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Old February 18, 2008, 02:24 PM   #1
berkmberk1
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.45 Colt and 3fg powder

I realize that the .45 Colt was designed for 2fg powder and I've seen a lot of load data for that. I have also seen, to a smaller extent, load data for 3fg powder. I have some 3fg I bought for my new cap and ball and I was going to load up a few cartridges for my EAA Bounty Hunter with a 7.5 in. barrel and take it with me to the range and compare both revolvers.

My Lee powder dipper set will let me throw 30, 35, and just under 40 grains (39.8 if I could get that in a case under a bullet). The bullet is a 255 gr round nose.

Any comments?
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Old February 18, 2008, 03:32 PM   #2
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I load 30 grs of goex 3f under a home cast pan lubed .255 GR. RNFP bullet for my Uberti 1873 7 1/2 barrel..It`s a stout load , kicks hard on both ends ...I`ve loaded a few with 35 grs of the 3f ...it was more than I wanted .
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Old February 18, 2008, 06:13 PM   #3
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I will load 25 grns of goex pinnacle substitute and
25 grns of goex real bp for my 45Long colt they are
what you would call comfortable loads, no need to have
hot loads just for target, have fun shoot safe.

Sod Buster Tried To Pull On Willson.
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Old February 18, 2008, 07:08 PM   #4
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Just remember bp needs to be compressed. If you don't fill your cases full of powder then top them off with corn meal.
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Old February 18, 2008, 09:55 PM   #5
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Frankford Arsenal--who loaded all the military ammo--began loading the .45 with 40 grains and very soon found out that the little guys who made up most of the cavalry troops at that time, got knocked off their horses by the recoil. Quickly they reduced the loads to 30 grains.

Same with the Springfield rifles, the .45-70-405 carbine loads were quickly reduced to 55 grains because of recoil with the light rifle. The ground pounders with the rifles still preferred the .45-70-500.

Gotta remember, those boys werent as big as you and me. You got 30# of weight on me but I got 2" of height on you, so we can take it. Those little fellers of 1880 only averaged about 5'7 or so and maybe 130#. They couldnt take what you and I shoot.
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Old February 18, 2008, 11:42 PM   #6
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I chose a 3fg load of 30.3 grains (1.9 CC dipper) which, eyeballing, puts the base of the bullet around 1/16 - 1/8 in. below the surface of the loose powder when seated. Any smaller dipper looked like it wouldn't throw enough to fill under the bullet and I don't feel like messing with playing the "combo" game to get another suitable charge right now.:barf:

One other oddity - naturally the cases were sized, de-re-primed, trimmed, bell mouthed and loaded. Yet, when I tested them for seating in the chambers they were hard to insert and eject. Running them thru the sizer again, after loading, solved this. Now they drop in and drop out! I imagine its likely due to the .454 bullets I'm using. Anyone know the nominal sizing dimension of an RCBS die for the Colt? Anyone else do this, size again after seating? I don't suppose it hurts anything.
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Old February 19, 2008, 07:29 AM   #7
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You might ought to slug the bore of your EAA and see what size bullets to use ...not many need a .454 dia bullet ..I use .452 dia in my Uberti Colt ..it`s a good shooter with the smaller dia bullet .
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Old February 19, 2008, 12:14 PM   #8
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Many should also remember that when Smith & Wesson began supplying their Schofield revolvers to the calvary & that the 45 Schofield cartridge was only loaded with 25-30gr. FFFG & a 230gr. LRN bullet.
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Old February 19, 2008, 12:39 PM   #9
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After loading up some of the heavy 255 gr bullets over 35 grs of 3f goex ...I fully understood why the Army wanted the charges reduced in theirs .....it`s really a heavy load ..I keep some around just incase I decide to try deer hunting with my hand guns in black powder ...but for target shooting , it`s just too much recoil to recover from ..Kinda of like when I bought a Ruger 357 mag back in the 70`s ..it was fun for a minute ..but the heavy recoil took its toll on me even at a young age ...it just wasn`t fun to shoot ...so it got pushed way back in the gun safe . I`ve tried to load some of the lighter bullets over the 35 gr powder load ...180 gr bullets do reduce the recoil ..but they just won`t group as well as the heavyer 255 gr bullet . Back in the day they were by no means shooting an underpowered gun with the 45 colt . The big bullets aren`t moveing that fast ...but they do punch a mean hole .
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Old February 19, 2008, 01:53 PM   #10
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I use the Lee 255 grain RNFP over as much fffg as I can pack and compress under the bullet. The Lee 1.9cc dipper packed tight hold the right amount for solid head cases. Packed tight I get 31.5 grains of Dupont in them. I have just six, "ballon-head", cases that I can barely pack 35 grains into. I don't know how they ever got 40 grains into them back in the old days. I'd be afraid of compressing that much for fear of it going off in the loading die. Even at 31.5 grains it's tamped down thoroughly and then compressed further, [about the width of the bottom driving band], by the bullet being seated. Shooting off-hand at 25 yards delivers as good acuracy as my better smokeless loads. I haven't chronied them, but recoil is up there with smokeless loads in the 950fps range. That's in my 4.75" Vaquero. I never shoot, "Cowboy", ammo. That stuff is loaded for lower velocity and recoil than was ever put into the .45 Colt until the advent of cowboy-action shooting games. My lightest smokeless target load does 840fps with 255grain bullet. Mostly I use the same bullet loaded to 950-1,000 fps. The .45 Colt was designed for the Cavalry and as such it was powerful enough to completely penetrate a horse and the screaming Comanche with one shot as he raced past shooting back from beneath his horses neck. If you want less recoil maybe you should have a .38 special.
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Old February 19, 2008, 03:33 PM   #11
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Agreed, I normally load my 60 Army & 58 New Armies with 30-35gr. FFFG & a 144gr. .457 Ball & that produces a pretty decent punch with an OK recoil, I've yet to find a conical that would load worth a darn to shoot as accurately as Ball.

I do not have a .45 Colt but I do have a .44-40 Colt 2nd gen that I shoot on occasion with 35gr. FFFG & it's a sweet feeling & a straight shooter.
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Old February 19, 2008, 04:20 PM   #12
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"Gotta remember, those boys werent as big as you and me. You got 30# of weight on me but I got 2" of height on you, so we can take it. Those little fellers of 1880 only averaged about 5'7 or so and maybe 130#. They couldnt take what you and I shoot."

Actually, they could easily take what you and I shoot. They just found it very hard to do so from horseback.

Remember, the men in the infantry were, on average, the same size as the the men in the cavalry.

The big difference was that they were expected to be able to fire from horseback, which isn't as steady a platform as having both feet on the ground.

You want real fun?

Try a Winchester 1886 with full-power .50-110 ammunition.

That will wake you up!
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Old February 19, 2008, 04:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Irwin
You want real fun?

Try a Winchester 1886 with full-power .50-110 ammunition.

That will wake you up!
I have, & will agree, a very stout weapon on the Sholder but a fine weapon for some great shooting & hunting.
My Great Grand Fathers Winchester 1886 Express which my uncle has today "willed to him" I wish I had it with me now.
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Old February 19, 2008, 07:43 PM   #14
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This is gonna get the newbie (me) in trouble around here.

I am 5'10, I weigh 145, and i used to ride hoss back at a fuller tilt than most guys will imagine on a std bred, in the woods, and shoot my Ruger Super Blackhawk stoked in full blown mag loads and was never un-seated.

This was in a place locals around the Kancamaugas Highway in the white mountains national park, called the loop roads.

Off of these roads there are still old logging roads and all sorts of metalic junk. All I did was buy a race horse cheap, and taught it not to bother about guns.

Mainly I am a Buck Skinner and that horse was my ride at events. I had to teach that foolish horse, flapping canvass and big booming sounds were not panthers.

I made that horse my trail horse, and she would stand for a 6 pounder no problem, just ground tied. A ground tie is a line on the ground not tied to anything.

I had some 65 miles of old logging trails to ride and shoot any place on them I wanted, and no one bothered a bit except trees, rocks, and the few unfortunate moose.

At closer distances I hit most of the metalics I was aiming at. I could also do this with a stoked ROA, and a 1860 Colt clone made by EMF.

I myself never tried a long gun of any kind, but at my size i don't see me getting knocked out of a McClellian.

As to size.. We little guys tend to bend like grass in a hurricane, and not snap like the big oak.

You big guys might make a faster follow up shot than me to a certain point, but it just might be possible a little grass blade of a man will recover faster under more harsh pounds push per square inch, than you might believe.

When it gets into guns like Whetherby in .458 and up I concead. You big guys can have it! I don't want it. I am none to keen with Holland and Holland .375 either.

As a side note my 18th century and Fur Trade re-enactments got me invited into 2 Civil War re-enactments. I was made up as one of Mosby's Boys.

I had my horse, and 1 chestnut regular. I was loned all the clothing, and a six shooter, plus I had my own 1860 colt clone. The 2 of us took a Union camp in the morning alone, with out a shot fired. It is safe to say that Union Captian was pretty seriously ****** off. (not to bad for a Yankee, me)
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Old February 19, 2008, 09:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac_Muz
This is gonna get the newbie (me) in trouble around here.

I am 5'10, I weigh 145, and i used to ride hoss back at a fuller tilt than most guys will imagine on a std bred, in the woods, and shoot my Ruger Super Blackhawk stoked in full blown mag loads and was never un-seated.

This was in a place locals around the Kancamaugas Highway in the white mountains national park, called the loop roads.

Off of these roads there are still old logging roads and all sorts of metalic junk. All I did was buy a race horse cheap, and taught it not to bother about guns.

Mainly I am a Buck Skinner and that horse was my ride at events. I had to teach that foolish horse, flapping canvass and big booming sounds were not panthers.

I made that horse my trail horse, and she would stand for a 6 pounder no problem, just ground tied. A ground tie is a line on the ground not tied to anything.

I had some 65 miles of old logging trails to ride and shoot any place on them I wanted, and no one bothered a bit except trees, rocks, and the few unfortunate moose.

At closer distances I hit most of the metalics I was aiming at. I could also do this with a stoked ROA, and a 1860 Colt clone made by EMF.

I myself never tried a long gun of any kind, but at my size i don't see me getting knocked out of a McClellian.

As to size.. We little guys tend to bend like grass in a hurricane, and not snap like the big oak.

You big guys might make a faster follow up shot than me to a certain point, but it just might be possible a little grass blade of a man will recover faster under more harsh pounds push per square inch, than you might believe.

When it gets into guns like Whetherby in .458 and up I concead. You big guys can have it! I don't want it. I am none to keen with Holland and Holland .375 either.

As a side note my 18th century and Fur Trade re-enactments got me invited into 2 Civil War re-enactments. I was made up as one of Mosby's Boys.

I had my horse, and 1 chestnut regular. I was loned all the clothing, and a six shooter, plus I had my own 1860 colt clone. The 2 of us took a Union camp in the morning alone, with out a shot fired. It is safe to say that Union Captian was pretty seriously ****** off. (not to bad for a Yankee, me)
Not to be proud of my stature or anything but WOW you are a long & lean one aren't ya..
5'7" @ 191lbs

Now I've never owned a Pistol "cept moma's 9mm Browning but that doesn't count" that had a bore smaller than .41 caliber & I have rode horse back & shot a few onery fridges & stumps off the saddle a few times also have done it with my Marlin .45-70 & can say that I've never been lifted off my saddle either, but I see the point of where the loads were lightened for either more accurate shooting, cost, or logistics in the name of the Schofield.

Now we have moved off topic a bit.
Sorry bud.

As far as loads of powder, as stated before as long as the powder is compressed & it is a comfortable accurate load, go for it..
I can't help you much in a perfect .45 Colt load as I have a .44-40 which I load a 35gr. FFFG & a 200gr. LRNFP bullet from my Lee mold as my fun load.
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Old February 20, 2008, 08:55 AM   #16
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Berkmberk1 wrote,
Quote:
One other oddity - naturally the cases were sized, de-re-primed, trimmed, bell mouthed and loaded. Yet, when I tested them for seating in the chambers they were hard to insert and eject. Running them thru the sizer again, after loading, solved this.
There may be some bullet deformation taking place during the seating process when the powder gets compressed. You could mike a loaded round to check for sure. If you find that's the case, a little smaller powder charge would fix it, or you could make a compression die to force the powder level down to the point in the case the bullet's base will come to when it gets fully seated.

I was getting the same result with pure lead 250 grain bullets if I tried to put too much compression on the powder with the bullet so I made a compression die from a .30 caliber collet bullet puller, the type which screws into your reloading press. I started with a rod which had an outside diameter which was just smaller than the inside diameter of the case. I turned one end of it down to .30 and chucked it up into the bullet puller. The charged case can be raised in the shell holder onto the rod, which compresses the powder. I have marks on the rod for the depth of the various bullets I use.

I have been able to get 40 grains of 3F Swiss into modern solid head .45 cases that way, just to try, but like Sundance and Pathfinder, I decided I didn't need to use that all the time. Sure was fun to try, though.
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Old February 20, 2008, 11:26 AM   #17
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I didn't know the 1873 Colt .45 was designed around black powder. I had the idea it was designed around the new smokeless powders.

So I am having a problem coming up with any advice.

Sometimes I get confused with loads like 45-70 which was based on black power as are other loads, but then the terms caried over to 30-30 say, and the 30-30 was never made based on black powder.

Historicly speaking, no sooner did cap come out, and a change was made in industry. Almost over night guns went from flint ignition to caps.

Once brass almost as we know it was marketable powders followed pretty close on the heels of the improvement, and primer replaced caps.

This is more one big question than any argument saying I know something, as I am not sure.

Was the Colt.45 based on black powder in the first place? Is there valid proof the Colt .45 user 2F FFg black powder at all? Why? Most common loads to day in other black powder pistols use 3F FFFg powder, when they use black powder as far as I know.

The FFg powders are usually used in bigger than .45 bores and these usually are in long guns.

I own a ROA 7.5" in .45, and it shoots .457 round ball which get a ring cut off when loading. It uses 3F powder. I also own a EMF kit 1860 7.75" Colt clone and it too uses 3F powder, with .454, or 451 ball.

I have a flinter I built from dead scratch in .62 cal with ideas from 6 different pistols circa 1740-1745 and it uses 3F with a short bore of 7.75".

Next is a Kentucky Long rifle in .40 with a bore length of 37.75" and it too uses 3F, because it can burn it in that long barrel well.

The switch to 2F FFg, comes for me with a Nor; West gun in .62 with a bore 34" long. And of course my Brown Bess in .75 cal, which is seemingly a little larger than average bore diameter using a .735 ball patched.

So I just don't understand well.
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Old February 20, 2008, 12:38 PM   #18
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Pick up an issue of the December Handloader magazine. Mike Venturino (sp?) has a 9 page article on loading the .45 Colt.

Smokeless powder was not widely used until maybe 1890, with 1895 being a commonly accepted date of conversion from black powder cartridge loadings to smokeless. So, for the most part, most cartridges developed before 1890-95 were developed around a black powder platform. Your .30-30 was a development after the .30-40 Krag and was a mid 1890's development based on smokeless powder. It is all about when the cartridge was developed, before or after the 1895 smokeless debut.

In the GA article, Venturino mentions the problem with getting accuracy with .452 bullets because of the cylinder mouth size, and when he went to .454 bullets, his accuracy problems ceased.
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Old February 20, 2008, 01:10 PM   #19
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Check this out on the original Army load for 45 long Colt http://www.reloadbench.com/cartridges/p45c.html
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Old February 20, 2008, 01:23 PM   #20
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I'm thinking its mainly the .454 bullets causing the slight sizing deviation......the main reason I posed the question was the fact that the bullets looked like they would barely compress 30 grains and I was unsure if compress meant to "mash" or merely (I believe) take up the excess/empty space that could result in excessive pressures upon detonation. Neither seating nor resizing a second time was difficult. The only noticable indicator on re-resizing was a little lube being "squished" out of the case mouth.
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Old February 20, 2008, 01:41 PM   #21
W. C. Quantrill
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In Spencer Wolfs book on loading the .45-70 for the Trapdoor Springfield, compress meant compress.

If I put 70 grains in my case, it almost fills the case. I use a compression die to push the powder down almost a half an inch, thus making it into a solid pellet, in order to seat the big old Govt 500 grain bullet over a card. The thing you get into with the original loads of compressed black powder are the primer flashhole sizes were larger than today, and the primers used then were roughly equivalent to magnum primers used today. If you mess with one factor, you create a chain of factors that need to be addressed.
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Old February 20, 2008, 02:41 PM   #22
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I said horseback wasn't as steady, not that it's impossible to fire from a horse's back.

Remember, too, that the cavalry also got carbine Trapdoors. Shorter, lighter, and harder kicking with full service loads.


As for smokeless powder, the first smokeless propellants suitable for cartridge firearms were nitrated wood pulps, initially introduce in the late 1870s, IIRC. They were generally only suitable for use in shotshells. Loading them in metallic cartridges with solid lead bullets that had to be pushed through rifling quickly jumped pressures well past the early copper and brass cartridge cases.

The first viable smokless powder was Poudre B, developed by French chemist Michele Vielle around 1886. Other nations were working on the same project, and in rather rapid order Germany, Great Britain and the United States all developed viable smokeless powders suitable for use in handguns and rifles.

1895 marked the commercial introduction of the first two cartridges designed specifically for smokeless powder -- the .30-30 and .25-35 Winchester rounds.

It's very possible, though, that some ammo manufacturers started offering smokless loads for existing (originally blackpowder) cartridges a year or so before that, but it's tough to sort out.

Even with the introduction and rapid military adoption of smokeless powder, many people were still leery of it commercially and for a number of years new cartridges were developed for BOTH smokless and black powders and offered for sale in both loadings.

The three odd birds in the batch were the Specials... the .32 Winchester Special, the .38 Special, and the .44 Special.

The .32 Winchester was brought out to give shooters a .30-30-type cartridge that could be loaded with either smokeless or black powder.

The .38 Special was originally developed, in the late 1890s, with 18.5 grains of black powder and was offered in both loadings for at least a decade, possibly as late as World War I.

The real odd bird, though, was the .44 Special. It was introduced in 1907, making it the last commercial cartridge introduced as either a blackpowder only or hybrid cartridge. It was also available in black powder up until around WW I.

It would appear that the military switched to smokeless powder in .38 Long Colt and .45 Long Colt cartridges around the same time, 1896-97 or thereabouts.
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Old February 20, 2008, 05:32 PM   #23
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sundance44s, Thanks for the link.

W. C. Quantrill, Thanks for the history.

Mike Irwin, I see I mis read, but the intent is you guys can work out loads, and figure all you like to find answers. The one thing you can't do easily is become 130 to 145 pounds. I can't become 190.

I have been this 145 since 1979, with very little change other than ageing which no one can stop.

As a country dweller i tend to be active in what might be somewhat similar chores as men did commonly in the 19th century, and most men don't do so much of these days, unless they do it with power tools which were not around then.

So it makes me wonder just what smaller men could take? I do agree the articals of clothing in museums seems to prove that most men were indeed smaller than we are, back then.

Once I made the error, or what I thought was an error, in that the 30-30 was a black powder round, and lost that arugment. My thinking at that time was the first 30 was the calibur, and the last was grains of FFFg Black Powder.

So now this has turned around again and just maybe the 30-30 was used with commercial black powder loads after all?
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Old February 20, 2008, 06:53 PM   #24
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I think the 30-30 name was a carry over from the earlier designation system of including the powder charge in the cartridge's name, even though, in the 30-30's case, the powder wasn't black powder.
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Old February 20, 2008, 09:18 PM   #25
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Mac:
I was only havin a bit of fun, sorry friend..

As far as I know & have been already mentioned, the .30-30 Winchester & ofcorse the .30-40 Krag "or U.S." was not developed for Black Powder as both rounds were developed around 1892-93 when the first U.S. made smokeless powders were made available.

Copied from Wikkipedia:
The rimmed 30-40 round was also known as .30 Army. The .30-40 Krag was the first smokeless powder round adopted by the U.S. military, but it retained the "caliber-charge" naming system of earlier black powder cartridges, i.e., the .30-40 Krag employs a .30 caliber (7.62 mm) bullet propelled by 40 grains (2.59 g) of smokeless powder. As with the .30-30 Winchester, it is the use of black powder nomenclature that often leads to the incorrect assumption that the .30-40 Krag was once a black powder cartridge.

The .45 colt pistol Cartridge was loaded with 40gr. of FFG Black Powder till about 1894-96 Which many know is about when Colt changed the single screw that held the cylinder pin in place to the more common spring loaded cross bolt design.
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