View Full Version : 45 ACP, 255 grains, and Unique
I am interested in experimenting (learning) with heavy boolits, originally designed for the Colt revolver cartridge, in .45 ACP. The powder I mostly use is Unique in the ACP and would like to stick with that. Anyone here have any first person experience with a combination like this?
Don't care to batter the faithful old Commander to death, but would like to try this.
03-24-2005, 06:34 PM
Not exactly what you're seeking to do--but close, in a S&W Model 25-2 in 45 Auto-Rim. I used both Speer swaged SWC's and my own cast #454490's and the Unique data for the 250 Speer product in the 45 AR--5.8 grain to 6.2 grains of Unique. These seemed mild to moderate in the wheeler at the time. It never occurred to me to try these heavies in the bottom-feeders.
I think Harley 45 was doing some of this recently. If he hasn't signed on here, hit him up on the Aimoo site and see what he has to offer.
03-24-2005, 06:44 PM
I can give you a load for HS6 but I can't help with the unique. I'm watching to see what the others have to say. As a side note if you don't have the mold already I tend to agree with Chargar here check into the Lyman 452423 I liked it so much I just ordered a copy from Dan, and if the Lee group buy goes thru I'll get one of those to.
I may have to have a copy of that 452423 too. After reading your replies I went ahead and loaded some commercially cast 254 grain SWC's over 5.2 grains of Unique, and some 454424's (?) from a mold I no longer have with the same charge, and will try to find time to shoot them this weekend in the snow. They feed well when cycled through by hand. Powder charge was determined by what I can get from the Accumeasures rotors.
Thanks for the replies and information, guys. There is some HS6 out in the powder safe/refrigerator that may see service here too. I wonder how doable/expensive it would be to make or have made a five shot 45 ACP Detective Special.
Those commercially cast SWC's. Got them in a trade, a whole Bayer aspirin bottle full.
03-25-2005, 06:53 AM
Maybe TonyB will weigh in here on this. Last year, I did a pretty extensive test on heavy boolits in the .45 ACP. My test bed was a Ruger Blackhawk with a .45 ACP cylinder. Bullets were all 240 grains or above. The 454190 gave really good results as did the 454424 and a PB 452490.
These results and a shipment of bullets were passed on to Tony and he's done some work this winter in the Kimbers. I'm not sure exactly where he is on the project.
I have shot the 454424 in a M1911A1 but the feeding is somewhat iffy as you get a slight "double clutching" in the feed cycle.
One of the problems you'll encounter is the recoil and potential to batter the frame as you anticipated.
Other than that, the heavies shoot pretty well in the ACPs. The 454190 is probably the best and I had worst results with the 454423. If you'll notice, Elmer never bragged that one up in his writings and I was unable to get much accuracy out of it past 50 yards, even for plinking. A lot of people swear by them but I've tried three different moulds with no success. The 452423HP does shoot well so it may be something in the design of the "solid".
Anyhow, see what Tony has to say when he sees this./beagle
03-25-2005, 09:03 AM
My old Lyman manual lists 452423 over 6.3 gr of Unique as a max. I have gone this much with the Lee 255 RF in the 1911 which feeds and shoots very well. If you really want to shoot the heavies you should get a heavier recoil spring and some buffers to keep from beating up your gun. There are people loading some very hot loads in the 1911 with slight modification to the gun.
You stated you tried three diferent moulds. How many diferent weapons? This bullet shoots very good out of my EAA but not real great in my Ruger. Jay
04-01-2005, 08:12 AM
If the 1911 will handle the 10mm and especially the 460 Rowland it will digest lead cast bullets of over 240 grs easily. A heavier spring and recoil buffer certainly will help and you necessarily don't have to be shooting heavy hot loads either. I don't like the idea of the frame getting battered have a recoil buffer in all my 1911's. I've been shooting the 255 gr SWC for over 20 years now. I even met a detective in a Tulsa gunshop once hunting the bullet isle for a the Speer 250 gr SWC meant for the 45 LC to load in his Combat Commander. Said it made an excellent man stopping load. That was in the 1980's too. You know he did buy a box of them too and now that I think about how we talk about the legality of reloads for self protection I wonder if he was pulling my leg or was dead serious and went by the I'd rather be judged by 12 then carried by 6 theory.
As I've stated the 255 SWC shoot fine and feed fine out of all my 45 acp firearms (IE 1911's, Glock, Thompson subgun, HK Subgun, Italian Scorpian Subgun, Ruger Blackhawk 45acp cylinder). I used Unique also. I also tried pushing them some with Blue Dot in the Ruger Blackhawk but honestly wasn't impressed with what velocity gains it gave, which wasn't much, nor worth the effort. That 5 some gr load of Unique stated is a good starting point. Being the 255 gr SWC is a rather long bullet compared to the normal 45 acp loadings, it may bulge the case some as when it's seated deeper it reaches the thicker portion of the casing. This hasn't bee a problem for me except in the Ruger Blackhawk 45 acp cylinder which is the tightest 45acp chamber I've seen to this date.
04-01-2005, 08:43 AM
As beagle wrote, I have been doing some experimenting with heavy boolits in pistols. The test has included three full-size Series 80 Colt's, one Combat Commander, one Kimber Compact, two Glock 30s, and one Springfield Trophy Match. The Trophy Match has an exceedingly tight chamber and doesn't do well with any boolit over .451. It didn't stay in the test very long. The Commander, a very recent acquisition, has the standard grip safety from the 70s and quickly tore up the web of my shooting hand so it didn't get shot much. All the other 1911s and both Glocks ate everything I fed them with no malfunctions.
I kept muzzle velocities around 800fps to avoid any potential for frame battering and used new, standard weight recoil springs in the 1911s. The Glocks went as-is. The chrono showed some pretty high SD readings that I attributed to the deeply seated boolits.
Max testing range was 25 yards off-hand and didn't produce any real accuracy data. Final bench rest accuracy tests are pending, but all boolits produced 25 yard head-shot accuracy.
Seating depth is critical, and different magaxines will allow different OALs. Wilson mags for the 1911s required the shortest OAL, the Glocks allowed the longest, and the Colt mags were somewhere in the middle. Make sure you test all your magazines before loading a bunch of ammo.
Penetration and final accuracy tests need to be completed, and I hope to get to them in the next few weeks. I'm more interested in the penetration tests than the benched accuracy results, and will compare penetration with standard weight boolits to see if the heavies offer a significant advantage. Tony
04-01-2005, 01:52 PM
Just for information, the Accurate Arms website has load data for heavy lead bullets in .45 ACP, although you have to dig for it. That's where I found the data for AA#9 and the 250 gr bullets. Also, I second the opinion of using shock buffers on your 1911 with heavy loads. When I first started shooting the 452423 in my Wilson KZ-45, it completely disintigrated the factory shock buff in 200 rounds. With light loads, the buffs should last at least 1000 rounds, if not more. It's far better to replace the shock buff often than risk damage to the frame.
04-01-2005, 04:24 PM
Sir; I have done a little with the 45 acp and 240 gr boolits , but not with any heavier. The american Rifleman Feb 1979 has an article by Ed Harris
on using boolits up to 300 gr. but he used blue dot for all loads and gives the warnings about recoil mentioned here. All listed loads in the article were pressure tested by (Ithink ) H.P. White labIf you cant find a copy , I can send it to ya .
Thank you all for your replies and information. I still haven't made it out to shoot the loads I made up, but with a little luck will do so this weekend. Dogonit, I hate home repairs, AND nasty weather that curtails my shooting opportunities.
I'm trying simplify the contents of my powder safe, read that keep fewer powders on hand, and that is why I mentioned Unique. It's hard to think of a cartridge in my accumulation that it won't work very well for.
Have done some experimenting with 255 gn lrnfps in 45 acp semi. used Lee's 255 grainer (large meplat, reduced diam in front of crimp groove) and the standardly available 255 grain lrnfp with bevel base, small meplat and same dia in front of crimp groove. Used Unique powder and Fed 150 primers.
A lot depends on chamber cut, especially the lead to rifling.
Started out using SA Trophy Match, older version. The chamber cut to rifling includes a shelf, allowing longer bullet seating (appr 1.240-1.247, crimped right behind crimp groove) and it has 18 lb spring. Used the standard 255 lrnfp, .4525 diam.
5.0 grains Unique gave 750 fps, and excellent accuracy (most accurate handload from this pistol). Due to the long exposure of full diam, this load would not chamber in semis without the long transition to rifling or M625 or non-mofified Ruger 45 acp cylinder in Blackhawk. The Lee 255 lrnfp (or is it 250 grain?) would chamber reliably, due to it's reduced diam in front of the crimp groove (bout .447). Tried up to 6.7 grains Unique (a little hot?) at 950 fps, not nearly as accurate.
Due to the chambering problems in other pistols, next tried shortening the OAL of the standard 255 lrnfp to 1.171, which means seating to just in front of crimp groove. Lowered the charge to 4.7 grains Unique, and got similiar velocity and accuracy as the original load. This combination fed and chambered in every pistol tried in. (45 acp semis with small lead to rifling, M625 and un mofified Ruger 45 acp Blackhawk cylinders).
If was wanting to 45 colterize a 5 in 45 acp semi, would be trying the heavy Lee bullet seated longer and sized to appropriate dia.
Borrowed BD's 45 cutter designed to lengten transition to rifling in 45 acp semi's, and used it on Ruger's 45 acp cylinders. This did not affect the accuracy, but allowed loads wher the bullet is seated further out. A particular problem with some of these cylinders.
04-02-2005, 06:04 AM
I loaded exactly ONE heavy-boolit trial load for .45ACP autoloaders. I used my Lyman 454190 boolits, which are a very feed-friendly shape for autos, besides being the ORIGINAL 1873 design for the .45 Colt revolver. It's almost a roundnose, with a very small meplat.
I don't have the charge here at hand, but the bullets were around 260 grains and the loads functioned perfectly in three different .45 autos (two 1911s and a SIG 220). The recoil was different from the regular 230-range loads I normally use. Not abusive or anything, just...."different". It was mostly curiosity that motivated me to load these, but I really should go back and expand on the initial test.
Today we made it out to shoot the Commander, putting a couple of hundred rounds through it, one hundred of which were the heavy boolit loads. Functioning was 100% with all four loads fired, using four different boolits; NEI 231, Lyman 230 RN, Lyman 452424, and the factory made projectiles that appear to be from one of the H&G mold designs. The last two weigh in at about 254-255 grains. I did not notice any heavier recoil with the heavier boolits, though the 452424 gave a pronounced two stage return to battery pulse. As predicted. All shooting at ten paces off hand, two handed hold. The Lyman round nose outshot the others by a little bit, very consistently. In my pistol, at least, that old bullet shape always seems to shoot best. Five or six in one hole, two or three others just outside, almost always to the right. None of the other three made the one hole with fliers kind of group.
This may have been a pretty expensive trip, as herself decided she needs a .45 ACP, a Colt Commander of course. I can buy her one, or buy myself something else and give her this one. That second idea is not very digestible, so we will have to visit a few gun shows. Anybody here going to the Big Gun Show in Reno next weekend?
Like BruceB, curiosity is what caused me to want to try heavier boolits in the ACP. There is little likelihood that we will use an auto pistol for big game, so it was just to see at first hand how it works. Two hundred grain RCBS semi wadcutters work fine for jack rabbits and ground squirrels, and possibly someday for cottontails for the pot. I hope never to have to find out if the NEI 231's work as predicted on people. Not my bag, as we used to say in the sixties. My curiosty is banked.
Johniv, thanks for the offer for the article from American Rifleman. If it is not too much trouble, I would appreciate an email copy. Email is in my profile, I think.
I'll shut up now.
Oops, my email can be accessed through the button at the bottom of my posts. Old dogs learn slowly.
04-14-2005, 09:16 AM
I have long like 453423 is the autopistol. Last week, I shot some loaded over 5/BE in my new Colt Govt. Model. Accuracy was outstanding, and function was 100 percent. I don't know what the velocity is but it was over 800 fps and the recoil had a right good snap to it. I am going to drop the power change to about 4.7/BE and put a buffer in the pistol.
I know some folks cring at buffers, but if you inspect them and change them before they get battered, I have had no problems with them. I clean and inspect my pistols every time they are fired..I am kind of strang that way. Folks who just stick a buffer in and forget about it, will sooner or later find pieces of it tying up the pistol.
I also believe in changing out the spring every 2K or so rounds.
04-14-2005, 09:24 AM
I can't possibly see what a buffer would hurt. I have them in my tuned 1911's. I figure it's alot better to beat the buffer then the frame.
04-21-2005, 06:55 PM
Joe..Allot of folks who use the 1911 for social purposes decry the use of a buffer. It seems some folks don't change them out and just forget about them being there. Sooner or latter the buffer will start to enlarge and sometimes pieces come off and jam up the pistol.
You are supposed to change the buffers out every 1K rounds. My experience says they will go several times that without causing problem. However, they don't cost much and changing them every 1K rounds is a good precaution. I just bought a dozen from Brown and put one in my new Colt Govt. Model. They will certainly lengthen the life of the pistol frame.
04-21-2005, 07:33 PM
Well if there are those people, who use their gun socially, that don't check the buffer and it breaks up into little pieces....leaves me to wonder how good they maintain the rest of the gun!!!!!!! Kinda like changing the oil in your car at regular intervals, but neglecting the tires totally.
04-22-2005, 12:45 AM
I agree with StarMetal. It's not as if it's hidden or hard to get to. Everytime you field strip a 1911 pattern pistol it's right there for you to inspect.
04-25-2005, 09:04 AM
You guys won't get anything but agreement from me. I have Ed Brown buffers in both my 1911 pistols. Anybody who does not inspect and maintain his social pistol deserves anything he gets.
I don't agree with the folks that decry the use of buffers, I just stated why they did.
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