Reloading .45 ACP with LRN or LFN

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by Doug.38PR, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. Doug.38PR

    Doug.38PR Member

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    It's my understanding that the original .45 ACP round was actually a lead bullet intead of full metal jacket. Is it possible and safe to reload .45 acp shells with .45 caliber lead ammunition?
    Get better expansion if one decides to go with non-hollowpoint ammo
  2. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    As I have read, the original loading for the .45ACP was a jacketed bullet...200gr instead of 230gr though. Government arsenal testing bumped the bullet weight up to 230gr when they were "improving" the cartridge for US military trials. The use of jacketed bullets was done (as with most all cartridges designed for autoloaders) for more reliable feeding and to eliminate the lead shavings that can collect inside the pistol as the lead bullets get shuffled around from the magazine to the chamber.
    http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/history/45_Auto_Cartridge_History.htm is one site that has a pretty good detail on the history of the .45ACP cartridge.

    That's not to say that you can't use cast or swaged lead bullets in the .45ACP. Most manuals have load data for lead bullets and they usually work pretty good out of a 1911 pattern pistol.

    I use lead bullets for plinking and practice ammo because they're cheaper than jacketed. And in the case of the .45ACP, you can usually stick with full-power loads with lead because the max velocity of both 200gr and 230gr is below 1000fps (which is pretty much a common velocity upper limit for lead to keep lead buildup or "leading" to a minimum.)
  3. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

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    Ditto what binder says. I cast my own 230 grain bullets using linotype for plinking and general target shooting. I keep the velocity around 850 so that leading is not a problem.
  4. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    A middle of the road choice would be lead bullets with a copper plating such as Rainier Plated Bullets. I use them for all my handguns to avoid any leading problems. But I have gone back to FMJ bullets for the auto loaders when I had feeding problems in one 45ACP gun with cast lead bullets. I buy the cheaper BULK FMJ bullets packaged in baggies from either Winchester or Remington. While they are more expensive than either cast bullets or plated bullets, they are a little bit cheaper than name brand boxed bullets. In my guns the FMJ bullets NEVER fail to feed.

    LDBennett
  5. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    Berry's bullets are a bit more consistant thatn Rainier in regards to diameter. I've had feed issues with some Rainier bullets that were a few tenths to big to feed. Double struck makes a difference.
  6. Insulation Tim

    Insulation Tim Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I reload my .45 ACP exclusively with non-jacketed lead. Mostly I use 185 gr LSWC and never have a failure to feed in my Kimber. My Rock Island can be a little more finicky.
  7. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Jay:

    Isn't it the Rainier bullets that claim to be double struck???

    None the less, if the Berry's Bullets are better then they are better. I have not used them as my source only stocks Rainier and with my source's pricing I'll not be changing sources. I have found the Rainier bullets to be totally adequate. If I want better bullets I often choose Hornady's XTP bullets as they have proven to me to be superior to all others, generally.

    LDBennett
  8. carver

    carver Moderator

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    Everyone has given you good advice. In reading your post I am assuming that what you want is to shoot lead bullets, and get better expansion in non-hollowpoint bullets. If this is so then I would advise you to stay with the FMJ. Some guns don't like the soft lead bullets, LRN, or LFN whitch is more porblematic being flat on the leading edge. The only advantage I can see with the lead bullets is that they are cheaper to purchase, and shoot for target practice than FMJ. Are you looking to create a hunting type bullet, or are you looking to create a SD round?
  9. 3ME

    3ME New Member

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    I load quite a few 230 grain round nose lead bullets for the .45ACP. They cause a bit more leading of the barrels of my 1911 than does jacketed stuff, but they feed great and I experimented until I found a load that was both accurate and relatively soft shooting, while still having adequate power to cycle a 1911 or Glock 21 reliably. Unique powder works well, but I have a lot of Solo 1000 left over from when I used to load shotgun, so I settled on 5.2 grains of Solo 1000 and it chronographs right at 850 fps.
  10. Doug.38PR

    Doug.38PR Member

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    Both really. In the near future I am planning on getting into reloading. My revolvers see more Lead bullets out of them than anything else. In fact I frown on FMJ whenever it's all the gunstore has. I don't mind leading. I clean my guns religiously.
    But as for self defense, the .45 ACP is a fairly slow and close range round as it is, a hollowpoint (to some degree or another) will lessen penetration in an already slow moving round. The fact that it is a .45 caliber alone makes it a pretty large wound cavity, but I was always told that if you're down to non hollowpoing ammo, you'd be better off with a lead bullet than a jacketed bullet because bare lead will expand whereas a jacketed bullet is encased lead and will not expand.
  11. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
  12. 3ME

    3ME New Member

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    I noticed that the 230 grain 45 ACP are "double struck." What does that mean? I noticed that the standard target weights in all calibers are listed as "double struck" in the ad. I assume it helps make them a premium quality, but I am curious as to the actual process.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
  13. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    I've never watched their manufacturing process, but I've been told that each bullet is die-struck twice to create the final profile, and dimensions.

    Subject to being proven wrong.. :eek:
  14. carver

    carver Moderator

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    I see where you're comming from now. I have been reloading for well over 30 years, and to this day I never carry my reloads as a SD round. Why? Because there is the posibility that some DA out to make a name for himself will tell a jury that I made that bullet just to kill someone. All of my SD rounds are store bought. Can I make a more accurate bullet than those that I buy? Sometimes I can make a more accurate bullet, but they are for practice only, or hunting. Like you I try to take real good care of my guns. I have paid a lot of money for some of them, and I want them to shoot straight, and shoot every time. The problem with lead bullets is that if you shoot them as fast as some of the hot factory loads, they will lead your barrel. Cleaning your gun will not get the lead out. Cleaning your gun 10 times will not get the lead out! Getting the lead out of a barrel takes speical tools, and a lot of work, and that is why my lead bullets are all loaded to no more than 700fps in all my guns, handgun, or rifle. I could push them faster if they are really hard lead, but how am I to know just how hard they are if I buy them from someone else? No way to know, so I keep them down to something I can live with. Yes a lead bullet will expand, the softer the lead, the more it will expand. As to FMJ not expanding, that's not entirely true. It depends on how fast that FMJ is traveling, and what it hits. As far as the .45ACP being a close range rd. I can and do shoot out as far as 75yds with mine, and I am sure that there are many on this fourm that can do better than I can.
  15. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    3ME asked:

    "I noticed that the 230 grain 45 ACP are "double struck." What does that mean? I noticed that the standard target weights in all calibers are listed as "double struck" in the ad. I assume it helps make them a premium quality, but I am curious as to the actual process."


    If Berry's makes the bullet the same way as Rainier (since they are direct competitors I would guess that is the case) then the quote from Rainier's web page probably tells the story:

    "To ensure uniformity, our bullets are formed from lead wire that we manufacture at our facility. This wire is then used to swage (not cast) the bullet cores. Once formed, these lead cores are electroplated with the same high-purity copper used by computer circuit board manufacturers. These plated bullets are then swaged a second time (RESTRIKE) to ensure the tightest uniformity possible. Finally, every bullet is inspected for any defects that might inhibit performance. "

    In general it makes little difference as to whether the bullets are cast then plated or swaged then plated. I think they swage as that is an easier machine process not needing hot molten lead. Typically, swaged bullets are made from dead soft lead whereas cast bullet are made of a lead/tin mixture but could be cast from pure lead but I think the casting temperature would be elevated over that required for lead/tin. Using a dead soft core allows the restrike or re-swaging operation that would not be possible with a lead/tin core, I would think (??).

    LDBennett
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
  16. gazzmann

    gazzmann New Member

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    No matter what you load for self defense, you have to ask yourself one thing......
    Are "you" going to ask the bad guy what type of bullet he is going to shoot you with???
    Hey pal if your going to shoot me what load do you have in that thing?
    Yeah right.

    Lead, jacketed, hollowpoint, hydroshock, teflon or Talon load the best you've got. You may only have one chance.
    I'll take my chances being tried by twelve, rather then being carried by six.
  17. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    I use the 200 gr truncated cone from the LEE mold. it works well and has never failed to ramp up and chamber properly. I also cast mine a tad soft and use plenty of alox. Casting you own can be fun and give you a sense of accomplishment. Plus it has the added bonus of being damn near free to do so...
  18. griffon

    griffon New Member

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    I cast my .45 bullets using a 200gr Lee semi-wadcutter mold and I blend wheel weights and lead pipe to get the right Brinell hardness. I test with a Lee Brinell hardness tester now since it came out. I used to just guess.
  19. Popgunner

    Popgunner New Member

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    I've been casting from the Lee 6 cavity mould & the results are great in the Colt I bought recently. I use wheelweights & liquid alox. Colt evidently agrees with using plain lead bullets as they included a lighter spring for use with plain lead bullets with the gun as well as the standard spring.
  20. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    I have been re-loading for over 50 years and because I never shoot indoors I use cast 230 grain non plated lead bullets in my 45 auto. My defense load is anyone of the two best 230 grain jacketed hollow point hollowpoints. As I recall I have about 100 of the Hornaday 230 XTP and about the same of the Speer 230 Gold Dots loaded. The blue band lubed cast bullets I get right here in town and I have never had a problem with leading using 7 grains of Unique and I have shot thousands of them.

    Ron
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