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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have some experiences or magic recipes for loading .45 ACP with N340? Looking for personal experience here, I can read official load data :D
 

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Biartr, VVH powders are expensive and pretty scarce in my area ... in fact I've never seen N340 nor have I seen any load data for it in my reloading manuals. As such, you will probably not get much guidance from folks on this side of the pond.

I did some research and found N340's burn rate is excellent for 45 ACP loads. If you have data, try to find a load that produces the same velocity as factory ammo with the same bullet weight. Here's the SAAMI standard loads: 230gr bullet, 850 fps; 200gr bullet, 1000 fps; 185gr bullet, 1140 fps. If you can match up your loads, chances are they will be very accurate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Biartr, VVH powders are expensive and pretty scarce in my area ... in fact I've never seen N340 nor have I seen any load data for it in my reloading manuals. As such, you will probably not get much guidance from folks on this side of the pond.
Thanks for the feedback, didn't realize they weren't used much in the US. Obviously they are easy to get a hold of here, but they are indeed expensive. I tried VVH in .357 Mag and was so happy about the performance that I'm not going to let the 11$ extra / lb get in my way (not taking into account avg. loads/lb).

I did some research and found N340's burn rate is excellent for 45 ACP loads.
Great to hear that, because I selected it based on your previous guidance about how to select powders :) Most references I've found talk about N320 for 45ACP.
 

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Biartr, In late June, I went to a gun show and bought some Power Pistol powder. I paid $18 for a pound ... about $4 cheaper than a few months prior. I thought about buying a jar of VVH N-130 but it was $35/lb. The other VVH powders were priced about the same ... about double US brand name powders. VVH powders are good .... but not twice as good.

Be sure to keep us posted with your 45 ACP and VVH N-340 powder.
 

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Biartr, In late June, I went to a gun show and bought some Power Pistol powder. I paid $18 for a pound ... about $4 cheaper than a few months prior. I thought about buying a jar of VVH N-130 but it was $35/lb. The other VVH powders were priced about the same ... about double US brand name powders. VVH powders are good .... but not twice as good.

Be sure to keep us posted with your 45 ACP and VVH N-340 powder.
Power Pistol is great powder for full power pistol loads and at $18 per lb, you stole it!! Here it's still going for $25-$27 per lb or $190 per keg. The N340 is scarce around here too and what little I've seen is spendy!! I stick with H110 for my full power 357mag loads and Power Pistol for full power 40s&w, 45acp, and of course my custom 6" Glock convertable loves Power Pistol for both my hot 45 Super and my hot 10mm.
 

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COSteve, Being an Old Fart, I'm pretty stuck in my ways concerning reloading stuff. Once I find a load that meets my needs, I rarely venture into new territory. I had been using Unique in my 45 ACP loads for decades ... excellent performance ... no reason to change, however a few years ago, I ran low on ammo and was totally out of Unique and couldn't find any so I bought a jar of Power Pistol. It quickly became my "mid-burn rate" favorite. Power Pistol has a very wide linear range ... meaning it works well in a large range of velocities and bullet weights, more so than Unique. It meters better than Unique in most powder measures yet accuracy and pistol function are both excellent.

Yes, I think I got a smokin' deal on the pound of Power Pistol. The normal price in my area is $22~25. I probably should have bought another pound ... just because, but at the rate I have been shooting, a pound of Power Pistol should keep me going for quite a while. I use 6.7gr with 230gr bullets ... so I get over 1000 loads per pound. This load chronographs right at the factory ammo spec of 850 fps out of my full sized 1911s.
 

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What is the goal with N340 in .45 Auto?
It is a low pressure cartridge that generally does best with fast powders. For accuracy, you will be better off with N310 or N320.
If you want max velocity with 230gn bullets, N350 is a bit better--and, there are some supposedly accurate loads with 230gn bullets and 7.5gn of N350. I see no references to any pet loads with N340 and 230gn bullets.
With 200gn L-SWCs, I have a reference to 6.2gn and 6.5gn of N340 being Bullseye (now, NRA Precision Pistol, I believe) Pet Loads. Also, N340 will produce the same or better velocities than N350 for 185-200gn bullets.
 

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noylj, 45 ACPs shoot pretty good with a lot of different powders but they were designed for medium burn rate ... in fact when John Browning designed the cartridge, he used what is now known as Unique. The US Military has used 5.9gr of Unique in their GI 230gr Ball ammo for decades. A typical 45 ACP cartridge will generate about 20k psi .... way more than a 38 Special but less than any other semi-auto pistol cartridge.

The potential issue with fast burning powders in a 45 ACP is ... by the time you get velocity up to factory standards as noted above, chamber pressure will be much higher ... possibly in excess of SAAMI standards. Additionally, fast burning powder may not retain enough barrel pressure for the delayed blow-back system to thrust the slide fully to the rear.
 

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I agree. It is 1 very forgiving caliber to reload.

I have tried Titegroup, HP-38, Universal, Unique & CFE Pistol & can get them all to perform well under 200 & 230 grain FMJ, plated & lead bullets.
 

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COSteve, Being an Old Fart, I'm pretty stuck in my ways concerning reloading stuff. Once I find a load that meets my needs, I rarely venture into new territory. I had been using Unique in my 45 ACP loads for decades ... excellent performance ... no reason to change, however a few years ago, I ran low on ammo and was totally out of Unique and couldn't find any so I bought a jar of Power Pistol. It quickly became my "mid-burn rate" favorite. Power Pistol has a very wide linear range ... meaning it works well in a large range of velocities and bullet weights, more so than Unique. It meters better than Unique in most powder measures yet accuracy and pistol function are both excellent.

Yes, I think I got a smokin' deal on the pound of Power Pistol. The normal price in my area is $22~25. I probably should have bought another pound ... just because, but at the rate I have been shooting, a pound of Power Pistol should keep me going for quite a while. I use 6.7gr with 230gr bullets ... so I get over 1000 loads per pound. This load chronographs right at the factory ammo spec of 850 fps out of my full sized 1911s.
I guess that makes one 'old fart' to another then and yes, I use a lot of Power Pistol but I keep it mainly for full power loads. I've got TiteGroup for low power and Unique for mid range stuff.
 

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>noylj, 45 ACPs shoot pretty good with a lot of different powders but they were designed for medium burn rate ... in fact when John Browning designed the cartridge, he used what is now known as Unique. The US Military has used 5.9gr of Unique in their GI 230gr Ball ammo for decades.

And, they used Bullseye for decades, too.
Really, a fast powder can't reach the same ultimate velocity, but they come more than close enough and I, at least, have never had an issue. I believe that Unique is included in my five favorite powders for .45 Auto (and Universal isn't).
Just don't see .45 Auto as being where one searches for velocity, and I prefer it for its accuracy.
 

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As noylj said, 45acp ain't about velocity. Now 45 Super, well that's a whole different thing. My 'light' 200grn 45 Super loads from my custom 6" G21L clock at a conservative 1,307fps. ;)
 

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noylj, It's too bad all cartridges aren't as forgiving and as versatile as a good ol' 45 ACP. No doubt in my feeble mind, 45 ACPs are the easiest to reload and you have a large choice of bullet weights (lead or jacketed), a large choice of powders, and a huge amount of reloading data. If that isn't enough, you can use different recoil springs to compensate for lighter or heavier loads. And some people wonder .... how has this cartridge survived for well over 100 years???

When I learned to reload over 50 years ago, my mentor told me something that has always stuck in my mind ... and that is: Ammo manufacturers do a lot of research and development to find loads that are safe, accurate, make the firearm function properly, and are the power level a customer expects. If these four simple things do not hold true, nobody will buy that ammo. As such, I was taught to use "factory equivalent" loads in all my firearms .... which simply means to use standard bullet weights driven at established velocities. If you look in a data base for 45 ACP ammo, you will see virtually all US ammunition manufacturers produce their ammo with near identical velocities for the same standard bullet weights (SAAMI standards). There must be an obvious reason why all manufacturers are singing off the same sheet of music so this has been my guideline for more than 50 years and it has yet to fail me.

Are there exceptions? Yes, especially when lead bullets are used because 45 ACPs were not designed for lead bullets and are not available in factory ammo. Shooters learned lead bullets are way cheaper and can be more accurate than jacketed bullets, providing the bore does not get fouled with lead. The normal chamber pressure for a 45 ACP is about 20K psi (21k max) so the optimum bullet hardness for a "full power" 230gr bullet driven at 850 fps would be BHN 14. If you like to shoot lower velocity loads, or use bullets lighter than 230gr, mid burn rate powders such as Unique don't develop enough pressure. Residual barrel pressure is necessary for two reasons ... to force lead bullets to obturate (bump up in diameter and seal well in the bore) and to operate the slide. The solution is to use faster burning powder such as Bullseye. It develops much higher chamber pressure that satisfies the bullet hardness issue but because it burns so fast, it results in a lower velocity load. The problem with fast burning powders is ... it totally burns up in just a half inch of bullet travel so bullets literally coast out of the muzzle. By the time the bullet exits the muzzle and the slide has unlocked, pressure has dropped so much that there isn't enough energy left to drive the slide fully to the rear so it can cycle properly. In this case, (assuming a 1911 pistol) there is another solution and that is to replace the factory 16 lb recoil spring with a 14 lb (or lighter) spring. So ... by using faster burning powder with lighter bullets and a weaker recoil spring, you can get very accurate loads at much lower velocities yet the pistol will still function properly.

I think it is a big mistake to use fast burning powder with jacketed bullets driven to full velocity. By the time you get the powder charge high enough to operate the slide, chamber pressure may be too high. This is why medium burn rate powders are the best for 45 ACP jacketed bullet loads. The same would hold true if you use lead bullets loaded to full power. Guns don't last forever ... and using high pressure loads make their life expectancy much shorter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
So I did a first range test yesterday.

I had 5.9gn N340 (listed min load) behind a 230gn plated bullet (LOS) at 1.265" COL.
First impression was that it's at least and probably more accurate than my HP-38 loads. Off course I'll have to more thoroughly test this (I only had 10 N340 cartridges with me, as a first test).
Perceived recoil isn't particularly different. The N340 powder does however produce no flash, while my HP-38 loads do. So if you want to impress people don't take N340 :)

Now that I know all is safe, I'll load up a batch to do further testing (and maybe up the load a bit, to see what happens).
 

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I had a good friend an older man who in his day, 40's to the early 60's, was a competition level 45 shooter. He shot Camp Perry many times and trained with the Army pistol team. He had several custom built 45's for competition and as I recall a couple of Giles and a Clark among others. When shooting reloads he used Bullseye and lots of it over time. If he used lighter springs in his guns he never mentioned it or when I saw him shoot hardball never changed a spring. There was no telling how many thousands of rounds he shot out of each of these guns and when they were sold not long before he died were still going strong. Guns do not last forever but with care the can outlast us.
 

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twodog max, It's hard to say what went on behind the scenes, but I'd bet your friend did indeed change recoil springs to match his loads. I too shot NRA bullseye ... never good enough to make it to Camp Perry but good enough to win a match now and then. My match load was 3gr of Bullseye with a 185gr LSWC. This load was so slow, you could actually see the bullet traveling down range. I think it chronographed right at 600 fps. There's no way in the world my Colt Series 70 would function with these loads unless I used as 12 lb recoil spring. When I shot GI hard ball (230gr FMJ) ammo, I use the standard 16lb recoil spring. I also used 45 ACP +P loads with an 18 lb recoil spring.
 
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