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Black Angus McPherson

.45 Cowboy Special

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A comment by Aidirondack Jack on another thread got me wondering.

 

Do those of you that use the .45 Cowboy Special cartridge find it to be more accurate than the .45 Colt?

 

Does the .45 Special require the use of light bullets? (I've been using 250 gr. RNFP's in my .45's since I got into this game) Do lighter bullets give you better accuracy?

 

I understand about the lower recoil and smaller powder charge, but those aren't my real concerns at this time.

 

I don't NEED to shoot the .45 Special, but if it'll provide better accuracy I may have to give it a serious try. I've always been a little disappointed that the accuracy of my .45 Colt Pistols is noticably worse than that of my .38 pistols. It's still perfectly fine for CAS, but when I'm trying to "ding" the silhouette at 50 yards on the local range I'm pretty consistant with the .38's but somewhat random with the .45's.

 

I thought I'd give a shout out to hear what you folks that actually use the .45 Special cartridge have to say.

 

Also, is there any published loading data for the .45 Special?

 

Thanks,

 

Black Angus McPherson

Really likes knowing that if he misses it's his fault and not the gun or ammo.

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I am not and never have been much of a target shooter but seriously doubt tha the 38 is inherently a much more accurate round than the 45s. I would think that with a bit of work one should be able to equal the 45acp capabilities with the c45spec if using similar components and loading procedures.Surely AJ will step in and offer up more than a duffer like me has to offer.

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I think the 45sp is very accurate for SASS, never tried silhouette. There's some good info on AJ's web site, check FAQ and user_data. For smokeless I use .1 more Red Dot than AJ has listed. You can use the same load data as the 45ACP. For BP I load about the same 3F Schuetzen as I do in the 38. I prefer a 200gr bullet in the 45sp. I use the same Hornady 45acp dies that AJ uses, works great. Good Luck :)

User_data

 

 

Jefro :ph34r: Realx-Enjoy

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Here's a secret. There is literally 100 years of loading data for the round. Cowboy .45 Special is the same interior volume as the .45 ACP, and bullseye shooters publish their loads. I've not done a lot of serious bench work with the round, but have experienced this, if you slow a .45 Colt down to say 650 fps with a 250 (which begins to get into the "comfy enough" for modestly quick CAS shooting, it begins to wander as pressures drop below their ideal range and consistency goes to heck. The C45S case, like it's sibling ACP, has about HALF the capacity under a 250 grain bullet, and can be slowed down a lot more and still retain consistency and accuracy. I started this C45S adventure with 250 grain bullets and 777 FFG, and shot ONE HOLE groups at 12-15 yards, two hands no rest, on more than one occassion, a load that ran about 700 fps. I load 160s at as little as 650-700 fps out of a RIFLE, nad have no problem hitting clay birds on a stick at CAS ranges out to 20-25 yards, which indicates the LOAD is capable of that in a wheel gun as well. My single shot rifle will place 265 grain bullets from C45S with a modest charge of Bullseye, all in one lead splash at 50 yards (about what I can see well with irons and poor eyes) with dreadfully boring regularity.

 

Is C45S inherently more accurate than .45 Colt? NO, but the velocity at which it can be loaded consistently, and produce that intrinsic accuracy is far lower. 45 Colt suffers at much less than "service" load levels (always has), ACP or C45S can be run far slower before the accuracy goes away.

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What AJ said. Only more so. I've been playing with the C45S in both rifle and handguns for the last couple of months. I shoot 160Gr RNFP in the rifle (feeding issues) and a 130GR Barnstormer bullet in the handguns but have also been shooting the 160Gr bullet in the handguns.

With the rifle, I get consistent one hole groups with the rifle (ragged hole) at CAS distance with the 160Gr bullets. Standing on my hind legs with the handguns, shooting two fisted, I get 1 to 1 1/2 inch groups with both the 160Gr bullets and the 130Gr bullet. Understanding with the 130Gr bullet I get 38ish recoil.

Bottom line answer is NO. It's no more accurate and no less accurate. From a machine rest, they both will shoot into one hole. Induce flinch from heavy loads, good luck. With nice manageable recoil, you'll have more fun.

And ... get more "bangs" for your reloading buck.

 

Coffinmaker

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I use AJ's 45 special casing and load them to ACP powder specs with a 160 grain bullet. I'm not an expert on the comparison with the 45LC....I just know that it works for me. You specifically asked about the size of the projectile. I started with 200 grain....moved to 180's and have since found a source for the 160 which I like. I have been using the round for a couple of years and have a few thousand rounds downrange with no problems. I only use them in my Ruger pistols.

 

KK

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As an additional note, the C45S case also works a treat in cylinders chambered for 45 ACP. I think the C45S is a Win - Win proposition for those who want to shoot a lighter gun (45s have bigger holes) and benefit from less recoil. Less recoil results is less "recovery" time. Less recoil and recovery time results in better overall accuracy and stage times in the long run.

 

Coffinmaker

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Howdy

 

If you have only fired nothing but 45 Colt in your 45s and are not pleased with the accuracy, it may be more of a question of the diameter of the chamber throats and the diameter of your bullets, than which specific cartridge you are shooting. If your chamber throats are tight or you are shooting bullets that are too small, changing cartridges may not help, particularly if you continue to use bullets that are not well matched to the size of your chamber throats. Do you know what size your chamber throats are? What diameter bullets are you using? Have you tried the trick of seeing if your bullets fall through the chamber throats or if they hang up? In order to milk maximum accuracy out of your pistols you need to know these things, no matter what cartridge you shoot.

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Howdy

 

If you have only fired nothing but 45 Colt in your 45s and are not pleased with the accuracy, it may be more of a question of the diameter of the chamber throats and the diameter of your bullets, than which specific cartridge you are shooting. If your chamber throats are tight or you are shooting bullets that are too small, changing cartridges may not help, particularly if you continue to use bullets that are not well matched to the size of your chamber throats. Do you know what size your chamber throats are? What diameter bullets are you using? Have you tried the trick of seeing if your bullets fall through the chamber throats or if they hang up? In order to milk maximum accuracy out of your pistols you need to know these things, no matter what cartridge you shoot.

 

1 - No. I don't know how to/have a tool to measure the chamber throats.

 

2 - Bullet diameter .452".

 

3 - Yes, I think I have, once, a long time ago. I don't think they fell thru. I'll have to try this again to recheck.

 

RE: an earlier post - The published data for the loads I've been using list velocity at ~850fps. I don't own a chronograph.

 

Thanks everyone for the info. I think I'll have to get some .45CS and play a little with them. I may have to get some lighter bullets, too, if I'm gonna play seriously.

 

Angus

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In my experience, even IF bullet throats are a little tight, EQUAL is much more important. Of the three .45 rugers I have, ALL are a little tight. One had unequal throats. I could pass a .451 jacketed bullet backwards 2/3 of the way through 4 of the throats, yet only 1/2 way through the other two. Using a bore mop impregnated with polishing compound and a cordless drill, I polished the tight throats until they were all equal, if still a bit tight. That gun has shot one hole groups since.

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Well -- I don't know about the round and its accuracy. From a cartridge-only perspective, it should be at least as accurate as a .45 Auto-Rim, and that round was deemed very accurate.

 

Having said that, most people shooting C45S, unlike people shooting .45 Auto-Rim, are shooting the round in cylinders originally chambered for .45 Colt. This means that before the projectile contacts even the cyclinder throat, it jumps has to jump a gap, the .45 Colt chamber being larger in diameter than the the cylinder throat. Then, it passes through the throat, enters the forcing cone, and the rest is obvious.

 

Generally, a long jump through oversize and unrifled areas is not conducive to good accuracy. I think the C45S would be just as accurate as .45 ACP or .45 Auto-Rim in an appropriately dimensioned chamber.

 

Several of the shooters I was possed with last weekend were shooting the C45S. They didn't seem to be having any accuracy issues -- the round is clearly well within "minute-of-cowboy." Does it need to be more than that?

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For me the question is not whether the 45CS's potential is within minute of cowboy, but whether it offers an accuracy improvement over the 45 Colt at low power ranges when fired out of my 45 Colt NMVs. I had been considering the cylinder gap issue before Oddnews posted his comment. Does anybody with experience want to comment. What about the gap between the front of the 45CS and the cyclinder throat. Does the bullet bounce around before it reaches the forcing cone?

 

I have had the cylinder throats machined for consistency and correct dimension. Like others one or two of my cylinder throats on each gun were just slightly narrow of spec.

 

Anyway I think I am going to order some 45CS cases and experiment some with my 45s.

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Bart,

 

The "gap" from case mouth to chamber throat doesn't seem to make any difference. I've been playing around with guns chambered in 45 Colt, 45 Schofield and 45 ACP. All of them have displayed fine accuracy. I was shooting off a sand bag and not from a machine rest. With a machine rest you might find some differences but if you need a machine rest to find the difference, it isn't worth mentioning since we shoot off our hind legs and aren't shooting at Bulls Eye targets.

I think you'll be extremely pleased with the C456S especially if you couple it with reduced charges and light bullets.

 

Coffinmaker

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I shoot .38 Ruger's about 70% of the time.

 

Then .45 Rugers about 30% of the time.

 

When I shoot the .45's, I exclusively use the C45S brass and either AJ's EXCELLENT Barnstormer bullet (125-130 grainer) or a 160 grainer from Clarks. I have used some 180's but very little.

 

Anyhow, the Barnstormer and the 160 are GREAT. Very good accuracy.

 

I use Clays powder in all my loads. Other powders can be just as efficient.

 

Personally, I don't think you will regret trying/using them. A couple of my friends who were diehard users of the .45 Colt round are now using the C45S with very happy results.

 

 

..........Widder

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I had googled the .45cs sometime back interested in accuracy info. I found this thread rather interesting.

 

http://www.shootersforum.com/cowboy-loads-guns/55242-45-cowboy-special.html

 

I note that the OP used only one bullet weight and didn't really do any load development, but I also note that no one seems to be posting any test results for 25 yard groups shot with this brass in revolvers chambered for .45 Colt. I realize that we don't shoot our handguns at 25 yards, but that is the standard for handgun accuracy comparison in most articles I have read over the years. What I do see is a lot of "minute of cowboy" or "accurate enough for our sport" type comments. I think the large gap from case mouth to cylinder throat is going to have an impact on accuracy and that will cause misses that may have otherwise been hits in some cases. Just because our targets are big and close doesn't mean that an inaccurate load won't cause more misses.

 

I still bought some of AJ's brass and intend to try it, but I will be surprised if I don't see some accuracy loss in my .45 Colt revolvers. The question will be whether that will be an acceptable trade-off for the admitted benefits of the smaller case capacity.

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Since every bullet I've shot grouped inside 1 1/2 at 15 yards, I figure if you miss, it's your fault, not the cartridge. Since I don't know what type of gun the "other guy" was shooting, and whether or not the cylinder throats were correctly sized or whether he was shooting from his hind legs or a sand bag, I'm not real impressed with his results. I do know, out of My guns, with correct throats from a sand bag, 1 1/2 inches at 15 yards is the norm.

If you can get 1 1/2" groups at 15 yards, and the target is a 14" plate at 7 yards, how much more do you need?? I think you'll be pleased with the results of the C45S. The round wasn't developed for bench rest competition, it was developed to reduce recoil in the 45 and promote a good powder burn at reduced powder charge with light bullets delivering reasonable accuracy. It does all of that.

Also, take the time to check your cylinder throats. If your shooting Rugers, there probably wrong.

 

Coffinmaker

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I'm not at all worried about the accuracy of my .45's for CAS, never have been. I was curious about any improvement of accuracy for when I'm plinking at the local range and trying to hit a metal silhouette at 50 yards. I thought that if the .45CS let me ding the target more often than the .45 Colt that would = +++++ fun.

 

I can ding the target pretty regularly with my .38's and 9mm but the .45 colt is just lacking a little in the accuracy dept. It's not the added recoil, because I'm not shooting bear killers, just a medium 250 gr. load.

 

Angus

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Well -- I don't know about the round and its accuracy. From a cartridge-only perspective, it should be at least as accurate as a .45 Auto-Rim, and that round was deemed very accurate.

 

Having said that, most people shooting C45S, unlike people shooting .45 Auto-Rim, are shooting the round in cylinders originally chambered for .45 Colt. This means that before the projectile contacts even the cyclinder throat, it jumps has to jump a gap, the .45 Colt chamber being larger in diameter than the the cylinder throat. Then, it passes through the throat, enters the forcing cone, and the rest is obvious.

 

Generally, a long jump through oversize and unrifled areas is not conducive to good accuracy. I think the C45S would be just as accurate as .45 ACP or .45 Auto-Rim in an appropriately dimensioned chamber.

 

Several of the shooters I was possed with last weekend were shooting the C45S. They didn't seem to be having any accuracy issues -- the round is clearly well within "minute-of-cowboy." Does it need to be more than that?

 

 

ON ole Pard, when I first played with the concept, my dad and I had exactly this converation. As an accomplished handgunner, bullet innovator, etc, his frame of reference was "hell for leather" loads in .44 mag or .357, rounds running hot and shooting very well out to 100 yards with scoped revolvers. To him, anything less was anathema, and he had no interest in plinking loads.

 

I had not yet wrung out the C45S for accuracy, and I too was concerned about the potential for the long bullet jump to degrade accuracy. Then a pard reminded me that at anything less than warm (at least service-level) loads, .45 Colt is aa POOR performer for accuracy anyway, owing to the cavernous case making for an inefficient burn. He issued a challenge, "Find a Bullseye match won with .45 Colt". I never did (and those guys post loads).

 

So I simply went about my business with C45S, loading it with 777FFG and relatively fast smokeless powders (I even stole some of those winning bullseye loads posted in .45 ACP), and ya know what, the POSITIVE effects of an efficient burn in the short case far outweighed the deleterious effects of bullet jump. I have shot one hole groups with C45S out of .45 Colt Rugers with the old tight throats, (not superb to start with), two hands, no rest, at 12-15 yards. Is there more we need?

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Are your guns sighted in? Are you missing at matches or slow fire practice? IMO most folks miss targets because the gun are off and they are trying to use improper sight pictures or aim differently and under pressure that can be a big mistake.......if nothing else it makes the game harder than it should be.

 

I have sighted in guns for a lot of folks and at the distances we shoot I haven't ran across one yet that would shoot good groups.....the problem is many times it is not near the center of the target.

 

The variations of cartridges are not going to be an issue for us unless you are doing something wrong in your loading process. My rifle rounds are more stout(pushing sass limits)as opposed to the 750 FPS pistol rounds I shoot and even with that much difference in powder I only see about 1 inch difference in POI at 8 yards if I shoot them in my pistols which would go un-noticed in a match.

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ON ole Pard, when I first played with the concept, my dad and I had exactly this converation. As an accomplished handgunner, bullet innovator, etc, his frame of reference was "hell for leather" loads in .44 mag or .357, rounds running hot and shooting very well out to 100 yards with scoped revolvers. To him, anything less was anathema, and he had no interest in plinking loads.

 

I had not yet wrung out the C45S for accuracy, and I too was concerned about the potential for the long bullet jump to degrade accuracy. Then a pard reminded me that at anything less than warm (at least service-level) loads, .45 Colt is aa POOR performer for accuracy anyway, owing to the cavernous case making for an inefficient burn. He issued a challenge, "Find a Bullseye match won with .45 Colt". I never did (and those guys post loads).

 

So I simply went about my business with C45S, loading it with 777FFG and relatively fast smokeless powders (I even stole some of those winning bullseye loads posted in .45 ACP), and ya know what, the POSITIVE effects of an efficient burn in the short case far outweighed the deleterious effects of bullet jump. I have shot one hole groups with C45S out of .45 Colt Rugers with the old tight throats, (not superb to start with), two hands, no rest, at 12-15 yards. Is there more we need?

 

AJ -- what you've written is pretty much my observation having seen some shooters using the cartridge. It's more than accurate enough for CAS purposes. If it were me, and I were deeply concerned or was somehow involved in a "cowboy bullseye" match, I might try to find an ACP cylinder and have the chambers relieved for the C45S cartridge -- but that would because I'm a little nutty. I haven't bought any of the cartridges yet, but I plan to run them as a BP cartridge in 1860 Army conversion cylinders (No point in doing it yet as I don't have the firearm set-up I want for Frontier Cartridge).

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ON, in yer '60 conversions, reports back from those who do support the use of REAL BP and a light (150-160 grain BIG LUBE style bullet. "Laser Beams" like Dick Dastardly says. I like 777 FFG and regular smokeless 160 grain bullets as well, but ya gotta be very sure to get a small amount of consistent compression, on the order of 1/16" for best results.

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I ordered some cases yesterday and am thinking about loading them with my regular 200 grain RNFP bullets and using my regular low/midrange 45ACP load of Trail Boss. That should provide a nice consistent load. I am guessing I can use my 45 ACP dies with the 45 Colt shellholder in my Lee Turret Press. Since I am already set up to load the 45 ACP, I will need to adjust just enough to make sure I get a good crimp.

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ON, in yer '60 conversions, reports back from those who do support the use of REAL BP and a light (150-160 grain BIG LUBE style bullet. "Laser Beams" like Dick Dastardly says. I like 777 FFG and regular smokeless 160 grain bullets as well, but ya gotta be very sure to get a small amount of consistent compression, on the order of 1/16" for best results.

 

Do you know if they'd cycle through one of the Taylor Spencers in .45 Scholfield? That would give me the sort of logistics set up I'm seeking.

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A comment by Aidirondack Jack on another thread got me wondering.

 

Do those of you that use the .45 Cowboy Special cartridge find it to be more accurate than the .45 Colt?

 

Does the .45 Special require the use of light bullets? (I've been using 250 gr. RNFP's in my .45's since I got into this game) Do lighter bullets give you better accuracy?

 

I understand about the lower recoil and smaller powder charge, but those aren't my real concerns at this time.

 

I don't NEED to shoot the .45 Special, but if it'll provide better accuracy I may have to give it a serious try. I've always been a little disappointed that the accuracy of my .45 Colt Pistols is noticably worse than that of my .38 pistols. It's still perfectly fine for CAS, but when I'm trying to "ding" the silhouette at 50 yards on the local range I'm pretty consistant with the .38's but somewhat random with the .45's.

 

I thought I'd give a shout out to hear what you folks that actually use the .45 Special cartridge have to say.

 

Also, is there any published loading data for the .45 Special?

 

Thanks,

 

Black Angus McPherson

Really likes knowing that if he misses it's his fault and not the gun or ammo.

Use 45 ACP loading data.

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Do you know if they'd cycle through one of the Taylor Spencers in .45 Scholfield? That would give me the sort of logistics set up I'm seeking.

My best guess from what I know about the Spencers is no,then again I was standing rite there when a fellow told AJ their is No Way you will get a Mastercaster to operate with hollow base bullets,no way it will work.

I also knew if someone could figure it out AJ was the one to Get er Done,so maybe you can get a Spencer to run them. Adios Sgt. Jake

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