Red Dot + 45 Colt

So far I’m not impressed.

I used Rem 2 1/2 primers, 7 grains Red Dot, and 155gr SWC or 230gr (LabRadar S117) round-nose from Missouri bullet co.

230 Grain

LabRadar Series: 117, shooting 100 yards.

Velocity: 840fps (855, 825, 836, 884, 808, 831, 838, 861)

Spread: 76fps = 884 – 808

StdDev: 23.62 (8x)

Notes: This had somewhat sharper recoil than I expected. I had trouble keeping it at steel at 100 yards — admittedly it was the end of the night and I was tired, but anecdotally this has poor accuracy.

Winchester 231

Wincheser 231 is a classic (when??) pistol powder “ideally suited to the 38 special, 45 Auto, and 9mm standard loads” advertised to have “consistency, clean burning, low flash”. It is currently made by Hodgdon and identical to HP-38.

There are consistent rumors that Win 231 may be discontinued in the future, because it is more costly to produce than newer powders.

Bottom line: Good, but seems like a bad idea to get attached.


  • Meters well, it has a slick coating and medium-small grains.
  • Low static cling
  • Claims to be flash suppressed
  • Good amount of load data.


  • Likely to be discontinued.
  • Unclear how much historical load data has changed now that HP-38 and 231 are identical.

Density (per Lee dipper chart) 10.7 grains/cc

Redding 3BR Pistol Insert

pistol_insert_number ≈ (grains – 0.226)/0.139

Grains Thrown ≈ 0.139 × pistol_insert_number + 0.226

Pistol Insert # Grains Thrown 10x Throws (Grains)
20 3 30.4-30.8
40 5.75 58.7, 58.5
48 6.9 69.4, 69.5
49 7.0 70.6, 70.8
50 7.15 72.2 (2x)
52 7.5 ???
53 7.6 ???

👎 Aguila Brass

I’ve had bad luck with Aguila brass from loaded ammunition. I have never bought their brass new.

Aguila 45 ACP brass is so thin that it sizes differently.

45 Colt brass had serious problems with split necks. I actually had necks split on the very first reloading. It also had very aggressively chamfered rims, which were noticeably more angular than any other brand I’ve seen. To be clear, that’s not a problem, just an observation. It does make the brass look more streamlined.

152 grain Penn LSWC + 45 ACP

45 ACP using the 152 Grain Semi-Wadcutter Bevel Base “Penn-Maxx” 7th generation bullet. They are supposed to also be accurate at very low speeds.

Rem 2 1/2 primer and Clays @ OAL????????
Clays (Grains) Avg Vel StdDev Notes
3.0 639 43 S93. Never ejected or cycled the slide, but always fully cocked the hammer. Worth investigating with an ultralight action-spring

3.5 738 28 (9x) S94. Mostly cycled, some failure to lock back slide with firm hold.
4.0 833 16.23 (10x) S95. Cycled slide, but failed to lock-back on empty when limp-wresting.
4.5 914 11.2 (10x) S96. Starting to have well-cut holes in paper, but still not totally crisp.

From the table above, Velocity (fps) ≈ 91 + 184*grains_of_clays.

435 Grain Cast Performance + 500 Linebaugh

500 Linebaugh loads using the Cast Performance 435 grain WFNGC “wide flat nose gas check” bullet (sized .511 nose .380 meplat .410″). This is the older version with blue lube.

Because of the gas-check I only pushed these hard. The wide nose and supersonic velocity means a lot of drag (I measured a loss of 2.2 – 2.5 fps/yard). But it also means a lot of damage on impact.

All brass is Starline and previously fired. All loads used CCI 350 primers, to match load data. I seated to the cannelure, not a specific OAL. 7.5″ mag-na-ported barrel.

Charge (grains) Velocity Spread StdDev LabRadar
H110 27 1229 28 = 1244 – 1216 12.64 (5x) S108
Acc. #9 23.9 1216 134 = 1245 – 1111 38.32 (10x) [11.82 removing only min] S109
Acc. #9 24.2 1220 103 = 1255 – 1152 40.74 (5x) S110

Notes: Lots of recoil. Accurate #9 performed well, but sometimes had an unusually weak load.

H110 Notes

H110 is highly reccomended by gunsmiths, but no manual has data for it with this slug. I used 27.0 grains of H110 to start, and felt safe with this because:

Taffin Tests used 27-29 grains of H110 with 440 grain projectiles.

Lee Martin says his “top-end 500 Linebaugh” load is “29.5 of H110 with a 435 WFN”. (Almost certainly the same Cast Performance slug I used.)

Hodgdon says a 468 grain LFP is 31,700PSI with 30.0gr H110 and 35,100 PSI with 31.5gr H110. A 425 GR. LFP (w/GCK) is 29,100 PSI with 31.5gr H110 and 35,200 PS with 33grains.

500 Linebaugh Primers

This thread recommends Winchester WLP for the 500 (supposedly per John Linebaugh himself), because it lowers pressure.

“Brian Pearce shows a 13,500 psi increase from when switching from WLPs to 350s with a 100 fps velocity increase in ruger 45 colt loads using identical charges of enforcer powder.
“. (That’s in a Handloader article)

The CCI350 has always been the other stand-out favorite.


HS-6 is a fine spherical propellant (for) pistol and shotshell. In pistol, 9mm, 38 Super, 40 S&W and 10mm Auto are some of the cartridges where HS-6 provides top performance. In shotshell, HS-6 yields excellent heavy field loadings… Identical to Winchester’s discontinued 540.”

Bottom line: Still evaluating.


  • Good amount of load data.


  • Very dense powder (a grain takes up little space) making double or even 3x charges possible.

Density (per Lee dipper chart) 14 grains/cc

Redding 3BR Pistol Insert

pistol_insert_number ≈ 5.44 * Grains – 1.8

Grains Thrown ≈ 0.33 + 0.184 * pistol_insert_number

Pistol Insert # Grains Thrown 10x Throws (Grains)
20 4 41.2
40 7.7 77.8
46 8.8 ???
50 9.5 96.0

Red Dot

Alliant Red Dot a classic (introduced 1936) shotgun powder, with secondary use as a handgun powder.

Bottom Line: 👎 Does not meter well.

Manufacturer’s load data.


  • Nice feel when metering in Redding 3BR – no hangups
  • Lots of load data in the 45s


  • Occasional severe under-throws in Redding 3BR that are significantly (order 1/2) less than expected.
  • Higher variation than ball powders in Redding 3BR
  • Lots of static cling.

Density (per Lee dipper chart) 7.1 grains/cc

Grains Thrown ≈ 0.0854 × Insert + 0.3

Insert ≈ (Grains – 0.3) / 0.0854

Pistol Insert # Grains Thrown 10x Throws (Grains)
40 3.8 37.8
45 4.1
50 4.6 46.1
48 4.3 43.9
70 6.3 ???
80 7.1 72


Recommended for making blanks.

Trail Boss

Trail Boss (IMR or Hodgdon) is especially made for large cases. It is my unqualified recommendation for the best first powder to try when getting into reloading handguns (ideally a popular revolver cartridge). But it has features you will never outgrow.

Bottom Line: 👍 Fantastic for light loads, especially in large magnum or black-powder-era cases. Very safe and easy to work with.

Manufacturer’s load data portal.


  • Safe. Bulk makes double-charges easy to spot (all published loads I’ve seen will literally overflow if double-charged).
  • Excellent case-fill may promote accuracy.
  • Acceptable accuracy when working quickly with an old-fashioned dipper, because variations in volume have less impact.
  • To work up a load with an unknown cases, 70% case-fill to start, 100% case-fill MAX. Safe with nearly everything (not OK for 50BMG, but yes for 458 Win Mag). No really, it is officially that easy


  • Lots of static cling because it’s light and fluffy.
  • Limited to light loads only, unlike some classic light powders (e.g Bullseye) it can’t also be used for “duty” level loads.

Density (per Lee dipper chart) 6 grains/cc

Lee dipper Grains Actual (measured) Nominal (chart)
0.5cc 2.0 2.3


“Lipstick” 45 Colt

The ACME Bullet Company line of “Lipstick” bullets are a lovely bright red. ACME claimes they are cast with 92-6-2 alloy then coated and baked three times with Hi-Tek, prior to sizing. When I ordered from Grafs the bullets came in a wooden box. While obviously inexpensive it was much nicer than I expected! It would be very much at home as an ammo box in any Cowboy kit.

Cartridge: 45 Colt

Brass: Starline, nickel plated, new.

Primer: Rem 2½ Large Pistol

Powder: Clays 4.6gr (per Modern Reloading 2nd edition by Richard Lee, page 581, start at 4.6 gr for 777; max 5.9gr @ 931fps and 13100 CUP 1.6″ OAL)

Bullet: ACME (.452)200gr RNFP bullet with “NLG” coating

Crimp: Heavy Lee factory crimp