View Full Version : Good load for .45 230gr. IPSC major?

April 14, 2005, 03:35 PM
Posted this in the reloading section, thought I'd put it here too...

I'm planning on trying an IPSC match for the very first time next month with my Kimber 1911. My favorite load lately for practice has been 4.0 gr. of Clays (regular, not Universal) under 230 gr. Ranier plated RN. Eventually, I may switch to Laser Cast 230 gr. RN, as they can be purchased locally. I don't have a Chronograph, but based on what I've read in reloading manuals, I believe the bullet should be moving at least 730fps, which I think is enough to make Major PF with the 230gr. bullet (if I understand the rules right.)

Does this sound right? Anybody have a better load for IPSC with 230gr.? I know there's lots of W231 fans, but I'm really not one of them. Accuracy is good, but I found it to be dirty and got tired of all the unburned powder specks on my forearms after an afternoon of shooting the stuff. If Clays doesn't have enough oomph, I've thought about Universal or Tite Group.


Jim Watson
April 14, 2005, 04:48 PM
I haven't chronographed that exact combination but I got 727 fps with 4.0 gr of Clays and a 230 FMJ for PF 167 while working up a major load for IDPA ESR in my M25 revolver.

I estimate you will just make Major with the Ranier plated bullet but will do so easily with the Laser Cast, greasy lead gets down the barrel easier than even thin dry copper.

Note that 4 grains of Clays is Hodgdon's maximum load for a 230 grain .45 ACP bullet. I don't think it is particularly hot, they tested with the Hornady flatpoint which seats deeper than a roundnose and runs pressure up. But Titegroup would give you a little margin for a Major load below maximum. I used 4.4 grains for about 750 fps, 4.8 is maximum with a 230.

April 14, 2005, 11:02 PM
I believe the bullet should be moving at least 730fps, which I think is enough to make Major PF with the 230gr. bullet (if I understand the rules right.)
The power factor is bullet weight x velocity / 100

So your example gives 167.9 which is too low. In IPSC, for standard division it must be at least 170. Your 230 gr bullets should be moving at 740fps to make major.

Look here (http://www.ipsc.org/pdf/RulesHandgun.pdf) for the rulebook.

See appendix D2, on page 45

Zak Smith
April 14, 2005, 11:44 PM
Since you're in the USA, let's assume you're shooting USPSA matches in Limited or Limited-10, for which Major requires 165PF and .40" cal or larger.

My standard 45ACP Major load is

200gr plated RN bullet (West Coast)
5.1gr Titegroup
1.260" OAL
any case, any large pistol primer

cheap, accurate enough, right PF

hope this helps

ETA, I apologize for having no 230gr data. If it's a local match, chances are good you won't be chrono'd, just having something that's close in good faith.

April 15, 2005, 07:30 AM
Thanks, ya'll. The load manuals I have list Clays at 4.0gr. as max load for both jacketed and lead, so I should be OK with plated or laser-cast. I've seen old manuals that list as high as 4.7 (yikes!), but I don't know if the powder formula has changed or the manuals have just become more conservative due to legal pressure. I think I'll just stick with the max. load listed currently, since it sounds like that's running hot enough or pretty damn close. That 4.0gr. load is nice and soft with low recoil.

The rules I downloaded from USPSA listed a 165 PF, so I guess the US rules are different. :confused:

The big brown truck dropped off my "starter kit" yesterday - 4 Chip McCormick Power 10 mags, Uncle Mike's Kydex holster and mag holders. I'm ready to give this a go!!! :D

April 15, 2005, 08:25 AM
xmastree, PF is determined by bullet weight x velocity / 1000 (not 100)

Robert Allison
April 15, 2005, 08:35 AM
AustinMike, I don't have any experience with Clays (although use Universal a lot) in the 45 or any caliber for that matter, but one thing I've observed across-the-board is that one must beware of loading manuals when trying to walk the fine line between "making Major" and not in IPSC. I took up the game about 12 years ago and didn't have a chronograph. Naturally, I wanted a load that didn't kick much but that "made Major", so found some in the manuals and did a little bit of fine-tuning, and voila, first time I was "audited" by the chronograph man, guess what? I was shooting Minor, and by a fair margin. I later acquired one of the Pact timers with a chronograph, great little tool and kills at least two birds with one stone, and began testing loads and comparing my results versus what the manuals claimed, and discovered to my surprise that in 100% of instances, all handgun calibers tested, the manuals were exceedingly generous in their stated velocities. I'm not suggesting that you should boost the data or "load hot", but would recommend that if you intend to play this game you (a) get a chronograph, and (b) until you do, find a load that is safe and well above what you think it takes to make Major, and use that until you are sure of your loads.

April 15, 2005, 01:27 PM
Of course your load will depend on what you like to see and to feel. For years I shot a 200 SWC over WST powder for that snappy feel. As my arthritis has grown worse, I have switched to a 230 grainer over Clays for that push or roll. Clays under a 230 is arguably the "softest" .45 IPSC load around.

I just make major out of my five inch gun (Baer) with a 230 Laser Cast and 3.6 grains of Clays. I am loading 3.8 grains for a safety cushion of 173 power factor. One of my shooting buddies makes major without a lot of wiggle room (168 pf) with 3.8 grains of Clays and a 230 Laser Cast with his Kimber. I guess I have a fast barrel, or his is slow. For a 230 jacketed bullet, somewhere around 4.0 grains seems to be what most folks are using.

If you want to get about half gamey with your Kimber, toss in a bull barrel and a tungsten guide rod. Talk about soft shooting. And yes, 165 pf is what makes major in the US.

April 16, 2005, 03:19 AM
xmastree, PF is determined by bullet weight x velocity / 1000 (not 100)
Correct, my mistake.
It seems I was wrong about what makes major too. However, the OP did say IPSC, not USPSA.

Out here in the Philippines it's 170.

Robert Allison
April 16, 2005, 08:12 AM
PF in USPSA was 170 for years, but that changed and they lowered it to 165 around '98 or '99 because a bunch of guys were having trouble beating up (or blowing up) their high-bucks 40 S&W Limited race-guns trying to make major. It's easy with a 45, but at 170 was certainly doable, but pushing things just a tad, with the 40.

April 16, 2005, 01:44 PM
I'm with Allison, when it comes to loading for major loads then load for major load with plenty to spare and you won't be unhappy by being declared minor.

The fraction of a second that can be saved with a load at the low edge will not matter in the scheme of things until much later. A change in temperature will affect many powders and suddenly you are up or down 25-50 fps. Since you are just starting to play the game there is nothing on the outcome but pride. Shoot major and be happy with getting all the other details right for smiling at the end of a match.

Old Shooter
April 21, 2005, 01:01 PM
I've been shooting my CZ 97B with 230gr LRN over 3.5gr Bullseye and usually a CCI or Winchester primer. I had been using 4.0gr Bullseye but like the light load better.

Good combination, good availability, dirty power (though not so bad at 3.5 as it is with 4.0)