Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 28

Thread: Handloading and the 45 Colt

  1. #1

    Handloading and the 45 Colt

    Pulling from this thread: https://pistol-forum.com/showthread....Duty-Revolvers

    Quote Originally Posted by jh9 View Post
    re: strength

    Did the model 25s get the same upgrades around 1990 as the 29/629s? IIRC they called it the "endurance package" (longer cylinder stop notches, etc). I wonder if that was a change they made across the board to all N-frames. If so you might be able to load new guns up a little warmer than the older -5s...
    I'm pretty sure that all N-Frames got those upgrades, not just the 44s, but I'm also unconvinced that there's much point in loading the 45 Colt much past Tier II (as described below).

    Any discussion of the 45 Colt should start with a reading from John Linebaugh’s epistle to the faithful (https://www.johnlinebaughcustomsixguns.com/writings):

    “I have personally taken about 10 antelope and 1 mule deer with a .45 Colt. My boys have taken around 6 antelope and 5 mule deer with their .45 Colts. They use a 4 3/4" Colt SA and the handload is a 260 Keith cast at 900 fps. This load will shoot lengthwise of antelope and mule deer at 100 yards. In my estimation it kills as well as the .270, 30-06 class rifles if the shots are placed properly. If I were hunting heavier game I'd step up the velocity to 1200 fps and in extreme circumstances, (elk, hogs, bear) go to the 310 gr cast slug. This load, 310 at 1200 will go through elk like so much air.”

    I’m not sure what’s heavier than mule deer and lighter than elk, hogs, or bear, but those are the words of the master.

    The 45 Colt is good ballistically, but there are wrinkles on the logistical side. 45 Colt revolvers and ammo are classed in four tiers:

    Tier I = Colt SAA and clones, which top out at 14,000 psi. It’s easy to handload a 250-grain SWC or LFN to 1,000 fps, which will meet 99% of your needs. Factory ammo is another story—you might find something like that handload, or you might only find a load with a pointy 180-grain bullet at 600 fps that will barely stay on a pie plate at 25 yards. Test and make careful notes if you have to rely on factory ammo.

    Tier II = S&W Model 25 and Ruger Flat Tops, which top out around 23,000 psi. This is a 250-grain jacketed bullet at 1,100 fps, a 280-grain cast bullet at 1,150 fps, or a 318-grain cast bullet at 1,070 fps. Brian Pearce has written excellent articles about handloading to this level in Handloader magazine, most notably in April, 2007. You’ll need those articles, though, because no factory loads this ammo and loading manuals don’t cover it. Here's one of them: http://buffalobore.net/HandloaderDecJan2012.pdf

    Tier III = Ruger New Model Blackhawks (NOT Flat Tops or New Vaqueros), Redhawks, Freedom Arms 97, and similar guns. These top out around 32,000 psi. You can buy this ammo over the counter. It’s expensive and recoil is fierce, but they match the hottest 44 Magnum loads with slightly less pressure. Most sources of loading data call this “45 Colt +P” or “Ruger/TC only.” These loads can destroy a Tier I or Tier II revolver, so many—but not all—of them are intentionally built too long to fit into the cylinder of an SAA or clone.

    Tier IV = custom five-shot guns with longer than standard cylinders, which top out around 50,000 psi. These are a handload-only proposition. I had a couple of these guns built by David Clements, and they’ll move a 325-grain bullet an honest 1,400 fps.

    The 45 Colt has a lot of romance but most of its advantages are theoretical and only pan out if you handload to Tier III or IV levels.


    Okie John
    “The reliability of the 30-06 on most of the world’s non-dangerous game is so well established as to be beyond intelligent dispute.” Finn Aagaard
    "Don't fuck with it" seems to prevent the vast majority of reported issues." BehindBlueI's

  2. #2
    Member Zeke38's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    North Cenral Idaho
    Thanks Okie, I've owned a couple of Blackhawks and a Smith 25-5 in 45 Colt. From my experience you're right on in your assessment. I wouldn't recommend a Tier 3 load in any conventional Blackhawk only in a Bisley frame to mitigate recoil. But thats just me.

  3. #3
    Site Supporter CSW's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    The Granite State
    Around the year 2000 +-, [I think it was 2002-2003] I purchased a Smith mountain gun in 45 colt.
    At the time, I also had a Ruger Blackhawk in the same caliber.

    Because I was already loading for the BH, I called Smith about pressures in the MG.
    They gave me the canned answer that I should not shoot reloads thru any Smith, but if I did, I should keep the velocities capped at 1000 fps.
    Most of the reloading I do for the MG is Hardcast, but also some 250 grain plated bullets.
    "Most" of my reloads are clocked in at aout 850-900 fps, with fine results.
    While I no longer have the BH, I still have the hotter reloads, and only fire them thru my Winchester Trapper.

    The two deer I shot with the 45 colt reloads were [1] a 285 grain "sledgehammer", and [2] a 300 grain. All below 1000fps.
    Both passed completely thru the animals, with huge exit wounds.
    The 300 went thru the buck as it quartered away, entering ahead of the shoulder, and exiting behind the left ribs, destroying the lungs and heart.
    Barely mediocre with every platform.

  4. #4
    Site Supporter 03RN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    New Hampshire
    I used to shoot deer at a nursery in RI and got a couple dozen or so with .45 colts. Iirc most of them fell to the buffalo bore 255gr @1000fps. I also got a few with 250gr xtp over 18.5gr 2400 which I think gets about 1150fps from my Blackhawk.

    On game performance made me a believer. Their reactions were much more profound than when shot with smaller handgun rounds.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by okie john View Post
    I'm pretty sure that all N-Frames got those upgrades, not just the 44s, but I'm also unconvinced that there's much point in loading the 45 Colt much past Tier II (as described below).
    I don't disagree in general but I think it's still good to know how much is too much and how far is too far. Even if you don't use it much (or at all).

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeke38 View Post
    Thanks Okie, I've owned a couple of Blackhawks and a Smith 25-5 in 45 Colt. From my experience you're right on in your assessment. I wouldn't recommend a Tier 3 load in any conventional Blackhawk only in a Bisley frame to mitigate recoil. But thats just me.
    Back in the 90s, I hot-loaded factory guns and tried out a couple of custom 5-shot guns. I went through enough H110 to burn the throat out of a factory Bisley barrel and create a world-class flinch that wrecked years of careful coaching, training, and practice in about six months. The guns held up and delivered as promised but I realized that my life didn't require that kind of power.

    Since then, I've been OK with +P 45 ACP ballistics in Smith N-Frames and various Rugers. Then, a couple of years ago, I put a dozen of these https://grizzlycartridge.com/shop/gr...p-265gr-wfngc/
    through a standard Blackhawk. Recoil was fast and sharp, but certainly tolerable without going to a Bisley.

    If you use bullets heavier than about 300 grains or shoot long strings of heavy loads, then yeah, get a Bisley. Otherwise, a Blackhawk is probably fine.


    Okie John
    “The reliability of the 30-06 on most of the world’s non-dangerous game is so well established as to be beyond intelligent dispute.” Finn Aagaard
    "Don't fuck with it" seems to prevent the vast majority of reported issues." BehindBlueI's

  7. #7
    Hillbilly Elitist Malamute's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Northern Rockies
    In the old magazine John put out for a short time in the early 90s he had a bit about the loads he liked in the 25-5, what I recall of it was he said they were capable of a bit more, but he mainly used relatively moderate loads in them, around 250-260 gr@1000 fps, this is from memory of the written piece and talking with him. I think one of the written pieces may have been on his site in the past but does not appear to be now, but its been a long time since I looked there.

    Ive loaded and shot some of the 300+ gr loads in Ruger SAs to whatever John mentioned at the time (think they were 1250 fps loads with H-110), but think Ive shot less than 200 of them in 30 or so years, just familiarity fire, check zero, and carry in the mountains.
    “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
    ― Theodore Roosevelt

  8. #8
    Site Supporter entropy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Midwest. Far Upper Midwest whever I get the chance
    I don’t have anything of value to add here...but I sure can giggle hard.

    “John Linebaugh’s epistle to the faithful.”
    Working diligently to enlarge my group size.

  9. #9
    Old man yelling at cloud OlongJohnson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    "carbine-infested rural (and suburban) areas"
    Quote Originally Posted by Malamute View Post
    In the old magazine John put out for a short time in the early 90s he had a bit about the loads he liked in the 25-5, what I recall of it was he said they were capable of a bit more, but he mainly used relatively moderate loads in them, around 250-260 gr@1000 fps, this is from memory of the written piece and talking with him.
    I reckon a USP .45 Expert could get there with Super loads.
    .
    -----------------------------------------
    Not another dime.

  10. #10
    Lives to Enable Revolvers Stephanie B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    East 860 by South 413
    I need to dig out my Cimmaron clone and shoot it some more.
    You do what you can do. Every single day. But life these days seems to be a unrelenting sequence of dealing with imbeciles.

User Tag List

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •