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Old March 2, 2005, 04:18 PM   #1
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Who uses W231 with 230g .45?

Hi guys.

I've loaded my first couple of batches and tried them out over the past week. All batches (of 20 rounds) were using Hornady 230g FMJ bullets.

First I used 5.8g of Unique which was OK. I'd say about the same as factory stuff. Second one I used 5.1g of W231, which was accurate as hell, but wouldn't feed or eject in my Ruger P97. Third batch seemed to be perfect. I used 5.3g of W231. Turned in some really impressive groups (to me!) and it cycled in my gun without a problem.

My question is this: In my Lee manual, it says that 5.1g of W231 is the "never exceed load," but in the little spiral-bound .45 loading manual it says that 5.7g of W231 is the limit. Big discrepancy! I'm thinking the Lee book is mistaken, since 5.1g wouldm't even cycle the action on my gun. Can anyone put my mind at ease that I'm not gonna blow my gun up with 5.3g?

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Old March 2, 2005, 04:25 PM   #2
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Go to and you can download their reloading manual. For 230 gr FMJs, winchester's starting load is 4.9 gr of 231 and max is 5.7
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Old March 2, 2005, 04:40 PM   #3
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Winchester 231 with 230 grain bullets

I have loaded Winchester 231 with 230 grain bullets for 4 years. My loading is with Rainier 230 HX-HP, which is suppose to have more pressure than a round nose. My load is 5.7 grains. It depends on who you believe. Some manuals say it's velocity is 700fps; Other manuals say it's velocity is as high as 850 fps. I like it because it is comfortable to shoot.
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Old March 2, 2005, 05:03 PM   #4
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Thanks. I was 99%sure that 5.3 was safe, but nice to hear you are using 5.7 with it. Shot the best group of my life yesterday with W231!
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Old March 2, 2005, 05:05 PM   #5
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CAUTION: The following post includes loading data that may be beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The Firing Line, nor the staff of TFL assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

I have used for w231 for 45ACP for years. Without consulting my notes, it seems like 5.7 or 5.8 was a load I had worked up for a 230gr. FMJ.

If I remember correctly, it's kind of hot for a target load, and I was thinking it was around 850 fps or so.

This load worked fine in my 70 series Colt Combat Commander, and my P97 Ruger.

I think it flattens the primers a little bit. But I also had a 22lb spring in the Commander.
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Old March 2, 2005, 05:19 PM   #6
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I must be doing something wrong then... I load Rainier 230 gr total copper jacket "ball" on top of 6.0 gr of W231 @ ~1.260 OAL. I'm getting about 830fps out of my 1911 government model. IIRC, my Speer manual says that 6.1 gr is the max load with a 230gr "jacketed" round-nose.
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Old March 2, 2005, 06:01 PM   #7
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Led 230 with 5.3 gr

works best for me.
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Old March 3, 2005, 01:39 AM   #8
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Rainier 230 grain RN + WLP + 5.5 grains w231 at 1.250 OAL works for me. Puts you in the 850 fps range from a 5 inch tube.
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Old March 3, 2005, 09:14 AM   #9
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That is my main load...

5.3 or 5.4 gr of W231 with 230gr FMJ bullet. OAL is 1.270 (I think I'm going to shorten that to 1.260 on the next run though).
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Old March 3, 2005, 12:30 PM   #10
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I've put together many thousands of rounds of 230 gr. LRN with 5.1 to 5.3 grains of WW 231.
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Old March 3, 2005, 12:48 PM   #11
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It seems a good combination

I'm able to load several cartridges on my Dillon 550B, but it usually stays set up for .45 ACP. My primary load is a 230 LRN over 5.4 gr. of 231. With the 230 FMJ, I up the charge to 5.6 gr.

Either of these loads is good in Colt's Govt Models, Pre-Gold Cup national matches, Commander, Elder Son's Kimber Classic, a 1917 S&W, and a '28 Thompson. The load is accurate, doesn't overstress the guns, and is pretty clean. I prefer the FMJ bullet in the TSMG, just because cleaning lead residue from the Cutts Compensator is a minor hassle.

Just FYI, the "old standard" factory duplication load for many years was a 230 FMJ with 6.5 of Unique. I dropped it to 6.2 with the LRN.

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Old March 3, 2005, 01:31 PM   #12
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Wow, 6.5g of Unique in a 230g FMJ is factory? I was using 5.8g and the brass was just sailing across the room! I figured that was approx what factory was. Had a pretty good kick with the 5.8, too.
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Old March 3, 2005, 05:22 PM   #13
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Wow, 6.5g of Unique in a 230g FMJ is factory? I was using 5.8g and the brass was just sailing across the room!
The pressure can vary substantially depending on the length of the loaded cartridge, seat a bullet a little bit deeper and pressures can go from so-so to over the top in a hurry.

A number of years ago I tried the Ranier 200 gr SWC, the starting load was supposed to be 5.6 gr of 231, so I loaded a bunch up at that charge, when I shot them I was blowing primers out of the cases and the ones that didn't blow the primers out, the primers were flattened by excessive pressure, remember this was at the recommended starting load! I ended up reducing the load to 4.6 gr to shoot the rest of the box up. I was loading them to the same OAL that I had used with 200 gr lead SWC's, that had worked perfectly. This was before Ranier had load info available on the net, years later I saw their loading info online and found the reason for the problem, Ranier recommended an OAL that was just a bit longer than I used, I had about 15 or 20 bullets left from the original box of 1000, so I loaded those up to the recommended spec listed on Ranier's website, they worked perfectly.

The lesson learned the hard close attention to the OAL listed for that bullet/load combination. That information wasn't available when I originally loaded those cartridges, it is available now, always make use of as much information as possible, and since different bullets might have different depth inside the cartridge, try to get info specific to that particular brand and style bullet.
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Old March 3, 2005, 05:57 PM   #14
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G56, thank you.

I guess I wasn't thinking about how seating the bullet a wee bit deeper might affect pressure. I just measured a factory round on the calipers and duplicated it on the press. Point taken, though.
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Old March 4, 2005, 11:17 PM   #15
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Wow, my Midway LoadMap shows a load of 6.5gr of Win231 for Hornady FMJ/RN 230gr .45ACP, 1.275" OAL, 909 fps @ 21000 psi. Out of a 5" barrel with a Remington 2 1/2 primer.

Speer #13 shows a max of 6.2 for a 230gr TMJ. I wonder if that's FMJ - it seems pretty hot for plated, and they don't mention FMJ anywhere else that I noticed. They show a max of 5.2 for a 230 Gold Dot, which sounds about right.
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Old March 5, 2005, 09:10 PM   #16
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CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The Firing Line, nor the staff of TFL assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.

My standard load is as follows:
230 gr Rainier plated round nose
5.9 gr. of W-231
Federal brass
CCI large pistol primer
OAL 1.260"
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Old March 6, 2005, 06:55 PM   #17
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I use WW231 in 45 ACP with 230 bullets. About the same as others have mentioned, no new information.

About load books. The 'Maximum: Never Exceed' loads in all load books are based on:
The Particular gun,
The Particular brass,
The Particular bullet,
The Particular over-all length,
The Particular temperature,
The Particular humidity and
The Particular lot of the powder in question, on
That Particular day and time.

Since the load book researchers do not typically share guns, brass, bullets, and shooting conditions, we may reasonably assume some results will differ.

So, check out a number of books; start with the lowest of the low starting loads and work up until the gun works right and you get the accuracy and power you seek. Obviously, if the primers start blowing out, you are way, way too high in pressure for a handgun. Quit.
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Old March 9, 2005, 02:05 PM   #18
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My Sierra manual says that the range for W231 in a .45 case with 230 FMJs is from 4.8-5.7 grains.

I've previously loaded 5.6 with no problems at all, and that was the most accurate load I fired for that day (Springfield gov't model clone). By coincidence (or not), the 5.7 grain load is equal in velocity (850 FPS) to the "most accurate" load per Sierra, which is (IIRC) 4.9 grains of Titegroup.

I've loaded up 3 powder weights for both the W231 and Titegroup (which I just got this past weekend), and I'll see what's best in my gun. BTW, I am using Ranier bullets.
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Old March 24, 2005, 01:01 AM   #19
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I use to load W231 for 230 gr 45 cal FMJ-RN.....then I switched to Tite Group powder. The groups and accuracy were exactly as the name says...."Tite Group". I never will go back to any other powder.
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Old March 24, 2005, 02:50 AM   #20
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Some manuals list more than 6.0 gr as Max. Some of the aforementioned posts have pointed that out already. That produces about 800fps in my 5'' 1911's, and about 760fps in a Combat Commander.

I've settled on 5.7 or 5.8 gr with 230 gr hardball or 5.6 gr. with Win 230 JHP's. Be carefull ---the JHP's can raise pressure--at least the Win. JHP's, and Speers also. It's been my experience that substituting different 230 HB brands makes little difference. However, I have not tried them all. Use caution. I use WLP Win primers and assorted range brass.

Some of the above mentioned loads at 5.1 grs or so, would be very light loads and reliable cycling of the gun might be questionable, although changing to a lighter recoil sprg. in the 1911 pistol will solve the problem. Never the less, some manuals list even lighter.
Below info comes from the Loadbooks USA 1990 edition. Not very current and is for information only, except for the Speer which is from their latest Manual #13.

The Speer Manual lists max as 6.2 gr. W231 with their TMJ 230 gr. Minimum load is 5.6gr.
Their 230 Gold Dot JHP says 5.6 W231 max and 5.0 minimum. Again: Dont substitue JHP's for HB or FMC type bullets without adjusting the powder charge!! More bullet bearing surface MAY be what increases pressure.

My handloads chronograph pretty much in accordance with the Speer data, and my 5.7 or 5.8 gr loads are fairly mild--around 800fps.
Sierra has max at 5.7 gr. W232 with their 230 gr. rnd nose. Their minimum is 4.9grs.
Nosler says 5.8 Max with their 230 gr. and W231
Winchester is on the conservative side: they list only 5.6 grains for their 230 gr. FMC.
Hornady has 6.0 max with their FMJ and W231
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