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How Do I Reload Data for the 45 Auto Cartridge?

by Gerry Arlen Good
The brass cartridge for the .45 auto can be fired dozens of times, making it a relatively inexpensive round to reload.

The brass cartridge for the .45 auto can be fired dozens of times, making it a relatively inexpensive round to reload.

Reloading data for the .45 auto consists of the bullet weight and powder charge along with case dimensions for the brass case. Reloading data for this round covers bullet weights ranging from 185 grains to 260 grains along with a wide variety of powders, producing muzzle velocities ranging from 717 feet per sec (fps) to 1,047 fps. Because the .45 offers such a wide range of bullet weights and velocities, it is an excellent round for target practice, light game hunting and personal defense. The industry pressure limit for the .45 auto is 21,000 pounds per square inch (psi) and all loads presented here are within that limit.

Reload data

Use the following reloading data for the .45 auto (.45 ACP) only. Start with loads 10 percent lighter than recommended in this article and carefully work up to the maximum load. The data provided in the following tables are bullet diameter and weight, powder name, recommended maximum powder weight charge in grains and expected muzzle velocity expressed in feet-per-second measured from a 6.5-inch pistol barrel.

.451 diameter, 185 grain (target load such as TMJ Match)

Powder----------Powder Weight--Muzzle Velocity

Bullseye---------5.3------------------914

Unique-----------7.0------------------928

Universal--------7.2------------------993

Clays------------4.9------------------981

HP38------------5.9------------------906

HS6--------------8.6------------------917

Accurate # 2---7.5------------------1077

Accurate # 5---10.2----------------1102

WIN 231--------6.8------------------990

WIN 540--------10.0----------------1015

Power Pistol---9.5------------------1047

.451 diameter, 220 grain (such as TMJ Match, JHP and GD-HP)

Powder----------Weight-----Muzzle Velocity

Bullseye----------5.8---------934

Power Pistol-----8.3---------952

HS-6--------------9.5---------956

Unique------------5.3---------984

Blue Dot----------8.2--------1010

Accurate #2-----6.1---------872

Accurate # 5----8.7---------927

Win 231----------5.1---------785

Win 540----------7.6---------800

.451 diameter, 230 grain (such as TMJ or GD-HP)

Powder----------Weight-----Muzzle Velocity

Bullseye----------4.8---------884

Unique------------6.4---------880

Universal---------6.0---------853

HP38-------------5.3---------832

HS-6--------------8.2---------825

Accurate #2-----6.1---------872

Accurate # 5----8.7---------927

Win 231----------5.1---------785

Win 540----------7.6---------800

.451 diameter, 260 grain (such as Mag-JHP)

Powder----------Weight-----Muzzle Velocity

Herco------------6.9----------847

231---------------5.9----------824

Unique-----------6.3----------821

Green Dot------5.8----------819

Red Dot---------5.0----------801

Bullseye---------5.2----------788

Case data for .45 ACP

Measure all brass cases before reloading and trim when necessary so that each case meets the recommended case length (trim to length but do not trim shorter than the recommended length). Brass cases measuring longer than the recommended maximum case length must be discarded, as they have stretched and that reduces case wall thickness (This is very rare for the .45 auto).

Ensure that the maximum cartridge length does not exceed the recommended measurements when the bullet is seated into the case. Carefully measure the first few reloads and ensure that the die is firmly locked in place so it does not slip during reloading. Use only recommended primers.

Maximum Case Length: 0.898 inches (maximum allowable length of the brass, which results from stretching when fired)

Trim to Length: 0.888 inches (length of the case without the bullet, trimmed back after firing)

Maximum Cartridge Length: .275 inches (length of the round with the bullet seated in the case)

Primers: CCI 300

Tips

  • Use a range log (A notebook will work) to keep track of reload performance, recording such information as bullet accuracy, signs of pressure, bullet velocity (if known), bullet weight after recovery and feed problems.
  • To determine which load works best in you gun, compare the various bullet loads using the data contained within your range log.

Warnings

  • Wear eye protection when reloading ammunition.
  • Do not use the .451-inch 300-grain Uni-Cor soft-point bullet in the .45 auto, because it cannot be seated to the recommended cartridge overall length (C.O.L.) without bulging the case walls.
  • Do not exceed the powder charge weights presented in this article, because more may produce dangerously high press.
  • Do not exceed recommended powder weight charges.
  • Do not reduce powder charges three grains below recommended maximum.
  • Use only recommended primers.
  • After firing reloaded ammunition on the range, examine the primer on each fired case. If the primer is pushed out or damaged in any way, reduce your powder charge by .5 grain.
  • Do not store primers in any container other than the one they came in.
  • Do not reload ammunition around an open flame or heat source. This could result in serious injury or death.

References

  • "The Complete Book of Practical Handloading"; John Wootters; 1976
  • "Speer Reloading Manual Number Ten for Rifle and Pistol"; Omark Industries; 1979
  • "Speer Reloading Manual Number 13 for Rifle and Pistol"; Blount, Inc. Sporting Equipment Division; 1998

About the Author

Living in Tucson, Gerry Arlen Good has been writing for 34 years in a wide variety of environments including government, military and business. Good received a B.S. in psychology from Fitchburg State College and is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College.

Photo Credits

  • .45 Caliber Bullet image by Peter Orsaeo Sr from Fotolia.com