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Foxtrotx1

.45 load to stay competative with 9mm guns for steel match

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I started shooting at a local steel match. Targets are usually of the "just gotta ring it" or popper variety. I picked up a .45 1911 to compete in S.S.

I have noticed that most of the veteren shooters are using 9mm 1911s for S.S.

Is there a loading I could use (preferably with titegroup) that could narrow the gap with 9mm quite a bit? I'm just getting into reloading, I have been shooting full power factory till now.

If the answer is just shoot the .45 and improve, get 9mm eventually that works too, just wanted to check if there was a way to make life a bit easier during the match.

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The 45 is suboptimal for steel because it costs more and there is no power factor benefit. If you want to shoot 45 in steel use a light bullet with a mild charge of powder. Whatever is cheapest.

Cheapest, lightest bullet with a light charge of cheap powder. Say plated or coated 180s or 160s with Clays.  As long as the load has reasonable accuracy and cycles  the gun. 

Edited by ben b.

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Try 3.8 of plain Clays with a 180RN at 1.14...Hodgdon says 783fps...should be pretty soft.

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Some items to watch for is bullet shape and spring weight. My STI hates SWC shaped bullets, it jams like a $20 .25 auto. I would use a 185 grain coated round, and with a reduced recoil spring at about 10-12 pounds. This will allow light loads to function the slide correctly. Without the reduced power spring, it will be a single shot pistol.

 

With Titegroup, I would start at 5 grains, then work my way down to find a level that functions reliably. I'm thinking you can get as low as 4.6, but as usual, this is an opinion, and all reloading is your responsibility. There are certainly better powders for the .45, including Clays, WST, and 700X. These powders with reduce recoil even further. For some odd reason we .45 shooters are considered somewhat deranged in our choice of calibers at matches, but it certainly is my preferred caliber. I suppose my dinosaur age might be a contributing factor.

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4.2gr e3 under a 160gr Dardas snubby SWC will give you 144PF.  So will the same amount of Clays or Clay Dot.  155gr SWC are easier to find.  Penn bullets makes one that feeds reliably and is low speed stable.  4.9gr WST makes 129PF.  About 3.6-3.8gr e3, Clays or DC should do the same.  Can't help with TG.  I hate it so I don't use it.  

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Lightest bullet your gun will reliably feed with a low charge of soft powder and a light recoil spring. When you're trying for minimum recoil, bullet weight will make the most difference by far.

 

Stay away from powders that get ferociously dirty at low pressure like Bullseye. As zzt said above, E3 is a good choice.

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I like 3.8 GR of N310 under a coated 185 SWC or a Berrys 185 HBRN. You'll need to swap down to a 10-11 lb recoil spring. It's soft.

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factory 45 is pretty stout, but I have found that I shoot the same speed with my uspsa major 45 loads (230 gr RN) as I do with creampuff 9mm loads.

 

If i were going to do it all the time I would use 200 or 185 gr rn just to save a few cents on boolit costs.

Edited by motosapiens

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4.2 TG wtih a coated 180/185 was going around 750 FPS for me in an M&P.  Very nice load.  Very accurate.

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I don't have a "recipe" for TG but in general, there have been several barge loads of 185s at 750 fps or 200s at 710 fps shot at bullseyes.

I load powderpuffs for .45 Minor in IDPA ESP, but with Bullseye. 

You will likely need a softer recoil spring, 10-12 lbs. 

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4.9gr of Titegroup under a 155 SWC is very soft and accurate out of my H&K USP Expert.

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You will never get it on par with 9MM for steel. That said, maybe get some 200 grain bullets and load them in the 150PF range and it will probably be pretty nice.

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Are you actually looking to save money?

I shoot 230 with unique in my 1911 and have straight back push recoil. It is the most accurate load I found in my 71 colt. All pistols will like different loads and all shooters will like different loads. You need to find out how you want your 45 to react so you can control your follow up shot. Once you know what you want and what you expect it to do, then you can move to different bullet weights and powders to get to the wanted recoil and accuracy.  Even between different 1911's I find myself modifying loads to put the shot where I want it.

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On ‎9‎/‎2‎/‎2016 at 8:15 AM, mont1120 said:

Some items to watch for is bullet shape and spring weight. My STI hates SWC shaped bullets, it jams like a $20 .25 auto. I would use a 185 grain coated round, and with a reduced recoil spring at about 10-12 pounds. This will allow light loads to function the slide correctly. Without the reduced power spring, it will be a single shot pistol.

 

With Titegroup, I would start at 5 grains, then work my way down to find a level that functions reliably. I'm thinking you can get as low as 4.6, but as usual, this is an opinion, and all reloading is your responsibility. There are certainly better powders for the .45, including Clays, WST, and 700X. These powders with reduce recoil even further. For some odd reason we .45 shooters are considered somewhat deranged in our choice of calibers at matches, but it certainly is my preferred caliber. I suppose my dinosaur age might be a contributing factor.

On my Sig 1911, 4.3 of TG on a 230 would still make the brass fly and the gun would cycle perfect. For me there was just too much muzzle flash. Right now I'm working my way through Bullseye @4.8 and moving down. Want to see if I can get to maybe 4.2 and use a lighter spring. Anyway, for TG even with a 180 I'd probably start a little lower than 5 as it is some very potent powder.

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Missouri Bullet Company makes a h&g68 155 swc coated (actually weighs 152 +/-) loading it with 4.7 clays gives right at 800 f/s and 120 pf.  

Haven't tried Titegroup yet, but Titegroup usually takes about 10% more powder by weight.

Good bullet, accurate and recoil is equal to a 120 pf 9mm load.  

But with a 9mm you can get lower with a lighter bullet and keep velocity up so the steel rings quicker. 

The problem with a large case like the acp is as you get lower in pressure, the velocities get more erratic and spreads get larger.

I just shot a level II steel match with a 45 185 @ 650 f/s and though the steel rang slower than I liked I was 2nd in LTD to a GM with his cz 9mm. I liked the feel of the 1911 and with 10 shot mags had plenty of extra ammo!

 

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Thanks for all the tips guys. I settled on a 200 grain bullet over 4.5 grains of titegroup for the moment at 1.240 OAL. It's pretty flashy in the evening, which surprised me. Cases are very sooty, but the recoil is lighter than my polymer 9mm guns. 

I bought a chrono to test for velocity consistency. Any other tests i should do? 

I went to a 14 pound recoil spring in my Colt comp .45 and that seems to be just fine for these loads. 

Any downside to extremely sooty cases?

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Titegroup is sooty at any powerfactor. You will notice it takes a while to tumble the titegroup stain off theone side too. other than that, no harm.

 

I would chrono and shoot some for groups before loading a ton. I think you will find very little difference between the major and minor for steel. It is 85% mental. All that to say, never feel disadvantaged by shooting a 45. you can win that match with it!

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Thanks for the advice. I'm learning more and more that shooting skill trumps most other factors. I think the hardest thing starting out has been nerves shooting timed, in front of a group. The shakes were there at first. Scores are getting better though. I'll shoot this week and post some offhand groups with this load and the chrono results.

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I know this is a little old but a friend of mine was suggesting a 180gr. coated lead and an 8lb spring. Don't know powder or weight. But he said the 45 could feel like a 22lr... going to do some load workup. Wonder if I need to change sights as well...

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk

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One thing that I found odd in this thread is that everyone suggested the lighter bullet weights for this 45 shooter when we are constantly being people running the heaviest bullets for 9mm and 40 to make softer shooting ammo. A 200gr .45 bullet at around 650 fps is pretty soft. Pair that with a 10-11# recoil spring and it should be nice

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So I was able to get some research done.  For me it looks like I am going to go with a 180gr. PC Bullet and can keep the same powder drop as I use for my 225gr.  While the 225 with 3.8 of Clays gets me 170+ PF, the 180 should put me around 140PF.  Might be able to get a little lower, but have to start worrying about those far targets on Outer Limits and Speed Option.

 

Either way.  Should be fun to throw a nice big 45acp round down range on the steel. Hell, get it slow enough and you could watch it in flight...

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