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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK reloading gods,

I bought an FNX45 recently, and took it out to the range today for the first time. Being the genius that I am, I didn't bring my XD45 Tac that usually sees range duty, just in case the cartridges I rolled didn't work in the FNX.

Murphy prevailed right on cue, and the RNFP 200gr cartridges that the XD eats all day were FTE in the FNX45. Additionally, the 230gr RN cartridges that I happened to have cycled the action on the FNX, but were not able to lock the slide back after the last round.

I suspect that the 230gr RN cartridges didn't lock the FNX slide back after the last round because there weren't enough grains to do so...is this correct? And does anyone have an easy way to check headspace between these two .45s? Thanks again to all, and regards.
 

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Well... as to the headspace thing, I don't think that is the problem unless you cannot get the pistol into battery. Somewhat shorter rounds which may give "excessive" headspace are only a problem in a pistol if the firing pin is too short to set them off. You can, of course "plunk test" the rounds in your unmounted FNX45 barrel to see if they drop in and out and are fairly even with or slightly below the hood of the barrel which would be OK.

Being a new pistol, and therefore still having a pretty stiff recoil spring, the FNX could just be more reluctant to fully eject those rounds. You did not mention what your load was so I cannot without further data give you much help. I will tell you that with auto pistols, it is generally NOT a good idea to load to the "minimum" listed in some books or other sources. Generally you want to be at mid-range loadings for auto pistols to insure good function. Just because one gun runs pretty well with the load, does not mean another will. Still... I would bet that even the same rounds fired from your XD were not ejecting the cases very far and perhaps they had some carbon on the ejected cases, indicating a somewhat underpowered load.
 

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As far as the grains of powder go - Justsomeguy is right, autos need more than minimum. Be sure to go by the loading tables though, don't just keep adding powder. If you or someone you know has a Chrono it's good to check your new loads on them as you can really see what's happening.
Also, if you are reloading, which it sounds like, a chamber checker is a good investment. You can use a barrel as suggested but it's one at a time. EGW has great precision 7 hole chamber checkers for about $20 on Midway. I found if it's a problem in the chamber checker, (even a small one) it will be a problem on the range so might as well fix it right then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well... as to the headspace thing, I don't think that is the problem unless you cannot get the pistol into battery. Somewhat shorter rounds which may give "excessive" headspace are only a problem in a pistol if the firing pin is too short to set them off. You can, of course "plunk test" the rounds in your unmounted FNX45 barrel to see if they drop in and out and are fairly even with or slightly below the hood of the barrel which would be OK.

Being a new pistol, and therefore still having a pretty stiff recoil spring, the FNX could just be more reluctant to fully eject those rounds. You did not mention what your load was so I cannot without further data give you much help. I will tell you that with auto pistols, it is generally NOT a good idea to load to the "minimum" listed in some books or other sources. Generally you want to be at mid-range loadings for auto pistols to insure good function. Just because one gun runs pretty well with the load, does not mean another will. Still... I would bet that even the same rounds fired from your XD were not ejecting the cases very far and perhaps they had some carbon on the ejected cases, indicating a somewhat underpowered load.
Wow, JSG...you are good. I've been wondering why most of my ejected brass had carbon stains covering about 1/5th of the surface area; now I know that even though the XD cycled, it wasn't enough to ensure optimum pistol action due to not enough grains. The recipe for the 230gr I used in this setting was 4.3gr of Bullseye...would 4.5gr be better? The 200gr cartridges had more grain in them to begin with, so that probably explains why those performed better in the XD...and here I thought it was just the RNFP bullets enabling some of that increased performance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
As far as the grains of powder go - Justsomeguy is right, autos need more than minimum. Be sure to go by the loading tables though, don't just keep adding powder. If you or someone you know has a Chrono it's good to check your new loads on them as you can really see what's happening.
Also, if you are reloading, which it sounds like, a chamber checker is a good investment. You can use a barrel as suggested but it's one at a time. EGW has great precision 7 hole chamber checkers for about $20 on Midway. I found if it's a problem in the chamber checker, (even a small one) it will be a problem on the range so might as well fix it right then.
I use a Dillon case gauge to check for chamber fit, although being able to do seven at one time is nice...thanks for pointing it out.
 

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If your load is light, new gun, new recoil spring, things might not function properly. Forget case gauges, your bbls chamber is the final word. A case gauge has no rifling, so only tells you if it is sized & crimped correctly. If you are sure you are not causing the slide to not lock, thumb placement, & the mags are working properly, adding another 1/10 gr may be all you need.
 

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Yep, the barrel's chamber is the best gauge you have. And I agree with JSG as well, you're loads may be to light to function. Did these loads run okay in the XD TAC? We're talking about .45 cast bullets that typically feed about as good as it gets with cast bullets.

For the 200 gr. RNFP from MBC or Bulletwork's and a few others that use the same mold, I like to load them at 1.210" which keeps the case-mouth just below the bullet's crimp groove. You can defintely load longer with the 230 gr. RN, but you'll need to determine which pistol has the shortest throat, load for it and the loads will run in both pistols unless you want to load for them separately, which I don't do personally.

Even though your problems were ejection related, your 230 gr. RN load might have been crowding the lands/leade/throat in the FNX. Make up a "dummy" round with the 230 gr. RN at Max OACL spec of 1.275". Use only enough crimp to remove the flare. You're gonna be shortening the load and you don't want to shave lead. 1.275" will likely be too long and the case-rim may extend beyond the barrel's hood, so shorten in .010" increments until you can see that the case-rim is getting close to flush with the barrel hood. Then start shortening by .005" until the case-rim is flush and start "plunk" testing. When the load "plunks", you should also be able to spin it in the chamber. On crimping cast lead bullets, I use as little as possible but you have to keep in mind the thickness of the case-walls (double thickness and add bullet diameter) and the actual bullet diameter. The SAAMI Max spec for case-mouth diameter is .473" and there are a good many pistols that don't like diameter that large and you might want to keep them at .452" Max. But again, it depends on the dimensions you're working with. Because some .45 ACP brass, i.e. Remington can be thinner than typical, I've learned what brands are thin and I toss them into a bin specifically for cast bullet or any over-size bullet load. I like to use cases that are at .0105" for my JHP loads. A .010" bullet would go into the cast bin and the cast bullets I buy are sized .452", so it's a simple matter of doubling thickness, .010" x 2 = .020" and adding dia. .452" = .472" which may not need anything more than minimal crimp to remove the flare. With the 230 gr. RN, find which pistol has the shortest chamber and load for it. The loads will work for both pistols.

Since the .45 ACP is a low pressure round with a Max Average Pressure, or MAP spec of 21,000 PSI, I agree that it is safe to start with a mid charge. If you don't feel comfortable with that, start lower but only make 5 - 10 rounds with .2 gr. increases until you reach the MID-CHARGE. If the lower charge loads don't fully function the slide, then you don't have to have to worry about having too many of them. ;)
 

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I suspect that the 230gr RN cartridges didn't lock the FNX slide back after the last round because there weren't enough grains to do so...is this correct? And does anyone have an easy way to check headspace between these two .45s? Thanks again to all, and regards.
With soot on cases and problems ejecting, you need to put a little more powder in your loads. Follow published data guidelines but don't limit yourself to the lightest loads. Load some with increasing amounts of powder up to the max listed in your data for the specific bullet you have. You can stop shooting your increasingly powerful test loads when you get to the load that gives you the performance you seek. I bet you will see that the soot decreases and the ejection becomes better.

You are having no problems feeding into either pistol and do not need to change how you seat and crimp. If it works, it works. Don't fix what is not broken.

I have one of those 7-hole gauges and use it occasionally but generally use a barrel to set my dies and to check a few loaded rounds. The gauge can give many false negatives for a variety of reasons.

Nothing in your post suggests that you have any problem with headspace in your pistols. Your rounds chamber and fire. If you really want to check your headspace, get a sized but unexpanded case that fits your chamber and measure it.


As mentioned above, make sure your grip is not interfering with the slide lock so that it keeps the slide from locking on the last round. This happens a lot.
 

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Wow, JSG...you are good. I've been wondering why most of my ejected brass had carbon stains covering about 1/5th of the surface area; now I know that even though the XD cycled, it wasn't enough to ensure optimum pistol action due to not enough grains. The recipe for the 230gr I used in this setting was 4.3gr of Bullseye...would 4.5gr be better? The 200gr cartridges had more grain in them to begin with, so that probably explains why those performed better in the XD...and here I thought it was just the RNFP bullets enabling some of that increased performance.
The "ancient" standard (and by ancient I mean for 100 years) for Bullseye with a 230grn bullet is 5grns and I think the OAL would be about 1.234 which should be easy to remember. That would be like a military or factory standard cartridge. You could try some using about 4.5-4.6grns which should "run the gun" with an OAL of 1.23 or so with an 230grn RN bullet. I never used Bullseye much except for some 38 wadcutter loads where I was trying to duplicate some ammo that a club was handing out for a "turkey shoot" so I could set up my 1911 gun that I made to shoot 38 Special wadcutter loads years ago (Don't try this at home... no seriously! You need a special barrel and the recoil spring would have to be handmade and the magazines... well that's another story.). For 200grn lead bullets I think I used 7grns of Unique but those records have long ago disappeared.
 

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The "ancient" standard (and by ancient I mean for 100 years) for Bullseye with a 230grn bullet is 5grns and I think the OAL would be about 1.234 which should be easy to remember. That would be like a military or factory standard cartridge. You could try some using about 4.5-4.6grns which should "run the gun" with an OAL of 1.23 or so with an 230grn RN bullet. I never used Bullseye much except for some 38 wadcutter loads where I was trying to duplicate some ammo that a club was handing out for a "turkey shoot" so I could set up my 1911 gun that I made to shoot 38 Special wadcutter loads years ago (Don't try this at home... no seriously! You need a special barrel and the recoil spring would have to be handmade and the magazines... well that's another story.). For 200grn lead bullets I think I used 7grns of Unique but those records have long ago disappeared.

JSG, even 1.234" is a bit short. Lyman's #452374 RN made with their #2 alloy weighs 225 grs. and they load it to 1.272".


You are having no problems feeding into either pistol and do not need to change how you seat and crimp. If it works, it works. Don't fix what is not broken.
That would depend on what you consider acceptable accuracy. Loading at minimum OACL might "work" where nothing's broken, but it's doubtful you'll get the accuracy the pistol is capable of. Particularly with the longer/heavier 230 gr. RN, they will "work" better by loading them according to the chamber's dimensions loading .005 - .010" shorter than the Max possible for the bullet and chamber for a safe margin of freebore, with minimal bullet jump to the lands, so long as that OACL reliably functions in the magazines. ;)
 

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That would depend on what you consider acceptable accuracy.
He does not need to be overly concerned with maximum accuracy at this time. He does need to get the pistols running. They do not run with the present powder charge but do feed and fire. My suggestion is to change nothing about the OAL and crimp because they are not the problem keeping the pistols from working. Find a powder charge that works and then you can try for more accurate loads at some later time if you want to do so.

OAL can be very different for different bullets because they often have different shapes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
JSG, even 1.234" is a bit short. Lyman's #452374 RN made with their #2 alloy weighs 225 grs. and they load it to 1.272".




That would depend on what you consider acceptable accuracy. Loading at minimum OACL might "work" where nothing's broken, but it's doubtful you'll get the accuracy the pistol is capable of. Particularly with the longer/heavier 230 gr. RN, they will "work" better by loading them according to the chamber's dimensions loading .005 - .010" shorter than the Max possible for the bullet and chamber for a safe margin of freebore, with minimal bullet jump to the lands, so long as that OACL reliably functions in the magazines. ;)
The OAL I've been using for the 230gr RN recipe detailed here was 1.260". And why do more grains in a cartridge equal better accuracy? I've noticed that powders like True Blue (which require more grains per cartridge) have generally been more accurate for me than Bullseye or 700X. I don't know if that was simply because I've rolled underpowered cartridges using other powders or not, but the difference was noticeable.
 

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The OAL I've been using for the 230gr RN recipe detailed here was 1.260". And why do more grains in a cartridge equal better accuracy? I've noticed that powders like True Blue (which require more grains per cartridge) have generally been more accurate for me than Bullseye or 700X. I don't know if that was simply because I've rolled underpowered cartridges using other powders or not, but the difference was noticeable.

1.260" is a pretty common OACL for the 230 gr. RN, but you should still "plunk" test if you haven't. True Blue is what I use most in .45 ACP loads and accuracy can be outstanding. From an earlier load guide they list 6.1 grs. as the Start Charge for 794 FPS @ 15,912 PSI. They happen to list the Mid-Charge as 6.4 grs. for 820 FPS @ 17,022 PSI. The Max Charge is 6.7 grs. for 852 FPS at 19,312 PSI. Standard Deviations were outstanding at 3, 4 and 5 respectively. I would use the mid-charge of 6.4 grs, which should function 100%. If you're out of True Blue then go to a mid-charge of Bullseye or 700-X. ;)
 

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He does not need to be overly concerned with maximum accuracy at this time. He does need to get the pistols running. They do not run with the present powder charge but do feed and fire. My suggestion is to change nothing about the OAL and crimp because they are not the problem keeping the pistols from working. Find a powder charge that works and then you can try for more accurate loads at some later time if you want to do so.

OAL can be very different for different bullets because they often have different shapes.

I understand your point and definitely agree with the last sentence about different bullet shapes. That can definitely effect OACL. And load development should start by determining the proper OACL for any particular in your pistol. Without confirming the proper OACL, if the load was at Max Possible OACL with the bullet touching the lands or slightly pressed into them, the pistol could still function fine while the problem exists. It's also possible that it could cause the excess soot on the cases. ;)
 

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The OAL I've been using for the 230gr RN recipe detailed here was 1.260". And why do more grains in a cartridge equal better accuracy? I've noticed that powders like True Blue (which require more grains per cartridge) have generally been more accurate for me than Bullseye or 700X. I don't know if that was simply because I've rolled underpowered cartridges using other powders or not, but the difference was noticeable.
It's not that "more grains" will always equal better accuracy, but that operating the mechanics of the gun near an "optimal" or "best" level will allow it to do the same thing every time. By this I mean that it will recoil to the same place, the barrel will come up at the same rate, the bullet will be introduced to the rifling at very nearly the same speed with the peak pressure curve rising and falling in a near identical manner. These things all affect the "mechanical" accuracy to a great degree (plus how you hold the gun throughout the entire process). There are other factors too, like how the bullet fits the chamber and rifling, the sustained pressure in the barrel and how even it is, the grip of the case on the bullet, the "rate" of the rifling and how well it conforms to the bullet weight, and I suppose quantum physics which would describe what is happening at an atomic level relative to the heat and pressure at the moment of ignition and how it affects the acceleration of the bullet and reacts with that bullet overall, for which I would assume there is a "best case" solution.

So... some powders loaded to various densities do better with some bullets in some guns at various OAL's than others do. Experimentation is in order to determine which works for your particular application. In other words, it's pretty "iffy" and you have to try stuff to see.
 

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The OAL I've been using for the 230gr RN recipe detailed here was 1.260". And why do more grains in a cartridge equal better accuracy? I've noticed that powders like True Blue (which require more grains per cartridge) have generally been more accurate for me than Bullseye or 700X. I don't know if that was simply because I've rolled underpowered cartridges using other powders or not, but the difference was noticeable.
Depends on the burn rate of a powder. Medium to slow burning powders need a higher pressure level to burn completely. The more complete combustion is, the less vel variation you get, generally the more accurate the load will be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
1.260" is a pretty common OACL for the 230 gr. RN, but you should still "plunk" test if you haven't. True Blue is what I use most in .45 ACP loads and accuracy can be outstanding. From an earlier load guide they list 6.1 grs. as the Start Charge for 794 FPS @ 15,912 PSI. They happen to list the Mid-Charge as 6.4 grs. for 820 FPS @ 17,022 PSI. The Max Charge is 6.7 grs. for 852 FPS at 19,312 PSI. Standard Deviations were outstanding at 3, 4 and 5 respectively. I would use the mid-charge of 6.4 grs, which should function 100%. If you're out of True Blue then go to a mid-charge of Bullseye or 700-X. ;)
Update to this thread. Tried adding .2gr more to the recipe in question, and the FNX45 not only cycled much better, the cartridges themselves no longer had burn marks down one side of them....sweet. Thanks to all for the advice!
 

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I'll add a thanks to all the experts as well…I may not be involved in the original question but I always pick up tidbits in these discussions. Appreciate you guys being willing to educate us newbies.
 

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I'll add a thanks to all the experts as well…I may not be involved in the original question but I always pick up tidbits in these discussions. Appreciate you guys being willing to educate us newbies.
If I had access to th Internet when I started reloading almost 40yrs ago, my learning curve woud have been a lot less steep.:mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update to this thread. Tried adding .2gr more to the recipe in question, and the FNX45 not only cycled much better, the cartridges themselves no longer had burn marks down one side of them....sweet. Thanks to all for the advice!
Forgot to add that the extra grains allowed for more accuracy as well...makes sense that the faster a bullet exits a barrel, the less chance for it to be pulled off target. Imagine that!
 
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