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Old January 27, 2019, 09:33 AM   #1
armednfree
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45 ACP powders

I have used WW231 at 5.1-5.3 grains with a 230 grain cast or jacketed RN for decades. I used 5.8 grains with the 185 grain SWC in both cast and jacketed. I used that for target shooting and competition in early IPSC and bullseye. It has always been my go-to load that I never questioned.

The main guns are a Springfield Range Officer I just bought, an EAA witness steel and an XD Mod 2 5". I still have the Clarke Heavy Slide that I bought in the early 80's but that is kind of retired now. I only shoot that occasionally.

But now I'm thinking about trying CFE pistol. Max charge weights are 1.5 grains heavier and velocities generally 100 fps faster. Not that I care about velocity, accuracy and function are what matters.

What are your experiences with CFE Pistol vs WW231 in the 45 ACP? I'm looking at a chart showing CFE pistol being a good bit slower than WW231, slower than Unique actually.
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Old January 27, 2019, 09:47 AM   #2
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I have used CFE post in 40 s&w and 9mm. It achieves decent velocities in those cartridges. I think it is a bit slow and inefficient for the 45.

I am currently using win 244 in my 45 acp. With 5.6 gr and a 230 gr ball with an OAL of 1.255, I'm getting 855 fps out of a government sized 45 and 815 fps out of my commander models. SD is around 11 or 12 fps. Its accurate, and VERY clean. It is a bit temp sensitive though. If the ammo and pistol sit in my pickup for a few hours @ -15 degrees here in North Dakota, the first magazine using the labradar shows a loss of about 30 fps.
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Old January 27, 2019, 09:58 AM   #3
mikejonestkd
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231 is an excellent powder for the 45ACP for near factory speed loads If it aint broke, don't fix it.
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Old January 27, 2019, 10:09 AM   #4
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In the .45 ACP, CFE performs in a similar manner to 800-X, which worked great for me in SD-type loads and gave high velocity. I have no experience with CFE but if it is as dirty and difficult to measure as 800-X (it may not be) then I’d try something else.
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Old January 27, 2019, 10:21 AM   #5
armednfree
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I've used bullseye but found it sooty. 231 is cleaner. Back then you used Bullseye or 231/HP-38. Nobody really used much else, then again much else didn't really exist. A few guys would use Green Dot or Red dot. Not much else.
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Old January 27, 2019, 10:43 AM   #6
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armednfree I have just started with the 45acp in the past year or so and am loading it for a Springfield XD Mod2 4.0 and a Witness large metal frame. I have used HP-38 with it and get a lot of muzzle flash, which I don't hear others having. Right now I am loading 200gr plated RN and Berry's 200gr FN and 185gr FN. For powders I have settled on Ramshot Silhouette and just started with AA#2. I'm loading the Ramshot at or just below the mid point and really like it as we also shoot a lot of indoor ranges and it really keeps the smoke down. Just started with the AA#2 and it's looking promising too.
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Old January 27, 2019, 11:55 AM   #7
Nick_C_S
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Quote:
231 is an excellent powder for the 45ACP . . . If it aint broke, don't fix it.
My sentiments exactly. W231 is in my opinion, THE best all-around propellant for 45 ACP. It comes up a little short for max velocity; but is otherwise a great choice for just about everything else. Why do you intend on switching propellants?

Quote:
it is a bit temp sensitive though.
Oh, you said this ^ Never mind.

Quote:
I'm looking at a chart showing CFE pistol being a good bit slower than WW231, slower than Unique actually.
I've never used CFE, but if it really is slower than Unique, then it is not a suitable propellant for your purpose. I have done a lot of testing and used a lot of Unique for 45 ACP; and IMO it is only suitable (meaning, runs clean and consistent) for max velocity with heavy (230) bullets in the 45 Auto. If CFE really is slower than Unique, then I wouldn't even consider its use for your mentioned applications.

45 ACP is a bit of a different animal compared to other pistol cartridges. Perhaps it's the low pressure, combined with the large caliber, but in general, propellant characteristics seem to "slide down" the burn rate scale. Fast powders behave like intermediate powders. And intermediate powders behave like slow powders, etc. I mentioned that W231 is good for all but max velocity. But that said, it is actually capable of some rather impressive velocities in the 45 ACP. I've taken 230's to over 800 f/s with no trouble at all - headroom to spare.
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Last edited by Nick_C_S; January 27, 2019 at 12:02 PM.
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Old January 27, 2019, 12:22 PM   #8
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I use W231 , started out on the low side , which wasn't enough to work the slide 100% then increased the load slightly until it ran 100% , I never go to the max. for trigger time , and carry only store bought. Just to be on the safe side legally.
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Old January 27, 2019, 01:45 PM   #9
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After I started out with the 5.0 gr Bullseye, I went to WW231 because I couldn't find any Bullseye. I liked it and kept using it even after I found Bullseye.

Then, I had a moment of thought, as a buddy urged me to try VV N340.

So, I bought a 4 lb canister of VV N340 and never looked back. It is also very good in the 9x19, 38 Spec., 45 Colt and so on.

Over the years, I have developed accurate loads using 9 different powders in the 45 ACP. Just in case.
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Old January 27, 2019, 01:55 PM   #10
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For all the 231.HP-38 users I hope someone can give some insight to this question of Muzzle Flash.

Not just here but about everywhere I see and hear people using this powder in the 45acp with all types and weights of bullets and I never hear of anyone else talking about muzzle flash. Is it just me?

A good friend and I were out shooting together one afternoon. I was shooting a Witness large frame with a 4.5" barrel and he was shooting a Witness Compact with a 3.6" barrel. I was shooting 200gr plated with 5.2gr of HP-38 and he was shooting 230gr LSWC with 5.0 gr of HP-38. I could see the flash from my gun but not when I fired his gun. Later the wife and I were out shooting and she had her XD Mod2 4.0 45acp and we could see the flash from that gun also.

Can anyone explain what is going on and why we are getting this flash when no one else seems to be?
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Old January 27, 2019, 03:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Can anyone explain what is going on and why we are getting this flash when no one else seems to be?
I don't have an answer sir.

I shoot at an outdoor range that is covered, so I'm in shade. But I don't notice muzzle flash. Using Unique or hot rounds, I see flash out the ejector port. More like sparks, than flash, actually. When I think of flash, I think of a flame bloom. I don't see that at all. But as mentioned, it's almost always direct sunlight when looking downrange, so flash is hard to see. About the only time I see flash is when I'm shooting the big 357/44 boomers.
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Old January 27, 2019, 03:54 PM   #12
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Clays, Unique and Universal. All are good, all work fine. Lately tho, been trying BE-86.
This has been a pleasant surprise. I need to load more of it in my SA 1911 to really get a handle on it. So far, so good.
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Old January 27, 2019, 04:02 PM   #13
armednfree
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I should have been more clear. I have 8 pounds of WW231 and another 8 pounds of CFE Pistol. Other powders are not relevant in this discussion. WW231 serves well enough, I just wanted to know about direct experience with the CFE Pistol in 45 ACP.


Let's toss in 357, 9mm and 40S+W while we are at it. I haven't broken the seal on this CFE Pistol yet.
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Old January 27, 2019, 04:57 PM   #14
kmw1954
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armednfree I have not tried the CFE Pistol though the reports I have read from people that have used it all seem to say good things. I have and use HP-38/W231 and is my go to powder for 9mm and might use it more if it wasn't for the flash both the wife and I experience when we shoot 45acp indoors.

Have you tried running a search on many of the forums with using CFE Pistol or just a general web search? I am sure you would come up with many reviews or discussions.
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Old January 27, 2019, 09:27 PM   #15
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Alas, i have not tried either of those powders.
I mostly shoot 185gr out of my Springfield Armory Mil Spec Champion.
185gr Missouri LSWC usually for range use with either Unique or Green Dot. (Red Dot in my neighbors XDS).
185 Sierra JHP, or JFP TournamentMaster for carry ammo with Silhouette.

Range ammo around 800 fps. Carry ammo just over 900 fps.
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Old January 28, 2019, 12:14 AM   #16
armednfree
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Well, I figure I'll just try it and find out. It's not like I don't have 2000 bullets on hand.
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Old January 28, 2019, 12:41 AM   #17
kmw1954
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If you do please post up a review with your impressions and results.
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Old January 28, 2019, 01:24 AM   #18
Marco Califo
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Alliant 2019 Reloading Guide

Alliant's 2019 Reloading Guide lists 45 ACP loads for: Blue Dot, BE-86, Unique, Red Dot, Green Dot, Herco, Power Pistol, and Bullseye.
Get it free here:
http://www.alliantpowder.com/resources/catalog.aspx
I also bought Longshot and CFE Pistol because Hodgdon lists those as highest velocity generally for 40 and 45 both in many bullet weights.
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Old January 28, 2019, 10:52 AM   #19
Mike Irwin
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The only reason I ever see myself moving away from WW 231 in .45 ACP (and in .38 Special, .32 Long, 9mm, light .357 and light .41 Mag. loads) is because it's no longer available.
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Old January 28, 2019, 02:09 PM   #20
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Muzzle Flash with W231

Trying not to hijack this post. But I do have further info on kmw1954's concern regarding muzzle flash with W231 . . .

I went to the range today to do some chronographing of 45 ACP and 38 Special.

I brought with me my pet load which is 5.0gn W231 under a 200 LSWC. Runs about 840/850 f/s. After chronographing. I loaded up a mag of these W231 rounds. Rather than looking down the sight, I moved the gun to my side slightly and shot cross-wise at about a 10 degree angle - where I had a good view of the muzzle. And it also just so happened to be an overcast day, so the light wasn't very strong (and it's a covered range). I was positioned to have a good view of any potential muzzle flash.

I saw no muzzle flash whatsoever. None. Some smoke from the bullet lube, but no flash.
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Old January 28, 2019, 02:33 PM   #21
kmw1954
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Thank you Nick C S I much appreciate your response. Correct I don't want to hijack either. I like the HP-38 and use a lot of it in 9mm. Seams I am the only one experiencing this flash with no idea why.
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Old January 28, 2019, 08:42 PM   #22
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No, I get muzzle flash from W231 in the .45 as well... but this is with a 4" barrel. It is not as great as Unique, but it's more than my sample load of BE-86.

Because my aging eyes have a hard time picking out the black on black sights in the washed out light of the indoor stall, I regularly turn the lights off in the stall when I'm shooting... so I can see the muzzle flash quite clearly.
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Old January 28, 2019, 09:42 PM   #23
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I'm shooting 45 ACP FMJ 230 gr . using W231 4.6 grains mild load but I'm shooting Colt New Agent 3" barrel , this week I'll look for muzzle flash ,I can't say I saw one even with a 3"er . Powder is working well for me .
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Old January 28, 2019, 10:13 PM   #24
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I like SR4756 for hot loads with 180 hollow points. This powder is now discontinued and I'm not sure what I'll replace it with when I used up the pound or so I have...

Tony
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Old January 29, 2019, 10:25 AM   #25
Mike Irwin
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The only time I've ever noticed "muzzle flash" with WW 231 in .45 ACP is when I'm shooting my S&W Model of 1917 and I get some flash from the cylinder gap.

When I'm shooting either my Springfield 1911 A1 or my S&W 4506-1 I have never seen any muzzle flash at all.



Well, let me modify that answer... I saw a LOT of flash one time...

I was using a new press and double charged a 230-gr. LRN load with almost 10 grains of WW 231.

That was a pretty spectacular flash when it blew out the case at the extractor and blew the primer out.
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