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Old January 23, 2021, 01:01 PM   #1
308Loader
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45 ACP handloads

Finally got around to buying a 1911, Rock Island M1911-A2-FS, nothing fancy. So now begins the reloading of 45 ACP. I have experience loading for 9mm and 32 ACP so not new to pistol loading, just new to the 45. Anything special about loading this one? Advise, things to look for, special considerations? Basic questions are:

Good powder to use for this case?
Bullet considerations? Not likely to EDC this one, but…
Small primer VS large?

Bought some range brass and have it all cleaned up. Die set from amazon wont be here for a while. Running out of small pistol primers, have no large pistol. Powders on hand are HS6 and tight group. Thinking of buying some plated bullets for plinking if I can find them.
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Old January 23, 2021, 01:47 PM   #2
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I started out with Winchester 231 (a.k.a. HP-38 -- same powder exactly) for .45 Auto and I've never seen any reason to change. Other people I know seem to like Bullseye.

For general purpose shooting I have been buying Berry's plated 230-grain round nose. For a change-up, I more recently (as of a couple of years ago) started also loading Berry's 185-grain round nose hollow-base bullet. I also do some with their 200-grain plated semi-wadcutter, but I use those mostly just to verify that they'll work in various pistols.

The .45 ACP started out using large pistol primers, and most of my brass takes LP primers. Winchester's non-toxic ammo uses small pistol primers, and Blazer Brass uses SP primers. If you bought a bunch of range brass, sort through it carefully to be sure you don't have some SP cases mixed in with the LP cases. Even though I try to be careful about that, every once in awhile one of the SP cases sneaks through and I find it when the normal amount of pressure on the priming tool results in a hard stop rather than a seated primer.
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Old January 23, 2021, 02:07 PM   #3
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Hi, I have loaded thousands of 45acp rounds, I have worked up loads with a dozen or more powders. I also like a 230grain plated round nose bullet, around 850fps. I really don't notice that big of difference between small and large pistol primer, other than trying to keep them separated. One thing I had to change recently was I always seated and crimped the plated rounds in one operation and that went pretty well, some practice required. But I have been buying some powder coated RN bullets and found out that Ive been scuffing off the powder coating down to bare lead if I try to seat and crimp together. So now I am seating them all and then crimping in a separate step, it works better for me, but takes more time. I also have many worked up loads with a 200 grain plated round nose. Good luck and enjoy, 45 acp is one of my favorite to reload, I like it a lot better than loading 380acp and 9mm.
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Old January 23, 2021, 02:16 PM   #4
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Bad time to start a new cartridge when you don’t have the components . Generally it’s pretty much the same as 9mm and I’ve used just about every powder I use for 9mm in 45acp . Titegroup, W231 . WSF , HS-6 just off the top of my head all worked fine. If using 230gr bullets I’d not use Titegroup, you can but I only use it with 200gr bullets . It’s pretty fast and squirrely at the top end when pushing heavy for cartridge bullets . Example , I’d never use it for 147gr 9mm but like it for the 115’s . I’d recommend fast-ish to mid range burn rates meaning I found HS-6 to be slower then I’d prefer . Got bigger flash , smoke and scorched cases . Faster powders like Titegroup, w231 and bullseye will have less of all that .

I only use the large pistol primers . There’s just much more lpp cases then small out there . For a time I considered going with spp for 45acp thinking only needing one type of primer would be best . Still might be in times like these , I’d have more spp now then I do haha .
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Old January 23, 2021, 04:20 PM   #5
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My input is very similar to others that have posted, already. One powder that works great, but is rarely on my bench is that TiteGroup you have. Two major reasons: It doesn't fill the case that well and the difference in weight from a low charge to max charge is very little. You can get into real trouble because of these two issues. To the novice, the chance of not noticing a double charge tends to be greater (not saying you are). Being that 9mm is a much smaller case, it's a little easier to tell. .45ACP is much wider and you need to get a good eye on it comparatively.

In short, my advice is to stay away from TiteGroup, for now. HS6 can work, but I'm not a fan. HP38/Win231 are my go-to.
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Old January 23, 2021, 04:33 PM   #6
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Bullseye, 231, wsp for cast at least.

I like Bullseye. Data going back to 1911 or something. People say “bullseye is dirty” but I can’t see a big difference and I like the smell of bullseye smoke better and my ancient reloading books... I’m hard pressed to find any cartridge from .25 to 30-06 that doesn’t have a bullseye recipe. Still a top choice of competitors.

Primers- the big Winchester ones for me. Old school.
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Old January 23, 2021, 05:11 PM   #7
Marco Califo
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I bought a Glock 30 a year or two ago. Before I got home, I stopped at one local range and bought 1000 primers (LPP) at more than I would pay by mail order. But that pistol was going to be worthless without LPPs.
Unless you have LPPs on hand, it is indeed a bad time.
In the past 5-10 years 45 ACP brass and ammo can come with SPP holes. You have to separate them, and load what you have primers for.
BE-86, CFE_Pistol, Bullseye, Silhouette.
I like Berrys Plated SWCs, Barnes 140 g. Copper.
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Old January 23, 2021, 05:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Califo
I bought a Glock 30 a year or two ago. Before I got home, I stopped at one local range and bought 1000 primers (LPP) at more than I would pay by mail order. But that pistol was going to be worthless without LPPs.
I'm uneducated with Glocks. Why is it worthless without using large pistol primers?
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Old January 23, 2021, 06:13 PM   #9
Marco Califo
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It doesn't go bang on an empty chamber. I hear 1911s don't either.
OP says he bought a RI 1911. My point was it is not a good time to need additional caliber components.
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Old January 23, 2021, 06:19 PM   #10
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Oh, gotcha. I thought there was something about the firing system in a Glock that mandates using LPP.

*I'm an idiot*
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Old January 23, 2021, 06:38 PM   #11
Marco Califo
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Yes. The brass. WhIch in 45 ACP can be LPP or SPP. So if OP has SPP primers on hand, I can send him my 45 SPP brass (I have them in my round file).
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Old January 23, 2021, 08:09 PM   #12
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Bullseye, Win 231 and Unique have been my usual go to powders. While I like 230 grain JHP bullets I recently found about 2,000 lead bullets I stashed maybe 25 years ago so I will start using them up. All my .45 ACP primers are large so I load large pistol primers. Just never started with the small pistol primers in .45 ACP.

Overall the .45 ACP is a pretty easy cartridge to load with large bullets and case mouths.

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Old January 23, 2021, 08:58 PM   #13
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In additional those powders mentioned above, I also use 700-X for 45acp. See the Hogdgon website for load data.

With 230 grain RN, I use a COL of 1.24”. I also apply a 0.468” crimp. All brass gets run through a Lee Bulge Buster die since I shoot only range pick-ups with unknown histories. Finally, all completed rounds get run through a Dillon headspace gauge/case checker for final quality assurance inspection.

Hope this helps...

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Old January 23, 2021, 08:58 PM   #14
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Deprimed and wet tumbled 7 ½ lbs of range brass. Sorted LP and SP by inserting large primer pocket cleaning tool. Ones that fit were obviously large primer, ones that didn’t are small primer. Of 7 ½ lbs of random range brass I came out with 87 small primer 45’s.
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Old January 23, 2021, 10:09 PM   #15
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Of the two powders you mention, HS6 and Tite Group, I'd say Tite Group would be best. Branching out, WST is worth a try. I use TG on .45acp, .38 Spcl and .32acp. Have for years. It's a touch on the dirty side with light loads, but not as dirty as Bullseye in my experiences. I notice no difference between large and small primers. Since you have experience reloading .32acp, you'll love reloading .45acp. I have small hands, but still feel like I have five thumbs when it comes to working with .32acp. The size of .45acp is so much easier to work with.
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Old January 23, 2021, 10:47 PM   #16
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I have used bullseye, titegroup, unique, and Lovex cleanshot (which they compare to titegroup).
Cleanshot really is a lot cleaner than unique. Of the powders I have experience with, I'm pretty much given to stick with bullseye and cleanshot.

As for primers... 45ACP is the only cartridge I reload that uses LPP, so that is what I prefer. If I run into brass that uses the SPP, I just throw it in a bag for use some other time. SPP's are hard to get, and I have several cartridges I reload that require them. I don't need to throw them at 45 as well.
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Old January 24, 2021, 02:11 AM   #17
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Of 7 ½ lbs of random range brass I came out with 87 small primer 45’s.
Sounds about right and one of the main reasons I went with LPP cases . Like others I have some SPP cases but not many compared to the other . I'll keep them but have no plans to put them into the rotation .

Sounds like you plane to shoot mixed brass ??? I don't like to and "if" I do it's still separated between thin walled brands and thicker walled brands . Win , Fed , Starline , Speer cases are in the thicker walled cases . R.P. , Aguilia , PMC and a few other I can't think of off the top of my head go in the thinner walled case pile .

The issue I noticed was if I have my crimp set for a light crimp with the thicker walled cases , it pretty much does nothing to the thinner walled cases . The opposite happens if my crimp is set for the thinner walled cases , it puts more crimp then I want on the thicker walled cases .

I've not done any test to see if the crimp inconsistencies have any effect on bullet set back or accuracy but I can feel it in the press when loading and that's enough for me to do the extra separating of the thin and thicker walled cases . I believe this is a by product of me loading match quality rifle cartridges for years before ever loading handgun rounds . After doing all that precision case prep and loading for years to then just not give a care if I'm loading what I know is inconsistent ammo rubs me the wrong way . If every other round I run through the press feels different then the last , it bugs the crap out of me . YMMV ;-)
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Old January 24, 2021, 06:47 AM   #18
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.45 ACP. My own load has been for target work. It is 4.2 grains of Bullseye and a 185 grain LSWC. This has worked pretty much faultlessly for me for decades.
The “classic” target load is 4.0 grains of Bullseye under a 200 grain LSWC.
Five grains under a 230 grain FMJ is another classic.
The OP does not have Bullseye.....personally, i would go with Titegroup and Hodgdon’s starting load for The 200 grain JHP of 4.7 grains.
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Old January 24, 2021, 09:43 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 308Loader View Post
Finally got around to buying a 1911, Rock Island M1911-A2-FS, nothing fancy. So now begins the reloading of 45 ACP. I have experience loading for 9mm and 32 ACP so not new to pistol loading, just new to the 45. Anything special about loading this one? Advise, things to look for, special considerations? Basic questions are:

Good powder to use for this case?
Bullet considerations? Not likely to EDC this one, but…
Small primer VS large?

Bought some range brass and have it all cleaned up. Die set from amazon wont be here for a while. Running out of small pistol primers, have no large pistol. Powders on hand are HS6 and tight group. Thinking of buying some plated bullets for plinking if I can find them.

Reloading considerations, OK, let's see:

4.8 grains Bullseye, behind a 200-230 grain whatever bullet is what I settled on by experimentation. I've used 231. I've messed a bit with Trail Boss. Do not know about your powders, sorry.

(I've loaded with Pyrodex too. Smoke and sparks and fire, it's a hoot. Not for serious shooting, just for fun. And after a while the gun gets to gunked up to run well.)

Mind the bullet seating depth. Too low, and you might have case feeding problems. Too high, and the bullet bites the rifling before the cartridge is properly seated.

Not enough crimp can also cause problems going into battery. "Plunk test" would be the diagnostic for that.

And pay attention to primers. Some .45 ACP cases use small primers, most large. Loads are the same, function is the same.
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Old January 24, 2021, 10:22 AM   #20
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Shooting 45acp in both a XD Mod2 and a Full size metal Witness. Have loaded all forms of Xtreme and Barry's plated bullets from 185gr to 230gr and then some 200gr and 225gr cast lead bullets. The only type I have had difficulties with have been SWC profiles.

For powders I have used AA#2, AA#5, Ramshot Silhouette and HP-38. Recently I was given most of a 8# container of Hodgdon Clays. Meters horribly but shoots OK.

This Witness in the 45acp has become my most favorite pistol to shoot.
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Old January 24, 2021, 11:30 AM   #21
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I personally like Longshot powder in that case. It's good for anything from mellow to magnum loads and it meters like water.

6.5gr for .45acp, 7.5 for 45super and 12 for 460rowland, >15 for 45 Cinderblock.
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Old January 24, 2021, 06:45 PM   #22
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WOW! Thanks for the reply’s, lots of good info here. From what I’m seeing popular powders would be Win-231/HP-38 and bullseye. Honorable mention to Unique. A couple of powders I would more associate with shotguns, clays and longshot. Not too familiar with these. Bullets 230gr RN FMJ or plated seem to do fine. Primer size doesn’t seem to matter much, LPP preferred due to availability. To MG’s point about separating brass by head stamp/wall thickness, this makes sense. Will go ahead and break down the batch of brass to account for that. I agree with the philosophy that if I am going to take the time to load bullets for MY guns, they should be the best I can make.

I don’t have to tell you all components are hard to find right now. Will start searching out some of the above. Dies still wont be here for a bit, actually unknown when they will fill the order. I’m not in any rush to begin. Thanks for the insight to my new cal to load for.

If you going to pitch your SPP 45 cases, I might know a guy that would put them to the test.
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Old January 24, 2021, 07:14 PM   #23
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200SWC

Have been loading 7.0gr of Unique under a 200gr SWC for 40 years. In my Springfield, I can keep all shots in the black at 50 ft.
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Old January 24, 2021, 10:27 PM   #24
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For nearly Bullseye Competition level of accuracy, I've found Missouri Bullet Co.'s 200 gr LSWC a great choice. It's a copy of the old H&G #68 design, that will work with most any 1911 feed ramp configuration too.

For powder, I like Win231 ~ 5.0 gr for a good target or close in defense load. Seated to just barely show the full width band (about 1/32" of full dia. lead showing), then taper crimped just enough to remove the belled case mouth, you have a superb combination.

Lg pistol primers are way to go...more brass available, tho I do save and load small pistol ones as well for use in the field where I generally lose the fired brass in the fescue. YMMv, Rod
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Old January 25, 2021, 10:10 AM   #25
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308 Loader,

You'll find one nice thing about the old 45 Auto is it can be made to run on a lot of powders. Shotgun powders like Red Dot and Unique, Clays and Universal (note: the plant where the Clays line was made is now decommissioned and the new one isn't going to produce the exact same powders, so these will be replaced with new formulations) all work well. HS-6 is slow and works best at near max loads.

With lead bullet loads, I recommend seating out to headspace on the bullet rather than on the case mouth. This has cut group size as much as 40% for me, and it reduces leading significantly. (Third from left, below. Note that some bullet shapes do not let you seat out this far and still fit the magazine, but the SWC shapes will.)

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