.45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

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Grayling813
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.45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#1

Post by Grayling813 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:10 pm

Purchased my first 1911 pistol in .45ACP this week.
Already have dies that were part of the reloading equipment I bought and have been gifted a gallon size bag of brass. Some of the brass has small primer pockets, so I'm good on primers and powder to start reloading those.

Question 1: best bullet type/grain for range/practice? Is the .45 like 9mm where you can use lesser grain ammo for range/practice?

Question 2: best bullet type/grain for self defense loads?

Question 3: is there any real difference in which powder to use in range vs defense loads?


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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#2

Post by flechero » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:21 pm

Grayling813 wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:10 pm
Purchased my first 1911 pistol in .45ACP this week.
Congratulations!!! :cheers2:

You can use 185, 200 or 230 gr for range... price isn't always cheaper for lighter weight, due to popularity of certain projectiles.

A few of my favorites are 200gr. RNF or SWC (coated lead) by precision bullets, 185 RNF (plated) by RMR and 230gr RN or HP (plated) by Xtreme. I don't shoot any FMJ because in 45acp, I gain nothing for my shooting. I also load (or have loaded) Gold Dot and XTP in all weights. Both are potentially awesome for SD, ranch loads and some hunting applications depending on your work up, many others as well.

Powders will depend on what bullet and what purpose you have for a particular round... for example, I love Clays for range use in 185gr and 200gr... it's a fast powder that is accurate, burns very clean and provides a soft recoil impulse at range velocities. (and is pretty cheap as a bonus!) It's not suited for SD or high powered loads though as it pressure spikes at the high end. VV N-310 better than Clays on attributes (and meters better) but a bit pricey. W231 or HP38 is a very versatile powder that gets you into higher velocities and is awesome with 230 gr range ammo. Any of the VV powders are exceptional. There are many others but without some guidance from you , we'd just be guessing.

What powders do you have on hand (lots of crossover in pistol/shotgun powders) and what load types do you have in mind?

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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#3

Post by ghostrider » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:04 am

Purchased my first 1911 pistol in .45ACP this week.
welcome to the club. It won't be your last 1911 :-)

Question 1: best bullet type/grain for range/practice? Is the .45 like 9mm where you can use lesser grain ammo for range/practice?
If you are going to use it for self-defence, I would recommend the same bullet weight for range practice.
Question 2: best bullet type/grain for self defense loads?
JHP of some type
weight is more of a personal preference - I prefer 230gr for a fullsize 45acp 1911.

Question 3: is there any real difference in which powder to use in range vs defense loads?
If you are talking powder choices for handloading range vs self-defence loads, then yes and no. Some powders are a better choice for low recoil practice loads vs higher performance loads for self-defence (or duplicating factory loads). For 45ACP I use green dot and power pistol. 45acp is an easy cartridge to load and there are many powders available that are suitable.
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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#4

Post by AndyC » Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:56 am

Grayling813 wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:10 pm
Some of the brass has small primer pockets, so I'm good on primers and powder to start reloading those.
.45 ACP is normally large primer. Just note that what you have there is brass designed to use NT (Non Toxic) primers, the compound of which is more powerful so they had to make them small.
Grayling813 wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:10 pm
Question 1: best bullet type/grain for range/practice? Is the .45 like 9mm where you can use lesser grain ammo for range/practice?
Question 2: best bullet type/grain for self defense loads?
Question 3: is there any real difference in which powder to use in range vs defense loads?
Best bullet/powder - it's all largely a matter of personal choice, so you choose what works best for you in your pistol; obviously it needs to be reliable. For SD I like any one of a small variety of the available hollow-points - for the range I typically shoot a 200gr SWC or a 230gr RN. Standard bullet weights in the .45acp run from 185 to 230gr, but you can find bullets outside of those weights.

I'd suggest starting with regular 230gr RN (for feeding reliability) and fine-tune that load with whatever powder you prefer before moving to more exotic things - it'll give you less to troubleshoot should things not work.
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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#5

Post by kayt00 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:36 am

Fairly new to reloading myself (about a year and a half in) but I've grown pretty fond of Berrys' bullets and Hornady XTP's. As far as powder is concerned I haven't found one that I've used for .45 that didn't do the job but have become partial to Win231 but have used Universal (a little on the dirty side) and a couple others. At the end of the day just put something together and shoot it, you'll come across a "pet load" in no time.
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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#6

Post by Grayling813 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:57 am

flechero wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:21 pm
What powders do you have on hand (lots of crossover in pistol/shotgun powders) and what load types do you have in mind?
Powders on hand:
Alliant Bullseye
Western 2230
Hodgdon Benchmark
IMR 4895


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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#7

Post by Streetwalker » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:38 am

I load and shoot a lot of .45 ACP. I also cast my own bullets. For range use and even in my club's defensive pistol matches I like a good 200 gr SWC bullet.

Right now I'm hooked on the RCBS 201 KT, it actually drops at 210 grs but it's an awesome bullet. Similar to the H&G 68 but with a bit of a wider nose.

I'm currently using 3.8 gr of IMR Red, NOT Red Dot, IMR Red. This produces a very nice load. It's soft shooting and dead nuts accurate. I always have 400-800 of these loaded up and ready to go.

If I was going to load my own SD loads I'd go with the Speer 230 gr Gold Dot and use Power Pistol to load them to just under +p. The Speer loaded ammo pushes this bullet to 890 fps. That's a pretty stout load for a 230 gr bullet.

I still prefer to use factory ammo for SD uses. I have a Lyman Devastator mold for the .45 ACP, as well as three to four other hollow point molds for .45 ACP. I could load any of those for SD uses if I had too.


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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#8

Post by Streetwalker » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:40 am

Grayling813 wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:57 am
flechero wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:21 pm
What powders do you have on hand (lots of crossover in pistol/shotgun powders) and what load types do you have in mind?
Powders on hand:
Alliant Bullseye
Western 2230
Hodgdon Benchmark
IMR 4895
Well, you've only really got one choice there for loading .45 ACP. Bullseye.


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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#9

Post by flechero » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:44 am

Bullseye is a versatile, fast powder suitable for a wide range of loads... the only downside is that it can be pretty dirty in light target loads. But that's not an issue if you clean and care for your gun on occasion! :lol: There is load data for 185-230gr bullets, readily available.

I've run it as low as 3.4gr in a 200gr. coated lead bullet, with great results.
Attachments
3.4 gr. Bullseye 200 gr RNF.JPG


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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#10

Post by WTR » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:45 am

My Star press uses 4 grs of Bullseye. I use it to push with 185 or 200 gr SWC bullets.

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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#11

Post by Lena » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:37 pm

Glad to see another STAR user few these days I bought mine NEW and still use it.
4 gr BE will shoot in about anything well
BE and 700X are my main powders and have been the STAR meters them perfectly.
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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#12

Post by Grayling813 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:40 pm

Thanks for all the great info.

After thinking about it...for SD I'll stick to factory loads.

Is there any difference between using a 230gr RN plated vs fmj?


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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#13

Post by flechero » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:37 pm

Grayling813 wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:40 pm
Is there any difference between using a 230gr RN plated vs fmj?
There are some differences....

The base of a FMJ is exposed lead and the jacket is much thicker & tougher... load data is also a bit different. FMJ is generally a little more consistent & accurate if you (and your gun) are capable of telling. Cost is generally higher.

Plated requires a little more care in seating the bullet so you don't cut or wrinkle it. (a very minor adjustment to belling or flare) Usually cheaper than FMJ. I like it for steel as it doesn't leave sharp jacket shards on my home range. Plating completely surrounds the bullet and is suitable in a lead free or lead safe range... until it hits a steel plate and then there is lead everywhere! :lol:

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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#14

Post by Lena » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:46 pm

reload shoot 3-4 times more for the same price, we are loading under 3.00 a box easy with cast bullets, 45 is one of the easiest to load there is, use your Bullseye and just do it bout 4gr +-… Tomorrow's plans are loading 500 45's, and some 9mm also. 300+. If you cast and get free metal under $2.00 box easy

Self defense 100% factory ammo, also considering the legal aspect there possible
45= Gold dot or Ranger T my choices but any of the newer loads should be good, I know those 2 work.
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Re: .45 ACP bullets for range and self defense

#15

Post by 03Lightningrocks » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:00 pm

Do you folks have to trim your cases very often and after how many reloads? Back when I first started reloading years ago, I was always intimidated by possible feeding issues from cases not trimmed properly. Now I read several people talking of how easy the 45 is to reload.

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