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Old December 20, 2001, 11:17 AM   #1
Derringer
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Questions on Reloading .45LC

I would like to get into reloading .45LC to save some money however I have a few questions that maybe someone can answer. I see several bullet sizes .452 .454 ect. I assume all will work in a ruger .45 however not sure which one to start with. I have seen posts that indicate .454 may work better in some rugers. I know most reloading is trial and error for each gun bullet size powder primer ect. Does anone have an suggestion on what would be a good bullet and powder to start with. I will be using the new ruger vaquero 3 3/4 with birdhead grips.
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Old December 20, 2001, 11:38 AM   #2
Ben Shepherd
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Start with 2400 loads on the starting end of the "ruger of tc only" section of your manual.

As for bullet size, use #10(IIRC) fishing sinkers. Push one through each cylinder chamber, and one down the barrel. Measure them all and choose a bullet size right in the middle of the range.
(It may be a different # sinker but the correct one does an awesome job) They are pure soft lead and the hole in the middle allows compression without springback.

Also if you have one hole with a very different diameter, you'll know the gun needs some work before you scratch your head over that 1 flyer out of every group.
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Old December 20, 2001, 12:34 PM   #3
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I've found that sizing the bullet to the chamber size often works better than sizing to groove size.

For light cowboy action loads, Titegroup is fantastic. In standard midrange loads, I used Unique and for real cloudenboomers H110 came out on top. 24 grains of H110 with a 260 grain cast SWC & CCI-350 went over the chrono at 1400 fps+ which puts it a fair margin above a standard 240 grain .44 mag load. 25-25.5 was about max in mine with the 260 grain bullet but I settled on 24 for a number of reasons. Jacketed bullets will use less. Paco, Linebaugh, and a couple other wackos have topped 26/H110 (w/260 gr. lead bullets) and kept all their fingers but I feel that's extremely excessive. Under controlled conditions you may get away with it, but temperature and humidity variations in the field make it unacceptable to go this far. Don't go this high without carefully working up to it and definitely don't try it in a Colt or Colt clone, Ruger only!
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Old December 20, 2001, 12:56 PM   #4
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I like stay within handbook recommendations

-the ones designated for Ruger /TC. My standard goofing around load is 250 gr with 8.5 Unique and I will go as high as 10 grains- a charge that used to be considered the ideal hunting load in Colt SA's. (Just history-not a recommendation as I consider this a bit much for the traditional SAs)

I use the hornady handbook maximum charge of 296 (Ruger only) for 300 grain xtps.

There seems to be a religious prohibition in the gun industry against optimizing the chamber /barrel throats for this cartridge. In my Ruger, I generally use .452 bullets for accuracy in the 1.5"/25 yards range. I did try some Hornady 250 grain swaged lead bullets over 8.5 unique and got the same 1.5" five shot average. My revolver has a 9.5" barrel and does 945 with the magma designed 250 grain cowboy bullets over 8.5 Unique.
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Old December 20, 2001, 12:58 PM   #5
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ps: the hornady's were .454

which I meant to say
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Old December 20, 2001, 01:59 PM   #6
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Hi, Derringer,

First, get a reloading manual and read it, especially the parts in the front that provide general information.

Worrying about a thousandth of an inch in bullet diameter is all very well, but someone just getting started should concentrate on the basics. Get a good tool that can stand an upgrade. A Lee Loader is not a good idea as it can never be anything but a Lee Loader.

Learn to use a powder scale before going to a measure. Save the progressive tool (Dillon, etc.) for later when you can appreciate what it will do for you.

Reloading is not complicated (I have compared it to changing a faucet washer, so if you can't do that, you might reconsider) but requires attention to detail and the suppression of any tendency to cut corners.

Jim
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Old December 20, 2001, 03:05 PM   #7
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I love shooting my Blackhawk,I have the convertable but I like the LC best....I use a .452 LRN hard cast 230gr with 6.5-7.5 of ww231. It's easy to shoot, light recoil, and cheaper than the heavy loads to reload. If I want to "up it a notch" I'll us 15-18gr of 2400 with a .452 250gr LFP hard cast bullet. Then for "show off" factor and really serious work I use the hornady 250xtp .452 with 20-22gr of H110 and the 300xtp.452 with 19.2-22 of H110.
I've not slugged the barrel but with a dial caliper the bore measures .453 @ the muzzle and so do the chamber mouths. I've had good luck with accuracy,it is a 5-1/2" length, I haven't shot for group size yet but @ 20-30 steps I can hit anything the size of a pop can if pay attention to what I'm doing. I'm now trying to get my acp to hit the same place as my LC loads so I'm upping my acp loads instead of lowering my LC loads and using the same weight bullets as suggested by members in one of my previous posts....these guys are grrrrrr8.
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Old December 20, 2001, 07:50 PM   #8
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Excessive, huh?

Linebaugh started shooting wet newspaper with different guns and loads at the last seminar, and found that the .45 Colt loaded with 325's at 1300fps gave the most penetration with the least waste (43"). When he used a 5 shot gun and pushed the same bullets at 1550 fps, it only went 45". That was excessive, as he's passed the efficiency peak.
I decided to copy his 1300 fps load.
The last time I was shooting mine, I was using Warning! Ruger load only! 300 grain Lee mould 30 WFN's with deleted grains H110. I wasn't getting good efficiency, so I'm going to try a starting load of about about deleted with a 325 LBT LFN. I should get better efficiency, and then I can bump it up a little, if necessary.

Excessive...huh! Just EFFICIENT!

MODERATOR EDIT: Insert proper cautions concerning loads beyond currently published maximums. Please quote published sources if not in usual loading manuals or manufacturers' references. Thank you.
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Last edited by Johnny Guest; December 22, 2001 at 12:57 AM.
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Old December 20, 2001, 09:11 PM   #9
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Warning RUGER/TC loads ONLY!!!

DO NOT TRY THESE IN ANY GUN, OTHER THAN RUGER OR T/C!!!

First of all, my hot loads use Starline brass... ONLY.

21.5 gr. of H-110 behind a Mid-Kansas hard cast 300 gr. FN is the most accurate load in my Blackhawk 5.5" for that weight bullet. Depending on the atmospheric conditions, and mag. or std. primers, it moves from 1150 to 1250 FPS.

I have a hot rod that is similar to Jbar's:

deleted gr. of H-110 behind a hard cast 250 gr. RNFP moves along at 1400 to 1500 FPS, out of a 5.5" barrel. HOT, is an understatement. This is my rock-busting load, at 200 yards. Shooting across a canyon, it sounds like a .308... And is very accurate. A shooting glove is MANDATORY for this load, if you shoot very many of them in a row.

Other powders for hot .45 Colt include:

H4227

W296

AA#9

2400

And I am about to start experimenting with AA1680 and Lil' Gun.

8.0 gr. of Unique behind a 255 gr lead SWC is the standard of the target loads. Accurate, light shooting, and a whole lot of fun in itself. Expect 750-850 FPS.

Please be CAREFUL...

YMMV,


MODERATOR EDIT: Insert proper cautions concerning loads beyond currently published maximums. Please quote published sources if not in usual loading manuals or manufacturers' references. Thank you.
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Old December 21, 2001, 07:41 AM   #10
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STARTING TIPS

Hodgdon Universal Clays, Starline cases, CCI or Federal primers, Redding Profile Crimp die.

Start with .452" 230-260g lead bullets over 7-8g Universal Clays.

W296 for 'nukes'.
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Old December 21, 2001, 10:44 AM   #11
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Derringer-Most, if not all, of the newer Ruger 45 LC's have a smaller cylinder hole mouth (.449-.451). If you shoot the larger diameter .454 lead bullets through one, the lead must go somewhere. Am guessing ya didn't get the short barrel and birdhead grips to shoot heavier loads through? If you are new to reloading, a good manual (or many good manuals) is highly advised.

To see if your Ruger has the smaller dia cylinder mouth, drop different diam bullets into the rear of the cylinder and see if they drop through.

Although the following load hits lower than the 255 gn loads, it has been very accurate and mild shooting in every Ruger 45 lc tried (six so far).

7.5 gns Hp-38 under hard cast 200 gn .452 lrnfp, medium to heavy roll crimp. This gives about 880 fps from 4 5/8 barrel.
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Old December 22, 2001, 01:14 AM   #12
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Hey, HEY, H E Y! Don't get carried away.

REMINDER: Insert proper cautions concerning loads beyond currently published maximums. Please quote published sources if not in usual loading manuals or manufacturers' references.

Neither The Firing Line nor any member of the staff assumes any liability for misuse of ANY reloading information. INCLUDE BOLD FACE cautions any time you list over-maximum data.


I will not have time to edit each post individually. When I see over-the-top information without proper cautions or quoted sources WHICH I CAN CHECK, I will delete the whole post. I put a lot of work into my writing, and I'd hate to delete yours. If you take the time to list loads, you can include proper cautionary notes.

Thanks for your cooperation - - - .
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Old December 22, 2001, 07:32 AM   #13
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I use a cast 255 grain swc and 7-8 grains of Unique. A very pleasant load to shoot. You can use the same charge with a 200 grain swc.
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Old December 22, 2001, 08:21 AM   #14
zeke
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Johnny Quest-
7.5 gns hp-38 under a cast 200 gn rnfp is .5 gns under the maximum listed in the Hodgdon #27 manual for standard and early 45 Colt revolvers.
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Old December 22, 2001, 12:23 PM   #15
Johnny Guest
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zeke- - -

Agreed as to the HP-38 load you mention. I was writing generally about above-maximum loads. Certainly, no load widely published in reputable manuals and/or powder manufacturers' literature needs any special reference or justification.

I had particular reference to some of the rompin', stompin' supermagnum loads advocated by some who want to really press the limits of the hardware and the chemistry of powders. We have the .454 Casull, the .475, the .500, and other 'way big cartridges which make the great old .44 Magnum look anemic. And, certainly, with careful progression and cautious experimentation, the .45 Colt can go well beyond the poofter-level cowboy loads. I load some of 'em myself.

The big point here is that, if someone wants to KNOWINGLY and with AWARENESS go beyond normal limits, that is one thing. When they begin passing out their pet overpressure loads on THE FIRING LINE, they must include due notice. This is too good a venue, enjoyed by too many enthusiasts, to risk having it shut down under (threat of OR actual) lawsuits.

By the way, zeke, my name is Guest, with a G, not a Q.

Best to all,
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Old December 22, 2001, 05:03 PM   #16
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For a 3 &3/4's barrel,and small grips, I suggest you try the milder .45 Colt loads before going to the Ruger/TC only stuff.

Just because a hot load doesn't damage the gun doesn't mean it's fun to shoot.

HS-6 and Blue Dot do well in 900 fps or so loads, and with a 250 or heavier bullet, that's enough for most stuff you'll do.

Last edited by Bob C; December 23, 2001 at 09:25 AM.
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Old December 22, 2001, 06:59 PM   #17
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Published Data Is On The Net!

A search on Google will give a multitude of hits to www.sixgunner.com where you can peruse many pressure tested loads, all documented by Hodgdon Labs for all the various levels of .45 Colt, from black powder frame prewar guns through the New Frontier Colts, Rugers and then the five shot custom guns. In the Ruger it's totally safe to run 300s@1300fps from 4 5/8 in. barrels using the recipes printed.
Some of the older Ruger Blackhawks did indeed have .454 chamber throats but as mentioned all the later models run .450 and need to be reamed to .453 for best accuracy using cast bullets.
Soft lead bullets should not be used for any loads beyond 900fps or severe leading occurs. Medium hard lead should be held to 1300fps.
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Old December 22, 2001, 09:44 PM   #18
zeke
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Johnny Guest-sorry about mixing my Q's and G's, am still stubbornly refusing to admit the need of bi-focals. Agreed it is a good policy.
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Old December 23, 2001, 05:56 PM   #19
Derringer
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Alaska Roy

I am currently using hard cast bullets .452 250g. No hot loads yet !!!
Just getting my feet wet

P.S. using nitro-100 5.2 grains was told it burns cleaner than most others
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Old December 23, 2001, 06:16 PM   #20
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For Derringer - - -

You don't say which revolver you have, and there's a lot of good information within the bounds of published data for the Rugers and other stronger handguns.

But for just sheer old fun, and some pretty good hunting results, try the aforementioned 8.0 grains of either Unique or Universal with the 250 to 260 lead bullets. This yields velocity practically identical to the original black powder load with which the .45 Colt made its reputation. Original U. S. Army specifications wanted a round with which a soldier could stop a horse with a solid hit. They later reduced the standard issue load to the .45 S&W Scofield load, which would work in either that one or the Colt. Still not bad, but not near so powerful--The Scofield load, back then, was about like current .45 auto hardball. Modern "Cowboy Action Shooting" loads are mostly loaded pretty soft for competition.

Anyway, the above load is safe in any good quality .45 revolver, even the authentic-appearing Peacemaker replicas, and is noticibly more powerful than the .45 ACP.

Hope you enjoy the .45 Colt round as much as I have.

Johnny
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Old December 23, 2001, 06:23 PM   #21
Derringer
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Johnny Guest

Thankx for the tip i will give it a try.

P.S. I am shooting the new ruger .45 vaquero 3 3/4 barrel with birdhead grips. I love the look and feel of this gun.
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