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Old March 19, 1999, 01:45 AM   #1
Grayfox
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The question came up in the rifle forum as to wiether or not the Winchester 94 Trapper should be used with hot .45 Colt loads with heavy bullets (300 to 350gr) that are intended for Ruger and Contender handguns.
Since the 94 was designed for the .30-30 which has a max pressure of 38,000 CUP and Winchester data shows max .45 Colt loads at 30,000 Cup, I would think there would be no problem. I have fired some hot 300gr loads in my .45 Colt trapper without noticing any ill effects.
Truth is that I quit messing around with hot .45 Colt loads some time ago. While my conclusions seem to make sense, some how I feel like I've missed something. So tell me, Am I wrong?
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Old March 19, 1999, 03:59 PM   #2
Art Eatman
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From a safety standpoint, all the gun cares about is pressure. So, the pistol load is, effectively, a reduced load when compared to the .30-30. After all, it's only 79% of a "normal" load...

About the only caution I'd offer regards the issue of bullet hardness vs. velocity. If you use cast bullets, they should be hard enough so they don't strip. This is not commonly a problem below, say, 1,400 fps. Gas checks are a solution...

FWIW, hope this helps.
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Old March 20, 1999, 04:05 AM   #3
Walt Welch
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I would be interested in the source of the Winchester data you mention, giving the SAAMI pressure for the .45 Colt at 30,000 psi. I was unable to find this on the Winchester site.

I did find these data on M D Smith's Reloading pages:

http://www.reloadammo.com/

Under the listing for the .45 Colt, I found some data on pressures. Here is the URL:

http://www.reloadammo.com/45cload.htm

Quote from the above URL:
**************

SAAMI pressures for STANDARD .45 Colt is 14,000 PSI MAXIMUM, but
for Ruger and T/C levels in the 20,000 to 25,000 range are
considered more the norm.
***************

Mr. Smith goes on to say that the Win 1894 can handle pressures similar to those used in the TC and Ruger firearms. I would proceed with great caution, and agree with Mr. Smith's later comment on the page from which I quoted, where he says that you should not try to make a .45 Colt into a .44 mag. If you want a .44 mag in the '94 Winchester, buy one; don't try to hot load a very old case designed for low pressures.

Good luck, and stay safe, Walt
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Old March 20, 1999, 04:27 AM   #4
Grayfox
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Walt,
The pressure data came from the Winchester pages on silhouette loads listed in Loadbooks .45 Colt edition. The figure is 30,000 CUP, not PSI.
I totally agree with your comments about not trying to turn the old colt cartridge into a magnum. While I have experimented with hot loads in the past, I gave up on them. I do have a couple of "warm" loads that push heavy bullets at about 1000 FPS, I rarely use them.
The question came up in the rifle forum under the "Home defense carbine" thread. Kieth Rogan, who lives in Alaska, is trying to determine if a Win. 94 Trapper loaded with hot loads and heavy bullets would make a handy wood bumming rifle for bear defense.
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Old March 20, 1999, 08:44 AM   #5
Art Eatman
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Some 20 years back, a local gunsmith mentioned loadin his .45 to .44 Mag behavior. My jaw dropped. He explained that the issue of "old cases" and high pressures is legit if you have some of the ancient, folded head brass. With modern manufacturing, that concern no longer applies.

I'm not saying, here, that you could load to .44 Mag pressures. But, with 300-grain bullets you can get near to .44 Mag velocity at a lower pressure.

Once again: At a given pressure, the larger-diameter bullet goes faster. At a given velocity, the larger bullet gives lower pressure.

Regards, Art
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Old March 20, 1999, 02:43 PM   #6
Keith Rogan
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All,

Thanks for the .45 Colt info. Many people don't realize that the .454 Casull is nothing but a .45 Colt case made just slightly longer so it won't chamber in weaker action that won't handle the pressure.
So, I think the issue is whether the Trapper as a rifle is strong enough to handle the pressures rather than if the modern cases can - they can and do in Ruger revolvers (though not up to the 50,000 cup that the Casull revolver handles).
I also realize that no pistol round at any pressure is a good brown bear stopper. But then, no round is really adequate for an adrenalized browny. They regularly soak up a bucket full of .375 H&H's when somebody makes a bad initial shot and gets them excited.
My reasoning is based on a handy rifle thats adequate to make a head shot and penetrate well enough to shut the bear "off".
I'm not being paranoid, I was badly mauled by a bear only 4 months ago. My partner shot her twice through the body with a .300 mag and she lived to attack somebody else a week later. This was a sow that probably only weighed 800 pounds or so. The boars here go 1500 pounds. If ever confronted with an angry bear again, I'm going for a head shot. You can link to my bear mauling page below if you're interested. Thanks again!

------------------
Keith
The Bears and Bear Maulings Page: members.xoom.com/keithrogan

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Old March 24, 1999, 10:57 PM   #7
Walt Welch
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If I were going to be in a position where I would be carrying a .45 cal lever gun in bear country, It would be a .45-70. Now that will handle 300 gr. bullets better than any .45 Colt. Walt
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Old March 28, 1999, 01:21 AM   #8
Keith Rogan
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Walt,

Your point about a .45/70 is well taken. This discussion started on another thread and I never really explained the situation over here.
The deal is that most of the time I'm not hunting or backpacking when I run into bears I'm just out fishing for the day. Here on Kodiak theres roughly one bear per square mile - they're everywhere!
But you don't want to drag around a heavy rifle or shotgun just to catch a few fish. I normally have enough crap to drag around without making life even more difficult.

My thought was that a Trapper would be handy and accurate enough to make a head shot on a bear and yet be light enough to carry around with a lot of other gear. No caliber is a guaranteed stopper when a 1500 browny is coming at you - it has to be a head shot and a little carbine may serve better than a heavy rifle in that situation.


------------------
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Old March 28, 1999, 03:51 AM   #9
Walt Welch
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Keith; you are ALREADY carrying a rifle along with you. A lot of fisherman in AK just carry .44 Mags or other large caliber handguns.

Since you have made the (commendable) decision to pack a rifle along with you, make it a decent rifle caliber, OK?

Friends don't let friends carry mouse guns, or rifles. On the other hand, you don't have to carry what my favorite gun store gunsmith showed me today: a 4 Ga. rifle cartridge. The projectile weighed 2000 gr.! Imagine the weight of a double rifle in that caliber. Yikes.

So, get a decent rifle caliber, and stop fantasizing about hot pistol caliber loads. You will probably live longer. Walt
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Old March 28, 1999, 03:52 PM   #10
Keith Rogan
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Walt,

Thanks for your concern. I agree with your views but there financial and other considerations.

Here is the plan - buy a used Trapper for the short term ($175). When I get the cash, buy a Marlin Guide Gun in .45/70 to replace the Trapper. When I can afford it, send that Guide Gun to Jim West in Anchorage for a Co-Pilot conversion.
When I was mauled in November, my partner shot the bear off me with a .300 mag. He shot her twice. Once through the body from side to side - he thinks perhaps through the rear of the lungs or in that vicinity (he couldn't shoot her any farther forward out of fear of hitting me).
The bear then charged him and he shot her in the chest and she broke off and ran. She was still alive several days later and attacked another party of hunters.
I tell you this to show that foot pounds of energy don't mean a thing to a brown bear. This was only a sow that probably didn't go more than 800 pounds. The boars weigh twice that.
These attacks happen furiously fast. These bears can outrun a race horse in the short haul and when they attack, theres generally no warning.
I'm convinced that a pistol is a useless piece of metal where these big bears are concerned. If you want to stop one, you've got to hit him in the head. Bigger is better but I'd honestly rather have a .45 colt trapper than a .376 H&H with a 3x9 scope - the carbine will allow you place a precise shot at close range where the .375 is only good as a blind point shooter at that range.
The .45/70 Marlin is the best of both worlds and thats where I'll go eventually when I can afford it.


------------------
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Old March 31, 1999, 05:41 PM   #11
Paul B.
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Keith. If it was me, I would immediately go into hock for the guide gun. What is your life worth? You can always get a personal loan from the bank. At least I think they still do that. The only bears I have to contend with are black bears that have, unfortunately been fed by dumb tourists, and figure evry person that comes along is good for a free meal. A very pretty young 15 year old girl got mauled last year on a camping trip. I carry a Ruger Super Blackhawk when I hike that area, with a maximum 300 gr. cast lead handload. Been lucky though. I haven't had to use it. Hope I never have to. But Kodiak bears? I'd go with the 45-70 with a tough 400 grain bullet heat treated for maximim hardness and strength. They wouldn't even have to be loaded that hot. I have a regukar Marlin 95, and I shoot the aforementioned bullet in it now. I do the same with a 525 gr. bullet in a Ruger #1. That one kicks like hell too. I find your comments about the .375 H&H somewhat strange. I you were using one for close quarters use, why would you use a 3x9 power scope. I'd use a ghost ring sight, or plain express iron sights for that purpose. If I had to use a scope, nothing over 2 1/2 to 3 power, but I'd still feel better with the ghost ring sight.(peep sight with the center eyepiece removed) Just my thoughts in passing. Hope you find something of use, or to think about.
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Old April 2, 1999, 11:13 AM   #12
Keith Rogan
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Paul,

What I was saying about the .375 H&H was to make a point about bullet placement - a handier rifle capable of making a head shot would be preferable to a large rifle that couldn't.
I won't speculate about black bears but a handgun on a brown or grizzly is.. well, I won't say its useless, but its a poor choice.
When a bear attacks its already adrenalized. Shots to the body aren't going to kill it before it gets you. Whats needed is something light, handy and accurate enough to bust the bears brain pan. Horsepower is good but accuracy and quick handling are far more important.
The other consideration is this - picture yourself with a daypack, a couple of fishing rods, lunch, survival gear (in Alaska you always prepare to spend the night), lures, flies, fishing tackle, water (beer) - see what I mean? You drop a heavy rifle on top of all that and you aren't going to get it up in time.
The Marlin Guide gun is still a pretty hefty piece of hardware. The C0-Pilot conversion is expensive but it does make the rifle more suitable for that scenario - I want one but its big bucks and will have to wait.
It hard to explain to people who haven't been there but bear attacks are FAST. When I got hit the bear was about fifteen yards off, lying in the brush. It sprang and I reacted immediately by raisng my rifle - it was on me before my rifle reached my shoulder. Bears in attack mode move like big cats, like 1500 pound tigers, a big caliber won't save you but a head shot (if you're quick enough) just might. Thats my frame of reference. I've been there.

------------------
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