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Advice on 45 Load Optimization

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Post by lanjo Fri Nov 12, 2021 11:00 pm

Hi All,

I am going to try to find the most accurate bullet for my 45 bullseye pistol. Can you guys give me advice on how to logically approach this?  Are thier factors which play the most important roles in an accurate load for a given pistol....like the bullet. And then factors which have little, but some impact, i.e. crimp?

This is my thinking

Start with 4.0 gr bullseye - Load 185 swcjhp, 200 gr swc, 185 jhp from Roze  - Any other bullets that can be suggested?
Find best bullet
Change the powder and try 231, N310, bullseye, tightgroup
Find best powder
Once best powder is found play with the charge strength - try a few different gr loads
Find the best load
Next play with OAL and crimp

Any advice?

Best,

Joe

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Post by noylj Sat Nov 13, 2021 12:11 am

First, Zero 200 gn L-SWC and Nosler or Zero 185 gn JHP
Second, Bullseye and 231/HP38 (same powder).
Seat COL for lead bullet so case head is flush with barrel hood. Jacketed bullets may need different COL but will usually be most accurate at the longest CO L that feeds and chambers.
Bullseye: 185gn JHP/3.5-4.5gn, 200gn L-SWC/3.2-4.2gn
231/HP38: 185gn JHP/4.8-5.4gn, 200gn L-SWC/4.4-4.6gn 231/HP38
If you can't get needed accuracy from that, you'll never get there.
Optimum would mean testing all appropriate bullets and powders

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Post by Wobbley Sat Nov 13, 2021 12:41 am

Advice on 45 Load Optimization Aeba1e10
This target will indicate that you’re wasting your time.  The gun in question is a S&W 745.  The ammo was two different powders, 452AA and Bullseye and was leftovers from a chronograph session.  The “flyers” were called during the session. The shooting was rested hand held and was at 25 yards fired slow fire.  The charges were 3.8, 4.0 and 4.2 grains of powder.  All charges of one powder were fired at the same target.  As you can see the actual charge weight isn’t particularly  critical.  The bullets are critical.  The powder type is a bit less critical.  What is far more critical is your gun and your skill level.  

For bullets I suggest sticking with these makers:
Brazos
Missouri
Magnus
Zero
Lasercast.

Shoot 200 gr SWC, 180 SWC, 185 SWCHP, 185 JHP.
Load Bullseye (4.0), WST (4.2), Titegroup (4.2) 
Primers —CCI or Winchester.
Brass-mixed is ok for 25 all one make for 50.

If you have them you can try 700X (3.8 gr) Accurate No 2 , or Red Dot ; but don’t buy them for this. 

ONE of the loads with almost any of those bullets will shoot the X ring out of the 25 yard target.  If it won’t hold the XRing you need to fix the gun.  Then load thousands of rounds and go train; NOT practice.  

I recommend Brazos bullets.  Those were the ones shot in the picture.
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Post by Jwhelan939 Sat Nov 13, 2021 9:32 am

45 is so forgiving. I played with dozens of bullets and loads and the difference was minimum. Funny, you mention crimp as something with little effect, but I found that to be one of the most important variations between guns. Most of my guns like a crimp that is heavier than most books recommend. In the 463 area. Others prefer the 470 range.

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Post by BE Mike Sat Nov 13, 2021 9:56 am

Here are my suggestions:
1. Make sure your gun is accurate and reliable.
2. Shoot the loads the big boys shoot.
3. As far as accuracy goes, 25 yards ain't 50 yards.
4. Once you find an accurate load, stick with it and train, train, train.
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Post by Jack H Sat Nov 13, 2021 12:10 pm

This is Roddy's Ransom test target of my HB gun he built.  Load was Roddy's version of the "Marine Load".  Nosler JHP (old style), N310, new Starline. 
Advice on 45 Load Optimization Nosler-Test
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Post by James Hensler Sat Nov 13, 2021 1:30 pm

Sir we all want to help but it really is a trial and error method that works the best.
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Post by james r chapman Sat Nov 13, 2021 5:11 pm

Any advice?

Dry fire more.
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Post by shanneba Sun Nov 14, 2021 7:45 am

lanjo wrote:Hi All,

I am going to try to find the most accurate bullet for my 45 bullseye pistol. Can you guys give me advice on how to logically approach this?  Are thier factors which play the most important roles in an accurate load for a given pistol....like the bullet. And then factors which have little, but some impact, i.e. crimp?

Any advice?

Best,

Joe

~90% of the accuracy will come from the bullet.
~10% from the powder, primer and case

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Post by CR10X Sun Nov 14, 2021 8:20 am

Grouping (Accuracy) potential of a given load:
80 % percent from the barrel / gun.
20 % from the load (which, as stated above, is probably 80 - 90 % bullet and 20 - 10% for the rest).

Usefulness (Precision) of placement of any loads: 
100% from the shooter.

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Post by lanjo Sun Nov 14, 2021 10:45 am

Thanks everyone for the advice.  As always it is helpful....

One more question regarding bullet choice.  Has anyone seen differences in the performance of a common bullet from different manufactures?  For example I see the 200 gr lead SWC offered from several major bullet companies.  Are there significant differences?  Just trying to choose a small collections as a starting point.  Here is what I was thinking for the collection of bullets based on Wobbely's advice.

Brazos 180 gr lead SWC Hi-Tek
Missouri 185 gr lead SWC button
Missouri 185 gr lead SWC button Hi-Tek
Zero 185 gr lead SWC
Zero 185 gr lead hollow point SWC
Zero 200 gr lead SWC
Zero 185 gr JHP

Are there any bullets (weights or styles) that would be different enough to warrant adding to the test?

I see that Hornady has the HAP and XTP bullet styles.  I just don't see the benefits for the cost for Hornady.  They make great hunting bullets, but not sure that cost is worth it for bullseye.

Best,

Joe

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Post by chiz1180 Sun Nov 14, 2021 11:01 am

Personally I just picked a bullet profile that has availability at a price point I liked then bought a bunch. 

In your list the two big differences are lead (Brazos, Missouri and the Zero swc) and the Zero JHP. In this particular case, do you have enough reasons to warrant shooting jacketed (e.g. potential range restrictions)?

In terms of lead, you have swaged bullets (Zero's) and hard cast (the others) as well as coated vs traditional wax lube. Again personal preference. Quality lead bullets will shoot well, just may need some slight tweaks if you switch from one manufacture to another.
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Post by james r chapman Sun Nov 14, 2021 11:36 am

Among 200 gr lead swc bullets
The preference seems to be flat base over bevel base.
But both hav shot great scores.
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Post by lanjo Sun Nov 14, 2021 2:25 pm

I am trying the JHP just to be thorough. The cost is not that much more for JHP.  Zero has 1000 lead for ~ $100, and 1000 JHP for 130. Not a huge difference, but the cost might not be worth it depending on the benefit (if any). Availability is an issue with JHP.  I have 1000 JHP on back order with Zero for almost a year now, whereas the lead has been coming through. Also, when my gun was built they ransom rested it with JHP to determine accuracy.  I asked them to test 200 gr swc as well, and it shot a bigger group.  That was a number of years ago now, and several modifications to the gun were made since then (acc-u-rails).  So I just don't know what will be best now.  Many of the sponsored guys at a range I compete at swear by the JHP on the long line.  They say everything is the same on the short line.  But they get free match grade ammo and range fees covered, so I guess they can shoot the premium stuff even if there is only a slight benefit.

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Post by james r chapman Sun Nov 14, 2021 2:47 pm

You’ve answered a lot of your own questions.

If lead is available, shoot lead.

Many former champions cast their own lead bullets.
160/180/185/200 lead have all shot well if loaded correctly.
Overthinking this will give you migraines
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Post by lanjo Sun Nov 14, 2021 3:03 pm

IN the end it might not be worth the effort.  I think it was worth it for my M41.  Some ammo it did not like at all (SK, low end Lapua), where as others it did. Some ammos were equivalent and only varied by price.  CCI SV is about the same as Eley 10X in my gun, but Eley 10X does not have fliers.  If I were really good, and were shooting for a living I would choose 10X. But where I am at CCI SV is fine. Just want to be sure I am not using a load in my 45 that is an outlier.  Peace of mind I guess....

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Post by zanemoseley Sun Nov 14, 2021 3:37 pm

Trying to compare a finicky M41 with rimfire ammo and getting a 45 to shoot is a whole different animal. I would start with a quality cast 180/185 SWC with WST or BE powder and go from there.

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Post by troystaten Sun Nov 14, 2021 4:46 pm

I have been really happy with Bayou Bullets 185 grain coated lead swc on top of 3.7-3.8 grains of bullseye with a .465crimp.  Of course your results may vary.

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Post by 10sandxs Sun Nov 14, 2021 7:38 pm

As jim said, The 45 is forgiving, overthinking it will make your head hurt.  if your shooting hi expert/master and want to improve your x count, shoot jhp. If your trying to make expert/master save some pennies and shoot lead. I've gone to coated bullets exclusively. Much cleaner and accuracy is equal to lubed bullets, period.

That said, I do shoot jhp for the long line for "important" matches...

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Post by RodJ Sun Nov 14, 2021 7:44 pm

Just a thought, I think Brazos, and others, offer sample packs.  Stay with one brand, different weights and styles, then load 100 of each at different powder weights.  Shoot at 50 yards sand bagged.  Stare at them till your eyeballs cross, then pick a load and go.

For me, I decided I need to pick one load that is commonly recommended and stick with it… chase training and not think about loads.  I can’t shoot consistently well enough to tell any difference, so it’s one less thing in my brain.  You shooting expert, it may make more sense to experiment with loads.

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Post by Robuc Sun Nov 14, 2021 8:01 pm

Any reviews or thoughts of Summers bullets, cast or HiTek?

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Post by Olde Pilot Sun Nov 14, 2021 8:20 pm

Summers are excellent. Great guy.

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Post by lanjo Sun Nov 14, 2021 9:16 pm

I am right on the edge of hitting master.  Shooting north of 2500.  So I am now trying to catch as many points from as many areas as I can.  I am thinking that if I spend some time optimizing a 45 and a 38 load over the winter, like I did for the 22, I might pick up 10 or 20 points.  That is were I am at... trying to find 10 to 20 points here and there so I can hit 2565 next year.

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Post by Wobbley Sun Nov 14, 2021 9:33 pm

How much would you gain by training.  Notice I didn’t say practicing? 

If you spent the time training on your “weaknesses” you might get more than the 10-20 points from better ammo.
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Post by lanjo Sun Nov 14, 2021 11:00 pm

I think one of my weaknesses is the ammunition I am using for the 45 and the 38.  The quest for accurate ammo, whether or not it will pay off, is one of many things I would like to work on this winter.

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