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Old February 23, 2013, 05:04 PM   #1
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45ACP Question

So I started loading some .45acp today with 230gr lead RN. Never loaded lead for my 1911 before. Well my book calls for 5.1-5.8gr of Unique @ 1.270" OAL so I loaded a dummy to see if it would work and it will not feed in my 1911 properly. So I seated my dummy round deaper to see if that would fix it and got down to 1.230" OAL and it functions fine now. My question is do I need to back off of my powder Load that the book recommends for Unique? Will this increase the pressure to much?
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Old February 23, 2013, 06:26 PM   #2
chris in va
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My lyman manual shows a 225gr LRN Unique 5.5-7.3max at 1.272oal.

If anything the charge sounds a bit light. Nice thing about 45acp is the case has more volume than it should, so it allows you to play with seating depths.

I'm not going to say 'go ahead', but I personally wouldn't have a problem with it.
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Old February 23, 2013, 06:27 PM   #3
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Any deviation from the published reloading data puts us into unknown territory.
All the warnings say to definitely begin any creative loads with the low end of powder and then try to figure things out from there.
Since it's not possible to know what the real pressures are, without some expensive gear, we have to judge by the looks of the fired brass and the velocity, as measured by a chronograph.
Since you aren't changing things by a huge amount, only a slightly shorter cartridge, velocity should give you a good idea of what's safe.
And how far to go to get the load you actually want.
Do you have a chronograph?
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Old February 23, 2013, 07:37 PM   #4
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I will share my pet load with you. 5.3 grains of unique with an overall length at 1.190. Now for the disclaimer. I dont consider this a hot load in my gun and only for my gun but when sharing load data i will say to be careful.
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Old February 23, 2013, 08:24 PM   #5
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How about this for an idea? Cut your starting load down to 10% below listed starting load (@ 4.5 gr.) at your desired OAL and increase charges 2 to 3 tenths-of-a-grain til gun functions how you want. That's called "working up" a load, a concept that seems to be lost in this day and age. I'm guessing you'll get to fishbones' load and have room to spare. And 1.240 or so is what I load with 230 gr LRN in both my 1911's.

BTW, loading dummies to check for function doesn't necessarily tell you what happens when you actually shoot the load.
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Old February 23, 2013, 08:54 PM   #6
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Unique is a pretty forgiving powder. I normally load a little shorter OAL than is often listed in .45 apc and 9 mm because I need to for certain pistols. The magazine and chamber will determine the max OAL you can use. Not all pistols are equal.

I would still use the listed starting point for the OAL you need to use. Since it is shorter than the one used in your data I would not try any at the max level. I would stay at least .1 grains under the max level since using a shorter OAL will increase pressures. If you were going to have to load .060" shorter I would suggest adjusting the max and min levels .2 grains less. This should keep you out of those +P loads. I do this with powders that allow me to to have a 1 grain or more spread from min to max levels. Powders with narrow spreads I try to avoid in pistol loads.
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Old February 24, 2013, 01:08 AM   #7
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Published OAL is pretty much useless with cast or jacketed bullets in the 45acp because of all the various bullet profiles. Best way to determine OAL is with a dummy round and a barrel removed from your 45. If it "plunks" in and the base is flush with the rearmost surface of the barrel you're good to go. If it's shy, seat it a bit longer. If it's proud seat it a bit deeper. Record your OAL for this bullet and use it for future loading sessions. Your listed load won't blow up any guns in good condition, even if compressed a bit. I've gone a little heavier and still have all my OE body parts, barrels looking good too! A 45acp doesn't like hot loads, BTW. Anything that cycles the slide and flies true is good to go!
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