Newbie 45ACP bullseye load question

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Newbie 45ACP bullseye load question Empty Newbie 45ACP bullseye load question

Post by Hammbone on 1/19/2020, 9:38 am

I've been shooting for about 8yrs now. I've gone through the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Conventional Bullseye Pistol Qualification and qualified all the way up to expert.  I've been told I need to compete in an actual NRA bullseye competition. So, I bought a 1911 (SA RO) and I've been working on a load.  I'm not sure I'm there yet.  Here's what I'm working on. 

185gr SWC HP (Magnus), 3.9gr Bullseye, ~.470" crimp, 1.224"±.002 OAL, chrono's at 690fps.... it's basically this load: https://www.bullseyepistol.com/reloads.htm


However, this article says to launch the bullet at 730-780fps: https://www.bullseyepistol.com/getinto.htm

I'm getting "okay" results, I think.  I am not as good with this 1911 as I am with my .22, so I'm still learning and developing my skills.  But my question is; am I in the ballpark with my loads? Is my velocity too low?  Should I adjust my crimp? OAL? Powder charge?

Thanks,
Hammbone

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Post by mspingeld on 1/19/2020, 9:57 am

There are many more experienced than I am but I'll give it a try. First, I would recommend not relying on an OAL with that bullet and seat until the shoulder of the bullet shows over the case mouth by about 15 or 20 thousandths. About a thumbnail thickness. I crimp to .469 but I don't think that will make a huge difference and, with a lead bullet, going too tight will deform the bullet.

Load some 3.9, 4.0, 4.1, and 4.2 and bench rest, as carefully as you can, preferably at 50 yards if possible. Group size is king. And, once you find the optimal load for your pistol, consistency is important.

If that best group size is 3" or less, you're good for now. As you grow in the sport (meaning, as your obsession grows in the sport), you may consider bypassing the mortgage payments for a few months and investing(?) in a custom built bullseye pistol that's capable of sub 1-1/2" groups or, more reasonably, send out the range officer for a bit of loving tuning by one of the recommended gunsmiths on this forum and you'll be ready to win the nationals!

Hope this is helpful.

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Post by straybrit on 1/19/2020, 9:58 am

I'd try the crimp at .463 for that bullet. I get ~740fps with 3.6-3.7 g BE.

Check your mainspring weight as well - the standard one will give you issues with light loads (hey - it's there to take the kinetic energy of a full power ball round). What trigger weight have you got it set at? My RO was at about 8lb out of the box.

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Post by James Hensler on 1/19/2020, 10:20 am

I 2nd the .463 Crimp! 
I feel each Pistol likes different things! Test test test different powder charges and see what your gun likes!

Go to eBay and buy a recoil spring kit! Around 14 bucks 
I personally would lower the main spring as well. 
If you can’t do it or don’t know a good gunsmith I would look a one of KC’s drop in trigger kits
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Post by james r chapman on 1/19/2020, 11:47 am

Also, for the Winchester program you do NOT need to compete in an NRA event to qualify for Distinguished Expert, it’s just easier.
NRA event 2 scores of 258+ as I recall
Or 10 scores of 268(?) in non NRA competition.
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Post by 45ACP223 on 1/19/2020, 7:26 pm

Hammbone wrote:I've been shooting for about 8yrs now. I've gone through the Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Conventional Bullseye Pistol Qualification and qualified all the way up to expert.  I've been told I need to compete in an actual NRA bullseye competition. So, I bought a 1911 (SA RO) and I've been working on a load.  I'm not sure I'm there yet.  Here's what I'm working on. 

185gr SWC HP (Magnus), 3.9gr Bullseye, ~.470" crimp, 1.224"±.002 OAL, chrono's at 690fps.... it's basically this load: https://www.bullseyepistol.com/reloads.htm


Hammbone
A lot depends on your 1911 setup.   What weight are your recoil and main springs?  You may need to change to lower weight springs with a powder puff load, but your accuracy will improve.  What scope mount?  Frame and grip mounts should have no effect on your load, but a slide mount may require slightly more powder to cycle the slide for a given spring weight.  With a frame/grip mount and 11-12# spring, I've used as low as 3.4-3.5g bullseye powder with good accuracy and reliability.  I think 3.7-4.2gr. should work with a slide mount.  You should work up some different loads and see how it effects your accuracy and function.  To complicate things, some folks use different powder loads and/or bullets  for 50 and 25yds.
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Post by jglenn21 on 1/19/2020, 7:45 pm

I run 3.9 of BE with that load for the long line...I don't go all the way to .463 on that particular bullet but do go to a crimp of .468..
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Post by watercam on 1/20/2020, 8:01 am

Have you had a good pistolsmith look at your 1911 yet? Well worth the cost to have a pro determine what you might need in terms of upgrades to barrel/bushing, trigger, etc..

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Post by Tim:H11 on 1/20/2020, 8:34 am

I've had a couple Rang Officers before in the past. My first one I turned into a dedicated lower for a 22 conversion. My second one I used for Service Pistol until I legged out. Both never liked the 185 grain lead bullets for 50 yards much. They shot 185 grain jacketed stuff just fine however (for a factory gun). 

I used (and still use) a lot of 200 grain lead semi woodcutter bullets. I've casted my own, used Magnus, and used Summers Enterprises bullets and did well with all. My load for my personal wad gun is 3.5gr of BE with a 200gr LSWC for 25 yards and 4.0gr of BE for 50 yards. crimp is .469/.470 and I seat bullet leaving just a but of shoulder exposed. I use the thumb nail method as mspingeld mentioned above. 

Your load to me sounds a little light. Maybe a good 25 yard load or perhaps if your Range Officer was rebarreled or a new bushing installed it could shoot your load better. Not everyones guns will shoot the same ammo well. There will be variances between them. 

Check this thread out for more info to give you ideas on load recipes to try. 

https://www.bullseyeforum.net/t1209-pet-loads-of-top-shooters-loads-from-the-past
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Post by BE Mike on 1/20/2020, 9:09 am

The bullet is the primary factor in obtaining good accuracy at 50 yards. A velocity of around 760 fps is usually a good rule of thumb. As long as your load functions reliably, you need to test your load at 50 yards. If your groups are around 3 inches, you are good to go for now. I settled on the crimp you are using, with good results, after experimenting. I lost far more points to poor fundamentals than the lack of accuracy of my ammo. Make sure that your 1911 has a good trigger job.  Shootability is very important in a gun.
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Post by Kermit Workman on 1/20/2020, 7:42 pm

I think your velocity is a little low for that amount of powder. 4.2 g. of Bullseye with a 200 g. SWC is around 775 fps. Is the bullet .451 or .452? I would bench rest as best as I could but you should be in the ballpark.

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Post by Wobbley on 1/20/2020, 10:33 pm

Newbie 45ACP bullseye load question B1bc5f10This was 3.8 and it chronographed at 677 200 grain bullet.
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Post by BE Mike on 1/21/2020, 7:49 am

Wobbley wrote:Newbie 45ACP bullseye load question B1bc5f10This was 3.8 and it chronographed at 677 200 grain bullet.
Was that shot at 50 yards? Was it hand held off a rest or fired from a machine rest?
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Post by Wobbley on 1/21/2020, 10:42 am

25 yards off sandbags, iron sights.
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Post by sharkdoctor on 1/21/2020, 12:18 pm

45 cal 200gr semiwadcutter bullets have a BC of about 0.1 (+/-0.3) about that for a brick, and 22LR bullets aren't much better. Testing and common experience (certainly mine) show that pistol loads that shoot well enough at 25yds might not at 50yds.  The increase in group size is certainly not linear.  If you shoot at 50, you should test at 50.  A Ransom Rest is much better than hand held, whether at 25 or 50yds, although I know many don't have access to the latter, but we do the best we can.

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Post by Wobbley on 1/21/2020, 12:43 pm

I own a random rest.  The learning curve is pretty steep...
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Post by Hammbone on 1/21/2020, 1:17 pm

Everyone - Thanks for the all of the helpful replies.  I had a pretty full weekend and didn't get a chance to get online. Boy, it's great to see everyone reaching out trying to help. Man I love this sport!
 
I forgot to mention in my original post of the things I've already done to my RO:

  • 12lb recoil spring
  • 19lb main spring
  • Sear stoning with Brownell's sear jig (copy of Ed Brown's) - I got nervous on the secondary angle and didn't knock much off at all. Basically just broke the edge.
  • Stoned hammer hooks square and to .020" tall
  • Polished sides of sear and hammer
  • Polished trigger bow
  • Polished disconnector "foot" that contacts trigger bow
  • Installed 1.5lb reduction spring (stoned finger tip that contacts disconnector).

 
The trigger is MUCH better now, measures 3.5-3.7lbs, but could use some minor improvements on smoothness. I plan to purchase a trigger track stone and an after market adjustable pre-travel trigger (and over-travel) and fit it.  I'm also intrigued by the true-radius sear jig, but didn't want to drop that much cash for it.
 
Regarding loads: Obviously I have more work to do here. I also have a LOT of work to do on ME and my fundamentals. About a year ago I worked up some different loads and tested them subjectively based on group size.  I had a busy year with work, house projects, and kid activities that all things shooting took a back seat.  Being new to the gun and the 1911 platform, my fundamentals weren't as in-tune as they should've been, but I remember settling on the 3.9gr. At the time, the private in-door range I was using didn't let me set-up my chronograph, so I don't know what velocities I was getting. I had loads ranging from 3.5 - 4.3gr in 0.1gr incements.  Since then, I joined a club and used my chrono on the 3.9gr loads I had worked up.
Based on everyone's recent feedback, I went back to the reloading bench yesterday and loaded up 8 different varieties. Now, I need to get back to the range with the chrono and test.  Also, the feedback has me contemplating getting my hands on some swaged 200gr SWC's.
Last thought, thinking out loud - I know the "go-to" powder for .45ACP Bullseye Shooting is "Bullseye". But I found a sweet load for my 9mm using HP38 and it seems to be cleaner than Bullseye. I also have some Vihtavuori N320 and N340 - it's super clean burning in the 9mm but not as accurate as HP38... just wondering about performance of these powders in 45ACP.  But I also know there are decades of excellent results with BE powder, so if it ain't broke... (That's why I'm starting with BE).


Again - Thank you all!


Scott

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Post by Kermit Workman on 1/21/2020, 2:10 pm

The HP38 is the same powder as WW231 just different packaging. HP38 is an excellent for the .45 ACP. I have found that there is about a 10%(more) weight difference between BE and WW231.( 3.9 BE plus 10% .4g= 4.3g) So a load of 4.3 of HP38 should be in the ballpark of 3.9 of BE.
 The go to powder of the VV line is 310 but some people use 320. There are several powders that work well in the .45 acp. BE, VV310, 700X, Clays, WST and others.
 I am not familiar with your bullet but Magnus makes an excellent product. I think the old H&G 69 or 68 are the most popular and best feeding bullet for BE competition. There are others like the Nozler 185 HP, 185 SWC and a 215g. LSWC.
 I think you are approaching the sport correctly. Get a load that is accurate so you can take the gun out of the equation and concentrate on the shooter.

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Post by Ray Dash on 1/21/2020, 4:48 pm

I am testing some 231 with 185gr SWC and I am up to 5.0-5.1gr. I have tried 4.6gr to 4.9gr and they would not cycle unless I dropped to a 11lb recoil spring.  I figure once i add a slide mounted optic i will have to drop even lower on the spring.
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