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Old February 29, 2012, 06:43 PM   #1
Rockdriller
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.45 acp Loads for Steel plate Competition,

Hello folks,
I am going to shoot in my first shooting competition soon and its going to be a 6 stage steel plate setup. I am thinking of using either my .45 sig 1911 or my glock 35 in .40 smith. I have never shot in any comp before so I have no idea what to load for ammo.
I have most standard handgun powder and access to whatever bullets powder combo I need.
I was wondering what you serious steel shooters on "The Firing Line" shoot for loads.
Thanks for any info
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Old February 29, 2012, 09:22 PM   #2
PawPaw
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Quote:
I was wondering what you serious steel shooters on "The Firing Line" shoot for loads.
I'm not a serious steel shooter, but my go-to load for the .45 ACP is 4.6 grains of Bullseye under a 230 lead bullet. Flat point, round nose, take your choice. Range brass, anybody's primer. It gives me 900 fps from my 5" 1911 and is plenty good for any steel plate I might encounter.
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Old March 1, 2012, 12:09 AM   #3
g.willikers
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You definitely want to use only lead bullets.
Most matches using steel targets will only allow lead, due to the dangers of copper jacket ricochet.
200 grain swc at ~850f/s for steel works very well and is a popular steel target load.
Fast recoil recovery time and very effective.
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Old March 1, 2012, 12:17 AM   #4
lmccrock
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Steel Challenge, or falling steel? Steel Challenge basically requires the plate to go "ding" but it does not fall. Falling steel like (like USPSA or others) require the plate to fall, so a minimum amount of oomph is required. For USPSA, I shoot a 45acp 230gr lead or coated bullet around 740fps. For Steel Challenge-type matches, same bullet at 700-ish. Small amount of fast powder like Clays or Titegroup makes it shoot pretty soft.

Regardless, shoot whichever gun is faster for you. Might take a couple matches to sort that out.

Every match I go to allows jacketed bullets on steel; better ask the match director.

Last edited by lmccrock; March 1, 2012 at 12:20 AM. Reason: Comment on jacketed ammo
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Old March 1, 2012, 12:31 PM   #5
kraigwy
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I use 3.8 gr. of Bullseye pushing a 225 gr cast RN bullet.

Never hit a plate that didn't fall.

I also use it in Bullseye matches. It works for me.

Easy on the gun and shooter if you're shooting 100 plus rounds per session.
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Old March 1, 2012, 01:53 PM   #6
PawPaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraigwy
I use 3.8 gr. of Bullseye pushing a 225 gr cast RN bullet.
Really? With a charge that light, do you have any trouble with the 1911 cycling?
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Old March 1, 2012, 02:00 PM   #7
kraigwy
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No sir, it functions perfectly in both my 1911a1 (unmodified) and Series 70 Gold Cup.

I got that load from an late 70s NRA article on Bullseye shooting. Been using it every since.

It's mild but has the mass to knock down any plates I've ever hit.

Being mild also makes it easy and faster to stay on or move to the next target.
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Old March 1, 2012, 02:26 PM   #8
PawPaw
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Hmmm! I've learned something today.

Thanks, Kraig, I'll have to try it in my autoloaders.
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Old March 1, 2012, 05:17 PM   #9
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you've got to remember Gold Cups come with a 14lb recoil spring.
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Old March 2, 2012, 01:24 AM   #10
chris in va
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I use 4.7gr of Universal with my 45 LRN in IDPA. The brass practically falls at my feet and I can see the bullet in flight on a sunny day.
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Old March 2, 2012, 03:52 PM   #11
Don P
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Personally I do not load for any given discipline. I load them so the gun functions and from chronoing loads I meet or exceed power factor
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Old March 2, 2012, 05:02 PM   #12
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In my G-35 I load 200Gr Copper Wash (Lead Underneath) over 5.1 Gr of Unique. Makes major for IPSC and functions the gun very well. YMMV as this works and has been tested only in my gun.
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Old March 6, 2012, 11:07 AM   #13
Rockdriller
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Thanks for all the tips guys. The Firing Line has always been the best source of info. I loaded up 500 230gr lead round nose in mixed brass with cci primers and 4.5 of bullseye. I was told this is six stages of 35 plates in each and they have to fall off the holders.
Practice has been a lot of fun. Its too bad so mmany anti-gunners hace no idea how FN awesome it feels to blast a wall of steel. Oh well more range time for us!!!!!!
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Old March 10, 2012, 04:48 PM   #14
PawPaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraigwy
I use 3.8 gr. of Bullseye pushing a 225 gr cast RN bullet.
I loaded a box of those and took them to the range today. My wife is practicing for her CCW class and I took those along in the off chance that I got to shoot my 1911. After she was finished, I hung a target and ran it out to the 5 yard line.

Nice. Not as much recoil, very controllable, functioned my Kimber just fine. Accurate? Oh, yeah, I can see that this is going to be my go-to load for plinking and target shooting with the .45 ACP. Thanks, Kraig!
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Old March 11, 2012, 09:40 PM   #15
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When .45ACP was king of IPSC, 5.7 or 5.8 gr. of W231 made "major" caliber with the 200 gr. SWC. Light loads would use from 5.0 to 5.2 gr. Maybe less if you change the recoil spring.

Bullseye and W231 were the two most popular powders, I believe.
Jeff Cooper had a favorite load using IMR 700X.

My preference is 200 SWC with 5.6 gr. W231. Enough recoil so you know you're shooting a .45 and easy to shoot all day long if you want.

For 230 plated or jacketed, I prefer 5.7 gr. of W231. This load approximates the velocity of WWB, at about 770 fps from a 5" bbl. Easy to shoot, but not whimpy. My steel plate shooting is on my own Evil Roy Portable Tgts. Not formal competition. A good hardball equivilent might be 5.8 or 5.9 gr. W231 with 230 gr. Jacketed hardball. When I use Winchester JHP, they develop more pressure and I reduce the load to about 5.6 or 5.7 gr.
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