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Discussion Starter #1
So I noticed this after the last time out shooting that brass was coming out of my XD45 Tactical with one side sooted. Thinking back a couple of months it did this with factory ammo as well. My reloads (5.0 gr of HP38/Win231 230gr Rainier Plated RN, mixed head stamp brass, 1.27" OAL) are on the upper end of data produced by Hodgdon/IMR/Winchester Powders data online (5.3 being max for both Jacketed and lead and producing GI hardball 830 FPS).

At any rate, the sooting caused me to take a hard look at the chamber dimensions of my XD45 tactical and I noticed that with the barrel out of the slide, a loaded round has a fair amount of side to side play about a hundredth (.01") of an inch as measured with a dial indicator.

Does anyone else have any experience with this? It doesn't bother me at all as the sooting comes off during polishing but it is attributed to chamber sealing issues and that is slightly annoying for consistency's sake. I would think that at 5.0 gr of HP38 would produce enough pressure to seal the chamber.

Anything worth being concerned about for the long term?

Round count is 2615 and Serial# is XD634*** if that matters.
 

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You could always measure the chamber against SAAMI spec's, but you'd probably find it is within tolerance.

FWIW,
In a gun like the XD is designed to be, I'd rather have a chamber that is a bit on the loose side, than one which is finicky about which ammo it will functionally shoot reliably.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You could always measure the chamber against SAAMI spec's, but you'd probably find it is within tolerance.

FWIW,
In a gun like the XD is designed to be, I'd rather have a chamber that is a bit on the loose side, than one which is finicky about which ammo it will functionally shoot reliably.
SAAMI chamber specifications are not "publicly" available. I did find one source that said that for Govt 1911's the diameter should be no more than .4852" and claimed the data was from SAAMI's specifications for .45ACP in 1911s. Using a set of inside calipers (not really a reliable measurement) mine was about .495" and decreased to about .490" about a thousandth in. I guess I wont worry about it. The sooting is annoying during pick up, but if it isn't causing serious issues I guess no real reason to complain other than exceptionally dirty chamber after a 500 round firing session :) I guess I just worried about the case head expanding too much after lots of firing but I bet wearing the brass out is more likely than that!

I agree with the last part though! So long as it chambers Hornady TAP I'm happy :p

Curiosity does get the better of me though so I am still curious if anyone else has noticed this with their XD45s?
 

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SAAMI chamber specifications are not "publicly" available. I did find one source that said that for Govt 1911's the diameter should be no more than .4852" and claimed the data was from SAAMI's specifications for .45ACP in 1911s. Using a set of inside calipers (not really a reliable measurement) mine was about .495" and decreased to about .490" about a thousandth in. I guess I wont worry about it. The sooting is annoying during pick up, but if it isn't causing serious issues I guess no real reason to complain other than exceptionally dirty chamber after a 500 round firing session :) I guess I just worried about the case head expanding too much after lots of firing but I bet wearing the brass out is more likely than that!

I agree with the last part though! So long as it chambers Hornady TAP I'm happy :p

Curiosity does get the better of me though so I am still curious if anyone else has noticed this with their XD45s?
Ignore the price, and click a link :D

Click "Publications" and then make a choice - SAAMI under this section:
Performance Standards Developed for the American National Standards Institute
 

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You are loading both light and long. An IDPA article I read while researching possible loads, stated that a 5.3 gr measure of HP-38 loaded at 1.25 AOL with 230 gr RN would fail to even make major power factor reliably. So marginal that temp variations could cause lighter minor power load velocities. Not that one article (just like one load recipe) means much, but you are at the really low end of of loading 45acp. You are not going to get any expansion of the brass sufficient to seal a normal chamber.
While your particulay XD might happen to have a larger than normal chamber just through random manufacturing tolerance, it is more likely right about where is was designed. For a combat based standpoint it is not going to be a minimum SAAMI match spec barrel. Rather it should be a bit larger then the minimums for feeding reliability.
Also, individual powder lots can vary to a large degree. Some tests have found as much as nearly 15% variations in some powders over time and between lots. More normally you should expect up to 8% variations, until you work up new load data for each lot.
Sooting at normal pistol pressures does not appear to be a problem except for dirty fingers picking up brass. Gas cutting like found at rifle pressures has not been a problem with pistol rounds. Even the higher pressure 357SIG does not have any gas cutting from low powder loads failing to expand the brass.
I have been loading from the same lot of HP-38 for about 2 years. Using 230 gr Precision Delta copper clad RN and Rainer (soft lead) electro plated 230 gr HP. At an OAL of 1.25 with 5.3 gr HP-38 and medium crimp, I still get some light sooting part way back the case. Only maybe one in 20 even had the side case dent from ejecting against the slide. At 5.1 gr, heavy sooting the entire case length (either bullet). Currently loading with 5.3 gr powder at OAL of 1.22 with light to medium Lee factory crimp for a really easy shooting accurate and mid range recoil round. Have never tried at 1.27 long. Does the slide still function? I tried 5.1 at OAL of 1.25 and 1.22 and had fully sooted cases. Recoils was so light it actually distracted me from accuracy so I went back to 5.3gr at 1.220. Even 5.6gr at OAL of 1.250 that I tried while developing my range load have lighter recoil than commercial Am Eagle 230 RN. Suggested loads up to 5.8 at 1.25 OAL are not that uncommon for 230 gr bullets - with no over pressure signs. 6.0 gr at 1.23 seems used as a +P load (user not manual data). Check some different manuals and just work up from the lower loadings.
Nearly through this powder lot. Will have to do new workup with the next batch.

Last week I loaded 250 rnds with Precision Delta 230gr MJRN with 5.3 gr HP-38 and OAL of 1.220 and 1.225 to compare the recoil.

edit: this was with Federal (Am Eagle or HST) brass, Winchester WLP primers, third time reloaded. And with 5.3 at 1.230 OAL still got occasional sooting around mouth area of cartridge. Not any problem, just the recoil feels more 'balanced' at around 1.220. I go for loading length tolerances of - 0.0 to +0.002, but at mid range powder charge a little more on the plus side of length would not matter.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You are loading both light and long. An IDPA article I read while researching possible loads, stated that a 5.3 gr measure of HP-38 loaded at 1.25 AOL with 230 gr RN would fail to even make major power factor reliably. So marginal that temp variations could cause lighter minor power load velocities. Not that one article (just like one load recipe) means much, but you are at the really low end of of loading 45acp. You are not going to get any expansion of the brass sufficient to seal a normal chamber.
While your particulay XD might happen to have a larger than normal chamber just through random manufacturing tolerance, it is more likely right about where is was designed. For a combat based standpoint it is not going to be a minimum SAAMI match spec barrel. Rather it should be a bit larger then the minimums for feeding reliability.
Also, individual powder lots can vary to a large degree. Some tests have found as much as nearly 15% variations in some powders over time and between lots. More normally you should expect up to 8% variations, until you work up new load data for each lot.
Sooting at normal pistol pressures does not appear to be a problem except for dirty fingers picking up brass. Gas cutting like found at rifle pressures has not been a problem with pistol rounds. Even the higher pressure 357SIG does not have any gas cutting from low powder loads failing to expand the brass.
I have been loading from the same lot of HP-38 for about 2 years. Using 230 gr Precision Delta copper clad RN and Rainer (soft lead) electro plated 230 gr HP. At an OAL of 1.25 with 5.3 gr HP-38 and medium crimp, I still get some light sooting part way back the case. Only maybe one in 20 even had the side case dent from ejecting against the slide. At 5.1 gr, heavy sooting the entire case length (either bullet). Currently loading with 5.3 gr powder at OAL of 1.22 with light to medium Lee factory crimp for a really easy shooting accurate and mid range recoil round. Have never tried at 1.27 long. Does the slide still function? I tried 5.1 at OAL of 1.25 and 1.22 and had fully sooted cases. Recoils was so light it actually distracted me from accuracy so I went back to 5.3gr at 1.220. Even 5.6gr at OAL of 1.250 that I tried while developing my range load have lighter recoil than commercial Am Eagle 230 RN. Suggested loads up to 5.8 at 1.25 OAL are not that uncommon for 230 gr bullets - with no over pressure signs. 6.0 gr at 1.23 seems used as a +P load (user not manual data). Check some different manuals and just work up from the lower loadings.
Nearly through this powder lot. Will have to do new workup with the next batch.

Last week I loaded 250 rnds with Precision Delta 230gr MJRN with 5.3 gr HP-38 and OAL of 1.220 and 1.225 to compare the recoil.

edit: this was with Federal (Am Eagle or HST) brass, Winchester WLP primers, third time reloaded. And with 5.3 at 1.230 OAL still got occasional sooting around mouth area of cartridge. Not any problem, just the recoil feels more 'balanced' at around 1.220. I go for loading length tolerances of - 0.0 to +0.002, but at mid range powder charge a little more on the plus side of length would not matter.
Good solid info. I shot another 505 rounds through today and still had sooting issues. I like the milder recoil at 5.0 gr. The OAL of 1.27" it still feeds and functions fine. By chance these where found to be more accurate than loading to 1.25". See, I recently bought a Hornady LNL AP and decided to set it up. Well the first batch of 100 ran to 1.27" OAL due to setting the seating stem, then moving the die accidentally while tightening the lock ring. When shot it produced a noticeably tighter group. It continues to shoot fairly well. I must admit, I didn't really work up this load, just picked the 5.0 +/- .1 grain range as it was guaranteed to cycle the slide and operate correctly and produce less recoil than military ball.

I guess I could seat them deeper again and try a little more powder to see if it causes the sooting to go away. I was more worried about having "Glock bulge" but I realize it's .45 ACP and the pressures we are talking here are HALF what .40 S&W does to produce Glock Bulge. Call me paranoid :p I guess I'm trying to find fault in an otherwise perfect pistol :) Grip is a bit small for my hands. An M9 feels good in my hands, as does a Glock 21 :shock:. However I just purchased a Handall so that should bring it back to perfect status :D

Round count: 3120
Failures: 6 Failure to Feed (ammo related) 0 Failure to Fire, 0 Failure to extract
 

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What ever works for you. BTW I was shooting a 4" service barrel and also tried a 5" Storm Lake in the Service 45. At around 5.1 to 5.3gr there does not seem to be much difference between the soft lead Ranier plated and harder copper clad Delta bullets as far as recoil or sooting.
I do not want to get too use to a real soft recoil recovery for practice of aimed second shots (double tap) in SD. Just light enough for comfortable non-tiring shooting of about 250-300 rounds per session. After that both accuracy and technique go to crap. Don't need to practice bad shooting.

This weeks loading will be for developing a 40SW practice load. Trying these:

165gr Rainer TFN, HP-38 4.6-4.9gr 1.125 OAL SP Magnum primer ('cause I got about 6K of these) medium crimped

180gr Delta RFN, HP-38 4.3-4.6gr 1.125 OAL SP Magnum primer, medium crimped

May try some at 1.120 with .3 lighter powder loads, but do not want to play too far at reducing length with a 40SW cal. I turned a tungsten guide rod so recoil snap is tame
 

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I have around 200 rounds through my 45 Service and I noticed that the empty brass had soot from the empty brass opening to about 1/2 way up the empty case. I am not clear if this is the same thing you are seeing. If the soot is blowing by the case from end to end then Id think there might be an issue. The issue being that the case is not expanding enough when the primer has ignited the powder. I do not see how that would be possible though because I do not think that area if the barrel would wear. I could be wrong though.
 
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