Reloading 45 ACP

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by nadroj, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. nadroj

    nadroj New Member

    Feb 14, 2009
    Just started reloading 45 acp. My Speer book # 13 says max Cartridge length is 1.275". After checking all the factory loads that I have, they are all at around 1.249". I know that we dont have to use the max length but can there be that much of a difference? Appreciate any comments. Thanx in advance.
  2. jlloyd73

    jlloyd73 Active Member

    Nov 28, 2010
    Good question. I use a factory load to set my seating die and go from there. I can't think of any of my loads being anywhere close to the max length. I have had no issues (yet)....heck my brother and I shoot about 300 reloads this past weekend with a get together involving a local reloading club.

  3. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    The max length is just that, the maximum length that you should load. You will have most likely have feeding problems if you go OVER that length. You can load your bullets less than that without any problems. If you will look at the COL for different weight bullets you will see a pretty good variation in COL. The Hornady manual shows COLs from ranging 1.135 up to 1.245 according to the bullet configuration.
  4. PanhandlePop

    PanhandlePop Member

    May 27, 2011
    Max does not suggest a recommended OAL, it is simply the SAAMI spec, and there is no "one size fits all." The appropriate length starts with the manual recommendation, but then is based on the specific bullet design and the chamber dimensions of your pistol (you might do a search on OAL or "plunk test" to get more on this). Once you have an OAL that fits your gun (and will feed from the mags), you need to look at that length vs. the recommended starting powder charge. That is, if your OAL is less than recommended in the manual (assuming it isn't just the SAMMI max), you need to adjust the amount of powder to avoid running into excessive pressures. Always start with a low powder charge and work up in small increments.

    For my 1911s, I tend to load 200/230 gr. FMJ and LSWC at around 1.25" to ensure that they work in all the guns. You'll find that JHPs have a design/ogive that normally will require them to be loaded at an OAL of somewhere between 1.2 and 1.23, or so. Again, find what works in YOUR pistol.

    From the tone of your question, I think what you really need to do is spend some evenings with your Speer manual and read it cover to cover a couple of times (you might also pick up and read a second, like Lyman 49). This will save yourself from having to learn too many lessons the hard way.

    Good luck and let us know how your reloading experience progresses.
  5. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    May 8, 2012
    and.. maybee get a few more manuals too. more = better.

    i like my speer manual.. but I also like my lee, hornady, IMR, sierra and lyman and nosler too... gives me lots of oem and generic projectile choices..
  6. hjsmith00843

    hjsmith00843 Member

    Jun 23, 2012
    Myrtle Beach SC.
    I can not wait to start loading some 45's
  7. Clipper

    Clipper Well-Known Member

    Mar 21, 2010
    Amarillo, TX
    It is addictive! The more you load the more you shoot, and then load more. I have been loading since the 80's, cast some of my boolits, load 9mm, .38/.357, .40 and .45 acp. I call it my therapy. Like fishing, you just don't ever get enough of it.
  8. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA

    For those new to reloading, manuals give you a recipe for success for each combination listed. When starting reloading varying much from that recipe is a path to failure (and perhaps harm??). Use the bullets in the recipe, use the primers in the recipe, use the powder in the recipe, and use the dimension in the recipe if you want to successfully reload for the first few times. When you thoroughly understand reloading small variations can be tried, cautiously.

    In general the seating depth as listed in the manuals is for specific bullet shapes. The bullet shapes are determined by the intended use (tactical, target, max effect on the target, practice) and the bullet weights. The reloading manual has it all figured out for you for specific bullets. Just follow the recipes and you'll be fine. The max numbers listed (not the ones given along with each recipe) are for knowledgeable experimenters so that they will not get in trouble, not the beginning reloader.

    Vary much from the recipes and you may find trouble including the inability of your reloads to function through your guns magazine or feed into the guns chamber successfully. Use the starting loads until you understand how to increase the load level and the ramifications of such changes in load level.

    I can not stress forcefully enough to follow the manuals. If you don't find your bullet listed in your manual then buy another manual that has your bullet in it or change to a listed bullet. Some bullets are pretty generic (like FMJ of common weights) and some are unusually shaped (like Hornady XTP self defense bullets and hunting hollow point bullets) and require specific recipes be followed closely.

    Do yourself a favor: get some more reloading manuals. Read and re-read them. Study them for the recipe you want to use then follow the recipe. As you become more familiar with reloading you will realize the import of each part of the recipe and what can and what can not be modified. But for a start follow the recipes.

  9. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    Thats why it lists a max length. Cartridges are allowed to be shorter and work just fine. And in most cases COAL is dependent on 2 things.. The chamber they are to eb fired in and the bullet being used.
  10. mikld

    mikld Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    Exactly. I would suggest every new reloader read and heed the highlighted statement.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2012
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