D&L Sports™, Inc.
.45 ACP Special Ball Ammunition
Reliability by Design
45 ACP Special Ball Ammunition
Ammunition with non-cannelured cartridge cases can allow bullets to be pushed back during the feed cycle, either all at once, or in small increments during multiple manual feedings. This can cause stoppages, and other problems. In this photo the cartridge on the left of each pair is new from the box. The right cartridge was manually cycled through the pistol 10 times. Note how much bullet set back has occurred. Easily enough to cause a pistol stoppage.
Discharging a single shot from your firearm requires the reliable interaction of many components in your shooting system. Any weak link in this chain of events can cause a malfunction in the system. Firing in a repeating mode requires interaction of even more parts. Your ammunition and its subcomponents are critical to the reliability of your overall shooting system, especially during repeating fire.
Unfortunately too many ammunition manufacturers don't appear to thoroughly consider the big picture of shooting system interaction when they design their ammunition. Often they appear too focused on only a small section of the overall shooting equation. Some seem to single-mindedly focus on ammo velocity, expansion, gelatin penetration, cost, or other category. This may help the advertising department boost sales by hyping a certain characteristic of the ammunition, but it can hurt functional reliability i.e. live fire cycling through a repeating firearm. Primarily testing and developing ammunition loadings from laboratory test firing fixtures does not reveal all the problems that can result when ammo cycles through a repeating firearm. When designers don't keep the entire shooting system in mind, they can bring a product to market that delivers less than optimum reliability. Poorly designed ammunition can certainly cause failures in your overall shooting system.
45 ACP Special Ball Ammunition
Special Ball ammo with cannelured cartridge cases. The left cartridge is new, the right cartridge was manually cycled through a pistol 10 times. No bullet set back occurred.
At D&L Sports™ Inc. the top priority has always been, and always will be, to achieve the highest level of safe and functional reliability possible. Great reliability advancements have been made in firearms related designs. D&L Special Ball was developed to improve the functional design and reliability of ammunition.
The decisions made about the specifications of D&L .45 ACP Special Ball ammunition are based on literally millions of rounds fired through hand held semi-auto pistols during years of research and development. The primary goal was to achieve safe functional reliability and a field durable cartridge for use in the 1911 auto pistol. All other categories of pistol ammunition performance were considered secondary. You are personally responsible for considering these secondary sub categories of ammunition performance when determining if Special Ball is correct for your application. Keep in mind that nothing should be considered more important than safe functional reliability.
Many bullets are touted based upon their performance in artificial medium testing. The results of these tests may or may not realistically reflect the bullet's performance in a live encounter. Two things that will almost certainly come into play in a live encounter are the shooting system's functional reliability and shot placement on target.

When cartridge design does not allow for functional reliability through a hand held semi-auto pistol it may be difficult to achieve any effect on the target. In other words it's hard to shoot a target with a pistol that doesn't function reliably. Make no mistake about it, choosing poorly designed ammunition (or magazines) will make even the most well built firearm fail.
When the cost of a highly touted load is so expensive that it precludes the shooter from shooting a sufficient quantity to be effective at proper shot placement on target, i.e. the shooter misses, or hits poorly, the end result may again be ineffectiveness. In other words, your chosen ammunition must be affordable enough to shoot the volume required to be a skilled marksman. A high skill level with a hand gun comes from proper practice with a high volume of live ammunition. Don't be mislead into thinking that dry fire practice will achieve the same results as live fire training, it doesn't. It is not uncommon for highly skilled pistol shooters to fire 5,000 - 10,000 rounds of live ammo per month to stay in top form, after they are top marksmen. Training to be a top marksman can easily consume 1000 rounds or more per day six days per week. Most people simply can't afford this level of shooting if they are buying specialized pistol ammo for nearly $1.00 per shot.
It is wise to follow the shoot what you carry, and carry what you shoot concept. This is the only way to really thoroughly test the interaction of your shooting system. Firing thousands of rounds of the same ammo through your pistol will allow you to determine if there are going to be any obvious reliability concerns. It will also allow you to be familiar with the recoil impulse, flash, noise, and zero points of the ammo. If you train with one ammo and carry some high priced wonder ammo that you can't afford to shoot in quantity, you may give yourself unnecessary problems when you need them least.
History and experience has proven that the 1911 auto pistol functions best with a FMJ RN bullet loaded to an OAL. of about 1.260". Wise ammunition manufacturers will keep this in mind when producing ammunition, and wise shooters will keep this in mind when selecting ammunition for their 1911 pistol. (Reloaded ammunition is not recommended.)
Your pistol may function with ammunition loaded to different overall length specs, but there are warning indicators to watch for. Experienced pistol shooters can detect when their pistol stumbles and hesitates during the feed cycle, even though it may completely cycle, at least under favorable conditions. Add field service conditions to the equation, like lack of lubrication & maintenance, freezing weather conditions, water, dirt, sand, mud and other contaminants and the stumble may very well turn into a stoppage. Choose ammunition with the highest design reliability factor so you have an added margin of reliability when operating under field conditions.
45 ACP Special Ball Ammunition
What if you are required to carry hollow points? This an area that requires careful consideration and testing. There are many JHP designs on the market today, and some are very poorly designed. They are commonly much shorter in OAL than the 1.260" that you should be comparing to. The Remington 230 grain Golden Saber JHP cartridge is about the closest among the major ammo manufacturers. Thoroughly test fire this ammo for functional reliability in your firearms and test for impact performance if you are considering a JHP round. Avoid JHP loadings with a short OAL and/or sharp lip hollow cavity bullet noses.

Keep in mind that your ammo, pistol, and magazines must all interact together to achieve reliability. Different ammo designs may function better or worse with different magazine designs.The only two recommended 1911 magazines are the D&L custom 7 and 8 round magazines. Special Ball generally functions well with either magazine and a properly set up pistol. Other ammunition may be more reliability sensitive and more dependant on magazine design. It is unwise to attempt to set the pistol up to function with poorly designed ammo. Instead, thoroughly test the best ammo designs with these two magazines in your properly tuned 1911 and determine what ammo and magazine combination offers the best functional reliability. Keep in mind that periodic magazine and pistol preventative maintenance will be required to maintain long term reliability.
The best auto pistol ammo designs will have cannelured cases to help assure the bullet does not push back in the case during the feeding cycle. In other words, cannelured cases make the ammo more durable. Hollow point and other blunt nose bullet designs are the most prone to bullet push back during the feeding cycle. Sometimes the bullet set back happens all at once and you experience a pistol stoppage. Other times bullet set back happens a little at a time each time the cartridge is hand cycled through the pistol until a feeding stoppage occurs. This is normally the result of a shooter loading and unloading the first couple cartridges in the chamber and magazine. Often times an inexperienced operator won't notice bullet set back and a stoppage will occur in the first couple rounds of live fire. For this reason a cartridge which has been chambered should not be reused. Always replace it with a new cartridge, and never replace the used, previously cycled cartridge in the magazine, or future stoppages may result. This is very important with blunt nose bullets in non-cannelured cases. The FMJRN bullets and cannelured cartridge case used in the construction of Special Ball minimizes these problems.
What about "Plus P" loadings versus standard service loads? Short answer: +P loadings are not recommended in your 1911. If you need a magnum handgun, acquire a magnum handgun. Don't try to make your 1911 into something it was not designed to be. If you are selecting a JHP load, choose a standard velocity, not a +P rated cartridge. Remington Golden Saber is available in a 230 grain JHP non +P loading. However, the cartridge case is not cannelured and bullet push back can occur. Bullet jacket and core separation can also occur. Always be ready with plan B. Choose "bonded" bullets to minimize core/jacket separation.
Most modern ammo manufacturers have discontinued the cartridge case cannelure. This may have saved them time and money during ammunition manufacture, but it was unwise in terms of functional reliability. Cannelured cartridge cases help resist the bullet being pushed back in the case during the somewhat violent feed cycle. Bullet push back can cause a stoppage during feeding, or increase chamber pressures if a cartridge with the bullet pushed back manages to be chambered. When looking for cannelured cartridge case ammunition, look for a wasp waisted cartridge case. In other words, a cartridge case with an indented ring which runs around the case under the base of the bullet when it is seated in the case. This indentation creates an internal shoulder which resists bullet push back.
The D&L Special Ball load features a cannelured cartridge case, a FMJ RN bullet, and an overall length of approximately 1.260". Combining these features helps achieve our primary goal of safe functional reliability.
45 ACP Special Ball Ammunition

In an effort to increase ammunition durability and reliability under field conditions, and while in storage, D&L Special Ball also features water and moisture resistant sealant on each individual cartridge. During R&D of the .45 ACP Special Ball load cartridges were submerged for 90 days in water, salt water, break free and FP10 lubricants, WD-40, and bore solvent. At the end of 90 days the cartridges were wiped off and fired with 100% reliability. Keep in mind that this was simply a sealant test. It should not be duplicated, and you should store your ammo in a clean, dry environment. Do not use contaminated ammo.
D&L Special Ball was tested for accuracy from a fixture to remove the human error factor related to hand held accuracy testing. The results were approximately one inch groups at 25 yards.
10% gelatin penetration testing was also conducted. Special Ball penetrated approximately --- inches of gelatin. Consider this when applying gun safety rule 4 to your shooting situation: Be sure of your target, and what is beyond.
The one gallon water jug test was conducted with the jugs lined up in a row and touching each other. Special Ball commonly penetrated six jugs.
Low light testing of different gun powder was conducted to assure Special Ball would have a low muzzle flash signature.
The underwater testing section of this web site should be reviewed by those involved in water bourne operations. You will note that the 230 grain FMJ RN loading was most effective through water of all the .45 ACP loads tested.
D&L Special Ball ammunition is loaded to a velocity of approximately 825 FPS. This is a full power service load without being over powered or over pressure. This loading, and the cost of this ammunition, both make it suitable for tens of thousands of rounds to be fired through your quality 1911 auto pistol without excessive wear or expense. Serious training is what will allow for the highest probability of proper shot placement under demanding conditions.
Remember, an absolute minimum reliability test of 500 rounds is required through each firearm, with the exact magazines you plan to use, before you carry the firearm, magazine, and ammo combination for serious purposes. You are personally responsible for conducting this test with your personal gear. Do not leave this important task to anyone else. Be sure to properly zero your firearm for the distance correct for your needs, and confirm belt, holster, mag pouches etc. are performing correctly. Obtain professional assistance and training in all of these important areas. Always wear your eye, ear, and ballistic protection.
D&L Inc. .45 ACP Special Ball ammo
Prices Available on Request
Dave Lauck of D&L Sports™ Inc. has spent years perfecting the 1911 autopistol in terms of reliability, durability, and cosmetic appeal. Reliability will always be job one at DLS. This includes feeding and functioning reliability with well designed JHP bullets, as well as ball ammunition. If you are ordering a DL signature 1911 and you have a specific load you want to use, or you want to discuss what JHP loads are the best choices, feel free to contact DLS directly.
Important Note:
Many people will cycle the first couple rounds in their magazine in and out of their firearm on a regular basis when loading and unloading the firearm for a variety of reasons. This is not recommended. Cycling a cartridge into the chamber of a semi auto firearm causes the bullet to impact the feedramp with notable force. With poorly designed ammo this can set the bullet back in the case all at once or incrementally during each cycle. This could cause a failure to feed at some point, or dangerously excessive pressure if a cartridge with a set back bullet is fired. When loading/unloading always cycle in a new cartridge. This minimizes the chances of a problem, and allows used cartridges, which may be lube contaminated, to be properly disposed of. Always use a chamber gauge to check your ammo for proper dimension and a scale to check overall cartridge wieghts. Choose reliable ammo that functions properly, and durable ammo that cycles without impact set back problems.

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