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.45 Colt for long range shooting (200 yards)


Willie C Tachutem

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Can I get your thoughts on using a .45 Colt as a 200 yard target rifle? I have a Navy Arms 1873 with a 30" barrel I want to use as a 100 and 200 yard target rifle.  And, yes, I  know there are much better cartridges, however,  it's what I have.  I have a Skinner ladder sight on it and it's great at 100. My current loading is 9 grains of Unique behind a 250 gr SNS round nose flat point.  Haven't taken it out to 200, yet. What's your thoughts???

Edited by Willie C Tachutem
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19 minutes ago, Willie C Tachutem said:

What's your thoughts???

 

About what?

 

If you want to shoot 45C at 200 yds go for it.

 

Let us know what you have to do to get consistent hits at that range.

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i agree , ive not tried it but it sounds like a fun challenge , i dont load stout enough for it right now and besides im playing with 4570 for long range and im having trouble finding enough time for that , but ill be watchin for you to post some results/comments of progress 

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What do we consider accurate at 200 and 300 yards for these old cartridges?

What do we consider a "rainbow" trajectory?

What is an unrealistic "Angle of Impact"?

Edited by Savvy Jack
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Why Not ? 

Like you already said .

Not Ideal. 

I have done it with a 24" 44 Special 73 .

Why not a 45 .

Run what you brung !

Rooster 

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Willy!! Get hold of Willy McCoy!!  He has some experience with long range and .45 Colt.  He won the long range side match at Tennessee State Match several years running a few years ago.

 

If you don’t have his contact information, text me and I’ll fix ya’ up!!

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38 minutes ago, Willie C Tachutem said:

I figured the drop at 200 yards would be between 40 and 45 inches. That would be my "rainbow trajectory" to deal with. 

You only have to deal with it, if it is not zeroed in for 200 yards.

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1 hour ago, Willie C Tachutem said:

Can I get your thoughts on using a .45 Colt as a 200 yard target rifle? I have a Navy Arms 1873 with a 30" barrel I want to use as a 100 and 200 yard target rifle.  And, yes, I  know there are much better cartridges, however,  it's what I have.  I have a Skinner ladder sight on it and it's great at 100. My current loading is 9 grains of Unique behind a 250 gr SNS round nose flat point.  Haven't taken it out to 200, yet. What's your thoughts???

 

I would also like to learn of the results of someone who shoots the 45 Colt at 200 yards in the 73'.

Using a standard 250gr lead bullet along with a comparison between pistol powders and rifle powders.

Here are my results using the 44-40 and a 73', but also with a scope.
265 to 300 yards (I measured 265 yards, but the range claims 300 yards)

The comparison is between Winchester's 1866 Switzerland Trials (hits in white), John Kort's replicated 44 Henry ballistics using a reduced 44-40 loads (hits in blue), and my custom loads in the 44-40 for 1,350fps. (actual holes).

Would really be nice to add the 45 Colt cartridge rifle performance at the same ranges as if it had been available back then in the 73'

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277818452_3206738499597970_7089206748650012305_n33.thumb.jpg.a4417152ce32610dd6d8428ae809892c.jpg

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Willie,

     I've been using an older Marlin '94(Micro Groove) in 44 mag with a MVA tang sight and a Lyman 17A on the front for a number of years and wouldn't hesitate shooting it at 200 yards. My load is a 240 grain copper washed bullet with 6.5 grains of 231. This is my BPCR pistol caliber lever gun. We only shoot that game out to 100 meters but we've shot them much farther at our home range..

             Go for it and have some long range fun!!

                          Jasper Agate

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The way I see it and prepare my long range rifles for rifle /pistol caliber competition is this, don’t worry about trajectory. Sight the rifle in for 100,  150, 200 yrds. That’s the most common yardages I have found for this type of match. You have to get a load that groups really well at 100, when you have found that you’re on your way to a lot of fun. You must have a great sight system or your whizzen in the wind. I like Lee Shaver sights, his mid range economy Soule tang sight and his hooded front sight will do all you need for Pistol/rifle comp. Get a note book and keep accurate settings written down for the different yardages. I know there are guys that use the sights that come on the rifle from the factory, good on them if that’s what works for them, it doesn’t for me. The 45 long Colt with the proper load will surprise you how accurate that caliber is, you have to put in the time and effort to develop the load that works for your rifle and LOTS of trigger time. That brings up another point, the triggers on most factory rifles  are at best awful! If your not familiar with smoothing out a trigger to break at something less than 4 pounds( I like a two pound break) then get it to a reputable gunsmith. You can’t shoot accurately struggling to pull a 9 pound hammer! Hope this helps. SCJ

 

 

 

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I've shot 200 yards with .45 Colt and a 200 grain bullet over a full load of WST.   I could hold on a man silhouette over a bench rest pretty well once open iron sights were set correctly.

 

Make up the best 100 yard load then work it out to longer range.  It will never be a 30-06 or .338 Lapua.   Don't fall in the trap of putting a huge front BEAD sight on it - you will loose the target at 200 yards.

 

good luck, GJ

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Howdy Carrison and others,

 

I seem to remember (always iffy) that a very early Lyman recommendation for sighting with a bead front sight was to set the sights so the bullet struck at the top of the bead. Thus the size of the bead was less consequential. In fast, aiming, as in hunting at relatively close range, the sights would be close enough, but still provide more precise accuracy at distance. 

 

At least that's what I think I remember,

 

Rev. Chase

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All long range iron sight shooting recommendations I follow call for just enough of a front sight size (width) to let your eyes still pick it up.  A large bead that you are trying to guess exactly where the rounded top ends is also going to block almost half of your view of the target.   That is one reason good long range sights (like the Lyman globe front sight) have a selection of inserts that can be swapped out to match the range you are shooting, including ring sights that leave the exact center of the target visible.  Next most accurate is a fairly narrow post with a sharp-edged top that lets you know exactly where the aiming point on the sight blade is.  Most of my long range military rifle shooting I do is with exactly that - a target post sight, if needed, thinned down to the smallest thickness I can see well.

 

good luck, GJ

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I host long range matches at my farm during the summer.  Targets for long range pistol caliber rifles are set at 100, 150 & 200 yards.  The 100 yd. target measures 11" high by 10 " wide.  The 150 & 200s are 17h x 14w.  The course of fire is three shots each off cross sticks.  Nine for nine is not unusual.  Shooters have Win 73s, Marlin 94s, Rossi 92s, etc. in 45 Colt, 44-40, & .357.  Most have vernier tang sights & globe front sights.  Sometimes we play "hopscotch".  Starting at 100 yds & progressing to see how far out you can get in ten shots.  Hits have been made out to 500 yds.  The targets do get progressively larger.  Rifle caliber levers & single shots are also used with targets out to 800 yds.  It's all fun.

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PLUS ONE for Hashknife.  I have a 16 inch barrel Henry Trapper in 45 Colt.  Loading with Cowboy 45 Special and 180Gr RNFP over a full case of 3f APP I can hit at 200 yards.  Rear sight is a Smith Enterprises Ladder on the barrel and an OEM Henry Blade on the front.  I sighted the rifle AT 200 yards.  Took lots of shooting.  Make a nice Pastrami sandwich waiting for impact :D  Won't claim MOA accuracy but could achieve Minute of Volkswagen :rolleyes:

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7 hours ago, Zeb Gray, #36839 said:

I host long range matches at my farm during the summer.  Targets for long range pistol caliber rifles are set at 100, 150 & 200 yards.  The 100 yd. target measures 11" high by 10 " wide.  The 150 & 200s are 17h x 14w.  The course of fire is three shots each off cross sticks.  Nine for nine is not unusual.  Shooters have Win 73s, Marlin 94s, Rossi 92s, etc. in 45 Colt, 44-40, & .357.  Most have vernier tang sights & globe front sights.  Sometimes we play "hopscotch".  Starting at 100 yds & progressing to see how far out you can get in ten shots.  Hits have been made out to 500 yds.  The targets do get progressively larger.  Rifle caliber levers & single shots are also used with targets out to 800 yds.  It's all fun.

I can't hit the backside of a barn now without a scope out that far.....nor without a bench rest.... After today, I can't hit anything at 35 yards neither!

Edited by Savvy Jack
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Oh All Right

 

FULL DISCLOSURE:  I didn't specify how LONG AGO I could hit that 200 yard target with Iron Sights did I ??  Well, it was several (Many) Lustrum ago.  Today, I can't see a target at two hundred yards without field glasses and telescope, let alone hit the durn thing.

 

Elmer "Claimed" he could do it.  I never met anyone who ever SAW him do it.  I also believe his claimed target was a big rock, about the size of a Volkswagen.

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I crunched some numbers thru a couple of programs and came up with a 200 gr RFN in front of 9 grs of Unique ought to spit out the end of a 30" bbl at 1422 fps.  With a BC around 0.140, & a 100 yd zero, it estimated the bullet would drop 26" +/- @ 200 yds.

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8 hours ago, Zeb Gray, #36839 said:

I host long range matches at my farm during the summer.  Targets for long range pistol caliber rifles are set at 100, 150 & 200 yards.  The 100 yd. target measures 11" high by 10 " wide.  The 150 & 200s are 17h x 14w.  The course of fire is three shots each off cross sticks.  Nine for nine is not unusual.  Shooters have Win 73s, Marlin 94s, Rossi 92s, etc. in 45 Colt, 44-40, & .357.  Most have vernier tang sights & globe front sights.  Sometimes we play "hopscotch".  Starting at 100 yds & progressing to see how far out you can get in ten shots.  Hits have been made out to 500 yds.  The targets do get progressively larger.  Rifle caliber levers & single shots are also used with targets out to 800 yds.  It's all fun.

Man, I wish I lived close to your range!

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On 12/3/2023 at 4:55 PM, Willie C Tachutem said:

Can I get your thoughts on using a .45 Colt as a 200 yard target rifle? I have a Navy Arms 1873 with a 30" barrel I want to use as a 100 and 200 yard target rifle.  And, yes, I  know there are much better cartridges, however,  it's what I have.  I have a Skinner ladder sight on it and it's great at 100. My current loading is 9 grains of Unique behind a 250 gr SNS round nose flat point.  Haven't taken it out to 200, yet. What's your thoughts???

 

It's been years ago, but using essentially the same load I did quite well at 200 yard long range. Marlin 24" Cowboy, Marble sight, 250 RNFP and 8.0 grains of Unique. 

give it a try.

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I owned a 73 with a 30" bbl once. Best load I developed for it was a 45/70 gov't resized to 452. and loaded long in the 45 colt case. I used just enough bp to get 630 fps. The round was longer than would feed in a 73 so it had to be shot as a single shot loaded over the top. I shot a 5 shot 3.5" group with it at 125 yds. The guy running the spotting scope almost died laughing at the trajectory. Don't be afraid to try heavier weight for your projectiles, just make sure you've got them sized properly and don't try to hot rod them.

kR

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My long range club has a match call the Little Q.  Its for rimmed tradition pistol caliber rounds.  Rifles are limited to lever repeater and single shots.  For safetey, only one round can be loaded at time.  The match is not timed, rather its the number of hits that counts,  We shoot this match once a month April thru Oct. 

 

We use steel gongs for targets, and they are set at 300, 400, 500 and 600 yards.  You get 8 shots per target with no sighters.

I shoot a low wall Browning 1885 in 45 colt.  Sights are an MVA Soule and globe front and rear.  Never use a post front sight,  you want to see all the target thru the front sight.

 

I load my rounds with a 330 grain bullet with a Postell (elongated round) type nose.  My cases are made out cut down 454 Casull brass.  The 454 Casull uses small rifle primers.  I load enough Swiss black power to get about 50 thou compression and still maintain the correct over all length of the loaded round per my rifle's chamber.  I use a compression die to compress the powder, never use the bullet to compress the powder.

 

At long distances, you want a very consistent bullet speed, so the bullets do not vertical string (ie spread via high/low due to variants in speed).  I use black powder because it gives me the lowest standard deviation on speed.  In other words, the speed of the bullets is extremely consistent.  I've tried several types and kinds of smokeless powder and none of them can match the low SD of black powder,   The use of small rifle primers helps in keeping the low SD numbers with black powder.

 

So how does all this sights and load thing work for me?   I am happy to report that I have won that match several times.  The shooters using smokeless loads get progressively worse as the distance increases (lots of high/low hits).  They keep adjusting their sight to compensate for the high or low hits and end up just making things worse. 

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Willie,

 

Go for it! You have plenty of elevation.

I would say suggest a piece of tape on the back side below the notch. Years ago 3M produced a black masking tape. With the site elevated, the notch gets lost in the light, top and bottom. With the black tape installed on the bottom half of the notch notch is visible.

 

Uriah

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Edited by Uriah, SASS # 53822
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4 hours ago, Clyde Henry #7046 said:

My long range club has a match call the Little Q.  Its for rimmed tradition pistol caliber rounds.  Rifles are limited to lever repeater and single shots.  For safetey, only one round can be loaded at time.  The match is not timed, rather its the number of hits that counts,  We shoot this match once a month April thru Oct. 

 

We use steel gongs for targets, and they are set at 300, 400, 500 and 600 yards.  You get 8 shots per target with no sighters.

I shoot a low wall Browning 1885 in 45 colt.  Sights are an MVA Soule and globe front and rear.  Never use a post front sight,  you want to see all the target thru the front sight.

 

I load my rounds with a 330 grain bullet with a Postell (elongated round) type nose.  My cases are made out cut down 454 Casull brass.  The 454 Casull uses small rifle primers.  I load enough Swiss black power to get about 50 thou compression and still maintain the correct over all length of the loaded round per my rifle's chamber.  I use a compression die to compress the powder, never use the bullet to compress the powder.

 

At long distances, you want a very consistent bullet speed, so the bullets do not vertical string (ie spread via high/low due to variants in speed).  I use black powder because it gives me the lowest standard deviation on speed.  In other words, the speed of the bullets is extremely consistent.  I've tried several types and kinds of smokeless powder and none of them can match the low SD of black powder,   The use of small rifle primers helps in keeping the low SD numbers with black powder.

 

So how does all this sights and load thing work for me?   I am happy to report that I have won that match several times.  The shooters using smokeless loads get progressively worse as the distance increases (lots of high/low hits).  They keep adjusting their sight to compensate for the high or low hits and end up just making things worse. 

Where?  Lack of specific info is the reason it took me 3 years to find the location EOT was shot.  Otherwise, I'd have been shooting cowboy action longer!  Or maybe you don't want others to join you!:P

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