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Old May 19, 2009, 04:11 PM   #1
olyinaz
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Range report: .45LC BP loads - help needed

I decided to dip my toe in the reloading pond by working up a batch of .45 Colts using an inexpensive Lee Loader with American Pioneer (Shockey's Gold etc. etc.) BP substitute and a 230gr cast lead bullet.

The bullet has a round nose, is hard cast, .452 dia. and it's pre-lubed. I used enough powder in the case to rise right up to the base of the bullet when seated, looked to be about 38/39 grains by volume when I checked it. And I used Winchester large pistol primers.

The result was very impressive from a shooting/fun factor! The loads are actually pretty hot and shoot with more authority than the cowboy action loads I buy from Magtech and Ten-X. Great boom & smoke blast which made everyone on the firing line look which is always fun.

Accuracy? Egads! Simply horrible. I shot two cylinders full of Magtech 250gr cowboy loads just to warm up and have a frame of reference and, as always with my 3.75" Montado, I shoot about 4" groups off hand at 15 yards but with the reloads I was all over the paper...and I do mean ALL over it. So we're talking like maybe 14" groups! If you could even call it a "grouping"...

I measured the powder as carefully as possible using a Lee dipper but even so it's hardly like I was using weighed charges. However, I honestly suspect that what's killing me is that one just cannot crimp the cases uniformly using a Lee loader. Each round gets it's own custom "whack it till it looks good" crimp. What the heck? And obviously I didn't crimp some of them enough because I had a few bullets pull out/forward under recoil and cause a jam! Live and learn - I tapped the bullet back in using a fired case and then shot them down range into the berm (I didn't use those shots for "grouping" purposes) but clearly that was another indication that I've got crimping issues.

I guess as another reporting point I should add that with 50 rounds of this stuff down range my pistol would still load just fine and the cylinder still turned without issue so I do find that American Pioneer shoots more cleanly than BP. However, I'm terribly unimpressed with its' lack of granular uniformity and where they get off calling this stuff "FFF" grade is beyond me because it doesn't look like or meter/flow like any FFFg black powder I've ever used. Despite the cleaner burn I will not buy another bottle of this stuff because I can't get it to meter out of my powder flask so using it with my cap and ball revolvers is a pain in the arse.

I guess what this boils down to is that I need to get a real reloader. Something that puts a uniform crimp on the rounds once you've got it dialed in. Where the heck I'm going to put it I have no clue (chalk it up to the "Arizona-no-basements and it's 900 deg. in my garage" syndrome). But do y'all think that's what was at issue with the accuracy problems? Or is it something else? Any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Oly
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Old May 19, 2009, 04:24 PM   #2
brian45auto
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maybe try real bp.
i compress my loads. bounce around between 2f and 3f.
groups? i don't know, but 8" plates at 50 yards, no problem.
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Old May 19, 2009, 04:32 PM   #3
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I have no idea how to solve your problem as I'm getting into the process of reloading .45 Colt myself.

I have a Lee Anniversary Reloading Kit that remains unused until I get a Lee Carbide 4-Die Set. Not a fancy setup but I think more than capable for low volume.

I already bought 500 Star brass and 500 RNFP 250 grain .452" lead bullets pre-lubed. My plan is to use either 2Fg Triple Se7en or 3Fg Goex Black powder. I decided some time ago that I would avoid American Pioneer, Jim Shockley's Gold, and Pinnacle powders. From what I can tell they are basically the same "crap" as evidenced from numerous threads and conversation with a couple of gun shop owners. Your complaint as well as them being very hygroscopic, a problem here in Florida, gives me doubt as to whether I'd want to go down that path. I don't know that American Pioneer likes to be compressed. If not then that is a possible problem too if the powder is really sitting higher than you thought. I know that Triple Se7en doesn't like to be compressed at all.

I will be shooting my .45 Colt rounds through my ROA with R&D conversion cylinder.


Last edited by ClemBert; May 19, 2009 at 04:42 PM.
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Old May 19, 2009, 06:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Accuracy? Egads! Simply horrible. I shot two cylinders full of Magtech 250gr cowboy loads just to warm up and have a frame of reference and, as always with my 3.75" Montado, I shoot about 4" groups off hand at 15 yards but with the reloads I was all over the paper...and I do mean ALL over it. So we're talking like maybe 14" groups! If you could even call it a "grouping"...
Oly;

I called it patterning instead of grouping when I was using APP. Your experience pretty much matches my own. After less than stellar results out of a '66 Carbine, '73 short rifle, AWA Lightning, and an Armi Sport Sharps; I relegated it to shotgun shells; and BP is cheaper, so......................... I don't buy it any more.

The only subs I use now for my 44-40 rifle cartridges are my fast dwindling stock of Pinnacle, and the bargain basement T7 I've stockpiled. Pistols are C&B, so only fffg BP get used in them; and shotgun shells get the cheapest ffg BP I can find.
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Old May 19, 2009, 10:19 PM   #5
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I just started reloading 45 colt as well,I'm loading for an R&D conversion cylinder in a Remington NMA,I started out one notch above what you have with the lee hand press and a 3 die carbide set also from lee, not a whole lot more money than the lee whack it with a hammer set. I think it was like 55.00 with the dies, it's working out really well for me, everythings coming out nice and uniform with a good looking crimp and they shoot good to. If funds are tight like they where for me ,you might want to give this setup a try.
Or if you've got a bit more money, go for the next step up and get a proper bench type setup I think they start at under a 100.00 . What ever you pick,good luck with it and be careful.
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Old May 19, 2009, 11:41 PM   #6
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Thanks Fingers, it's great to hear that someone else had a similar experience. I didn't expect much but sheesh, this was ridiculous.

Clem, I just discovered that Blackhorn 209 works in cartridges, is not corrosive and is supposedly very non-hygroscopic as well. They provide loading data for the .45 Colt here: http://www.blackhorn209.com/loaddata/

I'm going to give some 209 a try as I like everything it's supposed to do well.

Delozier I think you've hit upon it with the hand press because I just don't have a place to set up a bench loader but I'm scratching my head over the issue.

Brian, I'm certain I'll give some BP loads a try as well. At least I wouldn't have to worry about shelf life as you do have to with most of the BP substitutes.

Thanks,
Oly
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Old May 19, 2009, 11:43 PM   #7
olyinaz
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Hey Clem, how do you like that base pin? Is that a Belt Mountan pin?

Thanks,
Oly
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Old May 20, 2009, 04:52 AM   #8
darkgael
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BP accuracy

I had a similar experience shooting a BP sub in .38 loads. The solution turned out to be adding a wad between the powder and the bullet. Surprisingly simple, but it had quite a positive effect. I do it in my .45 Colt loads now. I have since tried the more complex (not much more) "grease" cookie and that works well also - especially in the larger .45 Colt case.
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Old May 20, 2009, 09:56 AM   #9
ClemBert
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Hey Clem, how do you like that base pin? Is that a Belt Mountan pin?
Yup, it's a Belt Mountain base pin. It fits very well and has a nice clean look to it versus using the original base pin. I haven't shot my ROA/R&D yet with .45 Colt. I was gonna go for glory and start off with my own reloads. Getting components at reasonable cost these days is impossible. Just waiting on the reload die set to come in from MidwayUSA and need to find pistol primers at reasonable cost.
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Old May 20, 2009, 10:46 AM   #10
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Clembert I use 35gr of fffg Black Powder in my .45Colt cases with a 255gr soft lead boolit...works great for me by fillin' the case enough to add the boolit of choice with compression to the BP and a mild crimp.
Try some Real BP and you'll be pleased...
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Old May 20, 2009, 11:02 AM   #11
ClemBert
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I think you are right on with BP. Since it doesn't mind some mild compression it makes life easier. I do like 777 but it may be too finicky for this reloading greenhorn.
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Old May 20, 2009, 11:15 AM   #12
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Well I can help you out with the 777 ... I don't like it still have a half pound from a year or two ago... to me it sucks period and I prefer Black Powder over it any day and would buy it's older brother pyrodex first( and I'm not a big fan of substitutes anyway).... Finicky is what I too would describe 777 as.
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Old May 20, 2009, 11:28 AM   #13
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Well, I have some 777 ffg that I'm going to reload in my .45LC brass. I have a 1858 Remmington with a R&D cylinder. I'm going to use round balls in the .45LC brass. That's the way I'm headed. Am I okay doing this???
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Old May 20, 2009, 11:39 AM   #14
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If you want extremely hot not very accutrate loads you'll use the 777ffg, I guess... I wouldn't! Read the data on the Hodgon site then you decide...ansd remember it's 15% hotter and it warns you to reduce the load according the BP load you are using..
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Old May 20, 2009, 12:29 PM   #15
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777 is very accurate. You just need to know how to load it. It just doesn't like to be compressed AT ALL! Works great for me in Cap-n-Ball loading.

FWIW: 777 vs Blackhorn
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Old May 20, 2009, 12:58 PM   #16
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Interesting writeup regarding 209 vs. 777 there Clem.

Thanks,
Oly
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Old May 20, 2009, 01:23 PM   #17
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I definitely agree with those recommending trying real BP. Also, try using a SOFT lead bullet, and sized at .454" as well.
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Old May 20, 2009, 01:31 PM   #18
olyinaz
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>>>I definitely agree with those recommending trying real BP. Also, try using a SOFT lead bullet, and sized at .454" as well.<<<

Thanks for the suggestions!

Best,
Oly
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Old May 20, 2009, 02:02 PM   #19
Smokin_Gun
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777 is very accurate. You just need to know how to load it.
I know how to load it, and in my dang opinion I still think it sucks and is inaccurate compared to chamber loading a C&B with Black Powder.
Save it for your inlines with 209 shotgun primers... I don't care for them inlines either... :O)
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Old May 20, 2009, 02:50 PM   #20
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I'm most likely gonna use Goex 3Fg BP in my .45 Colt loading. I'm thinkin' lots-o-smoke and the smell-o-sulfur make for a fun day.

Triple 7 FFFg Cap-N-Ball Test

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Old May 21, 2009, 01:37 AM   #21
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Real black responds better to being compressed. I run 35 gr of FFFg in my .45's. 250 gr RN or Keiths either one. I like the Keiths because I can crimp them in . They shoot end for end through a white tail buck,,,I can tell you that, accurate and strong.
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Old May 21, 2009, 11:34 AM   #22
olyinaz
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>>>Real black responds better to being compressed. I run 35 gr of FFFg in my .45's. 250 gr RN or Keiths either one. I like the Keiths because I can crimp them in . They shoot end for end through a white tail buck,,,I can tell you that, accurate and strong.<<<

W.C., do you use a wad between the powder and the bullet? Are your bullets hollow based?

Thanks,
Oly
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Old May 21, 2009, 03:50 PM   #23
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This may be rhetorical, but since no one has mentioned this yet in building a proper black powder load...

LUBE!!!

The type of lube and style of grease groove the bullet has makes a huge difference in the consistencies of rounds fired.

If you are purchasing those bullets locally or from one of the mail order bullet houses, specify a black powder compatible lube. Most smokeless lubes are much too hard to give a good seal and make the fouling soft with black powder.

Also, get rid of the substitutes and use the real McCoy- any of the brands will work- basic Goex FFFg will work the best, go to either Goex Express or Swiss if you need more consistent loads for competition work or softer fouling if needed, and if you need some "el cheapo" black powder- go with the new Diamondback brand, which is equivalent to the old Elephant brand, which can be had for @ $10.00 lb. if obtained in case quantity. (I haven't tried it yet, but friends at the club say that it is just a bit dirtier than regular Goex, but is consistent)

Not only will real black powder be more consistent, you will save money.
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Old May 21, 2009, 06:44 PM   #24
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Not only will real black powder be more consistent, you will save money.
Amen to that ...
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Old May 21, 2009, 07:34 PM   #25
W. C. Quantrill
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Oly,

Yes, I use a card under my bullet. I only shoot Goex. I load black for my .45 LC and for my Trapdoor. If you load the full 40 grains that the original .45 Colt used, you will be in for an awakening. That is a hell of a load. It will have to be compressed also, I made compression dies that work for both the .45 and the .45-70.

More to the point. I use both flat base and hollow base bullets. I only use flat base in the .45, always with a card; in the -70, I use both the flat base 500 grain Govt bullet, and the hollow base 405 gr Govt bullet. Always use a card under the flat base. Do not use anything under the hollow base bullet. There is a reason it is hollow and that is to get it to expand to fill the grooves. If you use a card or grease or anything else under it, you just make a flat base out of it. Then it is going to lead the barrel. Remember, that on the BP loads, you are running low pressure, often not much more than 15,000, so your bullets have to be cast soft, not more than 20-1, and if that is not accurate try 30 or 40-1. If you get them soft enough, they will settle down because they have to obiturate to fill the rifling. Hope that gives you what you need.
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