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Currently shooting 2 Colt .45, 1911s. One is an Series 80 officers model, and the other a Series 70 govt. model. The first is about 10 years old, and the second about 2 years old.
Loaded with a 200 gr SWC and 5.0 gr Bullseye, each shoots about 8" low. (This is at 50' at our clubs indoor range, no jacketed bulllets allowed). Are the factory fixed sights adjusted for a 230 gr FMJ at about 800-850 fps, and is the reason that at 50' both 1911s are shooting low? I would like to get a load that would shoot to POA at 50', both for the indoor range, but also as a defense load. Any suggestions? Thankd DGR.
 

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That load is fine, but the fixed sights are geared toward a heavier bullet and average hand strength firing with one hand. The sights allow that the gun will flip up a bit, and a heavier bullet, even with the same powder charge, will both produce a greater reaction force and stay in the barrel applying that greater force longer, thus raising the muzzle more before it exits. Still, 8" seems pretty low. I would have expected more like 2"-3" of difference.

Did you get any kind of accuracy work done? If the barrel has been made to lock up solidly at the rear, this tips it down and requires a higher rear sight to compensate.

Is this shooting off a sandbag, or freehand? If freehand, you could have a bad case of heeling the gun. To find out, make up a dummy load. Look up in the air and load the magazine by feel, so you don't know which position the dummy is in? Put the magazine in and rack the slide without looking. Now shoot, being sure to keep both eyes open as the gun goes off. Try to see the front site jump. At some point you will come to the dummy. When you do, see that the gun holds still when the hammer drops, and doesn't dive nose down because you are pushing on it or pulling down to counter recoil. This can be completely subconcious and completely masked by the recoil. Very common problem.

Nick
 

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I am not sure if I am replying in the proper manner, to Unclenick's reply, but I will proceed. You explained the situtation quite well. Both pistols are factory stock, no work having been done on them. I am shooting using both hands, due to shoulder problems which limit hand strength in maintaining a good sight picture consistently. However, the groups all print well. I will try using a 230 gr. LRN, with appropriate load, and will use sand bags. Perhaps this will limit the possible problems to the one you describe using the dummy round. Thanks for the help, and this gives me somewhere to go in this matter. Thanks again, DGR
 

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DnnRe8 said:
I am not sure if I am replying in the proper manner, to Unclenick's reply, but I will proceed. You explained the situtation quite well. Both pistols are factory stock, no work having been done on them. I am shooting using both hands, due to shoulder problems which limit hand strength in maintaining a good sight picture consistently. However, the groups all print well. I will try using a 230 gr. LRN, with appropriate load, and will use sand bags. Perhaps this will limit the possible problems to the one you describe using the dummy round. Thanks for the help, and this gives me somewhere to go in this matter. Thanks again, DGR
Think the cloest you can come to GI hardball the better. IF the sights are still off, then it's time to modify the sight system (or look for some other mechanical fix). The closest reload to match GI 230gr. ball I've come across is simple: 5.0gr. of Bullseye. Are more modern powders and some that burn a bit cleaner, but that load is very close to what was standard issue.
 

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I second the Bullseye load, or just go buy a box of hardball and see where they hit? I'm not sure I would be too anxious to try something as dirty as Wolf, but the Czech and Yugoslavian and South African and other <$10 a box stuff at the next gun show should be fine. Pick something with boxer primed brass cases you can reload. Last time I went through a bucket of range foundlings I had to use a big magnet to get all the steel Wolf cases out. I've accidentally got them into the reloading cycle on a 1050 before. Worked fine, but hard on the dies.

If you use cast lead, be aware they are may be a little longer than hardball, and therefore can raise pressure. If you use lead bullets longer than 0.68", you will want to work the load up from 4.5 grains just to play safe.

Nick
 

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DnnRe8 said:
I would like to get a load that would shoot to POA at 50', both for the indoor range, but also as a defense load. Any suggestions? Thankd DGR.
Is there anyone else at your indoor range shooting stock 1911's? You might ask them what load or factory ammo they are using. The 200 gr. SWC is a very popular and accurate target bullet. For 50' distances, I would reduce the load to around 4.0 gr. Bullseye and see if that helps put more rounds in the black. You may need to substiture a 12 lb. recoil spring for the stock 16 lb. spring that you are currently using for functionality. You may also find this an entirely adequate load against two-footed critters at room or hallway distances and you can always switch back to full power RN ammo as necessary. IMHO, shooting full charge loads at 50' in an indoor range is more power than needed but then, I am a tightwad. ;)
 

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Marshal Kane said:
. . . For 50' distances, I would reduce the load to around 4.0 gr. Bullseye and see if that helps put more rounds in the black. . .
Sounds like you're a fellow bull's eye shooter. You probably do what I do, and keep a separate Goldcup or its equivalent with 12 lb spring and adjustable sights. I've run 3.8 grains of Bullseye under a 185 gr. SWC for years at 50 feet, saving the 200 gr. SWC and 4.2 grs. of Bullseye for 50 yards. The trick with the little short cast bullets in low pressure loads is to seat them out where they headspace off the bullet rather than the case. Cuts the groups in half by making up for alignment and start pressure problems with them.

I think if you re-read DnnRe8's post, the problem he has is achieving point of impact with fixed sights in combat and carry guns. I don't expect he's interested in playing our game. . . yet. Give him time to let the accuracy bug bite.

Nick

P.S., In principle, I agree on the defense load. There are scant records of it, but the few reported incidents I am aware of in which people were shot with wadcutter and semi-wadcutter target loads resulted in one-shot stops. Dr. Martin Fackler says handgun wounds do damage principally by inflicting crushing injuries, which suggests why a blunt bullet throws a more stunning hurt.

I have long thought the whole range of hollow point defense loads were more marketing hype than reality driven. It's a marketer's dream, since nobody can do controlled tests on people to prove them wrong, instead having to rely on dubious models. That said, a truncated cone is probably the best hardball configuration. A 185 grain SWC is like a pre-expanded super-heavyweight .38. Over 6 grains of N320, the .45 ACP throws it at over 1000 fps from a 5" tube. The flat face and light weight does as much or really more to limit "over-penetration" as a hollow point that may or may not open up. Like the T-shirt says, "a .38 hollow point might expand, but a .45 won't shrink".

At some point I want to get some of those little stubby 155 grain cast SWC bullets. Not too accurate, I hear, but they may be loaded to 1200 fps by several powders, and would slow down really fast in any fluid medium. 500 ft.-lbs.

Nick
 

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unclenick said:
Sounds like you're a fellow bull's eye shooter.
I think if you re-read DnnRe8's post, the problem he has is achieving point of impact with fixed sights in combat and carry guns. Nick
Nick, you must be lookin' over my shoulder or something, yes I shoot both a Bob Chow accurized 1911A1 and a Colt "Gold Cup" National Match at 25/50 yards using the same loads you use. I started off as a plinker but bullseye competition focused my shooting skills.

It's a little hard trying to diagnose DnnRe8's problem (shooting 8" low at 50' with his combat/carry guns) without being there. It's improbable that he has a front sight 1/4" high. The thought had occurred to me that it's more of a shooter problem than a load problem but then I could be wrong. If DnnRe8 does not lock his wrist, his front sight can dip as he squeezes the trigger resulting in low hits on the target. Nick, at 50', you could probably shoot DnnRe8's .45 with his reloads and punch out the 10 ring. If DnnRe8 is doing everything right, he would need a much heavier bullet to raise his impact point as he already has an adequate load. I realize my suggestion was contrary to the groups' but my approach is to shoot a milder load and see if it changes the point of impact. I wonder how he does with the .22?

DnnRe8, I am not stating that your shooting skills need improvement, it's just conjecture at this point. I hope you are not offended.

Nick, I've often wondered if it's really necessary to have large caliber, high velocity, heavy, hollow point bullets for close encounters of the lethal kind. Seems the .45 ACP/Colt moving at under 1K fps has been effective in taking the meaness out of many two footed critters for a long time, in addition, the sharp shoulder of the 200 gr. SWC takes out enough material so that the wound channel will not close. Yet, the high velocity, hollow point loads do fill a need for many shooters. Let us know how those 155 gr. SWCs perform. You may be on to something really good for self-defense!
 

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Marshal Kane said:
. . . It's improbable that he has a front sight 1/4" high. The thought had occurred to me that it's more of a shooter problem than a load problem but then I could be wrong. . .

. . . Seems the .45 ACP/Colt moving at under 1K fps has been effective in taking the meaness out of many two footed critters for a long time. . .

. . . Let us know how those 155 gr. SWCs perform. You may be on to something really good for self-defense!

My recollection was that 15% weight change in the .45 ACP bullet might do 1-2 inches to POI at 50', depending on the grip, but 8" didn't fit my experience either. That's why I suggested the heeling test with the dummy round. If that's the problem and he clears it, his groups will get tighter into the bargain.

I saw a recent posting from the father of a U.S. Marine over in the sandbox, said his son reportd the 9 mm often needed two or three torso hits to stop someone, while .45 ball almost always did it with one round. Didn't we learn this in the Philipines about a century ago? Oh, right. I forget, we're in the age of recycling.

I'll report on the light .45's when I get a chance to play with them. I got the idea from the fact the Evan Marshal had reported the 125 grain Federal .357 load had the most perfect one-shot-stop record back in LEO wheel gun days. I figure translating that to .45 couldn't hurt. Might not be so easy on the ears to take it supersonic, though. I'll have to think about that; or just try it.

Nick
 

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I've fooled around with home cast SWC's from the Lee mold- nominally 200 grain SWC. When cast of a bit harder alloy than is needed for target velocities, the bullet weighs in the low 190's. Has a nice sharp edge on it, like most SWC's.
That bullet can be driven to 1100 fps with no apparent pressure signs (no, I aren't going to publish the load), although you better have an 18 pound spring in the gun.
No real way to test it, as others have pointed out, but I'd guess it would make a rather effective defense load.
 

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I love the Lee tumble lube bullets with a hard alloy. I sometimes get half the group size from them that I get from my older RCBS conventional molds.

There was an article 20 years ago by a fellow using a sabot to launch 125 grain .38's from a .44 special. You get all that extra base area and it only takes about 2/3 the pressure to reach the same velocity with the same weight bullet. So he was doing 1300 fps or so, and seeing a huge fireball at the muzzle. I don't recall the powder charge and am not sure I want to.

If you figure the .45 is about 1.6 times the cross sectional area of a .38, then put a .38 weight bullet in it, you will get the same push at the military load's 19,000 PSI that a .357 mag does at 30,000 PSI. At least, you will at the beginning of the trip down the tube. Later depends on powder burn rate.

Nick
 

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I''ve made 125 gr .45 bullets, by simply using non-leadsolder as the casting alloy, in a 185 gr swc mold. The solder is $9 a lb, so such bullets are very expensive
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all of the suggestions. With all of these suggestions and comments, you have given me a lot to think about and to try. I will try some of the suggestions and keep a close record of my results from my next trip to the range. Once again, I thank all of you for your help. DGR
 
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