Need help reloading 45 colt

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by wcsmith, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. wcsmith

    wcsmith New Member

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    I am getting ready to start reloading for my colt 45 and need help. I would like to use the same Bullseye powder I use to reload my 45 acp and 357 mag. I have read a lot of reference material and they all vary. Starting loads (cowboy) for a 200gr lead bullet start any where from 5.0grs to 7.5grs I just target shoot and want a light load for my Ruger Vaquero. I was thinking of using 5.0 grs of Bullseye with a 200gr bullet. Is this a good load?
  2. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    You can try this site for Alliant Bullseye loads:

    http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/Index.htm

    But they say for 200 gr Speer GDHP, 7.9 grains for 994 FPS.

    They say for 200 gr LSWC, 7.5 grains for 988 FPS.

    They say for cowboy loads with 230 gr lead bullets, 6.0 grains for 815 FPS


    None of my sources show any load for 200 grain bullets at 5 grains. Too much airspace between the bullet and the powder can cause detonation. I think 5.0 might be a bit shy (??). If you get it too light of a load then the bullet may not exit the barrel (??) or detonate instead of burning, damaging the gun. Go with the published data!

    LDBennett
  3. Haligan

    Haligan Well-Known Member

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    The 45 colt cartridge is alittle big for Bullseye You might want to pick up some Unique. Their's ton's of uses for that powder.
  4. wcsmith

    wcsmith New Member

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    Thanks for the replys. Some of the information I was using came from M S Smith reloading pages. He suggested 200gr LRNFP using 6.0gr Bullseye giving you 870 fps, a max load of 7.0gr giving you 920 fps. For a 230gr RNL he suggested Bullseye using 5.0gr giving you 744 fps. If you can use 5.0gr for a 250gr bullet why can't you use the same thing for a 200gr bullet?
    I also looked at Handloads .com and they listed 200gr bullet (JMPH)? starting at 5.4gr. I did look at the Alliant sight but thought their suggestion of 7.5gr for the 200gr bullet was pretty high, not a starting or cowboy load. I also noticed a lot of difference in COL, any where from 1.515 to 1.6. What should I be using for the 200gr bullet? Thanks for all suggestions. My first thoughts are of safty.
  5. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    45LC is a big case. When you put a little powder in it or a rather short light bullet, there is a lot of air space and that can lead to detonation (in the extreme case). Bullseye and Winchester 231 are used in 45LC case all the time but at what has been proven to be adequate quantities of powder.

    When Alliant puts their name on a recommendation for a load you can be assured it has been thoroughly tested. If they don't list a 5 grain load then don't use a 5 grain load..simple enough...its their powder and they ought to know.

    Use Alliant's COL because that is part of the recipe. How deeply seated the bullet is in the case affect pressure levels. Get it wrong and you could damage you and/or your gun.

    It is alright to shop around for a load but remember to consider the source of the loads and who has the most to loose if the load is dangerous (internet responder, magazine writer, or major company). I don't use loads that are not listed in bonified reloading manuals from major manufactuers of powder, or bullets, or reloading equipment. It is best to use their entire recipe, not pick and choose components and COL from various sources.

    LDBennett
  6. GoodOl'12gauge

    GoodOl'12gauge New Member

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    I use 6.0 grains of unique with 200 grain rnfp bullets The average fps is 850.
  7. RonC1

    RonC1 New Member

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    Hate to resurrect an old thread but you are discussing my issue.

    I have a replica SAA in 45 Colt, 5.5 inch barrel, modern manufacture around 2000-2004.

    My new Lee dies data sheet gives both min and max loading for Unique at 8 grains for 250 gr lead rnfp bullets. I have the older Lee Modern Reloading manual which lists 7-6-8.0 as an acceptable range, and three other manuals give ranges from 7.1 to 8.8 grains.

    By the way, Win Ultramax (Cowboy) ammo cronographs at about 790 fps in my gun. I have no desire to exceed that. I am reloading for cost reasons, not performance.

    I really don't want to damage the gun. (I noted comments about possible detonation for light loads above.) Should I just go with 8.0 gr of Unique?
  8. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    Alliant's manual from 2002 lists Cowboy loads for Unique and 250 grain RNFP lead:

    6.0 to 7.5 grains for listed velocities of 650 to 750 FPS (unknown barrel length?)

    If it is Cowboy loads you want I would not exceed 7.5 grains.

    The hotter loads listed in other manuals are not Cowboy loads which are notoriously light but safe loads. Those hotter loads are typically safe in even turn of the century Colt SAA guns but not pre-turn of the century guns designed for black powder. Typically SAA replica guns like yours are made of much better metals that anything from Colt prior to WWII. New metals developed during WWII are much stronger than those before WWII and are typically used for even the replica SAA guns from Italy and most certainly for the modern replicas made in the USA.

    That being said you can safely use up to 8.0 grains according to Alliant's manual but I'd stick with the Cowboy loads if that is what you like in commercial ammo.

    As an aside I am not a lover of Unique. It takes too much of it and has a reputation for shooting dirty (??). I have settled in on Winchester 231 or the Hodgdon exact equivalent of HP38 (Winchester makes it for them). I use it almost universally in all my handguns. You get more reloads per pound. It is clean burning. It gives acceptable velocities. It is a ball powder that meters more accurately through a powder measure than other shapes of powder grains. The Cowboy loads for it and 250 gr RNFP lead are:

    5.5 grains for a velocity of 750FPS out of a 5.5 inch barrel (exact match to your commercial loads!)

    I think it worth of consideration. I use it (W231 or HP38) for light and heavy loads in revolvers and semi-autos and even for lever guns that shoot pistol cartridges. It truly is universal for handguns.



    LDBennett
  9. RonC1

    RonC1 New Member

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    Thank you, LDBennett.

    I am using Unique because I have several pounds of it. Way back when I got started in this business as a teenager, Unique seemed to be the universal handgun powder. I guess I have just not looked further. It does tend to cover the business end of the gun in soot, however.

    I have been trying to reduce my inventory of different powders and try to select those that can do a decent job in several different calibers. Sound like I need to evaluate HP38. I have used HS-6 but not the other.

    Thanks again.

    Oh, at what point does high pressure on underloads become an issue? Is there a rule of thumb? I contacted Speer one time about their comment on 243 Win and underloads of IMR 4350. The guy there confirmed that they had seen what appeared to be detonation with underloads of that powder.
  10. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    RonC1:

    The rule of thumb is the load has to be listed in a reloading manual. Anything else may be dangerous.

    Powders and their sensitivity to under loads varies all over the place. There is no general rule except.... only use loads in reloading manuals.

    And remember that W231 and Hodgdon HP-38 are the same exact powder. Hodgdon now distributes both and their reloading manual shows exactly the same data for both. Winchester has always made HP-38 for Hodgdon, as a W231 clone, as far as I know. I think as a universal powder for handguns W231 (HP-38) is much more versatile than Unique.

    LDBennett
  11. zant

    zant Active Member

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    When I use a small amount(compared to case size)of powder,I use pillow dacron to fill some volume.But 99% of time I use 2400 for .45 Colt.
  12. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    zant:

    At one point in time Lyman suggested the use of the Dacron puff in cases loaded with small amounts of powder but that is no longer the case.

    In a post here a couple of years ago I stated this and was challenged about my information so I called Lyman. Their reloading tech told me Lyman no longer recommends using a Dacron puff in cases loaded with small amounts of powder. Their position in using a Dacron puff in cases loaded with small amounts of powder is that it is more dangerous than not using any Dacron puff at all.

    You might want to consider either not doing it anymore or calling Lyman yourself to verify what I say to be true.

    LDBennett
  13. RonC1

    RonC1 New Member

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    Thanks for all the help and the background info.

    I did some loads with Unique, 8.0 gr gave an average of 837 fps in my gun while 7.5 gave 730 fps at twice the standard deviation. I am going to stick with 8.0 for now.

    Another interesting observation. In 9mm Luger and 45 ACP, Unique is noticeably sooty. Not in 45 Colt. The gun was remarkably clean. Even with factory ammo, the pressure is so low the brass does not seal the chamber well so there is some sooting on the outside wall of the cartridge.

    I cast my bullets using the Lee 452-255 double cavity mold. The bullet weight came out about 259 gr. So my cost for a box of 50 was about $5. I am so happy.
  14. zant

    zant Active Member

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    I believe you,I used to do it but found 2400 is the best powder for my loads,so thats pretty much all I use..Great tip,Thanks
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