UR Essential 45 ACP Loading Guide – Need your feedback!

Hello all- I wanted to let you know about a project that I’m working on. My first eBook! That’s right- in conjunction with Northwest Gun Magazine, I’m putting together a 45 ACP reloading guide book. The idea is to distill for the reader/loader all of the essential information about reloading 45 ACP. This won’t be a guide on “how to load pistol ammo”, but rather a condensed guide for a single cartridge: 45 ACP.

Here’s what I’m planning to include:

  1. Load data!
  2. Cartridge specs
  3. 45 ACP reloading equipment summary (shellholder/shellplate reference, dies and die sets, etc) – both a buyer’s reference and a reference for equipment setup
  4. Powders and powder selection – relative to barrel length and desired application
  5. Bullets and bullet selection
  6. Special considerations (defensive ammo, etc)

What do you guys think? What would you add to this list? Please leave your suggestions as comments!


48 thoughts on “UR Essential 45 ACP Loading Guide – Need your feedback!”

  1. I would include information on loading for competition. The majority of the people I know reloading are doing so for competition. Load data to meet USPSA and IDPA power factors, considerations in selecting components etc.

    1. Yup, exactly what I was going to say!!!! I do a lot of metal target shooting and would love to see this worked up. Thanks. You be the “Bomb”

  2. The .45ACP has always been grossly “underloaded”, particularly with bullets heavier than 230 gr. Over many years I have used everything from 130gr. round balls, to the RCBS 270 gr. SAA bullet in the acp with good result. If this manual is going to be about more target loads, then it is probably unnecessary…

  3. You could include a section on different bullets, their characteristics and best uses, mfg., etc. (plucking, IDPA, etc.)

  4. Include how to adjust the load for the most accurate for your gun. You will likely cover under powder, but creating cleaning efficient loads. I have bought some reman ammo that is just terribly dirt burning for the number of rounds fired.

    Gun maker issues with reloaded ammo is another one. Does it void warentees, is there a way to make a warentee claim if an issue arrises when reload are used?

  5. To reach a wider audience you may consider a few intro chapters on loading in general – tools, press operation, safety, etc… The target should be someone who has done little to no reloading but wants to start.

    Maybe this is a seperate short e-book. But once the content is done it can be recycled for a future loading guide. A lot of books of this nature have a chapter guide in the intro and will direct readers to skip chapters 2 and 3 if they already no the basics of reloading.

  6. Can you include data for plated bullets, like Berry’s?

    The difference between Hornady shell plate 1 and 45 (some manuals have one some have the other).

    I would also like to know more about the new Redding dual ring carbide sizing die.

    I also agree with Eric on the competition loads.

  7. History of the round is always enjoyable.
    Brass prep. Mention there is small primer brass out there.
    I agree about plated bullet data.

  8. I am brand new to reloading and would love to see a chapter on what old-timers know and think everybody does too. Things like what happens if you change brands of bullets for example there are a lot of cast bullet makers out there what are the requirements to change manufacturers, does the shape, style, hardness, jacket, etc. matter and how much. When you need gas checks. I am not into competition yet so not looking for total pin point accuracy, just a nice paper plate target w/o a bullseye. More practice loads to stay comfortable with my carry gun and to have an enjoyable afternoon at the range with friends. So a basics section is what I would like.

  9. I understand what you’re trying to do and think it’s a great idea. some of the folks already commenting dont get it–this isn’t a reloading guide, it’s a load guide for a caliber. how to reload should be learned elsewhere–this would be a compendium of 45 loads without all the other clutter.

  10. A short discussion of the use of case gages and/or actual barrel chambers for test fitting dummy rounds to determine optimum OAL would be helpful.

      1. Not so much with a particular profile, but I have experience some feed issues when the bullets are not taper crimped properly. Which I guess could go to a section on troubleshooting die setups.

        Some other ideas/suggestions: Safety related to the reloading process. Your section this site related to the RCBS lockout die made me go buy one and I am very glad I did.

  11. The more I learn about this round the more I learn how mutch I do not know. I shoot this round better than any other I have experience with. I made distinguished pistol shot with tha 1911 and can still hold the ten ring with the right ammo at 25 and 50 yards. I have had special match ammo made for military teams that had no powder in some of the cases so the best factory ammo has some issues. My own reloads sometime cause me flustration because of the number of rounds I shoot.
    Just a note while shooting for the Army it was normal for team members to shoot 1000 rounds of ball ammo per day before a major command match.

    1. “Just a note while shooting for the Army it was normal for team members to shoot 1000 rounds of ball ammo per day before a major command match.”

      That’s $300. in today’s economy if you buy factory ammo! (makes a case for reloading :))

      1. Holy Cow…….yes we must reload. I don’t think I could have enough concentration to shoot 1000 rounds of bullseye shooting!

  12. If it’s going to be a load guide for a caliber, it would need to include revolver applications, i.e. M625 S&W and Ruger Convertibles. That also would bring up the Thompson and the HiPoint 4595 carbines.

  13. Hey Gavin,
    First off this is the first ever response I’ve ever decided to leave, I mostly just read. Anyway, your website has taught me alot, since I am new to handloading / reloading ( about 6 months ) I think your idea for a book is great and your starting off with my favorite round.

    My contribution is for some info on cleaning brass. The round you show on the website looks great. Differences between ultrasonic cleaners, tumblers – media – polish, etc.

    I’m hoping Santa brings me an ultrasonic cleaner.
    Great website I’m learning alot, just wish I could get more guns to reload for and shoot..
    Thanks for all your help….Jim

  14. I just got my first .45 ACP and I’m interested for sure. I already load 9mm and .44 magnum. I’m looking for .45 ACP dies as we speak.

  15. For the truly frugal among us, which cast bullets (commercial or by mold number) work best in .45 ACP, at which barrel lengths, and leave the least lead. Also which lead bullets feed easiest. Probably a book in itself.

  16. Gavin,

    First of all thank you for your very informative videos. The unbiased look a many different manufactures was an essential aid in my decision to find my reloader. As I am reloading .45 acp at this time one aspect that would be very beneficial is a quality control area that would look at the various stages one needs to stop and check the progress. Tips and tricks sections to help fine tune the quality aspects of the process. Your videos have already started this, but a step by step process or run through on each of your different presses. Starting out with a “Rock Chucker” land moving on to a more progressive unit.

    Hey, Thanks again for this Blog


    1. I’ve reloaded for several 45 ACP’s I own. There always seems to be the critical issue of just was weight bullet to use. I’ve always felt the 45 stopping power is so substantial that as for the issue of protection in relatively close quarters like one’s home the issue becomes what gives you the best group. The only other point I would make and I’m sure we’re all aware you never change from lead to jacketed bullets without extensive cleaning of the barrel. My feeling is I like to practice with the round I’m going to keep in my gun.

      I use a Dillon press. I rely on the same method I use for my competitive rifles for load check. First, in setting up the powder drop I use a scientific scale and this gives me a quick reference. Second, I pull the average combined weight of the loaded round and look for deviations before I box the finished product. We’re dealing with a modest amount of powder so if for any reason the weight is off noticeably I will pull those rounds. Yes, I have the time and no I’m not shooting 1000 rounds per practice.

      I have very little confidence in the mechanical drop of powder that’s why I spent the bucks to have a quality scale to base my load amount to. It really pays off.

  17. Gavin, another great idea of yours. I bought the T-7 press after watching the .357 load on Utube.
    Also bought the Redding Competition dies for my rifle, after viewing you comments.
    Thank You…

  18. I have found (and solved!) serious issues re-loading 45 ACP using 200 grain, HP’s, manufactured by Berry’s. Following the guidance in several re-loading manuals created multiple jams in several firearms I have tried then in. I would be glad to provide a summary of the experience and the final adjustments I made to better make this round successful. You can have the info free of charge and the data I will provide has no proprietary or other legal issues associated with posting on a public forum. Send me an email requesting the summary, and I’ll provide it.

  19. Gavin — I like the idea. The .45 ACP is my favorite centerfire pistol cartridge. Easy to load, excellent accuracy. Here are some suggestions.

    1. Be sure to include the poly/moly coated cast bullets from Precision Bullets in Texas. I’ve found these to be exceptionally accurate and they do foul much less than regular cast lead. These are much more accurate than Berry or Western plated bullets IMHO.

    2. I’ve tried numerous powders in the .45 ACP and VV N310 or N320 are hard to beat for accuracy, clean burn, and easy metering.

    “In Patrick Sweeney’s book on the 45 ACP, he tested over 30 pistols, using 35,000 rounds of ammo. The most accurate load, in the largest number of pistols was:

    Oregon Trail 200 L-SWC
    OAL 1.250″
    taper crimped .468”
    Vihtavuori N-310, 4.6 grains
    Winchester large pistol primers.

    “It delivered the only sub half-inch group in testing, and more sub one-inch groups than the others.”

    3. Please include loads for .45 ACP revolvers such as the S&W m625. The accuracy of this cartridge in fixed-barrel wheelguns can be very impressive. I have a couple tricks that can help with extreme accuracy: a) Seat SWC deep to reduce excess room for powder; b) after sizing, use expander die to leave a little flare in case mouth — this enables cartridges to self-center in Revolver chambers.

  20. My favorite .45ACP Load is as follows: ( I actually have two)
    1. 230gr Truncated(I cast myself) bullet over 3.6gr of Trailboss and LPP. OAL 1.2″
    2. 230gr LRN(I cast myself) bullet over 5.3gr. of GreenDot and LPP. OAL 1.26″
    Both shoot very well in my Taurus PT1911 and my Springfield XDM45.
    I load them in Fed NT Brass exactly the same with a SPP.

  21. One of my favorite 45ACP Loads:
    Mixed Brass, WLP Primer, 4.5g Bullseye, 230g Hornady HAP, 1.230″ C.O.L.
    Loaded on Hornady LNL Press
    Kimber Ultra CDPII

    1. I use a similar recipe and have very good results. I shoot bullseye comps.

      Mixed Brass, WLP Primer, 4.5g Bullseye, 200g Custom Lead SWC , 1.250″ C.O.L.

      Loaded on (OLD SCHOOL) RCBS Rockchucker

      Colt Custom Combat

  22. Gavin, I have seen that you have several loads for w231, is there some place I can find your load data ? I am espicially interested in the 9mm data but would like all w231 i can get. Thanks, Ken

  23. I would prefer a single cartridge focus over the myriad manuals I have now. So this reference would be welcome. Also believe that the primary use for your ebook would be with “substitutions”. Powder is very difficult to find these days – so learning to live with what you have is essential. Having a reference capable of use beyond the typical 4-7 in pistol barrels would also be a plus. Many of us now own pistol caliber carbines or have built custom long barreled single shot rifles for the 45ACP – yet none of the existing loading data is applicable.

    On a personal note – sure would like to find a way to use this N105 powder which came my way 🙂 No loading data available for the 45ACP.

  24. Please don’t forget the 45 Super! Just ordered a huge pile of that brass – but can’t find the powders which would power it 🙁

    Set aside a section for Contender, S&W 625, HK USP, or 45ACP rifle owners.

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