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Limited Major long OAL vs short/less powder


Wiseguy724
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New to the 2011 platform, I now own a 5.4" barrel sight block Gun.

 

When I shot limited last year I loaded .40 major for my Tanfoglio (4.75" barrel) with - 4.1 gr of titegroup , 180 gr bayou bullet, 1.125" OAL

Most people seem to load 180 gr projectiles to 1.180 or 1.120 with a few grains more powder then an equivalent 1.125 OAL load. That being said there is one gm limited shooter in my area that sticks to 1.125 with VV N320 and says his gun prefers the shorter OAL.

 

I'm starting from scratch here, so looking for input on creating a new load.

My main questions are:

Does the reduced pressure from loading long translate to softer shooting, even though there is a larger charge of powder?

If my gun can run 1.125 just as well as 1.180+, is it still a better setup to load long to aim for those lower peak pressures?

I am also willing to try out a 200gr projectile if that may play into this topic.

 

I am moving away from titegroup and will now be playing with VV N310 and N320 powders, so please speak to those 2 if you can for the sake of argument, I know there are alternatives and I will entertain them down the road when I'm running reliably.

 

Made a quick search on this forum for n310 and n320 and made a sheet of peoples claimed loads for .40 major, interesting spread. Listed all stats that were included in the posts that I found.

 

vv powder chart.JPG

Edited by Wiseguy724
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You make major in Limited while well under max SAAMI pressures.  I started shooting Limited with a CZ TS.  1.126" OAL worked perfectly with any shape bullet.  When I bought a used 2011 gun it came with some rounds loaded to 1.180" @ 172 PF.   I shot them, and tried some of my old Limited loads.  Both fed perfectly and felt the same.  I have a lingering impression that round loaded to 1.140" and higher fed very slightly more smoothly in the 2011.

 

Your OAL will be determined by what feeds properly in your gun.  In my case, I kept loading to 1.126" so I could use them in both guns.  If I had only the 2011, I'd have gone to 1.140" for the very slightly smoother feeding.

 

I would not use N310 for your load because of its horrible temperature sensitivity.  N320 will make superb loads, as will Sport Pistol and e3 when you get around to trying them.  200gr bullets seemed to make the slide operate in slow motion.  I mainly used 180s, but did switch to 165s near the end because the sights came back quicker.

 

With N320 you are not pressure limited in 40sw, so there is no reason to load any longer than you have to.

 

FWIW, after testing most of the powders with burn rates faster than Unique, I settled on Alliant e3.  3.7gr under a 180 gave me 172 PF, single digit SDs and no temperature sensitivity.

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In my experience I would stay away from N310 for 40. 310 is a fast powder and wtih 40 being a higher pressure round I have seen case ruptures from the recipes of 40 and n310. 

N320 is a great load. 

 

For some of the 2011s longer OALs were sometimes related to feeding issues or magazine issues. I have had both in the past, one that liked longer OAL and one that would feed anything. 

 

I run 320 with 180 grn blue bullets and a 1.16 oal which feeds great in my gun. 171 PF

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The main reason to load long in STI-type frames is for reliability.  The mags are 10mm-length and the 1911 geometry is based around .45 ACP and .38 Super length ammo.  Older mags can be somewhat more variable and sensitive to ammo length than newer tubes.

 

Along the way people discovered they could load heavier bullets and use faster powders without overpressuring by loading long, so some people did that.  If you go way back 25 years ago in the forum there will be lots of threads on 'Clays' and .40' and how to not-blow-up your STI with that combination at 175 PF.

 

If those aren't a thing for you, then regular length is fine.

 

 

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Here are my tried and true loads using both powders mentioned. 

N310 1.20 oal, 4.8 gr FMJ bullets.. No signs of pressure what so ever.. I run this on my svi 5.4 sight tracker. Chrono at 170pf

 

N320 5.0 gr, oal 1.85.. FMJ bullets, Chrono at 168pf out of my atlas titan.. 

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Thanks everyone for the input so far

 

So far would it be correct to say that:

Loading long is a function of feeding reliability first, pressure 2nd?

The risks associated with higher burn speed of N310 is mitigated by going to 1.120 oal?

 

I don't mind temp sensitivity, we're going into summer in the south, it will be hot until november, surely I can burn through 4#'s by then if it's an issue.

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If you don't mind the price of VV, and can get plenty of it....

Load to 1.180, and use 4.8-5 gr of N320 under a 180gr bullet to get about 171 PF. 

(charge will obviously vary depending on projectile)

 

There's no point in putting any more thought into it unless you want to squeak pennies out of the powder selection. 

It's a solid load that will will serve you well, and will feed just fine in any well built 2011 (given a quality projectile is used).  Don't spend time and effort chasing "soft shooting", that load shoots plenty soft, and will never hinder your performance. 

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9 hours ago, Wiseguy724 said:

Thanks everyone for the input so far

 

So far would it be correct to say that:

Loading long is a function of feeding reliability first, pressure 2nd?

The risks associated with higher burn speed of N310 is mitigated by going to 1.120 oal?

 

I don't mind temp sensitivity, we're going into summer in the south, it will be hot until november, surely I can burn through 4#'s by then if it's an issue.

I think you meant 1.2oal, not 1.12 for n310

  

For what its worth, I use n320 5.0gr at 1.18oal under 180gr precision delta heads and see no reason to change.

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42 minutes ago, Mike21STI said:

I think you meant 1.2oal, not 1.12 for n310

  

For what its worth, I use n320 5.0gr at 1.18oal under 180gr precision delta heads and see no reason to change.

yup that is what I meant, typo. thanks for the data

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Often 2011 style pistols are more reliable with a longer OAL due to the magazine tube dimensions. As noted, longer OAL is not required to make major without pressure sign. 

 

In my experience, using a 180gr blue bullet I could get away with a really fast powder like N310 when loading at 1.2" OAL and it feels really soft, is extremely consistent shot to shot, no pressure sign, and is hardly impacted by temp, humidity or altitude. 

 

I would NOT load N310 at factory length and try to make major.

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I would not load N310 at any length to make major.  It is simply too fast to trust.  Bullet setback is a real possibility.  If it happens with a slower powder not near max SAAMI pressure you get a harder hit to your hand and a bigger boom.  When it happens with a really fast powder you risk a kaboom.  That is the reason so many will not use a powder faster than N320 or Sport Pistol for Limited major, especially if loading short.

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All of the above regarding longer COAL increasing feed-reliability holds true in the 1911/2011. I’d add that another benefit is slightly longer case life from the lower pressures associated with this. I especially noticed it in the tightness of the primer pockets. 

 

Regarding loads, my experience and that of others gives the following trend for load development using VVN320:

3.8-4.2gr with 200gr bullets for a Power Factor Range of 169-172 (lower charge weight for coated bullets) 

4.8-5.2gr with 180gr bullets for a power factor range of 169-172, same trend as above. 

 

YMMV

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  • 3 weeks later...

Youre looking at it from the wrong perspective.  Standarize on one mag / follower / bullet combination and then put black sharpie on feed ramp.  Run several rounds of ammo of various length through and find the length that lets the nose of the bullet hit the middle of the ramp.  That is your length.  Then figure out your powder charge.

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On 4/1/2020 at 6:12 AM, cheers623 said:

All of the above regarding longer COAL increasing feed-reliability holds true in the 1911/2011. I’d add that another benefit is slightly longer case life from the lower pressures associated with this. I especially noticed it in the tightness of the primer pockets. 

 

Regarding loads, my experience and that of others gives the following trend for load development using VVN320:

3.8-4.2gr with 200gr bullets for a Power Factor Range of 169-172 (lower charge weight for coated bullets) 

4.8-5.2gr with 180gr bullets for a power factor range of 169-172, same trend as above. 

 

YMMV

Yeppers. After a long talk with Beven, I load 1.175-1.18.  VV 320.  I also chatted with a multi national champ about 180 v 200.  I went with 200 Zero bullets. Very soft shooting. Very consistent PF.  As a side note; the former VV technical rep lives in AZ.  I relied on his expertise. I am just a duffer with high expectations. 

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15 hours ago, pjb45 said:

Yeppers. After a long talk with Beven, I load 1.175-1.18.  VV 320.  I also chatted with a multi national champ about 180 v 200.  I went with 200 Zero bullets. Very soft shooting. Very consistent PF.  As a side note; the former VV technical rep lives in AZ.  I relied on his expertise. I am just a duffer with high expectations. 

How many grains are you using behind the 200 grain zeros?   I have 500 of them sitting on my bench that I got to sample when my 180s are gone.  

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11 hours ago, Mike21STI said:

How many grains are you using behind the 200 grain zeros?   I have 500 of them sitting on my bench that I got to sample when my 180s are gone.  

4.36=165-166

4.5= 170-171

Nowlin Barrel.  My Kart SS barrel is about the same.  

The barrel can make or break the PF if you cut it too close to my recipe.

I use Federal primers.  I have not really notice any significant difference between small pistol, rifle, match primers.  Magnum maybe a slight increase in velocity.

At any given recipe, I will chrono up to a hundred rounds.  Before a major match I will re-chrono to verify the readings.

 

Range brass will probably give a larger Standard Deviation.  I had a bunch of once fired nickel brass from an LEO agency.  So my SD was quite small.  I measure velocity in groups of three then combined individual velocity in several groups of 8.  I am very comfortable with 4.36 here in the SW.

 

Edited by pjb45
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21 hours ago, pjb45 said:

4.36=165-166

4.5= 170-171

Nowlin Barrel.  My Kart SS barrel is about the same.  

The barrel can make or break the PF if you cut it too close to my recipe.

I use Federal primers.  I have not really notice any significant difference between small pistol, rifle, match primers.  Magnum maybe a slight increase in velocity.

At any given recipe, I will chrono up to a hundred rounds.  Before a major match I will re-chrono to verify the readings.

 

Range brass will probably give a larger Standard Deviation.  I had a bunch of once fired nickel brass from an LEO agency.  So my SD was quite small.  I measure velocity in groups of three then combined individual velocity in several groups of 8.  I am very comfortable with 4.36 here in the SW.

 

Awesome thanks.  I was looking for a starting point.  I'll start at 4.2 and work up to 4.6 by .1 increments and see where it lands to get me comfortably in major.

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