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Old July 26, 2012, 12:07 AM   #1
Wyoredman
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Favorite .45 Colt powder for 225-230 gr cast bullets

APB!

I am looking for input on everyones favorite powder for .45 Colt loads. I am using 225 and 230 gr cast RN bullets.

I just picked up a Ruger BlackHawk and the dies. I had some 231 on hand and loaded 16 rounds tonight. They shot OK, but I bet there is a better powder that fills the case a bit better.

One of my manuals says AA#5 is good. Anyone use it?
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Old July 26, 2012, 12:54 AM   #2
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I used to use Unique for all things .45 Colt. Now I'm switching to Universal.

When the 8# of Universal is about half gone I'll decide if I want to switch back to Unique...

For case filling, nothing tops Trail Boss except maybe black powder.
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Old July 26, 2012, 06:11 AM   #3
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I've used 231, AA#5, Unique and Trailboss in my Blackhawk and my Tarus rifle. Unique is the standard, more or less, but Trailboss has been very accurate in both. I mostly use Unique.
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Old July 26, 2012, 10:37 AM   #4
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Unique. Trail Boss is expensive but I like it.
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Old July 26, 2012, 10:45 AM   #5
TATER
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I just recently switched to AA#5, It has proven very accurate in my Vaquero and Uberti
My cylinders have been opened up on the Ruger so both guns are pretty equal at this point.
Same load shoots well in my Father In Laws Winchester Loading 255's
HTH

Last edited by TATER; July 26, 2012 at 12:53 PM. Reason: Spell'en
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Old July 26, 2012, 10:51 AM   #6
rclark
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I don't shoot the lighter bullets. The classic 250-255g (RNFP or SWC) is what I like to shoot. I've found good loads with Unique/Universal, Titegroup, TrailBoss, Power Pistol, IMR 4227 (my current favorite), Green Dot, Red Dot, AA#5, W231, and a few other I've not listed. Sorry I can't help with the 'lighter' CAS bullets....

Quote:
I just picked up a Ruger BlackHawk....
Check your cylinder throat dimensions. Should be be able to push with finger pressure a .452 bullet into each throat. Just a heads up for 'accuracy' concerns. I had to ream all of my .45 Colt cylinders to .4525..... Helps accuracy and leading.
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Last edited by rclark; July 26, 2012 at 10:56 AM.
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Old July 26, 2012, 11:11 AM   #7
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My favorite powder with 230 grain cast bullets is Alliant Promo. (you can sub Red Dot)

For heavier bullets I generally use Herco, but Blue Dot is good too -- .45 Colt is the only cartridge I've found that likes Blue Dot.
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Old July 26, 2012, 12:31 PM   #8
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Trail Boss is ideal for less than full power loads in this calibre. It was specifically designed to be bulky making accidental double charges impossible. I love the stuff and use it in 45 Colt, 44 Special and 38 special. Meters smoothly and accurately through both of my measures and shoots relatively clean.
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Old July 26, 2012, 04:07 PM   #9
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Thanks folks. I do have Unique on my bench, as I use it for .44 spl. I will try some TrailBoss as well. I like the idea of getting the case a bit fuller than the 231 did on my maiden .45 colt reloading voyage. Some reason it just seems to easy to double charge a case when it is only 1/4 full! 7.6 grains of 231 only fills the .45 Colt about 1/4.
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Old July 26, 2012, 07:41 PM   #10
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8.5 gr of Unique is sort of a standard loading for 45 LC. I loaded some at 8.0 gr Unique (255gr SWC) for my BH (5.5") and they shot very well and very consistent. 8.0 gr gave me 830 fps/ 7 fps avg dev/ 33 fps ext spd/ 11 fps sd.
I havent had a chance to chrony the ones at 8.5 grains, but they shot well also.

WW-231 start loads shot well (717fps/ 18fps avg dev/ 83fps ext spd/ 28fps sd.) They were very light and I need to work it up some more. No groups, but short range plinking shows promise and I intend to work with the 231 more and see how it shoots when I get er up there to 900 fps or better.

I did also load some start loads with Trailboss. 6.2 gr got me 717fps/ 28fps avg dev/ 119fps ext spd. Need more work with this powder too.

^ All these with 255 SWCs @ .452. This should give you an idea where you're at (or will be) with these in the BH. HTH.
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Old July 27, 2012, 12:29 AM   #11
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I have not tried it yet, but IMR-800X is a bulky powder with a burning rate slower than Unique, and it has a great reputation for accuracy. 9.0 grains is a max loading in standard pressure 45 Colt with a 230 RN, and should give about a 60% fill to the bottom of the bullet, so double charges should not be a problem. It's the next powder on my list to try. So far, 231 (actually HP-38) works well for me. It's clean and accurate.
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Old July 27, 2012, 12:59 AM   #12
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In my experience, 800X meters better than cornflakes. A little better...
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Old July 27, 2012, 08:03 AM   #13
Mike Irwin
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Not sure if there is loading data for 230-gr. bullets, but I've been using Universal Clays in my .45 LC and have REALLY been liking it.

I'm shooting 255-gr. LSWC hard cast out of a Smith 25-5.
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Old July 27, 2012, 10:19 AM   #14
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Quote:
I did also load some start loads with Trailboss. 6.2 gr got me 717fps/ 28fps avg dev/ 119fps ext spd. Need more work with this powder too.
Here some of the tests I ran with TB :

.45 Colt 255g SWC Trail Boss test

.45 Colt 250g RNFP Trail Boss Test


.44Mag 240g SWC Trail Boss Test
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Last edited by rclark; July 27, 2012 at 10:58 AM.
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Old July 27, 2012, 10:48 AM   #15
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rclark,

Thanks for those tests. It looks like TB at 7.5gr will give me 900+ fps with the lighter bullets. Did you notice any leading when you got above 7.5gr with the 240 gr load?

I have decided to add TB to my powder collection. Really, what is another $30?

Thanks
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Last edited by Wyoredman; July 27, 2012 at 11:02 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old July 27, 2012, 10:56 AM   #16
rclark
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No significant leading with any of the 240g SWC .44Magnum loads. You will be using the .45 Colt so will be different.
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Last edited by rclark; July 27, 2012 at 11:15 AM.
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Old July 27, 2012, 11:14 AM   #17
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Mike,

I purchased a lot at a local estate auction and it had 500+ 225 and 230gr lead rn bullets at 0.452". Thus the reason I am using them to start with on my new BlackHawk! The old fella must have liked them in his 1911!

Since this is a new gun, I don't have much brass yet. The 16 rounds I loaded the other night were into Winchester cases that I had scrounged at the range. The 231 at 7.6gr shot well enough, was hitting a 2"x4"x10" lumber scrap at 30' before I finished the 16! Not much recoil, but I still worry about the case only being 1/4 full. It is a bit wierd to hear that powder sloshing around in the ammo!

I like the Trail Boss suggestion, so when I get some cases, I will try it out.

Mike, you mentioned Clays. I have never used this powder either, how did it fill the case? What was your starting load for the 250's?

Thanks to everyone else, all suggestions are being filed. This thread will get a lot of "search" request from me in the comming years!
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Old July 27, 2012, 11:30 AM   #18
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I'd have to go back and look at my notes for my specific load of Universal Clays in the .45 LC.

Loading density was OK, but you could probably get a triple charge in there without overflowing the case.

Other than Trail Boss and possibly Unique, that's the nature of pistol powders these days. They're not at all bulky so they don't fill the cases well.

I had lots of problems with this in my .44 Special. When Trail Boss came it, it was a godsend for that cartridge as it filled the case well and came very close to matching original balistics. And it was accurate, to boot.
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Old July 27, 2012, 12:05 PM   #19
rclark
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Mike, I use 7.5g Universal (and Unique) in my .44Spec under 240g and like it. I noticed Universal doesn't like 'light' loads. Just my observation!

As for .45 Colt, I couldn't tell any real difference between using Unique and Universal performance wise in the 8.0g to 9.0g range for 250-255g bullets. I'll recheck my notes as well. I like 4227 as it shoots very well and fills the case. But the downside is that the 20g loads eat the can of powder up pretty quickly (not to economical).
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Old July 28, 2012, 10:04 AM   #20
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I use the 231 for my .45 ACP, but for all my revolver cartridges I really like 700-X.

I buy it in 8 pound jugs from powder valley (So far this year just two jugs, to dang hot to shoot as much this year.)

For my .45 Colt, I have used the following powders; Universal, Titegroup, Black powder, Bullseye, Clays, Unique and 700-X. (There are two other cans of powder on the shelf, but I do not remember what I used them for.)

I prefer the 700-X because it gives me the group I want, I can use it in .38 spec. and .357 Mag. and goes a long way.

If you can not find a load in your manual, check out the powder manufacturers website. I also use loaddata.com to find new loads. I do not shoot the bullet weight/type you are using.
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Old August 13, 2012, 09:49 PM   #21
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800x has given me the most accurate loads in 45 colt, but those dime sized flakes don't meter well.
All the Ruger single actions I've owned in 45 colt, every one of them, shot very well with 13.0 AA-5 (250 LSWC) for about 1000 fps consistently. They all liked this load, every one.
Your mileage may vary... check the books first!
And it pays to load a good quality hard lead bullet. Cheap swaged slugs or bad castings will slide down the bore for the first 2+ inches, leading it up badly inside 2 cylinders full.
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Old August 14, 2012, 11:12 AM   #22
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Quote:
And it pays to load a good quality hard lead bullet
BHN 12 to 15 will work just fine such as the Rimrock bullets. I agree to not use the real soft swagged bullets unless you are shooting low velocity puff loads. Don't use 'hard' bullets either. They won't 'bump up' and seal the bore. You'll again get leading from blow by.
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Old August 14, 2012, 11:26 AM   #23
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Optimizing bullet hardness for your load pressure can be done mathematically.

Divide your pressure in CUP by 1280 to get the optimum BH number.
Standard 45 Colt load: 14,000 ÷ 1280 = 10.9 BHN
Ruger only 45 Colt load: 28,000 ÷ 1280 = 21.9 BHN

A little too hard is better than a little too soft, especially if your chamber throats are larger than your bore. Just use a bullet .001 to .002 over your bore size.
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Old August 14, 2012, 04:17 PM   #24
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Keep 'em comin, fellas. I am still monitoring this thread! Thanks.
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Old August 14, 2012, 04:40 PM   #25
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Have you tried the Red Dot yet?

With heavier bullets, Unique (or even Bullseye) is probably better. But RD is tough to beat with light-for-caliber cast bullets.
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