Hodgdon Titegroup “…spherical propellant was designed for accuracy. … flawless ignition with all types of primers, including lead-free versions. powder position in large cases (45 Colt, 357 Magnum and others) has virtually no effect on velocity …low charge weight, burns clean, mild muzzle report and superb, uniform ballistics.”

Bottom Line: Still evaluating.

Manufacturer’s Load Data covering just about every pistol round.


  • More pressure-tested load data than any powder! Hodgdon has data in 25 ACP through 500 S&W, including oddballs like 38 Short Colt.
  • Good for light loads.
  • Decent feel when metering.


  • Wants to stick to and etch plastic more than anything else I’ve worked with so far. Clean your powder handling tools immediately after use! Yes, I know you’re supposed to do this with all powders, but most of them let you get away with being lazy. Not Titegroup! I’ve seen the stuff stick to the factory-jar walls.
  • Not the most consistent powder when metering. I see a ±0.1 grain spread.
  • Leaves discoloration at the case mouth, that looks like annealing. I suspect this is because of a high flame temperature, but it may be a harmless chemical reaction. I have not verified that this actually anneals the case, or shortens barrel life.

VMD .08475, Density (per Lee dipper chart) 11.8 grains/cc

Redding 3BR Pistol Insert

Grains Thrown ≈ 0.15 × pistol_insert_number + 0.32

Pistol # ≈ (grains – 0.32) * 6.667

Pistol Insert # Grains Thrown 10x Throws (Grains)
20 3.3 ???

50 GI Loads

There isn’t a lot of data out there for the .50 GI. Here’s what I’ve found and done. Do not assume any of this data is safe, use at your own risk. I did not use a laboratory pressure tester, and there isn’t much sign to read with a straight walled pistol cartridge, so pressure can sneak up fast. Also, I have made transcription and bookkeeping errors when writing this up! I think I caught them all, but maybe not….

Links and Quoted Data

“The following was provided by Guncrafter Industries:…” (forum post)

Taffin Tests has a very few loads.

50gijess says:

Load data for the Berry 350 gr. FP

1. 5,0 gr. Bullseye 655 f/s

2. 4,8 gr. Titegroup 650 f/s

3. 6,0 gr. Unique 670 f/s

All with 1.220″ OAL and .524 TC”

My Loads

All loads were fired in a 5″ Model #1, and use Starline 50 GI brass, purchased from Guncrafter. I don’t know of any other sources of brass.

Bullet/OAL Charge Primer Avg Vel Ext Spread Std Dev Drag* (fps/yard) Notes
255gr LSWC (Rim Rock) / 1.23″ #29.5 ≈ 4.8- gr Titegroup WLP 781 43 = 803 – 760 11.75 (18x) -1.7 at 792 fps, -1.6 at 778 (R=.91) S186. Pretty dirty to shoot, lots of debris. Noticible gas blowback once. Holes were full-sized, but starting to be ragged and torn
255gr LSWC (Rim Rock) / 1.23″ #43 ≈ 5.2gr Bullseye WLP 816 26 = 825 – 799 9.0 (8x) -1.2 at 818 fps (R=.97) S173. A bit more recoil than I like for a bullseye load. I have no explanation for why this would have less drag than at 792. There is a measurement, math, or bullet problem somewhere.
255gr LSWC (Rim Rock) / 1.235″ 7.0gr Unique WLP 925 21 = 938 – 917 7.78 (6x) -1.9 (R=.95) S185. Clean cut holes. Not really a bullseye load, but gives me a nice “45 Long Colt” feeling 👍.
275gr JHP / 1.2225″ 7.0gr Unique WLP 856 63 = 885 – 822 19.79 (14x) -0.68 at 822 (R=.98) S174. I need to double-check this one
275gr JHP / 1.226 7.0gr Unique WLP 868 82 = 895 – 813 30.86 (9x) -0.715 at 860 (R=0.98) S184; loaded and re-shot a new batch matching S174
330gr LRNFP (Rim Rock) / 1.2225″ 5.4gr Unique WLP 747 30=766-736 12.32 (5x) -0.82 at 789 fps (R=.988) S175. Stout recoil. Smokey.
330 RNFP poly (Badman) / 1.225 5.4gr Unique WLP 748 29 = 766 – 737 10.56 (6x) -0.63 (R=.98) S181 Stout recoil. 👍 it’s a big ball of lead, without the smoke.
300gr GI (RAN-FP) / 1.225″ #45 ≈ 5.3 – 5.5 Bullseye WLP 785 46 = 806 – 760 14.74 (8x) -0.60 @ 778fps (R=.97) S176
300gr GI (RAN-FP) / 1.225″ #29.5 ≈ ≤4.8gr TiteGroup WLP 714 44 = 733 – 682 16.79 (11x) -0.5 at 713 (R=.96) S180
300gr Berry / 1.225″ #29.5 ≈ ≤4.8gr TiteGroup WLP 682 44 = 700 – 656 14 (11x) -0.5 at 683 (R=.95) S179
350gr Berry / 1.225″ 5.4gr Unique WLP 688 (683, 670, 670, 722, 697) 52 = 722 – 670 21.8 (5x) -0.53 at 721 (R=0.97) S183. Stout recoil. I didn’t feel any difference in recoil between shots.

* I am still figuring out how to take the velocity-at-distance data from the LabRadar and turn it into a measurement of drag or BC. Basically I’m using Excel to make a linear fit for velocity/yards. Right now my results are sometimes inconsistent, but they seem to roughly track reality: wadcutters always show up as having more drag than round-nosed bullets of the same weight.

Measured Spring Weights

I got a “Government Length Spring Tester” by Secure Firearm Products (Brownell’s order number 100-011-593WB). For less money, you could make one yourself with a hanging scale, and a few parts from the hardware store. But I recommend this product, because it is a real bargain when you consider the time needed to build it!

I have several different recoil springs for tuning 1911s to cycle specialty ammunition. I got the tester so I could objectively compare springs from different manufacturers, and see how they changed after N hundred rounds.

So far every new Wolff and Sprinco spring I’ve tested has been within 1/4 pound of advertised weight.

The Coonan springs have not been advertised weight. I did not measure them new.

Coonan’s Red factory spring is nominally #22 pounds I measured it as 19 pounds after a few hundred heavy-loads. The spring was visually shorter than the green recoil spring. I do not know if this is actual wear, or the spring was never in spec.

Coonan’s green factory spring is recommended for 38 Special +P, and nominally 10 pounds, but I measured 12, after less than 50 rounds fired. it is noticeably longer than the Red spring.


Alliant Unique Is a classic (since 1898! billed as the “Most versatile shotgun/handgun powder made.”. Manufacturer’s Load DataChemistry and pictures.

Bottom Line: Still evaluating. It’s such a classic I’m likely to buy another pound, but I think there are better options today.


  • Very versatile, can be used in any handgun caliber.
  • Lots of load data out there.
  • Does not want to stick to plastic powder measures.


  • Reputation for being dirty.
  • Shape does not meter as well as some powders

Modern Replacements

True Blue – this is my recommendation, because it meters so well. Slightly slower than Unique.

Universal – seems to be cleaner, smaller flakes meter better, and load data shows somewhat better numbers in 45 calibers. Slightly faster than Unique.

Trail Boss — in handguns, nothing is as easier for making up safe (but slow) loads in any caliber.

Alliant Bullseye

Alliant Bullseye is a fast pistol powder, first introduced in 1913 (!!!). It is the classic powder for 45 ACP.

Bottom line: Still evaluating.


  • Historically interesting powder with over a century of recipes.
  • Can be used for light target loads, but strong enough to have powered the US Army’s sidearm for years.
  • Meters OK. Not the best, but very usable so far.


  • High nitro content means it will stick/etch plastic powder measures if accidentally left in them for too long.
  • Can get “spikey” at the high end, don’t try to make a magnum load out of it.
  • Dirty. Modern formulations are better, but it’s still not as clean as modern powders.

Density (per Lee data) 9.4 grains/cc (0.1064 VMD).

Redding 3BR Pistol Insert

pistol_insert_number ≈ (Grains – 0.35)*8.9

Grains Thrown ≈ 0.1123(pistol_insert_number) + 0.35

Pistol Insert # Grains Thrown 10x Throws (Grains)
20 2.6 26.7
40 4.8 49.25
43 5.25 ???
44 5.3 ???
45 5.5-5.4 54.9

225 Grain Truncated Cone in 45ACP

I used Missouri Bullet Co’s FlatHead! a 225 grain truncated cone, with Hi-Tek coating, Brinell 18 “for major impact”, sized 0.452. I was only interested in pushing these bullets hard, but at standard pressure. In theory the bullet design feeds and shoots like 230 grain ball, but hits harder because of the bigger meaplate.

I started with data from the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook Volume 4 for the Lee #TL452-230-TC 230gr truncated cone. Lyman says PowerPistol + Rem 2.1/2 primer at 1.170″ OAL gives:

START 6.1gr 829fps 13,600 CUP

MAX 6.7gr 927fps 17,900 CUP

I used Rem 2.1/2 primer, mixed brass, and an OAL of about 1.198″. Fired in a 5″ Les Baer 1911.

I measured:

PowerPistol Velocity ES StdDev Notes
#42≈6.1gr 834 60 = 875 – 815 16.18 (16x) LabRadar S131 Some soot on case, fed fine in 10 round PowerMag.
#44.5≈6.5gr 867 38 = 884 – 846 14.02 (5x) LabRadar S132, predicted velocity 900fps.
#46≈6.7gr 900 51 = 921 – 870 14.6 = (13x) LabRadar S164, Federal brass only
#46≈6.7gr 915 41 = 941 – 900 10.55 (13x) LabRadar S165, Win brass only

Notes: the rounds were hard to crimp. They seemed very streamlined, and hand cycling felt “slick”. There was noticeable muzzle flash indoors, but it wasn’t overwhelming. I feel pretty good about how these turned out.

Safe Deep Seating

For Midrange Revolver Loads Only

Measure the percentage change in usable case capacity between the load with the deep-seated bullet and the load with a regularly seated bullet, then reduce the charge precisely 3/4 of that percentage — e.g., if deep seating the bullet reduces usable capacity (volume under the seated bullet) from 10 grains of water to 8 grains of water, percentage reduction is 20%. If, in the standard load, the correct charge is 5 grains of powder, the correct charge in deep-seated load will be about 4.2 grains (20% x ¾ = 15%, 15% of 5 is 0.75, 5 — 0.75 = 4.25). This correction will be very close to ideal.

For those with a chronograph, to match the pressure in both loads, look for a percentage velocity difference equal to 1/5 the percentage difference in usable capacity (with both cast and swaged bullets, keeping the peak pressure within the needed range is necessary for good accuracy). Again, consider our example, if the full-length load launches the bullet at 1000 fps, the shorter version will generate the same peak pressure when it launches the bullet at about 960 fps (1/5 x 20% = 4%, 4% of 1000 = 40, 1000 — 40 = 960). Unless the volume difference becomes unusually large, perhaps >33%, these corrections will hold with sufficient accuracy for the purpose.

M.L. McPherson

Heavy Bullets in 45 ACP

I’ve always been fascinated with heavy bullets in 45 ACP. I like the idea of doubling-down on what makes the caliber special: big and slow slugs.

Here’s what I’ve tried.

240 grain JHC (Sierra #8820)

Sierra 5th Edition has loads for their 240 grain JHC (#8820) SportsMaster bullet. It’s an accurate bullet, and their data goes up to 900fps, but it hasn’t tickled my fancy. It’s less than 5% heavier than standard ball, but has a 22% worse BC. I don’t know if it will expand at 45 ACP speeds. For now, it’s on the back-burner. A while back I shot starting loads with Bullseye powder, but this was before I had a Chronograph so all I can say is that they functioned fine, and didn’t feel or perform different on paper vs 230 grain ball.

250 grain LSWC (Speer #4684)

This bullet has a worse BC (0.117) than standard ball, but it leaves big clean holes in paper and feeds OK so far. You can stamp patterns into the nose of the bullet, which is fun. Recoil is noticeably higher.

I used Speer #14 data for 45 Auto Rim and their 250 grain LSWC (#4684). It says: Test gun 6.5″ barreled S&W Model 25-2, Remington 45 Auto Rim cases, CCI300 primers, 1.24″ OAL

  • 7.4gr HS6 for 700 fps (45AR not 45ACP)
  • 7.8gr HS6 for 787 fps (45AR not 45ACP)

In 45 ACP, the start load chronographed 100fps faster than indicated! Turns out 45AR isn’t as interchangeable with 45ACP as I’d thought. Even though the Auto Rim has a lower maximum pressure than 45ACP, it has more internal capacity. Plus, many 45AR loads I’ve seen floating around are actually higher pressure than 45ACP, because they’re intended for modern revolvers, which have more fully-supported “chambers” than any autoloader.

I also did Hornady +P brass, Rem 2.1/2 primer, #29≈5.7gr True Blue, 1.24″ OAL, LabRadar S142: 769 fps avg (763, 785, 773, 768, 766, 776, 756, 764), ES 29 = 785 – 756, StdDev 8.86 (8x).

250 grain Berry’s Bullets .45 Long Colt Flat-Point

👎 To chamber reliably it had to be seated very deep. Deeper than I had load data for, and that made me very nervous about pressure. I measured the OAL of the bullet as: 0.6140 to 0.6125. It feels very slick. It has big meaplate. It has a flat base. It’s very visible with the right lighting conditions when shot.

Western Powders Load Data says, Fed 150 primer, REM case, 5″ barrel, 1.2″ OAL, True Blue Powder: 5.7gr @ 731 fps, 6.7 @ @ 839 fps and 20,889 PSI.

I did 1.2″ OAL, R-P brass, Rem 2.1/2 Primer, 5.7gr TrueBlue. This would only plunk in a HOT barrel, only sometimes. From a 5″ LesBaer I got Avg 665fps, ES 41 = 685 – 644, Std Dev 17.25 (8x), Labradar Series S133.

Rainier LeadSafe 250 Grain Plated Flat Nose (.452)

👍 perfect so far. A little longer than the Berry’s Bullets, and feeds and chambers fine. They have a dished base (like Gold Dots), I have no idea if this helps the base obturate and seal the barrel and/or deforms and harms accuracy.

Western Powders Load Data says, Fed 150 primer, REM case, 5″ barrel, 1.212″ COL

Start: 5.8 grains True Blue for 739 fps

MAX: 6.8 grains True Blue for 854 fps at 20,863 PSI

I did: 1x fired brass, Rem 2.1/2 primer, 250gr Rainier FN seated to 1.2175″ OAL:

Grains True Blue Velocity ES StdDev LabRadar
#29 ≈ 5.7gr 749 31 = 765 – 734 9.16 (11x) S140
#32 ≈ 6.3gr 792 60 = 809 – 749 15.08 (12x) S141

250 grain Oregon Trail RNFP (Untested)

Handloader #310 Had some data for 45 ACP + 250 Oregon Trail RNFP. They used an OAL of 1.200″, new Starline brass, CCI 300 primers, PowerPistol and a 5″ Wilson Combat 1911 as their test-gun.

Grains Velocity (fps) Notes
5.8 Power Pistol 852 Most accurate
6.2 Power Pistol 894 +P Pressure and/or velocity
6.5 Power Pistol 934 +P Pressure and/or velocity

250gr RNFP, HiTek coated

I used Cowboy #1 (#HT-452250CB) from Missouri Bullet Company. It’s a softish Brinell 12. They also cast the bullet at a harder Brinell 18 specifically for 45 ACP pin shooting: PinBusters! (#HT-452250M).

These bullets have to be seated somewhat deep to feed and chamber, around 1.2″ or less. I generally seated further out, to the point that the rounds would not chamber in all my guns. I did this to reduce pressure by increasing internal case capacity. They are a tight fit in the chamber. I haven’t seen evidence of pressure spikes from “seating into the lands”. But it’s hard to know with a low-pressure straight-walled case.

These bullets looked the same as the “Oregon Trail RNFP”, so I used the data from Handloader #310 — I did not actually buy a box of Oregon Trail bullets and measure them, so beware!

I did 250gr RNFP, HiTek coated, 1.205″ OAL, Rem 2.1/2, Nickel Win Brass, #36.75 (3BRP)≈5.4 grains PowerPistol. Avg Velocity
762.58 fps, ES 18.5 = 774 – 755.5, StdDev 6.31(6x), LabRadar S134.

125 gr .357 Magnum

Cartridge: 357 Magnum

Brass: New Starline

Primer: WSPM

Powder: H110 19gr

Cartridge Cartridge Length: 1.599″.

Bullet: 125gr Hornady XTP #35710

Firearm: Coonan .357 with 5″ barrel

Shooting record: 9 shots (S48) 1428.5fps average, Extreme Spread: 191=1511-1320; StdDev 78fps; 1495, 1373, 1482, 1352, 1490, 1511, 1347, 1488, 1320

Approx drag: -4 fps / yard at 1488 fps, only first 25 yards measured.


Hornady 10th edition predicted 1400fps @ 18.9 grains.

Notes: Cycled Coonan, fun boom, but not totally overwhelming recoil.