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Old January 21, 2012, 04:25 PM   #1
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Cast Bullet Loads For .45 Colt

I've got a shipment of Missouri Bullet's cast 250 gr rnfp's on the way. I've got a New Vaquero and a Marlin 1894 in .45 Colt to shoot them in.

I've loaded a lot of jacketed rounds for these guns and some swaged lead bullets also. This will be my first time loading cast lead bullets.

The bullets are .452 Dia., Brinell 12. (I didn't slug the barrel of my rifle so hopefully these are gonna work 'cause I ordered 500 of them).

I've been researching in my reloading manuals and on-line for a good medium to high power load for these bullets that is reasonably accurate and won't lead my barrels.

Seems as if a lot of different powders may work. I've found load data for Unique, Universal, W231, Red Dot, and a bunch of others. I'm hoping some of you more experienced cast bullet guys can help me narrow it down a bit. My real concern is (unknowingly) experimenting with a load that produces a lot of leading, because getting lead out of the rifle's 24" barrel would be a real chore.

For reference, I've been loading 250 gr XTP's with 8.3 gr of Universal and that seems to be a pretty good load for my guns as far as accuracy and power.

If anyone would be willing to share a recipe for a 250 gr cast bullet that will be more-or-less equivalent to my XTP load above, I'd appreciate it.
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Old January 21, 2012, 06:42 PM   #2
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You are getting approx 800-825 fps from your current load for the XTP bullets and Universal. You could easily replicate it with cast bullets by dropping down a few tenths of a grain or two with your Missouri cast bullets. As always, start at the minimum in the load book and working back up.

I use a good number of 200 and 250 grain lead bullets in my .45 colts and have had good results with Unique, trail boss, bullseye, and w231. My favorite for powder puff loads is bullseye, but I get best accuracy with unique, but it meters poorly in my lee auto disk, so I don't use it much anymore,

I suggest starting mild and working your way up with any of the powders of your choice. If Universal is working well for you with the XTP I suggest sticking with that powder first.
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Old January 21, 2012, 07:40 PM   #3
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I use 231 for my midrange 45 Colt loads, in both rifles and pistols. I use WST for my SASS match loads. Lots of other powders will also work fine. I like 231 & WST because they meter so well on my Dillon.
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Old January 21, 2012, 08:09 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies.

I have been happy with Universal in my jacketed loads. I was considering trying W231 because I like the way it meters in my Lee auto disk (I sometimes use it for 9mm and .45 acp), but my manuals suggest Universal over 231, and I have read claims (on the internet) that W231 can be position sensitive, don't know if that's true though. So when the bullets arrive I'll probably start with Universal. I like Red Dot in .45 acp so I might try that too. I'd like to try Unique also because, depending on who you talk to, 8 or 9 grains of it is the old standard load.
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Old January 21, 2012, 11:49 PM   #5
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I've been loading 8-9 grains of unique under a 255 SWC for several years. I've tested 8-9 grains of power pistol under the same bullet. Velocities are very close (8.0 = 860, 9.0 = 950) with both loads. I'm thinking that when I use up this batch of Unique that I'll change over to Power Pistol simply because it gives me less variance when dispensed from my RCBS Uniflow.
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Old January 21, 2012, 11:57 PM   #6
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Trail Boss had done well with cast bullets in every gun I have loaded for with it. Now it does not get scorcher velocities, it does help me to make one ragged hole in a taget, or to knock down steel targets all day long.

If you hand weigh the charges HiSkor 800X may do fairly well. I have had good results with it in .45 acp with cast lead semiwadcutters.
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Old January 22, 2012, 12:39 AM   #7
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I like a BP equivalent load of Universal Clays under a 255 Keith bullet but today I went with 2.5cc (about 37grs) of KIK FFFg. Sould be some big dirty fun at the range someday soon!
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Old January 22, 2012, 11:28 AM   #8
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I load 45colts in 250grain lead for my grandpa.He had a 45colt Ruger Blackhawk.I use 8.1grains of unique which pushes it at 800fps and that load works well for me
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Old January 22, 2012, 08:55 PM   #9
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Are you wanting to use the same load for both guns, or are you wanting to push the Marlin hotter for maybe hunting? I push my Marlin 1894CB with Missouri and Dardas bullets with Blue Dot. Shoots well, is accurate, zero leading, and meets criteria for hunting deer size animals at fairly close ranges. Look at for loads.
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Old January 30, 2012, 04:07 PM   #10
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My 250 Grain Cast LRNFP bullets from Missouri Bullet Co. arrived the other day. Nice looking bullets and fast service too.

Today I went out to the range with some "test" loads.

I used W-231 and Blue Dot powder.

These were shot from a benchrest at 25 yards. The target on the upper left was shot using a 250 gr XTP and Universal powder. I did that because I put a new Skinner sight on the rifle and I wanted to use ammo that I knew shot well to dial in the sight before trying my work-up loads.

Looks like 7.1 gr of 231 is the winner. I don't have a chronograph (yet) but my data suggest that load should be about 900 fps.

12.0 gr of Blue Dot shot OK, but I found a lot of unburnt Blue Dot in the gun when I cleaned it. The spent cases from the BD shells were very sooty too. I may up that charge to 12.2 or 12.3 and try it again.

I would add that the new Skinner sight is great, a huge improvement over the factory sights on the Marlin 1894.

Thanks again everyone for the help and advice.

P.S. Didn't see any evidence of leading in the gun with these loads.

Last edited by Diesel9; January 30, 2012 at 04:14 PM.
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Old January 30, 2012, 06:05 PM   #11
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In my own testing of W231 (HP-38) in a Smith 629 .44 mag, I've found the same thing that you did. Upping the powder charge produced much better accuracy, as well as more power. You can easily go up to 10.0 grains of 231 with a 250 gr SWC or FP. Why not try 7.5, 8.0 and 8.5 grains as well?
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Old January 30, 2012, 06:23 PM   #12
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I'm pretty happy with 7.1 gr of W231 in .45 Colt, and it's the max charge listed in my loading manuals.

In my previous post I was referring to upping the charge of Blue Dot from 12.0 gr to 12.3 gr (max is 12.9 according to my data) to see if that would result in a cleaner burn and better accuracy.
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Old January 30, 2012, 06:35 PM   #13
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Here is an .45 Colt PDF article you may be interested in.

Brian Pearce .45 Colt Loads and Analysis

Isn't testing fun? .
A clinger. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Single Action .45 Colt (Sometimes improperly referred to by its alias as the .45 'Long' Colt or .45LC). Don't leave home without it. Ok.... the .44Spec is growing on me ... but the .45 Colt is still king.
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Old January 31, 2012, 04:14 PM   #14
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Went to the range again today and put the target at 100 yards. This 10-shot group was shot using 7.1 gr of W231 with the 250 gr cast lead bullet.

I bet this rifle would shoot pretty impressive groups with a good scope, but I think it would ruin the "cowboy" look of the rifle.

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Old October 11, 2015, 06:43 AM   #15
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That's some serious shooting with iron sights at 100 yards. Great job Diesel. Do you give lessons!!
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Old October 11, 2015, 08:00 AM   #16
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I shoot Missouri Bullet Co. bullets, too, in .45 colt (and .357/.38 and .44) , At brinell 12, you should keep velocities lower--they sell both the soft cast (brinell 12) and hard cast (Brinell 18).

The softer bullets are for low power plinking or CAS loads, under 1000fps. (they actually sell them as "cowboy" bullets. I load them to 600fps. The hard cast bullets are for higher velocities. For example, I load .45 colt (200g RNFP) to 600 fps with 5.0g Trail Boss.
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Old October 12, 2015, 09:33 AM   #17
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^^^Yes, what sawdustdad said.
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Old October 12, 2015, 05:57 PM   #18
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I always shot .44 mag and my best friend shot 45 colt and we both used 2400. I used 21.5 gr with a 240gr cast Keith bullet but have no idea what he used.
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