Load Development, Part Three

Two series of test loads have been fired downrange in the Ransom Rest in pursuit of an accurate load for some 155 grain Moly-coated LSWCs I have on-hand.

All testing was performed at 25 yards.

Here are the results.

Series Grains Group Diameter* Notes
1 6.6 ±0.1 4″ Doubled
1 6.4 ±0.1 2.5″
1 6.2 ±0.1 2.5″ Doubled
1 6.0 ±0.1 2″
2 5.8 ±0.1 1.75″ Three “flyers”
2 5.6 ±0.1 1.25″ Five rounds only
2 5.4 ±0.1 2.25″ Could be 1.75″ with three “flyers”
2 5.2 ±0.1 1.5″ One “flyer” at 3″
2 5.0 ±0.1 2.25″ Three “flyers”, last shell trapped by slide

* Group diameter is the center-to-center distance between the widest holes.

The barrel was cleaned before each of the two series, each of which was preceded by ten “fouling” shots of the same bullets and initial load.

Function, except as noted for the lightest load, was perfect (to my surprise). The 1911 used in these tests is a “wad” style gun with a 1″ Ultradot and a 13 lb. recoil spring with about 300 rounds fired on it.

The two instances of “Doubled” firings were due (I think) to my maladjustment of the Ransom Rest trigger. That was corrected after the 6.2 set. (Little sucker can rattle ’em off right fast!)

The 6.0 to 6.6 set was based on the load limits from Hodgdon’s on-line web site.

After firing that first set of four different loads and seeing the poor results, I asked the Bullseye-L email list for any suggestions or precautions with lighter loads. The few opinions received suggested this was not only an acceptable but also a fairly common practice in Bullseye. The only safeguard was in the practicalities of measuring propellant amounts less than a couple of grains. For these tests, I would not be going that low.

So, a second set of test loads were created using 5.8 down to 5.0 grains in 0.2 grain increments. The results, while not “one hole” at 25 yards, appear to have some reasonably accurate loads that might be acceptable for first time shooters and L matches.

The load particulars were:

Item Value
Brass Winchester, used (<5 firings)
Propellant Winchester 231 (see table)
Primers Winchester Large Pistol
Bullets Bear Creek, 155 gr, 0.452″ Moly-coated LSWC (45 ACP)
C.O.L. 1.230″ ±0.005″
Crimp 0.469″ ±0.002″

Based on the above, I will be loading 100 @ 5.6 grains and another 100 @ 5.2 grains to see how they do when hand-fired.

I’m expecting to see some function problems since my hold will never equal that of the Ransom Rest on a concrete pillar. I will have a supply of different strength recoil springs on hand for that.

And then, if the loads “print” as well by hand as they did on the Ransom Rest, and if a matching recoil spring can be found that produces reliable operation, these rounds will be good for first time visitors and L Matches.

It might also be interesting to see what sort of muzzle velocity these light loads achieve but, since I’m not concerned with power factor, if they shoot accurately and the gun functions well, that’s “good enough.”

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