In Part 1, the Ruger American Pistol Compact Pro decisively made holes in paper in relatively tight clusters, burned up lots of expensive ammunition and was met with cheers by everyone that wrapped a shooting hand around its grip. It seemed only fitting that I unfairly check out the Ruger further by exposing it to my goofy handloads and subjective considerations.
You would think if something as complex as climate change is settled science, simple handloads for the hundred plus year old 45 Auto would be pretty well defined. The truth of the matter is, neither reflects settled science, only settled politics. Science at its core is based upon having theories and concepts in a state of flux, with change driven by exploration and discovery. So, in regard to handloading, as long as manufacturers keep developing new components, or at least continue to slap new labels on old products, we’ll take what we get and make it into what we want.
The big five, la grande cinque…
|Acme Hard Cast Coated||SWC||185||1.593||1.275||No expansion, exceptional penetration|
|Remington Golden Saber||BJHP||185||0.535||1.230||Exceptional expansion, moderate penetration|
|Hornady HP/XTP||JHP||200||0.567||1.230||Moderate expansion, greater penetration|
|Acme Hard Cast||FP||225||0.618||1.200||No expansion, exceptional penetration|
|Hornady HP/XTP||JHP||230||0.638||1.230||Moderate expansion, greater penetration|
One of the sanity checks for handloads is velocity, so if the expectation is a 20% velocity pickup through handloading, it isn’t going to happen with safe handloads. That much of a velocity gain, regardless the powder and other components selected, will only come with a sharp increase in pressure. Somethings to consider:
The ANSI-SAAMI velocity standard for the 185 grain 45 Automatic is 915 fps to 995 fps, the 230 grain falls between 830 fps and 930 fps, all based on a non-vented 5″ barrel with a maximum average pressure of 21,000 PSI.
The ANSI-SAAMI velocity standard for the 185 grain 45 Automatic +P is 990 fps to 1,130 fps, the 230 grain is 975 fps, all based on a non-vented 5″ barrel with a maximum average pressure of 23,000 PSI. I included the +P statement because the Ruger is advertised as suitable for sustained diet of +P ammunition.
Assembled, they eventually looked something like this….
Assembly was routine, with a note of caution; all bullets were secured with a taper crimp. When loading cast bullets it is relatively easy to overdo the crimp and cause the bullet to expand at the cause mouth enough to interfere with chambering. The solution is to taper crimp properly and perhaps seat an additional 0.020″ and adjusting the charge down a tenth or two.
| Warning: Bullet selections are specific, and loads are not valid with substitutions of different bullets of the same weight. Variations in bullet material and length will alter net case capacity, pressure and velocity results. Primer selection is specific and primer types are not interchangeable. These data represents maximum loads in our firearms and test equipment and may easily be excessive in other applications. All loads should be reduced by 3%, and developed following safe handloading practices as represented in established reloading manuals produced by component manufacturers. Presentation of these loads does not constitute a solicitation for their use, nor a recommendation.
So wadda we got?
The Ruger American Pistol Compact Pro is… a nifty 45 Auto. Small package, big power and not fragile in the face of performance ammunition. Accuracy, I feel, is excellent for its purposes and it is not finicky when it comes to bullets shapes and weights. The sights are a good choice, visibility and silhouette wise.
I shot the Compact Pro with short and long magazines and with plain and finger extension floor plates. My favorite is the short mag, finger extension floorplate combination as it does not detract from concealment and the finger extension gets enough fingers on the grip for good control. I like it better for loaded chamber carry than the 1911 and the trigger is more than satisfactory for defensive work.