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Old June 28, 2010, 08:58 PM   #1
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Old 45 Colt Ammo

From the "for what it's worth" department. I inherited an old box of Remington (Kleanbore) 45 Colt ammo awhile back. Don't know exactly how old this stuff was, but, if this is any indication, the price on the box (hand written) was $3.85, and it featured "non-corrosive priming". I noticed at the time that there was something "different" about the appearance of this ammo, and I realized the cases were "rimmed" instead of "semi-rimmed". As it happens, I own a Ruger New Model Blackhawk in 45 Colt, so I naturally had to see if this ammo still functioned OK. I went through the entire box of 50 without any misfires etc, and accuracy appeared about normal.
I was somewhat interested in reloading the empties (all of which appeared to be normal once-fired cases), but soon discovered that, being rimmed cases, they do not fit my 45 Colt shell holders (DAH!). This has piqued my curiosity, so I thought I would pose the question to you guys. Does anyone out there reload rimmed handgun ammo anymore (I guess the question may be, why would you want to?); and, if so, where would one acquire shell holders for this purpose? Do any of you "cowboy shooters" out there use rimmed ammo? Just thought I would bring it up for discussion, because it hadn't really crossed my mind til now.
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Old June 28, 2010, 09:38 PM   #2
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Check that the cases are not balloon-head or semi-balloon head - most of the fully rimmed ones I've loaded were balloon-head cases. If so, I wouldn't use them except for very light loads (or black powder, which is what I do with them). I did find a shell holder that fits them - I'll see if I can find the brand and number of that shell holder, I haven't loaded any in quite a while.

If you're not sure how to tell a balloon head case, look inside the casing. If the flash hole looks like it resides on a dome on the bottom of the case then you have balloon head (or semi-balloon). If the bottom is flat where the flash hole is you should be good.
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Old July 2, 2010, 02:20 AM   #3
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I did a little digging and found it, RCBS #26 shell holder is what I use for those older .45 cases.
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Old July 9, 2010, 02:41 PM   #4
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Be very careful sizing those cases.
The older .45 Colt cases had just the merest smidgen of a rim. That tiny rim is easily torn off when withdrawing from the sizing die.
Years ago, when I had about 40 balloon head cases, my "cure" was onerous but worked: I used a Lee Loader and drove the cases into the die with a hard plastic mallet. A metal rod is used to tap them out. The rim is never touched during the sizing process.
After that, reloading continued on my RCBS Jr. press with standard dies.
I could never quite get a full 40 grains of FFFG black powder in those balloonhead cases, but darn near it. Over this went a Lyman 454424 cast semiwadcutter, lubricated with Ol' Zip Patch Grease from Dixie Gun Works (a mix of beeswax and mutton tallow).
The 454424 bullet was a bit longer than the standard 250 gr. roundnosed bullet and occupied more room in the case.
These shot fine in my Ruger Old Model Blackhawk: minute of Hi-C can at "that's about far enough" yards. Accuracy wasn't sought, they were fired just for the BOOM, smoke and stench by myself and friends. If we hit the can, that was a bonus.
The downside was cleaning not only the revolver, but all those cases that had black powder fouling, which is very corrosive because of the salt in it.

If you choose to resize those cases in a standard die, use plenty of lubricant and go slowly. A little at a time each case, until the entire case is sized, will usually work well enough.
I threw away those balloon head cases years ago, in a moment of insanity. Wish I'd kept them, just for the memories they incur.
"And lo, did I see an ugly cat. Smoke. Brimstone. Holes in parchment. And this ugly cat was much amused." --- The Prophesies of Gatodamus (1503 - 1566)
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