but not available what with Panic Production.

And I once read an explanation by Hercules that there were nine different grades of Red Dot. Red Dot 30 was the canister product, the others went to OEM.
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Old October 9, 2013, 10:08 PM   #15
cheezhed
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I did not mention that the bullets were FMJ 230 grain speer. the reason that I asked was that the older manuals seem to recommend loads hotter than they now publish. I don't want to hammer my pistol any harder than necessary but I want it to cycle properly. I use the older manual because it was current when the powder and bullets were made and I don't know if the 231 made today is the same as 231 in mid 90s.
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Old October 9, 2013, 11:05 PM   #16
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You'd have to load down pretty far before you'll run into cycling problems. Even though I now know that we're talking a FMJ bullet here, I'd still stick with something in the 5.2g W231 neighborhood (like I load with a lead slug). You can go a little hotter, but there may not be any real point to it.

I've loaded with old powders before (W231, and W296). 13 months ago, I discovered about 2000 primers and a pound each of the aforementioned, at my Dad's house - from 1987. I've since used up all the 231 with no problem - but I only loaded target rounds (230g LRN 5.2g's; and 200g LSWC 5.0g's) - nothing at the top of the pressure scale.

My concern with old powder is in a possible change in burn characteristics. Obviously, it can't somehow increase in its potential (stored) energy; but is it possible that its burn rate / pressure curve has changed. Maybe faster. Maybe slower.

Use the powder - for target loads.
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Old October 10, 2013, 06:17 AM   #17
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"And did they change again by 1911? Or was Bullseye standardized by then."

It appears that the powder composition stayed stable.

There was a LOT of turmoil in the industry at that time. Lafflin and Rand sold out to Du Pont, then a few years later du Pont, which had been working on cornering the market, was hit with a huge anti-trust suit that was bolstered by documents provided to the Government by a disgruntled former executive.

That's when Hercules got the smokeless powder products like Bullseye, Unique, and Infalliable, du Pont kept the military rifle powders, and the explosives were spun off to another company whose name escapes me right now.

Phil Sharpe apparently was one of the big proponents for early Bullseye being the dross left over from manufacturing, but the article I read made a compelling case that the way Infalliable was manufactured didn't allow for that. Infalliable was extruded, not cut from sheets like Ballistite.
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Old October 10, 2013, 09:21 AM   #18
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Win 231 powder is my favorite in the 45 ACP, I still have 16 pounds of it on hand.
I load 6.1 grs of W231 under Win 230 gr FMJ bullets in Starline brass, this is the same load I've used for a lot of years.
My old Pin loads were much hotter using W231.

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Old October 10, 2013, 10:05 AM   #19
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"Win 231 powder is my favorite in the 45 ACP"

WW 231 is my favoriate powder, hands down end of story.

I've not reloaded much in the way of jacketed bullets for my .45, but I've burned a lot of it with lead bullets.

With the exception of .44 Special and .45 Colt, I used 231 in all of the handgun rounds I reload for, or for which I've reloaded in the past:

.25 ACP
.32 ACP
.32 S&W Long
.32-20
.38 S&W
.38 Special
.357 Magnum (light to mid power loads)
.380 ACP
9mm Makarov
9mm Luger
.41 Magnum (light to mid power loads)
.45 Auto Rim and .45 ACP

It meters great, it burns cleanly, and it provides consistent ballistics.

What's not to love?
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Old October 10, 2013, 11:02 AM   #20
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Quote:
What's not to love? (re W231)
Availability is not a strong point.
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Old October 10, 2013, 11:09 AM   #21
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"Availability is not a strong point."

That's because so many people love it!

And are going bat**** crazy and hoarding things like mad...
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Old October 10, 2013, 03:15 PM   #22
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The longer you load for the .45 ACP the more you will understand that there are a very good number of powders that will work excellently. I'm not much on flake powders myself, but Bullseye and Unique probably fall right behind W231/HP38 in terms of popularity for loading the .45 ACP.

I have W231 on the bench and it works well, it's just not my particular favorite. Ramshot ZIP is very similar, burns cleaner and has a performance advantage, but then again, I don't load .45 ACP with a single powder. Another thing I like about using Ramshot powders is that their data is pressure tested and rated.

It all depends on the load you want. I do loads with WST, W231, ZIP, True Blue and Silhouette for warmer defense loads. For what some of us call bunnyfarts, mine is a 200 gr. LSWC at around 800 FPS and charged with WST. W231 is capable of most anything typical of factory loads that are standard performance like 230 gr. Ball at around 850 FPS from a 5" 1911. Above that, you're gonna need another powder. ZIP is capable, True Blue maybe a little moreso and Silhouette will push jacketed bullets to velocities associated with +P factory loads, but it will do it at the standard pressure rating of 21,000 PSI or less. Naturally, you need to select a bullet that will perform properly at the higher velocities possible and my personal defense load in .45 ACP is the 185 gr. Golden Saber over Silhouette that averages 1087 FPS from the 4.5" barrel of my Ruger SR45. Silhouette is chemically treated to yield low flash while it does some pretty amazing stuff in a cartridge where many might consider it to be too slow as far as burn rate. Expansion is excellent while it will penetrate as deep as 230 gr. JHP. One of the loads I've been shooting lately is a 200 gr. LRNFP with an OACL of 1.210" with varying levels of True Blue. From 7.2 to 7.7 grs the loads have all been very accurate and I'm probably going to settle on a charge of 7.3 grs. to achieve around 850 FPS with the 200 gr. LRNFP.

I view True Blue like many view W231 and Unique. If I had to do all of my handgun loads with a single powder from light to near full magnum loads, they'd get charged with True Blue. The situation with the .45 ACP is similar and many reloaders get by with a single powder like W231/HP38, Bullseye or Unique.

Unclenicks point about SAAMI testing in PSI is a good one. If you happen to have the Quick Load program you'll notice that one of the statistics it gives is Bullet Travel to Pressure Max. The only real flaw in the SAAMI PSI testing system is that the piezoelectric transducer is located at the same chamber position that's used by the copper crusher, CUP, method. Both tests can and sometimes are conducted simaltaneously. They are both looking at averages as Unclenick pointed out. After talking to Accurate's ballistician several years back, his opinion was that we'd end up adopting the CIP/PSI system and that's one area the Europeans have an advantage on us. In the CIP system the piezoelectric transducer is located forward of the casemouth and not in the middle of the chamber. It's not looking at Max. Average Pressure, or MAP, it's looking at the average of peak pressure, or similar to where Quick Load predicts bullet travel to Pressure Max. One reason why CIP pressure ratings run a bit higher than SAAMI's, except in cases where the powder manufacturer is intentionally lowering CIP/PSI ratings in order to maintain SAAMI levels for specific cartridges and the US Market. Vihta Vouri is a perfect example, and once upon a time in the west, they used to provide pressure data in their load guides and finally lowered the ratings to the point that there's not as much need to do so in order to comply with SAAMI spec.

Last edited by 57K; October 10, 2013 at 03:21 PM.
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Old October 10, 2013, 04:52 PM   #23
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For the range I use 5.3 - 5.4 gr of AA2. It is about the same burning rate as W 231. I use the same amount of 231. I don't load hot for range use, and that load cycles the action.

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Old October 10, 2013, 05:55 PM   #24
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231 is awesome; one of my favorite powders ever. But during the madness, I was introduced to AA2 - because it was all I could get. It's great powder. Its metering is second to none. Right now, I'm in the process of creating a whole bunch of AA2 recipes - essentially to replace; or at least in conjunction with, my whole bunch of 231 recipes.

Not that AA2 is better than 231 or anything. It's just that it seems more plentiful. Since the beginning of the madness, I have been unable to get ahold of any 231 (I actually missed one golden opportunity, not realizing how crappy things were quickly becoming). Now, I'm down to about 1.75Lbs and I've decided to dedicate it to 45ACP only.

AA2 is seemingly a tad slower than 231, so it's actually a little more friendly; especially with revolver calibers (my observation). Definitely with 357 Mag. I've hit pressure spikes a few times with 357Mag/231 - at load manual minimums. I just don't do it any more.

However, I have a great 357Mag/AA2 round: 8.0g/125g JHP. 1195fps/3" bbl; & 1212fps/4"bbl - and because it's a fast powder; it's naturally low flash and well suited for shorter barrels. (I suspect there's some remaining headroom in this recipe, but I'm leaving it as is.)

So to untangle my ramble: I really like 231, but I'm reserving it for my 45; meanwhile, in the course of the shortages, I've learned that AA2 makes many great rounds - especially revolver rounds.
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