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Old January 20, 2013, 04:44 PM   #2
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 13,722
Before anyone starts in, let's not turn this into another discussion of whether or not to use handloads for self-defense. The most recent version of that repeating theme and attendant pro and con arguments can be read in this thread,

My first advice would be not to start with LEO level loads. Most of them are +P pressure levels and the commercial loaders have some powders available to them that handloaders do not. So you are never guaranteed to be able to match their ballistics exactly. As a new handloader, it would be best to get your feet wet with something more mundane, like hardball.

For almost a century, 230 grain round nose jacketed bullets have been loaded over 5 grains of Bullseye powder. These are bullets like the Sierra or Speer 230 grain FMJ's, seated 1.260" to 1.270" COL, and using a standard largpe pistol primer, like a Federal 150 or a CCI 300. This produces a typical commercial level hardball load, giving you about 830 fps and 350 ft-lbs of muzzle energy from a 5" barrel. There are other powders and charge weights workable, but given the uniformity of this round and the span of time over which this load has been universally used, and the fact that round nose bullets tend to feed most reliably, it makes a good starting point for a new hand loader. I use 4.5 grains with RN Lead bullets, but the molds I have drop round nose bullets that require deeper seating, which can raise pressure.

Once you have got used to troubleshooting handloads and watching powder levels and watching for high primers and and learn how to read pressure signs, then is a better time to start in on the warmer loads. Since I don't have a copy of your handgun, I would call Ruger and ask if they know of any bullets or commercial ammunition the gun does or does not like to feed. If they think it likes the Speer Gold Dot, an other approach is to look at Alliant's site for Gold Dot loads. Unlike other sites, which provide a load range, Alliant just gives a single recommended recipe for a bullet and powder and primer and case combination. Alliant Power Pistol powder is a good one for warmer loads in the .45 Auto because it meters well, but there are others. Power Pistol tends to make a fair amount of muzzle flash, and that may be a consideration for you, especially with a shorter barrel.
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