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Old June 16, 2010, 03:00 PM   #1
shafter
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Quick question about 45 colt

I've been shooting 250gr bullets over 8 grains of unique out of my new vaquero. The gun has a 5.5'' barrel and I'm wondering approximately what kind of velocity and ft/pounds to expect.

I carry it in the woods quite a bit and am curious as to its adequacy for bears etc. Does this load sound okay or should I step it up a little or perhaps use the 357mag?
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Old June 16, 2010, 03:17 PM   #2
briandg
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What kind of bear?

If you are using heavy colt loads, and your bear are small in that area, you pretty much have a toss up, IMO. heavy bullets in .357 will do the job in a .357, and penetrate a bit deeper than a colt. Same with a colt, heavy bullets.

Always assuming you hit the parts of the critter that need to be hit.
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Old June 16, 2010, 04:39 PM   #3
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The Old Vaquero will handle the hot "Ruger only" loads that will spit out 300 to 335 grain bullets at up to 1300 fps. These outclass the .44 magnum by a significant margin.

The "New" Vaquero has a lighter frame that won't handle these hot loads. So, if you've got the New Vaquero, you're pretty limited.

I'd probably go with a .357 and a heavy flat nosed slug if I had to choose between the two.
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Old June 16, 2010, 05:38 PM   #4
RWJOHN
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I'm no 45 colt nor bear expert. I have some data that shows 850 fps with 8gr Unique and 250gr lead bullet. Barrel length and muzzle energy unknown.
Now, my Hornady #4 manual shows a load of AA #9 powder and a 250gr HP/XTP at 950 fps and 500 ft.-lbs. of muzzle energy. This from a 7.5 " barrel.
I would definitely go with a slower powder and heavy bullet in a bear fight
I'm assuming you have a new model Vaquero. I have an old model with 7.5 barrel that will handle the hot loads but I've yet to try any. I loaded some 225gr JHP"s a little warm that I'll be trying out soon. But I will be fighting paper, not bears.

Peace and good luck

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Old June 16, 2010, 07:44 PM   #5
Slamfire
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This is a close as I can get. I estimate that 8.0 grains will give you around 800-825 fps, based on my data with these 45LC's.

51/2" USFA Rodeo


250 LRN (.452") 8.5 grs Unique thrown, R-P cases, CCI300 primers
12-May-02 T = 80°F
Ave Vel = 855
Std Dev = 16
ES = 59.91
High = 885.4
Low = 825.5
Number Shots 12



M625-9 Mountain Gun 4" Barrel

250 LRN (.452") Valiant 8.0 grs Unique lot 6/21/1993 thrown, R-P cases, WLP primers
25-Mar-07 T = 80 °F

Ave Vel = 814
Std Dev = 24
ES = 72.81
High = 847
Low = 774.2
Number Shots 11
accurate

255 LSWC (.452") 8.0 grs Unique thrown, lot 6/21/1993, Starline cases, WLP primers
25-Mar-07 T = 80 °F

Ave Vel = 800
Std Dev = 30
ES = 99.02
High = 847.2
Low = 748.1
Number Shots 11
accurate

250 LRN (.454") Valiant 8.5 grs Unique lot 4.3/06 5471 thrown, R-P cases, WLP primers
25-Mar-07 T = 80 °F

Ave Vel = 891
Std Dev = 17
ES = 61.31
High = 921.1
Low = 859.8
Number Shots 27
accurate



Please leave the bears alone. With all the human encrouchment, they are having a tough time surviving.
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Old June 16, 2010, 07:53 PM   #6
kodiakbeer
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Well, you're down to 45acp levels with those loads. That might be OK for black bears, but I suspect you could do better with the .357.

As always, if bears are a real issue then pepper spray is safer than handguns.
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Old June 16, 2010, 11:27 PM   #7
mothermopar
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Buffalo Bore makes a SAA safe 255 gr Keith bullet at 1000 fps; I was told this load is good for any toothed critter short of grizzlies.

Then again, grizzly or brown bear defense using pretty much any handgun is a very poor proposition... Many consider 454 casulls as marginal (even inadequate) for big bear defense... Or so I hear. Most say a long gun of potent caliber or bear spray and pray!!
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Old June 17, 2010, 12:26 AM   #8
dmazur
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I have a Ruger SBH in .44 Mag. I didn't get it for bear protection, but I took it to Montana on a recent fishing trip.

I saw a grizzly bear, and also a black bear (separate events). The grizzly bear was much larger. Fortunately, it was headed the other way.

For folks who haven't seen both up close, you need to do this. Black bears are things you can consider stopping with a handgun. IMO, grizzlies aren't.

If I go back this summer, I think I'm leaving the .44 Mag at home and taking a .30-06 carbine. With 220gr loads. At 8 lbs, it isn't that much heavier than the SBH. ( )

I have no intention of shooting a bear. I have bear spray as a primary defense, and I plan to do everything possible to leave the *#!$ bears alone.

However, I don't want to wind up on the trail "smelling like pepper spray with little bells in it", as the joke goes.
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Old June 17, 2010, 12:40 AM   #9
zxcvbob
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Quote:
I've been shooting 250gr bullets over 8 grains of unique out of my new vaquero. The gun has a 5.5'' barrel and I'm wondering approximately what kind of velocity and ft/pounds to expect.
You can expect about 900 fps. Bump it up to 9 grains and you'll gain another 150 fps. (over SAAMI specs, but should be fine in a Ruger, even a medium frame)

The energy numbers are deceptive; it should shoot a half inch hole clean thru just about anything in North America except maybe a bison. I'm not qualified to say whether or not that's enough for bears
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Old June 17, 2010, 08:08 AM   #10
shafter
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There's only black bears in my area but I'm really not worried about them although they grow to be quite large in my neck of the woods. This is more of a mental exercise than anything else. I rotate between the 357 and the 45 depending on the mood. Thanks for the information, I've got some BB loads but may also boost my reloads a bit. Maybe 8.5grs or so
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Old July 21, 2010, 07:16 AM   #11
andrewstorm
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bear medicine

I heard some guy hiking was charged by a brown bear,he shot it 9 times,the bear was later found deader than a door nail,45acp is effective as is 45 l c
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Old July 21, 2010, 09:26 AM   #12
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The .45 ACP is not as effective as the .45 Colt primarily due to bullet shape and limited powder capacity and OAL. Alliant lists max standard pressure SAAMI load, i.e. 14 k psi , as 9.5 grains for a 250 grain Speer SWC. You get 941 fps with that load and the .45 ACP will not duplicate that load. At 950 fps a 255 grain hard cast SWC will shoot through most any animal on a broadside and the larger meplat will do a lot of destruction. The "Old School" .45 Colt standard load is a force to be reckoned with. The hard cast 255 grain SWC is a little freight train. BTW the Buffalo Bore ammunition mentioned above is not hard cast and will not penetrate like a hard cast. I love Buffalo Bore but not that soft lead bullet.
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Old July 21, 2010, 11:46 AM   #13
GeauxTide
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I'm with Bob

9 grains will get you over 950. I've been shooting 10gr in my Blackhawk and Bisley 45LC with 275s for 1057. Shoots through 8" pine trees like butter at 50feet. For your stated purpose, use hard cast SWC, like those found at Missouri Bullets. A 45LC 250gr bullet at 950 trumps any 357 in my view.
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Old July 21, 2010, 05:07 PM   #14
dlb435
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I don't think I'd want to shoot any bear with a pistol. However, bears are easily scared off with loud noises. Anything bigger than a 22 should do the job.
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Old July 22, 2010, 05:53 PM   #15
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I just read a CNN article where two folks were hiking, man and women, and a Grizzly charged the woman. The man drew his 45 ACP pistol and put nine rounds in the bear which killed it. It was a National Park and he was exercising his "new" right to bear arms there. Me thinks he got lucky with that on a Grizzly. Volume most likely made the deciding factor here.
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Old July 22, 2010, 06:25 PM   #16
rjrivero
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stargazer
I just read a CNN article where two folks were hiking, man and women, and a Grizzly charged the woman. The man drew his 45 ACP pistol and put nine rounds in the bear which killed it. It was a National Park and he was exercising his "new" right to bear arms there. Me thinks he got lucky with that on a Grizzly. Volume most likely made the deciding factor here.
That happened back in May...

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com...d-preserve5943
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Old July 22, 2010, 06:30 PM   #17
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stargazer...

that story is in this months issue of american riflemen.. 9 shots under extreme stress and fear, i think the man did a hell of a job. 45acp did what it is obviously very capable of doing. i wonder what the gun was and what bullet he was using.
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Old July 22, 2010, 06:55 PM   #18
andrewstorm
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dlb 435

black bears are scared off some times but were talkin grizz,your worst nightmare about werewolfs,become real
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Old July 22, 2010, 07:05 PM   #19
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RE: the hiker shooting the bear with the .45ACP - if this is the same story I'm thinking of, it happened here in Oregon last year - and IIRC it was a Taurus PT-1911 with FMJ ammo. I think he was mushroom picking when the bear came at him.

My brother killed a decent blackie a couple years ago with one shot from his .45 Colt Vaquero and my standard load of 8 grains of Unique, 250 gr lead cast bullet. It wasn't charging though, it was up a tree. That said, I am plenty comfortable carrying a .45 colt with standard cast loads in black bear country, but much less so if it were thick with grizz.
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