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  #1  
Old 03-06-2008, 2:00 PM
MrNiceGuy MrNiceGuy is offline
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Default 45ACP 230gr, W231 powder, load question

I'm reloading 45 ACP 230gr "Montana Gold" bullets.
I'm using Winchester 231 powder.
Winchester large pistol primers, if that matters.
Mix brass (but mostly Winchester brass), if that matters.

The gun is a standard GI Springfield with the original spring(s), don't know the how many pounds the factory springs are.

According to the load data (from Winchester/Hodgdon website), the minimum load is 4.2grs and the maximum is 5.3grs.

But I've seen folks on thehighroad.org suggest higher loads like 5.6grs using 230gr bullets with W231 powder, as their everyday all purpose load.

I'm not comfortable going above the manufacturer's suggested max.
But at the same time, I'd like to come up with a good all purpose load using the W231 powder for the 230gr bullet.

Anyone else loading past 5.3grs using the W231 + 230gr bullets?

Incidentally, my C.O.L is around 1.255" (since most factory ammo I bought were around that length). Don't know if that matters or not.

Any input is greatly appreciated.

I got a small batch of bullets loaded up at 4.8gr, 5.1gr, and 5.3gr that I'm going to try out at the range to see which works best.
Just wondering if going above 5.3gr is a good idea and if anyone have good results past 5.3gr with the same powder/bullet weight combo.

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  #2  
Old 03-06-2008, 4:42 PM
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I am not loading 231 past 5 grains.

I have been using 5.0 grains of 231 in my 230 FMJ 45acp loads for a long time. My most consistent shooting (as in the same hole) has been the same 5.0 grains behind a copper plated 200 grain. All fired through a 5-in barrel 1911.
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  #3  
Old 03-06-2008, 5:01 PM
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The last load I used for my lead SWC 200 gr. bullet was 5.8 grains of 231, maximum load listed on Lyman reloading manual was 6.3 and starting was 5.4. My memory maybe a bit fuzzy so when I get home from work tonight I will verify but it should be pretty close if not dead on with what I just wrote. If someone is near a Lyman manual right now please verify.

If you have access to another manual MrNiceGuy, check them out to see their data. I usually would check out data from both my Sierra and Lyman manuals to gauge my powder load weight, since I usually don't start at the suggested start weight.


Edit: Max load from Lyman manual for 231 and 200gr SWC was actually 6.1, not 6.4.

Last edited by pklin1297; 03-06-2008 at 8:56 PM..
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  #4  
Old 03-06-2008, 5:09 PM
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if you can find out how fast your rounds are flying down range, chrony them, then FPS tell if your on point or not,800 +/- a few is perfect, as long as your gun cycles 100% of the time, use the least about of charge you can, save powder and wear on your gun.

My .02
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  #5  
Old 03-06-2008, 5:09 PM
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two thoughts...you could chrono the max load from the current data...

and you could break out 15 yr old less lawyerized loading manuals to see what the max used to be. Now you do need to consider if the powder formulation has been altered significantly over the years, but... there is a little *** covering from the legal dept. with some of these popular powders. 231 is a little fast for 6 grains in 45, but I did chrono 5.2g and 5.3g with a lead 230 grain:

cut and paste from my database-->


book lists (optimistically)-
4.3 gr 699 fps
5.3 gr 834 fps
5.2 gr feels like factory ammo. Noted as accurate in original notes.

4-7-07 Chrono session:
5.2 gr 231
4.25" cmdr 1911 (DW) 690-760fps
5" 1911 710-740fps
6" HK Elite 750-800fps

light loads cycled well with 16# spring

a little under factory spec, but I did not go further with 231..I like Unique in 45 (6 grains is factory velocity).

Last edited by mike100; 03-06-2008 at 5:12 PM..
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  #6  
Old 03-06-2008, 5:14 PM
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I would not suggest going over the max book suggestion. If you want the bullet to go faster, use a different (slower) powder. The 230 grain bullet at 5.3 grains and your overall length is going to be plenty good enough to shoot. The loads you listed to try are a great idea IMHO. Se which one you like best. I'm thinking you'll agree over 5.3 would be unnecessary. Most people I know that shoot a lot don't shoot maximum loads in handguns - unless there is a need for it.

all the best,

Mike
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Old 03-06-2008, 5:14 PM
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I use 5.3 - 5.7 grains of W231 with various 230gr FMJ without any trouble. My c.o.l. is 1.260 inch . Hope this helps.
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  #8  
Old 03-06-2008, 6:15 PM
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Sierra manual gives something like 5.7 of 231 as max with 230FMJs. Call their 800 number and talk to them, they have great customer service.

That said, I've been using 5.6 of 231 with 230gr jacketed bullets for over 30 years now. It's my standard range load, show no pressure signs, and feels a bit lighter than factory WWB/American Eagle, etc. The factory ammo generally chronos in the low 800FPS range, FWIW.

I just chronographed several different 5.6 231/230gr loads this morning at Burro. WW 230FMJs were right at 800FPS out of a 5" 1911. Speer 230gr Gold Dots were 820FPS. This is the standard range that I've been getting with this load for over 30 years now. It is certainly not very hot, and also burns nice and clean.

FWIW, when I shot ISPC back in the late 1980's, my standard Major load was 6gr of 231with a 200 gr LSWC. I shot tens of thousands of these through my comp gun with zero issues.

Keep in mind, loading manuals are edited by lawyers, not ballisticians. Over the past 20+ years, "max loads" have been getting slower every time a new edition is published.
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  #9  
Old 03-06-2008, 6:38 PM
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I too have noticed that "MAX" loads are not very Max, they are about standard. BUT always work your way up, like all the books tell you.
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  #10  
Old 03-06-2008, 7:47 PM
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Thanks for all the great input everybody.
I'll head to the range and chrono my 4.8, 5.1, and 5.3 loads and see how it feels and for accuracy.
I'll work my way up to 5.6 if I have to depending on how my gun likes the current loads.
I'll report back after the my range trip.

Wonder if United Sportsman in Concord have a chrono.....guess I'll call them tomorrow...:P
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  #11  
Old 03-06-2008, 8:23 PM
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I have loaded 45 ACP with 230 gr FMJ bullets with 6.0 gr of W231 AOL of 1.265" this chrono'd to 800 FPS out of my 5 inch Sig GSR.

Factory Winchester White Box 100 rd bulk pack 230 gr FMJ chrono'd at 821 FPS out of the GSR.

Factory Remington UMC 230 gr FMJ chrono'd at 813 FPS out of the GSR.

I loaded 230 gr lead round nose bullets with 4.9 gr of W231, AOL of 1.250. That chrono'd at 798 FPS.
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  #12  
Old 03-09-2008, 12:17 AM
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I use 5 grains of 231 w/ Winchester LP primers, either PMC or Remington brass with a 230 gr. Hornady HP-XTP. This load is accurate and consistent in all my .45s.
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  #13  
Old 03-09-2008, 9:53 PM
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Well this shows the need for more than one reloading manual. My Lyman does not list W231 for the .45 I've been using Unique & it is good ( & dirtier ) than W231 that I use for .40...
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  #14  
Old 03-10-2008, 10:09 AM
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I just tried out 5.3gr of HP38 (which I hear is identical to W231) with 230gr plated bullets, and found it to be a bit snappy, personally. I'm going to scale back to 5.0gr to see if that helps out. There were no feed / extraction problems at all.

Turby
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  #15  
Old 03-10-2008, 10:23 AM
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Ok....got back from the range over the weekend testing out the 4.8, 5.1 and 5.3 grain loads.

Unfortunately some of the bullets were not crimped properly (failed the press bullet on the bench to see if bullet sink test), my bad for being sloppy.

On top of that the SL indoor range didn't have a chrono (it was at night so my range choice was limited).

I hand fed the 45 one bullet at a time to see how individual loads felt.
The 5.1 and 5.3 grain loads felt like standard factory loads, no extraction problem.
4.8 felt slightly lighter, with 2 extraction problem out of 20 shots fired.
Can't comment on feeding issues since I hand fed my gun individually due to my sloppy crimp job.

Accuracy was hard to differentiate since all shots landed within the 10 ring from 25 yards (max distance for SL indoor range), regardless of load.

I also pulled 5 bullets from each load batch when I got home to re-weight the powder charge to make sure each batch was within the right weight, they were all spot on, no deviation (which was rather surprising).

To do:
Do a better job at crimping.
Find a range with a chrono.
Make a new batch of 5.0, 5.2, and 5.4 grain bullets and test them out.

Hopefully I'll get time this weekend to head out to the range again.

Last edited by MrNiceGuy; 03-10-2008 at 10:26 AM..
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  #16  
Old 03-10-2008, 7:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrNiceGuy View Post
Ok....got back from the range over the weekend testing out the 4.8, 5.1 and 5.3 grain loads.

Unfortunately some of the bullets were not crimped properly (failed the press bullet on the bench to see if bullet sink test), my bad for being sloppy.
What is the sink test?
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  #17  
Old 03-10-2008, 9:23 PM
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There must be a proper way to describe a "sink test".
But its basically taking a loaded bullet that you think is complete and pressing it the bullet tip on a hard surface like a bench and applying pressure to the back of the brass to see if the bullet will sink into the brass with just the pressure from your arm muscles.
Sorry if my description is a little too "layman".
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Old 03-11-2008, 5:10 PM
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230gr plated RN, 5.0gr W231, 1.260 OAL. Shoots fine in full and Officer size 1911s, G30 & Sig 220. Did one batch with a too short OAL which caused problems in the 1911s, but the Glock and Sig ate them fine.
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Old 03-19-2008, 3:44 PM
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MrNiceGuy,

I use W231 5.0 gr for 230 gr Rainier copper plated RN and 5.3 gr for 200 SWC.

Also, may I add a comment on oneof your post. Not trying to be "smarter than thou", but it is not a good practice to "hand fed the 45 one bullet at a time to see how individual loads felt." The practice will ruin your extractor or its proper tension adjustment. Always feed ammo from the magazine.

If you need to check how ammo fits your barrel (as in headspace check), just disassemble your pistol and check each assembled round to your heart's content. I do this quite often to avoid/minimize FTF.

Again, just for FYI. Please somebody else chime in if I'm off left field here.

Ninja45
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Old 03-19-2008, 3:50 PM
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I appreciate the info Ninja!

I'm no expert so any info/suggestion/comment is always welcome.

Waiting for my new 45 dies to come in so I can get a good crimp on my reloads. Think my old dies are worn out. Ordered a factory crimp die for extra insurance on a good crimp (I'll see if I need to use it).
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Old 03-19-2008, 4:15 PM
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You're welcome. I have learned so much from this forum and would like to share whatever jewel I have picked up along the way.

The factory crimp die is a very good addition to your loading tools. I use it with many of my pistol die sets. It really works!
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  #22  
Old 03-20-2008, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninja45 View Post
MrNiceGuy,
If you need to check how ammo fits your barrel (as in headspace check), just disassemble your pistol and check each assembled round to your heart's content. I do this quite often to avoid/minimize FTF.
I bought a set of Midway case gauges instead of relying on a barrel. Pretty much if the case passes the case gauge test, it'll chamber in any gun chambered for that caliber. Today part of my routine is to case gauge every single piece of brass before I load it - that way I'll know if the brass should be thrown out or reloaded. Haven't a single problem since I started this routine.

Turby
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Old 03-20-2008, 11:24 PM
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I think my reloads fit my barrel just fine.
I checked the diameter with my caliper and it's .47 (just like the factory ammo I bought).
It also drops into my barrel just fine like the factory ammo.

I got a new set of dies + factory crimp dies and made a new batch for this weekend. Really happy with the factory crimp die, you can really see the brass bite into the bullet ever so slightly for a nice factory crimp.

And now when I press down on a completed reload, the bullet doesn't sink into the brass case anymore, which is good (thanks to the factory crimp I think).

But when I load up a mag and snap the slide to cycle the reloads, I find the bullet gets pushed into the case slightly for each reload. They all start out 1.255 but when I picked them up and measure them again, they measure 1.244, 1.203, 1.230, 1.249, 1.238.

When I do the same thing with 5 factory ammo, they start out at 1.260 and end up 1.260.

How come my reloads get compressed slightly when it gets cycled in my gun but the factory ammo does not (despite the really nice crimp job)?
I guess the real question is do I worry about it or just shoot it as is?
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Old 03-21-2008, 9:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrNiceGuy View Post
But when I load up a mag and snap the slide to cycle the reloads, I find the bullet gets pushed into the case slightly for each reload. They all start out 1.255 but when I picked them up and measure them again, they measure 1.244, 1.203, 1.230, 1.249, 1.238.

When I do the same thing with 5 factory ammo, they start out at 1.260 and end up 1.260.

How come my reloads get compressed slightly when it gets cycled in my gun but the factory ammo does not (despite the really nice crimp job)?
I guess the real question is do I worry about it or just shoot it as is?
Hmm, that shouldn't happen. I always believe in using as little crimp as possible, but I think your rounds shouldn't have any setback at all. I'll go try this as well just to see what happens to my reloads, can anyone else also help verify?

Turby
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Old 03-21-2008, 11:56 AM
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I've been shooting the same range of reloads you seem to be with 231 and hp-38. And feel that the hp-38 burns a little cleaner despite being told like you guys that they're the same powder. I shoot 185 and 200 grain SWC's and 230 grain FMJ. I generally charge with whatever the Hornady book I have says should put me at IPSC major for the bullet weight I'm using. (Not that I shoot IPSC but one of these days I'll drag myself out there...) I was having problems with my seating die not keeping the bullet square with the case, and leaving a lump off to the side which would impair feeding. My solution was to take an old full length sizing die from a 30-06 (any of the rounds that share the same parent would work) and running a small cylinder hone in it to take a little of the taper out and using that as a crimp die. Like all things reloading this is check and adjust fix. If you have it set to far in it will over crimp the case mouth but it will give an even crimp/size to the whole finished cartridge.
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Old 03-23-2008, 11:02 PM
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Loads for .45 ACP:


(Note: These are near MAXIMUM loads, you should use 10% less to start.)
(See note on Powders below or read all about various Powders.)
Bullet sizes vary from .451" for jacketed to .452" for some lead in diameter. Due to different barrel lengths, type of bullet, seating depth, primer type and other factors, you may not get near the FPS charted. It is just a guide and the reason you should start under these charges and work up.


----------------------------------------
155 grain LSWC (Lead, Semi-Wad Cutter)
Bullseye 6.9 gr. 1,175 FPS
Unique 7.8 gr. 1,190
Universal 7.6 gr. 1,195
Clays 5.2 gr. 1,082
HP38 8.0 gr. 1,179
No. 2 7.5 gr. 1,204
No. 5 10.0 gr. 1,189
540 8.5 gr. 940
-----------------------------------------
185 grain JHP or JSP (Jacketed Hollow or Soft Point)
Bullseye 5.3 gr. 914 FPS
Unique 7.0 gr. 928
Unique 6.0 gr. 765 (actual in Colt45 for mild load)
Universal 7.2 gr. 993
Clays 4.9 gr. 981
HP38 5.9 gr. 906
HS-6 8.6 gr. 917
No. 2 7.5 gr. 1,077
No. 5 10.2 gr. 1,102
231 6.8 gr. 990
540 10.0 gr. 1,015
WST 5.6 gr. 935
WAP 8.9 gr. 1,045
-----------------------------------------
200 grain LSWC (Lead, Semi-Wad Cutter)
Bullseye 4.2 gr. 790 FPS
Unique 5.1 gr. 810
Universal 5.4 gr. 804
Clays 4.3 gr. 888
HP38 5.6 gr. 914
HS-6 8.4 gr. 907
No. 2 5.8 gr. 939
No. 5 8.7 gr. 1,025
231 5.5 gr. 910
540 8.3 gr. 925
WST 5.1 gr. 910
WAP 7.6 gr. 970
-----------------------------------------
225 grain Speer JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point)
Bullseye 4.8 gr. 884 FPS
Unique 6.0 gr. 898
Universal 6.2 gr. 820
HP38 5.3 gr. 832
HS-6 8.2 gr. 825
No. 2 5.6 gr. ---
No. 5 8.5 gr. ---
231 5.2 gr. 824
WAP 7.9 gr. 895
-----------------------------------------
230 grain LSWC or LRN (Semi-Wad Cutter or Round Nose)
(these loads work for the RN Plated bullet,too)
Bullseye 4.0 gr. 810 FPS (target accuracy load)
Bullseye 4.8 gr. 884 hot load/Maximum.
Unique 5.5 gr. 795 (I got 738 fps in my gun)
Unique 5.5 gr. 913 (in Marlin auto carbine)
Unique 6.0 gr. 840* (I got 777 fps in my gun)
Unique 6.0 gr. 924* (in Marlin auto carbine)
Universal 4.8 gr. 782
No. 2 5.6 gr. 870
No. 5 8.5 gr. 968
231 5.1 gr. 870 (I got 734 in my S&W)
540 7.6 gr. 860
WST 4.5 gr. 805
WAP 7.3 gr. 915
* Alliant shows this a Maximum load
-----------------------------------------
230 grain FMJ or JHP (Jacketed Hollow Point)
Bullseye 4.8 gr. 884 FPS
Unique 6.4 gr. 880
Universal 6.0 gr. 853
HP38 5.3 gr. 832
HS6 8.2 gr. 825
No. 2 6.1 gr. 874
No. 5 8.7 gr. 927
231 5.1 gr. 785
540 7.6 gr. 800
WST 4.9 gr. 800
WAP 7.4 gr. 885
-----------------------------------------
260 grain FMJ or JHP Revolver Loads
Bullseye 4.5 gr. 725 FPS
Unique 5.4 gr. 760
HP38 5.1 gr. 800
HS6 8.0 gr. 849
No. 2 5.5 gr. 785
No. 5 7.7 gr. 845
231 5.0 gr. 788
-----------------------------------------


Discussion: The small case and short powder burning time of the .45 ACP requires a faster burning powder, like Bullseye or Unique. The almost standard bullet is the 230 grain round nose, since it feeds so well in autos. However, the SWC has a round enough nose that it feeds well in most autos and makes a cleaner target cut-out. If you were to be hunting or for protection, you might consider the Jacketed Hollow Point bullet shown in the loaded round. Whether you use the lead or full metal jacketed bullet is up to you, but the lead is, of course, much cheaper if you shoot very much. Because of lead fumes in the air, you should use a jacketed or copper plated bullet indoors
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Old 03-25-2008, 7:51 AM
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While you asked about 230gr RN bullets, based on my experience and load development I find the the 200gr SWCL to be the best all around load for the 45acp. The shoulders of the SWC creates a more damaging wound channel than a round nose which tends to close up behind the bullets passage. The load I have used in competition for the past 15 years is 5.9gr of 231 using a Laser Cast 200gr SWCL with an OAL of 1.240. This is a very stable and accurate load with very little, if any, leading. YMMV
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