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Old December 24, 2013, 05:20 PM   #1
Ashbane
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45 ACP OAL question

I'm fairly new to reloading. I've loaded and fired over 500 rounds so far without a problem. I'm slowly adjusting different things one at a time to see how things change and this time I wanted to ask before loading it in my FNX-45.

I have been loading 2 types of bullets, the Hornady 185gr XTP HP's I got free with my press and Berry's 230gr RN plated bullets I happily find in stock at the local Scheels whenever I go. I know according to Berry's site to use low-midrange jacketed data from my manual, of which I have 2, a Hornady and a Lee. I use the Hornady with the XTP's and for the Berry's I have been working up using common sense from both.

I'm not a great shot yet but I feel good about my groups on the XTP's using 5.6gr Titegroup, moving up from an OAL of 1.26 to 1.24, and I have some 1.22's waiting for the next trip to the range. The manual says min OAL is 1.213 so I don't plan to push any farther on the XTP's, just want to see how they shoot and will probably back off to something with less pressure.

I just starting putting the Berry's 230gr bullets on some cases with 6.4 Longshot after doing a batch of 1.24 OAL's, I already know 1.26 works well and feeds fine. However I noticed after getting the first cartridge to 1.23 the mouth of the case is already extruding a hair past the curvature of the RN bullet. Obviously 1.22 would go farther and the book spec of min OAL 1.21 in the Hornady and 1.20 in the Lee would be WAY over it. The case length is within the stated max length of .898.

Am I missing something or is this normal and the FCD crimping the case mouth over the RN not add even more pressure?

Here's the cartridge at 1.23

Last edited by Ashbane; December 24, 2013 at 05:25 PM.
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Old December 24, 2013, 06:13 PM   #2
chris in va
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You can't load the bigger 230gr FMJ to the same OAL as a short JHP. Max in my Lyman's for a TMJ or LRN 230gr is 1.275". 1.23 is way too short for that bullet profile.
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Old December 24, 2013, 06:23 PM   #3
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That does look short.
Experimenting with overall lengths seems to be more productive with rifles than handguns.
I load the max length that fit both the mag and chamber and let it go at that.
Never saw an advantage to loading them shorter.
Adjusting powder amount and bullet diameter seems to make more of a difference.
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Old December 24, 2013, 06:29 PM   #4
Ashbane
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Thanks I'll pull this one back apart and back up to 1.26. Chris I wasn't using the specs for HP's I was going with the jacketed data Berry's site said to use. The lead bullet data said the same thing so I wanted to try that end of the spectrum and see what the results were.
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Old December 24, 2013, 06:41 PM   #5
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Yeah, I'd pull that. I wouldn't shoot it. Were you looking at the length for 230 or 185? Something other than RN i.e FN? Maybe crossed up a page or something?
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Old December 24, 2013, 08:24 PM   #6
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Nope.

Hornady 9th Ed, pg 852 45 ACP

230gr bullets FMJ-RN C.O.L:1.210"
230gr LRN....C.O.L:1.210"

Lee Modern Reloading 2nd ED, pg 573

230 gr Jacketed Longshot never exceed 6.8gr Min OAL 1.200"
230gr Lead Longshot Min OAL 1.200"
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Old December 24, 2013, 08:33 PM   #7
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And yes I realize these are MIN spec's, not nominal ones. Like I said I was simply trying out a little at a time from one end of the spectrum to the other to see what the results were for my own education and noticed right away this didn't seem right to go as far as the book said I could go.
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Old December 24, 2013, 08:42 PM   #8
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Just an additional note:

Plunk testing is the best way to get a starting COL IMO. Especially when loading for a particular firearm.

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Old December 24, 2013, 10:06 PM   #9
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Ah thanks Wreck I've seen that pic somewhere and tried finding it again and couldn't. I know it head spaces on the case mouth and I actually do plop one in once in a while and run my finger over it to make sure it's smooth and doesn't stick out. But now I can add that pic to my reference material. I'm under the impression getting the bullet as close to the rifling as you can without smashing up into it is usually ideal in general.
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Old December 25, 2013, 11:34 AM   #10
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Well I made a few dummy rounds and started well over 1.3 and never did get the RN to touch the rifling. From now on I'll just make it long enough to feed from the mag and call it good.
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Old December 25, 2013, 06:01 PM   #11
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Use your barrel's chamber as a cartridge gauge. The throat will determine what the OACL for a particular bullet should be. With JHPs, you can pretty much follow the powder/bullet manufacturer's load data and OACL recommendation provided they pass the plunk test. With a longer bullet type like your Berry's 230 gr. RN, make a dummy with the SAAMI Max. recommended OACL of 1.275" and reduce OACL by .010" until the dummy passes the plunk test. When it's correct, the case rim will be located like the illustrations that W-n-C posted.
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Old December 25, 2013, 07:03 PM   #12
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I'll give a +1 to 57K on his input. As to the OPs tests on the 230 FMJ RN starting w/ OAL >1.3 and not hitting the rifling, I would suggest trying a test with a dummy RN round loaded out to 1.4 then running a fine point sharpie around the bullet at the rim. Then chamber the round from the magazine. You might be surprised to see the sharpie mark set back, and not have noticed any obvious marks from earlier testing.
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Old December 25, 2013, 09:08 PM   #13
Ashbane
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Good info thanks. But it looks to me since anything over 1.27ish wont fit the mag so past that is a moot point. Anything less is more of a test of case length rather than oal as long as I dont go below the specced min oal, which I've no desire to do. I would try the sharpie test for own education though.
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Old December 25, 2013, 09:39 PM   #14
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Ashbane, the SAAMI Max. recommended OACL of 1.275" is pretty much for mag. functioning. Different brands of pistols have different chamber/throat dimensions. Obviously your loads have to be short enough to work through the mags and from there it becomes an issue of decreasing the distance the bullet has to "jump" to the rifling to enhance accuracy. For 230 gr. JHPs I typically load them to 1.230", but for 230 gr. FMJ you should be able to load longer and most data recommends that you do. Because they can't account for all of the throat dimensions used by the various manufacturers, proper OACL should always be established for a given bullet and the pistol it's to be fired from.
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Old December 28, 2013, 11:46 AM   #15
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Berrys 230 gn

I use a lot of AA5 powder, and according to the latest Accurate/Western load data, the tested COL for Berrys 230 gn RN was 1.237 for all of their powders. All my 45's like a COL of 1.24
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Old December 28, 2013, 04:28 PM   #16
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Ashbane,

The problem you've run into is inconsistent nose profiles. If you look at a military 230 grain RN of the type the 1.275" maximum COL was developed for, you'll see the nose profile above the bearing surface (cylindrical portion) is actually elliptical. Some manufacturers, including Hornady, have chosen a more hemispherical tip, which means their bullets are a more squat shape, being shorter overall for the same weight, and also wider near the tip than the military type. These more squat shapes have to be seated to a shorter COL in order to give the case mouth the same grip on their bearing surface and to avoid the bullet trying to climb up out of the magazine too early in the feed cycle to clear the magazine lips properly. The bottom line is that you'll have to find the COL that works with the bullet shape you have. Don't assume anything in a book about a different RN bullet will necessarily work out.

Regarding that illustration of mine, I've used it mainly with target bullets and not round nose. Some round noses may be too long to feed from a magazine properly if seated to headspace on the bullet. Again, all you can do is try it and see with your bullet. It does improve velocity consistency and reduce lead fouling where it can be accommodated.
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Old December 30, 2013, 08:03 PM   #17
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I load Berry's 230gn RN bullets at 1.265" OAL. They feed great in my two 1911's (SAM and Ruger) and in my Glock 21. I've been loading 4.7gn of Titegroup, which is 0.1gn short of max in several sources. No problems whatsoever so far. They're decently accurate.




Last edited by futz; December 30, 2013 at 08:18 PM.
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Old December 31, 2013, 10:23 AM   #18
Ashbane
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Thanks for all the great info. I did finally get the 230 RN to finally touch the rifling and push the rim up out of the chamber but it was barely in the case mouth anymore and mic'ed over 1.4 to get it. I also recently purchased a chrony so I know what my velocities are and can actually test with real results. I made some dummy rounds at 1.27 and they feed fine from the mag.
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Old January 1, 2014, 12:06 PM   #19
Don P
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Quote:
Just an additional note:

Plunk testing is the best way to get a starting COL IMO. Especially when loading for a particular firearm.
Best post for info to answer the OP's question. I have stated the same to many a new reloader.
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Old January 2, 2014, 10:58 PM   #20
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I have to load the 230 gr Berry's RN's at 1.240 for them to feed in my Sig 1911.. they work just fine for me there.
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