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Old December 26, 2005, 05:56 PM   #1
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Lead round balls in cartridges

The long and the short of it is that I'm working up a bunch of .45 Colt loads for my '58 Pietta. However, I've got about 200 .451 LRB sitting around. Can I load these safely into .45 Colt brass?
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Old December 26, 2005, 08:59 PM   #2
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Have you measured the inside dia of the 45 cases? If it is .451 and you can crimp just past halfway of the dia of the ball it should be fine. If not .451 inside Dia you will deform the ball somewhat. I tried this with 44 Rem mag brass with a turned down rim to fit my 44 Rem. conversion cylinder. and they work OK, but the ball is deformed in the case side upon seating. Not near as accurate as the .451 x 248 grn bullet for the 44 Rem Round. I did use some at a cowboy action target. Target was big and I was close so I didn't aim, just pointed and fired. Hit it. I used some at a 25 yd. official pistol and rapid fire targettarget They seem to shoot a bit high and to the left, but that was in the pistol that had the indentations in the rifling under the front sight and above the rammer latch. Everything was high and left that morning so i honestly cannot tell you if they are are aren't accurate.
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Old December 26, 2005, 09:22 PM   #3
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My Speer Reloading Manual, 11th edition, lists round ball loads for the .45 Colt. "Loads shown for the SPEER lead round ball are intended for use as gallery, or short range target loads. Accuracy can be quite good out to 50 feet."

They specify a .454 diameter ball of 141 grains. It's loaded very low, to under 600 fps.

I presume you could do the same thing with black powder instead of the smokeless the Speer manual specifies. Probably have to seat the ball deep within the case over a reduced powder charge? It seems to me that if you followed safe reloading practices, the worst that could happen would be a batch of inaccurate cartridges. But I am not sure, so I will defer to the experts on that.
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Old December 26, 2005, 09:26 PM   #4
James K
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Since you can't lube a round ball cartridge load, seat a greased felt wad under the ball.

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Old December 27, 2005, 12:05 AM   #5
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I recently had need to make some very mild .45acp loads and chose to use a .451" round ball and Trail Boss for some of them. I found that the ball would fall right into the case once it cleared the mouth, so I used a .44-40 sizing die to size the top third of the case small enough to grip the .451 ball tightly enough to hold it, expanded the mouth just enough to be able to start the ball, primed, charged, seated the ball, then applied a conventional taper crimp.

I expect you could do the same thing to make a .451 round ball work in the .45 Colt.
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