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Old February 29, 2008, 09:17 PM   #1
W. C. Quantrill
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.45 ACP Heavy

I just discovered that I have about 50 Hornady 250 gr XTP bullets. They are the big old honking six sided hollowpoints. I removed these from a bunch of Thompson Center muzzleloader sabots that I would not put in my .54 rifle. I hate to see them go to waste, and since I am out of all but AA#2Imp and Unique powder, I am wondering what would be an acceptable load.

I use the Unique in my .45 Colts, but havent used it in the ACP, yet. I like the way it performs, but its so dang dirty, I hate to run it through my STI.

Which would you recommend under the XTP's? I have been told that I can use 5.4 gr of AA2, anyone have any solid info on that? I'm using a Dillon 550B loader with Dillon dies. Next time I hit the lottery, I'm going to stock up on some better powders.
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Old February 29, 2008, 09:58 PM   #2
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http://alliantpowder.com/reloaders/R...9&bulletid=103
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Old February 29, 2008, 10:06 PM   #3
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First you have to check whether or not they fit? .45 ACP case walls get thicker as they approach the casehead. This means a bullet with a square base that seats in much deeper than 230 grain hardball can swell the case sides above the base of that bullet until they no longer will chamber. That's the reason a lot of .45 LC bullets can't be used in the ACP. Only heavier bullets designed for .45 ACP can be certain of achieving a fit. There was an article in Handloader (April 2006 comes to mind, but that may just be my brain randomly grabbing things out of thin air) in which a 300 grain bullet was fired from the .45 ACP with some interesting results, but it had to be a boattail shape to fit.

The other thing to concern yourself with is the rise in pressure that is caused by increased seating depth in a short straight case. The illustration below shows the effect of just 1/8" of additional seating depth. It's the reason we taper crimp; to keep recoil from banging the magazine into the bullet noses with enough force to seat the bullets deeper. If, in addition to seating deeper, I also were to increase the bullet weight or make it something harder, like a jacketed bullet, the pressures will go up more. 230 grain hardball seated out to proper depth will get us 18 or 19 thousand PSI with the same 5 grains of bullseye. So, as you get heavier than the 230 grain bullet, powder charge will have to be reduced to something appropriate for the amount of space left.

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Old February 29, 2008, 11:32 PM   #4
W. C. Quantrill
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I have loaded and shot the 200 gr Precision SWC moly bullets for years over AA#5. But I'm out of that. And since I live near the tail hole of the world, I am not blessed to be able to drive a mile and get any more. If we want more than bread or milk we drive 110 miles to Amarillo for groceries. I can get powder there, but I only go once a month, and that wont be until next week. Hopefully, I am going to get a transfer that will put me closer to civilization, but in the meantime...............

The 200 gr Precision SWC seats .320 deep. That gives me an OAL of 1.240 which feeds like grain through a goose. These XTP's will seat .330 deep to get the same OAL, so I think that I am ok there. The XTP has a prominent crimp groove at that point, I could set it in 0.005 and still hit the groove if need be. I usually dont crimp my ACP's though.

Your diagram very closely resembles the 200 gr Precision that I use. I dont think that 0.010 is going to dangerously raise the pressure, do you? That is a question, not a challenge. I just wanted to mess with these this weekend and see what they would do. But since I am tonight limited to two powders, I am curious which you would use for this bullet choice, the Unique or the AA#2Imp.

I just went through some of the various off the shelf ammo that is on the bench here, and it varies from 1.155 for some Blazer HP's to 1.265 for some military ball ammo, with the average being around 1.210 to 1.225. My STI feeds it all, HP, SWC or RN. So OAL isnt that much of a problem with my pistol. My concern was seating depth, but that seems to be not a serious problem either. I did read somewhere of using 250 gr bullets in the .45ACP with AA#2 but I dont remember the load. I am using an 18.5# spring FWIW.
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Last edited by W. C. Quantrill; February 29, 2008 at 11:50 PM. Reason: SWC
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Old March 1, 2008, 08:16 AM   #5
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I have shot a lot of Ranier 250 Gr bullets in .45 ACP. I loaded them at 1.210.

I have used 5.5 Grs W-231 with them a lot early on, as well as 5.2 Grs AA #2 later. Both are very good powders for .45 ACP. The W-231 load is a bit stouter than the AA #2, which gave around 750 FPS from a 4" gun. I never chronoed the W-231 load as I did not have a chrono back then.

These loads were safe in my guns with my load procedure. Back off 10% and work up.
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Old March 1, 2008, 08:25 AM   #6
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you should mic or caliper the slugs to check the diameter. for .45acp use .451 dia slugs. watch the seating depth of course.
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Old March 1, 2008, 10:25 AM   #7
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W.C.,

I looked up the 250 grain XTP. It is a .452" bullet intended for .45 Long Colt. The base may not be too long, but, even though .452" is a standard diameter for cast bullets in the .45 ACP, it will cause pressure increase over the standard .451" diameter jacketed bullets normally used in the ACP. I am not clear how much, so you will want to start low and work up carefully, whatever you use?

No, .01" won't matter. Note also that even the deep bullet I illustrated is still within +P+ pressure levels, so most guns will still run it just fine. Ones with generous chambers will see lower actual pressures. My data comes from a .45 ACP test barrel I had custom made for an Encore frame, and its chamber is tighter than most 1911 barrels, so the pressures read a little high. You will find, for example, that Alliant's web site lists a very short COL for 230 grain FMJ of only 1.19". Since that would be potentially dangerous in FMJ RN, I had some back and forth with one of their techs on the subject. It turns out the loads were developed with a truncated cone shape, like the Hornady, so it is not a good number for FMJ RN which is normally 1.275" maximum COL. You just get a bigger case bulge ahead of the extraction groove in unsupported chamber barrel designs than the standard pressure produces. Also, the faster the powder the more this is an issue. I just put it up as a general heads-up on seating depth considerations.

The bullet I illustrated is close to the time-honored 200 gr. H&G #68 style, that has been copied by just about every mold maker there is. The actual H&G #68 is a bit wider at the base of the ogive cone and a little more rounded at the corners of the meplat. The #68 is a very successful design going back at least to 1940, when it was written up in a couple of magazines. It was available in either plain of bevel base originally. It remains a mainstay target and practice bullet shape in the .45 ACP because of its accuracy.

In 2005, then retired, Wayne Gibbs made this comment about the design:
"When I first started at H&G (I was almost 13 years old) as "CEO" which stands for "Cleaning", "Egads, more blocks to polish?" and "O my gosh, more sprue cutters to drill?" I heard that #68 had been designed by a customer of ours that wanted a lighter bullet than the standard hardball 230 grain bullet, so figured that the nose could be flattened a might, then the nose tapered back with a tad of angle to end in a semiwadcutter shoulder, which would lighten the weight to 200 grains,yet the chamber wouldn't guess the bullet it was digesting was not a standard roundnose bullet. Probably to his great amazement,it was also especially accurate. I think it has always been the "bullet to beat" for accuracy. Such were the way that great advances were made in the "old days"--no computer modelling!"
-Wayne
At any rate, it is a good bullet shape to work with.

As to Unique vs. AA #2, I can give you QuickLOAD's estimates. Before using Unique, please check that your lot isn't part of the recall from 2006.

In the computer model, Unique produced, at the same charge weight, equal velocity at slightly lower pressure than #2 does. #2 is therefore going to be more sensitive to the case volume issue. I would go with Unique. With a .451 diameter bullet, I would have said to start at 5 grains and work up, but with the fat bullet, I would actually fire one round down at 4 grains, just to play extra safe and to see what this is going to do? A .001" oversize bullet is of little concern in a rifle, and the old French MAB pistols would shoot jacketed .32's that were 0.003" over groove diameter without a hiccup, so this is not really a big deal. I just like to err on the side of extreme caution in these situations. If all goes well, you might get up as high as 5.5 to 6.0 grains of Unique, depending on the shape of your chamber. Just keep watching for pressure signs.
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Old March 1, 2008, 11:35 AM   #8
W. C. Quantrill
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Interesting, thank you.

I actually have 3 ways to go here, perhaps, rather than pushing the envelope with these in my good 1911, I will simply load them and use them in one of the .45 Colts. They would make a good hunting choice for the Colt Lightening replica, or one of the Rugers, and we can use the Uni que in it. The 250 XTP HP's just seemed like they would be an excellent social load for the 1911, since they are just laying here in the jar begging to be used. However, since I prefer to err on the side of safety, perhaps they will go in the rifle or one of the wheel guns.

That would probably be the safe and rational choice here. As always, thanks for the insight.
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Old March 1, 2008, 09:13 PM   #9
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Midway's LoadMap lists the Hornady 250gr XTP for the .45acp. They used RP cases and RP 2 1/2 primers. Overall length tested was maximum at 1.275". With Unique powder they suggested starting at 5.2 grains at 640fps. 5.6 grains got 700fps and 6.0 grains showed 760fps and 17900 psi. While they did show data a little higher than 6.0 grains I wouldn't recommend going any higher. They used a 5" test barrel for their tests.
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