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45 Colt Black Powder


Skullbone Willie

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I shot some bullets lacking BP-compatible lube in revolvers once.  Someone gave me a tube of Bore Butter that I jammed in a couple of cylinders before firing (like cap n' ball cylinders are lubed).  The revolver barrels remained very clean.  Obviously this won't work in lever-action rifles.

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34 minutes ago, Skullbone Willie said:

I have 12 lbs of Swiss FFFg and need to load up some 45 Colt. I have Hi-Tek 200gr RNFP and 160gr. as well as Lubed 200gr RNFP. What’s your opinion of BP and the coated bullets ? 

IMG_1213.jpeg

Powder coating typically doesn't provide enough lubrication to keep real bp fouling soft enough to clean easily. It's not as mission critical in pistols as rifles, but far from your best solution. 

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Powder coated bullets work great without lube if using APP, but real Black Powder needs some BP-compatible lube.  I used a homemade mixture of 60% lard or tallow and 40% beeswax with non-coated bullets.

 

As for powder charge, you mustn't leave air space between powder and bullet, and BP needs some compression. If you don't mind extra smoke and recoil, just load the powder till it's about 1/8" above the base of the bullet's crimp groove.  if you want less powder, use a filler like cornmeal or grits between powder and bullet.  Some people like to put a shot card between bullet and powder/filler charge.  A heavier charge will seal gasses a little better in a 45 Colt, but too light of a charge will give problems, up to and including squibs.

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Different brands of black powder are going to vary widely in their volumetric weights. This is 9 grains by weight of three different black powders in 9mm cases, with Swiss on the right. The cavalry of old used between 28 and 40 grains in .45 Colt, depending, but that number is pretty meaningless without knowing the volume to weight ratio of the powder used. Swiss is dense, and if you weigh out 35 grains, there won't be enough volume to fill the case up to the base of the bullet.

 

Figure out where the base of the seated bullet is going to be, and fill to that level, "plus a little extra" so it's slightly compressed for uniform ignition - about 1/32 to 1/16". Set your measure to that volume, and load away. If you use an .030 or .060" over powder wad, greased felt wads, or filler, adjust the volume of the powder column accordingly.

 

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I measure by volume using cc dippers. I measure weight with a scale. BP is pretty much a volume measurement. Lay a dowel rod or unsharpened pencil next to your bullet. Mark the seating depth on the pencil or dowel

 Fill the case so the bullet compresses the powder a bit if using real BP. Measure that charge using a scale and a dipper. Now you have grain and cc numbers for your particular powder. 

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Like has been said above. Weigh all you want, but load by volume leaving no space between powder and bullet or powder + filler and bullet. And use a good greasy lube and plenty of it or you’ll have a crusty mess to clean/ scrape out of your barrels.

Edited by Bull Skinner
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2 hours ago, Bull Skinner said:

Like has been said above. Weigh all you want, but load by volume leaving no space between powder and bullet or powder + filler and bullet. And use a good greasy lube and plenty of it or you’ll have a crusty mess to clean/ scrape out of your barrels.

I have a bag of bullets that I got from Scarlet Darling for APP, will they be greasy enough for real BP ? 

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SW, do you have a local BP shooter to turn to regarding your reloading questions?  Reading your posts I see much uncertainty.  My recommendation: load your BP shotgun shells with the real black powder you have.  Twelve pounds will disappear fast.  Load your metallic cartridges with one of the subs (APP, Triple 7 or Shooters World Multi-Purpose, but NOT Pyrodex).  These subs will work fine with your existing bullets since they do not require special lubes. I shoot many major matches and most of those in the black powder categories load with APP.  I don't but I have casting and lubing equipment so I can load with real black powder.  Just start easy and load your metallic cartridges with APP like most others. 

 

Welcome to the Darkside!  You are being assimilated.

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I've never done real black with coated boolits, but from everything I've read, it's not a good combo.

 

I don't know of anybody doing 45 Colt Big Loob's for sale, so what I do is just load up the cartridges with real black and seat a soft lead boolit on top, then after loading, smear some loob (Bore Butter works, except when it's warm to hot, it becomes too liquidy) over the front of the cylinder chambers.  Then run a brush through the barrel after shooting the stage.

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1 hour ago, Skullbone Willie said:

I have a bag of bullets that I got from Scarlet Darling for APP, will they be greasy enough for real BP ? 

No, you really need to buy some big lubes for a trouble free match. As for how many grains to use can be determined by the seating depth of the bullet. Here's a few photos from Driftwood Johnson. Good Luck:)

A Few Photos Illustrating How to Determine Powder Compression (cascity.com)

 

Jefro:ph34r:Relax-Enjoy

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Whether you load by dipper or use a powder measure, they all measure volume.  I've loaded 45 Colt with BP since 1986, so I might have been doing it wrong all this time, but... I calibrate my Dillon measure to drop 32 grains by weight of either Goex Cartridge or 2F  with a cast bullet from either a Lee 200 grain RFN or a RCBS 45-225-CAS lubed with SPG.  The only coated bullets I've used have been 160 grain RFN with APP  in the C45S, for the pistols, (can't remember the volume).  I've sanded the sides of each of my 1873 carriers to reduce their width about .015" per side and they will run 10-12 stages without needing to be touched.  No fillers or other foofarall needed.  I prefer the RCBS 45-225-C as it carries plenty of lube for my 24-¼" bbl'd rifle.  The 200 grain Lee carries plenty for the 18-½" 1873 Short Rifle.

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You could also look at trying to trade that Swiss powder for other cheaper bp or one of the subs if you want to use plain coated bullets. Swiss is premium priced powder and if you find the right trade you could come out with more powder.

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Different brands of Black Powder with the same granulation (something like FFg) and the same volume will weigh differently.  I had that problem when I switched from Schuetzen to GOEX.  I tried weighing samples of the two powders so that they were equal in weight,  When I put them in the casing (.38-40), the GOEX didn't quite fill up the casing as much as the Schuetzen did.  Had to add a tad more GOEX.  Not much, but just a bit.

At least that was my experience.

Edited by German Jim
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When I load my 38 rounds with APP I replace my Lee auto disk powder measure with my Lee auto drum powder measure which allows me to fine tune the volume to just kiss the bottom of the bullet. I also use coated bullets with no lube with APP. 

Edited by Mister Badly
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OK, as has been pointed out above, knowing "how many grains" of Black Powder (nothing Holy about it) is useless trivia.  BP requires some compression.  just add powder till you get some compression.  Done.

 

Coated bullets DO NOT play well with BP.  Use of BP requires a BP comparable lube to keep the fouling soft.  If you don't keep the fouling soft, accuracy goes away and cleaning becomes a real pain.

 

Depending on "what" bullets you got from Scarlett for APP.  If they are coated, NO, they are not slick enough.  Slick bullets are not what you need.  You need "lubed" bullets that carry a goodly amount of BP comparable lube.

 

Ain't BP FUN!!

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On 11/22/2023 at 7:11 PM, Jefro, SASS#69420 said:

No, you really need to buy some big lubes for a trouble free match. As for how many grains to use can be determined by the seating depth of the bullet. Here's a few photos from Driftwood Johnson. Good Luck:)

A Few Photos Illustrating How to Determine Powder Compression (cascity.com)

 

Jefro:ph34r:Relax-Enjoy

Will a bullet lubed like this provide enough lube ? 

IMG_6393.png

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Badman sells good bullets.  However, not every lube works to keep BP fouling soft.  The pictured bullet fails your needs for two reasons: 1) not a big enough lube groove for rifles, and 2) lube is not specific for black powder.  Lubes like SPG work to keep black powder fouling soft.  The hard "crayon lubes" used in cast bullets intended for loading with smokeless powder don't work well with real black powder.  Those posting on this thread are sending a consistent message that you need to load with bullets lubed specifically for black powder.  This thread discusses where to buy them.

 

Sidebar: I recommend softer bullets for CAS than BH16.

Edited by Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971
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1 hour ago, Skullbone Willie said:

Will a bullet lubed like this provide enough lube ? 

No, that bullet is lubed for smokless powder. Look at the lube groove in the Big Lube bullet on DJs post.A Few Photos Illustrating How to Determine Powder Compression (cascity.com) If you want big lube grooves then yer gonna have to buy that boolet. Why are you fighting it??:wacko:

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21 minutes ago, Jefro, SASS#69420 said:

No, that bullet is lubed for smokless powder. Look at the lube groove in the Big Lube bullet on DJs post.A Few Photos Illustrating How to Determine Powder Compression (cascity.com) If you want big lube grooves then yer gonna have to buy that boolet. Why are you fighting it??:wacko:

Not fighting anything, just trying to get it right the 1st time before I load up a bunch, wrong. 

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8 minutes ago, Jefro, SASS#69420 said:

@Dallas McPewPew also makes big lube BP bullets.  If you were a little closer I'd make you some to get by. 

Is Dallas actually making them yet? I remember a thread a little while ago where he was working on it, but haven't seen anything from him since. Maybe I missed it.

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Buy some 45 caliber over-powder cards. Add powder and card. Put a squirt of bore butter or Patch Lube on the card and seat your bullet. The lube will squeeze up around the bullet (and some out). Shoot away. I do this with unlubed Lee 200 grain RNFP. 

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I've used Badman Bullets lubed with his concoction and BP with no ill effect.  At CAS distances you're not likely to see a real breakdown in accuracy as you might at BPCR distances.  Cleanup was performed with the same methods and in the same amount of time as when I used SPG lube on bullets with larger lube grooves.  The amount of lube necessary for my 30" Sharp's is quite a bit different from that which is sufficient for my 18-½" 1873, or even the 24-¼" 1873.

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On 11/22/2023 at 2:08 PM, Skullbone Willie said:

I have 12 lbs of Swiss fffg, Holy Black. I have searched but not found what I’m looking for, I want grains not cc for 200gr and 160gr bullets for a good place to start. 

 

The non Hi-Tek coated bullets from Scarlett and the ones you pictured from Badman Bullets have a smokeless lube.  What you need is to find a bullet-maker that gives you an option of either smokeless or BP lube (for example SPG lube).   Or, buy big lube bullets without lube and pan-lube them yourself.  Hi-Tek polymer coating and smokeless lube do not play well with BP.  You'll notice this most in the rifle.   

 

At this moment, I don't remember which bullet-makers offer BP lube.  But, when the right synapses finally connect, and my memory kicks in,  I'll post it here. 

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