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Old January 18, 2001, 09:12 PM   #1
Join Date: December 20, 2000
Posts: 20
This is confusing.

I have been very diligent in my first reloading of .45 acp. I read that the Universal Clays was a clean burning powder and a good choice for .45 acp. Accordingly, I bought a pound.

Now, I *thought* "Clays" was the same as Universal clays, and loaded my .45 acp's with 4.5 grains of "Universal Clays" behind a 200 gr LSWC bullet. OAL is 1.255 and a crimp of .469. Federal 150 primers

Now, I go to the Hodgdon website and I'm confused! There are listings for both "Universal" and "Clays" loads! Well my powder clearly says "Universal Clays!"

I have now loaded some 300 rounds of this with 4.5 grains of "Universal Clays" and am wondering where this is listed; under Universal or Clays? ??? If it's Universal, it's a light load, if it's Clays, it's over max!

Would someone be so kind as to email me before I go to the range. This is very confusing. Using unique was simple, I loaded to the only listing.

Thanks in advance for your help!

[email protected]

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Old January 18, 2001, 09:40 PM   #2
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Join Date: January 29, 2000
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You Have Hodgdon Universal

Go out and enjoy shooting your loads!!.

It is part of the Hodgdon clays series.Thats why it is called Universal Clays. There are three powders in the clays series. Clays , International Clays and Universal Clays.

Hope this helps

Tony Z
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Old January 18, 2001, 09:47 PM   #3
Join Date: December 20, 2000
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Tony Z:

Thank you for your reply. That is very helpful to know that I didn't overload the round.

However, based on their data, this may be an anemic load. I hope it isn't too light. Has anyone ever used 4.5 grains of Universal with 200 LSWC's?

Thanks again,
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Old January 19, 2001, 01:29 AM   #4
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5.4 grains to 5.8 grains of Universal behind 230 grain lead, plated or jacketed bullets is the range I worked within. Using 200 grain, you might be able to pop them off safely using slowfire. Underpressure rounds are considered more dangerous by some loaders than overpressures, so be careful. I wouldn't think they would squib on you, but they are loaded pretty low. It's either shooting them or busting them down. As always, it's you and your equipment. I'd fire several, one at a time, and make a judgement call.

You are not the first person to do this, and I suffered some confusion with the "Clays" line of powder myself. A friend recommended Clays for .45 ACP, so off I was to the shop to get some. All they had was Universal and International. I had to read an accompanying brochure to find out what the hell I was looking for. I ended up with the Universal after reading the charts. It is an okay powder, but I prefer 231 or WST for similar application. I didn't like the 'smoke' upon discharge. I felt like I was shooting cap and ball or a muzzle loader!
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Old January 19, 2001, 11:05 AM   #5
Mal H
Join Date: March 20, 1999
Location: Somewhere in the woods of Northern Virginia
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fgerardij - I hope you didn't load up a whole lot of the 4.5 gr. Universal loads. As you suspected, that is an anemic load for a 200 gr. lead bullet. You'll be lucky to get near 700 fps with it. Jager1 gave good advice to shoot them slowly. Universal doesn't have a reputation for squib loads but you might experience feeding failures or stove pipes.

Oops, I just reread your first post where you say you loaded up 300 rounds. I think you just learned a valuable lesson. You shouldn't load a large quantity of a new load until you are satisfied that it is what you want. See if they work, but don't adjust your sights with them.
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Old January 21, 2001, 04:58 PM   #6
Johnny Guest
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Join Date: August 28, 1999
Location: North Texas
Posts: 4,121
alternative suggestions - - - -

Sounds like a quandry--

If your .45 auto won't shoot these reliably, you might try these suggestions:

When gifted with several hundred "softball" loads by a widow lady, I obtained a near-worn out recoil spring and clipped it until the pistol would work with the loads. Enjoyed then a lot. Shot several IPSC matches in MINOR class and had fun. You can probably find someone with an old spring--Offer to buy it and he/she will probably give it to you.

OR--Find someone with a .45 ACP-chambered revolver who'd like the plinking or practice loads and work out a swap.

BEST SUGGESTION POSSIBLE: This situation probably demonstrates your positive NEED to go out and locate a suitable revolver--A Colt or S&W 1917, an S&W model 25, or possibly a Ruger Blackhawk .45 Colt with auxilliary ACP cylinder. Purchase same and adopt it into your family. it will take care of all underloaded .45 ACP ammo, and a lot besides. Trust me on this one, friend.

Your mind may not work in this direction, but mine sure does!

All the best--
Amendment II ensures the rest of the Bill of Rights.

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Old January 21, 2001, 05:43 PM   #7
Mal H
Join Date: March 20, 1999
Location: Somewhere in the woods of Northern Virginia
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Now that sounds like a plan! I'm going right now to load up 500 minimum power loads and then let my wife know why I must get a new gun or I'll waste all that money.
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Old January 21, 2001, 07:38 PM   #8
Bud Helms
Join Date: December 31, 1999
Location: Middle Georgia
Posts: 13,155
Youse guys ...


Johnny's got the right idea, but I have another serious alternative. I intentionally loaded 500 "anemic" rounds of .45 ACP and clipped an old recoil spring until I got reliable cycling from a 1911 Commander. That's a little trickier than for a full-sized Gov't model, but you can do it.

My purpose was to develop and practice form for rapid and deliberate double taps. I stayed with that load/spring combination for 1000 additional rounds and then I moved a new spring back into the slide and used what my hands, wrists, arms and shoulders had learned. Actually, I returned to a full strength spring in two steps, with two load increments. Whenever I feel my form going downhill, I load up 100 of those one step down and put the next spring down back into the slide and go get some practice. This is a LOT of trouble, but it works for me. Besides, you can always use some more brass.

If you don't want to go to that much trouble, all I can say is S&W 625 ... !!
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Old January 21, 2001, 07:46 PM   #9
Join Date: December 20, 2000
Posts: 20
Johnny Quest, that's yet another way to substantiate the purchase of another handgun! . I like how you think.

I will give them a try. I couldn't this weekend as we were blasted with snow and the local range was closed. I think it's a good idea to get a weakened spring and give them a try.

Sensop, thanks for that suggestion. Definitely a good way to train youself.

Appreciate the help fellas, I'll post the results after I get a chance to try them out.


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