1911Forum
Forum   Reviews   Rules   Legal   Site Supporters & Donations   Advertise


Go Back   1911Forum > Hardware & Accessories > Reloading Bench


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-03-2012, 08:33 AM
fcolins357 fcolins357 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Summerville, SC
Posts: 10
Recipe For A Short Barrel .45 ACP




Ladies and Gentlemen,
I was wondering if any of you folks have a recipe that you prefer for the most effective round for a 3" barrel .45 acp?
I'm starting from scratch here. Because of the short barrel, is pressure an issue?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-03-2012, 08:44 AM
RetiredRod's Avatar
RetiredRod RetiredRod is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Springfield, Missouri
Posts: 8,726
Pressure really doesn't have anything to do with barrel length. I shoot the same loads in my 3" guns and in my 5" guns. But, most of my loads are with the faster powders. IMO, any powder slower than W231 is not the best choice for 3" barrel pistols.
__________________


NRA Life Member
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-03-2012, 10:54 AM
moxie moxie is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,115
Consult your reloading manuals. Pick a bullet and a powder. Start at the starting load and work up until you find a load you and your gun like. That's the most effective load.
__________________
USAF Munitions 1969-1992
Vietnam 1972-1973
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-03-2012, 11:03 AM
tsp45acp tsp45acp is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Greensboro, N.C.
Age: 53
Posts: 6,707
Quote:
Originally Posted by RetiredRod View Post
Pressure really doesn't have anything to do with barrel length. I shoot the same loads in my 3" guns and in my 5" guns. But, most of my loads are with the faster powders. IMO, any powder slower than W231 is not the best choice for 3" barrel pistols.
+1, only I wouldn't count out Unique. Still fast enough to get good velocities out of short bbls.
__________________
Tracy # 16000
1988 Colt Delta Elite, 2001 Colt LTW Commander XSE, 2003 Colt Gunsite Nite Sites, 2009 DoubleStarr Ar-15,
1996 Colt Special Combat 45 ACP(Carry version- Blued w/ Nite sites)--Wife's gun, 1998 SA Comped Longslide 45 Super/45-08 Armco, 1997 SA V-10--Wife's gun 04/98-Lee Pro 1000
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-03-2012, 01:06 PM
Archie Archie is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Hastings, Nebraska - The Heartland!
Age: 64
Posts: 242
One does NOT change powder speed for barrel length. One changes powder speed for bullet weight; heavier bullets require slower powders.

The fastest load in a longer barrel will be the fastest load in a shorter barrel (in the same firearm). A shorter barrel will normally shoot the same load slower, but one cannot make up for a short barrel with a faster powder delivering a higher peak pressure for a shorter period of time. But the higher peak pressure will be harder on the mechanism.

If you have a longer barrel pistol, try the loads for that pistol first and see how they do. If you are starting from scratch, begin with the starting loads in the manual and find a load you (and the pistol) both like.
__________________
If God had intended autopistols to be double action, or plastic, He would have had John Moses Browning design it that way in the first place.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-03-2012, 01:55 PM
fcolins357 fcolins357 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Summerville, SC
Posts: 10
Thank you gents for all the info!
I guess what I'm asking is, wouldn't the lower grain bullets be better in a short barrel gun? I was under the impression that a certain amount of pressure is built up in the barrel as the bullet moves thru it as well as in the case? With this in mind, without the added barrel length this build up isn't possible so the bullet velocity would be diminished, no?
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-03-2012, 02:00 PM
Nick A Nick A is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 12,390
'Pressure' isn't the issue. Accuracy and recoil are the issue.

I'm with Archie. Pick the powder that gives you best accuracy,
pick the powder that gives you best recoil feel for controllability.


Fast or slow, all pistol powders (except big magnum) burn in the first inch or two.
Fast powders in the first inch, slow powders in the second inch.
After that, unburned powder remains unignited.
(Repeat: Big magnum powders are different, we're talking about standard powders.)
So a 3" pistol gets the same powder burn as a 5" pistol as a 20" carbine,
regardless of the powder's burn rate.


Once the pressure has been produced in the first inch or 2 (fast OR slow powder)
long barrels have more time for the pressure to act.
You typically get more velocity in a long barrel handgun regardless of powder.
But once the barrel gets too long, it drags the bullet by friction.
For 45acp, a 6" barrel gets more velocity than a 3".
But a 20" barrel gets slower velocity than a 3". Go figure.
And powder burn rate has nothing to do with that
(unless you load super magnum with ultra slow powders).
Generally speaking, barrel length is independent of powder burn rate.



The fastest powders are often 'velocity challenged'.
Often you don't get top velocity because
pressure peaks out to maximum before top velocity is reached.
This is true whether the barrel is long or short.
You can't simply stuff more fast powder into the case
because it would exceed maximum pressure.



But powder burn rate, powder charge, bullet type, and bullet weight
make recoil feel different in the shooter's hand.
And recoil has everything to do with the shooter's control.
Handloading is all about finding the combination that works for you.
Economy. Accuracy. Control.
That is particularly true with lighter handguns,
and handguns with less weight on the muzzle.


Same is true for accuracy. Some barrels like it fast, some like it slow.
Some barrels like heavy bullets, some like light bullets.
The gun itself has everything to do with it.

What's that phrase our friend Weshoot2 uses?
"Launch platform is everything." True that.


Also, don't forget muzzle flash.


So my advice to the owner if a 3" pistol in 45acp:
Get to the bench and start a methodical program of testing.
Nothing takes the place of developing your own load for your own gun.
Personally, for my own guns, I would start with a powder I've used a lot
(like maybe W231/HP38) and a bullet I like (maybe 230gr Win fmj)
and use it to find a baseline for decent accuracy and decent recoil.

Using that baseline, try the slower powders known to work well in that cartridge.
Unique, Power Pistol, N340 and N350, AA#5, etc.
Then try some faster powders known to work well in that cartridge.
Bullseye, N320, N310, Clays, Titegroup, AA#2, etc.

Pretty soon, you find the track you like. Stay on track and fine tune.

Then you can vary bullet weight, 185 and 200 grain, to find the one you like best.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-03-2012, 03:17 PM
zeke zeke is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Northwest Wi
Posts: 69
The following are very generalized statements, with lots of opinion added in. For a 3 in barrel, you generally get about 100 fps less than from a 5 in. This means a 230 grain jhp at 900 fps, is about 800 fps from a 3 in. Would not count on a normal velocity jhp expanding from a 3 in barrel. Again generalizing, alot of older standard 230 gn jhps are at the threshold of not expanding below 800 fps.

To get the higher plus p velocitys, you need the mid to slow range in 45 acp powders.

Am not familiar with the 185 and 200 gn jhps, but the newer substance filled factory hollow points show alot of promise.

Course you might want to try a lead rnfp or swc with wider meplat at an easier to control velocity.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-03-2012, 04:11 PM
jupiter7 jupiter7 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: West, TN
Posts: 1,974
Per the Speer #14 manual, they use the same load data for short barrels as they do for 5" barrels. Speer states that the Gold Dot Short barrel bullets were designed with a larger cavity to yield optimum terminal effects from short barrels. Of course, since there is no saami spec for +p 45, the velocities of the loads are around 850fps. FWIW, 231 is shown as the lowest performer. Blue dot, power pistol and hs-7 are the highest. Data for short barrel is only in 230gr weight. If velocity and weight are your goal, 200gr offers the best of both IMO. Most manufacturer data on 200gr bullets show higher FPE than 185 or 230. For me, Speer gold dot 200gr +p is carry ammo of choice.

Last edited by jupiter7; 09-03-2012 at 04:13 PM. Reason: Spelling
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-04-2012, 11:09 AM
Rick in Oregon Rick in Oregon is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 14
Powders for 3" .45

I've been using W231 for most of my .45 loading, and am considering some zippier loads using the Nosler 185gr JHP over Power Pistol in my Kimber 3" Ultra Carry.

Anyone have any experience using Power Pistol and the 185's in a 3 incher?

Edit: Sorry....this was OT and rude; I'll post properly elsewhere (sheepish red face.......).
__________________
NRA Life
Vietnam Veterans of America

Last edited by Rick in Oregon; 09-04-2012 at 04:08 PM. Reason: Rudeness
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 09-04-2012, 11:23 AM
moxie moxie is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 1,115
The 185, 200, and 230 grain bulets are the most common in .45acp, and all work fine in 3" barrels. Just pick a good load in your manual and start there. Don't worry about the barrel length until you've become very experienced, i.e., have many thousands of reloads made and downrange.
__________________
USAF Munitions 1969-1992
Vietnam 1972-1973
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 09-04-2012, 02:23 PM
TonyT TonyT is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Michigan
Posts: 580
I would stick to the faster powders which burned cleaner at the lower pressures of the 45ACP. I use VV N-310, American Select, and WST.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 09-05-2012, 06:47 PM
fcolins357 fcolins357 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Summerville, SC
Posts: 10
Thank you all! Lots of great input!
And a special thanks to "Nick A" Your post was quite informative and most helpful. No wonder you're listed as the senior member! YOU
I'm glad I don't have to go too crazy looking for special data for my little 3 inch "Pony"
I'm glad my original thinking of 200 gr. for my "Gal" was not misplaced! And searching for the right combination is probably why I like rolling my own!
Anyway, thanks again folks!
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 09-05-2012, 08:34 PM
RLH RLH is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 115
I worked the following load for my 3 inch Colt Defender. Remington 185 gr. Golden Sabre HP with 8 gr. of Unique powder. 7 shot string over the crony showed an average of 1005 FPS. Very good accuracy .
For many years I have used 185 gr. HP over 8.5 gr. of Unique in my 5 inch guns fitted with a 18 lb. recoil spring. I did not want to subject the Defender to the hotter load and stopped when I hit the 1000 fps mark.
In a recent NRA article that bullet at a velocity just under 1000 fps penetrated 17 inches into ballistic gelatin with a expansion factor of 1.5 or almost 70 cal. Should make a good defensive stopping load.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 09-06-2012, 12:42 AM
jfwest jfwest is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: North Texas
Age: 70
Posts: 1,773
Use Blue Dot....you would have a "flame thrower" as a back up.

Just joking!
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 09-07-2012, 10:23 PM
Wrightturn Wrightturn is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Florida
Posts: 391
short barrel

Don`t be surprised with variation from one gun to the next. It happens.
I own 8 barrels in 45acp. I can show 60 fps variation from two different Bar Sto
barrels that I have used for years. I can probably find a fast 3 inch that will get close to a slow 5 inch.
The info from Nick is reliable and repeatable.
I no longer own any 3 inch barrel guns. The velocity loss didn`t bother me. The reliability issue did.
I tested 45acp in 10 inch Contender and 10.5 inch Thompson SMG. From a 5 inch using 230 gr fmj and 5.3 gr Bullseye you gain about 60 fps with the long barrel. Going to slower powders did not produce any significant improvement.
I like Power Pistol but only with 200gr bullets in 45 acp. I also like it in 357 with 125 gr XTP bullets fired in a S&W 640. The 640 is a Florida compromise for hot weather. Power Pistol has a bit of flash. Get over it. I am getting over 1200 fps from a 2 inch barrel. I can rapidly fire a 5inch group at 15 ft.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 09-08-2012, 05:58 AM
WESHOOT2 WESHOOT2 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Vermont (Caspian country)
Age: 59
Posts: 15,233
whatcha mean?

Quote:
the most effective round for a 3" barrel .45 acp
After THIS is defined, THEN the answer will flow......


But just guessing that you mean for people-shooting, I most highly recommend a 230g modern JHP like an R-P Golden Saber in new sized cases ignited by a CCI300 over 5.0g W231 at an OAL of 1.225--1.260" based on specific bullet crimped to .469--.470".
Yeah.
__________________
'
"all my ammo is mostly-retired factory ammo"
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:44 PM.


NOTICE TO USERS OF THIS SITE: By continuing to use this site, you certify that you have read and agree to abide by the Legal Terms of Use. All information, data, text or other materials ("Content") posted to this site by any users are the sole responsibility of those users. 1911Forum does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity, or quality of such Content.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2011 1911Forum.com, LLC. All Rights Reserved