Problems with Universal Powder in .45acp

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by greenlion, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. I can't seem to find a load that works well in my GLOCK 21 using Hodgdon Universal powder. I've worked up good loads with it in 9mm, .40, and .38spl. I have found loads I really like in .45 with regular Clays powder, but the velocities are so low with that fast burning powder....

    I tried the loads listed on the Hodgdon website using Universal, and they didn't eject well at all. Recoil seemed sluggish, even with the upper end loads. I checked my overall cartridge length, and increased the crimp a tiny bit (I can't crimp too hard because I'm using Berry's Plated 185gr) and it made no noticeable difference.

    I thought I had the problem solved when I checked the same load in my Speer reloading manual, and found that their loads for the same bullet weight and powder BEGAN with Hodgdon's TOP charge weight, and went WAY up past that. When I tried those recipes, the ejection problem went away near the top end loads, but now, it has a LOT of flash and is throwing unburnt powder like confetti out of the barrel.

    I've never had this much trouble finding a good load in 25 years of reloading. I've used unique in .45 occasionally, and don't remember having any trouble. universal and Unique have about the same burn rate, so I don't get it...

    Help !

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  2. If I were you I would stay with Unique, or give WST a try. In my experience I've never had good luck with accurate loads and Universal. Usually Unique and WST perform very well in .45.

  3. Greenlion,
    I use Hodgdons Universal for .45 loads and well as several other calibers, however for the .45 ACP I am using a Precision Delta 230g RN FMJ bullet. I do know that Universal as a "general" rule needs to be run on the high side in order to get my Glocks recoil spring to work smoothly.

    If you ever change to 230g FMJ here is a good target load that works great in my G21.

    Case - Any good clean used casing will do.
    Primer - Winchester Large Pistol Primers
    Bullet - 230g RN FMJ (Precision Delta)
    Powder - Hodgdon Universal @ 6.2g
    Burn rate - #32
    Powder range- 6.0g up to 6.3g (Hodgdon Reloading Mag)
    Final Test charges -6.0g, 6.1g, 6.2g and 6.3g (max)
    Bullet seatingOAL - 1.260"
    #3 Kentguy, Apr 18, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  4. I find Univ runs better @ higher pressure, so dropped using it in 45acp loads. It does much better in 9mm & 40.
  5. Hodgdon's data for Universal in .45acp 230gr FMJ is just wrong. I don't know how they compiled it, but their max load is about where Speer #14 says to start, with Speer saying 6.3gr is max. I tried it in my first .45acp reloads, using Hodgdon's data, and I think my first ones were sub 600fps.

    WST is a much better choice.
  6. I thought about that too. It might help. I still have about a thousand of the 185gr hollowbase RN bullets left though. I will keep your load written down if/when I switch. Your load matches what my Speer manual says for your bullet weight. I note that the Hodgdon internet load data stops off at 5.6gr of universal for the same bullet weight/type. I understand they want to be conservative, but that is a BIG difference in charge weight in pistol loads.
  7. Yeah. The 185 grain loads max out at 6.4 grains in Hodgdon's data, and they say they are getting 977fps out of it. Speer STARTS at 6.9 grains and runs up to 7.7 and it lists at 991fps. Somebody is way off base there. That is an enormous difference in data. Based on how my pistol functions with Hodgdon's loads, I'm guessing they are way too low, and Speer is pushing it about as hot as you want to go and still be entirely in the safe zone.
  8. BTW, with a 185gr jacketed bullet, if you can get some WST, try around 4.7-5gr, depending on whether you want just a really soft reliably functioning load or a mild, but not quite so wimpy load.
  9. Plus you are loading a plated HB, that is NOT reflected in the data. I find that HB bullets need a bit more powder to equal solid based bullet of the same wt. The HB increases case volume a bit. Remember, bullets are NOT plug & play; shape & construction matter, so published 185gr JHP data isn't going to be really useful.
    #9 fredj338, Apr 19, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  10. Yeah. Thats why I try the entire spectrum of suggested charges for them. There isn't any published data as far as I know for that bullet. Berry's suggests lead bullet or low to mid velocity jacketed data, so that is what I try to find. I'm not interested in reaching light speed velocities, but I was looking for something that would barely make major in IDPA.
  11. With the HB bullet, you can't even match lead bullet data. Wtihout a chronograph, you are WA guessing.:dunno:
    #11 fredj338, Apr 19, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  12. Yeah, I know I will have to chrono them before settling on a final load for IDPA, but I'm not shooting Custom Defensive Pistol division this season yet. Anyway, since I can't even find a load that functions with this powder, there is really no point in me borrowing my buddy's chrono just yet. Right now I just want a load to use for practice with my G21, but I don't want to use mouse-fart Clays loads all the time. I was kind of hoping to find one powder that did a decent job in .38, 9mm, .40, and .45. Universal works well for three of those.
  13. I load a 200 grn plated RN for my 45's with H Universal. My charge is right at 6.1-6.2 grains of Universal, they cycle fine in several 45 acp's I've tried them in.
  14. I too tried the latest Universal data for the 45acp with plated 230gr RN and found it to be far too light to function in either my G21sf or M&P45 because I was using the wrong OAL. When I seated to recommended values all worked great.
    My most accurate 45 load is 6.3 gr Universal, 200 gr lead SWC. OAL is 1.250. For 230 gr. 5.6 gr Universal OAL 1.230.
    The OAL is just as important as bullet weight or powder charge to get proper pressures.
    #14 judgecrater, May 7, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
  15. Checking back in.

    I've now tried Win 231 as well. It was just as poor as anything else with this bullet. I then tried shortening the Overall Cartridge Length down to the ridiculously short length that Hodgdon suggests (looks like the bullet has fallen into the case) That did help, and got rid of some of the unburnt powder. The rounds function, but they still have a lot of flash with powder I know does not produce a lot of flash. Ejection is still erratic, but functional. I think I need to try Hodgdon's shorter overall length and go back to fast burning powder loads like Clays and Titegroup. That may work well enough to use the rest of these hollow base bullets for range fodder, but I am never buying these things again. I'm going with flat base 230gr bullets that I will not have any of this trouble with.
  16. Jager1

    Jager1 UtilitarianSect
    Lifetime Member

    That's why I ditched Universal Clays.
  17. The problem is trying to use conventional 185gr data for the 185grHB, just doesn't work. You'll need more powder than recommended for most powders w/ that bullet to get good results IME, or as you have noted, reduce OAL which gets you closer to the correct remaining case volume. The large HB space does wierd things to the pressure curve of all powders, some more than others. Most powders do NOT burn well below a certain density point, not even the mighty TG.
    #17 fredj338, May 8, 2012
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  18. snowwdog

    snowwdog snowwdog

    with berrys bullets i am running 185 grain swc at 6.7 grains of universal. No pressure problems and perfect feeding and ejection. It is seated pretty low. Yes there is unburned powder but not much with that charge. I use 6.2 grains of universal with the berrys 200 grain flat point. Both loads were worked up with 1911's and i have shot thousands of both in 6 diffrent 1911's. I have a Hodgdon reloaders manual from 1999 that shows 185 grain jswc at 7.2 grains max charge. It shows a 200 grain jhp at 6.7 grains max charge and 230 fmj at 6.0 grains. the new 2012 manual is a full grain lower for max.

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