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Custom .45 loads?

jsergovicjsergovic Member Posts: 5,526
edited November 2003 in General Discussion
Reading in another post, William81 mentions groups to 1" @ 25 yards.

What is it with the "custom load" which improves performance so effectively?

I just had my new Colt 45 (my first 45) out yesterday, and am impressed with the improvement in accuracy over my 40S&W Commander, but shoot plinking rounds so far.


  • mrmike08075mrmike08075 Member Posts: 11,826 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    1. most reloaders have neither the time or skill required to improve upon or equal the accuracy or consistancy of factory commercial ammunition.
    2. most reloaders are looking to save money over the cost of commercial ammunition, not improve accuracy.
    3. other reloaders are shooting cartridges that are no longer produced by commercial manufacturers. they are trying to produce old, obsolete, oddball, and discontinued ammo.
    4. a patient, experianced, careful reloader, with the time to do the job right, and the time to do the research and a supply of good componants can achieve miracles. if you follow all the steps in a repetitive, * retentive fashion, and have the right load data and componants you can produce tighter and more consitant groups.
    5. some guns seem to shoot a particular bullet wieght, powder, or case brand an order of magnitude better then al the others. there is no good scientific reason for this, but it can be fun trying to find that magic load, and very satisfying to do better then factory ammo.
    6. i am not knocking reloading, or handloading... i just think that most of us do not achieve the desired results of better and more consistant groups.
    best regards, mike.

    What other dungeon is so dark as ones own heart, what jailer so inexorable as ones own mind.
  • jsergovicjsergovic Member Posts: 5,526
    edited November -1
    Good answer.
    I am not reloading, and barely have time for my present duties/hobbies/interests.

    I buy factory loads which hit a 1 gallon can @ 25 yards most of the time.
    As I improve, I'll switch to more demanding targets.

    And then, maybe, I'll spend more on ammo.
  • mrmike08075mrmike08075 Member Posts: 11,826 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    i know that many people will cry foul over my above remarks, but i honestly believe that most of us just cannot do a better job then the factory production ammo. i reload quite a few oddball cartridges like the 8MM LEBEL, .33 WCF, .45 S&W SCHOFIELD, .38 M&H (MERWIN AND HULBERT), .38 LONG COLT, etc...

    i often reload to save on ammo costs. when i am teaching a new shooter, or instucting a class at the range, i am unwilling to expend the costly factory match ammo. i know that there are many posters here who have the handloading bug, and are willing to learn and practice the correct methodology which yeilds the desired results. hopefully they will respond with some hints, tips, and lessons.
    best regards, mike.

    What other dungeon is so dark as ones own heart, what jailer so inexorable as ones own mind.
  • rordogrordog Member Posts: 363 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I would have to agree with mrmike, I see basiclly three types of reloaders.
    1. Reloader: Replace components in a recycled case for economy or necessity. Nothing wrong with that.
    2. Handloader: Tuned loads, per firearm, that best factory ammo in accuracy and performance.
    3. Precision Handloading: A true science! The tools and tecniques are endless in the search for the ultimate load.
    A lot of people go from 1 to 2, some (myself) get stuck between 2 and 3. Just my $.02
  • gunnut505gunnut505 Member Posts: 10,290
    edited November -1
    You forgot the most rabid of reloaders; the Psycho Fanatic!
    This sort of reloader not only buys premium components, but insists they all be from the same lot! He weighs each projectile, filing small amounts of brass from the bases of the boattail hollowpoints to match exactly; discarding those that aren't quite heavy enough. He neck turns his Federal Gold Match or Lapua cases to hold the bullet with precisely the same amount of tension. He haunts gun shows looking for that older batch of Nosler Partitions, or seeks the handmade Berger bullets for that "edge". He owns and knows how to use a Powley Computer, and his copy of Hatcher's Notebook is so well-worn,
    it's held together with duct tape. He'll drive 2 hours just to test fire 6 rounds over his chrono screens, but thinks that's time well spent. He shoots esoteric stuff, like 6.45X21 Fahrquarson Rimmed, or 268 Souper Nitro Magnum, but can pop the eye of a gnat at 300yds. without so much as scratching the skin of the grape it sat upon.

    But I don't know anyone like that.[;)]

    If you know it all; you must have been listening.WEAR EAR PROTECTION!
  • cletus85cletus85 Member Posts: 2,104 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    First of all I am a handloader, and have been for over 20 years. I originally started it because of the cost of centerfire handgun cartridges. I have only killed 3 deer with factory ammo and over 30 with handloads. In these days it was easy for me to exceed the accuracy of factory ammo. I sight in several rifles a year for friends etc, and I noticed perhaps 6 or 7 yrs ago that many of the factory offerings used by friends equaled or sometimes exceeded the accuracy of my handloads[:I][V] I am no novice, and I still can outdo factory at least some of the time. For me it's the satisfaction of knowing that I made and successfully used handloads on a hunt. Also, I can make combinations that are not available to the factory ammo consumer such as 129gr SST in .260 REM. IS IT REALLY COST EFFECTIVE?
    Perhaps not in the short run, but if you shoot much, especially handguns, it really almost becomes a necessity. From there, you have the stuff, so use it for everything!
  • jsergovicjsergovic Member Posts: 5,526
    edited November -1
    O.K., I'm game. I wanna go to a better FACTORY ammo without breaking the bank.
    You probably know I'm using Federal's lower grade, AE.

    Next step - What's next?

    Match Grade 45's. Federal? Remington? What !?!

    I tried UMC once, found it DIRTY beyond belief.
  • offerorofferor Member Posts: 9,168
    edited November -1
    1. Custom loads will void most gun warranties.
    2. Custom loads may open you up to extra liability in court for making "especially deadly" bullets, even if it's not true.

    Moral: Except in situations when 1 and 2 are not an issue (like at the range), I avoid custom loads and buy factory exclusively. Even an AD with a custom load is extra liability.

    T. Jefferson: "[When doing Constitutional interpretation], let us [go] back to the time when [it] was adopted. [Rather than] invent a meaning [let us] conform to the probable one in which it was passed."

  • shooter4shooter4 Member Posts: 4,457
    edited November -1
    I find that most bullseye competitors, and all serious competitors load their own .45 wadcutters.

    They need to find what bullet and powder combo their particular gun likes for the most accuracy and reliablility.

    To find the magic load, one starts with a load that works for someone else with a similar gun and springs. Usually 185g head on 4.2g bullseye powder. Then make 10 rounds of that mix, then 10 rounds with 4.1g, then 10 rounds 4.0g, and so on and also go a few grains higher than the 4.2g. Then do the same with the 200g SWC starting at 3.9 grains.

    Some use factory copper coated swc's or hollow point heads instead of the lead swc.

    These guns are designed to shoot for accuracy and reliablility, not power.

    Competitors also shoot ALOT, so cost does come into play.
  • jsergovicjsergovic Member Posts: 5,526
    edited November -1
    Thanks, shooter! This was the kind of info I was looking for.
    I'm compiling my own data base of stuff I want to read up on, and this, plus an e-mail sent to me by cletus85, and gunnut505's very interesting esoteria, plus all the other stuff directly written or what I read between the lines, it all helps.

  • pickenuppickenup Member Posts: 22,845 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Some competitors want to "down" load their ammo, for a quicker follow-up shot. They do not want any more muzzle flip, than is absolutely necessary. If it can punch a hole in paper, knock down a piece of steel, and is accurate, that is all that is needed.
    (as long as it falls within the power factor rules, of course)

    The gene pool needs chlorine.
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