I’d been looking for a full-power .45 ACP load using a 230 grain bullet. I like lead bullets for the economy and accuracy; and Missouri Bullet’s offerings have been universally good for me. I surfed their website and located the 225 grain ‘Flathead’, which is essentially a cast lead version of the old Hornady 230 grain truncated cone bullet favored by Jeff Cooper. I like bullets with a substantial meplat and I intended to try it in 45 Colt as well. This one looked like it would work in both applications, so I ordered a thousand.
They arrived within a week and I loaded the first batch in 45 ACP cases, over 5.2 grains of W231. The initial chronograph sessions over that charge rendered about 775 fps average, which is about 50 less than what I’d settle for. Even the light load showed promise and it grouped under 2″ for five shots at 25 yards- and shot right on top of my nickel Rock Island 1911’s front sight. Function, like everything else through this gun, has been 100%.
With 5.3 grains of W231, average velocity from the Rock Island for ten rounds was 787.1 fps with an extreme spread of 43.77 fps and standard deviation of 14.59 fps. From a late-80’s Springfield 1911A1, average velocity for ten rounds was 801.5 fps with an extreme spread of 37.24 fps and standard deviation of 13.41 fps. The shots I didn’t toss were holding about 4 1/2″ at 50 yards. The load does lead a tad, in the first inch of barrel.
According to some references this is a max load, with a similar Lee 230 grain bullet. Others set the max charge of W231 considerably higher. Neither primers or brass show any strain and the chronograph don’t lie, so I figured there was some throttle left.
I ran another short batch of 45 ACP reloads with this bullet; this time with 5.4 grains of W231. I used the same 1.220” OAL and CCI primers as before. The Beta Master reports that from the Rock Island, average velocity for ten rounds was 840.8 fps with an extreme spread of 34.52 fps and standard deviation of 10.86 fps. From the late-80’s Springfield 1911A1, average velocity for ten rounds was 856.1 fps with an extreme spread of 28.19 fps and standard deviation of 9.84 fps.
These are excellent numbers for 45 Auto reloads in range pick-up brass. Bumping the load up improved the standard deviation and extreme spread by 25-30 percent. I’d achieved the velocity and consistency I was looking for; neither primers or fired casings show signs of strain. I picked up brass, took a break and moved everything back to 50 yards. I pulled out five loads in Winchester cases, took a rest on the range bag and sent ‘em downrange at a 50 foot bull. Elevation was perfect but the group landed on the right edge of the paper. Otherwise I wasn’t dissatisfied with the group, which literally defines my expectations of service pistol accuracy at 50 yards.
My only complaint with my 200 grain wadcutter load, was that it didn’t shoot flat enough for 50 or 100 yards. I like to plink at those distances and I’m not above busting a coyote with a pistol, when the opportunity arises. I always shoot better on three dimensional targets, so I stapled up an old target box which was about three feet tall. Here’s what it looked like from 25 yards.
My little batch of reloads was depleting so I sorted out five more, this time in nickel Federal cases, and moved my hunting chair back to the 100 yard line. I used the top six inches of the box as an aiming point, crossed my legs and used my left knee as a rest as I fired from a seated position. I lost one round off the left edge of the box, but the four I didn’t flub made a nice little cluster right in the middle of the box.
Closing thoughts- according to some references this is a tenth of a grain over the recommended max, for a similar 230 grain bullet. Use at your own risk. Also, at 1.220” OAL the shoulder of this bullet is just kissing the rifling of the Rock Island’s barrel. I was tempted to shorten it, but at that length it feeds perfectly in barrels with either the wadcutter or GI throat. At 770 or so fps, I was getting a bit of leading in the grooves. At 840 fps, it has all but disappeared. I’m guessing the bullet is obturating and filling the grooves better at the higher velocity. The load shoots great and it produces the numbers I wanted. It works- and I sure ain’t fixing it.