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Old May 13, 2012, 11:36 PM   #1
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.45 ACP loads

I borrowed the .45 dies from my friend and loaded up a few different loads this weekend. I used four different powders and picked a low to midrange charge for each powder.

Here is a rundown of the components, which are identical for all loads. Brass was Winchester, some of it once fired, Rainier plated 230 grain RN bullets, Wolf large pistol primers, COL of 1.220" (minimum is 1.200"). Powders and charges used were 3.7 grains of Clays, 4.5 grains of Titegroup, 5.5 grains of Unique, and 6.6 grains of Hi-Skor 800-X. I made 100 of each except for the Unique as I only had 89 brass left at that point. I will hit my friend up for the last 11 brass to finish out the lot.

I used the Lee Auto Disc powder measure so I had to pick the disc orifice that gave me the closest charge to what I wanted. Velocities should be in the 750-800 FPS range I would guess, based on speeds listed in the load tables I used.

At this point I'm just starting to play with reloading the .45 ACP, hence the different powders. I would like to get some 231 but Cabela's seems to be out of it most of the time. I guess I'll just order it "site to store" so I know I'll get it sooner or later.
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Old May 14, 2012, 08:49 AM   #2
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I use the auto disk also and have found that the powder weights tend to run on the light side of what Lee says. I recommend weighing the dropped charge with a scale to double check its accuracy.

Have fun and stay safe.
New gun, same ol' shot.
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Old May 14, 2012, 03:56 PM   #3
Misssissippi Dave
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My favorite powder for .45 apc is WST (Winchester Super Target). It measures well in most powder measures. I prefer it over W231 since it burns cleaner and is a little more consistant in my opinion. WST is a little faster burning powder then the W231 is and works well for light to mid range loads.
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Old May 14, 2012, 04:30 PM   #4
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With Unique, my experience in the under 10 grain range is that the Lee Disk is two full holes off on the low side. You must weigh your charges during the process of selecting a hole rather than the Lee chart.
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Old May 14, 2012, 09:44 PM   #5
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When I set up the press I always run one case through the sizer and put a new primer in. Then I run at least five cycles of powder and just dump them back into the hopper before I weigh the first time. If my weight is close I may stick with it or if I think I can get closer to my desired weight with a size or two different then I will change the disc. It's kind of a pain to have to dump the hopper and take it off in order to get at the disc to change sizes, but I'd rather have my charge weight as close as I can get it to target charge weight.

I too have found that the Lee Modern Reloading manual lists an orifice size one to two sizes too small for the charge so I just adapt accordingly when I'm setting up the Auto Disc. I always check the charge weight several times during set up and hand weigh every tenth round when I get going. It takes a bit more time but the added assurance that I'm not way off spec is worth it to me.

Thanks to everyone for your comments and input. As a fairly new hand loader I do appreciate you taking the time to reply to the posts, even if I'm not asking any questions directly.

BTW, I decided to tumble and sort my .44 mag brass (about 800 total) and guess what? Sure enough there were about two dozen of .45 and .38 brass in a bag of mostly .44's so I did get that last lot of 100 finished off. Now I have to get to the range for some testing...

Last edited by thedaddycat; May 14, 2012 at 09:49 PM.
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Old May 14, 2012, 09:53 PM   #6
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At your own risk (and I suggest you mark the disk with an engraving tool with a warning) you could ream the holes out to deliver the charge weights you want. Just be aware that it is a lot easier to make them larger than to make them smaller.

If the Auto-Disk measure ever gets a new owner, you don't want to set up a dangerous situation.

Frankly, I think Lee Precision is missing a good market in not selling a disk with just pilot holes for custom sizing by the owner. It should be white so it could be written on and never mixed up with the standard disks. Possibly with removable inserts for labelling purposes.

Lost Sheep

Last edited by Lost Sheep; May 14, 2012 at 10:20 PM.
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Old May 14, 2012, 09:59 PM   #7
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I use the silver Sharpie to mark my disc and it works real well.
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Old May 14, 2012, 10:08 PM   #8
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I will warn that Hi-Skor 800x does not meter well out of volumetric powder measures very well at all. I have most of a pound of it on my shelf that was given to me by a friend that was going to use it load for shotgun. He decided that it was more work than he cared to do. So he gave me the powder. It works just fine. Though I could not get it to meter to withing my .2 grain comfort zone. Also on the low end of the pressure curve it is dirty stuff. Even worse than Unique which as many state does not meter well in most measure as well.

Ok that said go burn that ammo up. Send it down range the ones you liked can be repeated, and should be repeated as often as you can get to the range.
No matter how many times you do it and nothing happens it only takes something going wrong one time to kill you.
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Old May 14, 2012, 11:03 PM   #9
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I know I'm just an "old lady," but the first rule of reloading is to ALWAYS start with the lowest starting load you can find.
Next, if you can find HP38, it is the EXACT same powder as 231 and it is cheaper.
If you want ACCURATE .45ACP loads, try 231/HP38, AA2, and Bullseye.
There are many recommendations for Clays, TiteGroup, WST, and N310, but none of them have been as consistently accurate as the three I mentioned. Since I live in my own world where accuracy is the first and almost ONLY reason to choose a powder, I can't speak for "cleanliness" or smoke.
Unique often does fantastic at 5.0gn and 6.0gn, in several cartridges and with several bullet weights.
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Old May 15, 2012, 04:08 PM   #10
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Lost Sheep, I think I'll give a pass on reaming out the discs for now. I can always use the Perfect Powder Measure which has an adjustable cavity and throw the charges by hand and dump them through the funnel if I wnat to nail charge weights to an exact number.

M&P, I didn't seem to have any issues with the charges I was getting. That's one reason I hand weigh every tenth round. Now I realize that this is no guarantee that every round has the exact charge weight, but I also do a visual inspection on every single round after the powder drops. If it doesn't look right I'll either weigh it or just dump it and recharge that case.

noylj, your advice about starting loads is duly noted and thank you for the friendly reminder. I have a few different powders that I will be trying out in various handgun chamberings: WSF, WST, 700-X, 800-X, Titegroup, Clays, Unique, 2400, and yesterday I got the eight pound canister of 231 that I'm going to be splitting with my friend. I won't get into rifle powders here. I also picked up more of the plated 230 grain RN, 200 grain HP, and 200 grain SWC so there's 1500 rounds worth of .45 ACP "testing" on the shelf...

I also play with .38 Special, .357 mag, and .44 mag so far. I gave my friend a couple thousand 9mm brass so he could use up his components but he told me it's almost not worth the time and effort to reload them if you're just after the cost savings. Now the 800 or so .44 mag brass I have, that will most assuredly be getting refilled!
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Old May 15, 2012, 04:38 PM   #11
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I like to use AA#5 in my 45 acp loads, it meters well. it burns clean, cleaner then titegroup. I up graded my lee powder measure. the powder bin has a off mode just by turning the bin, that way you can change disc's or turrets without having to dump the powder. I also do a visual check of the powder drop and weight powder every tenth round. I have been thinking of ordering the Lee micro disc's to tweak the loads. go slow with changes, small changes help dial in a load. be safe and have fun.
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Old May 15, 2012, 04:48 PM   #12
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I use W231 for my .45ACP loads. It's popular, easy to find, meters well, and every manual has loads listed for it. When the .45ACP ruled IPSC, Bullsey and W231 were the two most popular powders.

Note that factory HB ammo doesn't typically stray too much from about 1.260. COL. Not all that bad of an idea to make yours are similar in length if you use a 230 gr. RN. If you seat out to max. 1.270 then that's too long for some magazines with certain harball shapes, since they vary, and some are fatter than others. They won't fit in the magazine, and to make sure they fit, you have to load the whole magazine. Not just a couple rounds. Not a concern for you, because you're way below max.

Am measuring some WWB HB as we speak. Intersting: 1.255, 1.269, 1.269, 1.263, 1.259, 1.266, 1.260, 1.263, 1.262, and 1.264. Frankly, I've seen better quality control.

Last edited by Nnobby45; May 15, 2012 at 05:06 PM.
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Old May 15, 2012, 05:05 PM   #13
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I like 4.0 gr of WST for .45 ACP. Guns run fine with it.
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Old May 17, 2012, 06:55 AM   #14
Misssissippi Dave
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My load is:

WST 5.0
185 grain Montana Gold JHP
OAL 1.210

It burns clean and is accurate. I could go up to 5.3 grains of powder but it works well for me at 5.0. My groups started to open up when I load below 4.9 grains with this bullet.
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