The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The North Corral > Black Powder and Cowboy Action Shooting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old May 5, 2012, 07:55 PM   #1
Doc Hoy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 4,605
.45 Colt.... .45 Long Colt.... .44-40

I am thinking about moving into reloading of BP cartridges

I am thinking of 1875 Remington and 1873 Colt and perhaps a lever action rifle as well. I want to make sure not to choose a cartridge that limits me. If possible I want to use the same ammunition in all three weapons.

So is .45 Colt or .45 Long Colt or .44-40 a valid cartridge?

What is the difference between these cartridges?
__________________
Doc

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
Doc Hoy is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 08:20 PM   #2
Edward429451
Junior member
 
Join Date: November 12, 2000
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 9,494
45 Colt and 45 Long Colt are one in the same and a good cartridge. It was originally a black powder round so should mesh fine with your idea project. 44/40 brass isn't as available as 45 Colt brass.

30/30 and 45/70 would both fill the bill for BP rifles for you too.
Edward429451 is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 08:24 PM   #3
Doc Hoy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 4,605
I had a 30-30 when I was a kid..

It was the last shootable cartridge weapon I ever owned. (Winchester 94)

But I would want to stay with the same cartridge for the new lever action as I use for the revolver(s).
__________________
Doc

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
Doc Hoy is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 08:39 PM   #4
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 11,284
The BP repeater shooters like .44-40 because the thin brass seals the chamber better and confines most fouling to the bore. But the thin (slightly) bottleneck brass is more tedious to load. .45 Colt is less fuss but people whine about scorch marks on the cases and blowback around the thick hard cases of modern .45 Colt. But it will still work.

The .30-30 is not and never was a black powder cartridge.
Jim Watson is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 08:51 PM   #5
prof marvel
Member
 
Join Date: March 9, 2011
Location: over the hills and far away
Posts: 15
Greetings my Good Doc -

brief summary:

.44 WCF or .44-40 was always designed as a BP rifle/pistol cartridge, and runs well in both revolvers and lever action long arms. One isssue is old vs modern barrel dimensions; modern barrels use a .429 bullet like the .44 spcl.

.45 Colt was originally desinged as a pistol cartridge; it has a very small rim, which sometimes leads to extraction problems in a lever action. Similar old vs modern barrel dimensions, old dim's were ~ .454 modern dims ~ .451

.44WCF is a bottleneck cartridge with a thin case mouth which expands nicely for an excellent gas seal with BP, but can crumple if care is not exercised when reloading.

.45 Colt is a straight-wall case with a thicker case mouth. it is easy to reload, but oft' does not expand & seal as well, leading to dirty blowback.

pm sent as well

yhs
prof marvel
__________________
Professor Marvel's Traveling Apothecary and Fortune Telling Emporium
Purveyor of Patent Remedies, Snake Oil, Cleaning Supplies, Dry Goods, and Picture Postcards
Supplying useless advise for All Occasions
prof marvel is offline  
Old May 5, 2012, 09:05 PM   #6
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,795
.45 Long Colt is common usage for .45 Colt. Technically there is no .45 Long Colt. 44-40 has a bad rep for reloading but once you learn the ins and outs of it it's just as easy as anything else. Course you will lose some cases learning but Starline makes plenty of them. The main thing is original 44-40 bores were .427. Modern 44-40's are .429 and most modern dies still size to .427, RCBS cowboy dies being the exception. So trying to stuff a cast bullet sized to .430-.431 into a case that's expanded to .428 doesn't work very well with the thin case mouth. You can use a .44 magnum expander plug or do like I do and use a punch to bell the case mouth enough. 44-40 was chambered in both rifles and pistols. .45 Colt was never chambered in original rifles. Jim hit the nail on the head when he said the thin neck prevented blowback into the action. It seals the chamber off very well. I use a Rossi 92 in 44-40 and leave a fired case in the chamber when cleaning the bore and no fouling gets in the action. Ballistically the 44-40 and .45 Colt are pretty close. 30-30 was never a bp cartridge and is an extreme bottleneck not suitable for bp. Not saying it can't be done but loading them with bp and getting compression on the powder would be difficult
Hawg is online now  
Old May 6, 2012, 12:17 AM   #7
Gatofeo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 1, 2004
Location: Remote Utah desert
Posts: 222
"Technically there is no .45 Long Colt ..."
-- Hawg Heggen

Alas, I must disagree.
For decades, cartridge boxes were marked .45 Long Colt. I believe most still are. Many of the older cases were marked 45 LC or 45 LONG COLT.
I suspect that when the .45 ACP cartridge was introduced in the Model 1905 Colt (predecessor to the 1911), the "Long" was added to avoid confusion by consumers. Or pehaps it was added well before, to avoid confusion with the .45 S&W Schofield cartridge or a host of other .45-caliber pistol calibers common to the 19th century and early 20th century.
Contrary to longstanding claims, there WAS a .45 Colt with a shorter case.
The late gun writer Elmer Keith wrote years ago of a gallery load manufactured by factories, with a shorter case containing a hollowbased bullet over a small charge of black powder. This was intended primarily for .45 Long Colt revolvers, though I suspect it could also be used in .45 S&W chambers.
Keith writes of practicing with these cartridges against a tiled floor, where the bullets buried themselves flush with the tile.
I still refer to the cartridge as the .45 Long Colt, because ".45 Colt" can mean .45 ACP, .45 S&W Schofield or .455 Colt. Using "Long" in the title leaves little doubt which cartridge I mean.
__________________
"And lo, did I see an ugly cat. Smoke. Brimstone. Holes in parchment. And this ugly cat was much amused." --- The Prophesies of Gatodamus (1503 - 1566)
Gatofeo is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 12:54 AM   #8
Scorch
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2006
Location: Washington state
Posts: 11,504
This old 45 Colt vs 45 Long Colt discussion goes on forever.

45 Colt was the original cartridge for the Colt Model P revolver. 45 Schofield was used briefly by the military for the S&W Schofield revolvers, causing a logistics headache having to supply both because the 45 Schofield would not work in the Colt revolvers. So the bright boys iin the War Department invented the 45 Government, a shorter version of the 45 Colt that would work in the Schofield revolvers as well. Many folks did not like the 45 Government because it was not loaded to the full capability of the 45 Colt, so people started referring to 45 Long Colt when they wanted full power ammo. Sure, it's not technically correct, but it's common usage, so I just live with it.

And FWIW, 44WCF is a better rifle cartridge because of the slight bottleneck. It helps with feeding.
__________________
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?
Summit Arms Services
Taylor Machine
Scorch is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 05:35 AM   #9
Doc Hoy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 4,605
Gents....

Thanks greatly for the info.

I was about ready to declare that I had decided upon .45 LC but now I am not so sure.

I guess this is why I posted the question in the first place.

Here is thought....

I like purchasing used to save cash (I am an uncompromising tightwad).

I may find that the decision comes down to the ease of finding examples of these weapons used in the caliber I choose.
__________________
Doc

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
Doc Hoy is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 05:39 AM   #10
Doc Hoy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 4,605
How about this...

How many times can you reload a cartridge?
__________________
Doc

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
Doc Hoy is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 06:03 AM   #11
darkgael
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 9, 2006
Location: Homes in Brooklyn, NY and in Pennsylvania.
Posts: 4,330
Quote:
How many times can you reload a cartridge?
The general answer is "a lot". The specific answer depends on a number of variables. How heavy a loading do you use? What kind of dies? How much do you work the brass when you are reloading? What kind of brass? How quickly and efficiently do you clean your BP loaded case after firing? Etc.
I have some .45 ACP cases that are usable and that I know have been loaded more than 40 times...
Pete
__________________
"Only hunting and mountain climbing are sports. The rest are just games." - R.Ruark
NRA Life Member
darkgael is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 08:22 AM   #12
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,795
There were some boxes around the turn of the century marked .45 Long Colt but the head stamps were .45 Colt. I don't know of any modern ammo marked .45 Long Colt. No guns I'm aware of are marked 45 Long Colt unless the imports are. It's no big deal, almost everybody uses the term and have since the late 1800's. It's just not technically correct. Sorta like magazines and clips. (I take the wrong side of the argument on that one)
Hawg is online now  
Old May 6, 2012, 08:28 AM   #13
Doc Hoy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 4,605
DG

Great response.....

(Hoy's definition of a great response is one which clearly answers a question or promotes more questions. This one fits the latter.)

The first question is....

What is a good BP load for .45 LC (Sorry guys...I guess I just like the name.) and for .44-40?

I saw a video in which the narrator recommended 25 to 30 with cormeal filled to the top. Bullet compression to the first lube ring.

The second question is....

Since I am too cheap to buy bullets, what is a good mold for a relatively light projectile?

I might add that the narrator (or maybe a different source) recommended wheel weights exclusively for cartridge bullets.
__________________
Doc

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
Doc Hoy is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 08:52 AM   #14
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 11,284
I have read of using cornmeal or Cream of Wheat as a filler in underloaded black powder guns. I don't do it, but then I am a rifle shooter and need all the speed I can get.

Lee makes moulds for the Pigeon Roost Slim bullets with huge lube grooves for extended shooting in black powder repeaters. Maybe Hawg has a comment there.

While wheelweight lead is not usually recommended for bp bullets, I am using Montana Custom Casting bullets made out of wheelweights + 2% tin and they seem to shoot as well as what I used to cast out of straight 20:1.
Jim Watson is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 09:10 AM   #15
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,795
I cast my own bullets from a Lee bp mold. Mine is a 200 grain RNFP. I do use clip on wheel weights with full power loads. I have a dipper for 44-40 that gives me IIRC 37 grains. The original 40 grain load is a little too much for modern cases.

One thing about bp in brass cases is you need to drop them in soapy water or Windex right after shooting or they will never come clean.

Last edited by Hawg; May 6, 2012 at 09:17 AM.
Hawg is online now  
Old May 6, 2012, 09:54 AM   #16
Willie Sutton
Junior member
 
Join Date: January 26, 2012
Posts: 1,066
To the above: I drop my .44-40 cases (I shoot both pistol and rifle with them BTW and can attest to the accuracy of all of the above advice) into a plastic gas-can (1 gallon type) half filled with soapy water immediately after brass retrieval. In fact, my revolver cartridges are ejected into a large plastic funnel that is in the mouth of th jug, so they are "fresh from the shot" when they go into the water. After shooting I cap the jug, give it a good hard shake or three, and then into the back of the truck it goes. At home the entire mess is poured thru a screen on a frame I have in the in the garden, the brass then gets tossed on a picnic table to dry, and is then tumbled like any other brass for reloading. Works a charm.


Willie

.
Willie Sutton is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 10:32 AM   #17
Doc Hoy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 4,605
This is great stuff

See the title.
__________________
Doc

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
Doc Hoy is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 12:18 PM   #18
Andy Griffith
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 14, 2009
Location: Macon Co. NC
Posts: 569
For .45 Colt in Starline cases, I use 21grn of FFFg, a Circle Fly .450 prelubed wad and 230gr RN cast bullets usually designed for .45 ACP and put a heavy crimp on them with a Lee factory crimp die. I get good, full combustion with little fouling, and it shoots much harder than most "cowboy" loads and hit point of aim at 20 yards from a 6" S&W HE that was once .455 Webley but converted. The wads are the only way to use a reduced load in a case- all the room in the case must be filled with powder, wad (or filler) or bullet and put a slight (about 10%) compression on the powder for a good, full burn.
A compression die is not needed in pistol sized cartridges, although some people do use them on pistol cartridges.

The other thing is, depending upon the case and bullet, the charge will change because the case must always be full. I had to experiment with my powder charge until I found the right charge that filled the case with good compression allowed the bullet to crimp in the correct position that I needed.

The wads from Circle Fly are very thick, and have had no leading whatsoever- I'm certain it allows little gas past it to the base of the bullet. It's much less trouble than using cream of wheat/grits- unless you have another powder measure set up to throw the right amount of the buffer material.

The one thing about loading cartridges, a powder thrower (measure) for black powder will prove to be very valuable if you start to reload many cartridges. Measuring charges with the same measure you use for muzzle loading rifles one at a time is time consuming and monotonous. I did it for a while on brass shells until I got a Hornady measure- which was one of my best investments.


As for cleaning cases, I use stainless steel media in a Thumler's tumbler and some lemi-shine and dawn- no matter how bad the brass is, it will come clean and polished. Just one thing- never put two different calibers of brass in a tumbler...it never turns out well.
__________________
Barney Fife: "Nip it, nip it, nip it!"
Andy Griffith:"Oh now Barn'...."

Last edited by Andy Griffith; May 6, 2012 at 12:31 PM.
Andy Griffith is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 01:08 PM   #19
Doc Hoy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 24, 2008
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 4,605
Andy...and others of course

My thought is to get some smokeless cartridges and shoot them up for the brass.

I would be thankful fo the model number on that Hornady measure.

The Lee press and the Lee Measure at under thirty bucks each appeals to my Scotch ancestry.

Keep in mind....This project is pretty far into the future. I don't even have the pistol yet.
__________________
Doc

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
Doc Hoy is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 01:19 PM   #20
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,795
Starline brass is cheaper than buying loaded rounds. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/941...colt-long-colt
Hawg is online now  
Old May 6, 2012, 02:31 PM   #21
Andy Griffith
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 14, 2009
Location: Macon Co. NC
Posts: 569
The Hornady number is #050110 for their black powder measure, and sometimes they go on sale. I've got a friend that bought the Lyman black powder measure, and a measure stand and takes it to the range and loads his black powder revolver cylinders from it- much faster if you have several cold cylinders to load, or even throwing charged into a hand held measure. Look at the Lyman one too, as it's just personal preference, and if I remember correctly, only about $10-20 between them.
__________________
Barney Fife: "Nip it, nip it, nip it!"
Andy Griffith:"Oh now Barn'...."
Andy Griffith is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 02:57 PM   #22
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,795
You can get more powder in the case with a drop tube.
Hawg is online now  
Old May 6, 2012, 03:08 PM   #23
B.L.E.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2008
Location: Somewhere on the Southern shore of Lake Travis, TX
Posts: 1,970
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Hoy
How many times can you reload a cartridge?
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkgael
The general answer is "a lot". The specific answer depends on a number of variables. How heavy a loading do you use? What kind of dies? How much do you work the brass when you are reloading? What kind of brass? How quickly and efficiently do you clean your BP loaded case after firing? Etc.
I have some .45 ACP cases that are usable and that I know have been loaded more than 40 times...
Pete
Add to that list of variables the rifle's or revolver's headspace. Cases that headspace on the rim, such as .45 Colt and .44-40, will not be long in this world if shot out of a gun that has excessive headspace.
One way to judge headspace is to shoot a primed empty case in the gun and see how much the primer backs out of the primer pocket.

My first revolver, a Ruger Super Blackhawk, had this problem and full power or close to full power .44 mag loads would give me case separation after less than a half dozen reloads. Even .44 special reloads would eventually separate the case head.
I now have a S&W model 29 in .44 mag and I have yet to have this problem. When the cases wear out, it's due to splitting around the neck.
B.L.E. is online now  
Old May 6, 2012, 03:22 PM   #24
bedbugbilly
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 19, 2009
Posts: 2,272
Doc, Doc, Doc . . . you do realize don't you that once you cross that dangerous piece of "no man's land" and your inner spirit weakens and allows you to enter the world of those "new fangled cartridge guns" . . . well, you face a whole new addiction!? I know . . . for I have crossed that invisible line and now there is no cure for the addiction as far as I can tell . . .

Long sigh . . . . . I fear it's too late for you . . . you might as well start making some new display cases!
__________________
If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
bedbugbilly is offline  
Old May 6, 2012, 04:02 PM   #25
rodent.22
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 9, 2010
Location: virginia woods
Posts: 129
Doc I have a model '94 in .45 Colt, 2 Vaqueros in .45 Colt, and have reloaded smokeless for about 5 years. All of my cases were bought loaded and I have reloaded them since. I have not counted the times they have been reloaded but it has been 6 or 7. Not one has failed so far, of course I've loaded Cowboy Action loads. I do believe most are Starline brass. My '94 in .45 Colt has been excellent. I've had trouble with it twice, my brother-in-law and my nephew both cycled the action slowly and dropped a shell down in the action mechanism, requiring a quick removal of the lever to retrieve them. A brisk cocking action will avoid this situation entirely. And of course the Rugers have been trouble free. I'm sure these guns would be a blast with black powder- maybe after I retire next year.
__________________
NRA, VCDL, USAF 1970-76 6200FMS CLARK FIELD,P.I.'71-'72- 18 SOS, NKP, THAILAND '72, BASE FLIGHT,KEESLER AFB,MISS '72-'74, CARSWELL AFB,TX '74-'76
rodent.22 is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:09 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12156 seconds with 7 queries