Reloading .45 SWC

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Reloading .45 SWC

Post by hellsreach on Wed Mar 07, 2012 3:18 pm

Having just picked up my first 1911 that I'm converting to a wad gun for bullseye, and wanted to also work up a handload for it. It seems like many folks here go for a 200 gr. SWC. Ok, sounds good. My question in about the bullets. Does everyone end up shooting lead (cast or swaged) or does anyone shoot plated or jacketed (I guess, in theory, you could have a fully jacketed or at least a jacketed soft point, though I've never seen them).

The advantage of casting is cost, of course, and as long as you are meticulous about weighing your bullets, you can pretty much make sure to avoid poorly cast (bubbles/voids) bullets. And I also understand that lead will often tend to be more accurate over the short distances involved in bullseye, but...

I shoot at an indoor range and they do not allow unjacketed/unplated lead bullets unless they are 22s or a bullet that simply doesn't come in jackets (like .45 Colt), and they do check. I'd have to either have a set of jacketed bullets on hand for them to check, while secretly shooting the lead SWCs -- which is not ideal as I don't like breaking the rules if I don't have to, or could I use a nice soft plated SWC (like Berry's or Rainier) without sacrificing accuracy or reliability?

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Re: Reloading .45 SWC

Post by BE Mike on Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:38 pm

I didn't have any luck with accuracy shooting Rainier plated bullets in .45 ACP many years ago. I was strictly shooting outdoor then. Maybe Rainier or Berry's plated bullets would work for 50', but my gun didn't like them for 50 yds.

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Re: Reloading .45 SWC

Post by AllAces on Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:34 pm

I've tried Berry's plated bullets, both SWC and round nose. Neither would group as well as 200 gr LSWC match grade bullets from Penn Bullets.

Some BE shooters will swear by Zero Bullets and others.

I was able to get a 20 or so bullets of different types from other BE shooters and tried different powders and loads.

The 200 gr LSWC Penn bullets gave the best group in my pistol. Other guns will get different results.

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Re: Reloading .45 SWC

Post by DavidR on Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:20 pm

Rainer and berry are junk when it comes to accuracy, if you want a accurate jacketed bullet, try the nosler 185 fmj-hp or the copy of it made by zero. The main reason why most shoot lead bullets will be apparent once you see the price difference of the two.

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Re: Reloading .45 SWC

Post by gulliver62 on Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:03 pm

There is a discussion of accuracy but you mention that in this particular case you are shooting at an indoor range.
I am guessing that at most you are shooting at 25yd. So, while I agree that these bullest are not as accurate as other choices I believe you can find a load with them that will be satisfactory at this distance.

You are currently a Marksman working your way up and having been there I can say that the accuracy of your load is not what is giving you problems now, especially at 25 yd. Work up a reasonable load and once you get to the point where you never shoot one out of the 8 ring think about change.

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Re: Reloading .45 SWC

Post by Joe Fobes on Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:27 pm

While some people say you can load rocks and clean targets at 25 yards, I have yet to try that or see it done! And as far as price goes Zero 185 g SWCHP .101 each vs. 185 g JHP .135 each. For a total cost difference of $4.80 for a 2700 match. (if you are shooting JHP at the long line already and are now going to shoot them at 25 yds)

Minimal difference and you do not have to change your loading setup, only the powder charge if you choose. I have a few thousand of the 185g SWCHP so I am using them at 50' and 25 yards. When those are gone I may just switch to all JHP and call it good.

For hellsreach it seems you do not have an option unless you want to risk loosing your shooting privileges. Anything will be accurate enough for 50' or 25 yards indoors. I am willing to bet even the Berrys will work.

There are guys using these in USPSA at short distance with high pressure loads and getting on target.

If you want to get the most out of your trigger time, dry fire a lot! Save the bullets for when you need them.


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Re: Reloading .45 SWC

Post by noylj on Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:58 pm

The accurate bullets I have found are:
Nosler 185gn JHP
Montana Gold 185gn JHP
Montana Gold 200gn JFP
RCBS 452-201-KT L-SWCs cast with wheel weights
H&G #68 cast with wheel weights
mastercastbullets.com 200gn L-SWC
Precision Bullets 200gn swaged moly-koted 200gn L-SWC
Most any well-cast H&G #68 clone 200gn L-SWC

Plated and jacketed SWCs have been stunningly inaccurate.
Plated bullets of any breed have been stunningly inaccurate.
I am currently testing Zero and Precision Delta 185gn swaged L-SWCHPs and 200gn swaged L-SWCs.
Your results may be very different.

Re: cast bullets
I have seen NO effect on accuracy of a poorly cast bullet out to 35 yards as long as the base is fully formed. The idea of weighing and sorting bullets even for the 50 yard line is about the same as weighing and sorting brass for the 50 yard line. The best you get is 0.1-0.2" smaller groups and that just isn't worth it until the groups are sub-1" with regularity...

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Re: Reloading .45 SWC

Post by Bryan Coyle on Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:06 am

Re: plated bullets for BE ...
There are guys using these in USPSA at short distance with high pressure loads and getting on target.
You've seen the size of the center mass "A" zone on a USPSA target, right?
/B

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Re: Reloading .45 SWC

Post by noylj on Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:46 pm

I do not understand the limiting of lead bullets at an indoor range and then allowing .22s or .45LCs. Ventilation would be of much more worth. Really would like to see some results of air analysis and actual medical impact. Of course, given the way people like to sue, I’m just happy to still be able to shoot, indoors or out.

I started shooting about 45 years ago. Got into casting my own bullets and only shooting in indoor ranges. 25 years ago my blood lead level was 6. Today, my blood level is 6. During that time, I must have fired well in excess of 10000 rounds/year and probably more—all indoors, all lead, and not all at ranges with excellent ventilation.
Rant over.


Will they permit moly-koted bullets? Precision Bullets makes an EXCELLENT 200gn L-SWC, all completely coated. You can also look into Bear Creek, Bayou, and Billy’s Bullets for moly-koted bullets.

You can certainly try the plated bullets, but they cost the same (or, at best, nearly the same) as Montana Gold or Zero. Montana Gold, unlike Zero, are almost always available and currently run $333/2300 for 185gn JHP and $331/2300 for 200gn JFP. You could see if you can get a 100 bullet sample of each to try. Then, I would order three or more cases. The prices are not going to be going down any time soon and REAL inflation is knocking on the door.


Follow up to previous post:

Have tested a bunch of the Zero 185gn L-SWCHPs. That is one good sized hollow cavity.
Rather impressed with the lack of leading for the minimal lube on the bullets. Disappointed in the accuracy at 25 yards. 3.8gn AA2 and 4.0gn Solo 1000 look promising, with 4.3gn WST being almost as good. Their 200gn L-SWC seems to be more consistently accurate over a range of powders and charge weights. For those who worry about aesthetics, I saw hardly any smoke

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