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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a police officer and carry a Government Model on duty. Last year I suffered from some pretty bad tendinitis in my right elbow which has just now gotten better (after physical therapy and laying off of it). I'm leery of going back to practicing with nothing but factory ball ammo for fear of re-aggravating it.

I'm looking for a light recoiling 45 ACP load that will still function my gun with the 18.5 lbs Wolff recoil springs we run (we carry Federal HST on duty).

I have a bunch of 185gr LSWC (powdercoated) bullets lying around and some 230gr LRN (powdercoated).

One suggested load was 4.3gr of Hodgon Clays under the 185gr rounds. I also have some Bullseye on hand.

What "light" loads do you guys recommend?
 

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Why not load 9 rounds of the 185's with 4.0gr Bullseye and shoot them? They may function with the 18.5 recoil spring. If they do, adjust down 0.2 gr and try again. If they don't adjust up 0.2gr and try again. Shouldn't take too much trial to dial in a Bullseye load that will cycle your pistol with 185gr bullets.
 

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My post shoulder surgery load was as low as 3.4 gr of Bullseye with a 200 gr. bullet and my stock sprung 4" STI Guardian still ran (I was surprised it ran that light but ejection is weak) it was extremely accurate & way softer than any 9mm!! It's very dirty at that low charge weight. Upped the charge a few times, every .2 up to 4.4gr. Cleaner burning as you go up but my best accuracy loads were the 3.4gr and 3.8gr.

Switched over to Clays.... similar accuracy and light recoil but MUCH cleaner at low charge weights. 4.0gr Clays under a 200gr RNF (precision bullets) lead coated bullet. I also run 185 gr plated (RMR )bullets over 4.0 or 4.2 gr Clays... Both those loads runs my gun with stock springs.

I've gone lighter but you would probably have to change springs.

Heal well, friend!
 

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Wear a tennis elbow brace while shooting ... it will help reduce the pain.
 

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3.8 of Clays under a 230 will give you about 725fps.
 

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I too have had great luck with 4.0g of Bullseye. A light charge of Clays is also worth trying. Some good advice here.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wear a tennis elbow brace while shooting ... it will help reduce the pain.
I did that every time I shot in 2019...followed by lots of ice.

My goal is to practice with light enough loads the tendonitis doesn't come back.
 

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The Geezer Load.
185 Berry's hollow base round nose
5.4 grs. 231
1.250 OAL
Good soft load and it runs fine in my Les Baer CC.
 

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Another “Geezer” load.
4.8 gr of 231 with a 230 FMJ. cOL 1.25
Right around 700 and on the edge of exercising those Wolff springs.
This won’t tear you up!
 

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3.8 of Clays under a 230 will give you about 725fps.
Good load with mellow recoil.

3.7gr Clays with a coated 230 at 1.250 ran fine in my stock sprung guns.
3.8gr should be good with a coated 230 and 18.5# spring.
 

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Try heat first!

I did that every time I shot in 2019...followed by lots of ice.

My goal is to practice with light enough loads the tendonitis doesn't come back.
I've had tennis elbow in both arms over the years and the best thing for me was to use a heating pad for 10-20minutes wrapped around my forearm and elbow before shooting, to loosen everything up and a few minutes of stretching your wrist... and then a cold pack after shooting. That was the only way I could shoot without pain.

The risk you run is that shooting with the pain will cause you to develop a weaker grip to avoid the pain... which will hurt your shooting. The heat pack allows you to shoot without pain so it won't hurt your shooting. Plus heat/ice alternation like that increases blood flow to the area and will help it heal a little faster.
 

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5.9 gr BE-86 @ 1.260 with 230gr. PC bullet. Stock DW Specialist
 

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If the OP has any N310, 4.0 gr. with a 185 LSWC works well for me too. I've found that 4.0 gr of either Bullseye or N310 are easy to shoot and very accurate in all my full sized 1911s.

All mine are set up with a 16# recoil spring and 19# mainspring so he may need to bump the load up a bit to get his gun to cycle properly, but shouldn't take too much of any increase.
 

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4.0-4.5 Bullseye, 200gr LSWC. Didn't realize how soft 4.5gr is till I shot my last box of Freedom Munitions 230, quite a difference.
 

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My old standard range/practice load is 200 LSWC and 4.0 grains Bullseye. Works just fine in a half-dozen pistols I own.

Nothing helped me after shoulder reconstruction surgery. Later on I had ulnar nerve problems requiring wrist and elbow surgery, and shooting was both difficult and painful for several months.
 

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Questions......

A standard G.I. 5" 1911 .45 used a 16 lb. recoil spring for 230 gr ball ammo. Why are you using a heavier recoil spring....? A heavier recoil spring my not allow the optimal sight tracking if the slide is slamming closed from the heavier recoil spring.... When shooting fast controlled pairs, if the second shot is much lower (let's say 4-5") than the first shot, it might be best to use a lighter recoil spring. If your .45acp load is ejecting the spend cases 3-4 ft. from the gun, this indicates for the load used, the slide velocity is good. However, if the load used is ejecting the case 6-8 ft. or further from the gun, a heavier main spring might be needed, to reduce the slide velocity. A standard main spring for a 1911 .45 is 23 lbs. For some of my 1911 guns with very hot .38s super loads, I have used 26 lb. mainsprings to keep the slide velocity to an acceptable level, which improved the reliability of the gun.

It might be best to have a separate main spring housing with a lighter main spring, when shooting reduced power loads. It would not be difficult to use a lighter main spring and a lighter recoil spring (perhaps 14 lbs.) to reliably shoot a low powered .45acp round. A 200 gr. lead semi wadcutter with 4.0 - 4.2 gr. of Bullseye powder is substantially softer than using 230 gr. ball ammo.

When I shot NRA outdoor Bullseye, I had a mil spec style 1911 .45acp pistol with the exception of a Bo-mar adj. rear sight. It was accurized by Jim Clark Sr. out of Keithville, LA. I used 4.2 gr. of Bullseye powder with a 200gr semi wadcutter swaged lead bullet for the 50 yard line and my gun with this load in a Ransom Rest would hold 5 shots in two inches. For the 25 yard line, I used 3.8 gr. of Bullseye powder with a swaged 185 gr. bullet.....and the accuracy needed for the 25 yard timed and rapid fire was still excellent.

I used the same gun for the service "hardball" matches, however I swapped out and used a different main spring housing with a 25# mainspring, and a 14# recoil spring....and my gun shot fine when using the 230 gr. hardball ammo supplied in the match. At the time, the Army shooters did not have to pick up their fired brass, and I would scoop up as much as 300-400 once fired cases after the match.....:)
 

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Another “Geezer” load.
4.8 gr of 231 with a 230 FMJ. cOL 1.25
Right around 700 and on the edge of exercising those Wolff springs.
This won’t tear you up!
I run a slightly lighter load. 230 gr with 4.7 in a stock 5" Wilson. Keeps me and the gun happy.

Being a senior geezer means that I try to do what's right and minimize the downside issues.
 
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