Welcome to the forum, there's lots of good information here. The .45 Colt is an easy round to reload and it's a lot of fun to shoot. Since you're already casting your own musket balls pick up a mold for 255gr semi wadcutter or Keith type bullets and it'll be even cheaper to reload. Cast bullets work great in the .45 Colt and will usually shoot pretty well if you find the right bullet. You might want to consider going to a Ruger Blackhawk (Single Action) or Redhawk (Double Action) for added strength in case you decide you want to load the cartridge a little bit hotter than factory loads.
For your Dad, I'd have him look at the Ruger SR9C which is a compact 9mm. 9mm is about the cheapest to shoot of all the centerfire autos which affords lots more practice and the Ruger SR series of handguns has been getting good reviews from most owners. A range that rents handguns might be the best bet for him so he can get a chance to shoot them before he lays down the cash. In my area there's no rental ranges within a reasonable drive so I don't have the luxury of test firing before I buy, you may run into the same situation.
Last edited by stu925; December 15, 2012 at 02:32 PM.