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Old September 2, 2012, 08:55 AM   #1
rhino81
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45 colt powder confusion

Please don't beat me up too bad on this one because of my ignorance.

I have been reloading 9mm for a while, now I'm stepping out of my comfort zone. A friend's dad is is too old to reload any more so I got his dies, brass,powder and 200 gr lead for 45colt, which I will use for shooting out my judge.

Here is the issue I ran into, he gave me some HP38 and said that is what he used, research shows for the 200 gr lead, using HP38 it should use min of 5.9 to 8.0grains, using a lee perfect powder (don't laugh) and beam scale I convert this to volume by 5.9 x .0926 to get .54634 so I round up to .55cc. I setup, dump and measure to get my charge load, then I dump 10 times calculate my average to check my consistency. When I put this in a prepped casing it seemed that the powder took up less than 1/3 of the volume of the shell casing, not used to seeing it that low in a casing (but this is my first loading other than 9). I re-calculated and double checked my numbers , reset and re-tested charges and also found where you could use the .5 dipper for this load which came out less than the calculate amount (which was to be expected).
I know it's normal based on different powders to see different volume levels but this just seemed very low to me, and I have read too much about under load dangers. I plan on doing the charges with Unique but wanted to ask to see if I had done something wrong.
Thanks for any help.
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Old September 2, 2012, 09:08 AM   #2
Edward429451
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WW-231 is a very high energy powder so it typically takes a very light charge as you have noted. It shoot ok in 45 Colt but not as well as others so a change in powder may be in order.

Unique is a fine choice for 45 Colt. In the 255 gr boolit loads 8.0 gr gave me single digit standard deviation. Prolly need to bump that up to 8.5 or 9.0 gr for a 200 gr boolit.
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Old September 2, 2012, 09:27 AM   #3
Hammerhead
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Are you using a progressive press?
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Old September 2, 2012, 09:35 AM   #4
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Get/use some Hodgdon Universal. It is Unique "in spherical form," fills the case to about 40-50%, and meters beautifully
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Old September 2, 2012, 09:59 AM   #5
mikejonestkd
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100% Case fill is not possible with most modern higher energy powders and the huge 45 colt case. Unique is a great powder to use 8.0-8.5 grains works well under a 200 gr lead bullet.

Also, if you are looking for a higher case fill, take a good look at Trail Boss powder. Its one of my favorites for the 45 Colt.
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Old September 2, 2012, 10:09 AM   #6
PA-Joe
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If you have a beam scale, how much did it weight?
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Old September 2, 2012, 11:55 AM   #7
rhino81
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thanks for the responses. I've learned a lot from you guys by just lurking around.
I never have posted because I lack the knowledge of any of you guys.

No, I 'm not looking for a full looking case just wanting to make sure it
was correct, have never worked with the HP38, and wasn't familiar with it's
compactness.

Using a Lee single stage press, with lee perfect powder and lee beam scale.
I have my beam scale as close to .55 as I could for the HP38 at 59grains.

For the perfect powder, I shaved the stop as recommended by Lee, and double tap on down stroke. By doing this my 9mm charges have been consistent. Being anal as I work with powders I check my weight on every 5th charge. I'm not in this as a speed process, but slow and deliberate with a little tweaking here & there. Helps occupy my time when my daughters aren't here.
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Old September 2, 2012, 06:39 PM   #8
rhino81
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Did a test with the Hp38 load today..200 grain lead bullet.
Didn't set chron up today, just wanted to play with the HP38
5.9 grains of HP38...fired with no problem, no bang, just so-so 5 shots acceptable but not a tight pattern

This is how I did my "increased" charge testing, HP38 range for this bullet was 5.9 to 8.0 a difference of 2.1, so I wanted to due 3 increases so I add .7 to the previous charge....if that makes sense, it works in my simple mind and there may be a better way to do this.

2nd setting - I used the same 200 grain lead bullet, up'd charge to 6.6 grains of Hp38, weight .61 cc, this load had about same pattern, not a tight group but ok, packed a little better punch than the 5.9

3rd charge I bumped another .7 to 7.3 grains, .68cc, this reacted closer to the older purchased 45 I had, but still a little short of what I'm used to, pattern still not as tight as I like

hp38 for target shooting in 45 colt performs ok, but need to load toward upper end of the scale....powder seems dirty to me

thanks again for all your help
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Old September 2, 2012, 07:01 PM   #9
jinxer3006
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Quote:
I have my beam scale as close to .55 as I could for the HP38 at 59grains.
Ummmmmm......why are you setting the scale to .55?????????? It should be set for the charge you want (5.9 gr (I'm assuming you missed a decomal point))!!!!!!
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Old September 2, 2012, 08:34 PM   #10
rhino81
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i'm sorry i meant 5.9...duh .55 would be a very light charge and 59 would be a little too high
now you know why I hesitate to post, get nervous typing...lol
maybe i should stick to my 9mm
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Old September 3, 2012, 09:47 AM   #11
Uncle Buck
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Rhino, Welcome to the forum.

You have more knowledge than you are admitting to. Very few true experts, but a lot of combined knowledge here.

I started off with some "Silly" questions, but these guys answered them and kept me from blowing my fingers off.

Safety is the most important thing and by asking questions, you can be sure to be steered in the right direction. (And keep your fingers.)

The only powder I have ever used that completely filled the .45 Colt case is black-powder. Trail Boss is a good powder, as well as Unique, Universal and a dozen more.

Low to Mid-range powder charges in such a large case always seem to look funny to me, but you will find that one charge that works well for you.

Just keep good records and remember, if the powder you are currently using is old, reduce the charge when you try a new canister of the same powder. i.e., If the HP38 he gave you is several years old, when you purchase a new can, reduce the your load by 10%.

Safety is and should always be in the fore front of what-ever we doing.
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Old September 3, 2012, 10:16 AM   #12
snuffy
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A couple of concerns show up for me. One is get rid of referring to the CC's or volumetric measurements. Lee has a thing for CC's and marks all his powder handling measures with it. Then you need a conversion chart to get to what everybody else uses, grains. OR know the math required to do it!

Another thing. That judge revolver will never shoot good groups with 45 colt ammo. Even if yours is a 2.5 inch, not the 3" mag, the bullet has a huge jump from the case to the rifling, lots of freebore. This slams the bullet into the rifling at a high speed, much higher than if it were chambered for 45 colt.

All the "compromise" .410/45 colt guns have the same problem. The judge, contender, and the Comanche single shot I have are lousy shooters with the 45 colt cartridge.
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Old September 3, 2012, 12:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Lee has a thing for CC's and marks all his powder handling measures with it. Then you need a conversion chart to get to what everybody else uses, grains. OR know the math required to do it!
How do other manufacturers label their measures? Unless you're going to have a different set of measures for every powder, I don't see how else you could do it. I do agree that using weight rather than volume in discussions is better, since it's a particular weight that you're aiming for - measuring by volume is just a means to the end.
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Old September 3, 2012, 01:13 PM   #14
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HP-38, 231, and Bullseye are all very dense powders that take up little space in the voluminous 45 Colt case. The possibility of a double charge always exists in such circumstances. Many people opt for a bulkier powder that fills the case more completely. Trail Boss was designed with that in mind. A double charge of trail boss is nearly impossible and would result in powder overflowing the case.
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Old September 8, 2012, 06:37 PM   #15
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first off the judge is very good at the ranges they were intended to be used at. they are not intended for hunting or long range targets but close self defense situations at 15 yards and in, my Judge is very good at this range as good as my
Ruger single action Blackhawk. I do own the Judge and so I am not making claims without experience with the gun like some. I like trail boss for the 45 colt with lead bullets,it almost fills up the case and no danger of double charges, if you use jacketed bullets universal works good for me.
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Old September 8, 2012, 09:09 PM   #16
Lost Sheep
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhino81
(edited for brevity)
No, I 'm not looking for a full looking case just wanting to make sure it
was correct, have never worked with the HP38, and wasn't familiar with it's
compactness.
What Uncle Buck said is right on. The 45 Colt cartridge is a black powder cartridge, so is large. With smokeless powders, the huge case dwarfs the volume of the (smokeless) powder. 9mm was developed as a smokeless powder cartridge, so the volume of propellant is closer to the volume of the case.

Smokeless powder is a lot more energy-dense than black powder, even while being safer.


All (non-electronic) powder measures mete powder by volume. But all loading manuals give load recipes by weight. A few give recipes by weight AND volume, but by weight is more universal, as it is the standard method in the chemistry industry. Lee provides a chart to relate volume to weight, but it varies so much that the chart (to me) is pretty much useless. I ALWAYS check the weight I am putting in my cases. The chart may get me close to the right volume, but that is only a starting point. I adjust to get the weight I want. Then drop by volume for the rest of the loading session, checking only to make sure my charge weight is not "drifting". I accept a little random variation, but never a trend up or down.

Good Luck and thanks for asking our advice.

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