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Old February 8, 2001, 06:29 PM   #1
Sample
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I've just purchased a used BlackHawk in .45 Colt/.45 ACP. I had reloading in mind when I bought this, and immediatly bought the necessary components (dies, brass, shellholder, etc.) & selected some Hornady 250 grain XTP's to start with. I am new to pistol reloading (I do a lot of loading for various rifle cartridges), and so I did some reading before selecting a powder to use. I settled on 2400 for it's versatility & reputed accuracy.

My dilemma is this. Hornady provided be minimum & maximum loads of 19.7 grains & 20.8, respectivly. They gave this to me over the telephone & I verified it twice.

I purchased one of those "Load Maps" from Cabella's for the .45 Colt, which provides data that is collected from major bullet & powder manufacturers. The Hornady data in the book shows the MAXIMUM load to be 17.5 grains.

Hornady tells me that 20.8 grains produces 1250 fps.
My load book shows that 17.5 grains produces 1250 fps.

Can anybody think of an explanation for the large discrepancy? I told a Hornady rep. about my dilemma, and he simply advised me to "work up" to max. loads. Any insight would be much appreciated.
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Old February 8, 2001, 07:57 PM   #2
Kenneth L. Walters
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This is a classic example of the sorts of differences you can run into.

Lyman is famous for this partially because I seriously doubt that they have reexamined some of their loads in years, maybe decades.

What I always do is look up loads in as many places as possible. That way you can spot ones that are out in left field. That shouldn't happen, of course, but it does. Just a fact of life.

Personally I shot the 45 Colt a lot but I use cast bullets. Incidentally, if you are going to use near maximum loads (and I wouldn't really recommend that) you might want to look at the RCBS catalogue. They have an automatic powder despensing system when you tell the machine how much powder to deliver and it does. Works very well! (Lyman has something similar that doesn't really work at all).

Hope this helps.
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Old February 8, 2001, 08:35 PM   #3
Robert the41MagFan
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Sample

Would say, go for it and use the 20.8 grain load data, but I see conflicting numbers here and pressures that are near or over maximum. Even for the mighty Blackhawk. As a suggestion, start at the 17.5 grains and work up from there (it is what you should be doing anyway!). Without any question I can say that a Hornady 250 grain XTP and 17.5 grains of 2400 powder is no problem at all.

Robert


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Old February 8, 2001, 09:25 PM   #4
Southla1
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Different manuals show many different maximum loads. There are many reasons for this. In no 2 guns will the pressure be the same. This could be caused by (in a revolver) Cylinder barrel gap, forcing cone angle and length, bore diameter, type of bullet (cast or jacketed), powder lot numbers, primers used etc.. If I were you I would check with 2 or 3 different modern manuals get a good average starting load and go from there. One thing about the old 45.Colt (even in the Blackhawk and I also own one) is they are so pleasant to shoot with mild loads. If you are going to hunt with it then I say go for a good hunting load with a jacketed warm loaded bullet. If not just enjoy shooting it. No offense meant just my idea.
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Old February 8, 2001, 09:37 PM   #5
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It is my understanding that the Load Maps are compilations of old manual data. If anyone else can confirm this then I would definitely go by the data given to you from the Hornady tech. Also, I think I remember reading on sixgunner.com that 2400 is not produced at the same burn rate now that it is under the Alliant name. It had a slower burn when it was Hercules and that combined with the older Load Map info could account for the charge differences.

Just some ideas to consider. Check with the Alliant web page and see what charges they give for this caliber/bullet combo then check some more current manuals to further verify what you find out.

Jack
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Old February 9, 2001, 10:36 AM   #6
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45 acp

Sample,
Congratulations on your new pistol. As a fellow owner of that type Ruger, I can tell you it is a lot of fun. I just wanted to mention one thing that you probably know but I wanted to make sure. Don't reload the 45acp with 2400 powder at all. Quantrill
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Old February 9, 2001, 08:34 PM   #7
Art Eatman
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Hey, Quantrill!

What's the reason for not using 2400 in the .45 Colt?

Art
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Old February 9, 2001, 10:29 PM   #8
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Art - he recommended not using it in 45 ACP. It probably is a little too slow for the 45 ACP, most reloading manuals don't list loads for it anyway.
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Old February 10, 2001, 04:17 AM   #9
Robert the41MagFan
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One of the most well known woods defense loads for a 45 acp wheel gun is 14.5gr of 2400 with a Keith 255 gr bullet (using a autorim case). Too slow?

Robert
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Old February 10, 2001, 09:53 AM   #10
Art Eatman
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Oops! Scanning too fast.

Robert, if I wuz a guessin' fella, I'd think that matching up powder and bullet and all would have more to do with proper cycling of the autopistol. That's a large part of why powders with burn rates like Bullseye-thru-231, etc., are the "old standbys". (?)

In a revolver with the .45 Autorim, whatever works has gotta be good. I imagine that with that heavy bullet, the slower powder would work okay.

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Old February 10, 2001, 10:08 AM   #11
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45acp

That's it! I don't remember the source, but I remember reading never to use 2400, 4227 etc. in the 45acp for the auto pistol. I never tried it for the revolver. Seems like there is not a heck of a lot of room in there anyway. Quantrill
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Old February 10, 2001, 10:09 AM   #12
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Yep, what Art said. As long as you don't get over the pressure line, it doesn't much matter what handgun powder you use in a revolver. It doesn't have to cycle the slide and revolvers most likely have a longer barrel than a semiauto. Would it also work in a semiauto? Most likely, but you might lose a tad of reliability.
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Old February 10, 2001, 01:22 PM   #13
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RANGE REPORT

Well, I just returned from the range where I fired .45 Colt rounds loaded w/ Hornady 250 gr XTP Hollow Points & w/ 18 grs, 19 grs, & 20 grs of 2400 powder. No signs of pressure. Accuracy was really inconclusive. It is REALLY windy here in PA today, and I was only able to shoot it from a bench @ 50 yards. 'Seems to hit where I point it though.

If the Hornady rep. gave me good information, & given my 4.5 inch barrel, then these bullets should be moving @ about 1,150 fps. Those numbers would allow this gun & this loading to be used for deer, and yet, it is a pussycat to shoot!

This is my first experience with the 45 Colt. I really, really like this cartridge. I am glad that I purchased this over a .44 mag.
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Old February 10, 2001, 02:35 PM   #14
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Sample,

Another reason that you may have gotten such differing info. If you told the Hornady rep that you were loading for the Ruger he would have given you specs for THAT gun. A lot of manuals list two separate loads for the .45 Colt round, one for Colt SAA's and clones and a second for Ruger Blackhawks and Contenders (which are quite a bit hotter). The load map sheets were undoubtably for the lower set of charts.
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Old February 10, 2001, 02:43 PM   #15
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Bob C. - Actually, both sets of load data were for Ruger / Thompson Contender. I do understand the higher pressures that the Ruger can handle.

For the life of me, I still can't figure out why there would be a 3.5 grain discrepancy between the Load Map & Hornady's tech. line(data in these "load maps" presumably comes from Hornady, Speer, & the other manufacturers).

Oh well. I'm sure that I'll probably run into this again.
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Old February 10, 2001, 09:39 PM   #16
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Sample,

The only other explanation I can offer is that the load maps are normally done by compiling and averaging a number of manuals. And if you use multiple manuals as a regular thing (I do) you will find some rather startling discrepencies in numbers between various companies. In some cases it is because they used different bullets (this does make a difference). In other cases I think that some of them just have wimpier lawyers. As for published velocities, what did they say the round was tested in? I see some that give NO info on what the round was fired in (usually a pressure barrel that is considerably longer than most pistols). Others state a specific handgun. The same load in two different guns can often give different pressures and velocities for various reasons (chamber diameter, barrel diameter, forcing cone - in a revolver, cylinder chamber mouth size - again in a revolver, and of course barrel length).
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Old February 11, 2001, 03:40 AM   #17
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Sample,

WARNING! WARNING! WARNING!

The loads you are using, are far higher than anything my manuals show, for that bullet and powder combination!

I'm sitting here looking at my 45 Colt Loadbook, which is a composite of loads from many of the popular load manuals.

The Hornady 250gr XTP 2400 loads range from 14.9 to 17.5 grains, with velocities from 1050 to 1250 fps, and this is for Ruger and T/C guns only! The velocities are from a T/C Contender 10" barrel, which will be higher than your Blackhawk.

My Alliant manual shows no 2400 loads for that weight bullet.

My new Lyman manual shows the approximate loads you are using for the T/C Contender and XP100 single shot pistols only!!!!!! It agrees with the Hornady loads above for Rugers.

I suggest you get a chronograph, and drop back to the Hornady recommended loads for your bullet (14.9 to 17.5 grains), before shooting any more of these in your Ruger!

Wouldn't want to see either of you damaged!

Bill

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Old February 11, 2001, 03:26 PM   #18
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Bill Adair:

My .45 Colt Load Map shows your data EXACTLY (same bullet, powder charge, barrel length, & 1,250 fps velocity w/ 17.5 grains).

Hornady's rep advised me that it would take 20.7 grains to produce the SAME velocity, in the SAME barrel, under the SAME bullet. Hence the reason for my confusion & my original post.

Anyhow, Ive assembled loads @ 18 grs, 19 grs, & 20 grs, and I've shot them with no pressure signs. I'm going to assume that I've got about a 1,100 fps load here (through my 4.5 inch barrel), although I have no chronograph & no real way of checking.

By the way, I've found a site that's got some GREAT info on .45 Colt loads:http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=56737

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Old February 11, 2001, 07:58 PM   #19
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Sample - the link you show has two problems. You need to add a space after "loads:" and, more importantly, you are referencing your own thread (the one we are looking at right now).
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Old February 11, 2001, 08:04 PM   #20
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Oops - that was careless. The site that I was trying to reference was: http://www.sixgunner.com/linebaugh/dissolving.htm

Some good information if you're loading .45 Colt.

Happy Shootin'

Sample
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Old February 12, 2001, 01:02 AM   #21
Bill Adair
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Sample,

I have to strongly disagree with that Hornady rep! Three grains of powder to compensate for 5" less barrel is insane!

Most of the information I've read states that loads are pressure limited, and that barrel length will only effect the velocity obtained with those loads, at the intended safe pressure.

Adding powder has never been recommended to compensate for short barrels as he suggested, otherwise all load manuals would be categorized by barrel length, as well as bullet weight!

It's common knowledge that powder can be increased with a lighter bullet, because a given charge will develop less pressure with the lower resistance of a lighter bullet.

The fact is, that gunpowder reaches maximum pressure almost instantly after ignition, and begins to decrease almost as soon as the bullet begins to move down the barrel. The reason pressure decreases, is that the containment space is increasing as the bullet moves, and most of the powder is already burned by that time! Velocity increases if the bullet is accelerated for a longer time (i.e. longer barrel), but you can also reach a point where containment space is too large (i.e. too long a barrel), and the acceleration ceases, or even decreases (velocity loss).

As to pressure signs, read some of the early tests run by John Linebaugh and Ross Seyfried with high velocity loads, using pressure signs to watch pressure. Seyfried stated recently that he exceeded 300 Win Magnum pressures in his Blackhawk handgun, and saw no signs of excess pressure! That's cylinder burst pressure in most cases!

Slow powder does not increase safe pressures, but builds up to that pressure slower, so the bullet can accelerate longer.

I see you have read the same information on the Linebaugh site. Notice that John recommends an absolute maximum load of 20.5 grains of 2400, and that is behind a 260 cast lead bullet that develops far less pressure than your Hornady XTP bullets of the same weight!

Not trying to scare you, but it would be wise to at least check the velocity your are getting, as velocity is a pretty reliable indicator of pressure. If your velocity is comparable to published maximum loads for your bullet/powder combination, your probably cooking at safe pressure.

Take care,

Bill
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