.45ACP OAL

Mike W1

Active Member
Had a little trouble with one magazine while out plinking the other day and have to admit I don't clean my practice mags very often. So to the bench I went and cleaned that one pretty thoroughly and was still getting a hangup feeding them out manually. Finally the little bulb lit up in my thick noggin and tried factory rounds and they worked fine. Different bullet than my 452374 of course but visually shorter OAL than my reloads were. So out with the loading manuals.

Don't know if my settings on the SD Dillon changed of where I got the info from when I set it up. I normally only use one bullet and powder setting but my reloads were definitely on the long side of what my manuals show for OAL.

The oldest Lyman didn't even show an OAL for that cartridge.
One that I presume is the 1973 edition showed O|AL as 1.275"
3rd Edition showed 1.272|
4th Edition has both 1.190" and1.272" for the same #452374 which I thought was odd.

Will be doing some loading fairly shortly so will take care of that length issue and guess I'll have to run a couple hundred rounds through the old single stage and shorten those overlength rounds up a bit. Really seemed odd that out of the blue, one magazine of the eight I use would act up and literally thousands fired over the last several years. Will have to see if I figured it all out now.
 

CZ93X62

Official forum enigma
I have used the 1.272" standard with Lyman #452374 since forever. It has worked in all sorts of 45 ACP bottom-feeders for me.

"374" was designed to closely match the form of the GI service bullet as envisioned by John Browning. A lot of 45 ACP bullet forms--especially their ogives--depart from the Browning pattern markedly. Lee RN comes to mind here. All 230 grain RN 45 ACP cavities are not created equally.
 
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Brad

Administrator
Staff member
Take the recoil spring out of your pistol and reassemble it. This lets you slowly hand cycle the action with dummy rounds. It can be very informative to see how OAL changes the feeding. You can also see how different magazines feed differently. Watch the second to last round from a magazine, that is often the one that fails to feed.
 

Petrol & Powder

Active Member
All good advice.

While a COL that is too short can cause problems with excessive pressure due to reduced available case volume; too long is rarely a problem other than functioning issues.
SO, if you're going to err, err on the long side. For the record, I think people get a little too involved in worrying about OAL. Obviously you don't want to seat the bullet too deep and obviously you want the cartridge to feed and function. So if you're within those two parameters, you're probably going to be OK.

Too short is easy to define; following published loading data for a given bullet will keep you out of trouble there.
Too long is generally defined by what works in your pistol. The first limiting factor is often what will fit in the magazine. The second limiting factor is what will feed and chamber.

Don't get wrapped around the axle over a few thousandths of an inch. If it's long enough to be safe in terms of pressure and short enough the feed & function - You'll be fine.
 

RBHarter

West Central AR
The old dummy until it fits and feeds to set your dies start low work up until you get to max , exceed velocities , or the group closes , depending on detail adjustment .
 

Charles Graff

Moderator Emeritus
For a 230 RN load, use a GI or similar factory round to set the seating and taper crimp dies. Use 4.7 -5.0 grains of Bullseye. Thus endeth any ammo related issue in a decent 1911 pistol.
 

Brad

Administrator
Staff member
For a 230 RN load, use a GI or similar factory round to set the seating and taper crimp dies. Use 4.7 -5.0 grains of Bullseye. Thus endeth any ammo related issue in a decent 1911 pistol.
I like the “find what works then just use it” method of reloading. My 1911 gets a 200 swc and 4.8 gr of Red Dot. One bullet, one load. No need for more.
 

CZ93X62

Official forum enigma
Charles' standard for 45 ACP loading is a fine one. Bullseye was the OEM powder for GI hardball ammo, at 5.0 grains. I use WW-231 powder for most of my 45 ACP loading, and I load my 230 grain bullets to match the performance of my carry loads (WWB 230 grain JHP)--5.5 grains with #452374, and 5.2 grains with the Lee 230 TC. All three loads chronograph in the 875-900 FPS ZIP Code from my 5" Gold Cup, and 25-35 FPS slower from the 4.4" SIG P-220 and Glock 21.
 

Ian

Notorious member
I still use Federal American Eagle 230-grain ball ammo as my gold standard for setting my seating depth with anything round-nosed and of the appropriate profile. Nope, I never measured them.
 

Creeker

Well-Known Member
I'm not an auto man so take this with a grain of salt. I do the old plunk test. I set my seating die according to that & load a few & try magazine fit. Then go out & run a few through the gun. I've used the H&G 34 bullet & 5 grains of Bullseye without problem.
 
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Charles Graff

Moderator Emeritus
Note: All of my 1911 barrels have been throated by DougGuy. With such a barrel the "plunk" test is meaningless, as the barrels will plunk a round that is too long for the magazine. Therefore any round that will work through the magazine will feed. This barrel throating will cure a myriad of feeding issues. I have one Bar-Sto barrel and it is also throated from the factory.

The 1911 pistol in 45 ACP is a breeze to reload reliable and accurate ammo. Failure to understand the pistol and how it works is the cause for most issues. People use the wrong powder, the wrong bullets, do not taper crimp, jack with the springs and get frustrated with their results. There are moving parts in the pistols that must work together in the right sequence for reliability. JM Browning designed the near perfect pistol. Stick to the original spec in ammo and pistol and you will be happy. A 200 to 230 grain bullet and a powder like Bullseye or of a similar burn rate, a taper crimp and all is good.
 

Mike W1

Active Member
I don't remember when I switched from the 452488 to the 452374 but I have a suspicion I neglected to change the setting on the seating die way back whenever and 1000's of rounds later ONE magazine didn't like it. My dummy rounds actually are marked 1.272" for single stage loading but setting the SDB they weren't of any help. It's all set properly now as that's the only one I use for .45 ACP.