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Thread: de-conflicting O.A.L. in .45ACP; how critical?

  1. #1
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    de-conflicting O.A.L. in .45ACP; how critical?

    Getting ready to reload my first batch of .45acp, and I'm surprised by the conflicting C.O.A.L. data for 230 gr RN FMJ. Not too sure what to use.

    Started set-up using the info from the little booklet in the Lee die set; 1.275"
    I did note the WWB 45A round I used for initial positioning is actually 1.267". Figured the eight thousandths difference wasn't that big & stuck to text. So I adjusted the Lee seater & Dillon crimper dies to make my dummy round 1.275. Dummy fed from the magazine with no problems in both my Firestar & stock gov't mdl 1911a1.

    Now I'm double-checking load data for my powder (WSF); and Hodgdon recommends a 1.200 COAL for the 230 gr FMJ RN. They cite the Sierra FMJ specifically, and I'm using Zero brand. (Since the COAL listed is specific to the bullet, the length wouldn't change for any other listed powder)

    Strip down the dummy & restart with 1.200" COAL as my goal?
    Load with the set-up as is?

    Isn't it generally better to have the longer COAL that can fit & feed reliably?
    Last century over 170 million people were murdered by their own governments, and your government doesn't want you to have a gun. Doesn't that bother you just a little?
    - Unknown

  2. #2
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    There's lots of variables involved, and everything you do changes something.

    Pushing the bullet deeper into the case will raise pressures, and increase velocity.

    On a target load, things are usually pretty mild to begin with and a small variable like a few thousandths of seating depth won't blow your gun up. The closer you get to maximum loads, the less room you have for error. A few thousandths can be a big mistake under those conditions.

    But the only way to truly be safe and trust that your load is safe is to get your load from a reputable source and stick to it EXACTLY.

    If your load data says to seat a specified bullet to a specified OAL over a specified weight of a specified powder, then that's what you do.

    If you chose to use one guys numbers and another guy's powder with somebody Else's bullet, you have just created your own load.

    Nothing wrong with creating your own load, but you need to have a good grip on what the variables are and start at the bottom and work up.

    Not a recommend thing to try with your first batch of reloads. Pick one singe recipe and stick to it..

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    The "sane & rational" approach; Sounds good. :-)

    I know I'll be making my own loads later for this cartridge; as I'll be going to Berry's plated for the next batch. Berry's load guidance is kinda like "Use somebody else's data for jacketed bullets; but don't go all the way."

    Edited to add: I have been loading for a few years; mostly for revolvers & lever guns. My semi-auto ammo reloading is pretty much limited to .30-06, 7.62x39 & 9x19. I haven't seen the data spread on OAL for those rounds as I have just recently for .45 ACP FMJ RN
    Last edited by Ray P; November 21st, 2010 at 05:00 PM. Reason: added last para
    Last century over 170 million people were murdered by their own governments, and your government doesn't want you to have a gun. Doesn't that bother you just a little?
    - Unknown

  4. #4
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    The loaded round must fit your chamber. 1.200" to 1.275" COL can work just fine. Some lead will even be shorter than 1.200" to fit the chamber. Start with a powder charge that is not maximum and work up using the COL you choose. Most reloading manuals have a starting load and maximum load listed. ..
    Last edited by 243winxb; November 21st, 2010 at 06:07 PM.

  5. #5
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    Some of the load data referencing OAL will be a minimum to never exceed for the pressure to be safe. Feel free to extend that out for best feeding. 1.260 is the normal ball length for most guns to feed well in my experience with 1911's.

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    Two different 230 gr bullets can have different overall lengths because of the different ogive of each bullet.

    Michael

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    Thank you all for the info. Decided to go with a COAL of 1.260". I made up 10 rounds each in 10th-grain increments using the Hodgdon WSF data; and I'll work my way through them to find the most accurate, lowest volume load(s) for the 1911a1 & M45.

    I'll post the results here, if anyone's interested.
    Last century over 170 million people were murdered by their own governments, and your government doesn't want you to have a gun. Doesn't that bother you just a little?
    - Unknown

  8. #8
    FWIW 1.260" is what I size my .45 ACP to.

    Please post back, I'm new to this and its good to read what others are doing.

  9. #9
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    Just checked my record book to be sure, my dies are set and almost never get changed. I load my home cast 230gr LRN at 1.265. They work great. You are on the right track, work your loads and watch for signs. Find the one that your guns likes the best. And of course, HAVE FUN doing it! BTW, I load most of my 45 with 5.0 gr HP-38. That seems to run the best in my 5" Colts. I load for my 3" Colts with 4.4 gr of Titegroup, it needs a little faster burn for a short barrel. When I am out for some flame throwing fun, I load up some 180gr with Power Pistol. You get a real nice big flash from a 3" especially late in the evening about dusk. Combine that with a heavy coating of Lee Alox, and you almost have a black powder experience. (Smoke, Fire, Flash and Bang) YEEHAW!

    "A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
    --George Washington

  10. #10
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    Will do, Freiheit

    Griz44; I do have plenty of 231 and titegroup; I'll try those when I get my Berry's plated 230s. I was surprised to see WSF as the only powder recommended by Hodgdon for 9x19 FMJ in 124 gr & 147 gr. So, after loading a bunch of 9x19, I thought I'd try it in .45acp too. I really don't expect it to be the magic powder for all my guns & loads, but I do love the way it meters. Even better than 231 :-)
    Last century over 170 million people were murdered by their own governments, and your government doesn't want you to have a gun. Doesn't that bother you just a little?
    - Unknown

  11. #11
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    Every pistol is a little different, but it seems the inside dimension of the magazine, front to back, is the limiting factor. Depending on the shape of the bullet's nose, .45 acp cartridges of 1.25" OAL will fit most magazines. Beyond that, you eventually reach a point where the bullet tips are dragging on the front of the magazine, NFG.

    Generally, the M1911 action prefers a longer round, too short rounds have trouble feeding up and into the chamber. The best approach is to use your magazine and your disassembled barrel as guides. The longest bullet that fits the mag w/o an drag and chambers correctly is the right OAL, i.e., the case after taper crimp sits flush or slightly below the hood. For me, that OAL number is 1.25". For the 9mm P, its 1.12". - CW
    Formerly with S4, 2nd Battle Group, 28th Infantry and 2nd Battalion, 21st Infantry, APO 29 NY NY

  12. #12
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    Some of the best fun in reloading is developing the results.. The 1.26 col worked well in both guns; no FTF/FTE. No pressure signs on the primers, and the best load for the 3.5 & 5 inch barrels were within 0.3 grains.

    Think I'll make 16 rds of each & doublecheck that 0.3 grain spread :-) That will use up the FMJ ball I have on hand, and it will be time to order the Berry's.
    Last century over 170 million people were murdered by their own governments, and your government doesn't want you to have a gun. Doesn't that bother you just a little?
    - Unknown

  13. #13
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    Just another reason to love the .45acp--being a low-pressure round, it is a very forgiving round for reloaders.
    BTW, the pictorial in post #4 is very useful.

  14. #14
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    COL is so confusing...

    Lee is referencing the SAAMI max COL (probably a case drawing and not the recommended COL that they should list with each load.
    The other manuals are referencing their MINIMUM COL. As long as your COL is equal or greater, you should be fine using their starting load and working up to maximum on your own, watching for ANY sign of pressure.
    You, the reloader, must determine the COL that works in your gun.
    Here is what Ramshot says:

    SPECIAL NOTE ON CARTRIDGE OVERALL LENGTH COL
    It is important to note that the SAAMI COL values are for the firearms and ammunition manufacturers industry and must
    be seen as a guideline only.
    The individual reloader is free to adjust this dimension to suit their particular firearm-component-weapon combination.
    This parameter is determined by various dimensions such as
    1) magazine length (space),
    2) freebore-lead dimensions of
    the barrel,
    3) ogive or profile of the projectile and
    4) position of cannelure or crimp groove.

    Always begin loading at the minimum "Start Load".
    Increase in 2% increments towards the Maximum Load.
    Watch for signs of excessive pressure.
    Never exceed the Maximum Load
    Next, what are you worried about? The shorter the COL for a given powder charge, the higher the pressure will be. You should always work to the longest COL you and your gun can function at and ensure that you have enough bullet tension that there will be no more than .0002" bullet set back when feeding and chambering. Never keep chambering the top round in a magazine on a gun you carry. Cycle that round to the bottom and be sure to check for bullet set back with any round that has been chambered more than twice.

  15. #15
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    Noylj; THAT was the info I was missing. I was using the pamphlet that came with the dies, and reading the cartridge drawing info as the minimum safe geometry. That didn't match the COL data I was seeing from factory cartridges and loading manuals.
    Last century over 170 million people were murdered by their own governments, and your government doesn't want you to have a gun. Doesn't that bother you just a little?
    - Unknown

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    They work great. You are on the right track, work your loads and watch for signs. Find the one that your guns likes the best. | Tree Cutting

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