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Reloading 45 Colt


D.A. Stranger

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Pards,

 

I'm fairly new at reloading, but have succesfully loaded a bunch of .38 SP for my pistols and rifle without any problems. I have a pair of Colts, .45 cal. that I would like to start using and reloading for. I would like any recommendations on the weight of the bullets to use. It will be for pistols only. I am currently using Bullseye powder for the 38, but I've noticed in the 2 reloading manuals that I have, there are hardly any recipes using Bullseye. Any reason for this? Thanks for any help and info you care to provide.

 

Da Stranger

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I generally shoots 185gr outta my pistols,, BP or smokeless @ about 700-750fps.

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Howdy, Pard,

Although we aren't allowed to post specific loads on this site, let me give you the reasoning behind my general recommendations:

 

The .45 Long Colt was, of course, originally designed for black powder (back in 1873). As such, it has a large powder space, even with modern solid-head brass cases. (The original military cartridge case was made of "copper"...actually gilding metal...with a folded head and internal central fire primer.) That said, smokeless powders are quite a bit more dense, to the point that, with the possible exception of the newer Trail Boss powder, most recommended loads they will take up less than half the available space in the case.

 

Smokeless powder requires about 5,000-7,000 psi (NOT CUP) pressure to begin stable burning. The powder must be ignited and pressure in the combustion space come up quickly enough before the bullet moves out of the case and encounters the rifling leade. To insure this, you should have a good interference fit between the bullet and the case neck (the expander plug of your die set should be .001-.003" SMALLER than the bullet diameter), and a firm ROLL crimp of the case mouth into the crimp groove or ahead of the forward driving band on the bullet.

 

The weight of the bullet is also a major factor is allowing the pressure to build up in the case. The "standard" weight bullet for .45 LC is often quoted as 250-255 gr. loaded to about 800 ft/sec, which has been a standard loading in factor ammo for years. However, some folks prefer to use lighter bullets, and to reduce the powder charge to get much lighter recoil. The main reason for that is not because the recoil of a 250 gr bullet at 800+ ft/sec is punishing, but so they can get back on the next target more quickly for faster competition times. Some carry this to extremes, however, and the potential for unstable combustion, double charges, etc., increases.

 

I recommend bullets no lighter than 200 grains (230 grains is better), and with bullets of that weight,smokeless powders that are slightly faster than Unique or Universal, but NOT in the range of Bullseye or Clays. In NO INSTANCE should you REDUCE loads below the MINIMUM listed in the publsihed manuals, and I prefer to go slightly above the minimum. For 250 grain bullets, slightly slower powders are preferred, like Unique or Universal, but the slow-burners like 2400 and H110 are too slow-burning for loads we use in SASS. Regardless, WATCH OUT FOR DOUBLE CHARGES THAT MIGHT BE ACCIDENTALLY THROWN by progressive loading presses or from powder that hangs up in the powder thrower, causing a double charge. Also watch out for two bullets getting loaded in a progressive press. (The big clue is if the progressive kicks out cases with no bullets. The rounds following might have two bullets seated!) Trail Boss is good because of its low density (bulk),but Trail Boss can also be underloaded, and doesn't give good clean combustion if loaded at the MINIMUM levels.

 

I'm NOT trying to scare you at all. Many thousands of shooters load even more many thousands of rounds of .45 LC and other cartridges without problems. Just go slow and read the manuals.

 

Ride careful, Pard! God's help to the victims of the disaster in Japan. Godspeed to those still in harm's way in the defense of Freedom everywhere! God Bless America!

 

Your Pard, :FlagAm:

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I use 250 grain RNFP lead bullets with Trail Boss powder. I have loaded thousands with this combo and like it well.

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Pards,

 

I'm fairly new at reloading, but have succesfully loaded a bunch of .38 SP for my pistols and rifle without any problems. I have a pair of Colts, .45 cal. that I would like to start using and reloading for. I would like any recommendations on the weight of the bullets to use. It will be for pistols only. I am currently using Bullseye powder for the 38, but I've noticed in the 2 reloading manuals that I have, there are hardly any recipes using Bullseye. Any reason for this? Thanks for any help and info you care to provide.

 

Da Stranger

Trail Boss will work real good: example.

 

I get similar reuslts using Titegroup with the same bullet, but loaded with .8 Grain more powder. Titegroup.

 

Shadow Catcher

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For .45 Colt revolvers:

1. 200 grain RNFP on top of Clays

2. 200 grain RNFP on top of a full load of Schuetzen Ffg

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Ever since I started in CAS, I have only used the .45 Colt. I have done a lot of load testing over this time and narrowed my smokeless powder selection to three powders. Titegroup, Clays and Trail Boss but have settled on only one. I first started with Titegroup that worked pretty darn good with the 205grn bullet I use. I found the recoil to be snappy and this powder had a loud report. Next I tried Clays. It was the cleanest burning of them all but I had ignition problems with this powder in cold weather while using Wolf L.P primers. When I was using Winchester primers, ignition problems were gone but during the primer shotrage, Wolf was abundent. I now use exclusivly only Trail Boss. This powder has it all for the .45 Colt. fills the case well. Would be hard to do a double charge with. Is fairly clean burning. No ignition problems ever. Has a good controled recoil. This powder was designed for large case cartridges. It might be a little more expensive that the rest but the benifits outweigh the extra cost. I know I know! The holy black soot shooters are shaking there heads.. :P Happy Shooting-----

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230 GR. CAST LRNFP Hodgdon Titegroup .452" 1.580" 5.8 grain 857 FPS

 

The above info is what I shoot straight from Hodgdon's reloading manual. I prefer Titegroup powder cause it is designed to handle small amounts in a large cartridge. Hope this helps ya

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For light .45 colt loads, I'm starting to like 700X. Titegroup for moderate loads. Still Unique (or 231) for heavy.

 

Good luck, GJ

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I use a 200 RNFP bullet with a low medium charge of Trail Boss from the chart published by Hodgdon.

 

Other powders work well, but 45 LC cowboy rounds is why TB was invented.

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I use a 200 RNFP bullet with a low medium charge of Trail Boss from the chart published by Hodgdon.

 

Other powders work well, but 45 LC cowboy rounds is why TB was invented.

 

 

Yep 'gotta' agree with Bart there [FWIW ]..................

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There are so MANY choices! Bullet 200 vs 250, powder too many to list. Everyone has a favorite. I like Trailboss for my cowboy loads but I've always had a special feeling for Bullseye. Clean burning and a good all around powder. The charges in large 45LC cases are on the small side so it's easy to double charge and not catch it unlike Trailboss which is too bulky to miss one of those so I've settled on TB. BUT.....

 

I use Red Dot for shotgun. This is also a great all around pistol powder, loads for 38, 45LC and 45ACP (if you plan to shoot WB) are listed. Been thinking of changing up to RD once my substatial supply of TB is gone. Still thinking on that. I like TB because its very consistent. No position sensitivity, temp, etc and this outweighs it's rather dirty. I'd stick with Trailboss, 200gr bullets in the 45LC and 158's in the 38's with a midrange load.

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I've used Bullseye, American Select, & W231 with good results in Schofield & Colt cases. If I had my druthers, I'd do a 200 gr bullet for pistols, however I found a cheaper bullet in 220 gr weights and was swayed by price. Go too light and primers will back out enough to be an issue. For me, a minimum PF would be no less than 110.

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I use the following recipe: 45 Colt - 5.5 of Trail Boss - Winchester WLP primer - 205 gr RNFP ,moly coated lead from Bear Creek in CA. - 5.5 in barrel length in a SAA 676 FPS - Uberti 1873 24 in barrel 836 FPS - I just load brass casings and use a Dillon 550...........I've gone to the trail boss due to the amount of space it takes up in the case....

 

12 ga. Shotgun is blackpowder sub. 777 FFG 60 grains - 1 1/8th ounce of #8 shot in brass cases, lotsa smoke!

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Another option to consider is using Cowboy .45 Special brass from Adirondack Jack.

 

AJ also has some good loading data for this cartridge.

 

Anyhow, just something else to consider.

 

 

..........Widder

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Another option to consider is using Cowboy .45 Special brass from Adirondack Jack.

 

AJ also has some good loading data for this cartridge.

 

Anyhow, just something else to consider.

 

 

..........Widder

 

 

Thanks Widder. The C45S is the ticket if ya wanna reduce recoil to levels comparable to .38. I run 125s at 525 fps in my pistols. If yer looking to make LONG COLT work, deal with a 200 grainer or heavier and a decent charge to make em consistent.

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I use the following recipe: 45 Colt - "xxdx" of Trail Boss - Winchester WLP primer - 205 gr RNFP ,moly coated lead from Bear Creek in CA.

Dang, might want to be real careful bout posting exact loading recipes, all's good until you make a typo and someone actually believes you can load xxdx grains safely.

 

Good luck, GJ

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Millions of rounds of .45 Colt have been loaded with "Bullseye" Powder with complete satisfaction !!!!

 

It isn't a good powder for the Careless Reloader or for Super-light loads .... It is meant for "Moderate"(Target) loads in the .45....

 

RED DOT is also a very fine powder for .45 Colt !!! I use 250-255 gr. bullets ,,, since you asked ....

 

Hope this helps ........

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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It depends on what your goals. If you want to compete with the fast guys shooting .38s you have to load 'em down, but there's a limit.

 

I agree with Adirondack Jack: use the shorter C45S shorter case or do something like what I do.

 

I shoot a 200 gn bullet from 45 LC cases going about 600fps from my old model Vaqueros.

 

Email me off line if you want my specific load.

 

-tex fiddler

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Howdy

 

The thing about Bullseye is it is a very, very fast powder. So when using it in a very large capacity case like 45 Colt you have to be very careful and stick strictly to the loading data. Not that you shouldn't be doing that anyway.

 

My favorite Smokeless powder for 45 Colt is Unique. I like it because it tends to bulk up a bit in large capacity rounds like 45 Colt. The more airspace you leave in a big cartridge like that, the more problems you can have. That's why AJ invented the 45 Cowboy Special. I don't load 'light' loads for 45 Colt, I use a 250 grain bullet with a charge a little bit above the middle of the range of recommended charges.

 

But that's just me.

 

Usually I fill them up with FFg.

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Howdy, Pards,

For markedly reduced loads in .45, the .45 Cowboy Special case is a much better choice with smokeless powder than the full-length .45 LC. The only problem with them is that many rifles won't feed the shorter round. I understand that there may be modified elevators available to allow use of the shorter round in the toggle-link actions (M1860 Henry, '66 and '73 Winchester replicas), but it may take considerable modification to get them to work in '92 Winchester type actions or Marlins.

 

Ride easy, but stay alert! Godspeed to the people of Japan, and all those still in harm's way in the defense of Freedom everywhere! God Bless America! :FlagAm:

 

Your Pard,

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Just adding, one of the nice things about Trail Boss is that at the load levels I use double charges are only about 1/8" below the rim of the case. Normal charge is about 1/2 full. In a 45 Colt case you can eyeball that either direction and feel safe.

 

Its a good powder, very easy to work with. I stick to loading charts and do just fine with 200 grainers.

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