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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, this is where I start to lose confidence in manufacturer load data.
Take a look at the spread of max Unique powder loads between bullets. My notes on CPRN Berry’s is right in line with the LRN, right down to the clocked FPS , 5.8gr @849 fps.

Rifle me this Batman, if a 230 gr lead RN tops at 5.8 and a FMJ tops at 6.5, (both I cross referenced with the Lee manual) how do we get 7.3 gr for a copper plated? (Not in the manual to cross reference)

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
I just tested 3rds from my 5” 1911. (I probably tested in my Ruger 5.5” last time).

So here we go... 230gr CPRN Berry’s from a 5” barrel, Unique powder.

5.8gr @ 830 FPS = 352 lbs energy
6.5gr @ 921 FPS = 433 lbs energy
6.5gr @ 926 FPS = 438 lbs energy

For reference, military issue 230gr should be at 830 FPS, so those are hot.

I don’t think I’m going to be pushing the envelope with 7.3gr of powder. That’s approaching .45 Super territory. While my 1911 and Blackhawks might handle it, no sense in pushing the polymer guns that hard.
 

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I don't use unique for 45acp so i just checked a few of my books. All of the loads that were in the 7 grain range were for 185-200 grain bullets. I wonder if maybe that's a misprint? It does occasionally happen in loading books and have seen a correction or two posted on here over the years.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah, idk. It just seems like a lot. The energy in those 6.5’s are more than adequate. Haven’t decided on the load I’m going to use yet. I’d think military levels would be enough and make for faster follow up shots but idk. I’ve toyed with the idea of converting that 1911 into a 45 super but I fear one of my kids or wife might accidentally load them in a standard.45. I want to order some red reload boxes so they know to never use the red boxes. Need to do the same with hot 500 mags. One of those will ruin your day if you fire by accident.
 

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Load data.com shows loads for Speer 230 LRN and FMJ up to 7.0 grains Unique. I have not checked my load manuals yet until I get out to the shop. They were showing 959 fps with the Speer LRN. Personally I don’t use Unique in .45 ACP, I prefer Universal or CFE Pistol depending on the load, and I do not try to get a lot more velocity out of 230 gr pumpkin balls than around 850. When I want more velocity I use 185’s.
I would point out though, that with technological advances in bullets and powders, greater velocities are achievable without exceeding SAAMI pressures and the original GI load can be bested easily without overpressure. However, launching pumpkin balls at higher velocities may test the recoil system of the firearm even if the chamber is safe with reasonable pressures. Maybe a little more wear than normal, and possibly a stronger recoil spring might be good? If the gun is capable of +P loads, it should be fine. Again, personally, I prefer not to push 230’s more than about 850 fps. Possibly more knowledgeable folks in this regard might give better insight.
 

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Funny how the timing is on the post. I loaded 100 45 acp last night. 230 grain lead rn. I used 5grain of green dot. No need to hot rod them. For plinking.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Load data.com shows loads for Speer 230 LRN and FMJ up to 7.0 grains Unique.
See, my concern is that’s 1.2gr over max from the powder manufacturer for a LRN.

However, launching pumpkin balls at higher velocities may test the recoil system of the firearm even if the chamber is safe with reasonable pressures.
I’ve done a lot of reading since posting this last night and seen posts about permanent frame / guide rod deformities in some polymer guns pushing a 230gr anything past 1100 FPS. This is after 100rds or so.

Incidentally, I went to loaddata.com and looked at 45 Super loads to compare. Only two, 230gr loads exceeded the 925 FPS I’ve already achieved @6.5gr of Unique, none passed 1,000 FPS.

In a nutshell, case pressure discussion aside, 7.3gr would undoubtedly pass up the hottest 230gr .45 Super loads published on that sight.

Funny how the timing is on the post. I loaded 100 45 acp last night. 230 grain lead rn. I used 5grain of green dot. No need to hot rod them. For plinking.
For plinking, no. Much lower speeds will get the job done.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
6.2gr unique produced 910 FPS so somewhere between 6.2 and 6.5 there seems to be some diminishing returns as only 11 FPS and 16 FPS were gained at +0.3gr.

80 FPS was observed at +0.4gr between 5.8 and 6.2gr.

At some point there, between 6.2 and 6.5, we just start blowing powder out the end making it unpredictable. My battery indicator on the chrono came on before I could test more.

I will disclaimer this by saying I’m using a light crimp. A heavier crimp might make it more efficient at 6.5.
 

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Different manufacturers for bullets and powders publish different information. They all offer the same sage advice to start low and work your way up watching for pressure signs...
I took a look at a few of my load manuals just now and found none that suggested a max higher than 6.8 of Unique with any 230 grain bullet. It is notable that Sierra has loads as high as 7.6, but they are for revolvers only, and again you want to work your loads up carefully.
Bottom line, if you think a load sounds unsafe, avoid it.

The loads I mentioned in load data.com earlier sounded pretty warm to me, but I have been loading .45 ACP for...I am not sure how many years to be exact. My experience causes me to question some published load data at times, but even with experience, I always work up new loads carefully with ladder tests. I seldom find max loads listed to be preferred by me, with some exceptions.

BTW, I consider loaddata.com to be a second reference only, and should be used with utmost caution...just my opinion.:)

Regarding potential gun damage from “hyper velocity“ .45 ACP, that is why I mentioned it, but 1100 FPS with a 230 out of a semi-auto even sounds scary...actually foolish in my opinion.
 

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Load data is funny in the sense that it is scientific and repeatable but you introduce variables and your resuly may vary. Any reloading component manufacturer that prints load data has test procedures, test data, and documentation to prove the loads they printed were as advertised.

Without complex and expensive pressure measuring equipment there really is no way to know what pressures you are generating with any load. All we can do as home loaders is guestimate. You can look for high pressure signs and use velocity as a guide but they are idiot lights on the dash. You don't know exactly what you are getting until you go too far. Another guestimation tool you can use is QuickLOAD ballistic software. It estimates pressures with any given load.
 
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In my youth fast and light was what I looked for. A 125 gr hollow point in my 357 was what I felt was ideal for reliable bullet expansion. A 158gr hardcast SWC breaking the sound barrier wasn't too shabby either. I've heard a lot and read about the venerable 45 ACP from oldtimers.

Fast forward 40 years and I now carry factory 45 ammo. I always say I'm not convinced but if anyone gets shot by me I don't want to run the risk of some lawyer telling the ignorant jury of my peers that I was using customized ammo handloaded by me to cause maximum damage implying intent to kill.

My 45 range ammo is moderately loaded. Any time I feel the need for more velocity and power I have several 44 mags that will fit the bill.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Out of curiosity I fired two 6.5gr from my stainless Ruger Blackhawk 5.5” (strongest frame I have) produced 956 FPS. I then fired the same load using two large rifle primers, produced 1016 FPS or 527 lbs of energy.

For the record I would have only done that in that gun. There is 15,000 psi worth of headroom between the 6.5gr standard load and what the gun can handle.
 

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Maximum load data is the maximum load that the tester used in the test group during the testing for specific components in specific firearms... It is by no means infallible and in no way an absolute or accurate entity. It is quite simply a stop sign that says "Danger Zone".

On many occasions I have reached "Maximum" loads long before getting to Max in the published data. I nearly always get to accurate long before Max. In my memory, I have never found it necessary to exceed Max loads.

All bullets are not created equal. There's lead and there's alloys, some of which can be loaded up to jacketed speeds which would blow a pure lead bullet straight through the rifling. Jacketed bullets with a lead base behave differently than those with enclosed bases. Copper bullets (Barnes) require different loadings from those for lead core bullets of the same weight. Different jacketed bullets require different loadings depending on how much of the bullet is contacting the rifling. Seat depth and crimp are more variables. Various bullet coatings Molybdenum Disulfide (Moly), Tungsten Disulfide (WS2 or Danzac), and Hexagonal Boron Nitride (HBN or "White Graphite") all require different loadings for like bullet weights.

Essentially, a bullet is a barrel obstruction. Certainly different powders, and even to a lesser extent different lots of the same kind of powder will change the pressure.

All these things, and a multitude of others, are why competent reloaders are constantly preaching "Thou Shalt follow the Load Data exactly". Yes there are times when you can play around, but in the Max load Danger Zone is not on of them.

I will say that I believe that something shot with a 230 gr HP from a 45 ACP will not be able to definitively state the velocity within 500 fps. In fact I have seen the more dramatic effects at the lower velocities.

So, with all that said, I have encountered similar situations in which the load data just didn't make sense, .... to me. I stopped worrying about such things and decided that if I didn't understand it, then I wasn't going to attempt it...

Alan
 

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First, what are the variables in the load data?
1) bullet
2) COL
3) powder lot
4) primer brand and lot number
5) case brand/loading history
6) Different test facilities?
7) Different test dates?
8) Different test gun?

So, I use the lowest starting load I can find and work up, inspecting cases for signs of over pressure. Since I am usually after accuracy, I stop working up a load if groups start of spread out.
Next, a lot of reloading manuals down play the lead bullet loads and don't work them up to max pressure.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
First, what are the variables in the load data?
1) bullet
2) COL
3) powder lot
4) primer brand and lot number
5) case brand/loading history
6) Different test facilities?
7) Different test dates?
8) Different test gun?
Almost none of this applies in this situation. What does was specified above.
 
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