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Old March 22, 2013, 08:15 AM   #1
jcsturgeon
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45 Colt, Black Powder

Say I wanted to reload 45 Colt with black powder. What would I need to do?

I have a turret press and I use a Lee Autodisk Measure. Is there load data somewhere that uses this setup where I could use black powder to load my 250 grain bullets?
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Old March 22, 2013, 08:50 AM   #2
Rifleman1776
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Fill with bp, seat bullet, shoot.
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Old March 22, 2013, 09:07 AM   #3
twobit
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^ yup. Leave no air space. If you want a lighter load mix powder with some cream of wheat. DRY cream of wheat of course, not cooked!
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Old March 22, 2013, 09:09 AM   #4
salvadore
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I would use something called an over powder wad @ .462". I use them in my .45 Uberti and an old converted to carbine trapdoor. For whatever reason, accuracy is much improved. SPG or dar formula lube keeps things running longer.
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Old March 22, 2013, 09:19 AM   #5
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Use the correct lube. You can find threads on the SASS about pan lubing where BP shooters melt the smokeless lube out of their bullets and replace with BP appropriate lubes.

If you shoot commercial cast bullets with smokeless lubes your barrel will foul so badly you won't see rifling.
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Old March 22, 2013, 09:21 AM   #6
Poindexter
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I am a n00b at this. I loaded about 30 rounds of 45 colt using a modern black powder substitute and had a heck of time getting the fouling out of my barrel.

It reads like I did two things "wrong", just from reading about it.

1. It seems like petrochemicals make BP fouling quite tenacious, I have read a few places now of folks getting thier bore absolutely sparkiling clean, and then taking all the oil off the bore with something like methanol so there is no petro-oil in there to make the fouling sticky. I guess they re-oil their bores with something like rendered bacon fat, thankfully I have some of that.

2. It seems not enough lube makes fouling tenacious, extra lube makes a bit of a mess but cleans up easily.

I have loaded my second batch, but am waiting for warmer weather here. I started with trimmed uniform length brass. Then I measured from the bottom of the case to the rim of the case mouth, and from the base of the bullet to the crimping groove. The substitute I have (I think it is 777, not at home right now to look) wants anywhere from zero free air space to 10% compressed powder charge.

I ended up using a pipe cutter on a spare piece of .45 Colt brass to make a powder measure so I could put the same -volume- of powder in each case.

I also melted up some of my bullet lube and poured it out on a sheet of tim foil on a baking sheet.

There is a bajillion recipes for bullet lube out there. I use 45% beeswax, 45% Crisco and 10% olive oil by weight, and it works good for me down to minus 30dF. Since it is all food grade stuff I can mix it in the kitchen on the regular stove without having to buy a second set of kitchen utensils for my loading bench. I don't know how it will do in summertime heat because I just started using it last fall.

Any road, I let the thin layer of lube cool on the tin foil, and then used another .45 Colt case, this one with the head cut off, as a cookie cutter. I find a .38Spec brass is adequate as a plunger, basically punch the .45 Colt brass into the lube sheet to cut out a cookie, then slide the .38Spec brass head first in from the other end to push the cookie out. My lube cookies are about 0.1" thick.

So I primed the brass, poured in uniform charges of BP substitute, eased a cookie on top of that and then seated my bullet.

I have a hunch I could get away with a lot less sophisticated methodology, but I am willing to put a little effort in the front end to save going through that cleanup from last time again. Also I could get a bigger charge volume if I left the cookie out for perhaps a little more velocity, see cleanup.

I have not yet fooled with a drop tube to help settle my powder charge more densely. I haven't come up with a plunger to manually compress my powder before I seat a bullet on it. I haven't yet fooled with cloth wads. I looked at cloth wads, but for the money they can't possibly be holding very much in the way of lube.

For my next tricks I am going to load up some 270SAA with lube cookie and chrono those, and I want to coem up with a BP load for a 230gr bullet that chronos 750-800fps muzzle so I can shoot steel target with the 1911 owners.

For the former I need ambients above +20dF so my chrnograph will run, for the latter I am probably going to need some cloth wads and some cream of wheat and maybe a compressor step too.
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Old March 22, 2013, 10:50 AM   #7
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I have an....

Uberti Cattleman in .45 LC an a Vaquero in same.

I find that the full load:

a) produces too much recoil

b) causes accuracy to drop off (I think). Too much going on outside the barrel while the bullet is in its first few inches of flight.

So I drop off to about 28 grains and the experience becomes a good bit less emotional.

I use cornmeal over a card that I punch out from iridescent poster board. I use this style card so I can easily find them to see where they land after discharge.

I don't use a lube wad, but I think I should. I am working on that.

I also shoot .45 LC in a Winchester 92 clone but I have not decided if my lighter loads will work as well in that.

As a disclaimer, I do not shoot CAS so those who do may be looking for a different experience than I am.
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Old March 22, 2013, 10:56 AM   #8
jcsturgeon
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That's the trick I guess... I use 45 Colt boolits straight from the factory and melting off the lube and reapplying seems like more effort than it's worth.
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Old March 22, 2013, 11:24 AM   #9
salvadore
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Mr. Hoy us right, full loads are fierce. I'm not crazy about reduced loads with cereal as a filler, I used count chocula with mixed result. I wonder if 45 S&W brass mght be better for reduced loads. I use lubed wads in my C&B occassionally because they get loaded and shot. I worry that the lube will migrate into the powder in cartridges that sit for a while.

I used full pyrodex loads in a '73 win. copy with a fiber wad and dar formula lube. I have to clean powder fowling after but never noticed any leading.
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Old March 22, 2013, 12:22 PM   #10
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Corn meal works well as a filler too.
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Old March 22, 2013, 12:33 PM   #11
Jim Watson
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Quote:
If you want a lighter load mix powder with some cream of wheat.
Do NOT MIX non-gunpowder crap with your powder.
If you want to download, any filler must be layered over the powder.
A compressed load will keep them from mixing with normal handling.
I don't think you need a wad between powder and filler, but if you do, it should be very thin.
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Old March 22, 2013, 01:04 PM   #12
Rigmarol
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I'm just beginning to use black powder loads in my .45colt CAS matches.

My first loads worked great.

I loaded up FFFg (with a little compression)
a card punched from an orange juice carton
a 1/8 (plus or minus) lube wad (Felix homemade)
another card
and a 220gn home cast bullet from wheel weights.

I was able to shoot 8 stages with no cleaning from my two Dragoon conversions and my Marlin lever rifle.

I loved the performance but it took way too long to load these up by hand.

I will be trying Dick Dastardly's Big Lube bullets next loaded on a stouter column of powder with no cards or lube wads.
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Old March 22, 2013, 04:39 PM   #13
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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This is 37 grs Black Powder. Uberti & Ruger pistols



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Old March 22, 2013, 06:19 PM   #14
Hawg
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I love full bp loads in my 44-40's.
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Old March 22, 2013, 09:18 PM   #15
B.L.E.
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kwhi43@kc.rr.com, it's that Tweety Bird T-shirt that makes her shoot so good, right?
Next thing you know, everyone in Friendship is going to be wearing Tweety Bird shirts on the pistol line.
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Old March 22, 2013, 09:52 PM   #16
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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I'll have to tell you about the t-shirt I made for her and she wore it to Friendship
Better yet , I'll show you what it said.

Last edited by kwhi43@kc.rr.com; March 22, 2013 at 10:03 PM.
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Old March 23, 2013, 01:13 AM   #17
jlb43
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I have never tried BP in a cartridge. Up until now I have always shot smokeless 45LC in a gun made for those cartridges I.E. Colt SAA or Ruger BH.
When I reload with smokeless I measure the charge and seat the bullet to the correct cartridge length. Air space is always there and no problem.

How do you insure there is no air space with BP? Do you just push the bullet down as far as possible like when loading cap and ball even if the cartridge ends up shorter than a standard 45LC? Do you still crimp the case? I just bought a cylinder for my Remington and would like to use BP FFG with a either a 200 grain flat nose or a 230 grain round nose. I have lots of those bullets.
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Old March 23, 2013, 01:44 AM   #18
Chowmif16
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jlb43

Seat the bullet at it's normal depth. To make sure that you have no air-space, measure the depth of the bullet from the crimp groove to the base of the bullet. Your powder needs to end up filling the case to at least the height of the base of the bullet.
You can do this in one of two ways:
1) fill the case with enough volume of powder to go slightly above the level where the base of the bullet will sit, and then seat the bullet. This will slightly compress the powder, which BP likes anyway. You want maybe 1/16" of compression or so.
2) same as above, but use a compression die or dowel to compress the load instead of the bullet.
#2 involves a bit of measuring and trial and error.
For both of those, if you use an over-powder card, be sure to factor the thickness of the over-powder card.
From there you can start to work up the most accurate load by slightly varying the amount of powder you use, which in turn will vary the compression. Always ensuring that there is no air space. If you want a lighter load, then use less powder and fill the space with either a felt wad, corn meal, or a grease cookie. As stated before, don't mix the filler with the powder, layer it on top of the powder.
Also, as stated in the other posts, don't use smokeless lubes. If you do, your barrel will start to lead very quickly. If your bullet doesn't carry much lube (small grease grooves) you may need a lubed felt wad or a grease cookie.
When you do go shoot it, it will be the most fun you've ever had with a single action.
Cheers,
Chowmi
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Old March 23, 2013, 10:03 AM   #19
jlb43
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Thanks Chowmif

Seem easy enuf for me. Is it disastorous if there is a small airspace by accident or does it just screw up the accuracy?
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Old March 23, 2013, 11:00 AM   #20
Doc Hoy
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Increased danger....

...Possibly significant.... of revolver failure.
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Old March 23, 2013, 02:52 PM   #21
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I wouldn't think a small gap would hurt anything besides accuracy but none is better.
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Old March 26, 2013, 08:41 PM   #22
Poindexter
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Too cold for the chronograph yet this weekend, but I fired some Pyrodex loaded .45 Colt for the fun of it.

Ahead of time I got my bore and chambers squeaky clean, then dry, then ran through a couple patches with some isopropyl alocohol, let that dry, then a couple patches with some of my bulelt lube smeared on.

I fired 30 some rounds, with lube cookie under the bullet as described above. Pretty darn smoky, but fouling was minimal - and consistent - from the first round to the last.

I was starting to have a little trouble getting fresh rounds seated in the chambers towads the end, I had some burnt lube build up in the shambers to contend with.

Got it home the bore and chambers cleaned up "easy-peasy" as my youngest used to say, two passes with patches soaked in hot sopay water, done. Crazy easy.

I did a complete teardown on the gun (Redhawk) looking for BP soot on my intricate metal bits. Pretty minimal, but I got busy with Qtips anyway.

The first time I shot BP I was using full length sized brass and I had a LOT of smoke blowback, no fun and a trouble to clean up. This time I used fire-formed brass and sized just enough of the neck to get good bullet pull. Much better.

I am hoping to load some 270 SAAs over lube cookie over Pyrodex this weekend, looks like I have to wait a while longer to get the chrono out though; still in the single digits up here, but without a minus sign on the front, mostly.

Soon I will run out of pyrodex. Made some charcoal, bought some sulfur, my wife has signed off on ball mill and fertilizer purchases. Looking forward to the real thing.
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