How often do you shoot your .45 ACP pistols? If you don’t shoot as often as you’d like, why don’t you shoot more often?
The most common answer I get from people is .45 ACP is too expensive right now and too difficult to find. Unfortunately, I couldn’t agree more with both of those sentiments, but it doesn’t have to be an excuse for why you’re not practicing to proficiency.
Almost every time I try to talk to people about reloading, I could see the anxiety behind finding the supplies, learning how to do it, and calculating the perceived risk in handloading.
This blog is going to give you the knowledge and understanding that everyone needs in order to start reloading their own .45 ACP. The only way to be proficient over time is to train at least every month (I try for every 2 weeks) with your pistols.
The only way most of us could afford to shoot thousands of rounds per week is to reload our own ammo. Not only will it save you money, but you’ll be able to customize your loads to fully optimize your pistol.
Since I’ve started reloading my own ammo, I’ve saved thousands of dollars in the past 2 years. As I conducted my research for a home reloading kit, I decided to go with Frankford Arsenal because their tools are mostly universal to all bullet calibers.
For me, saving space is important, and organization is vital to the proper maintenance of your tools. Having fewer tools to do the job of dozens of individual tools makes it easier to organize your tools on your reloading bench or desk.
If you have the following 13 tools, you can reload any caliber ammo that you have from .17 Hornet all the way up to a .338 Lapua, and everything in between. For everything, you may spend $500, but that purchase is only 1 time. 10 (50 round) boxes of .45 ACP will cost well over $200 and that’s money that you can’t recoup in any way.
If you’re worried about what your wife/husband will say, tell them it’s an investment for their future to save money and be prepared to defend the family if that time ever comes. Regardless of how you spin it, reloading your own ammo will save you thousands of dollars if you shoot often.
There are several different gunpowder companies you can use, but most reloaders I know use Hodgdon because of their consistency and reliability as a company.
There are at least 9 different powders you can choose from within Hodgdon for .45 ACP gunpowder. It’s up to each individual to choose which powder is would work better with their type of .45 ACP pistol. For example, The Hodgdon HP-38 is great for .38 Special but also works great with a .45 ACP.
My favorite is the Clays Target powder because it’s meant for target shooting and I don’t practice as much with my hollow points. CFE Pistol Powder is great for reducing the amount of carbon and copper build-up in your pistol. I’ll include the loading data for both powders so you can choose between target shooting and loading self-defense rounds.
What is The Load Data For the .45 ACP Hodgdon Powder?
One of the most common bullets I see people loading the 160 Gr. Bar Tac-XP with both the clays and CFE Pistol powder.
The other very common bullet to use for self-defense is the 200 Gr SPR JHP bullet. It’s a heavy round with a devastating impact on the target and enough velocity to knock anyone off their feet.
Which Bullets Should I Use For 45 ACP?
There are a few different bullets that are on sale right now at Natchez Shooting Supplies for a great price, especially in the environment that we’re currently in.
The Hornady XTPHP 185 Gr bullet is perfect for self-defense with great weight retention upon impact and a wide, uniform expansion. The force and velocity of the XTP bullet are known for their stopping power.
Right now you can get 100 XTP hollow points for $0.30 per bullet at Natchez Shooting Supplies.
Brass is oddly one of the most expensive components to buy from the store, so most reloaders try to always recycle and reuse their own brass.
There are a couple of ways I recommend doing this; first, buy yourself a Brass Retriever from Caldwell and thank me later for saving your back and knees from constantly bending over to pick up brass.
Second, spend the extra money on buying the bigger 7L rotary tumbler from Frankfordto accommodate as many cases as possible. For example, you can fit 600-800 .45 ACP brass cases into the 7L Rotary Tumbler.
I use these tools in conjunction with each other to ensure that I get as much brass as I can from the ranges and I’m able to gather everything from 9mm, .40S&W, .45 ACP, .308, 30-06, and the occasional .38 Special.
I have separate buckets labeled for each caliber of brass for when I inspect each case and get them prepped for cleaning in the Rotary Tumbler.
I haven’t done the official math on the amount I’ve saved, but I’ve gathered around 20,000 cases (a conservative number) of multiple calibers that I reload and use frequently. If I had to guess, I’d say I’ve saved around $2,000 in less than 2 years by collecting brass at public ranges. To learn how to properly inspect each case before you try to reload it, read our blog, How to Save Time, Money, and Energy With Reloading 9mm Ammo.
What Primer Does 45 ACP Use?
The only Primer that I’ve ever used is the Federal #150 Primer, Large Pistol, or the CCI #300 large Pistol primer for both a Glock 41 and a 1911 Pistol.
I suggest using one or the other and deciding which one works best for your brass and performs better on the range.
As of right now, I’m unable to find primers anywhere online, but companies like Natchez, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Kentucky Gun Company, and Sportsman’s Guide get them in periodically.
The best way to get primers before they sell out is to sign up for email alerts for specific products. Once the item gets back in stock, they send an email immediately to your account. If you can be quick and order ASAP, you’ll get primers.
The Frankford M-Press doesn’t come with a die set, so. you’ll have to buy your own for the .45 ACP and I think the best one is the Hornady 3-Die Pistol Taper Crimp Die Set. As many of us already know, most 45 ACP ammo is going to be taper crimped.
This removes the bell from expanding the brass for bullet seating and secures the bullet so it doesn’t move from recoil. You don’t have to taper crimp any caliber lower than a .40 S&W in most cases because the recoil is light enough to keep the bullet properly seated.
When it comes down to measuring the powder for your .45 ACP cases, it’s vital to get as close as possible to the exact weight of the load. There is no other single-stage press right now under $500 that comes as close as the Intellidropper.
Most powder measure tools can come within +/- .5 grain, but the Intellidropper gets you within .1 grain for as close to a certainty as you can ask for. No other powder measure tool allows you to dial in your optimal load like the Intellidropper and the added features of the free App and Bluetooth compatibility are like a cherry on top of an already decadent cake.
There are many different presses from companies like Hornady, Lyman, and RCBS, but there is no feature that the M-Press from Frankford Arsenal doesn’t have and the rest do.
Using the 3-Die pistol taper crimp die set from Hornady on the M-Press takes the anxiety out of worrying about a proper crimp on the bullet. You’ll rarely see a universal bullet press machine that can do every single handgun and rifle caliber bullet that you can shoot for under $200.
When you consider right now that .45 ACP bullets are incredibly rare and overpriced, there is only one other option for avid shooters; that’s to reload your own ammo. If you’re one of the few and fortunate that have no concern over money or how much a product costs, then reloading may not be worth it for you.
If you chose to reload your own .45 ACP ammo, you can do so with much higher precision and control over ballistics for less than $0.40 per round. This might not sound like a lot, but when you have 1,000 rounds, the difference is 760-400=$360 in saving for just one day at the range.
To make it even better for you, use your Brass Retriever and collect all of your brass to reload the next batch of 1,000 .45 ACP bullets. Depending on how often you’re on the range, you could reload each piece of brass up to 6-8 times before you’d need to consider discarding the case. This kind of saving could save you $1,000-$3,000 per year if you shout on the weekends.
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